Before you hit delete on the thousands of emails clogging up your inbox, there is a lot you can learn from other people’s nurture emails. 

We’ve all gotten emails that we’ve read top to bottom and others that we quickly send to the trash. And, yes, let’s be honest, there are many that we never even bother to open. 

I subscribe to a lot of email lists, so it goes without saying that I’ve seen a lot of winners and a lot of losers. If you write weekly nurture emails, I suggest that you also sign up for lots of email lists especially those in your niche because they are a gold mine of learning.

Truth be told, there are a lot of people out there who think I am a devoted fan because I am sure their provider shows a high open rate for me. I just got an email this week thanking me for being a number one fan and being in the top 1% of readers. What they don’t know is that I am using their emails as a free school of what to do and not do in emails.


So instead of looking at them as junk emails and hitting delete, take the time to learn from them. 

As you go through your inbox, take note (literally take some notes, you’ll thank me later) of what catches your eye as you scroll through.

    1. Which emails do you ignore?
    2. Which emails slow you down, and which ones make you click.
    3. If you clicked, why did you? Was it the subject line or just because of who it was from?

Next, after you open the emails look at how you are addressed. 

    1. Is the greeting personal, generic, friendly, etc.
    2. How does that make you feel? 

What does the email look like?

  1. Is it mostly text or filled with pictures and/or video?
  2. Which ones resonate most with you? (For example, I have images turned off and I find it annoying to miss out on the main point if I have to scroll back up and enable images. A long video is a no-go for me because I can scan quickly but videos take time I am not willing to give unless they promise it is short.)
  3. Does it use an easy to read font?
  4. Is it pleasant to look at or does it jar your sense of order with too many colors, fonts, graphics?

Read the first line of the email.

  1. Does it catch your attention and make you want to read more or are you saying, “so what?”
  2. What would you have done differently?

What is the tone and language of the email like?

  1. How does that resonate with you? (We all have different personalities and tones so just remember that your ICA will be drawn to your tone and others won’t. That’s okay, what really matters is that you stay true to your voice and that your audience gets to know you.)
  2. Does the email use industry jargon or words you do not understand?
  3. Do they consistently use the same tone from email to email?

How easy is the email to read?

  1. Is the email easy to skim? (I’m a skimmer, so I personally like emails with short paragraphs, bullets, or numbered lists and tend to skip long paragraphs.)
  2. Are sentences and paragraphs an easy-to-read length?
  3. Does the email flow logically?
  4. What would you do differently to make the email easier to read?
  5. How long is the email and does that affect your willingness to read it? (I’m busy and very unlikely to read a super long email. My personal thought is if it needs to be that long, it should probably be more than one email because I usually find the writer has not stuck to one point or idea.)

Can you tell the purpose of the email? (I received an email from a well-known copywriter recently that told an extremely long story and I kept waiting for the point. I got to the end and there was a P.S. to join her new program. The story and the Call to Action to join her program were not related, and I am still a bit bitter that I read that story and it didn’t serve a true purpose.)

Is there a CTA?

  1. What is it?
  2. What do you think about how it is written
  3. Where it is placed and what effect did it have on you?
  4. Is it clear what they want you to do?

How is the letter signed?

  1. Does the tone of the signature match the tone of the rest of the email?
  2. Does the closing matter to you? (I read one copywriter’s emails just to see his closing because it is always different and usually entertaining.)


Here are some things that I’ve determined make me open and read emails.

  • The subject line grabs my attention.
  • The first line makes me curious enough to read more.
  • It’s from someone who usually sends great stuff.
  • The content teaches me something I want to learn.
  • The email entertains me. 
  • It’s a deal too good to pass up.
  • It’s something I’ve been anticipating.
  • It makes me laugh.
  • I can relate to it.
  • It’s easy to read.
  • I can skim it and get the important information.
  • The writer values my time.



Once you’ve studied emails for a while, you will soon notice a pattern that develops in your notes about what you like and don’t like. That can help you learn what might work for you so you can increase your own open rates.

Creating your own list based on what you learn from other people’s emails helps you determine what you do and do not want to do. It will help you recognize effective emails and show you what is less effective. This can also help you become more confident in writing your own nurture emails.


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