Every year for Valentine’s Day, my husband writes me a poem.

I say “every year”…

He probably missed a few here and there.

But it seems like every year.

And this has been going on since before we got married, so, roughly 18 years.

Having typed those 5 sentences I now feel bad about any time I’ve complained that he’s not romantic.

He makes it a performance:

Me listening as he reads rhyming couplets in a sing-song voice.

Him delivering inside jokes with a sneaky grin to see if I get them.

I usually simultaneously laugh and cry.

And I imagine as he drafts each one he is doing so in anticipation of the moment when I experience his creation.

There is a bit of “Thank God you remembered I love this” mixed with an appreciation for him setting aside time to make me feel something.

Additionally, there is a more holistic emotional response.

The compounding result of a tradition lived out over and over again.

Nostalgia mixed with something new.

It’s sappy and lovely and I’m proud it is ours.

It reminds me of an elderly couple we befriended years ago who seemed still so very in love.

The wife told me that part of what held them together was that despite any frustrations they might be feeling, he took time each day to sing “You Are My Sunshine” directly to her.

It had come to mean, “Remember, I still love you.”

And so, as all the balloons, chocolate hearts, and commercialized festivities begin to crowd our lives this weekend, perhaps it’s a good time to think of your newsletter as a love letter to your reader.

One written with the intention of helping them feel




One created for the moment when you deliver the inside joke and they get it, hit both by the dopamine of the moment and the compounding emotion of feeling it on repeat.

I often curate email list growth stories, and some of the tactics they promote can feel a little hacky compared to this simple approach:

Show readers you love them through what you send…

So much so that they share the way it makes them feel with others.

Not because of some big “Share this” CTA you make prominent in the content, but because what you’ve sent prompts the action without begging for it.

And, if you fancy it, maybe try a poem or an unusually sappy introduction.

Ashley Guttuso  

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Like this newsletter?

Let me know. Reply, email me at Ashley[at], or find me on LinkedIn to hit me with some feedback. I’d love to know what you think.

Happy newslettering,

Ashley Guttuso