The Content Creator’s Complete Guide to Email Marketing in 2023

April 6, 2021

Are you a content creator wondering if email marketing is for you? Why should you consider email marketing, and what should you send to your audience via email? Keep reading, my friend, because this post covers everything you need to know about email marketing as a content creator.

Email marketing as a content creator, let’s talk about it.

And in case this whole email thing is like uncharted territory to you, you have nothing to fear because I intend to cover everything you might need to know about the topic. 

So I thought, why not illustrate email marketing in an example that a fellow content creator might relate to? 




Imagine you’ve just found an awesome fan artist on Instagram.

You fall in love with the Animal Crossing fan art on their feed, you thoroughly enjoy their Reels that show their painting process in a minute or less, and you never miss a Story they post about the random RPG games they’re playing, the food they’re eating, and the thoughts they’re, well, thinking throughout the day.

Then one day, you see it. 

A post on their feed is advertising a free Pokemon wallpaper pack that they made themselves. Link in bio!

You hop over to their Instagram profile, click the link in their bio, and sign up to receive the free wallpapers — gee, you can’t wait to make that Eevee wallpaper your phone’s lock screen! — and just a minute later, ding! Your email pops up a notification.

Download your free Pokemon wallpapers by me here! reads the email subject line.

You excitedly do just that.

Over time, you realize that you’re now getting weekly emails from this artist you love. 

They send a lot of things that you might not have seen from their Insta yet, and you like getting to know their thoughts sent through email. Wow, you didn’t know they were a big Stardew Valley nerd like yourself!

You also learn that one of their exclusive projects is working on launching a merch store. It takes a few months but you get the email that, hey, the store is officially live and there’s a 10% opening sale if you use the code that’s only found in this email.

Without a moment’s hesitation, you follow the link to their store, and proceed to fill your cart...

What is email marketing?

Do you now see how cool email marketing can be for content creators? I’ll be getting into more detail about the exact benefits of email marketing for content creators, but let’s just say it’s another platform to reach and engage with your audience and nurture your community.

You’ve seen an example of email marketing for content creators in action back in the last section, so I thought I’d put my own spin on what exactly email marketing is, particularly in the context of an online creator.


Email marketing for content creators is the process of engaging, nurturing, and interacting with your audience of true fans in a more intimate, personal way.

Let’s break down that definition into its major parts.

  • “Email marketing is the process of engaging, nurturing, and interacting…” Like any platform you have as a content creator, it’s another way to reach people in your audience. But with a key difference, which leads me to…
  • “...with your audience of true fans…” What makes email marketing for content creators different from other platforms, like YouTube or Instagram, is that not anyone can read the emails and newsletters you send. People who sign up for your email list are likely to be dedicated fans to take action when you invite them to, and who are willing to follow you on a more exclusive channel. Which now finally leads me to…
  • “ a more intimate, personal way.” Email marketing is special in that you’re interacting with that audience of fans inside their personal emails. I don’t know about you, but my email is such a private, personal channel. I don’t let just anybody send me mail. So if I subscribe to a creator’s email list, it’s because I genuinely want to hear from them!

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Is email marketing dead?

So a question I sometimes get when I bring up the topic of email marketing is, “Is email marketing dead?”

And well, depending on who you ask, the answer might differ.

Some marketing gurus out there will praise email marketing as the top channel with the highest ROI for business owners, for example.

Yet other experts and gurus might tell you that nobody is reading email, it’s a waste of money, etcetera etcetera.


My opinion?

I think email marketing is more alive than ever — but only and especially when you’ve built a list of truly engaged fans.

What do I mean by this?

It only means that email marketing can be an amazing way to truly connect with your audience deeper. 

So if you’re out there buying fake email lists in an attempt to puff up your ego and say, “Yeah, I have 10,000 people in my email list” when these people never signed up to hear from you, well, you’re just asking to get blacklisted on the internet.

One other reason I still do email marketing is because I know many people in my audience doesn’t follow me on social media. Many of them don’t have Instagram, or they rarely check YouTube — and even if people do follow me on my other platforms, they know that I share the most updated, exclusive stuff via my newsletter.


So now we answer the question that might be on your mind: do you actually need email marketing when you’re a content creator?

Is there actually a benefit, or is it putting in time and energy into something that doesn’t really do anything for your personal brand?

Okay, I’m going to be honest here: the answer will depend on you.

I know, I know, that sounds like a copout answer, but let me explain.

Some creators doing a similar post like this might just go all, “Yes! Absolutely, start an email list!” then they proceed to bombard you with their affiliate links so that they earn recurring commission from you.

But me? I don’t swing that way, yo.

Instead, I want to make it very clear that email marketing may or may not work for you — but only you can figure out what’s right for you right now.

So to help you make the most informed decision you possibly can, I’m breaking down what I believe are the best benefits but also the biggest downsides of email marketing as a content creator.

I try to be as comprehensive as possible, but if you still have questions for your particular needs, you know how to reach me!

Email marketing may or may not work for you — but only you can figure out what’s right for you right now.

Want to learn how to build your audience from scratch?

Read the Ultimate Guide to getting your dream audience to find your content—and become loyal fans for life.


Alright, let’s jump into why email marketing might be your next big thing as a content creator. 

It’s a more personal way to connect to your audience

If you’ve got a really engaged audience and want to connect with them in ways that not just any follower would appreciate, an email list can be a great way to do just that.


Your most loyal fans might appreciate getting personal emails from you. These emails might be exclusive tips, your thoughts about recent events or changes in your life, or updates and behind-the-scenes takes of what’s to come from you.

You’re ditch the algorithm game

As someone who’s benefitted from algorithms, I don’t say this lightly. Even though a lot of my audience discovered who I am and what I do because of the Google or YouTube algorithm, I won’t deny that playing the algorithm game sometimes takes a lot out of you.

When you use email marketing as a content creator, you don’t need to worry about whether or not your audience will actually see your newest stuff. Because, y’know...the algorithm totally sometimes makes your posts hard to find. Yikes.


Email inboxes don’t have algorithms. Every email you and I get is arranged in our inboxes chronologically. (Side note: do you remember when social media was like that? Man, the good ol’ days.

So you’re always going to appear in your audience’s inbox, and it’s only a matter of getting your emails opened.

Important related note: I also have to inject this, but many entrepreneurs that encourage content creators to start an email list also point out that your email list is something you own. 

You don’t own your followers on Instagram or on Facebook. If the apps suddenly get shut down or (more realistically, I believe) if your account gets taken down for any reason, there’s no way to reach your audience unless they follow you on all your other social profiles.

So it’s worth considering starting an email list if you’re really worried about that. But if you think the chances are pretty slim that anything will happen to your account, or that your audience will find their way back to you if anything does happen, then don’t sweat it.

We can’t deny email marketing’s ROI

Even highly-successful content creators on platforms like YouTube build up their email lists, especially to grow their business. 

So if you’re already a creator that’s starting a business or looking to keep making more sales without relying on algorithms, an email list might actually be the next best thing for you.

You can invite your audience to free exclusive masterclasses and webinars where you eventually pitch your offer. Or you can invite people to book a consultation call with you to see if you’ll be able to help them with a service.


If you really need the numbers to back up email marketing’s ROI, the going average is at about $42 dollars for every dollar you spend

That’s a whopping 4,200% average, and yours could even be higher if you’ve got a really dedicated fan base.

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Given the benefits of using email marketing as a content creator I listed above, it would be pretty dishonest of me if I didn’t give you reasons why email marketing might not be for you.

Keep in mind that every creator is different, everyone’s audience is different, so take these reasons with a grain of salt. These might be reasons you might not need an email list for your content creation, but only you can truly decide what’s best for you.

Email marketing is a whole ‘nother platform to take care of

I’m going to mention this right off the bat.

Adding another platform while you manage your entire content empire on the internet can be tough, especially if you’re a solo creator or do a ton of the work on your platforms as is.

Consider that writing a newsletter can add maybe an hour or two to your workload a week—and if you’re new to the whole email marketing game, then add in a few more hours trying to learn the ins and outs of software and etc.

You enjoy just being on the one (or two) platforms

Look, if you’re seriously super happy to stick to just YouTube or Instagram or TikTok, don’t feel pressured to jump into the email marketing game. 


It’s a serious commitment and can even cost money, so if you feel like you only want to start a newsletter because of FOMO, then let me tell you right now: stick to the platform you’re comfortable with.

I highly recommend only really getting into email marketing when you’re actually craving for another way to connect with your audience that might be different from social media platforms. Or, like I mention in the previous section, you should really consider it if you’re starting a creative business.

You have zero plans of starting a business now or in the future

I have to say that having a newsletter and doing email marketing as a content creator has really been because I had the goal of turning my creative projects into money-makers for myself.

If this isn’t the case for you, and you truly want to stick to the platforms you’re good at without adding extra stress to your creator life, that’s fine.

Let me say it again.


If you truly want to stick to the platforms you’re good at without adding extra stress to your creator life, that’s fine.

Email marketing’s best benefit is probably in its ROI for business owners, in my opinion.

Yes, I’m able to send private notes and exclusive updates and stories — but this is an important thing to do when you do any kind of email marketing at all, especially in business.

Bottom line: If you don’t want to do email marketing because content creation is a hobby for you, or you’re not looking to sell products and services, then you absolutely don’t need to do it.

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You'll absolutely transform the way you create and produce content for your platform. You can thank me later. 😉


Okay, if you’ve reached this point in my blog post, then you’ve probably decided that email marketing is for you. Congratulations! 

Deciding to actually start an email list as an added platform is just the first step, as I’m sure you know. So in this next section, I want to show you a step-by-step guide to getting started with email marketing as a content creator.

Follow these steps, implement some other growth strategies along the way, and grow your list to 1,000 subscribers in no time.


The first — and most important — step is giving people a compelling reason to sign up to your email list in the first place.

So many creators and bloggers (and I mean soooo many) are guilty of putting up this ultra generic “Sign up to my newsletter” box on their website.

Email marketing for content creators means giving your audience a reason to sign up and trust you.

Uhhhh, sign ups like these don't really work unless you're Taylor Swift with a really loyal, devoted fanbase. Image source

Let’s get one thing straight here.

That doesn’t work.

Unless you’re maybe someone like Taylor Swift, then sure, your audience is likely going to snap up every chance to hear from you.

But if you’re not Taylor Swift level of famous, how do you get people to sign up for your newsletter?

The answer? See above. Give them a compelling reason to sign up!

How do you get people to sign up for your newsletter?

So at this point, let me introduce the concept called a lead magnet.

Sounds fancy, I know, but it’s really simple.


A lead magnet is simply something that helps you turn a stranger on the internet into a warm lead or an actual subscriber.

 (See why it’s called that? It acts like a magnet for leads aka subscribers!)

Depending on the goal for your email list, be it to eventually sell products or to just be able to communicate on a deeper level, there are different lead magnet options for you out there.

For many entrepreneurs and business owners, a popular lead magnet is some kind of free PDF, ebook, or checklist. People love getting high-value quick wins like this!

Here’s an example of my own lead magnet that turns my new blog readers into actual subscribers:

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See how I offer this really awesome checklist for free? 

Now, maybe you’re a creator that doesn’t have a business.Don’t worry because there are definitely some lead magnet options for you, my friend.

If you know you have a loyal audience already, offer them something that might level up what they usually get from your content.

Maybe you’re a travel vlogger. Why not make a Best of [City] Guide that helps your audience get more ideas about their next trip?

Or maybe you’re a podcast host. If there’s a concept you talk about on your podcast a lot — say, daily motivation — you can give them some printable posters of some of your favorite mantras?

The Lead Magnet Litmus Test

When you’re planning out what lead magnet to offer to your audience to get them to sign up to your newsletter or email list, I like to recommend the Lead Magnet Litmus Test.

It’s a handy little checklist that you can use every time you think of new lead magnet ideas. There’s three parts to it.

  • Does it offer a quick win to your new subscribers?
  • Are there people offering something like this for a fee?
  • Does it tie back to the value you want to put out through your other free content?

Let’s break these parts down.

Delivers a quick win

First, your lead magnet needs to offer a quick win to subscribers. Quick wins can be anything from having a short workbook they can fill out in 10 minutes, or learning a new thing about themselves through an online quiz.

Even printing out your freebie counts as a quick win. Maybe you’ve got something super stylist or cute for them to print out right away!

Other people are paying for similar things

Next, check if people might actually be offering something that’s like your lead magnet as a paid product.

Take a look around and you’ll see practically everything is available for sale these days. Planner printables, short courses, ebooks, workshops, posters, calendars…


Don’t be intimidated by this part of the Lead Magnet Litmus Test because I guarantee, if you look hard enough, you’ll find someone out there offering a paid version of the lead magnet you’re planning to offer.

The beauty is this: Because your audience might know that high-value stuff like this might be something they need to pay for, because here you are offering it for free, they’re more likely to trust you. And they’re more likely to sign up to your newsletter in exchange for that free thing.

After all, they’re not paying for something, so they don’t risk downloading or doing something they’ll regret shelling out money for.

And if your lead magnet is absolutely amazing, that’s a great way to deepen your relationship with your new subscribers instantly!

Ties back to your unique value

Hey, we’re all about value here. Even your lead magnet needs to remind your new subscribers about the value you put out into the world.

No use putting up a lead magnet that’s a free food map around your city if you’re not out there creating food-related content in the first place.


Even worse though? 

When you create a generic lead magnet the majority of people might actually want, but then the content you put out — including future emails — has nothing to do with that lead magnet.

(Don't do this!)

If you create a generic lead magnet just because you think it’ll give you easy subscribers, that plan is totally going to backfire, my friend.

Instead, focus on a high-value lead magnet that’s unique to your value as a content creator. Make this lead magnet really get your new subscribers to say, “Hey, cool, now I know what this person is really all about. And I’m here for it!”

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Now that you’ve got your first lead magnet idea, it’s time to actually make sure your audience knows about it.

The best way to do this is including a call-to-action in all your free content.

Got a blog? Do what I do and add an eye-catching sign-up box between sections of your post. 

If you’re on YouTube, add a link in the description. Then talk about your lead magnet link in the actual video.

Same with podcasts: mention within your episode what your freebie is, then tell people how to find it.

Bonus tip: make your link easy to remember and type in. After all, you might not be able to include links when you’ve uploaded your podcast episode, so make sure your sign-up link is nice and simple.

Here are some extra tips for you to really make your call-to-action irresistible to those new subscribers:

  • Give a little teaser about the benefit of this lead magnet. What can people expect to get when they download that awesome freebie you made? Remember though: you’re not here to sell magic snake oil, so don’t promise the moon.
  • Add a mockup or visual that can show people what to expect. If it’s a printable or ebook, add the cover or a few screenshots of the pages. If it’s a workshop or course, a screenshot of a video still works.
  • Sprinkle in your call-to-action in key areas. While you don’t want to downright flood your website with pop-ups and other annoying ads, consider different areas on your website to add a call-to-action. Think of menus, sidebars, footer areas, and in between paragraphs of long text.

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Once you’ve got your email list up and running, and you’re finally raking in those first few subscribers, here’s a big tip: be human.

No one likes to get emails from what seems like a robot, okay? (That’s an easy way to get sent to the Spam folder really quickly.)


So this means actually speak to your audience in your newsletters. Share helpful advice and stories, and be yourself. Let that personality shine through! 


My next tip when it comes to knowing the best practices for email marketing is...take it easy on the promotions, why dont’cha?

While yes, you can absolutely use your newsletter however you like — it’s your life — that doesn’t mean you should bombard your audience with your products and services every single week.

When you’re a content creator leveraging email marketing to connect with your audience, do that: connect with your audience.

Use the newsletter as a space to share value first, be it in the form of stories or tips. People want to be able to connect with you, the creator, and not some robot that only wants to sell your — oh, I don’t know — stickers on Etsy every other day.

Value first; promoting your products later.


One fun thing about email marketing these days is the ability to personalize your emails.

Now, there are some pretty advanced ways to use personalization, but I’ll give you the basics.

Every email marketing service gives you the opportunity to address your subscribers by their first name, if you include it as an option in your sign-up form. This is important. When you have that information, sprinkle it into your email. Call subscribers by their name!

Magically call subscribers by name using email marketing for content creators

You can make subscribers feel special by actually addressing them by name. You can only do this with email marketing, for content creators. Image source

Another easy way to use personalization in your email marketing? Sending highly targeted emails to segments in your audience. 

Now, this probably applies to some veteran email marketers more, but here’s how it works. 


Maybe in your lead magnet sign-up form, you also included a little checkbox that people could interact with. Say you ask what kind of content they’re more interested in once inside your email list.

You have three options:

  •  A) Tech Reviews
  • B) Digital Productivity Tips
  • C) Industry News

If a subscriber checked only B and C, then they’ll get added into segments for these two categories. (On your email list, these might be called Groups or Tags if not Segments!)

So what you can do as a pro email writer is personalize their experience with your newsletter. They won’t receive any emails that they don’t want to receive, and you’ll be sure to send them any emails that fall under the Digital Productivity Tips and Industry News categories.

Example of personalized content in email marketing for content creators

Here's an example of this tip in action. People get different emails depending on their preferences! Image source

This might take some time to get used to and implement, but trust me, it can really help engage your audience like never before.

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Have you ever been in someone’s newsletter, and all they ever shared in their emails was their brand new YouTube video each week? And you’re already subscribed to them on YouTube, so this just feels...I don’t know...redundant?


Don’t treat email marketing as a way to just amplify what you’re already posting on other public platforms. Instead, give it that personal twist that people subscribed for.

Keep your subscribers interested by always including exclusive content, stories, and more. If people see your emails are only about you promoting your latest Instagram post, then they’re not very likely to want to stay subscribed, you feel me?


Emailing subscribers can sometimes feel like shouting into the void. Kinda like Twitter, heh.

If you don’t want to feel like that, here’s my golden rule for engagement: ask, and you shall receive.

Your subscribers probably don’t know that you’re eager for them to respond. So ask!


Include a short question, a call-to-action, a prompt… Anything that says, “Hey, you! I wanna hear back from ya.”

Trust me, it’s a simple tweak. But it goes a long way. 


The final step I highly recommend is this: experiment! So maybe it’s been months since you launched that first lead magnet idea you had. And you’ve gotten low conversions.

Hey, no problem. Why not commit to creating a different lead magnet instead? 

Focus on finding a few ideas that you think will work — and, of course, remember the Lead Magnet Litmus Test along the way.

Over time, you’ll get better at learning what your audience might really want as quick wins and value. But you’ll never learn if you don’t experiment.

Consider any “failed” lead magnet as a learning experience. Just keep trying to get those conversions!


Wrapping up this massive post with a little question to chew on: how do you intend to use email marketing as a content creator? 

Let me know your thoughts by commenting down below, or sending me a direct message on Instagram. Or if you’re subscribed to my newsletter, why not reply there? (And see these tips in action!)

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ABOUT Mica Gonzalez

Mica (hey, that's me!) provides resources for content creators and creative entrepreneurs to design their days with more purpose, impact, and creativity.

Her workshops, courses, and programs are all designed with her commitment to slow growth, anti-hustle culture, and success on our own terms.

When she's not referring to herself in the third person on her blog, she's sharing cool things she's into and up to on Instagram @micaangelicagonz.


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