How the Navy SEALS saved my email campaign

Yesterday I mentioned that the best way to see whether or not your email copy is effective is to compare the number of people who open to the number of clicks. 10% is a good benchmark—below that you’re struggling, above that you’re rocking. Let’s say you’re below that 10% number. What can you do about […]

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What’s a “good” click through rate?

The other day I had a consult with a blogger, and we were talking about his click through rates. He routinely gets 10% click rates when he sends out an email. Seems pretty good, no? It’s easy to see a stat like that and immediately think, “Wow, I’m only getting 1-2% CTR. My emails must […]

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“Did I mention I was on TV?”

A while back a friend of mine, Josh Doody, got interviewed on BBC News. He was wondering: How should I leverage the video to build trust and sell stuff? That’s kind of a big deal and I feel like I should use it to show folks I’m an expert to help boost early sales, but […]

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Wheel … of … Fortune!

A friend of mine was telling me about an A/B test that he ran with his email list that produced really weird results. I happened to ask him what criteria he used to create his segments. Turns out, he’s using ConvertKit, and there aren’t a lot of good options for this kind of thing. So […]

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Subscription gymnastics

Last week I mentioned how an entrepreneur I know was shocked that many of his customers would rather pay $200 upfront rather than commit to a $20/month ongoing subscription. Longtime reader Roos responds: It’s weird how ‘the market’ all want to create a recurring business, but ‘the customer’ (I think) still likes the one time […]

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Artful, unfair, insidious

Picking up the discussion from yesterday about persuasion vs. manipulation: Subscriber Frank writes: Manipulate: to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage. Persuade: to move by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a belief, position, or course of action. I am convinced […]

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Persuasion… or manipulation?

Last week’s email about selling cures vs. prevention prompted a perceptive question from subscriber Frank: At what point does either strategy, whether negative or positive or some mix in between, become manipulation? This question is at the heart of why most people hate “marketing.” There’s a common belief that marketing is all about using sneaky […]

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Persist or desist?

How long should you keep following up? Consider this: A former coaching student of mine had an email sequence he’d written to follow up with leads who were interested in bad-credit auto financing. Last time we talked about, his sequence had grown to 150+ messages. Every time he tacked a message on the end, he’d […]

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Product links in the footer—do they work?

Subscriber Marc asked a question that I’ve gotten multiple times in the last couple of weeks: I see that you’ve removed the direct links to your courses in the footer your emails. Curious what your motivation is as it seemed a non intrusive method of promoting the offerings. This comment reminded me of something that […]

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Guidelines for subject lines

Yesterday I mentioned that subject lines are NOT headlines in the classic sense. My first subject line guideline reinforces that: 1. Less specific subject lines get higher opens. Some classic subject lines that are hard to beat are very short and vague: “hey” “quick question” “This is ridiculous” These look like personal messages—it’s almost impossible […]

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The truth about subject lines

Whenever I do a podcast interview, I can pretty much guarantee that the host will ask me about how to write subject lines. People get really tangled in knots about this—and I can understand why. In general copywriting there’s a lot of emphasis on the importance of headlines. You hear stories about how just changing […]

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Packin’ up and leaving town?

Alert subscriber Peter gave me a heads up last week: In the “Gold Rush,” the people that made all the money were the ones selling the tools and provisions for the prospectors. An indicator that a Gold Rush is on the downward spiral is when the provision providers start to pack and leave town. I […]

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How important is the list?

Yesterday I described how I was troubleshooting an email campaign that had rolled into day 2 with ZERO sales. I had all but ruled out a technical issue, which point the great big fat finger of blame at price as the likely culprit. So I talked the affiliate into trying a crazy test—temporarily dropping the […]

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Troubleshooting

My descent into Bizarro World continues. The campaign I’ve been chronicling here has rolled into Day 3 without managing to generate a single sale. I have literally never seen this before. Even in cases where the offer isn’t a great fit, or the price is too high, there’s usually SOMEONE who’s willing to roll the […]

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Skunked!?!

“Skunked” is fishing slang for spending the whole day at the lake with nothing to show for it. Well, yesterday I got skunked on the first day of the affiliate promo I mentioned. 85,000 subscribers, 2 emails, 0 sales. I’ve never seen this before. I’ve had campaigns that didn’t go as well as hoped—plenty of […]

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Day 1 of 3

I’m kicking off an affiliate offer to another list this morning—the first email should drop just as this hits your inbox. Day 1 is always the most interesting for me, because it gives me a pretty good read on how the campaign will perform as a whole. Day 1 is all about “hyper-responders.” These are […]

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Does pre-launch content work?

A friend and I have running debate over “pre-launch” content. His argument is: You can dramatically increase sales by sending your subscribers content that “frames” an offer ahead of time. Then when you introduce the product, they’ll be predisposed to buy. This is one of the basic premises behind the famed Product Launch Formula, which […]

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I wish I could un-see this

Yesterday I had the acute misfortune of reviewing some of the worst-written copy to ever scar my retinas. If I were to write a parody of the cheesiest infomercial “one weird trick” style sales page… And then turn around and write a parody of THAT… Then we’d be in the ballpark of this copy. Where […]

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Read this email, because I think you should read this email

Have you seen the “because” study? After my diatribe against blindly following pop-psyche in marketing, subscriber James wanted to know: If you’ve seen it, what do you think about the study showing the influence of using the word ‘because’, which has made some copywriters swear by using it? They call it ‘reason-why’ copywriting. James’ question […]

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Pop psych placebo

My Cialdini rant yesterday prompted some killer insights from consultant-turned-lead-gen expert Ian Brodie: I think we have a problem in marketing with accepting “laboratory” based psychological experiments at face value and assuming they’ll work exactly the same in the completely different situation of the real world. I used to do lots of consulting in medical […]

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Bacon petition

Last night I was cruising through Costco, enjoying a new marketing podcast, when the hosts dropped one of my “trigger phrases”: Consistency and commitment. If you’re not familiar, this idea comes from the Robert Cialdini book Influence. In the book, Cialdini cites studies that show that when people take a small step, such as signing […]

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Panhandling with puppydog eyes

Picking up the theme of “owning” the value you provide to your subscribers (rather than approaching your list like a beggar), reader Frank writes: An important perspective explained well not just for email list but any sales engagement. Each year my teen’s high school soccer team sells flowers (chrysanthemums) as a fundraiser. It’s SO difficult […]

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The email monkey’s kiss of death

As soon as I opened the email, my eyebrows shot up. “Well that’s DEFINITELY not gonna work,” I thought. The email in question was one I’d written for a client who was looking to stir up a little interest in his consulting services. To that end, the client had partnered with an organization that agreed […]

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The influencer myth

Stumbled across a fascinating story recently: There’s an 18-year-old Instagram “infulencer” named Arii who has over 2.6 million followers. She decided to release her own clothing line for her fans. She got great feedback on the prelaunch photos—everyone seemed excited for the release. When the cart opened though, her “fans” bailed on her. She didn’t […]

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Too much bait

This morning I got up early and took a quick trip down to the lake. I was hoping to try to hook a largemouth bass or two while I was by myself—my kids don’t have the patience for anything but bluegill right now. Bass tend to go after bigger lures, so I was trying out […]

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