How to Kill Your Sales with a ‘Shock-n-Awe’ Email Course

Last week I signed up for an email course from a well-known guru in the “launch-a-best-selling-book” niche.

I won’t name names here—I don’t want to beat up on the guy, since he seems to really know his stuff. For all I know he might be killing it with this course.

I doubt it though.

From what I can see, this email course is a textbook example of what NOT to do.

When Lesson 1 landed in my inbox, my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I read how the author was going to walk me through his entire 14 step(?!?) process for launching a best-selling book.

In the space of 5 lessons, the guru attempts to give a high-level overview of the entire process of audience-building and book marketing.

The result is a collection of epic-length blog posts that plow through topics like creating and cultivating an audience and email list in 300 words, before moving on to the next step and the next…

How does all this make me feel as a subscriber?

Well even though I’m a seasoned pro at this, I felt completely overwhelmed.

There was 10X more information than I could absorb, and I quickly shifted from reading to scanning to… lost.

The top commenter on the post, an aspiring author named Debra, echoed my thoughts:

As a new author, and I’m sure I’m not alone, my head is spinning with all the collective information one tries to gather about how to go about writing, marketing, and publishing your first book; regardless of genre. The learning curve for new authors is huge and for me, I want to do the best I can in giving my book a fighting chance of success – not just throw one out there. I am currently in the editing phase of my book and planning to have a launch next week.

This course is a perfect example of what I’m dubbing the “Shock ‘n’ Awe” email course.

In a Shock ‘n’ Awe course, it’s like you as the expert rumble up to an unsuspecting village in an armored truck…

Train your 50-caliber belt-fed Machine Gun o’ Knowledge on your poor hapless audience…

And just start mowing them down in a hail of Pro Tips and Homework Assignments.

These courses really are the worst of all possible worlds.

For one, they don’t usually make many sales.

(Think about it: Does all this information make Debra more or less likely to buy the $500+ course that the guru will pitch at the end of this course?)

And since he’s trying to cover so much ground in a sincere (if misguided) effort to “give value”…

All he’s managing to do is an ultra-shallow dive on 14 different massive, complex topics.

Makes the whole process seem even more overwhelming and unachievable than before I signed up for the course.

A good guiding principle with email courses is:

Less is more.

After each lesson, you want your subscribers to feel a sense of relief—

That you’ve simplified their life, reduced their stress, clarified the picture.

That’s how you persuade them that you can take them where they want to go.

And when you do that, you won’t need a machine gun to make the sale.