From the Mailchimp for Agencies newsletter, issue #60:
“When I’m doing a newsletter for Small Biz Triage, there’s only ever one call to action,” Rasmussen says. “That is ‘Reply.’ Write back with a question, ask to meet up for coffee, I just want you to hit ‘Reply.’”
“Now, e-commerce clients don’t necessarily want that,” Rasmussen continues. “They want to move some product. But there’s real value in getting direct feedback and for your customers to know that if they do reply they’re going to be talking to a real person.”
Well said. So much of what's said in this article is smart and logical, but I've never seen this in the wild.
These guys understand modern publishing. It's small, responsive, and human.
I personally respond to each new subscriber and encourage as many replies to my newsletter as possible, because it's the most important thing I do online: connect with people. It's the whole reason I have a blog and a newsletter.
For a business, it's even more important. If you're not talking to your customers regularly, how will you know what they want next? If they don't know there's a human on the other end of that email, why would they want connect with you?
I have a lot of improvements to make to the design of my newsletter, but the most important design change will be to highlight the role of the reply.