7 email marketing rules to help you make more money

The Goodness Squad Podcast Episode #52

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Show Notes:

Make your email marketing profitable by following these 7 smart rules. Your need to satisfy your customers and increase their desire to read what you offer.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

The Goodness Squad Podcast episode 50
Subject Line Blueprint
Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule

making more money

Most of the time, simple email formatting is going to deliver far better than a very pretty and structured email.


This is episode #52 of The Goodness Squad podcast. If you hear statistics like:

  • you should be making $1 per person on your email list every month
  • you should be making $42 for every $1 you spend on email marketing

If you’re hearing statistics like that and wondering how to make them a reality or if you’re wondering how to beat them and even do better than those average statistics, then today’s episode is for you. I am going to be giving you 7 rules to make your email marketing profitable.

My different take on email marketing

I believe that retention is just as important as acquisition. Another way of saying this is that engagement is the goal with email marketing, not just list size.


If you Google “email marketing” or “how to improve my email marketing” or “how to build my email list,” you are going to get lots and lots of articles on how to get more people on your email list. I am here to tell you, however, that the size of your email list matters far, far, far less (I can’t emphasize it enough) than the quality of your email list.

It's not all about getting more email addresses.

So often we get focused on building our email list, on acquiring and getting more email addresses. We forget about the retention of those who have already raised their hand and said, “Hey, yes, I am interested in hearing from you.”


Doesn’t that seem silly when I really call it out? Why do we focus so much on getting people there and then we don’t do anything with them? We forget about the people who have already said, “I like you. I trust you. I want to get to know you.” This is where you can make a really big difference in your email marketing.

email marketing rules to make your business more profitable

Why following email marketing rules is so important

I know that you have signed up for lists, gotten a freebie and then basically never heard from them again. Or you’ve signed up for a list, gotten a freebie, and then only been promoted to. That type of email marketing does not build the know, like and trust factor that it takes to build a solid content marketing business.


If you want to earn money from email marketing, your people have to be able to get to know you, like you and trust you. You do that by engaging with them, by focusing on keeping them on your list and getting them to engage with you.


Today I have 7 rules for you that I want you to follow in your email marketing. As we go through the rest of season 3 of The Goodness Squad podcast, I’m going to be giving you more tips on exactly how to write your emails. But for every email you write, I want you to follow these seven rules.

The 7 Email marketing rules you need to follow


Rule #1 – Subscribe to your own list


Yes. I want you to be on your own list. Why? Because it will feel very different. I promise you, I have been doing email marketing for 12 years and when I see my own email pop up in my inbox, I am far better able to tell how effective that subject line is because I’m now not looking at it in a silo. I’m looking at it in a list of emails from hundreds of other people, and I can tell if it stands out. Does it catch my attention?


In addition, when I open that email, for some reason I catch more typos. I catch things that are maybe a little bit confusing. I catch things that are formatted incorrectly. I am able to tell if my call to action really stands out. So, I want you to subscribe to your own email list.

7 email marketing rules to follow to make more money

Rule #2 - Spend as much time on your subject line as you do on the email

I mean it. I really mean it. I want you to spend more time on your subject line. It is so important.


If you need help with your email subject lines, I have three places for you to go.

  1. The Subject Line Blueprint. Go to TheGoodnessSquad.com/subjectlineblueprint, you can gain access to this tool. It is basically a huge list of email subject line templates. So you can put your own subjects into them and they give you a great starting place.
  2. Make sure that you have listened to episode #50 of The Goodness Squad podcast. I dive deep into how to improve your subject lines there.
  3. Use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. This is really going to help you take that starting place that I give you in the Subject Line Blueprint and tweak it for your particular industry and market and competitors. This is the number one tool that I have used to improve my subject lines. 


Rule #3 – keep the formatting of your email very simple


Now there’s a caveat to this. There are exceptions to this rule. If you have a very, very visual brand or if you are selling physical products, you may want to include images in your emails. But those situations are the exception and not the rule.


Most of the time, simple email formatting is going to deliver far better than a very pretty and structured email that has different columns and lots of pictures and lots of colors.


A few reasons why this email marketing rule is so important:


  • Those types of emails are far more likely to get noticed by your spam filters and then blocked out and some of your people may not see them.
  • Those types of emails feel like they are coming from a company, not a person. That is fine if you’re Kohl’s. But if your brand is a person, if your brand is you (like my brand is Misty Marsh, I am here to teach you) – if that is your branding, then you must write your emails as if they’re coming from a person, from a friend.

Your friend doesn’t send you highly formatted, very well structured, multi-column, lots of pretty picture emails. They just don’t. They send you a text email with maybe an image here or there, maybe a funny GIF here or there, maybe an emoji, but it’s not professionally designed emails.


  • If you are so focused on the design and how pretty your email looks, you will be less focused on the quality of the content. The quality of the content matters far more than the look of your email. I promise it does. Please trust me here. You should be spending more time on the content than on the design and the structure and the prettiness of your email.
  • You will write more emails. If you have to design the email AND spend time on the content of the email, every single time you’re sending something out, you are going to send less out because it takes more time.

I want you to be emailing more frequently. We will talk about this in a future episode, why it’s important to email more frequently, but this is the fourth reason why I want to keep your emails formatted very simply. You’ll be able to write them faster and send more of them.

Rule #4 – Clear is almost always better than funny, witty, or clever


Do not force funny, do not force witty, do not force clever. If those things are naturally a part of your personality and a part of your brand, then by all means, go for it. But do not feel like your emails have to be funny or witty or clever in order to be successful. Clear is always better than funny.


Clarity is always essential.  If you can be funny, witty, or clever without sacrificing clarity, then do it. But if it is going to sacrifice clarity then avoid it at all costs.


Rule #5  – You need one call to action per email


There are two parts to this. The first part is that you must have a call to action. The second part is that you must only have one, not two or three or four. One call to action gives people two choices.  When you start to give them multiple calls to action, sometimes what happens is they become overwhelmed. Analysis paralysis. They’re trying to analyze and figure out which choice would be best for them.

Misty Marsh feeling overwhelmed by email marketing rules

Overwhelm = no choice at all

You are far more likely to have someone choose no call to action if you have multiple than if you have one. I promise. I know it seems counterintuitive. I fought this rule for a very, very long time. I wanted to give the people who would prefer option A a chance and the people who would prefer option B and the people who preferred Option C.


Well, guess what? Those should be three separate emails; not packed all into one email. You want people to have a clear course of action. They only make one decision whether or not they want to take your offer or not take it. 


a bonus tip: put that call to action on its own line


You need to make sure that you are following it most of the time because what I’m about to tell you is the exception, not the rule. 99% of my emails have one call to action. But I have had many requests from my people, from my email list, that they would like a Roundup of all the content that I have put out that week.


A link to both podcast episodes

A link to the questions I’ve answered in Ask Me Anything & Tiny Tip Tuesdays

A link to any Instagram posts that did really well

A link to the content that has been added to Tech School

A link to any templates I have added to my Template Library

A link to new content that has been added to my free Resource Library


They want an email that simply summarizes, in a very clear way, all the content that I have released that week so that they don’t miss anything.


So every Saturday, I am going to be sending out this email to my email list. If you’re on my email list, you can look forward to that. It’s an experiment. I’m going to see how it goes. If I feel like it is not meeting my goals, then I will stop it. So there is always room for testing these rules, but it is important that you understand the rules first and are sticking to them the vast majority of the time.

Rule #6 – Send exclusive content to your email list


What do I mean?

Treat them like VIP’s – because they are.


These people are the people most likely to purchase from you. They are the people most likely to learn from you. They are the people who are listening to you the most because they raised their hand and said, “yes, I want to be on your email list. I want you to send me more information.” That’s a big deal. So treat them like your most important people.


What types of exclusive content am I talking about?

  • Early access to any products that you offer
  • Discounts that can’t be found anywhere else
  • Occasionally send them tips, tricks, helpful content that you don’t publish anywhere else. Content that isn’t on your podcast or your blog post or your Instagram feed, but that your email list gets simply because they are part of your email list.


But what’s really important about this is that you have to tell them you’re doing this. Anytime you send them a piece of exclusive content, whether it be a coupon code or early access, you need to tell them that you’re doing this for them and no one else.


This is important. It makes them feel like they are important to you. They need to know that they are. Does that mean that every single email that you send to them has to be exclusive and that it can’t be content that’s been published anywhere else? Absolutely not.


In fact, the vast majority of what you send your email list probably will be content that they could find in other places. You simplify it for them by sending it directly to their inbox. Occasionally, you need to send them exclusive content – often enough that they begin to look forward to it.


Rule #7 – Exceed their expectations by delivering value every time


I know that you have signed up for email lists and you expected to be taught and to be helped and you were let down. Don’t let that be you. Do not do that to your subscribers. Exceed their expectations by solving a problem for them every time you send them an email.


The email I mentioned earlier about this roundup of content and links to it, I am solving the problem of saving them time. These people have said “Misty, we want to consume your content, but we don’t have the time to go find it all over the place.” If I provide it for them in one place where they can simply click on the link and the only place people can get this, it’s on my email list, I am hitting exclusive content, but I am also solving a problem for them.


Every email you send them needs to solve a problem. It can be a very, very simple problem, but you must solve a problem for them every time you send them an email. That’s how you deliver value in your email list. And when you do that, you are going to retain your people.

A quick recap of the email marketing rules


So let’s circle back to where we began.

  1. Subscribe to your own list
  2. Spend a significant amount of time on your subject line
  3. Keep the formatting simple
  4. Clear over clever
  5. ONE call to action
  6. Send them exclusive content
  7. Exceed their expectations


Your retention rates will go up significantly. Your open rates will go up. Your click rates will go up. Your response rates will go up and guess what goes up when all of that goes up? The two things you want, income and influence. You will begin to influence people’s lives for the better you will help them.


They will purchase from you more often and your income will go up. This is how you make numbers like $1 per name on your list per month or even $10 per name on your list per month. That’s how you make those types of numbers happen. That’s how you earn $42 for every dollar you spend on email marketing or more. That’s how these 7 rules are the way to making your email marketing profitable. 


Coming Up

In podcast episode #53, the next one, we are going to be talking about how to write an email welcome series.


I told you early on in this episode that I’d be talking about more specific emails and what do you actually put in those emails and what is your content? We’re going to start with your welcome series because that’s the first thing you should be sending your subscribers after they get that freemium from you.


I want you to remember that these seven rules apply to your welcome series. And we’ll talk more about that in episode #53.


Before I leave, I would like to invite you to share this podcast with someone. Share it with more than one person. I would love that. I know that you know somebody who has started a business and is struggling. I would love to help them.


This podcast grows when you share it, it grows when you review it. So please tell somebody about the podcast, take a minute to review it. I would appreciate it. And so will those that you help.


Thank you again for being here and I hope to see you in the next episode.

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