Personal Newsletters to Get Results.

Newsletters: This Time, It’s Personal


Weekly or monthly newsletters are a great way to stir up customer engagement, promote content, and increase traffic all in one email. If you’re looking for a creative way to change things up with your newsletter, do something unconventional- like forwarding your latest newsletter with a personal intro from the CEO or President to all of your subscribers.

Or at least, make appear like that’s what you’re doing. 

The Idea:

The idea of this strategy is to leverage the merge variables of your email automation platform. A merge variable is a special “code” that finds the contact’s relevant data for that field and inserts it into the email or newsletter sent to that contact. Most email platforms offer a variety of variables data that can be pulled such as first name, last name, company, city, email, etc. Each email automation platform that allows for merge variables has its own unique way of writing out the variable. For instance, MailChimp uses the format “<<First Name>>” while PersistIQ uses “{{first_name}}” for a first name merge.

The SetUp:

The set-up is fairly straightforward and easy. To start, simply copy your latest newsletter into a new template, add a plain text-only section above where your latest newsletter begins, and include the personal intro with the variable merge into that text-only section. And that’s it! A helpful note is to keep your intro simple and make your call to action explicitly clear. Also, be sure to upload yourself as a contact and create your own email campaign to send to yourself to test the merge. This way, you can test to make sure the merge works and that it pulled the correct data.

The Case Study:

When we used this tactic for one of our clients, we hypothesized that the “forwarded” newsletter would have a higher open rate compared to the original newsletter. Take a look at the results:

  • “Forwarded” vs Original
    • 17% vs 18% open rate
    • 2% v 3.5% click-through rate
    • 180 opens v 194 opens

The results, on paper, weren’t as glamorous as we hoped. However, the “forwarded” newsletter had the highest number of subscribers who responded directly to the newsletter. Our strategy worked not as we’d expected, but it did make our subscribers follow our call to action exactly as we wanted.

The Conclusion:

Was our hypothesis was wrong? Yup. Were we disappointed by that? A little. Was our client happy with the results? You betcha. Would we try it again? Of course. At the end of the day, we brought something new to our subscribers and generated results for our client. Hopefully, the insights into our team’s newsletter experiment can give your team the inspiration to take a look at your next newsletter and say, “this time, it’s personal.”