In today’s episode, I’m answering the question: How do I encourage my mailing list to reply to my emails?

I will also be addressing a question from Zoie Stevens about getting people to open your emails and ensuring that they’re delivered to their inbox instead of spam. But I also wanted to go deeper and talk about how to get your mailing list to reply.

Here for the links referenced in the show notes? 

Episode 296: 5 ways to increase email open rates:

Ask a Question:

Let’s dive in…

This podcast episode was prompted by a question that was asked by the amazing Zoie Stevens.

You can find her website at or on Instagram at

Zoie asked:

“Hi Tash. I’ve just listened to podcast episode 296: 5 ways to increase email open rates, which I found really helpful. Thank you.
Following on from that, I was wondering how to make sure the confirmation email after someone signs up with you (and subsequent emails), get delivered to their inbox, rather than spam folder.”

This is such a great question Zoie!

What I thought we could do in today’s episode is talk about how to get INTO the inbox. We’ve already covered how to get them to open the emails (check out episode 296 to learn more), and from there, we want to look at how you get people to actually reply because we know that connection drives conversion.

The more that people are replying to your emails, the more that you are going to see your leads go up, and the more that it will increase your chances of making sales.

First and foremost, I want to answer Zoie’s question.

This is a little bit complicated, and it does take a multi-pronged approach.

1. Give them a reason to check their inbox

The first thing to do is to think about: What would drive someone as soon as they’ve signed up to your mailing list to make sure that they can find the confirmation email?

If someone joins your mailing list for something that they’ll get from you in three weeks, then they’re less likely to immediately go and check where the email went to.

When you’re getting people to sign up to your mailing list, regardless of what is incentivising it – whether it’s a webinar that’s in three weeks’ time, whether it’s to be on a waitlist for something, or whether it’s to grab a free resource – you want to make it very clear that it’s super valuable for them to immediately go and find the email that they just got for registering.

You might need to consider the value proposition of the free resource, opt-in, or lead magnet that you’re providing, and make that a little stronger.

Maybe on the sign-up page you talk about why this is something to address quickly. For example, ‘Grab it from your inbox immediately so that you can achieve X outcome’.

If people are signing up for a webinar of mine and that’s their first time on my mailing list, I always give them a reason to go and look for the confirmation email straight away.

It’s usually because, in the confirmation email, I’ve linked to another really great resource that they can use straight away.

Even though they’re signing up for a webinar that may be in two or three weeks’ time, they are encouraged to go and check their inbox now, because I’ve got something for them to start with now.

People are signing up for my webinar because they want to achieve that outcome.

If my webinar is about how to make sales from your mailing list, then in the confirmation email, I will give them a free training on how to grow their mailing list.

See how those things are linked?

You can start growing your email list today so that once you come to the webinar, you’ll then know how to make sales from that mailing list.

Finding things that are linked or things that are the step before and providing an immediate resource for people, will mean that they’re more likely to sign up and then go and check their inbox.

Think about your own signup behaviours.

How many times have you signed up for a mailing list, and then not even bothered to go and check if you got the email because there was nothing for you to do? Or there was nothing urgent – there was no reason to go and grab it straight away.

Even for me, I find if I sign up for checklists, ebooks, etc., I will constantly tell myself that I’ll go grab it later. I’ll sign up immediately but I’ll go and read it later.

Whereas if I am told why it’s something I should address straight away, if it’s clear that something’s really valuable and urgent, or if they give me a reason to check my inbox immediately, then I’m far more likely to actually go and check my inbox and hunt that confirmation email down.

That’s number one – give people a reason to go and open the email straightaway.

2. Treat your thank you page real estate carefully

There have been so many times when I’ve signed up for a free resource, and the thank you page only says ‘Thank you for signing up’. That’s it. There are no instructions on what to do next, there’s no information about what I’m about to achieve… there’s nothing!

I don’t even feel good about signing up. I just feel like I’ve done you a favour.

Think about that real estate on your thank you page, and think about the value, the connection, the urgency, and the information that you can provide on that thank you page.

On the other hand, if the thank you page is pages and pages long, then people are also going to click away.

It’s not a matter of putting as much on the thank you page as possible. It’s about concisely creating connection and urgency, and giving direction so that people check their inbox straightaway and go and track that email down.

These days, you’re less likely to have to instruct people on exactly how to safelist you or to go and look in the promotions tab and drag your email over to the inbox.

People know how to manage their inboxes far more effectively these days.

But you do sometimes need to remind them to go and quickly double-check that the email came through.

Have a think about how you can articulate and share that really quickly and effectively. And what else can you do to create that sense of connection?

Sometimes on my thank you pages, you’ll see me say something like, ‘Epic! You’ve grabbed that checklist. But here’s the tough news: the checklist doesn’t work when it’s just sitting in your inbox collecting dust. What I want you to do is go and grab the download from your inbox and save it to a place where you will see it every time you log into your computer. This will remind you to use it. because the checklist is only effective if you actually use it.’

If it’s something that I think would be worthwhile printing out, I will say that as well.

If you’re signing up for one of my webinars, there’s usually something you can do straight away. I’ll say ‘Make sure you go and check that you’ve got the confirmation email, because that will give you the link to go and do this free training.’

I’m very clear with people to go and actually look for the email.

The more that you’re a good email sender through your platform (ie. MailChimp, Mailerlite, ActiveCampaign, Kartra or Kajabi), the less you’ll get your emails marked as spam, and the more chance there is that it ends up in people’s inbox instead of their promotions tab or spam box.

The more that it’s personalised, the more likely it’s going to go into their actual inbox.

Make use of those smart tags.

Your email is far more likely to go into someone’s inbox if your first email to them says ‘Hi [first name}!’ (and your platform magically inserts their first name).

If it says ‘Hey gorgeous’ and there’s no personalisation, then it’s more likely to be flagged by the AI within people’s inboxes as potential spam.

There are also certain words that can flag things as potential promotions or spam.

I generally limit my use of the words:

  • Free
  • $$$ (dollar sign)
  • Donation
  • Money
  • Finance
  • Income

Anything money-related will sometimes be a trigger.

I’m not an expert on what those words are. I actually have someone who I engage on a project basis to help me review my emails through that lens. But I do know that you can google these things.

Even if you just go and Google ‘What words should I avoid in my marketing emails to stay out of the spam box’, then there are lots and lots of providers who give a list of what words to stay away from, particularly with the first email.

The first email is going to be one of the most important ones.

But ultimately, at the end of the day, if people are receiving an email through a mass email system, chances are, it’s either going to go in their promotions tab or into their spam box in the first instance.

This is why incentivising the individual to go and look for the email, find it and safelist you, is going to be far more effective than simply just avoiding the word ‘free’.

Those little things will make a couple of percentage points in difference. But the biggest difference that’s going to be made is people realising that they never received your email, and then going and hunting it down.

Having people actually pay attention to what they’ve signed up for, and know that it’s important that they go and look for it, is going to be the most effective way to ensure that those emails are found, and subsequent emails make it to the actual inbox.

Hopefully that answers your question, Zoie, and has given you a couple of little strategies to think about.

I also wanted to just share with you some quick strategies on how to get replies.

Ultimately, having people on your mailing list is amazing. But the more we can turn mass communication into one-to-one communication, the more likely those people are to be leads for your products and services, and the more likely they are to purchase something from you.

Here are a few things to think about when it comes to getting replies…

1. Make your emails easy to read

The easier your email is to read, the more likely I am to see the little prompt that says, ‘Reply and let me know X, Y, Z’.

If your emails are long and complex with eight sections to them, lots of banners and photos, and everything is very busy, then that can be quite challenging to digest. Similarly, if it’s all words and there’s nothing to really break it up, that can be quite challenging to read as well.

Interestingly, I find that the emails that I receive from people who are neurodivergent, who have low attention spans, who are very vocal with me about the need for things to be interesting and have variety in order for them to read them, are the people who I most likely receive those long-winded, wordy, complex emails from.

Just take some time to look at your email and ask: Would I want to read all of this? Would I open this and instantly be hooked? Or would I open this and feel put off by how busy it is?

Do pay attention to the readability of your emails, so that if you do include prompts that get people to reply, they actually get to those prompts and know to reply.

99% of the time, if people aren’t replying to a question that you’ve asked, it’s because they never read the question. It’s because there’s too much for them to actually sift through.

That’s the first strategy to get your mailing list to reply.

2. Make it one thing that’s easy to reply to

I will also receive emails that say, ‘Send me an email and let me know what the biggest barrier between you and having amazing copy that attracts your ideal clients is’…

If I knew the answer to that question, I wouldn’t be on your mailing list! I don’t know the answer. I don’t know what’s wrong with my copy. That’s why I’m following you.

It’s not an easy question for me to answer, so I won’t answer it.

Or I’ll receive questions that are compound questions. There are actually six questions in one. I don’t want to miss out and not reply to all of them, so I just don’t reply to any of them.

Another one that I often see is when you’re just asking question for question’s sake.

I talk about this on social media as well.

Don’t ask me how I have my coffee if you’re never going to order me a coffee or make me a coffee.

You’re just asking that question because you want to get free engagement. I’m not going to give it to you and most people will not answer questions that they perceive as wasting their time.

There needs to be something in it for me.

If you’re asking me a question, I need to understand why answering that question will be valuable for me as the person taking on this workload of answering you.

If you’re asking a question because it’s going to contribute to the free resources that I get in the future, then I’ll be more likely to answer the question.

On this podcast, I will often say, ‘Slide into my DMs and tell me X, and I’ll do Y for you’.

I might say, ‘Slide into my DMs and give me the link to your website. I’ll give you a quick five-minute review of what it tells me and where I think there are some gaps.’

‘Slide into my DMs and give me the link to your Instagram page and I’ll do a quick one-minute review of your Instagram page for you.’

I’m happy to do that work for people because I want to have those one-to-one relationships with people in my audience.

By the way, if you’re reading this and you want to send me a link to your website, Instagram or Facebook, or you want to send me your messaging or your value proposition, and you want me to have a quick look at it, as long as I can do it in under two to three minutes, I will absolutely do that for you.

Feel free to slide into my DMs on Instagram or Facebook, or send me an email at I’m quite happy to answer those questions or give you some feedback on things.

I’ve had people message me recently asking which niche they should focus on. We’ve been able to have a quick back-and-forth conversation where I’ve been able to help them move forward. I’m happy to do those sorts of things. I love talking business!

Please do always reach out and ask questions.

At the end of this episode, I’m going to tell you how you can ask a question and I’ll answer it on the podcast too, so make sure that you pay attention to that.

That’s the second way to get your mailing list to reply. Make it something that’s simple and easy for them to action. Also think about the incentive. What’s in it for them in doing that workload?

3. Simply ask a question

Instead of embedding your question in your newsletter or in another sales email, why not just send a question?

This is called a SPEAR email. It stands for:


If you’ve ever participated in one of my launches, chances are you’ve received a SPEAR email from me.

That email might simply say, ‘Hey {first name}, I’m putting together my next batch of podcasts and I’d love to know, is there something you’d like me to cover?’

That’s a really powerful email to send to my mailing list to get a reply.

send an email to get your mailing list to reply

Send a SPEAR email to get your mailing list to reply.

People do have some ideas about things that they would like my opinion on, or strategies they’d like me to give some more insight into.

I’m totally happy to do that in my podcast episodes.

If they feel like they’re going to get some valuable information from that (ie. a podcast episode that answers that question), they’ll reply.

You may have also had an email from me that says, ‘Hey, I want to help as many people as possible to get their online course or their membership off the ground. So please reply and let me know: What is your membership or course idea? And why haven’t you launched it yet? I’ll help you work through it.’

It can be as simple as that. It doesn’t have to be hidden in your marketing messaging, it doesn’t have to be part of another newsletter. You can simply just send an email to your audience, and encourage them to reply.

4. When people reply, reply back

Do something with it. Follow through.

You want to train your audience that sending you emails is rewarded.

If someone’s replied to one of your SPEAR emails before, and they said that they’d love you to do a podcast episode on how to organise a closet, and you never replied or you never did the podcast episode, then they’re unlikely to reply to your emails again.

There was no reward.

Just like training your dog (Munchkin’s sitting right next to me), they’re not going to do it again.

If I don’t reward Munchkin with praise, pats and treats for jumping into the bath and being a good girl while she has a little shower and gets a wash, then next time I want to wash her, she’s going to be more resistant to it. She’ll know that she doesn’t get anything in return for it, so she’s not going to want to do it.

It’s the same with our audience (on a far more human and far less bribery level).

Ultimately, if someone goes to the trouble of answering a question of yours or replying to an email, and they’re met with crickets, then why would they ever reply again? You’ve told them that they don’t matter. You’ve told them that you don’t care. You have told them that you probably don’t read the emails anyway, you’re just trying to lure them in to reply to stuff, so why would they ever do it again?

Think about your follow-through. Think about your responses.

Consider how you thank people for giving you great suggestions for your podcasts or for your content. Think about how you reward and praise people. Whether you reward them by saying that it’s a great idea and you’ll pop it in your content plan, or whether you reward them by giving them some quick tips if it’s not the sort of thing that you’d cover on your podcast.

You don’t have to always turn it into a podcast episode or a free resource… but at least acknowledge the question and reward the behaviour that you want people to take.

If they do it, reward them. Follow through. Take the conversation further. Make it worth their while to have put in that effort to reply to you.

That is my advice for not only how to get those emails into the inbox, but also how to get those replies.

I hope that you found that super helpful!

Now I’m going to do what I just told you to do… I’m going to encourage you to come and ask me questions for future podcast episodes, because Zoie’s question was one of the last questions that I had in the bank of questions people have been asking.

I’d love to create podcasts that actually address questions you have for me.

If you go to, you can submit your name, your social links, your website (if you’ve got one) and the question that I can answer on the podcast, and not only will I answer it on a podcast, I’ll also give you a shout out like I just did for Zoie on this episode.

I am absolutely happy to do that for you and give your website a little SEO boost, and give your socials a little algorithm boost as a thank you for submitting your really helpful questions that drive the content plan that I have for this podcast.

It’s a win-win situation!

Make sure you head to, pop your question in there, and I look forward to reading your questions and answering them here on the Heart-Centred Business Podcast.

Thank you so much for joining me for this episode.

Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.

Tash Corbin Business Mentor and Strategist