You are a ninja list builder and ready to take over the world with your epic lead-generation skills.
Unfortunately, you have no idea what to say to all of the people who are enthusiastically giving their email addresses to you.
While your lead-generation skills are remarkable, your lead-nurturing skills are a bit sub-par.
If you want to learn more about how to build your list, read these posts:
- The 3 secrets of list building to sell out your services and programs
- How to build your email list with the power of Pinterest
- How to rapidly build your email list leveraging Facebook groups
- How to get more email subscribers: content upgrades boost conversions
How to nurture your email list
Without anything to write to them, your email list is not only doing you any good as a business owner, but it’s not bringing any value to your ideal clients (who are hanging out on your list waiting for you to write to them).
Over time, your list gets freezer burn because it’s so cold and your poor, neglected list members will unsubscribe.
I understand the struggle.
You are already working on creating SO much content for your website, your blog, and your clients.
So, how the heck do you manage to create value-packed emails for your list, as well? It’s soooo much work!
You are not alone in your overwhelm and lack of ideas for email content.
Recently, I surveyed my Facebook group and email list about their common email marketing struggles.
One of the most common barriers to effective marketing is “I don’t know what to send to my list!” and “I don’t know how to keep my subscribers engaged.”
The good news? I’ve got your back!
I am going to give you TONS of ideas so you are never stuck again in this epic guide to what to send to your email list.
But before we get into the type of emails that you can send, I’d like to answer a few common questions first:
My list is teeny tiny. Should I put in the effort to send regular emails?
Yes! Those 50 people (or 10 people, for that matter) don’t know that your list is small. They signed up for your lead magnet because you offered them a solution to their problem.
Your list – no matter how small – is comprised of people who want to learn from you, be inspired by you, and hear about your offers.
And – guess what? You can make sales to them!
How often should I email my list?
Well – like most things in marketing – that depends. There is no one size fits all answer. Over time, you will have to see what works best for your subscribers.
To give you the big picture, here’s what other companies are doing…
According to Direct Marketing Association’s National Client Email report, most marketers (35 percent) send two to three emails a month. Nine percent of marketers send six to eight emails a month, and 19 percent send just one email a month.
However, these frequency statistics are from the business owners’ and marketers’ perspective. You may be surprised to know that your subscribers are willing to hear from you often – AND that they are willing to receive frequent promotional emails
The conventional wisdom is that people do not receive email, and they especially do not want to receive promotional emails.
Turns out, conventional wisdom is very wrong.
According to a MarketingSherpa survey, the vast majority of customers (91%!) WANT to receive promotional emails.
Here’s the surprising news:While 86 percent of people would like to receive a promotional email at least once a month, 15% say they would like to receive a promotional email every day.
Over time, you can test and segment your list based on what they want. But for now, the key takeaway is this:
Email your subscribers regularly and send them frequent offers to purchase things from you!
So, how often should email your list?
Well, I recommend once a week as a goal for your email frequency. But, you can test how your list responds to increasing the frequency.
If you are emailing infrequently now, slowly ramp up the frequency.
And, now to the big question:
What the heck do I email my list?
Below are 25 email types to send to your email list, what to include in them, and when to send to them. You can use this list over and over so that you will never are stuck for content ideas again!
1) The welcome email
Each time a person signs up for your lead magnet or content upgrade, you are beginning a new relationship. Your subscriber just downloaded a value-packed freebie from you and got a quick win. They are hungry for more!
Your subscribers are the MOST engaged. In fact, the average open rate for a welcome email averages 58% – this is an incredible statistic that you should be capitalizing on.
You can automate your welcome email if you use a program like ConvertKit (this what I use and love!). Schedule it to be sent right after the email that provides your subscriber with their downloadable opt-in.
In it, start by celebrating them for taking action. Then, tell them who you are, give them your backstory, and let them know what to expect from your emails.
You can also ask them to take an action such as read your blog posts, join your Facebook group, or ask them to reply to your email with an answer to a question such as “What are you struggling with?”
2) The mistakes I’ve made email
Often, your subscribers are YOU but a few years ago in terms of their progress. You can help them avoid a mistake you made along your journey by telling them about it.
For example, let’s say you are a career coach who helps your clients land amazing jobs. You could send an email telling your list about that time you bombed an interview because you X, Y, and Z.” They will feel closer to you because you told them a story AND they will appreciate your help so they don’t make a similar mistake.
Below is an example from Josh Steimle that describes how he used to be scared about sharing his retainer pricing:
3) Content teaser
Did you just write a new blog post, release a podcast episode, or upload a video to your YouTube channel or Facebook page?
Great! Tell your list about it.
This should be a short email that “teases” your subscribers with a little bit of information that piques their curiosity so they are motivated to click over and consume your content.
Here is a great example from Mariah Coz that entices you to watch her new video. Notice how she mentions that this is a question that she often gets. It not only reinforces her position as an expert (someone who is being asked for advice), but it also highlights that she is delivering content that people requested:
4) Unexpected value-bomb content
Is there really anything special about being on your list? What do you send to your subscribers to make them feel really special?
If your answer to the above questions would leave doubt about the exclusivity about being part of your list, then the unexpected value-bomb content email is something you should be sending to your list.
This is like a blog post, but you can’t get it anywhere BUT your email list.
YES, this is extra work. But, you should be treating your list like gold.
Know why? Because email has an average return on investment (ROI) of $38 for each $1 spent (Holy guacamole, Batman!)
This doesn’t mean you have to spend 40+ hours writing e-mail. It can actually be quick to create – send rapid-fire tips or a film a quick video you made just for them.
Here is an example of a value bomb from Tamara Laporte of Willowing. She is a mixed-media artist and she offers a year-long art program. In this email, she gifts her subscribers with a free lesson. It’s a win-win because not only does her audience feel special, but they get a sampling of the lessons that she teaches and it makes them more ready to purchase the entire program when she offers it.
Tam is a smart marketer!
5) Repurpose your amazing content
Remember that blog post/podcast/video series that you worked on so hard last year?
Guess what? Most of your subscribers have never seen it and will never find it.
But instead of crying about it, get it in front of them!
You can tease the content using the same approach as the Content Teaser Email (#3 above).
You can also put together a “Start Here” email that provides links to multiple pieces of content that will help your subscriber further along their journey that they started when they downloaded your lead magnet.
6) Special sales and deals email
Give your subscribers tons of special deals and sales.
You can pick a time many businesses use like Black Friday or other holidays.
Or, you can pick your own special days – for instance, run a “Hey it’s my birthday so here are some special deals to celebrate!” or “My company has been in business for 5 years so here is a promo code just for my list as a thanks!.”
The opportunities are only limited to your own creativity.
It’s a win-win because you sell more and your subscribers are thrilled because they are getting exclusive deals.
Here is an example from Colleen Arneil. She writes a really sweet message to her list and then gives them an AMAZING deal.
7) Tools and resources
We all want to know about the best tools – your subscribers are no different.
And if they can get recommendations without spending their precious time on researching and testing, this adds huge value to them!
Depending on your niche, you can tell your list about all kind of goodies!
If you are an artist or crafter, what paints, pens, papers, and stamps do you love?
If you are a photographer, what are your favorite cameras and lights?
If you are a business coach, are there productivity apps and time management software that helps you?
The possibilities are endless for this type of email. (Bonus tip: You can use affiliate links in your emails and get a little extra cash if your subscribers make a purchase).
Below is an example email from blogger and business coach Sarah Peterson:
8) Behind-the-scenes email
Your newsletters are a good place to get a bit more personal, and your subscribers are very curious about what is happening in your business.
Give them insider access to you with a peek at something exclusive to your list.
You could show photos of your workspace, tell your subscribers about how you run your business, give them insight into the methods you use to manage your time, and so on.
You can also provide insight into what’s going on in your head, how you journal, how you plan, what you worry about, and/or the things you are dreaming about.
This not only builds intimacy with your subscribers, but it makes them feel excited and special.
Here is a snippet from a “behind-the-scenes” email from Cassie Howard. It provides insight into her journaling and worries:
9) Special preview email
Always remember that your subscribers are on your list because they are interested in you and your business.
They WANT to know what you have for sale and they WANT to buy from you. (Remember the statistics I mentioned earlier in this article about how often subscribers want promo emails?)
And that’s why the special preview is such a wonderful type of email.
You can build intimacy with your list by showing them an exclusive preview of what’s to come. You can also build anticipation for an upcoming launch of a new product or service so that your conversions will be higher.
Below is an example from Mixed media artist Juliette Crane. She provides her list with access to a video sneak peek or her upcoming course, “Wild & Free Painting.”
10) Building buzz
When you have something big and exciting coming down the pike, you should send emails to your list to build buzz. This could be a new product, a book you are publishing, the launch of your podcast, or even a new lead magnet you know your audience will love.
But instead of just sending an email to announce its launch, send messages to your list to build buzz and anticipation.
You can even write a sequence of emails that teases and reveals the whole story in increments.
In your buzz-building emails, encourage your subscribers to share the buzz on social media.
11) Income report
This isn’t for everyone, but some bloggers and online businesses share their monthly income reports on their blogs for everyone to see.
If you want to do something similar, but don’t want to make them quite as public, this can be something that you share exclusively with your list each month, quarter, or year.
Income reports provide a lot of value and inspiration to aspiring bloggers and business owners so it can be a very compelling reason to get on your list and stay on your list.
A variation on this is to showcase how much money you made on a course or program launch.
I know, I know… it’s absolutely mortifying to talk about your own success, but when you are able to do it, you showcase your own expertise and more people are likely to buy from you.
Below is an example from coach Taylor Manning. She is even hosting an entire webinar around her income and how she did it. You can see this is a hot topic that inspires and motivates.
12) Growth and traffic report
Another way to inspire your audience (depending on your industry) is to give exclusive peeks into your website traffic or the growth in followers on one of your social media platforms.
This can be a way to show your expertise if you provide a service or course related to one of these areas. For instance, if you are a social media consultant, then showcasing your own growth demonstrates your rockstar ability and more people will hire you.
Or, perhaps you offer an online course on Pinterest – talking about your own statistics will help your conversions when you offer your course because your subscribers can see how good you are at it.
13) Something you tried that worked
This is the opposite of the “Mistakes I made email” I mentioned in #2 above.
Because your subscribers are your VIP, numero uno people, let them in on something that you tested that was a big success.
I love the email below from author and book coach Tim Grahl. It tells about a time that he tried something that he was nervous about and it worked!
He builds solidarity with his audience because it’s a common feeling and he shows that “See, I’m just like you.”
But because he then talks about using the same method successfully over and over, he positions himself as an expert.
Lastly, notice in the last line how he teases the audience to encourage them to look for his next email for more of his story. Brilliant!
14) Client case study
You can tell your subscribers about a client you’ve helped recently.
If there is one thing I’ve learned from my 20 years in marketing and business, it’s that human beings just LOVE to hear stories about other human beings.
A great way to build trust and motivation in your subscribers is to send case studies.
Share your client’s results, their experience working with you, and how they benefited from hiring you. Include a photo of them and any relevant links.
Below is an except from a case study email written by Jenny Shih. In the email, she tells a story of a client who succeeded in growing her list and then grown her business as a result. At the end of the email, she says (I’m paraphrasing): “You can do this too. Here is a link to my online course that can help you learn these skills.”
The case study of a successful client has more power to sell a program, product, or service than you – the business owner – has alone.
15) Testimonials email
This type of email is similar to the case study in it ability to persuade your subscriber to purchase a product or service, but it differs in that it features to words of multiple clients who tell your list the reasons they endorse your offering.
It helps to include real names, photos, and business names (if applicable to your industry). You can also drive people to your Facebook page or a website page that features written or audio testimonials.
Below is an example from Todd Herman who is promoting an online course he sells. When you click on any of the links in his email, you are taken to a page around a dozen video testimonials from his clients – impressive social proof of his program’s effectiveness.
16) Favorite posts or compilation email
If you have a compilation of blog posts that are related to a specific subject or posts that are especially popular, then send an email with a short recap and link to these.
As I mentioned in #5 (above), most of your subscribers aren’t aware of all of your blog posts. But, they would love to read them. So, you can send them a digest and do them a favor by pointing them in the right direction so they can get tons of value from posts you’ve written on your blog.
This is a great type of email if you don’t have much time but still want to provide incredible value to your subscribers.
17) Start here email
The “start here” email can useful in an automated funnel series. If you have a large amount of content and resources on your site, this can help them dive into your portfolio of work in a logical fashion.
You can also introduce your readers to other parts of your world like a Facebook group, a resources page, a resource library and so on.
Below is an excerpt from Addi Ganley’s “start here” email:
18) Survey email
One of the best ways you can learn more about your subscribers and serve them better is to ask them about their needs. And one of the best ways to do this is via a survey email.
This is a simple email that asks your subscribers to answer a few quick questions. I’ve used surveys to ask my list what they most want to learn about and what they are struggling with. The feedback is gold! You can leverage this information to create new services, products, and programs for your list.
I send a quick email telling them how many questions and the length of time it will take them to complete the survey – these should be short and sweet and then provided a link to the survey form. I’ve used both Google Forms and SurveyMonkey.com to create these. Both worked really well.
Below is a fantastic example of a survey email from blogger Meera Kothand (notice how she says how it will help her readers and that it will be quick to complete?):
19) Myth-buster email
Every industry has myths, common mistakes, and misconceptions that people and/or businesses are making.
You can list some of these and correct them for your readers.
For example, let’s say you are an insurance agent. You could send an email called “5 Mistakes to avoid when buying life insurance” or 7 mistakes that are raising your auto insurance rates.”
Or perhaps you are a retailer who specializes in selling wigs. You could send an email about the “12 common misconceptions about wearing wigs” or “Top 10 wig-wearing myths.”
If you are a yoga and meditation instructor, how about an email called “5 meditation myths busted”?
By the way, the examples that I just gave are all pulled from real companies!
These types of emails can answer some questions that your readers might have (but are scared to ask) and provide helpful clarity to them.
20) The how-to email
Ok, so you could probably do nothing but “how-to” emails and have endless emails to send to your list if you just put some time into brainstorming ideas.
Your list has soooo many questions about how they can make improvements in your area of expertise. And you have so much to teach them.
This is where the How-to email comes in. For example, if you are a knitting expert with a list filled with beginning knitters, what about a fun email called “How to knit a hat for a cat?”
Ok friends, I was sort of kidding but it turns out this is a real thing!
Oh my gosh, I can’t even. stop. laughing. Those cats.
I’m moving on to writing about the next type of email before I spend the rest of the day looking up cats for hats.
21) Inspirational story
Depending on what industry you are in and what type of email subscribers you have, this can be fantastic way to help your readers feel like they know you better by telling them a story.
It can be about you, your family, or one of your clients – in it you are telling a story that will inspire. And people LOVE stories.
This email can be a success story that takes people on a journey of transformation from how things were to how they are now. It can also be about a lesson that you (or a client) learned and what outcomes it brought about.
In this type of email, you really want to tap into your readers’ emotions. You can make it funny or serious, depending on your personal brand and style, but you definitely want to make sure people are feeling something when they read it.
Below is an inspirational email by online marketer Colleen Arneil. In it, she tells an motivational story about her son’s commitment to karate and then she ties it into staying committed in business. At the end, she has a call to action to sign up for one of her confidence-boosting coaching calls.
22) From-the-heart email
This is a variation on the “inspirational” and the “mistakes I’ve made” email that weaves in more vulnerability. It is also very effective in building trust, rapport, and intimacy with your readers. I’ve seen a wide variety of businesses incorporate this type of email into their marketing strategy, including coaches, consultants, graphic designers, marketers, and copywriters.
It’s a revealing email that you write to share something vulnerable. It could be happening to your right now, or it can be something that happened in the past. I’ve seen people write about struggling with debt, low confidence, depression, self doubt, losing weight, making revenue in their business, getting their first paying job, writing a book, and so on.
The “From-the-heart email” can be very powerful in showing your readers, “I know what you are going through. I’ve been there too.” You can also explain how you got through it and then work in a call to action to join a program, purchase a service, or buy a product.
Below is a powerful example of this type of email from Keara Palmay, coach and podcaster. Towards the end of this email, her call to action is to listen to a podcast episode where she explains how to overcome fears and grow your mindset.
23) As for your Qs
Every single business in existence gets asked questions. You can compile a list of frequently asked questions to send to your readers. This is particularly useful if you are launching a new program, product, or service. Not only does it add value to your subscribers, but it helps assuage their fears making them more likely to buy. Plus, it saves you tons of time because you don’t have to answer people’s individual emails.
If you don’t know what types of questions your customers have, then you can ask your list. Add a P.S. at the end of your next email and ask your subscribers to reply with any questions that they have or to share something they would like to know more about from you. You can compile questions and you’ll soon start to see that the same things are being asked over and over again. Now you can create your “As for your Qs email.”
24) The request email
The people on your list are very fond of you and your brand. You are regularly proving them with valuable content that helps them in their life and/or business. You’ve taken the time to build rapport with your list.
This means that you can also ask your subscribers to do something for you. And because they want to support you, many of them will happily take you up on your request. Examples of a request email include asking for testimonials, reviews on Yelp or Google, recommendations on LinkedIn, social shares of a new product or program, and/or reviews on Amazon for a book you have written.
Here is an example of a “request email” from a tattoo studio.
Below is another cute example from Trade Gecko:
25) The offer email!
Remember what I said in the beginning of the email? Your subscribers are on your list because you offer solutions to their challenges. And, they want you to make them offers that help them!
That’s why it’s essential that you make your list regular offers. Here are several types of offer emails you can send:
- New product, course, or service announcement – any time you add something new to your offerings, let your subscribers know about it. Even better, give them early-bird access before the general public know – they will love getting first dibs.
- Exclusive offers – offer your list something that is exclusive to your subscribers. Ideas include a VIP discount, a special bundle of products/services, a secret offer (like limited one-on-one consulting/coaching), a free add-on when they purchase something, and so on. You are only limited by your creativity!
- Specials, deals, discounts – make sure your list knows about any special deals you have. Often these are associated with a holiday or anniversary. But, your people want to know, so tell them!
- Available again – sometimes your offerings are not available all year long. When you are re-launching a course or program, or you have re-stocked a product, tell your list. Many people were thinking about it last time and now they are ready to buy so let them!
Below is an example from artist Jane Davenport of a some beloved pens that are back in her online art store:
Ok so now you should never run out of ideas for what to send again.
So stop leaving your subscribers feeling so lonely. You went to all of this effort to build your list – now it’s time to nurture it.
They are counting on you to help them out. Do it!
Any questions? Let me know below and I’m happy to answer.
And if you’re stuck, let’s talk! I can help you figure out how you CAN create a brand that has the competitive advantage.
Or you can access my free masterclass using the button below!