A few weeks ago, I sent out an email to my list with this subject
“My doctor said: ‘Bob, you might have blood cancer.'”
My blood test results prompted my family doctor to send me to a
Turned out, I dodged a health bullet: no blood cancer.
When I told this story in my e-newsletter, I got well over a
hundred of you emailing me back — more response than most of my
other emails in recent memory.
This taught or at least reminded me of three things — the first
of which warms my heart, and the second and third of which
reveals important truths about email marketing that may be useful
FIRST, my subscribers, as a group, are considerate and caring —
really nice people — which is the kind of readers I want to have.
SECOND, that the technique of “transparency” … revealing a lot of
personal information about you unrelated to instructional content
or selling in your writing … helps create a bond between you and
Some comments from the responses to my cancer-scare email:
PC: “I’ve been a subscriber of your emails and a big fan of your
professional career for several years. I truly enjoy anything you
write. Thanks for sharing such a great life lesson.”
JK: “Thank you for sharing this personal story.”
CB: “Thank you for your email communications, which are a
pleasure to read and always worth the time. I read every single
TP: “Thank you for sharing your personal story and this great
lesson for all of us.”
AB: “I always enjoy your messages. But special thanks for sharing
something so personal. Your humanity is what makes your emails
stand out from all the others in my inbox.”
DF: “Bob, I love your down to earth good old fashioned work ethic
and I love your newsletter.”
I share these comments not to brag, but to demonstrate my thesis:
transparency works in cementing your relationship with your
Result: they trust you more, like you more, and read you more.
And people buy from people they like and trust.
So transparency makes your subscribers enjoy your newsletter,
decreasing your unsubscribe rate and boosting your open rates.
And all this translates into greater loyalty and more sales for
the products you offer your readers in your emails.
THIRD, people like stories. And stories are often more
persuasive and engaging than data.