The Future of Email Marketing: Why Everyone MUST Know About "Grey Mail"

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Future of Email Marketing

If you want to get more customers, or clients in 2022 from email, then this will be the most important thing you read before January 1st.

Before I let the whole cat out of the bag, you should know that I've been sending emails for over 15 years. I've studied under the best in the business, having invested well over $250,000 over the years in email marketing knowledge.

Not just email copywriting, but also the under belly of the industry. It's how I know what sender score, grey mail, spam hous, DKIM, and SPF mean.

Don't worry, I'm not going to bore you today with those nerdy details.

Just the punchy RGA's (revenue generating activities).

To date, I can prove that I've personally generated over $4.8 million from email marketing, with my record being about $250k in a weekish. My one day record is around $70k.

These are stats I can prove in an IRS audit or court of law.

And I tell you all of this, not to brag, but to try and gain your trust because what I'm about to say is going to be a little hard for some of you to accept.

To the experienced mailer it's going to be obvious.

Those who are highly experienced have already seen the pattern and been adjusting their emailing practices.

For those who are newer, maybe only been sending emails since the last 3-5 years, then it's going to be a real mindset shift. It's going to go against a lot of the mainstream advice and against your own logic.

I'm not just talking the talk either, THIS EMAIL is a real world example of me implementing exactly what I'm teaching you. In fact, the whole reason I'm teaching you this is SO THAT you will understand why I'm doing what I'm doing.
World's Shortest History of Email Marketing...

When email marketing started it was all about "get as many email addresses as you can and email them." However, as marketers do, they broke this and laws were created. Then you had to get permission aka subscribers, people who have opted-in to your emails.

Because of a few bad apples even more regulations had to be created to make sure people really were subscribed. This is when things like email deliverability became a thing. Email deliverability is the way the controllers of email (gmail, hotmail, yahoo, aol, etc) score each email sender. NOTE, it's not the service you use (Aweber, ActiveCampaign, Drip, Monkey, etc) it is the email address owners.

Today, these email controllers now have algorithms and machine learning doing most of the scoring, just like Facebook ads or Google ads. The whole world is moving in this direction.

Just like they are watching for engagement signals in your ads (CTR, likes, negative comments) they are doing the very same thing with your emails. One example of which is "grey mail" this is mail that is not spam, but emails that go unread and unengaged with.

For example, I recently sent out an email about our new coaching call schedule to 29,000ish people. Only 5,000ish of you opened or clicked that email. Which is about 18% meaning 82% of my email sent was grey mail.
Why Everyone MUST Understand "Grey Mail"

In case you haven't noticed it costs money to send emails.

WHAT!?!?! Email is free?

That's what everyone thought back in the early 2000's when it was cool to send people e-mail that didn't require buying envelopes or stamps.

However, it's now 2021 and very soon will be 2022. Your email sending tool costs money. Usually a cost per subscriber. Also, the email controllers, it costs them money to hire programmers, build servers, hire people to monitor for bad senders.

Grey mail becomes very very expensive.

It is the enemy of all email controllers, and their enemy is our enemy TRUST ME!

For example, because my email contacts grew to 43,000ish in this account I'm mailing you through my monthly fee grew to about $1,300/mo just to have the ability to send you email. Some tools even charge you overage fee's if you send email too often to your contacts.

Quick math...

If 82% of my contacts didn't open my mail and I'm spending $1,300/mo that means I'm wasting $1,066/mo of that $1,300/mo.

Can you now see how expensive grey mail is?

Multiple this by every email sender you've ever known or heard.

BILLIONS of dollars are being wasted on grey mail.

How To Reduce & Even Eliminate Your Grey Mail

First and foremost, we have to get over the "build a big list" vibe that's been taught to all of us over the years.

The truth of the matter, even without the nerdy stuff, is really we want customers, not followers or subscribers.


I'm not saying we should punish ourselves and only have small lists. I'm saying our list should only be as big as our engaged subscribers. It's not like social media where my profile is free so who really cares if someone doesn't engage.

Email is costing you money, every contact is like a cost per click in your ad campaign and we have to ultimately get an ROI from that cost.

Unless maybe you are a charity?

The rest of us, we need to reduce our wasted spend and increase our profitable spend.

Just like an ad campaign.

The first level of this is to get rid of any contacts who have unsubscribed or bounced. Your email tool should have somewhere that lets you see these stats. You may have to contact their support.

I've already shaved my own account down from 43,000 to 29,000 just by doing this step. That'll save me about $200-$300 per month. That's nearly a car payment!

That's just basic account hygiene though.

Next is your email hygiene.

If people aren't opening (and I know about iOS 15 removing open rates) or clicking, then they've got to go. Stop pretending that those people still love you for your smile, and realize that if they aren't opening or clicking, they aren't interested.

That's ok.

It's not a smirch on them or on you.

It's just human nature to move on from topic to topic. One day we are all interested in fidget spinners and then the next day we are all playing with silicon pop-its. One day we are interested in stoicism and the next it's something else.

Allow your subscribers to move on without feeling like you did anything wrong OR that they did anything wrong. They came over to your house, they enjoyed your company for awhile, and now they are enjoying someone else's company.

Your goal isn't to hold them hostage and force your emails down their throat, it's to delight them while they are here, and graciously let them go when they have moved on. Good news, this new way of thinking is actually going to be way more profitable for you!!

Imagine how much better your email list will perform when it's only full of people who are actually still interested in what you have to say! Imagine how much better your deliverability rate will be when the email controllers see that you've gone from sending 82% grey mail to 37% grey mail.

Same rule applies to your social media.

Imagine how far your selfie picture would spread if you were getting 40% of your followers clicking like and share.

Imagine how low your cost per click would be if you ad was getting 42% CTR instead of 1%.
The New Way of Managing Email Lists in 2022 & Beyond

Starting this month, I'm doing a deep deep cleaning of my email marketing.

Obviously, I'll try to re-engage as many subscribers as I can first. I truly do love all of you and so thankful for your support over the years. However, there's about 82% of you that won't even read this email. you've moved on, that's ok, I bless you and wish nothing but the best for you (even though you won't even see this).

Those of you who are reading, thank you even more! And if you click on the article I've linked below EVEN MORE LOVE!

I used to clean my email list once or twice a year.

Starting this month, I'll be doing monthly purges.

If people haven't opened or clicked an email in 30 DAYS!!! Then obviously they are no longer interested. Time to let them go and spend ALL OF MY ENERGY DEVOTED to those who are interested.

Think of how much deeper those relationships will grow.

Think of how much more you will be able to serve those people.

Email marketing in 2022 and beyond is going to be about deep relationships, and not subscriber counts. In a way it always was, but now more than ever do we pay for the consequences of not truly thinking in that way.
What About iOS15 & Removal of Open Rates?

Listen to me carefully...

I say this with true love in my heart. I really do care for each and every one of you. If you wrote me personally I would try to answer every email and every question and do my best to help you.

However, at the end of the day, I must provide for my family and my team just like you. Open rates don't make money, click through rates do. I can't sell anything at all with an "open" but with a "click" now I have something to work with.

They can take away my open rates all day long. I'll simply just start filtering my list by clickers and not-clickers.

Non-clickers are tomorrows grey mail.

It's just that simple.

If they aren't clicking your links then they don't like what you've linked too. If they don't like what you've linked too, then they aren't THAT interested are they???

Time to get really honest with yourself about your emailing.

As I have done.

Now, with all of that said, here's an awesome article I wrote with 10 Tips To Get More ROI from GDN Ads. If you don't want to click it because you aren't interested, no worries, I respect that. I'll try to send you more relevant stuff tomorrow or next week.

However, if we're 30 days out and you've not clicked anything at all... I'm going to read that as you've said goodbye. That you've moved on and I'm not going to be mad at your or hurt by that. It's just human nature.

Please share this email, feel free to republish it as a blog post, or send it to your own subscribers.

All I ask is for an ounce of credit, with a little tiny backlink saying that I was the original writer.

Peace & Love,
Justin Brooke
Founder of

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