Can an Email Course Hurt Sales?

Word to the wise:

Whenever a marketing “expert” starts talking about their solution *before* they understand your specific situation—your business, your customers, your previous marketing efforts…

Hang onto your wallet.

Cuz “one size fits all” is a myth.

I talk a lot here about tactics like list-building giveaways and email courses.

They’re excellent tools that I’ve seen work time after time.

There are some situations though where an email course is NOT the right tool.

Recently a subscriber who I’ll call “Skipper” wrote me about an email course that utterly failed.

Pay close attention—there are some good lessons in this tale.

Skipper sez:

I was working with a client who was selling his “own your own business” model in the home services sector.

A majority of his traffic was coming organically from Google so I figured setting up a 5-7 day email course that naturally led into his offering would help increase sales.

After testing about 4 different courses and probably 20 different subject lines for each email, open rates plummeted after day 2 and I couldn’t seem to get them any further along in the funnel.

So I decided to get to know the customer a bit better—and as it turned out, his customers were predominately lacking any sort of education, low-income, and really just looking for a way out of their current situation.

Needless to say, these people were impulse buyers. So instead, we just set up a lead magnet that gave them something of value quickly and tried to make the sale as fast as possible and it ended up doubling his sales.

The key takeaway from all this was the importance of thoroughly understanding your audience and I think it’s something that isn’t talked about enough.

I found that taking user personas, empathy maps and user surveys seriously, not only solved this problem—but also allowed me to reduce his ad spend (by targeting ads better) and allowed me to communicate better with his audience (resulting in more sales).

Anyway, I didn’t mean to ramble on you there—but I feel like a lot of the high-level strategy stuff are things a lot of marketers don’t take seriously enough and the ones who do, don’t share it like it’s of a lot of importance.

Heck, this situation is a perfect example of me not even taking it seriously until I noticed a problem.

What Skipper discovered is that his buyers are mostly “biz opp” types.

These customers often have short attention spans. They want what they want NOW and won’t wait around to be wooed by a multi-day pitch.

Compounding the problem:

They’ve also likely been burned by responding to scammy “work at home” pitches in the past, so the email addresses they gave Skipper’s client were largely fake.

Good detective work helped Skipper realize that he had one and only one shot at making the sale—and an email course was the wrong tool for the job.

The takeaway:

Don’t get too attached to any one particular marketing tactic.

And let your customers dictate the approach you use—not the other way around.