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Are You Creating Emails to Excite?

email marketing
email marketing

Your lofty goal, but still the one to strive for, is to make people feel excited to hear from you, so they are always willing to open your stuff. Do you have anyone on your “always so excited, always want to open” emails list?

Notice I say “anyone” as in a person, even though nearly all represent businesses or just plain sell (market if you prefer) via email marketing and other digital properties.

For me, my top “can’t wait to open” emails are from Ann Handley, Henneke Duistermaat, Neville Medhora, Andy Crestodina, and Christopher Penn.

But why do they stand out from the rest and make my top picks? Well, for starts, they offer:

  • Unique content–not replicated elsewhere.
  • Thought-provoking reads/topics—every single time.
  • Quirky works, actionable tips, and extras, plus helpful resources to excite!
  • Original writing style/voice, ideas, and subject matter; nothing ‘standardized’ here.

Henneke and Ann are both writers I adore, so their writing alone may be a factor in these selections. But more importantly, they share an innate ability to draw you in as a reader, making you feel like you’re part of their secret club, an insider, one of the gang. And as a reader, it’s lovely to feel you are part of the story, able to hang with the cool kids. (Although I doubt either of them think of themselves as the “cool kids,” but you know what I mean, right?)

Another thing Ann and Henneke do in their email newsletters and other writing is they bravely reveal–sometimes, you may say, expose–personal details or intimate stories about themselves.

But connecting with readers in this way entices understanding, humility, and relatability. It also allows people to get past the shiny perfect exterior and land right smack in the messy gooey center of shared human experience.

Image: Ann Handley books – Source

Quirky Smart Letters, Emailed

Ann Handley’s Annarchy Newsletter delivers memorable marketing morsels wrapped in delicious stories. She spices them up with factoids and makes them strong or tender enough to make you laugh, cry, and think each fortnight. (Psst…Ann’s link shares alone are worthy of note and desirable!)

Every Thanksgiving, I think of Ann and the remarkable marketing phenom Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup represents, working around a particular campaign component, a simple, single unique recipe. {Green Beans Casserole, in case you’re wondering.}

Ann’s marketing and writing lessons and the stories I remember from Ann’s “letters” span the globe and go broad and deep. I remember a LOT of them! Because when she describes it in her Ann manner, I picture her contemplating critters in her garden, going to the library with her mother, and bouncing in the costume lady’s van, hightailing it to the airport in Las Vegas.

But instead of me gushing on, you just may want to grab Annarchy for yourself. I guarantee that learning and enjoyment are in your future from Ann!

Speaking of Thinking

Henneke’s emails are generally associated with her latest blog posts, but don’t miss either, EVER! Just my two cents. Because I know Henneke’s writing is sure to inspire and teach you and make you like and respect her.

I don’t know if I write well enough to write about Henneke’s writing, but one of the unique and quirkiest parts of Henneke’s blog is her trusty alter-ego, Henrietta.

Image: Meet Henrietta by Henneke at Enchanting Marketing – Source

The personally hand-drawn character of Henrietta and her exploits in writing offers a unique element in the learning experience Henneke and her Enchanting Marketing Blog provides. But don’t let the charming Henrietta character and Henneke’s sweet drawings fool you because this is one writing and marketing blog that pops with power.

I love how thought-provoking all of Henneke’s work is, but honestly, I feel like my writing is so influenced by what I read and learn from her—for years and years now.

Make sure you sign up for Henneke’s Email Series with snackable tips for writing because you’ll implement her wisdom with each bite! I promise.

I truly appreciate you, Henneke:) But I’m not the only one; just look at every post’s comments. Wow.

I’m sorry, these first two email writers make me ooze enthusiasm! And aspire.

Image: NevMed email signup page – Source

NevMed Makes Typical Dead

Neville Medhora’s Newsletters center around copywriting, but I have a feeling this guy’s brain is constantly in overdrive, and I kinda love it. Nev’s format is different, his content is different, his graphics sometimes resemble hieroglyphics, and he has a steady sense of humor about him.

Nev’s lessons are sometimes silly and sometimes prolific, but one thing you can count on is Neville is always sprinting forward. Testing, experimenting, analyzing. Thinking.

Neville Medhora is extremely serious about his work and the art and science of copywriting, but his sense of collaboration is, well, inspiring. He’s always teaching his craft but always learning, too, because that’s part of his uncanny ability to think and spring forward, it seems to me.

Nev regularly invites feedback and participation from his readers. He often drops tools, PDFs, checklists, and other fun stuff off in his emails without gating it to make you crazy. If you’re interested in copywriting and persuasive web and sales copy, check Nev out, but you may just want to grab it for the surprise inside each email. (If you clicked the link to his email signup page above, you already know you’re in for a unique experience with Nev, right?) Yay and yay!!

Emailing Trust

Christopher S. Penn and Katie Robbert produce Trust Insights, and actually, I do trust what this massive newsletter sends. Exploding with valuable resources, updates, research, and links, I always feel like I need more time to review all this team offers in every email. Yep, it’s packed with nuggets of industry information and valuable links.

Image: Trust Insights – Source

In the weekly wrap-up section, you get topics like SEO, Google, Paid Media, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Data Science, and AI updates curated from the week’s top content. And just this week, Chris talks about his current thinking on Trust Insight’s “Almost Timely” Newsletter and email marketing strategies.

I love Chris’s transparency.

However, Chris and Katie’s emails center around Marketing Analytics, and this is where they excel in thought leadership, research, and even offer free training for you to learn more about this important topic.

Bottom line, Trust Insights is an email I always want to open.

Outstanding Orbit

Last but certainly not least is the fantastic job Andy Crestodina, and Amanda Gant, do with the Orbit Media blog and associated email newsletter. I’m a huge fan of Orbit Media and often find myself revisiting and sharing content from these guys.

It’s challenging to create winning content with everything you produce, but Amanda and Andy are keepers of the secret formula that always gets it done. They’re kind of amazing with the consistent, high-quality standards they reach, and one of the things I most admire is how they also practice the concepts and theories they share.

Equally winning is the media mix they offer, often including video, graphs or charts, and other supporting visuals allowing their audience to consume content in their preferred format.

Further, Andy is always hanging at the edge of the ledge, looking to the forefront of industry best practices for website development/design, tracking/analytics, and digital/content marketing.

Image: Statistics showing time investment in blogging

Research, including original research, fuels Andy’s comprehensive pieces explaining his subject matter’s in’s and out’s while offering how-to’s meant truly to help you! Helpful, informative, reliable, and more, Andy, Amanda, and Orbit hit all the right buttons. Did I mention likable?

Anyway, what’s not likable about all the goodies you get over and over by keeping track of what Andy’s up to lately?

His direct, sometimes no-frills style makes it quickly clear Andy knows his stuff and is passionate about what he does. He knows how to bring the goods, and he knows what the goods are. But I especially like the questioning nature Andy demonstrates in his thought leadership pieces and on social media

Andy doesn’t strut his stuff like the professional and expert he is as much as making you aware of his ongoing quest to find the correct answers.

Exciting Emails

Just like Andy is striving for perfection and seeking expertise to understand the what, why, and how for robust website design, analytics, and associated digital services, maybe you’ll notice the emails that excite me; likewise, all feed the idea of what I can grab to improve ME.

The point, of course, is regardless of the gargantuan differences in the style, tone, format, delivery, and schedule, these examples all emphasize one central theme. All are user-centric and mindful of taking an audience-first approach. Each excites readers with anticipation for finding out what’s in store next.

I know these email newsletters drop valuable ideas and up-to-date shareable resources I can also use as curated content on social channels for my audiences. And that’s helpful! Their trusted legwork saves me some legwork.

Image: InfoDrawing by Henneke

When Ann’s greeting starts with, “What’s up, Buttercup?” I feel sure I’m “Buttercup.”  And when Henneke is in conflict with her inner critic, I somehow know she’s commiserating with me.

If you generate a warm fuzzy, I’m-with-her sort of feeling, you may find appreciative readers clamoring to open your emails, too!

When you drop nuggets of wisdom, valuable information, and industry insights in every email, as Andy and Chris do, your emails are likely to fly open.

And by sharing industry practices, insights, real-world examples, and results, along with helpful tools, plus thought-provoking questions and challenges like Neville does, well, high open rates on emails are practically a given.

Make emails for you or your business uniquely yours, but study and borrow from these folks and others who excel by what they share with interested people. Directly. Via one-to-one emails.

Let’s call it “the art of making people want to hear from you,” shall we?

Are you ready to create emails to excite?

7 Responses

  1. Hi Sue-Ann, I love Henneke’s emails. Not only are the emails unique but so are her graphics which I LOVE!
    I just signed up for Ann’s as well per your recommendation here. The feeling of someone talking to you one on one I think makes a huge difference in emails.
    Thanks for the tips and tricks here that we can all learn from.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lisa! And yes, these are all excellent examples of quality email marketing. Sue-Ann offers some wonderful advice as well (as always). Email marketing, when properly executed, can be a very powerful marketing tool.

  2. Great content as always my friend. Spending a little bit of extra time to write emails that appeal to your subscribers makes all the difference in the world. It takes some deliberate thinking but time spent in quiet as well worth the effort. Plus the tips that you share are just spot on. Thank you.


    1. SueAnn does an excellent job here for sure, Ryan. And there are a lot of great examples of marketers doing an excellent job leveraging email to build their brands. Thanks for dropping by!

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