You've started your email list. You signed up for an email service provider, published an opt-in form, and have started to get your first few people sign up for your email updates. And then you realize that you have no idea what those updates should look like. You don't know what to send your email list. You don't want to leave your new followers hanging, but you're stuck on what to send them and don't know where to start. That's why many bloggers will simply send their followers their blog posts in the form of an email, and call it a day. Let's unpack that for a second:

To Send Blog Posts or Not to Send Blog Posts?

I have seen countless debates on this topic in Facebook groups, Masterminds, blog post comments, emails…everyone seems to either have an opinion or be lost in a sea of them. Here's my take:

Don't send blog posts via your email list.

I'll go into why in a minute, but let me first say that sending blog posts is better than sending nothing at all – and if all you can handle is sending articles at the moment, don't let that hold you back from starting your list. However, blog posts aren't the best thing to send your list overall. Here's why: 1. Blog posts are impersonal You're doing your best to make your writing as personal as possible, right? But no matter how personal you make a blog post, regular email will always resonate with your readers more. Think about it: when you open up your email inbox, would you feel more connected to the writer of an email if it were an article with images and hyperlinks, or a shorter, to-the-point email that feels as if it were written just for you? 2. Articles remove exclusivity  Maybe this is wrong of me, but I treat my email subscribers with an extra pinch of love. You'll know what I mean if you're one of them =) (and if you're not, become one here). I send subscribers articles they couldn't read on the blog or hear about in the podcast. I try my best to make the extra email clutter worth their time by providing value and exclusive tips and tricks. There's a reason for this: I know that my email subscribers are my people. They're my tribe. They're Unsettlers. They're on my boat, whereas random visitors reading my blog posts are like ships passing by in the night. Sure, I might pass by them more than once, but they're not on my boat. If you send only articles to your email list, you're adding no incentive to sign up for your list. Why would people get on your boat when there's nothing special on your boat they can't get just by passing you by? Sure, you could both provide value through exclusive content and send your subscribers articles too, but then.. 3. You overload your subscribers  Have you ever been on an email list that you really liked, but had to unsubscribe because you were constantly being bombarded by email from the owner of the list? Blog posts, special offers, exclusive content, reminders, discount codes.. The emails all start to blur together and you begin to feel as if you've read them all before, not to mention that you've just delivered work right to their inbox. That's right. That article you worked so hard to write now turns into work for them. They have to read it before they delete or file the email. So if you don't send articles to your subscribers, what should you send? It gets confusing pretty fast, ammirite? Well, that was redundant. I know I'm right. Don't worry, I've got your back – I felt the same way when I first started my email list, and I'll let you know what worked for me. Implement some of these types of emails into your auto-responder sequence:

7 Email Archaetypes to To Send To Your Subscribers That Work Like Gangbusters

Alright, friends. Let's jump right into the types of emails to send to your subscribers:

1. The Welcome Email

The first email you send to your new subscriber after they sign in is a welcome email. Your welcome email should be sent shortly after the person signs up for your list, and should, of course, “welcome” them to your tribe! The people who sign up for your list are giving you permission to be part of their lives. That's a big responsibility, and one that you must not take lightly. Instead of just glossing over the fact that they allowed you to plug yourself into their inbox, use this as an opportunity to deepen your relationship with them:

  • Give them more of you: put your personality in your emails. Write your welcome email like you would talk. Share something about you that you don't share in your work
  • Welcome them to the family! Invite them to respond to you and remind them why they signed up.

2. The Helpful Helen

Your business exists to help people solve something – a problem or pain point. Often, however, we don't know what our audience or customers need until they tell us what that pain point is. So, instead of trying to guess how you can best help your audience, make one of the first five emails in your auto-responder sequence all about them: What are they struggling with? This is the third email in my sequence, and not only do I get long, thoughtful, and detailed answers from my people with what they're struggling with, which gives me dozens of article and podcast ideas, but I also get to deepen my bond with them. When was the last time somebody asked you what you wanted help with and genuinely cared? There's something so unbelievably refreshing about that – somebody actually caring abotu what you want to hear more about. My asking this gives people a place to vent, a safe place to express their fears and concerns over my topic, and also gives me the opportunity to help them out.

3. The Exclusive Tips

Almost all of the emails in my auto-responder sequence have a bit of exclusivity. I send out emails and tips and stories that I don't publish on the blog or in the podcast. Because why should Unsettlers invite me into their inbox if I'm just going to hawk the same wares as I do on the blog? My subscribers are my “people”, and I wouldn't say the same things to a friend as I did to an acquaintance. My friends get more of me: more depth and value.

4. The Share-y Sharon

The thing about email is that when somebody is on your email list, it's pretty one sided. After all, the emails are all coming from you. It's like you're talking to somebody who doesn't answer back, and it's impossible to build a relationship with anybody when you know nothing about them. That's why you should be making an effort to find out more about your readers, too. This email should ask them a little bit more about themselves as it relates to your topic. Not only will you be able to connect with your readers and get to know them, but you'll also be able to get a better sense of the types of people who read your blog.

5. The Post Teaser

So you're not supposed to send blog posts to your email list… But that doesn't mean you can't let your subscribers know when you've posted something new! Instead of sending the entire post through email, send a post teaser email, where you give them a little bit about what the article is about and link back to the post itself in the email. If they are interested in reading, they'll click through and then they'll be able to comment or share it because they'll already be on your blog. If it's not for them, they can just press the delete button and move on. Badda-bing badda-boom! You've spread the word about your new article to your list.

6. The Tools and Resources List

If there's one thing we humans all have in common, it's this: We love a good tool. There's something about tools and resources that make us feel like we can do something, and when we don't have those tools and resources, we think “if only I had..”. Think about it – when was the last time you put off doing something because you didn't have a tool that would make it easier or more enjoyable? So that's where the tools and resources list comes in handy. Give your audience a sneak peak into the tools that you use around your topic.

7. The Archive Email

Have you ever toiled over a blog post for hours, only for it to be popular for a few weeks and die out? Your readers don't know about it, so they don't read it, and after a couple of weeks everybody forgets about it. All of your hard work down the drain. That's the best thing about this type of email: it revives your posts from the article graveyard. With this type of email, find a few older posts that have been pushed down in the archives of your blog, and resurrect them. Schedule an autoresponder pointing your subscribers to those posts – it will not only add value to their lives (after all, you worked so hard on that post!) but will also boost your traffic to the article.   At first, figuring out what to send your email list can be overwhelming. But as you add these types of emails to your autoresponder, you'll find that it takes care of itself.

7 thoughts on “What to Send Your Email List: The Beginner's Guide

  1. Theodore Nwangene says:

    Hello Sarah,
    This is a very awesome post but i think i will have to disagree with you that you should not be sending your subscribers your blog posts.
    I believe its a very wise idea to always let them know when you have a new post because they might not be able to find it on their own if you didn’t tell me them about it.
    But i will say is, let it not be the only thing you sends to them. Sending all the other email types you mentioned is highly advisable, just give them lots of value and they will love you for it.

    • Sarah says:

      Hey Theodore,
      You may have missed the email type which is a blog post teaser – that type of email lets readers know there is a new post without cluttering their inbox with an entire post.

  2. Steven says:

    This is very helpful list — thank you. Number 2, the helpful Helen, is always a winner. It’s great to send out the problems (and solutions) to your own problems that might come in handy for your readers.

  3. Robyn Williams says:

    Hi Sarah,
    Thank you for all your great work, your posts are always helpful. Loved the podcast #22.
    I am wondering though, do you have a post that helps a new blogger work towards getting the traffic required to then have people sign up to the email list.? 🙂 No point having the email option if no-one is looking at the blog 🙂 I suppose part of it is the SEO, but what else can we do?
    Robyn 😀

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