Should You Send “Professional” Newsletters to Your Email List?

Back when I was just getting started with email marketing, one thing I really struggled with was the right “format” for my emails.

I saw a lot of people in my niche (software development) sending out link-style newsletters.

This is where you “curate” or collect links to some good blog posts and send them out with short summaries.

So that’s what I did too. And I’d include a short blurb about my book at the bottom of the newsletter.

The result?

These emails got great open rates and lots of clicks (plenty of links, after all).

Sales? Not so much…

I was reminded of this when I saw this question from longtime reader Stuart:

I was debating newsletter versus more-personal-style (I know this is a newsletter but I don’t know what to call it, in this format) with someone lately. Do you think this way is a lot better? Better response, better click rate?

The reason I write emails the way I do isn’t just because I like doing it. (Although it is fun…)

I arrived at this format after trying other approaches.

This flavor of personal emails that open with a story and close with ONE call to action consistently beat more “professional” newsletter formats every time I do one of these experiments.

A few weeks ago I tried this out with the Simple Programmer email list.

We’d been sending out a “blog rollup” type of email once a week with summaries of all new content we’d published recently.

The engagement on those emails was pretty “meh.”

I had a theory that we’d get more opens and clicks if we just sent an email promoting ONE blog post instead of 3-5.

Sure enough, the personal-style email stomped all over the “newsletter” format.

Now maybe there is a case where an impersonal, professional, straight-laced email newsletter would beat the personal, story-driven approach I use here and at Simple Programmer.

I’m willing to bet that YOUR business ain’t it.