Last week, I sent this email to 7,118 people:

Scary, but necessary. For a while now, I've been feeling my weekly emails aren't as good as they should be. Open rates are dropping, subscribers are churning almost as fast as they're coming in…

Not a good place to be. ?

I mean, just look at this. 36% open rate on the random question, 22% on the weekly email two days later. Not good at all.

Yes, that does list only 5,197 subscribers. It's because my email list is split between two Drip accounts. The big list is for people who subscribe by buying a product or signing up for a technical course or getting a free book chapter or something like that. A smaller, 2,000-person list is for those who subscribe directly through this blog.

You could say one list leans towards customers and the other leans towards fans. Open and click-through rates are similar for both lists.

The lists are split because I thought they were two different types of audiences back when I set it up. They're not.

Here's what I found out ?

77 people hated the question and unsubscribed. That hurt, but it's only 1%. I guess I'll live.

32 people loved it and shared it on Twitter from the "Thank you for being awesome" page.

15 people replied.

3 people complained on Twitter that I only gave them one voting option. This was on purpose to force a decision 🙂

500 people clicked a link and voted. That's amazing. Thank you. ❤️

Here's the breakdown:

My dreams of becoming the Casey Neistat of JavaScript are dashed. ? People don't care about my personal shit. They want code and more code. Some care about the business of code.

It's okay. I've heard rumors that the reason people like my code writings is because I make them personal and approachable. ?

So how am I going to use this info to make my weekly emails better?

I'm going to make the emails a lot more personal. I know people said they don't care, but I think that secretly they do. Every week, there's going to be a short cover letter that’s exclusive to the mailing list. This, I think, will improve our relationship.

And while all three groups are going to get the same content, it's going to be personalized. For the technical group, the lead story will be technical; for business, the lead will be business; and so on. This, I think, will improve open rates.

I'm also going to use this to improve people's onboarding experience. After you subscribe, you'll get to choose a topic.

The overall goal is to help people become better engineers. We'll see if it works 🙂

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