How To Know If Your Email Marketing Is Working

bookmarked under:

A few months ago, I sent one of the most wild email newsletters I’ve ever written.

(You can read it right here. It’s about getting matching tattoos with a boy, after meeting him 24 hours prior, completely sober, on a Tuesday afternoon.)

And, I’m not gonna lie to you, the week after, the pressure was ON.

All I kept thinking to myself was: I don’t know how I’m gonna be able to top last week’s newsletter. 

It had been a hot minute since I’d had such a juicy story to share, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to satisfy my subscribers’ need for gossip like that ever again…

My inbox and DMs were absolutely popping off with responses—most people saying “of course you got matching tattoos with someone you just met, that’s so you!” (making me question what kind of impression I’m giving y’all, lmao)—which made me feel, for the first time in a long time, the pressure to come up with something really freaking good to share with you today.

You know what’s funny about that, though? That feeling is the one I’m ALWAYS trying to convince people is bullshit.

The #1 reason people tell me that they hesitate to get started with email marketing is because they feel like they either have nothing to share, or what they DO have to share isn’t “good enough” or “interesting enough.”

& that is just NOT freaking true.

I know everyone loooves to hear the tea—the matching tattoo story, the first date icks, the 15,000 lost followers, the Hinge profile trauma—but not every email has to be such an intense, crazy, one-of-a-kind story. 

The emails that I send about regular ass things are just as engaging for my readers, if not more so. Because they can actually relate to them.

Sure, it’s entertaining to read a story about a girl going to a bar, meeting a boy, having an insane connection, and getting tattoos together the next day, then becoming besties with his mom. 

But that’s not relatable.

What’s relatable is all the weird jobs you had before freelancing, awkwardly drinking a drink you don’t want because you feel bad that someone bought it for you, the irrelevant crush on the medium ugly guy your age at the airport, feeling uncomfortable about getting more clients during a slow season… 

Those everyday experiences are ones that your readers have also gone through, which is WHY they’re the best content for you to share. 

More often than not, relatable content converts better than entertaining content, because people can feel what you felt, and it makes them feel so much more connected to you than simply reading about an event in your life.

Humans crave that connection piece. It’s more important for relationship building than anything else. 

Let’s talk about how to navigate getting started with email marketing when you don’t have juicy stories to share, or tons of responses, or thousands of subscribers.

How To Know If Your Email Marketing Efforts Are Working — And Other Email Marketing FAQs!

You definitely know by now that I’m obsessed with email marketing—it is quite literally the only marketing channel that I actually put effort into—and if I could only choose one way to engage with my community, it would be in the inbox.

(I don’t know if I’m supposed to admit stuff like that, but my secret’s safe with you, right?)

But, of course, that wasn’t always the case – there was (obviously) a point where my list consisted of a solid 14 people, and my newsletters were going out to… crickets. 

And in the beginning stages of email marketing, it’s easy to get discouraged, feeling like your list will never grow, like no one’s actually reading what you’re writing, and like you have no idea if what you’re doing is really working.

If that’s you right now, I’m hoping to ease a little bit of that anxiety today.

Thankfully, after sending regular emails for 120 weeks straight, my list has grown from my mom, my best friend, and a gaggle of random strangers to thousands of people from all across the world, and I want to share with you the answers to the Q’s I get A’d most frequently about email marketing.

Q: “Which metrics should I be paying attention to? Like, what actually matters?”

A: The specific answer, of course, depends on your goals for your email list, and what you’re hoping to accomplish.

For the sake of this convo, I’m going to assume you’re hoping to simply grow your community, become someone your subscribers look forward to seeing in their inbox, and eventually gain their trust so you can potentially sell to them down the line / encourage them to inquire.

In terms of analytics, I’d pay attention to open rates, click rates, and unsubscribes—but not in the way you might be thinking. 

In the beginning, all I recommend doing is looking for consistency, and noting any potential changes.

Did one particular newsletter have a way higher open rate than previous weeks? Maybe your subject line was really enticing. 

Did one particular newsletter have more unsubscribes than all of your others? Maybe you’re weeding out the people who aren’t meant to be on your list.

I’d also recommend paying attention to the growth in your list from week to week, and month to month, to make sure you’re growing consistently. Because if you’re not, that’s likely a sign that either you’re not promoting your newsletter or freebie enough, your opt-in copy isn’t working for you, or the narrative you’ve created about why someone should join your list isn’t resonating.  

Q: “How do I know if my email marketing efforts are actually working? My inbox isn’t flooded with responses, and I’m not getting inquiries from my list on the regular yet… should I just quit?”

A: Slow your roll, gurl! Just because you’re not getting responses or inquiries yet doesn’t mean you have to quit—all you have to do is remember that email marketing is a LONG game!

It’s easy to get discouraged about lack of response or engagement, especially when you’re used to getting it all the time from social media, but email marketing doesn’t work like that.

It’s normal for people to feel like “ghost followers.” 

I’m not kidding when I tell you that past clients have told me they waited on my list for 6 months or more before reaching out, just silently reading each of my emails & getting a feel for my personality and knowledge. Same thing goes for people who have purchased my courses.

Think about reading your favorite newsletter. Do you respond every time? I’m willing to bet that you don’t, even if you love the information and found it super helpful or funny or witty or entertaining.

I’ve found that people only respond when they either a) have a personal connection to what you said that they want to share, b) really resonate with the message more than any other newsletter of yours they’ve read, c) have input to share relevant to your content, or d) have a question about the information.

Don’t worry about the lack of replies to your newsletter, if that’s what you’re experiencing. Focus on the metrics I mentioned above, and have faith that your content is doing its job—if in a few months, you’re still not seeing much engagement or growth, reimagine your strategy by switching up what you say to get people on your list & which kinds of topics you write about.

Q: “So… how do I get people to respond to my emails?”

A: ASK THEM TO! We often underestimate the power of calls to action, either assuming no one will take our desired action (so we just don’t ask), OR assuming that people will know what to do next (when it’s never as obvious as we think it is).

Ask questions.

Tell subscribers to hit “reply” to share a certain thing with you.

Use their first name throughout the email, to keep them engaged. 

Treat your readers like you’re having a one-on-one conversation with them, just like you would in real life.

You got this! Like I said: email marketing is a long game, but it is SO freaking worth it if you stick with it.

…which is why I’m SO excited to share with you that my newest course, The Email Marketing Chapter, is the perfect solution for anyone looking to get started with email marketing.

In this self-paced email marketing course, you’ll learn how to:

  • Get the right people on your email list
  • Consistently attract more subscribers
  • Keep those people subscribed and interested
  • Create a killer weekly newsletter
  • Build a content strategy plan for your newsletter
  • Write newsletters people actually want to read

So, if you’re interested in mastering any of the above, this course was MADE for you.

But, don’t worry — if a course isn’t in the cards for you right now, I’ve got a few other ways to help you grow your email marketing game for free:

⭐️ [FREEBIE] Sample lead magnet + welcome sequence

⭐️ [BLOG] How to get started with a weekly newsletter

⭐️ [BLOG] How I decide what to send in my weekly newsletter

⭐️ [IG POST] 7 newsletter ideas to send to your list right now

Or, if you’re looking for an email marketing solution that offers a little MORE support, I’d love to help you start your email marketing strategy from scratch. Click here to learn about my email marketing VIP weeks & how we can work together to set up your email sitch from zero.

Thanks so much for reading! Here’s what to do if you liked this blog…

Subscribe to my newsletter. It’s way more fun.

love this post?

share it!

Hi, I'm Sara—Website Copywriter & Marketing Mentor.

If you're an entrepreneur, business owner, or course creator with big dreams of success and growth—and a big, scary blank document standing in your way every time you sit down to write your own copy—nice to meet you, I'm your new solution. 

Through what I like to call sales-focused storytelling, I'll help you find your brand's voice, perfectly position your offerings, develop your target market, and write copy that resonates with your ideal audience. And I'll do it all while keeping your personality at the forefront of every draft, to ensure that each word aligns with your true self. 

let's work together

Curious about crafting a compelling narrative? I'm on it—here's how I can help.



Mentorship for

Writing your own website or sales page copy doesn't have to be something you stress over anymore. I'd love to work with you to craft conversion-friendly, SEO-optimized copy your leads will love.

As an absolute email marketing fiend, there's no one more qualified to teach you how to get new subscribers on your email list and write the most click-and-binge-worthy newsletters. 

There's no better feeling than having the complete support of a trusted, dedicated mentor by your side as you navigate your journey as a new freelance copywriter. 

One marketing tip,
once a week.


Thanks for subscribing—Chat on Tues!

© between the lines creative llc, 2024.  |  legal  |  site credit