Heart Attacks and Newsletters - there's a link

I suffered a heart attack in 2020. It came as a bit of a shock. In the great scheme of life (and, I guess, death too) - heart attacks are not unusual. They happen. Although, for me, I suppose this was a first. The unhappy event came as a particular surprise. You see, my family basks complacently in a history of hale and healthy hearts. Going back generations, ancestor after ancestor has successfully defied the odds of coronary mortality. My lot simply live a long, long time. A fact freely acknowledged by friends and business associates who forever remark (usually when they think I'm out of earshot) upon my ability to 'go on and on'?

'Where did I put those Life Insurance documents?'

With historical evidence weighted so heavily against the possibility, you'll understand my disbelief when, last Tuesday, following a nine-mile marathon training run, I succumbed to my first-ever heart attack. The plan is that it will be the last.

I recall little detail. There's the memory of my son, Joe, urging Ali, my long-suffering wife -

"Mum - we must dial 999!"

Ali seemed less sure - 

"Let's leave it a week or two. Now - where did I put those Life Insurance documents?"

Within minutes, Felicity, a highly skilled paramedic, was bent over me. She was applying monitors, morphine and warm words of comfort in equal measure. I helpfully proffered the diagnosis that a simple virus must be the cause of the crushing chest pain. I explained that my family go on forever. Echoing the words of friends and acquaintances, she remarked, 'Well, you certainly do!'.


It's all about the evidence

So - what does any of this have to do with copywriting? The answer is, specifically in the field of email newsletters - 'quite a lot'. It's all about evidence and not taking too much notice of it.

Do you send out regular email newsletters?

You don't? Shame on you! Go right now to the Copywriters' Naughty Step. Stay there until you can repeat the words of my friend, and number one, global newsletter guru, Michael Katz, who will teach you the 10 reasons why you should deliver regular newsletters.

Do you spend months - even years - sending out your newsletters, apparently getting very little response from vast swathes of your contact list? Hereditary evidence was telling me that I couldn't have been undergoing a heart attack. In the same way, your email newsletter data indicates that your newsletters are drawing at a dry well.


Be cautious about who you delete

Apparent cast-iron evidence can be misleading. You might feel tempted to delete from your contact list all non-respondents. Sure, this will improve your 'open rate'. But - tread carefully. Be cautious about who you delete. OK - those who, after several months of receiving your outstanding emails, never once opening them, are wasting your time. They don't deserve to reap the benefit of your generous doses of wisdom and should be mercilessly culled.

But, think twice about deleting contacts who open your newsletters but perhaps fall short of clicking on the links or contacting you. By opening your emails, they're showing at least a smidgeon of interest in what you have to say. By consistently putting your message in front of them, you're making a favourable impression. It may be months, or even years, before they approach you with a project. But - there's every chance that one day, they will. All you have to do is to stay in the game. Keep imparting your knowledge as a friendly expert and one day - you will strike gold.

In brief, don't make the mistake I made with my old ticker. When it comes to email newsletter responses - don't take too much notice of historical evidence.


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Apr 18, 2020
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