Young Guns or Wise Guys: Who are today’s Top Email Bloggers?

Top Email Marketing Bloggers

One year is ending and another beginning, which usually brings with it a sense of promise and potential, as we look ahead to everything that could happen in 2017. What better time for me as a marketer to take stock of the up-and-coming bloggers in the email marketing field to whom we should be paying attention in the months, right?

As I came up with this topic, it sounded like an easy enough task, and one that would ensure I was up-to-date with my industry. It wasn’t an easy task. And it turns out I wasn’t ever out of step.

How do you find young email marketing experts anyway?

To start my search, I asked friends in the email marketing industry to suggest young email marketers we should be paying attention to during this coming year. Here’s what happened:

  • I got names of people known for great marketing advice, but not for being email marketers. (And a few weren’t exactly young and new to the scene either.)
  • I got names of people who tweet but don’t blog. Sure, they’re in email, and yes, they are young, and apparently they have a lot to say. But they say it in 140 characters, not 1,400 words—not so useful, that.
  • I got names of people who already have a reputation in the industry for being thought leaders and experts. (I didn’t need those names. I had them.)
  • And one blog post that was recommended to me was supposed to list 20 email marketing experts, yet one-fourth of those on the list were copywriters, and only two of the others were email experts—and they were already known to me. Not that I have anything against copywriters! I simply don’t understand why they would make up a list of top email marketers when email is so much more than content alone. Nor am I clear why a list of 20 top email marketers only included two email marketers…

As all of this played out, I realized this wasn’t going to be easy. And Google? Google wasn’t much help. You can find all kinds of lists of marketing blogs you “should” be reading, but email marketing experts specifically? Exact search results = zero.

In the end, I got a little frustrated, I admit. But I persevered.

There ain’t a lot of blogging going on

Here’s what I did: I checked out everyone recommended to me, to see whether or not they’re producing useful content that will help people like you and me do a better job at email marketing in 2017. And here’s what I learned:

  • There’s more tweeting than blogging going on among the younger email marketers.
  • It’s really really hard to find people who are recognized for being experts in email marketing—not digital marketing, not online marketing, not content marketing—email marketing only.

What does this say about our industry that we seem to have a dearth of young marketers writing in-depth, useful, practical content for others to learn from?

I have nothing against Twitter. I love Twitter. Heck, I’m on Twitter (@indiescott). But there is only so much wisdom to be gained from a tweet, and I wonder what this says about how our industry will share (or won’t share) advice and best practices in the future…

The young ones aren’t necessarily blogging, but they have lots to say

So the young email marketers, they are on Twitter. I didn’t include anyone in this post that was only on Twitter, because I don’t find that to be useful information. Unless the marketer was tweeting as well as producing some kind of other content, they didn’t make my cut. (You can argue with me about the fairness of that decision in the comments below, but hey, it’s my list.)

Here are the four young email marketers who did make the cut:

More than one person suggested Jaina Mistry as a young email marketer to watch. I like Jaina. As with the other young ones, Jaina isn’t a prolific blogger, with only occasional posts on the Litmus blog, but she is active on Twitter @jainamistry led me to Jacques Corby-Tuech, on Twitter @iamacyborg. Again, no blog although plenty of cool tweets, but what drew me to this young email marketer is a side project: “The No BS Guide to Email Marketing.” With this project, he and others are helping email marketers to help themselves to do email better. (And maybe that is what will replace blogging as the information source for email marketers seeking out best practices?)

There is one young email marketer who is blogging, however, and that’s Justin Khoo. His posts are highly technical and deep dives into email development. They aren’t for everyone, obviously, but he is one to watch as he is creating the kind of rich content we seem to be lacking.

Another young one, Kristin Bond is also blogging (on occasion only) at Email Snarketing, and she’s busy on Twitter @emailsnarketing, calling out silliness in the industry. Her writing style is fun and she makes good points, but you’ll likely find more from her on Twitter than in the blogosphere.

Then I turned to the tried-and-true

That’s admittedly a short list—too short. Four? Just four young, up-and-coming email marketing bloggers to watch, only one of which is really actively blogging? Yep.

Ironically all of this effort led me back to the tried-and-true email experts who are blogging and creating the content that’s truly useful. I’d be remiss to ignore them in pursuit of the new when they offer what I was hoping to find elsewhere: knowledge and wisdom that’s current with the ever-changing field of email marketing.

I offer you my five favorites here:

Chad White remains a voice of reason in the industry blogging at Email Marketing Rules, a guide to email marketing best practices. On Twitter @chadswhite.

One of the “founding fathers,” if you will, Loren McDonald is another seasoned, experienced and wise email marketing expert who continues to offer in-depth and practical content via his blog. On Twitter @lorenmcdonald.

Email consultant Jeanne Jennings will pick apart an email message to make points in her blog, and all of her advice is stuff any marketer can learn from. On Twitter @jeajen.

Ryan Phelan blogs on practical matters, sometimes calling us out when it needs to happen, as in his post on nothing will change in 2017 until we change how we think about email. On Twitter @ryanpphelan.

Jordie van Rijn is known the world over as a prolific email content producer, he’s my partner in Alfred Knows and the author of the annual Future of Email Marketing compilation that he pulls together each year by surveying other industry experts for their predictions. On Twitter @jvanrijn.

So, young email marketers, should you have made the cut but didn’t? That’s probably because I haven’t seen your stuff. Send it my way. I could use a little reassurance that creating rich content still has its place in our busy email world…and I’d love to champion your cause as one of the up-and-coming young marketers I was seeking out when I started this journey!

Monetizing Email Newsletters: A Guide for Bloggers and Niche Publishers

Influence is no longer the exclusive domain of media moguls. Eyeballs and marketing budgets are being diverted toward an army of micro-publishers; be they content curators, bloggers, vloggers, or podcasters.

Given the increased demand, these publishers are rightfully looking for ways to thoughtfully profit from their audience, and their effort.

Profiting from Email Newsletters?

Along with other with the monetization tactics that bloggers use currently, like website display ads (ex: The Deck) and social media sponsorships (ex: Izea), today’s specialty publishers have a couple of noteworthy options for monetizing their email newsletters too.

Monetization of a publisher’s email assets is nothing new but until recently there were considerable barriers, such as minimum list size, which excluded smaller publishers from participation.

As a full service email marketing company with a passion for publishing, we’ve recommended several tactics to help modern day media moguls grow their email revenue — without having to sell directly or increase their workload. Here are two of our favorite approaches:

Display Ads in Email Newsletters

We have seen that display ad inventory, wrapped in or around emails, is a strong performer relative to price; for advertisers and publishers alike.

Hacker Newsletter, which is published by Kale Davis, tapped LaunchBit to dynamically inject a single ad in each newsletter. Kale uses MailChimp as his email service provider which is integrated with LaunchBit; making ad selection easy and injection automatic.

hacker newsletter ads

Conversely, Dan Lewis with Now I Know displays multiple ads in his newsletter. Dan uses LiveIntent as well as LaunchBit. Both of which also integrate tightly with his email service provider.

Now I Know - Email Ads

Dedicated Emails (a.k.a. Email List Rental)

The email list rental space has changed in recent years, for the better. Don’t get me wrong, there are still hoards of list companies that are renting, or even selling, worthless email lists but it’s also true that real email list rental continues to be a strong performer. Even so, many small publisher’s are reluctant to even consider email list rental as a monetization strategy.

Maybe it’s because niche publishers have a closer, more personal connection with their subscribers and don’t want to look like profiteers. Maybe it’s a lack of understanding of what list rental really entails.

Or maybe it’s simply the stigma of the name that turns off new publishers. Instead of “email list rental” we’ve always referred to it as Dedicated Emails or Sponsored Emails which, considering that the advertiser’s offer is typically wrapped in the publishers email template, is more fitting.

Here’s a dedicated email from DailyWorth; a publication which delivers practical tips on personal finance daily to women. In this example the advertiser is ShoeMint.

Daily Worth Email List Rental

Below is an example from Wilson Web, who publishes Web Marketing Today a newsletter which consists of ecommerce, email marketing, and website marketing tips. The advertiser is Lyris, an email marketing service provider.

In my experience, today’s email list management companies do a really good job of aligning advertisers with niche audiences. The technology and marketplace has advanced too allowing the advertiser, or their list broker, to easily rent lists, execute campaigns, and test performance.

What Are The Publisher’s Responsibilities?

Email display networks and email list rental companies make newsletter monetization relatively easy for publishers. From prospecting and sales to reporting and payments, they pretty much do it all.

The publisher’s ongoing responsibilities are limited to selecting/approving the advertiser’s ads/offers and continuing to engage their subscribers.

How Much Can Publisher’s Expect to Make?

Email Display Ads

Email display ads are typically bought on a performance base, such as cost-per-click or cost-per-impression, therefore the measurement most commonly used for projecting and calculating revenue is effective cost-per-thousand or eCPM. eCPM is calculated by dividing total earnings by total number of impressions in thousands.

When asked about their average eCPMs, Elizabeth Yin, Co-founder at LaunchBit, states “that there’s quite a range, from a couple dollars to nearly $100 eCPM (on opens).”  She goes on to say that “the best newsletters like Thrillist, who sells their own inventory, earns up to $275 eCPM depending on the ad format.”

Dedicated Emails

Dedicated emails are usually bought on a cost-per-thousand basis, or CPM, meaning that publishers receive a flat fee for every thousand emails sent, plus additional fees for any targeting requested by the advertiser. Payment is not tied to performance, however poor performing lists will quickly be dropped by any list rental company that is worth their salt.

Dedicated emails are averaging $80-$250 CPM, according to Worldata’s List Price Index, with certain business-to-business and international email lists raking in as much as $400 CPM.

Based on current numbers the payout for dedicated or sponsored email is greater than email display ads, but thoughtful publishers will be selective with how frequently they send these dedicated emails; therefore there are fewer opportunities to profit from email list rental.

Revenue Splits

Both email display ad networks and email list rental companies work on a performance basis; meaning that there is no fee to the publisher, instead they simply share in the revenue generated from the advertiser.

For example, with email list rental, the publisher will keep 50%-80% of every list rental order. The revenue split for email display ads, however, is a bit harder to pin down.

My Two Cents

If your audience is in high demand, you can and should get paid for access to it. You can always sell your email inventory yourself, but experience has shown me that you’ll probably receive less revenue while working harder for it. Especially in the email list rental realm.

The more publisher’s effectively market themselves, the more demand there will be for their content. That in turn will drive list growth, which they can monetize directly and indirectly, no matter if they choose to use display ads, email list rental, or any other method.

I say that busy publishers might be better off leaving indirect monetization to the professionals and test all audience-appropriate tactics. What say you?

About the Author: Scott Hardigree is the Founder of email marketing agency, Indiemark. He can be reached at or