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Email Marketing: The Unlikely Hero in Your Digital Odyssey

Dennis Francis
5 min readJan 2, 2024


Remember the days when we felt thrilled to hear “You’ve got mail!”? Fast forward, and our inboxes are akin to a labyrinthine bazaar.

Our sacred space is now bustling with everything from Nigerian princes to that online store you bought a phone case from three years ago.

If you’ve been doing any kind of Internet marketing over the last decade or two, you've had to deal with email marketing. No doubt, you’ve seen the good, the bad, and the embarrassing.

If you are new to the process of selling online, you may be thinking that social media is the best way to go. Is it really?

The answer is complicated. Here’s why. Most people who don’t understand email marketing think it’s all spam all the time. Of course, these are the same people who check their emails every day and click on links to things they like without a second thought.

Email Marketing is So Damn Good!

The facts are interesting. The average open rate for email marketing campaigns across various industries was approximately 41.31%.

Industries like government, healthcare, and non-profits showed the highest open rates. When you get those kinds of numbers, with the kind of ROI of email marketing, it’s hard to turn away.

The average click rate was around 3.01%, indicating the percentage of recipients who clicked a link in an email. It’s notable that emails from bloggers had the highest click rates.

Email marketing still works very well when used properly. Back when I was teaching this stuff, I used the analogy of email marketing as waving at strangers.

If you wave and smile at enough strangers, eventually you’ll be shaking hands with a few who have something in common with you. If you pick your strangers carefully, you’ve increased the odds of shaking hands dramatically!

Email marketing is the unsung hero of our digital age. It’s often lurking in the shadows of its flashy cousin, social media. Yet, for content creators, it’s like discovering a secret passage in the labyrinth—one that leads straight to your audience’s heart.

The Art of Not Being a Digital Dinosaur

Let’s begin with a bit of irony. In a world where we’re constantly chasing the latest TikTok trend or Instagram feature, email seems almost prehistoric. But here’s the kicker—it works!

Picture this: for every dollar spent on email marketing, the average return is a whopping $42. It’s like betting on a tortoise in a hare-brained world and winning.

Why Email Isn’t Your Grandma’s Rotary Phone

Personalization Galore
Unlike social media’s one-size-fits-all, email lets you tailor your cape to fit each superhero in your audience.

The ‘Seen’ Zone
While your social media post battles algorithms, your email lounges comfortably in the inbox, sipping a martini, waiting to be noticed.

Metrics That Matter
Clicks, opens, conversions—emails provide stats that are actually insightful, not just vanity metrics like the number of ‘hearts’ your post got.

Your list is yours
An email list is something that you own. Facebook may change their policy, Google may deny you your first-place ranking, but your email list will still be there for you to use.

Identifying Your Niche Audience

Q. Why did Willie Sutton rob banks?
A. Because that’s where the money is.

The first thing you’ll want to focus on when you decide to market goods or services is who you intend to market them to. This is probably the second-most important thing to think about as a content creator.

This is going to be the real quest: discovering your niche market. It’s like finding Nemo in the vast ocean of the internet. Data is your true north, guiding you through the currents of demographics, interests, and behaviors.

Once you’ve discovered your ideal target audience, you’ll need to know how to get to know them.

  • Where do they hang out?
  • Who are their heroes?
  • What do they want?
  • Who gives them good energy?

The goal? Craft emails that resonate like a perfectly tuned guitar string with your audience.

Your selected niche is going to have subsets as well. Delve into those sub-niches to find content gold. If you’re into knives, for example, here are a few sub-niches to consider:

  1. Kitchen knives
  2. Survival and outdoor knives
  3. Collectible knives
  4. Custom-made knives
  5. Tactical and self-defense knives
  6. Knife sharpening and maintenance
  7. Knife throwing and sports
  8. Historical and antique knives
  9. Japanese knives (such as sushi knives)
  10. Hunting and fishing knives
  11. Knife-making and blacksmithing
  12. EDC (Everyday Carry) knives
  13. Knife accessories (sheaths, handles, etc.)
  14. Knife brands and reviews
  15. Knife safety and skills

So this week, we’re going to go all in on finding niche markets. There are obvious places to start. Let’s go ahead and pick some examples from the knife niche.

  • Reddit — r/knives and related subreddits.
  • BladeForums — A dedicated knife enthusiast forum.
  • KnifeClub Discord — A community for knife enthusiasts.
  • Instagram — Search for #knifeenthusiast and follow related accounts.
  • Facebook Groups — Join knife-related groups.
  • YouTube — Watch and comment on knife review and tutorial videos.
  • Knife Maker’s Forum — If you’re into knife-making.
  • EDC Forums — For those interested in Everyday Carry items, including knives.
  • Instagram — Follow custom knife makers and interact with their followers.
  • Knife-related subreddits on other social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok.

Throughout the next few articles, we’re going to go even deeper. Building an email list is like having a stock portfolio. If you keep nurturing it and investing in it, the return will far outweigh your time, money, and effort.

Niche-spotting: A Modern-Day Sherlock Holmes Adventure

You can get as detailed as you wish! Analyze behavior, interests, and feedback. It’s like piecing together a puzzle, except each piece is a clue to your audience’s desires.

Speak Their Language
Customize not just content but tone, design, and even the sign-off. It’s like knowing to say ‘tomato’ in America and ‘tomato’ in Britain.

The Segment Sleuth
Divide your audience into segments. Imagine hosting a dinner party and knowing exactly who prefers veganism and who’s a meat lover.

Email marketing for content creators isn’t just another strategy. It’s a personal, powerful, and surprisingly punchy way to turn your audience into a community.

So, embrace it with both arms and maybe a leg. After all, in the digital bazaar, your email is the magic carpet that flies straight into your audience’s world.

Let Me be Your Guide

If this is your first venture into the world of email marketing strategies, stick with me for a few days. I’m going to be covering a lot of ground. If you’ve been at this for a while, there are still new things to learn, as I have found.



Dennis Francis

Retired content marketing consultant. Author, artist, husband, father and owner of Still helping small business owners daily.