Annoying as hell, isn’t it?
When a guy who learned how to start a blog and launch it a couple of months ago is already getting dozens of comments and hundreds of shares anytime he posts something new.
While over in your world, a comment from someone not related to you is still a huge win.
What’s he doing differently? In fact, what sets apart all those bloggers who can rapidly build an insanely engaged audience from those who have to beg and plead just to get a handful of shares?
Is the answer really just “great content?”
Content is important, but plenty of bloggers put just as much time, energy and care into their content as those in the top tier, only to experience 10% of the results.
So what do the big guys have that the little ones don’t?
They have a relationship with their audience.
Why (Only) Emailing Out Your Latest Post Shows a Serious Lack of Imagination
Blogs are a great way to get your ideas into the world, but they suck for building relationships.
That’s because a blog post doesn’t create a connection. It’s like a public announcement. Readers feel no more bonded to you than they would to a poster pinned to a noticeboard.
And while it’s true that you might interact with a few keen readers via your blog comments, the silent majority will feel like anonymous observers.
An email, on the other hand, is more personal.
Even though the average email broadcast is no more tailored to its recipients than a blog post (beyond the trivial “Dear First_Name” personalization), it has a totally different feel.
We all know the same message went to everyone, and yet it somehow still feels more personal when it’s in your inbox.
When you change the medium, you change the message.
And that’s why email is your best path to forming deep, lasting relationships with your blog audience.
If you can get your readers to engage with your emails, and even start to look forward to them, you’ll build relationships that will result in more shares, comments and traffic.
Unfortunately, most bloggers fall into a “set it and forget it” mentality with their email lists.
Their idea of relationship-building is sending an automatic “Here’s a link to my latest post” email every week until the end of time (sprinkled with the occasional “Hey, buy something from me” email, of course).
If you’re doing it this way too, it’s probably time to become more imaginative with your subscriber broadcasts.
But here’s the good news: It’s actually not that difficult to engage with your audience via email when you know the right types of emails to send.
Here are seven emails you can integrate into your routine to lift your open and click rates, increase reader engagement and develop long-lasting relationships.
#1: The “Unexpected Content Bomb” Email
All right, be honest for a moment . . .
You wax lyrical about the benefits of subscribing to your email list, but is there really anything special about being on it? What do you send your subscribers to make them feel more valued for having signed up?
Sure, you might shoot them a free resource for trusting you with their email, but is there any other exclusive benefit they get as a long-term member of your email list?
Until recently my answer to this question, like most other bloggers, was no—the only added benefit of staying on my email list was a friendly note whenever I want you to read my latest post.
Upon honest evaluation, I decided that wasn’t enough, so I decided to shake things up.
On a Wednesday night, I wrote a content-driven email exclusively for my email list subscribers. The focus was similar to my blog posts (which are about copywriting and marketing), but I adapted the content to a more conversational style better suited to email.
I started with a personal touch:
I was planning on sending you the first-ever Copygrad video this week, but my voice gave out (thanks, seasonal allergies).
Luckily, United Airlines’ new CEO just sent out an email FULL of teachable copywriting moments.
From there, I dove straight into the content—showing off laughably bad excerpts of the United Airlines email and extracting copywriting lessons from each one.
I wrapped it all up with another personal touch:
Stay in touch,
My admission at the beginning of the email was the truth; this truly was a last-minute backup plan—a “throwaway” effort of sorts. I didn’t expect much in return.
So the response I received after the email went out Thursday morning was nothing short of overwhelming.
I received 19 personal replies to the email, ranging from “Nice job” to an offer to hire me for a $4,500 consulting project.
Surprisingly, it even led to influencers sharing the email on social media:
CAPTION: Jared McDaniel, co-founder of help desk software startup Help Scout, tweeted the archive link of the email (something I didn’t even realize you could do).
“But Will, you probably have a huge email list that responds no matter what you send,” you might say.
At the time I sent this, my email list was only 1,110 subscribers strong. Here’s proof:
You don’t need a big email list to reap the benefits of Unexpected Content Bombs. All you need is:
- A personal touch to kick off the email – Make sure your subscribers know they’re the only ones getting to read it.
- Valuable content – This should go without saying, but make sure the email helps them accomplish something. You should be sending more than just, “Hey, what’s up?!”
- A call to action to reply – Tell them to reply to the email. Ask a compelling question. Let them know you’re there to help. Not only will the responses advance your relationship with readers, they will also indicate to email clients that what you send doesn’t belong in the dreaded SPAM folder.
Don’t have the bandwidth to create exclusive email list content AND keep up your blogging schedule? I hear you. That’s why you might want to send…
#2: The “Whole Shebang” Email
That’s what Kevin J. Duncan — years before he became Smart Blogger’s Editor-in-Chief — told me when I asked him about the way he communicates with Be A Better Blogger’s then audience of 21,000+ email subscribers.
So how did he add value and build trust with every email he sent? He gave away the whole shebang.
Rather than linking to the blog post in his email, Kevin would include the entire post so subscribers could read it right in their inboxes.
Revolutionary? Not exactly — but too few bloggers consider the pros and cons of each approach before making a decision. They just send a link to their posts because that’s what everyone else seems to do.
While including an enticing preview and then linking to your blog post might result in more traffic to your website and social shares, Kevin saw things differently:
Emails like these add value. They build trust. Just think about how rare and uncommon it is to receive an email that asks nothing of you. Its sole purpose is to educate, inspire, and help you.
Isn’t that the type of mailing list you’ll tell others about? Isn’t it the kind of list that survives the occasional inbox purging when you get tired of all the emails you’re receiving? Isn’t it the kind of list whose owner you’ll tend to trust?
Judging by the responses Kevin would receive for each email, the answer to those questions is a resounding yes. Check out this collection of email responses from Kevin’s inbox:
When you send content-rich emails, rather than short emails that demand an action, something magical happens…
You train subscribers to read your emails, not just your blog posts.
You can see this in the responses from Kevin’s readers:
- “Your emails are always so funny and fun to read.”
- “I really enjoy reading your posts and emails.”
Again, if you don’t have the time to put together Unexpected Content Bombs (like example #1 showed), simply inserting your entire post into your email can be a good way to start training readers to read your emails.
That way, when the time comes for you to send them something other than a new blog post (like a product you’re selling), they’ll be eager to open the email simply because they want to read what you have to say.
#3: The “Useful Recycle” Email
Even if you’re new to blogging, you’ve probably heard the phrase “repurposed content” at least once.
The concept is simple and effective—take an existing piece of content you’ve already created and repurpose it into a different type of content so you can maximize its reach.
- Getting video content transcribed and turning the transcription into a written blog post
- Turning a written blog post into a podcast episode
- Turning a handful of related blog posts into an ebook or email course
Recently, however, I’ve seen a trend pop up in repurposed content that offers a tremendous amount of value to blog subscribers, with a relatively low amount of work for bloggers:
Re-releasing a popular piece of content in a new format.
There’s a subtle difference here—you’re not positioning the content as brand new. Instead, you’re giving your audience a new way to enjoy the content they already love, and you deliver it to them via email.
Popular blog WaitButWhy.com executed this to perfection in an email to its subscribers.
A few weeks after publishing a massive blog post about SpaceX, Elon Musk’s rocket company, Tim Urban, the author of the post, sent an email out to his blog subscribers giving them access to an audio version of the post, and a PDF version they could purchase for $3.
The email looked like this:
(Don’t be fooled by the homemade graphics, because Wait But Why has a following of hundreds of thousands of dedicated readers. The SpaceX post alone has over 41,000 shares to date.)
The response the audio version of the post received has been overwhelmingly positive. Take a look at a small selection of the many comments:
Love. Thanks. Kudos. Those are words you want to see in comments from your readers.
You may not have an audience of thousands, but if you have readers who enjoy your content, chances are some of them would love it in a different format.
Emailing an audio version of a recent well-received post is a great way to squeeze even more engagement out of something you already put in the hard work to create.
It’s less mental strain on you as a content creator and adds value and enjoyment for your readers.
#4: The “Free Consultation” Email
A friend who just began building an email list said that to me recently. He was trying to figure out what type of content to send his new subscribers but didn’t know what to do in the meantime.
So I suggested something that usually sounds a little “off” to most people—to send his subscribers an email offering a free consultation.
Now I get why some people don’t want to do this. They might think the following:
- “Consultations will consume a lot of my time.”
- “If I offer this for free right now, no one will want to pay me for it later.”
- “It’s scary—what if I get on the phone with someone and can’t deliver?”
However, you’re more likely to:
- Create real, lasting relationships with people on your email list.
- Build a great pool of references for case studies and testimonials.
- Develop a better understanding of your audience’s biggest pain points.
- Grow better at delivering value (because it keeps you on your toes).
And here’s the best part—you can limit the amount of free consultations you offer and still reap the majority of those benefits.
All you have to do is send the right email. Specifically, your email offering free consultations needs to do three things:
- Limit the number of calls offered and set expectations. Tell your subscribers how many openings you have available and how long each call will be. By setting limitations, you save yourself time and increase your list’s sense of urgency.
- Attach a clear, concrete outcome to the consultation. Don’t just tell your subscribers, “Hey, I’m doing free consultations, want one?” Outline the specific benefits they’ll get from the consultation and how it will be structured.
- Have them apply for the consultation. Rather than operating on a “first come, first served” basis, tell your subscribers to answer a handful of questions to be considered for a free consultation. This gives you the chance to gain valuable insight into your audience and pick and choose the people you most want to work with.
You’ll notice that asking your audience specific questions is a consistent theme in several of these emails. That’s because getting your readers to begin personal conversations with you in their inboxes is a surefire way to create real relationships. These email examples give you a variety of vehicles for delivering those questions and beginning those conversations.
Here’s an excerpt from the email I sent that shows exactly how I included those three elements:
This will be a live Skype call consisting of you, me, and the web page that you think is most important to your business right now. During the call, I’ll show you:
- The clear, concrete steps you can take right now to start increasing your conversion rate on the page (more signups, more sales, etc.).
- Actual copy (written in advance by me specifically for your site) you can plug in and start using immediately.
- The repeatable framework I use whenever I want to increase my own (or my clients’) conversion rates.
Ready to reserve one of these five free consultations? Awesome! Hit “Reply” to this email and answer a few quick questions for me:
- What is the URL of the page you’d most like to improve right now? (This is the page we’ll review during the call.)
- What is the key result you’d like to see this page produce (for example, “more opt-ins for my email list,” etc.)?
- What’s your biggest business struggle right now?
At the end of the day, I’ll go through the responses, pick five, and notify you via email.
The 30+ responses I received to question #3 were worth the time I spent on the calls alone. Reading the biggest struggles my subscribers were going through let me know exactly what type of content I should be creating. The responses also led me to rewrite my entire home page, which ended up improving the conversion rate dramatically.
And that’s without mentioning the intangible benefits that come from delivering over-the-top value to my most engaged readers.
If you’re looking for a way to electroshock some life back into your list, the free consultation email is a great way to do it.
(P.S. – If you want the full text of this email and my personal “swipe file” containing all the others I’ve mentioned, check out the link in my bio at the end of the post.)
#5: The “Free Preview” Email
When you see a movie with friends, every group has that one person who gets irrationally upset if you miss the previews.
Confession: I am that one person.
Previews are fun because they (sometimes) help you make better decisions and get you excited about upcoming movies. Studios invest lots of money in producing and distributing them because they get people into the cinema to see the movies they’ve spent millions of dollars producing.
So why not follow the studios’ lead and create previews for your content?
If you have something exciting planned for your audience—whether it’s a product launch, webinar, affiliate offering, giveaway, or even just a new blog post you’ve put a lot of work into—you’ll probably obsess over writing the email that announces it to the world upon its release.
And with good reason. That email that will determine how successful the content becomes.
But wouldn’t it be great if you could take a bit of the pressure off that one communication? Enter the “Free Preview” email.
In my experience, nothing primes the pump of anticipation more than giving readers a small taste of what’s to come before you actually release it.
Teasing your content in advance accomplishes several things:
- You get it on the radar of the people it’s most likely to help, making it much harder for them to miss the release email once it hits their inbox.
- It allows you to raise compelling questions in your readers’ minds that they will want an answer to—an answer your content is going to provide.
- It forces you to clarify the value proposition of your content well before the heavy promotion begins (and sometimes even before the content is complete).
One blogger in particular executed the Free Preview email to perfection recently: Brian Dean of Backlinko.com.
Brian Dean’s email teased an upcoming epic-length blog post he was creating to serve as the de facto ultimate guide to SEO tools.
So what did his email do? It started a conversation about SEO tools in his readers’ minds.
The subject was “Here are 3 cool SEO tools I found last week” and the email gave subscribers exactly that. Brian pointed out three useful SEO tools and explained why he thinks they’re useful.
The real tease came once readers arrived at the email’s PS:
Prior to the blurry tease in his PS, Brian wrote 506 words of helpful content that most people would have considered a satisfying blog post in itself—and that’s exactly what makes his tease so effective.
Unless you’re Taylor Swift, your tease needs to be more than a simple, “Hey, watch out for my new thing next week.”
Instead, you should also do one of the following:
- Give your subscribers something of value, like Brian did with his helpful content.
- Ask them to do something, like giving you some feedback or answering a quick question.
Giving them one or both of these things will capture their attention much more effectively than a simple “heads up.”
#6: The “Unopened Resend” Email
If you’re like me, even your “best ever” email open rates are slightly depressing. When I see a 40% open rate, all I can think about is the 60% who didn’t open.
That’s why I absolutely love this email strategy from John Morgan, author of Brand Against the Machine and fellow blogger.
The premise is simple, yet the results it produces can have a major impact on the number of people who see your content. It boils down to this:
Resend the email announcing your latest blog post to all of your subscribers who didn’t open it the first time around.
You might think you’d risk annoying your subscribers by doing this but if you follow John’s method, the results I’ve seen say otherwise. Here’s how John does the resend to ensure little to no annoyance, in his own words:
According to John, the results he’s getting have not only led to higher open and click rates but also to higher quality relationships with his audience:
I’d heard of this strategy before but had been hesitant to try it with any of my clients’ email lists. In the end, John’s endorsement pushed me to test it.
Let’s just say I’m glad we gave it a shot. The results speak for themselves. Here are the statistics for the initial email:
Five days later, we resent the email with a new subject line to the 37,495 people who didn’t open. Here’s the response:
The second email added 4,384 more opens, bringing the cumulative open rate to 28.6%. It also brought in 1,366 more clicks, bringing the cumulative click rate to 6.8%.
Sure, there were additional opt-outs because of the second email, but the cumulative opt-out rate for both emails was still just a fraction of one percent at 0.16%.
You probably shouldn’t use this strategy for every single email you send out, but when you’re sending something of particular importance it’s an easy way to ensure a much larger percentage of your audience engages with it.
#7: The “How Can I Help You?” Email
Writing content that resonates with readers week after week, month after month, and year after year is a challenge for even the most experienced bloggers.
Even if you religiously keep notes and write down every idea and “aha” moment you can muster, at some point we all have felt like we’ve run out of good ideas.
Fortunately, there’s an easy solution: ask your audience how you can help them.
I know, I know. This seems a little weird. As content creators, shouldn’t we know what to give our audiences? Didn’t Steve Jobs say “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them”?
Well, while it’s true that people often don’t know exactly what they want, they do know the problems they’re struggling with. And if you frame your question in terms of problems, you’ll end up with more ideas than you ever imagined.
That’s the exact approach New York Times bestselling author (and online writing instructor) Jerry Jenkins took in a recent email to his blog subscribers. He opened with a subject line of “How can I best help you?” and went on to ask, “What would you most like me to write about?”
By itself, this would be a difficult question for many people to answer. But Jerry goes on to provide more helpful context:
Are you having trouble starting? Plotting? Crafting dialogue? Finishing strong? Something else?
There are so many topics, I could go for days. I’ve been in this game so long, my first blog was on how to keep your hieroglyphics chisel sharp.
So I’d love for you to clue me in on what would help you most today.
Jerry keeps the question open-ended but guides the reader’s thinking with topics and a final reminder that this is all about what they need help with.
The results? After an hour, there were already well over 100 responses from readers, many of them highly detailed and specific.
Look, if a guy who has written 21 New York Times bestsellers isn’t too prideful to ask his readers what he should write about, you shouldn’t be either. The ideas and insights you can gain are priceless.
Get Creative with Your Emails and Build Real Relationships
Experience shows that you can’t build lasting relationships just by doing the bare minimum.
But that’s exactly how you’re treating your subscribers if the only thing you email them is a stream of lazy “read this” reminders.
If you crave something deeper, if you want to have an actual, two-way relationship with the human beings behind those email addresses, it’s time for you to go a step beyond.
So do what it takes to make a connection with as many of them as possible.
Offer up your time for the chance to discover not only what they’re really struggling with, but who they are as people.
Ask questions and start conversations. Treat them like you would your closest friends.
Often, rekindling the flame (or sparking it in the first place) is as easy as sending one simple email.
Take that first step now. Pick the email that’s right for you and your readers, steal it, modify it, make it your own.
Then, all you have to do is press “Send.”
79 thoughts on “7 Emails You Should Send Your Subscribers (But Probably Don’t)”
Welcome back to BBT! I’m THRILLED and honored you chose to feature me in your seven great examples!
The “Whole Shebang” is one of my favorite types of emails to send to my list. As you said, it isn’t revolutionary, but not many people do it. Heck, *I* don’t do it nearly as often as I should. There’s just something about sending an email with no links to click — emails that say “Here is everything you need to learn in a quick, 2-minute read” — that’s refreshing. People love it. They appreciate it. They remember it.
I encourage everyone to try it at least once. Granted, if you are writing a 10,000+ word post like I did recently, you don’t want to email the entire thing to your list! But if you write something on the shorter side, give it a try. See what kind of reaction you get. 🙂
You did an awesome job, Will. Thank you once again, my friend. I’ll be tweeting and sharing this throughout the day!
Thanks for the warm welcome back, Kevin! And of course for providing a great example for this post.
100% agree—everyone should try it once. It’s a really simple experiment to run that can lead to surprising results.
One cool side effect I noticed with a client recently: he does this for all of his blog posts, so when we did a product launch a few weeks ago, his subscribers were already trained to read his emails in their entirety, which led to really good engagement on all the sales emails that went out.
Nice to see you mentioned on here, Kevin!
This is a great list — some of these I do and can attest are terrific. I try to send out a full post that’s exclusively on email at LEAST once a month, so subscribers see they get material others don’t. I’ve got to try resending the unopened ‘here’s my post’ email — love that idea!
Let us know how it goes if you try it, Carol!
Thanks, Carol! It certainly was nice of Will to reach out and ask me if I’d like to contribute. As you can imagine, it took me less than a second to say “YES!” 🙂
Your idea to send at least one “email only” post a month is a great one, Carol. I’ll have to try that some time! As for resending unopened emails, I can attest that it’s QUITE effective.
This was a great post.
I’ll admit, I have/had that set it and forget it mentality. And I would only send emails of new blog posts, but I had a epiphany a few months back.
I was critical, in my own mind, about a blogger that only sent out updates of new posts … And I wanted more. Then I realized how foolish I was. Now, I’m working to revamp my entire email marketing and provide more than just updates of new posts.
I love all the tactics you shared here. Can’t wait to try some of them out. Regarding the whole shebang one, I’ve seen a lot of people doing that lately. But do you think that works with a restricted length of the post? Or do you think it can work if you write a 4K word post too?
Have an awesome day.
Thanks, and I’m glad you found value in the post. Awesome to hear you had are already working toward upping the email ante with your subscribers!
As for the whole shebang, I think it depends on where your list is right now. For example, I’ve gotten emails from Ramit Sethi that are thousands of words long and read every last one. But I’ve come to expect that from his list.
If you’ve only been sending short emails with links to longer material, a 4k-word email might catch your subscribers off guard a bit. However, I think you can definitely work your way up to that once they get a bit more used to reading longer emails from you.
At the end of the day though, if it’s truly compelling, it doesn’t matter how long it is.
This is great stuff Will! I’ll admit that I often struggle with what to send my subscribers, other than my latest blog post. Will definitely be giving a few of these a try! Thanks again!
Thanks, Ed! Shoot me an email and let me know how it goes. Would love to see what style email you end up sending.
I love how detailed your examples are of these types of emails! These are great emails not just to engage a blogging community but engage SaaS product users as well. I will definitely be putting these to use. I especially liked the first example with the instantly relatable backstory (I’m currently suffering from allergies, so go figure!).
I’m also the person that has to make it to the movies to see the previews. I LOVE them. And you’re right, the same thing goes with new product or content developments. Having a tease can go a long way toward building excitement.
Thanks for the great tips, Will!
Yes, previews! High five, Lucy. 🙂
Agreed that these can work for SaaS as well–a great way to get candid feedback from users and establish a relationship early on.
This is great wisdom. Learned so many things at a right time as I am starting my email campaign soon. I like the idea to repurpose old content. Also, John Morgan’s strategy to resend unopened mails seems to be highly effective. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Rajkaran! Yeah, John’s strategy can be super effective. I like to save it for really important emails (sales emails during a launch, for example).
Every time I’ve done it, I’ve been happy I did.
I’d love to see a screenshot showing the 40% open rate you have achieved with that amount of subscribers that makes you unhappy and then then 60% when you re-send because you are blowing industry averages not just out of the water but into outer space.
I have 2 newsletters. The one of 10k I get about 20% and can get that up to about 25% by re-sending (bearing in mind the percentage shown is percentage of opens from the new send and not overall).
And I have another highly targeted newsletter just aimed at Life Coaches of just under 1k that can get up to 40%. But I know that will drop as the number of subscribers grows.
I think we need to set people’s expectations in line with reality. You are apparently disappointed with 40% and wondering why you didn’t get 60% and then use 28% after a re-send as being a great result.
Which is it?
To clarify, the screenshots I showed are not from my personal list, but a client’s.
My list has significantly fewer subscribers, so 40% is good but not crazy for a smaller list.
I didn’t mean 40% isn’t good–it is good, even for a small list. I just meant we tend to only see the percentage of people who did not open rather than focusing on the positive.
You are absolutely right, Will. We try to figure out creative ways of presenting our latest blog article but never think of ways to intriguing friends on our mailing list, who have been fans for years.
Thank you for leading the way! I will better my life from now on 😉
Thanks for reading, Raul! Let me know if you give any of these a try with your list.
Woah! This post indeed is a blast in itself. Got called out of my slumber.
Now I’m rooting for tip number one. Not necessarily because you got all those huge results (congrats, by the way), but because it’s another awesome way to connect with my subscribers. And without doubt, as you have pointed out, they would definitely love it.
Okay, tell you the insane truth: I’m rooting for the entire tips.
Crazy ton of tips you have listed here, Will. I immediately crafted a FREE consultation email and will be editing and sending it soon as I hit publish on this comment.
Way to go, Will. I love all these tips like they’re made from paradise. They’re sodding lifesavers, I tell you.
Thanks for packing so much into a blog post. This is a sodding enticing piece for bloggers looking to everest their email list.
Once again, this is really cool. Thanks for the share, Will.
– Yusuff Busayo
PS: Thanks for featuring me in tip #1. 🙂
Nice, Yusuff! Let me know how the free consultation email goes. I think you’ll learn a ton.
Thanks for reading!
Hey Will – I must admit I am the type of blogger who will only send out an email whenever I have a couple new blog posts published – only to let my subscribers know that the blog posts are now available. And I would’ve continued with this tendency if it wasn’t for your post.
I’ll send out a “How Can I Help You?” type of email today and see how it goes. Thanks a lot for the terrific ideas!
All the best!
Awesome, Ed! It’s such an easy tendency to fall into and we’re all guilty of it from time to time.
Glad to hear you’re giving the How Can I Help You a try. Let me know how it goes!
Your post comes at a perfect time Will! I’ve been wanting to increase engagement with my list, but was stumped on how to do it, but you’ve just given me 7 tips! Thanks so much!!!
Great, Julie, glad I could help! Let me know what you end up trying.
Nice reminder that the basics – asking, offering, giving – still matter. Great way to ramp up my email marketing efforts with these reminders.
Thanks, Patricia! Let me know if you experiment with any of these emails.
Thank you! This is so timely.
I’ve only just launched my blog (2 posts in!) but I’ve been emailing my subscribers for months. The last two weeks I sent the usual “here’s my latest post” email to my list and it’s been feeling … significantly less intimate.
And no responses.
Although I only have about a thousand people on my list, I generally receive several responses to my weekly emails. Mostly positive comments and thanks, but sometimes it’s a “how would I use this in this scenario” question. Whatever it is, I’m always thankful for the engagement.
After reading you post I have a much better idea how to take care of my list in future. No more “here’s my latest post” emails!
Thanks again. 🙂
Awesome, glad this was useful to you, Cate! Would love to hear how it goes when you try using some of these emails.
Thanks for your tips, well I implemented one of your advice last week.
I have about 1000 people on my list and the first email ever went out last week , the subject line was “Quick Question” here is the email.
Would you mind doing me a very quick favor?
I’m doing a little research and I’d love to get your answer to the following question.
What’s the biggest threat to your success right now?
Just click reply and I’ll receive your answer to my inbox.
I have received over 50 positive responses.
I will implement the rest of your advice moving forward.
Nicely done, Ann! 50+ responses is an awesome level of engagement. I bet you learned a ton about your audience from those.
For an artist who ran out of ideas to email her list about, these are fantastic ideas to tweak in fun, creative ways for my audience. Thank you for the inspiration!
Glad to hear that, Michelle! Thanks for reading. 🙂
Loved this! I’m still more focused on building up my email list than publishing blog posts (just started a new blog a few months ago), so I send personal emails every week (not linked to blog posts). And I already know I’m not going to have a super aggressive blog posting schedule, so it’ll be important for me to touch base with my subscribers more often than I post, and this gave me a lot of ideas!
#4 especially resonated with me, mainly because of the point you mentioned about discovering a deeper understanding of your audiences pain points.
Reminds me of the advice in a previous BBT post about optimizing your welcome email (//smartblogger.com/welcome-email/). Using that as a guide, I ask my new subscribers what their biggest frustration is and I get about 20% of the people responding – some with very detailed & lengthy information. It’s been truly enlightening! I can see a similar outcome happening with offering the free consultations. Not to mention building rapport with your audience (and maybe even getting a few testimonials??).
Anyhow, thanks for sharing all of these ideas Will – great stuff!
That’s a great point, Candid! I also don’t publish super frequently–usually just twice a month, so sending emails that add value and bridge the gap is really important.
This is a great reminder that we build our blogs to build relationships, yet other email messages also are very effective for that too. Great examples! As soon as I get subscribers :-), I will try your suggestions.
Awesome, Mary Anne! Let me know how it goes.
Will (and Jon), this post came at a perfect time. I’ve been offline for a couple of months, caring for my elderly mother who broke her arm.
Because of this, a lapse in my blogging and online activities has resulted. I’ve also been disconnected from my readers and those on my email list.
You’ve just provided me with several ideas to remedy this problem. Thank you so much for the innovative was I can implement re-connecting with everyone!
It’s a great way to remind others that I’m available for hire, too. 🙂
Superb post! Sharing it now!
Thanks, Lorraine! Glad this post came at the right time, and I wish your mom a speedy recovery. 🙂
Email-List, definitely a great medium to blast up your blog posts to the best every audience. It is the second best way to get the most targetted audience.
But, at the same time its always a tough call to come with a post that resonates with your audience, however, you shared some useful tips regarding it.
Now, I’ve a couple of ideas in my mind-box and will execute them in a good way, definitely.
Great post! Keep the great work up.
Glad this gave you some ideas, Deepak! Thanks for reading.
I agree that email should be more personal than your blog. However, I did create many valuable relationships through commenting that didn’t end there.
You make a good point. The medium is an important factor in how a message is received. This is actually quite painful to me. I often forget to send out an e-mail for new posts (ouch!)…
That said, I have an even bigger confession: email marketing is a medium I don’t use to it’s full advantage.
I used to have a list of your size, but it was for a different business. I deleted all of them. I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere with it. I still don’t regret it. I’m glad I cut that cord. It gave me space to move on to something better.
This article is loaded with ideas I can use myself. I love the example of the United Airlines copywriting email. The only thing I’d have done different is said “copywriting friend” instead of “friends” – making it even more personal.
I’ll have to play around with #2. That seems like a worthy thing to do! Besides, I love Kevin’s articles on blogging. I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.
After reading part of your article yesterday, I played around with #3 and created a first lesson for my autoresponder that ties in well to an older blog post I wrote.
I’ve never heard of Wait But Why before, but “new post every sometimes” made me chuckle 😉
The free consultation is a smart move and something I’ll be applying to my own business as well.
The “Free Preview” is a HUGE tease. I know many copywriters and marketers that successfully build anticipation around their products or content. This absolutely does the trick. Good point, Will.
A 40% open rate is very good in my opinion, but you’re right. 60% still didn’t. Those are painful stats. I tried that “trick” before and it does help to get some additional opens. As long as you don’t abuse the function, it’s sound advice!
Ha, I love this quote from Jerry Jenkins: “I’ve been in this game so long, my first blog was on how to keep your hieroglyphics chisel sharp”.
I totally agree that email should be more than a lazy reminder. I rarely click on Neil Patel’s emails for this reason. They’re just floating around in my inbox.
Thanks for sharing this exquisite post here on BoostBlogTraffic, Will.
Enjoy what’s left of your week.
Thanks for the thoughts on each email, Jasper! I would definitely recommend checking out Wait But Why. Tim has an amazing relationship with his audience that you don’t often see.
And agreed about the value of responding to comments. I’ve developed quite a few relationships that way as well.
Very good i never knew some of those points you mentioned really matters. t
Thank you very much for taking your time to write this wonderful post.
Thanks for reading, Nasirudeen. 🙂
Will, thank you! Some very good stuff in here. I genuinely want my newsletter subscribers to feel special, and I try to give them content that no one else gets (at least most of the time). There are lots of other great ideas in here to ensure they are getting added benefits. I’m definitely saving this post!
Great, Sonia! What are some of the things you’ve given them in the past that no one else has gotten?
To date, only content that no one else sees and free chocolate. ?
That’s why I love your ideas so much!
Okay, this is the single most helpful post and about email that I’ve ever read. Damn! THANK YOU SO DAMN MUCH!
You’re damn welcome, Dana! 🙂 That’s great to hear.
to be frank..i never heard of such terminology on email subscribers till date..you made be rethink on how to gain and maintain email subscribers with this post..great one
Awesome, glad to hear that, Ranjith!
Hello my hero JON, thanks again for your great post and i appreciate really for your great service. but somehow off the topic, my website host server is not good and my site keep getting off before the end of the month with the information that the site has exceeded the maximum band width even in the middle of the month yet i paid for the whole year. when the month is about to end they tell me to wait with the beginning of a new month for my site to appear online again. They taught me website design and when it has a technical problem that beats my understand they help me out. am tiered of their server but i feel leaving them i will not access their help again when i get a technical problem that challenges me. my website haven’t started bring me money at all because of very low traffic, however it had started growing in traffic levels ever since i started applying Mr. Jon marrow’s advice through posts. where can i get a better stable and affordable host server and they assist me when i have a challenging technical problem with my website. thank you.
Hey Munyambabazi! Sorry to hear about all the server issues you’re experiencing. I’m actually going through something similar right now with Bluehost. I know Jon recommends SiteGround, and I’m going to be looking into them very soon. Bluehost has been letting me down lately.
Some awesome ideas and great supporting examples here Will.
I must say I have tried a few of them, and not gotten the responses I expected! But after some hard thinking recently I believe the problem is with my focus (ie niche). So I am going to narrow that down more and more over time and get people on my list who really care about the content I am sharing.
I think this is a missing piece of the puzzle often overlooked. Tactics, strategies, case studies examples and tutorials from people who have gotten it to work are awesome, but sometimes it just fails because we have it all set up wrong from the start.
So hopefully my less successful experience can help your readers too.
Hey Ashley, thanks!
So are you saying that the people who opted in for your list got on for reasons that are too broad? Just wanting to make sure I’m following.
If that’s the case, you could try tracking behavior based on things like link clicks to segment out people who truly care about your niche (depending on what type of email service provider you’re using).
Wow! Another super helpful BBT post! I’m starting over with a new list and get intimidated by what to send out as subscribers increase. Thanks to you, now I know exactly what to do. And I really appreciate the free consultation email script. It’s both actionable and motivational. Perfect. Thanks!
Glad this was helpful, Angela! I’d love to hear about the response you get to the free consultation email.
First, I’m completely blown away and was just saying to myself; “How did he know?”
I’m that guy. I’m the one who sends the email of his recent article and of my newest video.
As I read your post my heart sank. I of all people should know better! And yet, here I am doing this one really stupid thing.
I absolutely love each idea and I’m dissecting your post to think through each one. I love the idea of audio recording each post. It’s quick, and it’s easy to do.
Did you set it up as a podcast and syndicate it to iTunes or Stitcher, or any other place?
It’s a brilliant idea and so easy to do.
Now that my ego is bruised and I’m putting it all back together as I collect myself, it’s off to share your incredible, thoughtful and inspiring post!
Have an awesome week Will!
~ Don Purdum
Hey Don! So glad this came at the right time. The great thing is it’s never really too late to start implementing this kind of engagement with an email list. There may be some initial turnover, but it’ll work wonders in the long run.
I actually have not tried the audio format idea with my own list, but I’ve seen others do it by just uploading to Soundcloud and then embedding the Soundcloud player on the post. But you could totally set it up as a podcast as well.
Let me know what type of email you end up sending! I’d love to hear what kind of response you see.
This is such an awesome post that before I had even finished the first “tip”, I was already messaging other blogger friends to come read it. Thank for all the great ideas!
Awesome, Kelly! Thanks for sharing with other bloggers. I really appreciate it.
Excellent post! Knowing how to keep list members engaged is a real struggle for many bloggers. Your post here is going to give them plenty of ideas to keep their member engaged.
Now, a great follow-up to this post would subject lines that get your emails open, read and clicked.
Thanks, Tom! I keep telling myself I’ll write a subject lines post someday. Perhaps that should come sooner rather than later. 🙂
I owe you a follow-up email. I’ve been trying to get my stuff together.
This post is excellent. Awesome work! Not sure how I missed it.
ConvertKit killed it with their resend to unopens feature. Your points are all dead on. I always love how personal your broadcast emails are and your copywriting skills are impeccable.
Thanks a ton — glad you enjoyed the post. And wow, I had no idea ConvertKit offered a resend to unopens feature. I’ll have to check that out for sure!
Shoot me an email whenever you’re ready — always happy to hear from you.
The Useful Recycle Email is a new one for me. I love the idea and am definitely going to try it out. I’ve seen the resend unopened emails in the past but would use that technique with caution – sometimes I see the email on Outlook without clicking on the link and then get another email with a different subject line but with the same content. 🙂
Totally agree, Vatsala — I usually only do the unopened resend if the recipients have already had 48 hours to open the first one. Caution should definitely be exercised with that one.
Let me know how the Useful Recycle goes for you! Thanks for reading.
This is a great post and I’m glad you touched on the topic of sending “the whole shebang” in a post. I’ve struggled with this a little because I have realized that I’ve got about 35% – 45% of my list opening my emails. But of those, only 15% – maybe 20% click through. I appreciate those that click-through, but I can’t help but wonder who those other ~20% are. I wonder if those are people who’s phones may not have good reception when they open the email and can’t take the time to load past all my annoying ads? Are they people that weren’t interested in the topic? Are they people who really wanted to know more, but because of that simple click, didn’t have the time to click over?
I have brought this topic up to the DIY (do-it-yourself) bloggers in my mastermind group and their explanation is that you want to train people to CLICK OVER; that if you give it to them all in the email, they won’t click over. But I almost feel like you WANT to give it to them all so that more people consume your content, so that when you have something to sell them, they’re more likely to keep opening and reading and clicking direct links to the offers.
The problem is that I don’t have any big offers yet. I don’t have a training program…My affiliate sales are “meh” at best…And I’m working on my ebooks.
But even with no immediate projects to send them, I like the idea of engaging them in their inboxes. After all, those are the most valuable followers!
Sorry for the typos! *whose
And I meant to say “even with no immediate products to send them, I like the idea of engaging them in their inboxes.”
The debate around the Whole Shebang email is an interesting one for sure. Both arguments make good points, but I’ve found that sending the whole blog post in the email doesn’t affect click rates too adversely. In fact, one client who uses it still sees tons of readers click through just to leave comments.
Any negative consequences are usually made up for by the increased amount of attention people pay to the emails themselves.
Thanks for reading!
Hi Will. Those are some great ideas. I get “free consultation” emails all the time and the “free preview” might be a little challenging to implement in my primary business but I will definitely think about how to implement the other four. Thank you for taking the time to share them.
Ben, I definitely encourage tweaking these to fit your unique business and audience. There are some situations where adjustments need to be made for sure. Thanks for reading!
Fantastic stuff here, Will.
In fact, your post inspired me to email my list of 1000 peeps today, after “ignoring” them for over a month because I hadn’t created anything new.
And the part about re-sending your email to those who didn’t open the first (changing subject line and first sentence) = GENIUS.
Thank you, sir.
That’s awesome, Mike! How’d the email go?
Sounds good, Will.
Apart from these tips, I try to read each and every phrase of this article. I learnt a few new words.
Cheers Will – The “Unopened Resend” Email is genius. However we have slowed down a lot on the EDM’s. Each email we send out we get about 20 – 30 unsubscribes and I have seen this trend with mailing lists of over 15,000. So therefore we will be risking more unsubscribes for the sake of email opens? Our mailing list is growing by about 300 new subscribers each month however at the same time we are losing approximately 200 – 300. So now it leaves me with the dilemma: Do we send emails out to those who have not read it and risk a few more unsubscribes but in hope of attracting new customers or do we remain reserved from this area? I guess at the end of the day people who are really interested in our products will stay on our list. Despite the unsubscribes, revenue generated within this channel (emails) have sky rocketed since we started pushing 2 – 3 EDMs each week. I guess its worth the unsubscribes as long as we are replacing them.
Hey, Deniz, great question.
It all comes down to whether the additional opens are translating to desired results. If the additional mailings are generating sales, then it’s probably worth the unsubscribes.
If they’re only generating more opens, but nothing else you’re able to measure, they may be doing more harm than good.
Thanks for the sharing.
Really useful, thank you. Loads of things I hadn’t thought of doing before.