Ten Crucial Tips to Take Your E-mail Marketing to the Next Level

They say that the “money is in the list“.

First of all, I think in 2021, we should be changing that statement to “the power of your brand is in the list“.

Money/Profit/Revenue is a by-product of establishing a strong brand.

Secondly, just having a list isn’t necessarily the deciding factor.

What is more important is how you treat your list and conduct your overall Email marketing strategy.

The correct statement should be – “The power of your brand is in a list that is nurtured correctly with the correct Email marketing strategy“.

Now before we move forward, if you’re unsure why Email marketing is so important, you should read this article first where I tell you about my own experience which made me realize the importance of Email marketing. And then you should read this article too to fully get convinced why Email marketing is the most dependable strategy in the long run.

So what are the things that you should be doing to make sure the investment you put into creating a list and paying the Email marketing software comes to fruition?

Let’s look at some vital points:

Choose a quality email marketing software

If you’ve been following me for quite some time, you would know that I’m a big advocate of being very careful when it comes to fixed expenses, i.e, expenses that need to be paid every month or periodically.

Email marketing is one of those expenses.

Yes, a lot of email marketing software offer a free trial up to a certain number of subscribers, but after a point, you will have to start paying.

Many beginners never venture into Email marketing for this very reason.

To counter this conservative thinking, let me just give a simple example – Suppose you had a list of 100k subscribers and an average open rate of 20%.

You release a new online course and you send a launch e-mail. You just exposed your brand new online course to 20,000 people.

And here’s the important thing – these are not just any random people.

These are people who know you and trust you. They are not cold audience.

Let’s not get into the topic of conversion rates since that is subjective and dependent on a lot of things but Email Marketing offers the highest conversion rate as compared to other marketing strategies because you are presenting the offer to people who are deep in your funnel.

BOOM! One email generates sales for you. Your brand new course just became a top seller with one email.

Email marketing is not only about sales but I’ve found that giving the above example really opens the eyes of people who are not convinced about Email marketing.

But that will all start with the decision to invest into an email marketing software. A quality email marketing software (also referred to as an Autoresponder).

This is one area where you don’t select the cheapest possible option. The main reason for this the deliverability. Which means the ability to deliver an email that you send to the subscribers to their primary inbox. We’ll talk more about this in the next point.

Last year I made the switch from Aweber to ConvertKit and it was one of the best decisions I have made even though Convertkit is more expensive than Aweber. I show you how to use both Aweber and Convertkit inside my course Online Course Blueprint.

Make sure your emails are reaching the primary inbox

Most of your subscribers will be using Gmail.

Life was easy as a marketer when Gmail wasn’t divided into Primary, Social and Promotions tab.

Prior to that, any email you sent had only two options – Either going into the Primary inbox or going into Spam. You just needed to make sure your software was good enough to avoid sending your email into Spam. The good old days :p.

But now with that segmentation in place, it’s become even more important that you are choosing an Email marketing provider with a high deliverability.

But even after you do that, your job is not done.

Even software with a high deliverability will often send your emails into the Promotions tab.

This is why each time you send an Email to your list, you should send it to a dummy email first to see whether it is landing in the Primary tab or not.

Often times, using spammy words like free, offer, buy, money, discount etc can result in the email landing in the Promotions tab.

So sometimes you need to tweak your subject and body to make sure it reaches the Primary tab.

But if you are using a cheap email marketing software with low deliverability, then even tweaking these things doesn’t make much of a difference. And that can get very frustrating.

With Convertkit, I find that even after using those words, my emails still reach the Primary tab more often than not. That cuts down on time spent on testing, let alone the frustration.

If your emails reach the Promotions tab then they will get very less open rates since people don’t usually check those. That will defeat the purpose of email marketing and nip it right in the bud.

So even if you saved some money by using a cheap software, the impact on the return you can get will negate any advantage. In fact once your list grows, the cost-benefit analysis will tilt highly in favor of paying more for a better quality software.

Don’t use a hard sell approach

Your subscribers are more powerful than you.


Because they are one button away from unsubscribing.

You annoy them, you lose them.

No one likes to get an email which is an aggressive sales pitch.

Yes, you’ll make sales but you’ll also lose a lot.

In my initial days I was a very aggressive marketer and I quickly realized that it’s not even a good medium term strategy, let alone a long term one. You lose way more than what you gain.

Here’s the thing – You want your subscribers to scratch your back? They most definitely will. But in return you need to not only scratch their backs, but make them lie down on a table, oil it and give a relaxing massage too. You need to pamper them.

You pamper them by giving them value.

You need to give more and ask for less.

But Kush, I want to make sales too?

I get that. And you will.

But not directly.

Sales with email marketing has to be an indirect approach.

Your emails have to be so good that they make your subscriber curious and ask themselves – Why is this person being so nice to me? Let’s see what he has to offer.

You have to make THEM take the action of figuring out what your offer is, instead of presenting them the offer directly.

For example, one of the strategies I use is to send my subscribers valuable blog posts on my website. Within that article, I may mention one of my products or services. But it’s like a bonus. The primary value is the article itself. I’m not sending them a sales pitch.

Do this enough times and your subscribers WILL get curious about your products or services.

In fact I would even say don’t even worry about the sales generated from your emails.

Leave that to something like using Retargeting ads on Facebook or Google.

With email, focus on building your brand.

You get so many indirect benefits of building your brand that that itself makes Email marketing worth it.

For example, sending a valuable blog post or informative video will generate traffic and reading/watching time for your website, which will actually help you in SEO and pushing up your rankings on Google. That in turn will generate more organic traffic for you and more sales in the long term (even in short term).

This is just one example. If you are genuinely interested in adding value to your subscribers, you’ll find innumerable indirect benefits like these, and sales will be just one of them and may not even me the most important one in the long run.

Write a catchy headline/subject for your email

While you have to be careful about hard selling, it doesn’t mean you can’t use tactics.

Landing your email in the Primary tab is one thing, but making sure your subscribers click and open the email is another.

One of the tactics to get higher open rates is to use a “seductive” headline.

For example, when I sent this very article to my subscribers, I did not simply write the title of this article as the subject of that email. I used “Money is in the list?“. Doing that suddenly made the email sexy.

Yes, it’s true. Clickbait headlines work and there is nothing wrong with that as long as your ultimate content is valuable for your subscriber.

Another example is a recent blog post I wrote about the Impostor Syndrome, which performed really well among my subscribers. But writing “Impostor Syndrome” in the headline would not have caught attention since it’s still an unpopular term. So I used “Ever felt like a fraud?” and that was enough to generate curiosity and get higher number of people to open the email.

So always remember to make your headline sexy and catchy. In fact that is one area where you can even afford to be as shameless as possible. It’s well within your rights as long as the content that the headline leads to is quality.

Try to make the headline a short one

Writing a catch headline is important but making sure it’s visible on a mobile device also has to be taken into account.

Most of your subscribers will be seeing your email on their mobile device.

The issue with checking email from mobile is that the headline/subject gets very little space.

And there is no point in a sexy headline if the sexy headline cannot be read fully.

This is something I myself have started paying attention to of late and never really considered earlier on.

I won’t say I get it right 100% of the time but I at least make sure if the headline is long and not fully visible, the part that is visible at least conveys the context in an acceptable manner.

Use only one call to action in your email

When I was a beginner, I used to include all sorts of links in every email I would send.

I would even include the links to all my social media channels in the signature (perhaps the most common mistake).

The thing is that each email has to have a purpose.

That purpose has to be the call to action, which will usually be a link that takes your subscriber onto your website.

But the important thing is that each email should have only one purpose, not multiple ones.

That is what will make your email effective because you’ll not confuse your subscriber.

An unconfused subscriber is the type of subscriber who is most likely to click on the call to action because you’ve given them only one choice.

For instance, if I’m sending an email which has a link to a blog post, the only link in that email should be the one that directs the subscribers to the blog post.

I don’t even put the link to my home page in my signature where I mention the name of my business. It’s just Click Trainers without a hyperlink.

There might be some rare occasions where you may have to include more than one call to action. In those cases make sure it’s an absolute necessity.

But on an average, treat each email like a step that leads to a only one goal and then hit the send button.

Send the email by using a personal name

People like to receive emails from people. That’s how emails were meant to work.

Even when you reach the Primary inbox of your subscriber and you even have a catchy headline, you still don’t want to come across as a “business” which is sending an automated email.

You want to come across as a real person.

The trick to doing this is to change the “From Name” settings in your email marketing software. For instance, in ConverKit, it looks something like this:

You can see here the “From Name” option, I have written Kush Sharma and not the name of my brand, Click Trainers.

So when I send an email from ConvertKit, it looks something like this in my subscribers inbox:

When my name is seen, it just replicates the feeling of a real email. People connect with that more.

You may think that this is only applicable to solopreneurs but that’s not the case.

Even the marketing people at a medium sized business like ConvertKit itself use this strategy by using the name of one of their employees.

Research shows that emails from personal names get more open rates than those with business names.

The report that I read even stated that using a female name even generated a higher open rate. I even knew of a marketer who used to use the name “Dream girl Pamela from (insert business name) ” to get more people to open.

Don’t go that far. For god’s sake, just use your own name.

If you feel you want to include your business name too then you can include it along with the personal name. Something like “Kush from Click Trainers“.

Of course if you have a very big brand, then it would make sense to just use the business name since “trust” won’t really be an issue for such businesses.

Clean your list regularly

The average open rate of emails is 21.33%.

That means if you have 1000 subscribers, on an average, you would be getting around 210 people to open your email.

Yes, not all people will open your email. In fact not even a half of them.

That’s the harsh truth and that’s why building an effective list has to be seen as a long term strategy that goes along with other marketing strategies.

But the downside is that you still have to pay for each subscriber on your list, whether they open the email or not.

That means you want to periodically get rid of what we call as “dormant subscribers“. These are subscribers who got into your list but are not opening your emails.

The standard rule is that if a subscriber hasn’t opened a single email for 90 days, then it’s best to get rid of them.

Some people will directly delete these dormant subscribers.

Some will turn them into a segment first and then send a dedicated email to this segment informing them about their inactivity and the fact that they are about to be deleted unless they take an action. That action usually involves clicking on a link in the body of the email. Your email software will be able to track the subscribers who click on the link. You can then delete the ones who did not open and click on the link.

Creating a follow-up series of emails

There are two-types of emails you can send using your email marketing software – Broadcast emails and Follow-up Emails.

Broadcast emails are like announcements which go to all the subscribers on your list or a segment of those subscribers if you wish to create one.

Follow-up emails are pre-written series of emails that go to your subscribers at certain intervals which are decided by you. But these emails are already there in the system. Once a subscribers becomes a part of your follow-up series, they will keep receiving these emails automatically.

A lot of online marketers use only Broadcast emails. That strategy is fine if you know for sure that you will be consistent in sending emails with new content.

But a lot of times it’s not easy to stick to such consistency.

That’s where follow-up emails can be really helpful.

Follow-up emails make sure even if you decide not to create new content and send new emails for a certain time, your subscribers are still receiving emails without you actively doing anything.

For instance, currently at Click Trainers, I have a follow-up series of emails which runs for more than 6 months. So if someone subscribes to my list, they will be receiving emails from me for a long time even if I don’t send a fresh broadcast. And that puts me at ease as a marketer.

You have to continuously build your follow up series. What I like to do is to add the important broadcast emails I send to follow-up series too. That way that one effort of creating a new email helps me out even in the future.

Single Opt-in vs Double Opt-in

Now I have put this point at the end because this is something I still struggle with even after doing email marketing for over 8 years.

A single opt-in method is one where your subscribers need not confirm their email address when they sign up. They straight away go into your list.

A double opt-in method is where your subscribers will need to verify their email address because once they sign up, they will receive a confirmation email first which will have a verification link inside. Only those subscribers who click on that link will be added to your list.

Double opt-in method makes sure that you avoid people who use fake email ids. Therefore, your list consists of genuine subscribers and not fake ones. This obviously has a positive benefit on your open rates and also on your deliverability because sending emails to email ids that don’t exist can be seen as a red flag for your email account.

But if double opt-in sounds so good, then why am I still in a dilemma after all these years?

Because single opt-in has its advantages too.

The biggest advantage of a single opt-in method is that you get a larger volume of subscribers.

Let’s take an example to understand this.

Let’s say I am running a lead generation campaign using Facebook ads. My ad directs the user onto a landing page where I am giving them a free online course. To get access to this free course, the user needs to fill up the opt-in form and give me his/her email address.

Now if I’m using a double opt-in method, they will first need to verify their email address. This extra step results in a lot of people “dropping off” from the process because they are lazy. That’s how digital marketing works. Each extra step results in lesser conversions.

So even though I know for sure that I’m getting genuine subscribers with a real email address, I get less of them because some of the genuine ones also don’t complete the process.

But the thing is that I have already paid for each one of their clicks on my ad, irrespective of whether they became a part of my list or not.

Basically, my ROI on those ads can suffer since I get lesser volume of subscribers.

But if I was using a single opt-in method, all they needed to subscribe was to fill in the form and hit the subscribe button and they would become a part of my list. This results in a faster list building process.

But as mentioned above, you are not 100% sure if they are genuine subscribers.

So it’s a dilemma:

Quality vs. quantity?

Slower vs. Faster?

Short term vs. Long term?

It most definitely is a serious dilemma because I’ve seen advocates of both the methods.

Purist digital marketers obviously prefer the double opt-in method.

Slightly impatient and frugal digital marketers prefer the single opt-in method.

Even to this day I keep experimenting with both but if I’m being completely honest with you, I often find myself tilting towards single opt-in method more.

But I use a trick. A simple trick.

The trick is that above the opt-in form, I write a sentence in bold – “Make sure you are filling in the correct email address because your free gift will be sent to your inbox.

I have seen that using this tactic definitely reduces the amount of fake sign ups.

But again, I’m still not fully convinced because ultimately I also know that quality matters over quantity. And If I’m paying for each subscriber, then in the long run, it makes sense that I only have genuine ones.

Also, another reason why a double opt-in subscriber is a better subscriber for you is because this person was willing to take the extra step of verifying their email. That means such person was genuinely interested in your offer and that increases the likelihood of the fact that such a subscriber will also be more engaged with your brand in the future.

So you see it’s not an easy answer.

The only thing I can say is that as someone who is starting a new business, you can go for the single opt-in method because you’ll see faster results and get more accustomed to email marketing. But after that you’ll have to be more careful, experiment with both and take a call.

I would love to hear your opinions about this dilemma in the comments below.


So that’s it. These are the points that really helped me improve my email marketing process.

Remember, email marketing is like a delicate art that has to be handled carefully.

And it takes time.

Do not get seduced by companies that sell bulk email marketing packages. Those will never work. In fact they will ruin deliverability and you can soon find your account being red flagged and even banned.

Always spend time and budget for lead generation. It’s OK to go slow but be consistent about it.

You’ll find that if there’s one tangible proof of your business growing to the next level, it’ll be the growth of your email list.

Provided you are growing it the right way.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment below.

Liked what you read?

Subscribe to get an email whenever I create new content on topics related to Online Coaching, Digital Marketing, Video Creation and Personal Development.

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.


    Want to learn the entire process of creating and selling online courses and starting an online coaching business?

    Then check out my main course called Online Course LaunchPad which takes you from A to Z of launching your first ever online course.

    Similar Posts