16 Tips from Today’s Top Email Marketers
Learn from the masters of the inbox.
By Christa Sgobba May 14, 2018
293+ billion. That’s the estimated total number of business and consumer emails that will be sent per day in 2019. Talk about steep competition in the inbox.
But there are certain marketers whose messages rise above the rest. They’re the ones with amazing open and click-through rates, ever-growing email lists, and ridiculously high ROI (return on investment).
So how do these masters do it? To find out, we reached out to some of the most successful email marketers in the world — many of which are AWeber customers — to get their greatest tips
1. John Corcoran, Rise25
John Corcoran, of Rise25, calls email his “number one priority” for communicating with and capturing prospects to his email list.
His business helps conference organizers, coaches, consultants, and software companies increase engagement and add new revenue streams by holding small group events for their high-value attendees.
Tip: Use webinars to grow your list.
“We’ve done over 300+ webinars in our business, and it’s the most effective tool I know of to capture leads and build a list of prospects.” – John Corcoran
Did you know AWeber is the only email service provider that has a direct integration with GoToWebinar? It makes adding webinar registrants to an AWeber list super simple.
2. Shane and Jocelyn Sams, Flipped Lifestyle
After years of job losses, bad bosses, and daycare problems, former school teachers Shane and Jocelyn Sams finally started their own online business, which allowed the husband and wife to replace their income and quit their full-time jobs.
Now, they help other people do the same at FlippedLifestyle.com. The Flip Your Life Blueprint helps other families become self-sufficient, and spend less time worrying about money and more time together. For six years, email has been the driving force behind their online business.
Tip: Email your list often.
“Completely lose the fear of how often you email your list. Your goal is to find the red hot center of your email list, the people who want to open every email, who want to click every link — because those are the exact people who will buy everything you sell! When we started emailing our lists every single day, our open rates actually increased and we doubled monthly revenue in 60 days.” – Shane Sams
3. Steve Chou, My Wife Quit Her Job LLC
Visitors aren’t always ready to purchase the first time they hit the site, Chou learned, so it’s vital to give them ample opportunities to visit again and again. That means deliverability must be one of your main priorities.
Tip: Test your email deliverability.
“Run all of your emails through a tool like mail-tester or GlockApps to test your email for deliverability. Sometimes innocuous trigger words or incorrect email formatting can adversely affect the number of inboxes you can reach.” – Steve Chou
4. Henneke Duistermaat, Enchanting Marketing
In 2012, Henneke Duistermaat founded Enchanting Marketing. Her business helps brands and entrepreneurs find their own voice so they can confidently share their ideas and sell their services to their audience.
Since then, Henneke has relied on email as the main channel to engage and interact with her audience, promote her blog posts, and sell her writing courses and books. She is constantly providing value to her readers so they keep coming back for more.
Tip: Create an email course to increase engagement.
“The best thing I’ve done is turn my downloadable e-book into a “snackable” writing course. Each email features one writing tip that readers can implement straightway. As I send the emails at a high frequency—initially daily; after the first week, every other day—I can build a relationship with new subscribers. The open rates are between 30 to 50 percent, and even higher for the first couple of emails.” – Henneke Duistermaat
5. Philip Taylor “PT,” FinCon
While FinCon — a business dedicated to helping financial influencers and brands produce better content and expand their reach — is active on all the major social media channels, PT believes that email remains the single best way to connect with his community. It allows him to communicate relevant information — like in-person meetups and annual conference updates — at the right time to interested segments of his audience.
Tip: Label and organize your subscribers based off the links they click in your emails.
“We’ve begun utilizing AWeber’s broadcast automations, and we’re starting to organize our tags and segments even more by tracking who is clicking which links.” – PT
6. Steve Gordon, The Unstoppable CEO
Since 2006, Steve Gordon has been using email to power The Unstoppable CEO, which helps business owners “sell” their brand by building marketing systems that position them as experts and trusted authorities.
While advertising, direct mail, podcasts, and other strategies are beneficial as introductions to potential new clients, it’s email that helps him develop a deeper relationship with his potential customers and ultimately advance the sales process.
Tip: Write to one customer — not to your entire list.
“For four years, I wrote a daily email to our audience, about 1,000 emails in total. I learned that to quickly write an effective email, you need to write to one person. So, I printed a picture of one of our clients — the one I most wanted to clone. And every day, I looked at that picture and wrote an email to him. It forced me to think about what I could write that would impact this real person that I knew and cared about. Then, I’d remove his name from the top and send it to our list. When I did that, our emails got a lot more effective.” – Steve Gordon
7. Robert C. Brown, Robert C. Brown Online / Oakland Piermont Ltd
For over a decade, Robert C. Brown has used email as a way to share great content on a consistent basis with his audience at Robert C. Brown Online, where he helps clients transform and grow their coaching or consulting businesses.
Tip: Don’t just sell, sell, sell! Email is about relationships, not just transactions.
“I tend to apply the 80/20 Pareto rule to my email: only one in every five emails will contain an outright sales pitch. The rest of the time, I am committed to providing value for free. That’s the way to build long-term trust with your audience and ultimately log repeat customers and clients.” – Robert C. Brown
8. Ella Glasgow, Your Voice Success
Ella Glasgow founded Your Voice Success as a way to help women in business speak with confidence in front of any audience from any stage.
For the last five years, Ella’s been using email as a direct communication tool to provide a “personal touch” when a phone call just isn’t possible. So she makes sure those emails are authentic. She wants her clients to know there’s an actual human being behind her messages, helping them find solutions, grow, and learn.
Tip: Define your voice and tone in emails.
“Speak in your own voice in your emails. Your audience is there because of you — not the person you think you need to pretend to be. Sometimes it can seem that we need to change up the way we ‘speak’ in emails to sound more professional. I find that this takes away from you, and has the potential make you look like a fraud.” – Ella Glasgow
9. Maryn Boess, GrantsMagic U
Back in 1998, Maryn Boess built her first email list to power her nonprofit training business. Then, in 2015, she created GrantsMagic U, an online “school” dedicated to building a virtual community and providing grantwriting training for people in the nonprofit world.
Since then, email marketing has taken on an even more vital role in her business, allowing her to stay in touch with her vast community of almost 4,800 members in 49 states and 18 countries outside the U.S.
Tip: Write as if you’re sending an email to a friend.
“I know that my best open rates — and the emails that I get feedback on for being the most engaging — are those that come straight from my heart and are written as if to a dear friend.” – Maryn Boess
10. Melanie Rembrandt, Rembrandt Communications, LLC
Melanie Rembrandt considers email marketing a vital tool to the success of Rembrandt Communications, which helps businesses boost sales and awareness through content marketing, SEO copywriting, and public relations. Whether serving as an introduction to a new contact or a complete drip campaign, email has helped build her client base by getting out the right message at the right time.
Tip: Provide value to your customers by solving their biggest problems.
“Think about what keeps [your customers] up at night, and then, provide a solution. This can be an easy tip sheet, a link to a valuable article, the name of a good referral, and much more. Once you know what your customers want, you can create a blog relative to that issue. Then, send out a link to the blog via email.
By giving your customers current and valuable information they will want to share with others, you will create a positive, long-lasting relationship that leads to sales now and in the future.” – Melanie Rembrandt
11. Brian Basilico, B2b Interactive Marketing, Inc.
An award-winning author, speaker, and coach with more than 40 years of marketing experience, Brian Basilico has used email to help drive his business, B2b Interactive Marketing, for over 12 years.
During that time, he’s learned a ton about email as a content distribution platform for his own business. In fact, effective use of email is one way he trains his clients to systematize their marketing efforts online.
“Experiment with different techniques for different audiences and messages. I find plain text works best for general communications since it mimics most email in the inbox. Graphics are effective with content marketing, but keep it simple.” – Brian Basilico
12. Karon Thackston, Marketing Words
Karon Thackston considers email an essential part of the Marketing Words promotional plan, giving them a greater ROI than organic search media or paid ads or posts.
One reason? Email allows the company — which develops digital products to train website owners, Amazon sellers, copywriters, and marketing teams on how to create conversion-driven copy — to reach all their followers on one platform on a consistent basis.
Tip: Send targeted emails that contain information your customer needs.
“Take advantage of AWeber’s automation features for campaigns. We’ve been gradually merging our lists and inserting tags so we can target messaging to our subscribers with a greater degree of accuracy. When the content of emails is laser focused, readers take notice and respond. This allows us to instantly move customers, insert additional tags based on their interests, and track what works and what doesn’t.” – Karon Thackston
13. Jeremy Ryan Slate, Command Your Brand Media
Jeremy Ryan Slate uses email as a relationship-building tool to drive interest to his business, Command Your Brand Media, which helps entrepreneurs get booked on top-rated podcasts. Using email to foster a connection helps build his credibility as a “teacher” and expert, which makes the audience more receptive to engaging further.
Tip: Tell stories.
“Share more compelling ‘hero’s journey’ related material [a storytelling structure used in novels and movies that can be applied to your customer case studies]. It helps the reader develop a connection with you. This accomplishes a few things: First, it gives your permission to teach them, and second it allows them to feel like they have been in your shoes.” – Jeremy Ryan Slate
14. Ann Handley, MarketingProfs.com
Author and speaker Ann Handley believes email remains the best vehicle for building a business. That holds true for both her digital marketing company Ann Handley, and at MarketingProfs.com, a marketing training and education company where she is a partner.
Tip: Never ‘blast’ an email to your entire list.
“Email is a two-way street, not a one-way highway. Never ‘blast’ an email. ‘Blast’ is an ugly word that implies aggression. Love your list—don’t antagonize it by ‘blasting’ it. Have fun and be useful. Invite subscribers to reach out. Seek feedback, and ask them questions. Build a community of like-minded people by seeking their input and then—this is the important part — responding.” –Ann Handley
15. Todd Durkin, Fitness Quest 10 and Todd Durkin Enterprises
Email is personal trainer Todd Durkin’s primary way to communicate and connect with his clients at his brick and mortar gym, Fitness Quest 10, when they’re not in session. But it also serves another role as well—to provide the engaging health, workout, and wellness-related content to encourage potential clients to begin their own fitness journey.
Since 2008, email has also been vital to expanding the reach of his company Todd Durkin Enterprises, where he uses public speaking, books, live events, and online coaching to help millions of people find the motivation they need in their own lives.
Tip: Only send great emails, nothing less.
“One thing I always ask myself is, ‘Will this email potentially change someone’s life?’ If so, then it’s a great email and worthy to be sent. If not, then rework it until it resounds with the energy, spirit, and soul needed to transform someone’s life.” –Todd Durkin
16. Mark Asquith, Podcast Websites
As a SaaS business, Podcast Websites — a software platform that helps podcasters create their own content and brand hub — uses email to make sure its members have the best and most personal experience possible, explains Mark Asquith. For the last three years, he’s been gaining vital insights through email campaigns on what his members respond to, and how they interact directly with the business.
Tip: Build relationships with your subscribers.
“When we first started Podcast Websites, we didn’t realize how much of a pivotal role email marketing plays within a SaaS business. We were simply trying to ‘sell’ the product. The second that we switched our focus to building relationships via email, we noticed a sharp increase in everything from return engagement to physical sales.
Email is a very personal medium, and my number one tip is to treat it as such. Build that relationship, be the trusted guide, and build friendships through valuable, engaging content — oh, and ask people to reply to you directly — they so appreciate it!” –Mark Asquith
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