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Surely this can't be why I open James Clear's emails?
👉 and don't call me Shirley. Obvs.
A weird thing happened today.
Minor weird rather than outrageous weird. But worth commenting on.
I was looking at my “secret” email account where I subscribe to gazillions of newsletters to keep my main email relatively clear. I vaguely recalled something I’d heard James Clear say in one of his emails and I searched around to find it.
That would be James Clear of the 2 million email subscribers and 15 million book sales by the way.
Anyway, when a list of his newsletters came up dating back for years I noticed something: I had read a lot more of his recent emails than his older ones.
That’s not the usual pattern at all.
Normally you get excited by all the new ideas when you first subscribe to someone's emails and then over time you open fewer and fewer as your interests change or you just get familiar with what they have to say.
But in this case, I suddenly started reading pretty much every single one of his emails as of a few months ago.
I couldn’t remember why. So I went back to the first email where I started reading more regularly.
Had he shared some earth-shattering new idea that got me hooked? Had the newsletter changed direction and started focusing on something new that was more interesting to me?
Nope and nope.
It was only when I scrolled to the very bottom of the email I remembered what had happened. I chuckled as it all came flooding back.
James calls his newsletter 3-2-1 as he shares “3 short ideas from me, 2 quotes from others, and 1 question for you to ponder”.
But it turns out that’s a lie.
He actually shares something else in every email too. Right down at the bottom. Like this:
Or this older one:
Each PS is a link to a funny tweet. Or I guess these days we should call it a funny X.
For years I read his emails without noticing that link to the funny tweet. I say “read his emails” but what actually happened was I read about 30% of them.
But after noticing there was a link to a funny tweet in each one my open rate shot up to about 90%.
James’ newsletter hasn’t got better or worse. It’s still very good (imo) tips on productivity, habits and getting stuff done.
But my inbox is full of newsletters with lots of good stuff in them. In a busy day, good stuff is not enough to get me to read.
But it turns out a link to a funny tweet is.
As I said, it’s a minor weird thing. But a bit of an eye-opener.
I’m willing to bet that your subscribers and my subscribers are a lot like me. They get a lot of good stuff in their inbox they just don’t read.
If you want to get that open and read rate up, you need to do that little bit extra. And it turns out that having something fun and interesting in your email is the kind of “little bit extra” that works.
Maybe that means you illustrate a point with a story where you come off badly. Maybe you sneak a cartoon or an Airplane reference in there. Maybe even a link to something funny you saw recently.
Lots of ways of doing it: the point is that fun and interesting isn’t just a nice to have.