How Do You Know When Your Email Course is ‘Broken’?

Last week I sent an email that boiled down to this:

When you're not seeing the sales come in like they should, don't panic.

Chances are what you're doing is working, and you just need to be patient as more people trickle through your marketing funnel.

Well, reader Tobey cracked me up with this reply:

Great advice. Is the “time to panic” email coming up?

Is the advice there the same – going through the funnel front to back – or is there more evasive action that can be more effective – if there's a 1000+ email list with no takers?

How do you know when the answer is “give it time” vs. “aaaaaah the sky is falling we're all gonna die”?

How DO you know when it's time to panic?

I have a strong bias toward numbers and analysis, so for me, the answer to this starts with some basic arithmetic.

I ask myself:

“What's a reasonable response rate here, and have enough people gone through my funnel yet to draw any conclusions?”

Let's run with Tobey's hypothetical situation for a minute.

Say you've built an email list of 1,000 people.

They've gotten to know you a bit, and they like your take on your topic.

When you send out emails you find that your open rates average around 30-40%, and your click rates usually fall between 3-10%.

That's a good, healthy list, pretty typical of what I usually see from active bloggers.

Now say you launch a product to that list.

You send out 4-5 emails over the space of 3 days or so.

A huge factor in how many sales you can expect to make is the price point of your offer.

This varies by market, of course, but to give you some really rough ballpark figures:

– A $5 offer might convert at 5-15%

– A $49 offer might convert at 2-5%

– A $199 offer might convert at 1-3%

(Even if your sales copy and marketing funnel aren't all that great, it's pretty reasonable to come in at least somewhere near the bottom end of those ranges.)

Given all that, if you're launching a $49 offer to 1,000 people, you can expect to hit 20-50 sales.

And for an offer of $199 or more, 10 sales would be doing pretty well, and at 30 you're knocking it out of the park.

The time to panic is when your sales fall WAY outside of those ranges.

If you have an email course running to sell a $49 product, and you run 1,000 subscribers through it, and you only make 4 sales…

Yeah, you gots a beeeeg problem on your hands.

Or if only 1 person in 1,000 buys your $199 video course, there's something wrong there too.

Even in this situation, I don't usually recommend panic.

Maybe just for a minute, if you must.

Or you can flip a table or put your fist through the wall.

Your choice.

After that, the next step is to take a good hard look at your offer.

Asking questions like:

Does the product solve a clear problem for a specific target audience?

How does the price compare with what my customers are used to paying?

How can I add value to make this offer more attractive?

A healthy email list plus a solid product and attractive offer are often enough to get you to the bottom end of those target ranges.

Once you've made improvements there, then it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work on your emails and sales copy.