Email is a cornerstone of my marketing strategy.

It’s the only thing I can control; the only asset I “own”.

If something happens to an ad account or algorithm my strategy could be totally upended.

So one of my main areas of focus in 2020 was growing my email list.


People join my email list a few ways:

  • One Hour Funnel Book (link)
  • One Hour Ads Book (link)
  • Course Launch Checklist (link)
  • Free FB Ads Course (link)

I have a few other lead magnets out there but these were my main list builders of 2020.

I started the year with around 1,200 and ended the year at 7,083.

I sent 220 emails in 2020 but this list is limited to those with at least 1,000 recipients (considered “whole-list broadcasts”)

the top 10 Subject lines:

Here’s the formula:

[Subject Line] ([Open Rate]; [Unique Opens]/[Total Sent])

Drum roll, please…

#10: ever done this? (22.86%; 572/2,502)

Send Date: 2/23/2020

Content: I hate dishonest marketing.

In February I launched a new training titled “How To Ethically Win WIth Funnels and Ads” so this post poked fun at common unethical marketing practices and then invited people to view the training (which is still available here)

#9: fill your funnel (22.89%; 689/3,010)

Send Date: 3/19/2020

Content: This email explored various new ways to get traffic to your funnel.

#8: cherry picking (23.15%; 640/2,764)

Send Date: 3/2/2020

Content: This email followed a bombed funnel launch.

I introduced the idea of how some marketers “cherry pick” a small non-representative data set and claim they crushed it.

It was a practice in vulnerability and admitting that most funnels don’t actually “work”.

#7: polishing vs. publishing (23.31%; 427/1,832)

Send Date: 2/1/2020

Content: This email explores the difference between ideas and execution.

Fun fact: February 1st is the anniversary of my “jump date” from my 9-5 to solopreneurship.

#6: [PDF Download] – The Membership Blueprint (23.45%; 848/3,613)

Send Date: 5/1/2020

Content: This was a promotional email for Stu McLaren’s Tribe promotion.

Great job on the swipe copy Stu + team!

#5: You’re invited (23.73%; 973/4100)

Send Date: 5/28/2020

Content: I hosted a 1-day virtual event on 6/11/2020; this email invited people 2 weeks before starting.

#4: optimize for joy (24.06% open rate; 667/2772)

Send Date: 2/26/2020

Content: With all the things you could optimize for (profit, clicks, traffic, exposure)… what if you optimized your business for joy? What would happen? How would your decisions change if the most important filter became “what brings me the most joy?”

#3: weekend deal: course launch training (28.82% open rate; 313/1,086)

Send Date: 8/1/2020

Content: This didn’t go to my entire list but still went to over 1,000 people so it makes the cut.

This email was a follow up for people that downloaded my Course Launch Checklist. The next logical step was my Course Launch Training where I taught how to launch their course whenever they were ready.

#2: here to help (29.32%; 895/3,052)

Send Date: 3/21/2020

Content: I sent this email just as the world was starting to really freak out.

I gathered up every free resource I had and emailed them out.

Many people were starting to transition to online and feeling nervous so I met them where they were with a wheelbarrow of free resources.

#1: I declare bankruptcy (29.37% open rate; 464/1,580)

Send Date: 1/26/2020

Content: This invitation to “declare bankruptcy” on your inbox, to-do list, calendars, and social followers clearly struck a chord.

Critically consider if you really need to follow up with all those emails, bookmarks, saved items and podcasts.

honorable mentions:

  • “quick question” (42% open rate; 314/745)
  • easy to refer (22.63%; 668/2,952)
  • unconscious competence (22.40%; 739/3,299)
  • [PDF] The Perfect Sales Page Builder (20.42%; 1,026/5,023)

Next steps

Send more email.


If you feel like you have your idea for your business for a reason, then you owe it to your community to communicate and add value to them.

Mix up curiosity and direct subject lines.

Mix up calls to action and pure content.

But I have a hunch that you need to send more email.

I know I do.

And whenever you’re ready, the best way I can help you grow your business is by listening to the podcast, “Cody Builds a Business”. Subscribe here.