What’s the best time of day to send your marketing emails?

Does it matter what time of day you send your emails? And what about days of the week—are some better than others? I have 2 answers for this. One is the tried and true response of all consultants: “It depends.” And truthfully it does. Different markets have very different habits and patterns. For example, if […]

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Buy or die

So how long should you keep people on your email list? And if you’re building out an autoresponder sequence, how long should it run? 14 days? 30 days? 60? Marketing wizard Dean Jackson likes to talk about a study done by a company called The Inquiry Handling Service. These guys process business reply cards for […]

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How to build your list with a kick-butt “lead magnet”

I hear from a lot of would-be email marketers who know that it’s important offer a mind-blowing “lead magnet” to attract new subscribers to their email list… But they have NO idea what they should create. Should I write an ebook? Or do an info graphic? Maybe an email course would be better… Most of […]

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3 formatting rules to get your emails read

Subscriber Craig emailed me recently about the way I style my messages: === Love to see you write about the format of these emails. In other words, generally one sentence and then a space between. And the width of the text is never longer than a certain amount. Is there a specific email template you […]

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Why Ron Swanson hates your emails

“Parks and Recreation” just might be my all-time favorite TV series. I’ve seen every episode at least 4 times. (Thanks, Netflix!) Ron Swanson MAKES that show. He always tells it like it is. No punches pulled. And one of the best Ron Swanson quotes ever is this: “There’s only one thing I hate more than […]

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The Battle of the Bean

My oldest son is crafty. He’s VERY specific about the foods he wants. If we let him, he’d happily eat the same 3-5 foods for every single meal. Every other food is on permanent probation as far as he’s concerned. And if Dad and Mom don’t watch him closely, he’ll gradually move more and more […]

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Torching customer goodwill (and dancing on the ashes)

My blow-by-blow account of The Great Photo Studio Shakedown prompted a chorus of replies from subscribers who wanted to know: “What would ‘permission to sell’ look like in this scenario?” Before I answer, here’s a brief recap: Our church is putting together a photo directory, and when we showed up for our “free portrait,” the […]

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The “Draw Batman” trick for better copy

If I told you, “OK, draw me a Batman,” how would you do it? I’ve doodled out a few Batmans over the years, and my first instinct is always to grab my pencil and start drawing his pointy ears and cowl. Then when I had those down, I’d move on to his shoulders and arms. […]

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How to lose customers and enrage people

The church we attend is putting together a photo directory, so last weekend we went to have our a family portrait taken. (‘Cause every introvert dreams of having strangers walk up to them and start talking to them by name, you know?) The session started off well. The photographer, a young woman, manage to get […]

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“Hey Doc, I’ve got this weird growth here…”

Picture this: One day you happen to notice a strange little knobby growth under your right arm. You’re concerned about it, so you hop into your car and drive straight to the nearest doctor’s office. You barge right past the receptionist and into the exam room, where the doctor is seeing another patient. “Hey doc, […]

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Watch your tone with me

Yesterday I said that it’s critical to strike the right tone for your audience—or you’ll come across as hype-y or (just as bad) flat and boring. Subscriber David asks: === Can you talk some more about the second to last sentence in your email? About matching your tone to the customer’s expectations. How do you […]

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Dirty, filthy, disgusting windows

Don’t you just hate hype? I can’t stand reading copy that’s crammed with vacuous promises, empty phrases and so many exclamation points!!! I’m especially sensitive to this because of my background as a software developer. Engineers break out in hives at the faintest whiff of copywriter-speak or jargon. Fire a few hype-y emails at a […]

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Can my email have more than 1 call to action?

Subscriber Felix inquires: Should each email only have 1 call to action or can you have a couple like “click on this link to read the blog” and then later in the email ask them to share the blog post via a click to tweet link? Is it ok to have more than one call […]

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An email course tip from “The Magic Man”

Ever see a really great pool player in action? Yesterday I was listening to a classic lecture by master copywriter Eugene Schwartz. He made a great analogy: Marketing is like playing pool. You can’t just think about the shot you’re making—you have to think at least one shot ahead. There’s a great Youtube video by […]

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New marketing campaign? Don’t skip this step…

A couple of summers ago, a friend of mine named Don hired a contractor to repaint the front porch on his two-story brick colonial home. The painter arrived, did his thing and collected the check. Don was happy with the work. The guy didn’t splatter paint all over the place. No nasty drip marks on […]

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How to catch an entrepreneur

Raccoons are smart critters—one of the sharpest species in the world, in fact. And their dexterous little paws allow them to yank the lids off sealed garbage cans, turn door knobs, and even use tools. They’re born problem solvers. Way back in 1908, a scientist ran an experiment with a group of raccoons. The raccoons […]

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Dead writer’s A-pile rant

Right now I’m hip deep in a mailing. No, not email. Old fashioned, paper-and-ink-and-postage-stamps letters. I’ve got stacks of papers all over my basement office. My fingers are sore from folding paper. I’ve got writer’s cramp from scribbling addresses with a ball point pen. Why go to all this trouble—especially hand-addressing every single envelope? Well, […]

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Why are you SPAMMING me?

Hey {{ subscriber.first_name | default: “there” }}, For some reason this one particular email weirded me out. I had NO idea who the sender was—some guy named John Forde. The subject line didn’t give me a lot of clues either: “CR #690: Painting Lessons.” For some reason I opened it, and that’s when I started […]

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When your customers whine, “It’s too expensive!”

I got an email this morning from Tomáš, a subscriber to my “other” newsletter for software developers: I like your newsletter and I would like to buy your book. But for my country (Czech Republic), even after discount, the book is still too expensive. I have no doubt that your book is great and worth […]

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One-way ticket to Coma-ville

Paul writes: I’m looking for some advice about how to help a client “famous” with regards to an issue that is complex. She is involved in litigation that could effectively change the foreclosure industry. Part of the challenge is being able to translate legalese into language the average person can comprehend. Trying to “sell” this […]

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The “baby duck” secret to bonding with your email list

The first thing a baby duck does after pecking its way free from the shell is take a quick look around… It’s scanning its surroundings for anything big. And when it sees something, it’s tiny brain instantly makes the connection: “MOM!!!” It’s called “imprinting,” and it’s why you’ll sometimes see stories on the news about […]

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Rube Goldberg’s product launch formula

Ever heard of Rube Goldberg? Mr. Goldberg was an engineer and inventor, but what really made him famous is his cartoons. He’d diagram out these outlandish machines that chained together water wheels and tiny steam locomotives and even the occasional octopus… Just to accomplish some braindead simple task. Like his “Simple Way to Uncork a […]

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