email marketingAll roads lead to email. Or, they should.

Or could…if you do things correctly.

I’m not your boss.

But I am the boss of this blog, so I’m going to use my time today to talk about how to use email marketing most effectively. 

We do it. It works. So we recommend it for you, too. 

Best Laid Plans Aren’t Always Effective

In episode 64 of the Spin Sucks podcast, we talked about the best practices for email marketing.

And in episode 70, we talked about pop-ups.

These both lead to the most effective emails.

No matter how much we plan, we can’t control all of the outcomes, all of the time.

As disappointing as that is to me. Because I would really, really like to because I like to control ALL THE THINGS.

Unfortunately, that’s not how life works.

Even with the very best planning, we will always catch someone at a bad time or just on a bad day.

That can lead to them deleting your emails without a second thought.

(Or, in my experience, lashing out to the sender, which is always fun. Not.)

It’s totally normal and not at all personal, but it still sucks.

I have gotten very good at saying to myself, “Crisis communications 101. Crisis communications 101. Crisis communications 101.” when I respond to people who lash out. I never, ever respond with what I really want to say.

I just remind myself: crisis communications 101.

Where Email Marketing Falls In the PESO Model

That’s why it’s so incredibly important you don’t have all of your eggs in one content basket.

If you do, and the person is having a bad day or is so overwhelmed they can’t get to email, they’ll never see the value you can provide. 

Of course, there is a solution with the PESO model.

You aren’t just sending emails. You’re sending them as part of a larger strategic plan.

Email marketing straddles both owned and paid media.

Owned because it’s content and, assuming you’re providing value, is useable. 

Paid because, while you may be able to start with a free software such as Mailchimp or Drip, if you do your email marketing job correctly, you’ll very quickly have to pay for it.

While email marketing, just like the four different media types, has its unique function inside your organization, it also has to be part of a cohesive strategy.

Email fits into that strategy because it’s one of the many touchpoints you can reach someone.

And, even though we all have a love/hate relationship with email, it’s the one communication method every person has. 

Let’s look at each step in more detail. 

The Best Kind of Email Marketing

Email marketing should need no introduction, but let me give you a quick synopsis of what I mean when I use the term.

It’s a strategic and consistent series of emails that has a specific result and is sent to people who have opted-in to receive your email.

It is not a bunch of emails you send to a list you purchased with the hopes of breaking through to a handful of people.

I can always tell who sold my email address by the name it’s addressed to (and it’s never Gini).

It might say Gina or Arment or my fake name, Stella.

Laura Petrolino also has a fake name she uses to weed out the emails she didn’t subscribe to. Hers is Gail.

We are on to you, you sneaky email marketers! 

So let’s move forward with the understanding that your email marketing is ethical and above-the-board.

You have a list full of people who are anxious to hear from you—and you know how often they’d like to hear from you and what they find most valuable. 

Of course, the ever-changing challenge is what do they find most valuable?

The answer is in the PESO model and in how to strategically move content from one part to another. 

Include These Things

I’ll give you an example.

At Content Marketing World this year, I gave a presentation on the five shifts agency owners need to do to grow and scale their businesses, without adding more content marketing.

I know!

They totally let me talk about not doing more content marketing at Content Marketing World.

So here is this fun and albeit, a bit controversial, presentation that was very well-received.

I could just shelf it for next time.


I could parse it out into other owned media tactics, including email marketing. 

I hope you know which option I chose to take.

The presentation then became a series of four emails directed at the agency owner segment of our email list.

It had a call-to-action to schedule a free coaching call with yours truly. 

Because it was highly relevant, useful, and practical, it worked. 

Use the Inverted Pyramid

I know Gary Vee takes a similar approach to his content—and not just for email marketing, though that is one tactic he uses.

Think about it as an inverted pyramid.

But, instead of using that model to write your news, you use it to think through how to deliver content through your email marketing.

For instance, take a big piece of content, like I did with my presentation, and break it into several smaller chunks that you can use for a specific segment of your list.

It doesn’t take a lot of planning, but it does take some forethought on how you’ll distribute that larger piece of content later.

We used to work with a client who had a 108-page eBook.

They did a great job of promoting that one piece on social media and on their website.

But they didn’t promote its use anywhere else.

We worked with them to take bite-sized chunks out of each chapter and used that in email marketing.

It increased their downloads by 200 percent, which in turn increased the number of free trials by nearly five times.

The free trial was their goal  because the conversion to a paid customer from there was in the high 80s. 

And Make It Valuable to the Reader

There are only so many hours in a day so think about the larger pieces of content that you can use in email marketing (and in other ways, too).

This repurposing not only lets you get more out of everything you create, it provides something incredibly useful to your subscribers that isn’t the normal “we won this award” and “we hired these people.”

Wah wah. 

And there we have it!

To get the most out of your content, include it in a larger PESO model program and think about how you can repurpose larger pieces to include in your email marketing.

Your brain, your fingers, and your subscribers will thank you.

Now It’s Your Turn

We’d love to hear from you.

What types of email marketing work best for you?

Better, what are some terrible forms of email marketing you’ve experienced? 

The comments are yours.

Photo by Davide Baraldi on Unsplash

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich