Troubleshooting A Struggling Email Course, Blow by Blow

A consulting client of mine named Geneve recently sent me an SOS.

She set up an email course to sell her high-end marketing services to professional photographers.

It’s not going well, and she’s getting nervous about it:

Hi Josh,

So my drip campaign (remember the one for photographers that you helped me set up…) is crickets. And not really for lack of subscribers (although, not many – but I don’t really care about that, I care that not one of them has even gotten 50% way through it). Almost no one is finishing it. Is it too wordy? Boring? Irrelevant? Wrong clients? Help.

And even sadder – the few folks who are following through and contacting me – they are not returning any of my follow up emails. I think that is really strange. Almost wondering if emails are going into spam or something. People are taking time to fill out survey…I thoughtfully and personally respond, still with no strings attached…and no response back.

Since Geneve’s service is SPENDY (think tens of thousands of dollars), I’d advised her not to try to make the sale via automated emails.

Instead the goal of her course is to get her best prospects to “raise their hand” so she can start a conversation with them.

She’s worried about two things mainly:

1. Subscribers don’t seem to be engaging with the emails (low opens and clicks).

2. The few subscribers that do engage seem to disappear—they are ignoring her attempts to open a conversation.

Here’s how I tackled her questions.

First thing I like to do in this situation is to look at the numbers.

I jumped into her Drip account (she gave me access during our consulting agreement) and took a look at the number of subscribers that have gone through her email course, and how they’re behaving in the campaign.

The first thing I noted is that she’s had just 31 people go through the campaign so far.

The open rates for the course start in the 50% range and then drop as the campaign progresses. Toward the end the engagement rate has dropped into the mid-20s—but then she sends a final email offering a free resource and the open rate shoots back to nearly 50%. Her subscribers love that resource.

This pattern is pretty normal. Without digging into the email copy itself, I can tell that the situation isn’t nearly as dire as Geneve thinks.

The biggest “issue” I can see is that just 31 people have gone through the campaign so far.

WAAAAY too early to hit the panic button. Usually I want to see more like 500-1000 subscribers before drawing any conclusions.

And the fact that she’s already gotten leads from such a tiny sample of subscribers is a GREAT sign.

Really what Geneve needs in this case is a whole lot more TRAFFIC.

For a high-end service like this, conversion rates will naturally be much lower.

Maybe only 1 in 100 subscribers will even qualify—or even 1 in 200.

That’s just how it goes.

Geneve was also discouraged by the lack of response from the leads she HAS gotten from this campaign.

She’s writing friendly, helpful followup emails and getting no love in return.

How do you follow up in these kind of high-touch scenarios?

I’ll explain tomorrow.