7 Types of Emails to Send Customers to Keep Them Coming Back

As everyone says…

You need to build an email list.

Email marketing provides the highest ROI for most businesses at $40 for every $1 spent (on average).


I’m sure you see a ton of content on a regular basis that shows you different ways to build that email list. Great.

But how much do you see that tells you how to interact with that list effectively?

I think it’s safe to guess not much.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you had questions such as:

  • What do I send my subscribers?
  • How do I keep open rates high?
  • How do I make my emails exciting?

While I can’t show you all of that in a single post, I’m going to show you 7 different types of emails that most businesses can send.

These types of emails are emails that your subscribers and customers will enjoy getting, will interact with, and will help you build strong relationships. 

1. Exclusive offers make subscribers feel special (but which kinds are best?)

It’s nice when someone, whether a close friend or a relative stranger, goes out of their way to do something nice for you.

As a website owner with an email list, you’re hopefully somewhere in the middle of that friend-stranger spectrum in the eyes of your subscribers.

If you can do something for your subscribers that they really appreciate, it will do many important things:

  • Make them think more highly of you
  • Make them more loyal (to stay a subscriber and to buy in the future)
  • Make them more willing to reciprocate (if you ask for a share, referral, or something else).

The question then is: what can you give them?

For most businesses, an exclusive offer is the best thing they can give.

Let’s go through a few real examples and then some more general situations.

First, you can offer a live event that only your subscribers are invited to. Not only will the event be valuable because it’s live, but it will also be well attended because it’s exclusive.

Bryan Harris often does this, so it must work well for him. For example, here is an email with an offer to attend a private mastermind:


He sends a few emails leading up to the event and one or two at the last minute. They aren’t complicated—just a brief description of what to expect in the event.

What else can you offer subscribers? Another thing of value that doesn’t cost you much, if anything, is early access.

Matthew Barby created a WordPress plugin and sent this email to his subscribers, giving them free access to it:


That’s a pretty sweet offer. In reality, Matthew is also gaining his first group of users, which is another win for him.

If you’re launching any big guides or tools, consider getting early feedback from your subscribers.

What else can you offer?

  • Discounts
  • Secret products (like limited one-on-one consulting)
  • Webinars
  • A sneak peak at original research
  • Free samples

Be creative. If you can think of any other ideas, tell me about them in a comment at the end of the article.

2. Give subscribers the gift of convenience

Take care of your subscribers because your list is one of the most valuable assets you own.

You can give value in many ways. Some may be big gestures (email type #1), but even small things go a long way.

If someone is on your list, that means they’ve already told you that they like your content (if they signed up from a blog post, for example).

However, just because they want to hear your thoughts and advice doesn’t mean all your subscribers want it in the same way.

Typically, you’ll email all your subscribers about any new content you create. When you do this, consider giving them alternative ways to consume the content. Make it as convenient as you can.

For example, Tim Urban created a long post about SpaceX. He then sent out this email to subscribers:


On top of the regular link that he had already sent his subscribers, he sent this email with two other options: a PDF version and an audio version.

It takes a fraction of the time to re-create the original content in a different form, but it adds a lot of extra value.

Nathan Barry offers another way to make your content more convenient.

After he hosts a webinar, he uploads it to YouTube and sends an email with a link to all his subscribers.


It’s something that I know most subscribers really appreciate, and it also exposes his webinar to those subscribers who forgot to sign up for the event.

Convenience typically comes in the form of different mediums of content.

If you wrote a blog post, particularly a long one, consider emailing it to your subscribers with more than one version:

  • PDF
  • a cheat sheet
  • audio version
  • video summary

Or if you created a video, reformat that into:

  • an e-book
  • an MP3 download
  • a video download
  •  a cheat sheet/summary

You don’t need to create all the formats. Just think about which ones your subscribers would like most and which make sense for the content you made.

3. Short value emails can be a nice change of pace

Think about your subscribers’ email boxes.

Day after day, they get several emails from friends, families, and businesses they like.

What do most of the business emails consist of?

  • “Read our content”
  • “Buy our stuff”

About 90% of business emails fall into these two categories.

And it’s not that those types of emails aren’t valuable to your subscribers—because they are, but some subscribers will get fatigued by them.

If you’re looking to maximize your subscriber happiness as much as possible, consider sending emails that focus on nothing but teaching something interesting to your subscribers.

No links to your content or anyone’s website.

No asking for replies—just a clear show of value.

Bernadette Jiwa is known for her story-telling talent.

She sends out this exact type of email I’m talking about on a regular basis. Sometimes her emails have links underneath, and sometimes they don’t.

Here’s an example of such an email (yes, that’s the whole thing):


It’s short but gives her subscribers an interesting thing to ponder, which helps them tell better stories (their goal).

It’s a nice break from overwhelming amounts of content (which I may be guilty of myself).

4. Highlights need to be interesting

Email newsletters are nothing new.

Any email sent out on a regular basis that summarizes what’s been happening on a site can be considered an email newsletter.

They’re supposed to consist of highlights.

But like the name implies, they need to consist of the very best of your site.

Whether you have user-generated content or content produced by your writing team, highlight emails are an option.

However, make sure you’re not including everything. But don’t select content randomly either.

You should be giving previews of the most popular content on your site for that particular time period.

For example, Quora (the question and answer site), regularly sends users the most upvoted questions from their feeds.

Here’s what it looks like:


I would guess that these are automatically generated by the most upvoted questions during the week.

5. One way to show that you really respect subscribers

One goal that every email marketer should have is to form deeper relationships with subscribers.

Admittedly, this is difficult. It’s tough to break down that barrier over email only. You’ve probably never met your subscribers, and by default, they think of you as just another business.

Even if they like your business, most subscribers will still be skeptical about your claim that you care about them and not just their money.

One thing I encourage businesses to do is find employees through their email list.

I’ve done it before, as have many others. Here’s an example of Ramit Sethi sending an email to his list while looking to hire for more than 10 positions:


When you do this, you make it clear that you think of them as people whom you respect and who you believe have valuable skills.

And it’s good business too. Your subscribers likely have an in-depth understanding of your business and obviously think in similar to you ways (since they like you).

Even if someone doesn’t apply or doesn’t get hired, it’s clear to them that you’re looking to develop partnerships and relationships with people on your list.

It’s one way to break down that barrier a bit and become more than “just another business.”

6. Don’t fall victim to the “curse of knowledge” (deliver your best stuff)

Many bloggers suffer from the “curse of knowledge.”

The curse of knowledge is a fairly old concept. It basically states that it’s hard to understand what lesser-informed people are thinking.

If you’re an expert in math, it would be hard for you to even fathom that someone doesn’t understand something like basic calculus.

It’s the reason why some people are geniuses but absolutely awful teachers. Conversely, someone who just learned something can often teach it best because they understand the perspective of someone who doesn’t know it.

Let’s apply this to your subscribers and content.

Over the years, you might write hundreds of pieces of content. At that point (possibly present day), you’re naturally going to assume that your average new subscriber is more informed than they used to be.

For me, as an example, it’s easy to assume that every new subscriber understands on-page and off-page SEO as well as concepts such as white-hat and black-hat link building.

From that perspective, it’s hard for me to send them my advanced guide to SEO because I’m assuming they already know everything in it.

Chances are, though, your average new subscriber won’t change much over time.

And it’s very likely that my average new subscriber could benefit from more general SEO knowledge before I get to the specific tactics I currently write about.

The autoresponder “crash course”: If you think that this is a problem, one way to fix it is with an autoresponder sequence.

Think of what an average subscriber knew even a year or two ago, and make a list of what they need to learn to get up to speed with the rest of your content.

Then, put together an autoresponder sequence that you send to all new subscribers, where you showcase your old content that teaches these basic concepts.

For example, if you sign up for Wordstream’s list, a PPC optimization business, you’ll get a few emails like this:


The guides are all older content, and the field may have advanced since it was written, but the fundamentals hold true, and new subscribers will greatly appreciate learning them.

The takeaway from the “curse of knowledge” is that you’re probably giving subscribers a bit too much credit. Don’t assume they’ve read every single post you’ve ever written—because they haven’t.

Don’t be afraid to send emails featuring the best of your older content.

7. Preview big events that subscribers will be interested in (be your own hype man)

You need to give subscribers incentives to open that next email.

There are many ways to do this, but one way is to build hype in advance.

Think about any popular TV show. They show previews for the next episode in commercials and at the end of episodes.

These get you excited, and you make sure you watch the next episode.

Brian Dean does a similar thing really well, but for content.

For example, he sent this email to subscribers:


In that email, he shared his story about struggling and then finally succeeding with SEO.

It’s an interesting story that draws you in and makes you curious about the specifics of his success (building hype).

At the bottom of the email, he teases subscribers with bullet points that outline what he’s going to show them over the next few emails:


Right at the end, after building that hype, he tells them to watch out for his next email in which he’ll send the first post about how to succeed with SEO like he did.

You’d better believe that he had a fantastic open rate on that email.

You can do the same. When you’re planning to publish a big piece of content or a new tool, first send an email that focuses on the benefits of it.

If possible, tie it into an entertaining story to suck in your subscriber even more. That will only add to the anticipation.


It’s not enough just to build an email list—you have to use it effectively.

Emails are a great personal way to communicate with subscribers and customers.

Use as many of these 7 types of emails (where they make sense) to start building more meaningful relationships.

If you’re having trouble deciding exactly what to send to your subscribers, just fill me in on your situation in a comment below, and I’ll point you in the right direction.


  1. Hey Niel,
    Can I use this post first image with quickspourt credit +link back?
    Waiting for your reply so I can embedded it into my new post which I will post at Saturday evening (Indian Time).
    Thanks In advanced

    • Mudit Saxena :

      Hi Nekraj ,

      Just a random “humane” gesture , I think that your blog needs a major redesign.
      Have you tried WordPress , it is really easy and even my grandfather can use it !

      Mudit Saxena

      • I am using wordpress already and thanks for your design.
        I wil look into matter with my webmaster.
        Well what Do you suggest me abouy design?
        I write about ethical hacking tutorials.
        @Mudit from @nekrajB1

        • Mudit Saxena :

          Hi Nekraj,
          Thank you for considering my kind request, I hope that I am not bothering you.

          I do have a couple of themes in mind , take a look at them and do tell me what do you think.

          If you are like me and love simple:

          Or the complex version with about the same feel:

          Mudit Saxena

          • Mudit Saxena :

            If you ask me I would choose the simpler one and go with it , Customizing those complex WordPress themes can sometimes be a pain and not give good results as you might have already experienced 🙂

          • Thanks Mudit!

      • 🙂

    • Yes you can use it in your post

  2. Sorry for second comments, Now I have read full post. Well a great post, and What about to make “Personal Relationship” with subscriber, sending messages about Mother day /Christmas or any world wide event?
    I used to some times sending best pdf under my niche which I get from WF/other resources.
    Anyways again Thanks,
    Nekraj Bhartiya

  3. Again a great article from guru.
    Will commenting here or on ur other sites with website gives us a backlink? Like my website does.

  4. Siteground Coupon :

    Thanks for Sharing this tips.

  5. Short value emails are probably one of the easiet and quickest ways to write and send out to both customers and subscribers. I find it effective because it’s straight to the point and doesn’t need much to say. It’s perfect for busy subscribers and customers who don’t have the time to read.

    • I’m with you on that Heide, sometimes it’s best to make it simple and to the point. I think based off of user behavior, this is something you can determined over time.

  6. Lewis LaLanne :

    Of course, each of these seven are awesome.

    I am a mega fan of #6.

    When you do this one right, you build a better buyer. You turn silver into gold. You turn nervous, apprehensive, and inexperienced people into your greatest success stories.

    The 0-100 stories can be some of the most valuable marketing assets you have because there is a far smaller market for “Advanced” than there is “Beginner”.

    And the case studies from these success examples can be all the proof you need that there is a well-designed progression in place that works.

    Awesome suggestion Neil. Simply awesome!

    • Yeah and you can even incorporate levels into your learning to guide the person through the process

  7. Bob Warfield :

    Neil, I do read constantly about how email has the highest ROI value, just like you say at the top of your post. Yet, I don’t feel like I measure as much email ROI as is promised for the medium. It could be that it is just very hard to measure that ROI directly–I’m trying to measure by looking at Campaigns in Google Analytics and seeing how many free trials I get from email versus other sources. It could be I am not sending the right kinds of emails–a friend says its easy to be a teacher and never ask for the sale. I do have several automated workflows aimed at leading readers to take my trials.

    All this leads me to wish for an Email ROI course or advanced guide that really drills down step-by-step into how to leverage your Email list and that makes sure things are prioritized so the low hanging fruit can be plucked first. LIke you say above, hardly anyone tells you how to realize the ROI.

    Perhaps this post is that, but I suspect there has to be a lot more to it and that it would be an excellent content idea for you in the future.

    • Leonardo "List Master" LaVito @ LargerList.com :

      Hi Bob. That’s an interesting dilemma.

      Basically, in addition to the free trials you’re getting through email, are you using your emails to cross-promote other offers and products or services that they would be interested in?

      It’s an easy way to add on the ROI. By emailing them about other things they need.

      You can be a teacher, and make the sale too.

      Just educate them on why they need your product, and what they’re losing when they don’t have it. 🙂

      • A buddy of mine always says the best time to sell is when you’re educating, and the best time educate is when you sell

    • Where are your leads coming from?

      • Bob Warfield :

        The leads are people directly visiting my product pages on the site, and seldom from a visitor that arrived via email.

        • What is the source of the people who convert into leads?

          • Bob Warfield :

            #1 is Direct but Organic Search is almost tied.

            What I can’t track is much traffic from Email to the trial signup, hence my feeling that I am not getting the Email ROI I should be. It may be I just need a lot more AB testing of my emails that ask them to take the trial.

  8. Leonardo "List Master" LaVito @ LargerList.com :

    Great write-up Neil! 🙂

    Indeed, the topic of getting some positive “cotton candy-like” feelings and emotions in your email readers so they keep coming back for more is not much talked about.

    “If you can think of any other ideas, tell me about them in a comment at the end of the article.”

    # 1) Q & A Emails.

    Send out emails addressing some of your readers top concerns and questions. It shows that you care. And that you understand.

    And it’s also something that all your readers are curious about, so they will open and read it.

    # 2) Personal Video Emails

    Better yet, send them to a private page, where you tell them the answer their concerns personally through video.

    And do some crazy stuff while you’re at it. Like dressing like a lawyer.

    # 3) Interact With Them

    And if you leave a comments section on that page where you interact with them, they’ll feel it all the more.

    • These are great ideas Leo, thanks for sharing. Have you tried these methods before?

      What kind of results are you getting?

  9. Lili Balfour :

    Great read! I particularly like #3. People are busy. I find the shorter the better — a video and a few lines of text converts well for me.

  10. Alquilar en Montevideo :

    Wow, $40 ROI, that’s very profitable! And this is also one of the reason I’d like reading your blog. Lot of valuable content, it’s amazin 😉 Keep posting Neil!!!

  11. Thomas McCallum :

    Hey Neil, liked the point about failing to relate to newer subscribers. Will bear that in mind

  12. Hi Neil,
    Thanks for sharing this content with us because this is one of the most effective ways to attract customers. But how can we attract new customers to us? because we won’t be able to send then any emails or messages.
    Any way nice content. I will try following your steps to keep my customer with in me

  13. Again a great Post by Neil!!!

    The 6 Different awesome ways to sending a mail to subscriber’s, Thanks for exploring the mind behind creating an interesting mail of some legends like Tim Urban, Nathan, Bernadette jina and all.
    seriously we can not create an email by just writing a few lines, we need to implement some techniques to make it more interesting like nathan sending a webinar link by mail to his subscribers. And Neil you too had have a great job, your title only is enough to convince us to open and read your post I think you no need to do another activity to make your mail ordinary because it is already extraordinary.

  14. Hey Niel, thanks for sharing this content and also this content is also a tremendus way to attract customers and has giving me something to rely on.

  15. Well, i think i can offer the most outstanding way to gice advice in any situation your going through or when your thinking twice i am here to give you advice.

  16. Rank My Hub :

    Good tips and really appreciate your ideas in putting email marketing statistics. I totally agree and I have seen email marketing works like a charm, when we understand our audience. Once again wonderful article. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Neil,
    I got hooked on this blog from your Clothing, Watch, $100,000/month and Lamborghini articles. I’m not a materialistic person like that but I really liked the personal stories and lessons. Could you do more stuff like this?
    And I thought it would be until you hit $100,000 per month in net profit not revenue…

  18. Basically lure them in

  19. I have gone through these articles. Great informative. I think that respecting subscribers should consider. And other things you refer above is important to get success in email marketing. Thanks for sharing. Neil

  20. Ewa Utracka :

    These are great tips to email marketing! It make it even better, you can presonailize the content of the message – give your customers information they really want to read about. Check out why Email Marketing Automation is so important: http://bit.ly/22sJM1n

  21. John Garghan :

    Once again Neil a great post with advise that I will implement in a new blog project (in fact your blogs have inspired me to get started). I have received a good prospect spreadsheet and want to email these contacts. How best can I approach these names who do not know me and my new blog, what’s the best way to get them to “sign up” to my list

  22. susan sharma :

    I have been worried about our ezines not getting opened by our subscribers. I guess the secret is to forward the ezine with a personal mail. Thanks for helping me to think

    • I would a/b test a variety of different styles and headlines to see what is most effective. It’s an art and a science

  23. Manidipa Bhaumik :

    True it is. Though people subscribe to some particular email list, but most of the times they don’t even tend to open a mail from them. Making the title interesting with perceived value can do wonder. Thanks Neil for sharing the different effective email types.

  24. Hi Neil, great post. My trouble is that I am psychologist and often I send my last post. And I don’t know what i can send

  25. Wow 1,000 email subscribers in 7 days I’d love to watch a replay of that, where can I watch it actually, thanks.

  26. Hello Neil,
    Nice tips shared on email marketing.

  27. Kylie Garner :

    Awesome and helpful post! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  28. Superior It Services :

    That was the Really good Tips for email Marketing. we can send some surprise off to our customer and send some gifts to our customer this will help our existing customer to visit our website.

  29. Great post! I’ve learnt so much! 😉

  30. Harpreet Kumar :

    Knowledge full article sir. I appreciate it thanks alot

  31. QUESTION: My website is cached in Google. Tags and Categories also cached with the posts and pages.
    For Example: MyDomain.com/tag/miami/ AND MyDomain.com/category/Miami
    For SEO, is that negative or positive or doesn’t matter? Could you provide me the answer please? If we need to restrict, how can I do??

  32. Adam Barnett :

    I think a customer email should be catchy, short and straight to the point. Nobody has time for long emails.

  33. Tauseef Alam :

    As per my past experience, giving something for free or at a discounted price to your customers always work. This give them a reason to come back or upgrade the service they are already using from you.

  34. How can I avoid overwhelm from all the info you’re providing Neil? I’m a beginner.

    • When you feel overwhelmed, stop and go take some time to process everything you’re learning. Step away, go for a walk.

  35. Trevor Whatmore :

    Hey Neil, great tips again. You are really appreciating. But I am worried about the previous question. The question is, how should I build up a list of subscribers or how to make them convinced that they should get my news letter?
    Can you please get me some idea?

  36. If you ask me I would choose the simpler one and go with it , Customizing those complex WordPress themes can sometimes be a pain and not give good results as you might have already experienced .

  37. M88 Taruhan Sport :

    If some one desires expert view concerning blogging afterward i
    advise him/her to visit this web site, Keep up the pleasant job.

  38. Spot on with this write-up, I really feel this amazing site needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the advice!msg31767

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