New Ways to Serve Your Email List in 2020

Jenna Kutcher 

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July 22, 2020


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Email marketing — yup, I’m not done with this obsession. I’ve been thinking a lot about email lists and not only why you need one but what you should send once you have one.

Let me first say up front that what this episode is NOT focusing on is ways to sell to your email list. We’ve all heard the stats about how every $1 spent on email marketing, about $44 is made in return. We KNOW that email marketing is the way to sell and see big profits, and I have tons of content that covers how to do that well. But one of the keys for success in selling to your email list actually has nothing to do with selling or introducing your offer.

It’s those in-between seasons, when you’re not in a launch or pushing for a sale, that you form strong bonds and lasting relationships with your list by serving them. And yet, so many people forget about their list until they have something to communicate about a new product or offer and there’s some sort of urgency in making a sale.

Let’s not make that mistake any longer, you’ve got to serve to earn your right to sell. You don’t need intricate, one-thousand-word educational or empowering emails each and every week — in fact, most times, the shorter and simpler, the better in the world of email. I intentionally focus on showing up to serve and support my email list 80 to 90% of the time, and then spend the rest of the time sharing offers and inviting action.

Without the serving piece, we wouldn’t be able to get the incredible results we get. I think of it as earning the right to sell by showing I’m committed to my audience’s journey and providing helpful, uplifting, and valuable content the majority of the time, followed up with aligned offers that meet you where you’re at — and this isn’t’ just something I can do, you can do it, too.

Let’s get into the 5 main formats for serving your email list and being a valued resource in their inbox, not just another salesperson.

Resource round-ups

Having something that you’re obsessed with? Items you can’t live without? Creators you love to follow and learn from? Podcasts you can’t stop listening to? A resource round up is a great excuse to hit your email list with links to all the things you’re working on, creating, or loving.

Rounding up content, links, or items allows you the opportunity to invite in other voices and resources outside of your own to point to other people in your community who are experts in topics you’re NOT an expert in. Sharing the spotlight in this way can fill holes in your content that you’re just simply unable to speak to: different experiences, walks of life, educational information, and helpful answers that you just don’t have.

It all points your subscribers to voices that can authentically cover what you can’t, and helps them further their learning and growth and by answering questions they might be having without YOU needing to be the educator. What resources are you investigating and digging into? It’s likely that your people would be interested in that same sort of content matter. You can share how and why you’re digging into the materials, and then just point to the resources and let them do the talking and teaching.


I don’t know if anyone else is subscribed to “letters from the universe” but I am and I swear those words always hit me right when I need them the most. They are just a few sentences each day of just straight truth, encouragement, and honesty… and they always feel timely and like a breath of fresh air.

That brings me to the next way you can be serving your list — and one of my favorite ways — is through words of encouragement that you wish someone would whisper into your life. Spread that same message of encouragement to your email list because the truth is that life can be really, really heavy and hard.

We’re often so stuck in our own world, hustling to make things happen and pushing ourselves to do more and better and faster and bigger things. And quite honestly, even though we have cherished relationships in our lives, so many of us don’t hear simple words of encouragement often enough.

Things like…

  • Hey, you’re doing a good job.
  • You are worthy of your successes and you are more than your mess-ups.
  • A failure doesn’t mean your path is finished.
  • You deserve rest.
  • You are not defined by how you look, how much money you make, or what you achieve.
  • Taking care of YOU is a nonnegotiable.
  • What do you need today to feel more joy?
  • What can you let go of to feel more peace?
  • How can you prioritize your mental health this week?
  • Who can you call to catch up with?

There are so many small yet significant reminders that we as humans crave and need spoken into our lives, and let’s be real, seeing a quote on Pinterest can give us the warm-fuzzies, but hearing it from someone we admire and look up to can be so much more powerful and life giving.

Partner encouragement with a personal story and it will not only encourage anyone who opens your email but it will also help create connection and invite engagement through your honesty and openness.

Content round-ups

If you’re in a creation slump or the opposite, you’re hitting publish quicker than you can promote, another fantastic — and actually pretty easy — way to show up serving your list is through content round-ups that revive your own old content.

Point to things you’ve already created that are still relevant in the current times or are otherwise helpful to your audience in this season. Hopefully you’re in the practice of creating evergreen content on your blog or social media — that is, content that can live on for months and years, and doesn’t speak to certain timelines, dates, or seasons.

If you consistently blog about certain topics, you can even pull a handful of resources covering the same topic and list them in an email so people can pick and choose what they need or want to learn about. Think of it as sort of sending a directory that takes the search-factor away from your followers and quickly connects them to what they need.

Redirecting to your past resources gets your subscribers in the know and positions you further as the expert in your field. So many times, people don’t see our social posts or might be new to your brand, so even though you may *feel* like you’ve shared something a bunch already, it’s likely always getting in front new eyes each and every time you re-share it.

Exclusive content

One of the best ways to grow and serve your email list is through exclusive content that people can’t get anywhere else. Maybe you publish a password protected video or blog post that only your insiders get access to, or you record a free training or an extra episode that you’re keeping for your VIPs or you have a pre-sale or coupon code to something you’re working on.

Serving your email list with content, information, or inspiration that the general public can not access is a huge way to not only grow your email list but to build up that excitement of opening your emails.

It doesn’t matter what medium you use to deliver this exclusive content, the goal is that it’s something special and extra and that people need to be a part of your community in the inboxes in order to enjoy it.

Personal check-ins

Another way to serve your list is through simple, personal check-ins. If you earned a right inside of somebody’s email inbox, that means they trust you! What’s an easy way for you to say hi and stay connected to them to continue building that trust?

If you’re only showing up to get something from them or sell something, then you’re missing this opportunity to connect. Be open and ask for feedback from your community; open up the dialogue with them by asking what they want to see next, what’s something that’s missing currently from your content, something they’re wondering or want answered.

Use your emails as a tool to invite engagement and give space for someone to open up with you in conversation. Because these are the people who hopefully will eventually be buying from you, you should value their insight and comments and questions the most. If they collectively want to see more of something from you, or are asking the same kinds of questions, it’s up to you to respond with helpful content that meets them where they’re at!

The Big Picture

There you have it, it’s no surprise that email lists are one of my FAVORITE topics of all time, and I love being able to help you find simple ways to support your list and build a deeper relationship with your audience. I mean, it’s almost like I taught you how to host your own virtual cozy, happy hour with your people. Because honestly, who doesn’t want to do that?! Especially in these times, when in-person happy hours are few and far between.

Serve your list first. Be the voice they need to hear. Be the resource guide when they have questions and concerns. And be the tour guide of your own brand, sharing fun facts and educational content that you know they need.

And hey, when all else fails or you can’t wrack your mind any longer to come up with something to send on those off weeks, just send out a straightforward question and ask your list for feedback or what they want to see. Or better yet… send a word of encouragement that YOU’RE craving, and throw a GIF into the message and brighten someone’s day.

Serving your email list doesn’t have to be complicated — but it should be an extension of your brand and the conversations you start elsewhere: on your blog, on social media, or in person. Continue these conversations and keep showing up as consistently as you possibly can, and I can all but promise that the next time you’re ready to sell, your email list will be right there ready to support you.

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  1. You always give such helpful advice. Thanks for always sharing valuable information. Especially to us newbie bloggers. 🙂


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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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