email marketing with social proof
Apr 27

Email Persuasion Series Part 3: Social Proof

By Jack | list building

The T.V. series Friends was a blockbuster hit. (Of course, Parks and Rec is better.)

Friends had 10 seasons between 1994 – 2004 and was nominated for 62 Primetime Emmy Awards. And each of the 6 actors were the highest paid actors in television – making 1 million dollars per episode.

But one thing about that show made me scratch my head and wonder… Why did they add that annoying ‘fake audience laughter’ to each joke?

Answer: Friends with no laugh track can be kinda creepy.

Truth is, the “canned laughter” made the show funnier. Bet I don’t know a single person who enjoys listening to pre-recorded laughs every 7 seconds during a show. Now, the director of this hit show must know what he’s doing. So then why add the fake audience laughs if people are so strongly opposed to them? Because it works.

Experiments have found that the use of canned laughter causes a (real) audience to laugh longer and more often. Especially during poor jokes.

The real question is why do we laugh more at comedy material when laugh tracks are added to the background – even when we know it’s fake laughter? The answer is social proof because “how we determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct.”

Why? Because when a lot of people are doing something, it’s usually the right thing to do.

Here’s Caildini’s explanation on why the social proof from canned laughter makes us laugh at lame jokes:

We have become so accustomed to taking the humorous reactions of others as evidence of what deserves laughter that we, too, can be made to respond to the sound and not to the substance of the real thing.

Other examples of social proof:

“Dressing a guitar case” when you’re busking on the street.

“Dressing a guitar case” when you’re busking on the street. Putting your own dollars gives people the impression that tipping the musician is right thing to do.

Evengelical preachers are know to “seed” their audience “ringers” who are rehearsed to come forward at a specified time to give witness and donations. Arizona State University research team infiltrated the Billy Graham organization and talked to 6 thousand people who had instructions on when to come forward at varying intervals to create the impression of a spontaneous mass outpouring.

Advertisers using this “as seen on TV” sticker use social proof too. It gives us a mental shortcut, “if it’s good enough to be sold on T.V. it must be a good product.”

How to “super charge” your social proof

Similarity can “super charge” your social proof. To get more persuasion each time you use social proof, make those in the social proof example similar to your audience/ideal customers. For example, tell a unique case study to different segments so  each group of target customers sees how you helped someone like them.

Why? People are more motivated by people who are similar to them. There was a “dropped wallet” study where someone attached a note to a lost wallet that made it clear that the wallet had been lost. The letter was addressed the man who lost his wallet and that the first finder was on the way to return the wallet to his address. (It even had the envelope attached to it.)

33% retuned the wallets when the person was dissimilar 70% returned it when they were similar!

How you can use social proof to improve your email marketing:

1) Add testimonials and case studies in your email campaigns

Make sure you segment each case study to different audience members for maximum effectiveness. If you have 2 major groups of target customers give each group a unique case study. For example, I help both e-commerce and B2B marketers make send more profitable emails. So I’d send my e-commerce leads a case study where I helped an e-commerce marketer and I’d send the B2B marketers a specific case study with a B2B company.

Hint: Write your email case-studies so that they provide value to each reader WHILE building your social proof/credibility. How? Talk about their struggles that your case study clients share with your readers and how they solved them. You should offer 1-2 key takeaways even in your case study emails.

2) Tell your audience how many subscribers you have to increase your opt-in rate:

Here’s how Scott Dinsmore at uses social proof to increase subscriber opt-ins: “Join over 100,000 people from 182 countries”

Email Opt-in Social Proof

What if you don’t have hundreds (or thousands) of subscribers? Don’t use social proof to increase opt-ins.

Rand Fishkin covers how a lack of social proof can decrease conversions as people assume that your company either:

  • Isn’t trustworthy
  • Is too new to place their faith in
  • Isn’t being used by anyone because it sucks
  • If you’re lacking in social proof at the moment, go for the “clean and uncluttered” look. People won’t hold it against you

3) Mention big brands that you’ve worked with on your opt-in page and case studies

Here’s how Scott Dinsmore uses big brands he’s worked with:

social proof does the same thing here:

opt-in social proof

4) Tell stories

According to psychologists Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons (authors of The Invisible Gorilla), stories are more persuasive and trustworthy than statistics because individual examples lodge in our minds, but statistics and averages do not.

And your email campaign is the perfect place to tell your brand’s story. You can have it delivered to your lead’s inbox. You can break it down into short, value-added emails. So don’t send more than 10 emails without telling your audience who you are (and why they should buy from you) in a story.

Here’s quicksprout’s guide to telling your brand’s story here.

Seth Godin teaches you how to tell a great story here. 


Apr 20

Email Persuasion Series Part 2: Commitment and Consistency

By Jack | email strategy

Welcome to part 2 of the Email Persuasion Series! Today’s “Weapon of Influence” is Commitment and Consistency. Let’s dive in and see what it is and how you  can use it in your email marketing to bring in more sales.

“Human beings have a deep need to be seen as consistent.”

– Dr. Cialdini

If toy stores use commitment and consistency to bring in more sales, so can you.

Fact: Toy sales drop after the holiday season. But toy companies know how to use commitment and consistency to bring parents back into the stores even after buying toys for the holiday season.

So how does Toys “R” Us use commitment and consistency to sell more toys?

Before we get into that, let’s go over what “Commitment and Consistency” is and why it puts consumers in a “buying frenzy.”

Once you publicly commit to something, then you’re more likely to go through and deliver on that commitment right?

Or in other words, when you say you’ll do something, you’re driven to make sure you follow through or stay consistent with that commitment.

Why? Because nobody wants to see themselves as a hypocrite. In fact, according to Dr. Caildini,

“The drive to be consistent constitutes a highly potent weapon of social influence, often causing us to act in ways that are clearly contrary to our own best interests.”

So how do toy companies sell more toys after christmas when everyone is shopped out?

They’ve tried spending more on advertising and slashing prices, but that didn’t work. Then they discovered this sales tactic that harnessed the power of Commitment and Consistency to keep sales through the roof all year long.

Step 1: Before the holiday season, toy stores run T.V. commercials (featuring a popular new toy) on children’s programs.

Step 2: Children ask their parents for the toy and “extract christmas promises.” (Commitment)

Step 3: After parents tell their children that they will give it to them, toy stores drastically under supply the stores with the toy that parents have promised.

Step 4: When parents are out doing their christmas shopping the toy store is “surprisingly” out of stock and they’re not sure when they’ll get more back in.

Step 5: So parents settle for buying their child another gift for Christmas.

Step 6: Then in January (after the holiday season) toy stores flood the shelves with this popular new toy and run the T.V. commercials again. The kids see the ad, jump up and down saying, “You promised you’d get me that toy!” Now the parent who’s committed to buying this toy, feels compelled to buy it to live up to their words. Even though they’ve already bought their kid a Christmas present.

Boom! Toy sales in January are back up thanks to the power of commitment and consistency.

This is the power of consistency. We want to be who we say we are. If we say something we do it.

So what’s the key? How do you get people to buy using the power of consistency? You get them to commit.

If I can get you to make a commitment (that is, to take a stand, to go on record) you will have set the stage for your automatic and ill-considered consistency with that earlier commitment. 

How to use Commitment and Consistency to send more profitable emails

There’s two easy ways your can inject your email marketing with Commitment and Consistency:

  1. Get commitment with your opt-in form
  2. Ask for a small sale first (foot-in-the-door technique)

Build your list by getting your site visitors to commit to something relatively small and usually free-of-charge, such as a sample guide or a white paper that they can gain access to after opting in. But add a “commitment checkbox” to get commitment and consistency to start working in your favor.

For example, Conversion Voodo helped a mortgage company increase their completed application conversion rate by more than 11% with the simple addition of a commitment checkbox:

Persuasion: Conversion Voodo example

This little checkbox increased conversions by 11%

Or you can add commitment and consistency into your list-building with a 2-part opt-in process.

Upworthy asks their visitors an easy question…

how to get more email opt ins

If you click Agree, you’re presented with an email opt-in call.

how to get more email opt ins

If you’re someone who agrees that, “It’s nice to be reminded of the good in the world” then you’ll likely sign up (and read) the emails that remind you of the good in the world.

If you don’t like the double opt-in process… Take a look at Upworthy’s single step opt-in and how it still gets users to agree before they opt-in.

Commitment & Consistency Email Marketing

Get someone to commit to something small at first. They will be more likely to commit to something larger afterwards.

Let’s look at an off-line example where the power of commitment and consistency gets people to take action.

Suppose you wanted to increase the number of people in your area who would agree to go door-to-door collecting donation for your favorite charity.

This is what psychologist Steven J. Sherman did. He simply called a sample of Bloomington Indiana residents as part of a survey he was taking and asked them to predict what they would say if asked to spend three hours collecting money for the American Cancer Society. Of course not wanting to seem uncharitable to the survey taker themselves, many of these people said that they would volunteer.

The effect? 700% increase in volunteers when a few days later, a rep from the American Cancer Society did call asking for neighborhood canvassers.

Foot-In-The-Door Technique

To get more sales with your email marketing, ask for a small sale first. Even if you don’t make much money on the transaction. Why? Because almost any small sale will do because the purpose of that small transaction is not profit. It is to get commitment from your subscribers.

It is far easier to sell products and services to existing customers than to someone you don’t have a relationship with.

When a subscriber makes a purchase, he is no longer a prospect, he is a customer. And customers are 10X easier to sell to.

When a researcher, posing a s volunteer worker, had gone door-to-door in a residential California neighborhood making a preposterous request of home owners.

The home owners were asked to install a public service billboard on their lawn. “Drive carefully” giant billboard. 62% more said yes after they first asked to place a small sticker in the window.

So when it comes to your email marketing, ask for small commitments first, then work your way towards larger commitments and sales. A progression of commitments you ask your email subscribers to take might look like this:

  • Follow us on social media
  • Join this free, 1 hour webinar
  • Sign up for a free consultation
  • Join our basic paid program
  • Upgrade to premium

Whatever you’re asking your subscribers to buy or do, just make sure you’re starting with easy, low-commitment requests and then build on that momentum to bring in more sales with the rule of commitment and consistency.

Apr 13

Email Persuasion Series Part 1: The Rule of Reciprocation

By Jack | email strategy

Welcome to the “Influence Series” at


Getting some inspiration to write this post.

For the next 6 articles, we’ll break down Robert Cialdini’s landmark book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” and how you can use psychology to create more profitable email marketing campaign.

If you’re a marketer who has not yet read this book, buy it now. And if you’ve already read it, keep it on your desk and revisit it when you need some marketing inspiration.

We’ll cover emails’s 6 “weapons of influence” or the 6 psychological factors that will get your subscribers ready to buy what you’re selling:

  1. Reciprocation
  2. Commitment and Consistency
  3. Social Proof
  4. Liking
  5. Authority
  6. Scarcity

Email’s 1st Weapon of Influence: Reciprocation

The rule of reciprocity says that, “we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us.”

Let’s take a look at 3 case studies to see how reciprocation works:

1) The Christmas Card Giver

A few years ago, a college professor sent Christmas cards to a sample of perfect strangers. He expected some reaction, but the response he received was “amazing.” Holiday cards addressed to him came pouring back from the people who had never met nor heard of him –  without even asking who this mystery card giver was.

Just receiving a Christmas card prompted hundreds of people to repay this mystery card giver by writing and sending a similar card.


2) Mexico’s $5,000 Relief Aid

In 1985, Mexico gave the impoverished people of Ethiopia $5,000 because the country’s economy was in shambles and it’s food supply had been ravaged by years of drought and internal war. People in Ethiopia were dying in flocks.

But the same year that Mexico sent the relief aid, the Ethiopians returned the favor and gave back $5,000 when Mexico was hit with an earthquake. The Ethiopian people could have used the money, but the rule of reciprocity inspired them to return every last dime.

3) Cornel University’s “Coke Experiment”

2 people are in a waiting room. One of them is the test subject, the other is an undercover researcher (who looked and acted like another test subject.)

In some cases, the undercover researcher left the waiting room for a couple minutes and retuned with two bottles of Coca-Cola saying, “I asked him [the experimenter] if I could get myself a Coke, and he said it was okay, so I bought one for you too.”

In other cases, the undercover researcher did not provide the test subject with a coke or any other favor.

Later on, the undercover researcher asked the test subject to do him a favor. He said he was selling raffle tickets at $0.25 a piece. And if he sold the most, he’d win a prize. “Any would help, the more the better.”

The people who were first offered a coke bought twice as many raffle tickets than those who did not receive a favor!

The bottom-line: We feel a need to repay other who help us with favors, gifts, invitations and the like.

How you can use Reciprocity to improve your email marketing

The key is to create a feeling of debt and to maintain that feeling of debt. – Dean Rieck

Give your email subscribers a free, ice-cold Coke!

In Cornell University’s “Coke experiment”, when the test subject received a coke, they bought more raffle tickets. Why? Because they felt like they “owed ’em something.”

The key here is the Coke was just a favor. It could have been a piece of chocolate, music to listen to or a Golden Retriever puppy. The point is, the test subject received something of value for free.

Luckily, it’s easy to give out “something of value for free” with email marketing.

When you send helpful emails that let your readers to get results, they will be grateful to you. (And the rule of reciprocity will start working in your favor.)

So the challenge is to focus on being genuinely useful to your email subscribers.

5 content ideas that will inject your email marketing with the rule of reciprocity

  1. Send a download link to a free report or ebook.
  2. Write an actionable how-to email that helps your readers solve a problem.
  3. Invite your readers to a webinar where you answer your subscribers questions live.
  4. Share a link to a podcast with a relevant industry leader that will benefit your email subscribers.
  5. Ask your email subscribers to about what they are struggling with and take time to reply with personalized, helpful tips

Warning: Avoid this mistake with the rule of Reciprocity

Don’t send a coupon or something that directly relates to a sale. Remember, this is a favor with no strings attached. And giving something away that asks for a sale (like a coupon or promotional code) get results, but it’s you won’t benefit from the rule of reciprocity.

Instead, try giving something away like great content first. Then, the next time you ask for your list to take action or buy, the rule of reciprocity will help you convert more customers.

Stay tuned for the next weapon of influence: Commitment and Consistency.

Mar 24

Show Don’t Tell

By Jack | email strategy

See what the clever folks at Apple did with this billboard?

They used it to show, not tell.

Sure, they could have used the ad to tell you, “More photos taken with iPhone than any other camera.” Or “8MP iSight camera with newFocus Pixels sensor, improved face detection and exposure control.”

But they didn’t.

Instead they used this ad to show what great pictures it can take. “Shot on iPhone6”

More impactful, right? Because you can see for yourself.

Can you do the same thing for your business? Yes. Take your email marketing for example.

You could TELL your readers why you’re the best consultant/marketer/author… You could stuff your emails with before and after results and testimonials from happy clients…

Or your could SHOW your readers why you’re the best. You could help them with a problem they’re already having. You could give them a tip that helps them get a step closer to achieving their goals. You could give them actionable advice that let’s them see for themselves. 

It’s like test driving a car. At some point (quite early in the sales process) the salesman ends his pitch and gets you behind the wheel so you can see for yourself.

Use your emails to SHOW why your readers should become clients. Don’t TELL.

Mar 03

80/20 List-Building: How to Quickly Grow a Massive Email List in 2015 (And Beyond)

By Jack | list building

[themedy_button url=”” icon=”signal” label=”Bonus Video: See How I Use Facebook Ads To Grow My List On Just $4 A Day” colour=”red” colour_custom=”” size=”large” edge=”straight” target=”_self”]

“The size and quality of your email list will determine your online business success.”

But don’t take my word for it:

“I have literally built a multi-million dollar business on the strength of my email list. Ninety percent of my income comes from it. Even today, my email list is still my number one business priority—and asset.” (Michael Hyatt)

“Without a doubt, our email list is the best investment we’ve ever made.” (Douglas Karr)

“Email is the most important channel for you to cultivate.” (Social Media Examiner)

But I’m sure you’ve heard, “the money is in the list” about 5 thousand times by now… So let’s get into the problem with list building today and how you can fix it – for good.

Why you’re still looking for the ULTIMATE list building guide

Google the phrase, “how to build an email list” and BAM! You’ve got 577 million list-building articles at your fingertips – for free! Soooo, busy business owner… your list building problems are solved, right? Not a chance.

Screenshot 2015-03-02 15.28.58Too many weak list building “tricks.” You and I both know there’s not enough time to read even 1% of the building articles out there. Plus, each article gives you different “tips and tricks” to follow.

Run webinars? Start social media contests? A/B test opt-in offers? Sure those things might bring some opt-ins. But you’ve got a business to run. And “ain’t nobody got time for that.”

So which list building tactics actually work and which ones waist your time? To find the answer, let’s turn toward the 80/20 principal.

80/20 List Building

[themedy_pullleft colour=”blue” colour_custom=”” text=”The Pareto principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.”]

Question: What’s the 20% of list building activities that will get me 80% of the results?

  • Website Opt-In Offers
  • Facebook Ads
  • Skyscraper Technique + Content Upgrades


Add These 5 Opt-In Areas To Your Website

An opt-in offer is an “ethical bribe” that turns your website visitors into leads. You know you’ve got a solid opt-in offer when your visitors gladly trade their contact info for your offer.

Warning: Don’t make this list-building mistake: You want an email list of potential customers right? So make sure your giveaway is irresistible to your ideal customer. (Not just any website visitor.)

Think about a pain point that your perfect customer has. Can you solve that problem with an ebook, white paper or video series?  If yes, that opt-in offer will help you get better opt-in rates while building a list of qualified leads.

2 Easy Lead Magnet Ideas

Multi-Part Email Series – If your lead magnet will be written, I suggest putting that info into 4-7 separate emails instead of a single ebook. Why?

First, it gets your readers into the habit of opening your emails if your lead magnet content is dripped out over several messages. Plus, when you break down the content into small, bite sized chunks, more of your leads will actually read and use your lead magnet content.

Video Download Are you “camera friendly?” Hate writing? Than this lead magnet is for you. Video is a high converting lead mag because it’s more personal and most of us would rather watch a video than read an ebook. You don’t even need to be in front of the camera. Just do a screen shot video.

Tip: Make sure you an external mic for any video you put out for best quality.

Lead Magnet Example

email marketing opt-inAt my perfect client is struggling with knowing what emails to send that will bring customers. She might already have a large list, but she’s not sending anything because she’s afraid of sounding spammy.

So I offer this potential client a lead magnet that addresses that pain point with the  4 biggest mistakes businesses make with email marketing.

[themedy_alertbox icon=”envelope-alt” colour=”red” custom_colour=””]Notice how I designed my lead magnet for my perfect client, not average website visitor.[/themedy_alertbox]

Once you’ve got your perfect lead magnet, here’s where to put it:

  • Homepage


Use wordpress? Easily create your own welcome gate for free with Noah Kagan’s free plugin. Or use Leadpages.

  • Popup/Slide up


Get a slide-up box like this (and other killer tools) for free with SumoMe.

  • Menu


The menu bar is your most clicked area on your website. Take advantage of that by placing a link to your opt-in page.

  • Sidebar


Sidebar opt-in areas work best when they scroll with the page. That way, your readers always see your side bar opt-in offer. To easily make your sidebar scroll with your reader, download this wordpress plugin: Q2W3 Fixed Widget (Sticky Widget)

  • Footer of the content


Footer areas are a great place to add your opt-in offer. But there’s one more place to add content that will beat all of these, thus toping our 80/20 results. It’s call a “content upgrade” and I’ll tell you everything you need to get the most results.

But first, let’s dive into list-building activity #2: Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads: Build Your List For $1.90 Per Email

Facebook Ads for List Building

This Facebook ad brings me new email subscribers for $1.90

The opt-in areas on your website will convert your traffic into subscribers. But if you’re just starting out, you’ll need another way to grow your list before you have tons of traffic. That’s why I recommend building your list with Facebook ads WHILE your blog traffic/subscribers increases organically.

But before you start buying emails, ask yourself this question first:

[themedy_alertbox icon=”user” colour=”green” custom_colour=””]How much is a new email worth to you?[/themedy_alertbox]

In other words, what would you pay for a new email address?

Here’s how to find this out. (And this is an important 1st step if you’re thinking about list building with ads.)

How much profit do you make when you get a sale?(For this example, let’s say you make $100 per sale.)

Next, figure your conversion rate for your email list. How many emails do you need to collect and run through your email marketing camaign before you get a sale? If you have a 5% conversion rate, you need to add 20 emails to your list to make a sale.

Use this formula to find out what a new email is worth to you:

[themedy_alertbox icon=”envelope-alt” colour=”green” custom_colour=””] Conversion Rate X Conversion Value = Value Per Email[/themedy_alertbox]

In our example, the formula will look like this: 5% X $100 = $5

If this is the case, you can spend $5 to get one email. That’s your breakeven point. If you can collect emails for less, (and your conversion rate and value holds true) you’re paid list building activities will be profitable.

Anytime you have a value per email address over $5, then you owe to yourself to test paid list building. And if you didn’t, rethink your offer and try adding premium products/services to increase your customer value. Also, if you’re not converting at least 5% of your list into paying customers, you need to optimize your email marketing campaign, fast. Because you’re leaving big money on the table.

Why Facebook Ads?

I’m a huge fan of Adwords because you can get people exactly when they’re searching for something you offer. But Adwords is jam-packed competitive and relatively expensive.

Plus there’s a bigger learning curve to getting your Adwords campaign profitable. And that’s why I’m teaching you how to do it with Facebook ads.

Here’s Noah Kagan’s rockstar guide to spending your first $100 on facebook. 

Combine his tips with a simple landing page like this and you’re done.

Keep this in mind: 

Facebook only lets you target by demographics and interests. To make sure you attract your perfect customers, laser target your ad with a highly specific lead magnet. Offer up something that only your perfect customer would be interested in.

Watch this video to learn exactly how I grow my list for just $4 a day

Facebook Ad List Building Trick

Get Traffic + Convert It With “Content Upgrades”

There’s 2 parts to this last one, but it’s super important. We’re gonna use the best traffic building strategy on the planet, the Skyscraper Technique plus my own twist that will get you even more traffic/backlinks and shares per article.

To get loads of traffic to your site:

Skyscraper Technique

Brian Dean’s Genius Skyscraper Technique + Content Upgrades is The Fastest Way To Grow Your Email List

To find link-worthy content, I use Open Site Explorer, Click on the “Top Pages” button:

And search for content with 25 linking root domains or more:

[themedy_alertbox icon=”signal” colour=”green” custom_colour=””]How to get even more traffic for each article your write: Find everyone who shared the original article link… Plus RELATED LINKS![/themedy_alertbox]

For example, if you find a popular article on email marketing tips, instead of just reaching out to people who linked to the #1 most popular article on email marketing tips:

Email Marketing Tips – 10 Tips to Get You Started

I can also reach out to the authors of these super-popular articles:

  1. 20 Tips for Dramatically Better Emails
  2. 5 Innovative Email Marketing Tips That Drive Readers to Action
  3. 11 Sure-fire Tips on How to Make Sure Your Email Marketing Works

This gives me 4 times the number of TARGETED people I can reach out to for links/traffic. Thus, giving me 4X the amount of results.

You’ll have 500-1000 potential authors to reach out to for each article so hire a 4$/hour virtual assistant to help you do this.

The bottom-line: Use the skyscraper technique and you wont’ be blogging in the dark. So if you spend 3 hours a day for 5 days on your epic content, it won’t go to waste.

Convert your traffic with content upgrades

The next thing you need to do is create a content upgrade for that post. This will get you most of your email subscribers.

Think about it as a bonus chapter that people will have to trade their email for. You could add a bonus video for the post (like this facebook ad video) provide 2 real world examples or case studies, a checklist or anything else that someone who enjoyed the post would be interested in.

A few more content upgrade ideas:

  • Ebook (specific to the post)
  • Cheat sheet
  • Email series
  • Video
  • Private blog content
  • Early access to new features

This bonus facebook ad video (where I show you exactly how I build my list) is my content upgrade for this post:

Facebook Ad List Building Trick

Click here to watch how I grow my email list on $4 a day with Facebook ads

Your turn: Start using the 80/20 principal for building your email list today.

Just make sure you’re following up your list with awesome email marketing!

[themedy_alertbox icon=”heart” colour=”blue” custom_colour=””]Leave a comment below and share your favorite content upgrade idea.[/themedy_alertbox]


Wow your customers with email
Feb 10

Are you “wowing” your customers?

By Jack | email strategy

What does it take to “WOW” a customer?

What exactly do you need to do to get your customers to RAVE about your business to their friends??

And how much extra time and money do you need to put in to get that mega-valuable word-of-mouth that brings you unexpected paying customers while you sleep??

The answer?

[themedy_alertbox icon=”” colour=”green”]$2.37 and 4 minutes of your time.[/themedy_alertbox]

Yes, really…

…Let me explain.

Last week, I ordered a new wetsuit from

(Never heard of Me neither.)

But with an extra $2.47, they turned me into a life-long customer. Plus, I’ve already told 5 of my friends about them.

And now, I’m not shopping anywhere else for my surfing gear.

(Sorry Amazon.)

So how’d they do it?


This is what it took to win a life-long customer.

They completely exceeded my expectations (“wowed” me) by putting 4 “tiny surprise bonus things” inside the box.

  • Thing #1) Candy — Cost = $0.30 Time = 10 seconds
  • Thing #2) Surf wax — Cost = $1.00 Time = 10 seconds
  • Thing #3) Beer koosie — Cost = $1.07 Time = 10 seconds
  • Thing #4) A hand written note — Cost = FREE Time = 3:30 minutes

Total = $2.37 and 4 minutes

That’s it.

But it completely caught me off guard because nobody does this!

Think about it…

When’s the last time you got a handwritten note? (From a business?)

Or felt like you just got a little more than you bargained for?

Feels good, right?

And your customer’s won’t forget that.

So what does this have to do with email marketing and how can you use it to grow your business?

First off… Today budget an extra 5 minutes of your time and $5 to do something unexpected that could make your customer’s day.

(Can you think of a better way to spend $5 of your marketing dollars?)

And when you “wow” your email subscribers… you’ll build a deeper relationship with your readers, enjoy more word-of-mouth marketing and attract more sales.

2 “Takeaway Email Marketing Ideas”:

1) When you offer a free lead magnet download to grow your email list, give away an unadvertised bonus gift for free.

2) Every Friday, jump into your personal email account (gmail) and send 5 of your subscribers personal thank you videos for joining your list. And ask them if they’ve got questions they want to ask you directly.

Why video? It’s way more personal than a plain old email. (Kinda like a hand-written note.)

Here’s the bottom-line: The bar is set low… Really low.

Your customers don’t expect much. So spend a few bucks and 5 minutes to make your customer’s day.

They WON’T forget it.

Now go make someone’s day!

Autoresponder guide
Feb 06

Autoresponders 101: How to “set and forget” your marketing

By Jack | email strategy


I love my Crock-Pot.

Seriously. It’s my second favorite kitchen appliance. (After my Aeropress coffeemaker.)
Here’s why…

In the morning, I just throw in:

  • A bunch of veggies
  • A big ole chunk o’ meat
  • Some salt & pepper
  • And tons of garlic

Then I close the lid, turn it on and… “Set it and forget it!”

And here’s the best part: When I come home, I’ve got dinner ready (and my whole apartment smells amazing.)


…I know what you’re thinking:

“I should probably get one of those Crock-Pot things… And what does this have to do autoresponders?”

Well, Crock-Pots are kinda like autoresponders.

Because you can “set and forget” your autoresponder… And it turns your leads into paying customers. (Even when you’re not working.)

Seriously. Just throw in a few carefully written emails, set the schedule and BOOM! Your email marketing is on autopilot.

After reading this post, you will:

  • Get an overview of what an autoresponder is
  • Understand why you need one for your business
  • Learn how an autoresponder can make you money
  • Get some tips and tricks for setting up your first autoresponder
  • Hear about my 2 favorite ESP’s for autoresponders
  • Get some advanced tips for A/B testing and optimizing your autoresponder

What is an email autoresponder?

Aweber Follow Up Series

Aweber’s definition of an autoresponder

You can call it an “email autoresponder” or “drip email campaign” or “follow up series” but at the end of the day it’s just an automated series of emails sent to your subscribers.

Let’s look at an example:

As soon as you sign up for my free newsletter, my autoresponder will send you a welcome email immediately.

Then 3 days later, you’ll get another one…

And another one… and another one… and another one…

Meanwhile, I could be surfing in Puerto Rico or taking a snooze in a hammock. But you’ll still get those emails because of my trusty autoresponder.

autoresponder marketing

I could be sleeping in this hammock while my autoresponder makes sure you get my best emails.

Make sense?

Here’s a question I get asked:

“So what’s the difference between an autoresponder and my current email campaign?”

Basically, you can only send two types of messages:

  • Broadcast messages
  • Automated messages

Broadcasts are best for sending your list recent updates. And an autoresponder is a pre-scheduled email series.

Do you need an autoresponder?

Answer these 3 questions:

  1. Do you have an email list of leads or customers?
  2. Do you plan on building an email list?
  3. Do you have a website?

If you said yes to any of those questions, you need an autoresponder.


First off, it takes too much time to send each reader the right messages (in the right order) by hand.

I mean sure…

If you only had one subscriber…

You could send her updates when you wanted. But when you have 10, 100 or 1000+ readers, let’s just say you’ll have a hard time keeping up.

Think about it this way. An email autoresponder is the closest you can get to building a high-performance sales team that doesn’t take weekends, holidays or sick days.

How does a drip email campaign make sales?

Think about your autoresponder as your chance to tell every new lead a story about your company.

How would you want that story to go?

(This is your chance to tell your new leads why they should be your customer.)

[themedy_alertbox colour=”red” custom_colour=””]But here’s the catch: Every email you send must add value, entertain AND sell to your readers. [/themedy_alertbox]

The trick to creating an email autoresponder that sells is connecting your selling points to your readers pain points.

How exactly do you create a drip email campaign that sells?

There’s 4 steps to writing an effective email autoresponder:

1. Determine the #1 goal for your autoresponder.

To sell stuff right? Well, not so fast…

If you’ve got a product to sell that costs less than $200 – then yes – it’s fine to set a sales goal. But if you’re selling consulting or other high dollar items or services, your email campaign goal should be to get them on the phone with you or a salesman.

[themedy_alertbox colour=”red” custom_colour=””]Important: Write down your goal and make sure it’s specific so that you can measure it.[/themedy_alertbox]

2. Identify what your leads need to “Know” and “Feel” before they’re ready to buy.

When you start working on creating content for the drip campaign, ask yourself this:

“What do my prospects need to know in order to take the step I want?”

Talk to a few current customers first, send out some surveys or do anything you can do to “step inside your reader’s heads” a bit more. Basically, you want to answer these 4 questions:

  1. What are my leads struggling with right now?
  2. What objections to buying do my leads have?
  3. Before buying from me, what do my leads need to know about my offer?
  4. What goals do my leads have that I can help them with?

Ian Brodie calls these the “know and feel” factors. He does a great job explaining this in his book, Email Persuasion.

3. Map out your campaign 

You’ve got your autoresponder goal. Good.

You’ve got a list of your leads and you know what they need to “know and feel” before they’re ready to become a customer. Good.

Now it’s time to “map out” your campaign.

It’s basically a storyboard or outline for your entire email campaign. Just make sure you address each “know and feel” factor with an email.

Here’s a quick overview of how a basic drip email campaign works…

  • Thanks for signing up! Welcome to the family, here’s what’s coming up.
  • Here’s some great content that will make your life better.
  • What are you struggling with? (I’ll send you tips so you struggle less.)
  • Here’s a case study that will help you with what you’re struggling with (plus a testimonial from my happy client.)
  • If you’re looking for more help with that, here’s the next step. (Call to action.)

Provide tips that solve your readers problem to build trust and “expert status” with your list.

Then use case studies or stories to show how you’ve helped others like them.

Finally, ask them to take the next step and complete your autoresponder goal. (Ask for sale or call for consultation, ect…)

How long should an autoresponder be?

No solid answer here. (But most of my drip email campaigns are about 10 emails long.)

Try this. Instead of thinking the answer to, “how long should my autoresponder be” as exact number, think about what you need to communicate before you’re subscriber is ready to become a customer.

When do you sell in your autoresponder sequence?

In every email. Kinda.

Let me explain…

Think about the last relationship you had that went south. Did it feel like one of you was just giving, giving, giving while the other was just taking, taking, taking?

Didn’t work out, right? (I’m guessing you were either frustrated at how selfish the other person is or you just get bored.)

So keep this in mind when you’re building a relationship with your email subscribers.

I wrote about building relationships with your readers in this post, but remember that you want a win-win relationship between you and your readers. Don’t just give, give, give. Instead, ask your readers to do something for you in almost every email you give them.

Seth Godin, author of Permission Marketing, writes:

sethWalking into the singles bar, the Interruption Marketer marches up to the nearest person and proposes marriage. If turned down, the Marketer repeats this process on every person in the bar.

A Permission Marketer goes on a date. If it goes well, the two of them go on another date. And then another. Until, after ten or twelve dates, both sides can really communicate with each other about their needs and desires. After twenty dates, they meet each other’s families. And finally, after three or four months of dating, the Permission Marketer proposes marriage.

Permission Marketing is just like dating. It turns strangers into friends and friends into lifetime customers. Many of the rules of dating apply, and so do many of the benefits.

So when I say you should sell in every email, I’m talking about asking for small commits upfront (like follow you on social media, respond to a quick survey or tell you what you’re struggling with).

That way they are more likely to take action when you ask for a larger action (like buy or schedule a consultation.)

What can’t autoresponders do?

The money’s not in the list, it’s in the relationship. And if all you do is set up your autoresponder and wait for sales to come in, you’re limiting yourself.

Will you still make sales? Probably. But you’ll do better when you use your autoresponder to build relationships, get feedback and find out what your list really wants.

My favorite Email Service Providers for autoresponders.

If you’re setting up an autoresponder, you need and email service provider (or an ESP) to get send and track your emails.

Personally I use Aweber to handle my autoresponder. But GetResponse is worth looking into because it makes it easy to segment your list based on what links they clicked or what emails they opened.

Optimizing Your Autoresponder: Segmenting and Open Rates

Optimizing an autoresponder takes work.

But it can make your campaign more profitable. I’d suggest starting with setting up a simple 10 part autoresponder then go back and include these advanced autoresponder tactics:

1) Segment your campaigns

When you segment your list, you’ll be able to send even more relevant content to your subscribers. And the more relevant your emails, the more opens, clicks and sales you’ll get from each one.

ConversionXL offers a simple strategy to use:

“Create several parallel campaigns – most of the content can remain the same – but tailor them as much as possible to the specific segments, addressing their concerns, needs and wants.”

For instance you can create 2 different landing pages for 2 different segments and so that when they join your email list on a particular page, you send them particular drip emails.”

2) Get higher open rates for your autoresponder series

After you roll out a new autoresponder, odds are that a handful of your emails will have crappy open rates.

Which emails should get optimized for open rates? Rank your emails by open rate. Then start by optimizing the worst 20% of your emails.

Fact: If you improve your subject lines, you’ll improve your open rates.

Here’s how to optimize your subject lines for higher open rates.

You’re going to broadcast each message that you want to improve with a new subject line. But you’re only sending it out to subscribers who never opened the first time.

You can split test new subject lines in your broadcast. The subject line with the best open rate will get added to your auto-responder.

According to ConversionXL, “If you’re worried that re-broadcasting your messages will increase your spam complaints, remember, the people on this segment never opened your message in the first place.”

Any questions?

If you’ve got a question about setting up an autoresponder, just leave your questions in the comments and I’ll help you out!

57 email marketing tips
Jan 27

57 Email Marketing Tips That Will Get You More Opens, Clicks & Sales

By Jack | email strategy

Got an email list? Want more opens, clicks and sales from each email you send?

Use these 57 email marketing tips to start sending better emails today.

How to build a relationship with your readers using email

1) Make a good first impression. When a new subscriber signs up to your list, what happens next is the first impression they get of your email campaign. Here’s how to start it off on the right foot…

Exceed their expectations by re-directing them to a memorable thank you page, give them an un-advertised lead magnet bonus chapter and craft an amazing welcome email (see tip 3). According to Ciceron, 88% of companies fail to make a good impression within 21 days of their email marketing. Forbes gives you 4 more ideas on how to nail your first impression here. 

2) Craft an amazing welcome email. Your welcome email will have the highest open rate of any email that you send. So use it to welcome your new subscribers to your tribe, exceed their expectations in at least one way and give them an easy way to leave. Check out these great welcome email examples for inspiration.

3) Tell them what’s coming up. If you’re going to send them 2-3 messages a week about poodles, say it your first email. (And if you’re going to sell something, it’s best to mention that upfront.) Aweber gets into details about setting expectations in this article.

Tell your subscribers what to expect in your welcome email.

4) Make it easy to opt out – It should be painless to opt out. Why? First, it keeps people from flagging you as spam. Second, you actually want some people to opt-out. Because the people who stay on your list but never interact with your emails, give you”list bloat” — which makes it hard to gather accurate data about your subscribers who still care.

Here’s how Pat Flynn asks his readers to opt-out after each email:

If for any reason you do not want to receive any more valuable tips, resources and insider information about blogging, product creation and online marketing, you can unsubscribe by clicking the link at the end of this email. No hard feelings!



Why do I even bother asking people to unsubscribe?

Two reasons:

  1. By putting it out there, I’m not hiding anything. It’s a reminder of the transparency and authenticity of the brand that I hope people stay subscribed for.

  2. If people read that passage and they feel like unsubscribing, I hope they do. I only want people on my list who really want the content I have to share.

5) Be like your readers – In Robert Cialdini’s must-read book Influence, he explains that, “We like people who are similar to us… Those who wish to be liked can accomplish that by appearing similar.”

So let your readers relate to you by talking about how you used to struggle with the same problems they face. Empathize with them, and then ask how you can help. According Forbes, being authentic can make your marketing more profitable. 

6) Tell stories – Stories grab attention fast and add depth to your emails.  In QuickSprout’s guide to telling your brand’s story:

  • Human-to-human connections are the heart of marketing. Brand storytelling is a technique that can reinforce these bonds.
  • Storytelling concepts are vague, abstract, and tough to plan. Rely on card sorting exercises, message architecture maps, and brand styleguides to articulate your strategy and scale it across teams.

Screenshot 2015-01-15 14.53.06

7) Show you’re an expert. When you’ve achieved expert status, people trust you more. (And trust is key to building relationships.) But instead of just saying your an expert, give away value and teach your readers something to gain “expert status.” It’s surprisingly simple to become an expert. 

8) Personally answer your reader’s questions. This takes some time, but it’s the fastest way to turn a new subscriber into a raving fan. (Plus it’s a great way to get content ideas from your readers.) All you have to do is ask them to tell you what they’re struggling with… and then help them. And don’t be afraid to give them too much info. Derek Halpern says, “The right way to sell is to give away the house… and sell the backyard.

9) Blow them awaySend them a video when they join your list or personally write them a thank you email. Seriously, no one does this… so your readers will remember you.

10) Personalize your messages. Use personality tags like name when you send. Just make sure you’re not addressing them by their first and last name like, “Dear Sam Smith.” (It should just be, “Dear Sam.”) You can clean up your name tags in your email service provider easily. But don’t personalize too much or you’ll sound spammy. Here’s 7 examples of personalization done right. 

11) Use surveys to send better emails  – Survey your readers to segment them and give them content they need. Not sure what to ask? Create a survey using google docs, take a screen shot of your questions and embed that image into your email. Just make sure to link to your actual survey so you can collect answers. Use these 3 questions as a framework to find the most important questions your readers want answered:

Email survey

Fill out this form and I’ll personally reply back with answer to your question/s.

Here’s how to create an email survey using google docs: 


11) Write to one reader. Use this trick to instantly make your emails more personal:

  1. Look up one of your subscribers on LinkedIn or Facebook
  2. See their interests and look at their picture.
  3. Then when you’re writing your next email, pretend you’re talking to that one person.Even though you’re focusing on one reader, it will help you connect with your entire list better.

12) Honor the golden rule. Send emails that you would want to receive. Every email should entertain, educate or both. (Even your sales emails.) Don’t forget it and your list will love getting your emails.


12) Give give give, ask. The best way to get your readers excited about future emails, is to pack serious value in the first emails you send. Load the first 4-5 emails with your best content. This builds up the “reciprocity factor” and they’ll be more likely to give back when you ask them for something later in your campaign. This is the topic of Gary V’s latest book, “Jab jab jab right hook.” But here’s a short summary of the book.

13) Send emails with your name. What’s an easier email sender to connect with? or Don’t hide behind your email. People like hearing from other people not brands. (Unless you’re Apple or Starbucks.) So don’t hide behind your brand and sign emails with your name.

14) Earn their trust. How? Earning trust with email is similar to earning trust face-to-face. According to copyblogger:

There are three key elements to developing trust with your online audience:

  1. Build authority by creating and sharing useful content

  2. Then develop relationships with your audience by showing you genuinely care

  3. And finally, underscore your credibility with a professional website

15) Don’t blend in with their inbox. Add your personality, humor and stories to your messages so your emails stand out in a crowded inbox. Help them remember you and like you.‘s emails do this well.

How to get your emails opened

16) Tell them what’s coming up next. Use the P.S. to get your readers excited about your next email. Or even better, create a teaser campaign that will get them excited. If people know specifically how you’ll make them happier, more informed, better at business, etc… they’ll be counting down the days to read your next message.

17) Don’t end up in the “Promotions” tab. Gmail has 500 million users. So there’s a good chance many of your subscribers use google’s popular email service. And if you want to stay out of gmail’s promotions tab, follow these 7 tips from copyblogger.

18) Use power words in your emails and subject lines. According to legendary copywriter John Carlton, a power word is any word that carries its own emotional wallop. (Use them to write better emails.) “Murder”, “cripple”, blinding, “dragged kicking and screaming”… you can FEEL those words when you read them, right? Take a look at his complete power word list to write better email.

19) Use an odd number in your subject line. According the guardian, headlines or subject lines with odd numbers get a 20% higher open rate than ones with even numbers. Here’s 7 tips to write better subject lines with numbers. This subject line trick works, just don’t over do it or your readers will get tired of it.

20) Help your readers avoid relevant common mistakes. Try writing some “mistake-avoiding”  emails with these subject line formulas from copyblogger:

  • Do You Make These Mistakes in English?
  • Do You Make These Ajax Coding Mistakes?
  • Do You Make These Mistakes With Your Blog?

21) Don’t be cute. Cute or clever subject lines don’t get opened. Simple, specific subject lines beat clever alternatives every time. Use your subject lines to simply describe the subject of your email because the best subject lines, “tell what’s inside, and the worst subject lines sell what’s inside.”

22) A/B test subject lines. You don’t really know what subject will get you the most opens until you test.

For example: Which subject line do you think got the most opens? 

A) Using Game Theory As A Content Marketing Tactic

B) How Pixar’s Creative Process Can Help Your Content Marketing

(The answer… Subject line A got 11.3% more opens than version B.)

Want more details on A/B testing your campaign? Here’s KissMetric’s guide to A/B testing email campaigns. 

23) Get inspired by the world’s best emails. Who’s the thought leader in your industry? Opt-in to their list and see how they write subject lines and organize email campaigns. Try QuickSprout to get some ideas that will help you get your emails opened.

24) Send relevant content. This is huge. If you give your readers the content they need, they will open your emails. So survey your readers to find out what content they want and give it to them. In my experience, giving your readers what they want will increase your open rates faster than anything else.

25) Segment your list to send better emails. After you survey your subscriber, use groups and segments to send specific messages to each subscriber. Segmenting your list will help you send emails that are more relevant, and therefore more likely to get opened. 

26) Avoid using your recipient’s name in the subject line. This study by Mailchimp shows that using a name in the subject line drops your open rates. But like all marketing case studies out there, run a simple A/B test to see how your list responds to personalized subject lines like, “Jack, get free shipping today only” vs. “Get free shipping today only.”

27) Keep subject lines short Your iPhone (and most other mobile devices) shows only 80 characters of a subject line. So get the point quickly when writing your subject line. Some say your subject line should be a maximum of 50 characters. But as a rule of thumb, shorter subject lines get opened more than long ones.

28) Add preview texts. What’s a “preview text?” It’s the text that shows up next to the subject line in your email account. And a strong preview text can increases your open rate. To change your preview text, simply change the first line of text in your email.

Hubspot says, your preview text should be something that follows up to your subject line. Maybe it answers your subject line’s question, or just follows along with the same theme. For example, check out this awesome preview from BuzzFeed’s email:

29) Avoid “Bait and switch” subject lines. Don’t trick your readers into opening your emails. Sure, making a false claim in your subject line or using “re:” (as if you’re replying to a personal message) might get more opens once, but these false promises and tricks will instantly destroy trust (and open rates) with your audience.

30) Don’t forget about scarcity: If your email is time sensitive, put that sense of urgency into your subject line. This sense of urgency will get more readers to open your email and take action. Here’s 3 subject lines from that use scarcity well:

  • Only 2 days left to get 50% off shoes
  • Hurry! Only 3 consultation spots left.
  • Get free shipping if you order within the next hour

31) Put your biggest benefit in your subject line: Ads have been putting their biggest benefit inside their headlines for centuries. Do the same with your subject line to get higher open rates.

Notice how this ad puts the car’s biggest benefit in the headline?

32) Time your emails better:  When’s the best time to send an email to get the most open rates? This depends on your list and industry. But ConstantContact has a great article that breaks down send days, times and open rates by industry. Start there but make sure to test other send times to see what your list responds best to.

33) Ask a question in your subject line: Mailchimp found that, “subject lines framed as questions often perform better than similar subject lines that were phrased as statements.” Try A/B testing a subject line with a question and see what happens to your open rates.

A/B testing example: “Get 50% off all beach towels this week” vs. “Want 50% off all beach towels this week?”

34) Send localIf you’re sending an email to a specific neighborhood, city or state, mention it in your subject line. Why? Location-specific offers or news get higher open rates.

35) NEVER USE ALL CAPS. It looks spammy and no one likes that. In fact, Brain Harris at says he gets higher open rates when he sends subject lines with all lowercase letters. This could be because it looks more casual, kind of like an email you’d send to a close friend or co-worker… so it’s more likely to get opened.

How to write engaging emails

36) Give your readers what they want: The fastest way to write better emails is to find out what your readers want emails about. Do they want how-to emails? Promotions? Tricks and tips? Survey your readers, find out what emails they want and write content they need. Even with poor writing you’ll still engage your audience.

37) Ask questions in your email. You want your emails to feel like it’s a personal conversation between you and your reader. One way to connect with your audience is to ask questions in your email. Got it? Good.

38) Use the AIDA formula. Next time you’re sending an email that has a call-to-action, use the AIDA formula. It will give you a proven method of engaging your reader and getting them to take action. Use this to get your readers to fill out a survey, follow you on social media or click over to your sales page.

39) Try new greetings. Instead of a cold and boring “Hello”, start your email with something different. Try warm wishes, Howdy, or Greetings from sunny San Diego or just their name. Mixing up your greetings makes you sound less robotic and more personal.

40) Add a time stamp on your letters. Use a time stamp to tell your readers where you’re writing from and when to make your emails more personal. John Carlton does this to all of blog posts for a reason.

41) Add your personality. Are there any words or expressions that only you can get away with? Being a San Diegan, I can mix in the occasional “dude” in my emails. I’m not that saying that is going to win me any email awards, but it shows I’m a real person with a personality, man.

42) Stop boring your readers to death. You won’t connect with your readers if they get too bored to read your emails. Here’s the top 3 tips from Copyblogger to spice up your emails:

  • Tell stories in your emails to get your point across
  • Keep your words, sentences and paragraphs short
  • Stick to one topic in each email

43) Do a “CRABS Check” before you hit send. Dave Chaffey, author of Total Email Marketing, gives us a helpful acronym, “CRABS” to make sure your email copy will engage your readers.

  • Chunking – Chunking means that paragraphs must be shorter than in paper copy. One or two short sentences max. This helps scannability.

  • Relevance – With limited space, we have no room for fillers. Stick with what matters – the details of the offer and how to receive it.

  • Accuracy – Don’t get carried away with your copy; don’t set expectations so high that you over promise and can’t deliver something you offer.

  • Brevity – Brevity goes with chunking and scannability. Write your copy, reduce the word count and then reduce it again. Give yourself targets and beat them without sacrificing good English and understanding.

  • Scannability – This is reading without reading every word, just picking up the sense of each paragraph from the keywords. The eye will pick out words at the start of paragraphs and those emphasized in bold.

How to sell in your emails

44) Build trust before you sell. reminds us that, “Customers don’t buy from people they don’t trust.” So before you can ask for the sale, make sure you’ve earned their trust first. Use an autoresponder to send 4-8 emails with helpful content and some personal stories that your readers can relate to.

45) Help your readers get what they want. Even the best copywriters and email marketers can’t force someone to buy something. You can only help them connect what they desire to your offer. So to sell with emails, paint them a picture of what their life will be like after buying.

46) Give a deadline – In Robert Caldini’s book Influence, he explains that, “People are highly motivated by the thought that they might lose out on something.” So if your promotion expires or your registration closes, mention that exact time and date in your emails to get more sales.

47) Have a crystal-clear call to action. gives us three fail-proof rules for writing a strong call to action:

  1. A no-obligation statement that removes or reduces risk. In many cases, they’re asking for a free trial rather than a purchase. In other words, try us, you’ll like us. This gives people the confidence to buy.

  2. All of them contain some version of “Mail your acceptance card.” This is simple usability. You have to tell people what to do next. Today it would read, “Click the button below.”

  3. Encouragement to respond right away. That’s standard direct response. Don’t give people an option to wait and think about it.

48) Ask for the sale across several emails Ian Brodies’ book Email Persuasion, he explains why it’s so important to ask for the sale in several emails instead of one.

First, every subscriber will be ready to buy at different times. So asking for the sale in multiple emails helps perfect your timing.

Second, if you use more than one email to sell, you don’t have to write a 4 page heavy-hitting sales email. You can spread out your sales points across several short and easy-to-read emails.

Screenshot 2015-01-27 09.00.13

50) Give them what they want. If you’ve used a survey (found in tip #11) you’ll be able to “read your customer’s mind” and give them exactly what they want. Use the data from your surveys to give your readers an offer they can’t refuse.

51) Money back guarantee. Simply adding a money back guarantee to your offer can bring in more sales. Neil Patel at was able to increase sales by 21% after adding a money back guarantee.

52) Repeat your call to action 2-3 times. This gives your readers more chances to click through and will get you more clicks per email.

53) Don’t forget the P.S. “The P.S. is one of the most important part of any sales letter, and it’s often read first beofre the body copy. Always use the P.S. to restate your offer here.” – Drew Eric Whiteman.

54) Add white space around your links. shows us how, “Adding ample whitespace around your CTA buttons encourages click-throughs by separating them visually from other elements in your email and helping focus the reader’s attention on them at the right time.”

55) Make sure your links look clickable. If you’re using a button for your call to action, make sure it looks clickable. If you’re using a plain text email (which is sometimes the best option) your links should be underlined and colored “link-blue“.

56) Sell “above the fold”. Amy Porterfield does a great job of placing her call to action within the first 3 sentences of her emails:

Email marketing cta above the fold

57) Follow up with reminder emails. Use reminder emails to let your list know that your offer is expiring soon or even to drive home the benefits of taking action. Your readers are busy people and may need an extra reminder or two to help them purchase or sign up.

What’s next?

2 things:

First, leave a comment below and tell me which was your favorite email marketing tip.

Then, go use these tips to improve you email campaign.

Jan 06

5 Ways To Get Anyone To Reply To Your Cold Email

By Jack | email strategy

Has this ever happened to you?

You spend 30 minutes writing “the perfect cold email.”

You re-read it 3 times before sending it to make sure it’s flawless.

You hit “send” and wait for a reply…

Then… crickets…

And you realize that you just sent another cold email that didn’t get a reply.

Frustrating, right?

But here’s some good news: There’s a proven method to getting your emails opened, read and replied to.

Here’s how to get anyone (even busy CEO’s) to reply to your cold emails:


Rule #1) Remember “what’s in it for them”

If you focus on your reader’s interest (and not your own), you’re guaranteed to write better emails.

So before you write a single word of your cold email, “take a walk in their shoes.”

Picture that person in your head for a second. (Go to their linkedin profile so you can actually see who you’re about to email.) And imagine what their day looks like.

If your email recipient is like most people:

  • they’re busy with important work projects
  • they’re stressed about an upcoming social event
  • they have to leave work early to watch their kid’s soccer game
  • they have 10 minutes to process 70 emails

And if you think they care about you, you’re wrong.

Nevil Medhora, one of my favorite copywriters, says to repeat this mantra 3 times out loud before you write your email:

“No one cares about you, they only care about themselves.”

How do you find out “What’s in it for them??”

Don’t guess.

Do research for 5-10 minutes on their LinkedIn profile and company website to find out their goals and interests.

Then, offer up something of value in your cold email that ties into what their goals/interest are. Share a blog post, story or white paper in your email that will help your cold email recipient get what they want over time.

Think of this like a “virtual handshake” that helps build a relationship.

Rule #2) Write a subject line that’s worth opening

More than a third of email recipients determine whether they should even open an email based on the subject line alone. So yes, this subject line alone deserves it’s own post, but for now, here’s what you need to know:

  • Keep it short: Inboxes display only the first 60 characters and mobile phones just 25 or 30 characters.
  • Words matter: Yesware found that the words used were more important for open rates than the length of the subject line.
  • Be specific: For example, a subject line of, “Hi Bill, we met at the golf event last Sunday,” is more specific (and more likely to get opened) than, “Great meeting you.”
  • Use lowercase letters: To help your email feel more personal
  • Be casual: Friendly subject lines work best for cold emails. (Make sure your subject line doesn’t sound like the headline for your next blog post.)
  • Keep it simple: Limit your subject line to one topic. Otherwise it will sound confusing.
  • A/B Testing: If you’re sending this email multiple times (to different people) try testing 2 or 3 subject lines to see which one has the highest open rate. (Track your open rates for free with

Rule #3) Avoid these 5 email copy mistakes

As a copywriter, I’ve seen how swapping a few words can make the difference between getting a sale or boring someone to death.

Here’s the most common mistakes that are stopping your cold email from getting replies:

Mistake #1) Your Emails Are Confusing: Keep your email simple to get more replies. As a rule of thumb, don’t write a cold email with more than one question or call to action.

Mistake #2) Your Questions Are Too Hard To Answer: You want your cold email to be brain-dead-easy to answer. So make it easy to reply to your first email with something like, “Can I send you this free whitepaper that will help you with this?”

Then once you’ve started a conversation and provided value, you can ask more complex questions or requests.

Mistake #3) Your Calls To Action Are Vague: What’s the #1 goal of your cold email? Think about exactly what you want your recipient to do and then ask for it. For example, don’t say, “I’d love to hear what you think.” (That’s too vague.) Instead try, “Are you available for a 15 minute chat this Tuesday at 1pm so I can get your feedback on this article? ”

Mistake #4) You Don’t Use Their First Name: Don’t start a cold email with,  “Hey, Hello, (or even worse) Dear Sir.” Use their first name and make sure your message addresses just one person at a time.

Mistake #5) Your Email Is Too Long: Your recipient is busy. So get rid of any paragraphs and replace them with 3-4 short sentences and/or bullet points.

Rule #4) Follow up

Guy Kawasaki deletes all emails after 21 days. Why? Because he assumes that, “if it’s truly important, the other person would follow up.” So don’t feel bad about following up!

“Don’t Be Afraid To Followup On Your Followups” – Jessica Huang of SAP

It’s easy to feel bad about following up. But following up is important for both you and your recipient. So instead of thinking, “I don’t want to annoy them” use these tricks to send guilt free follow-ups.

First, install Bananatag (it’s free) to make sure your email was opened. If it did not get opened, change the subject line and send it again 2 days later.

If it did get opened, send a different message and make it even shorter.

Yesware found that when follow up, your chance of getting a response goes up by 21%.

But give your recipient 2-3 days to respond before you follow up. After all, the person you’re sending this to is busy and it’s important to respect that.

After you’ve followed up 3 times without a response, ask if you should stop following up. This way, you won’t waist their time — or yours.

A message like this will work:

“Hi John,

You’re busy. 

And I understand if you haven’t had the time to reply yet.

But I don’t want to bother you with these emails if you’re not interested. If you’d like me to stop following up, just say the word. ”


Rule #5) Follow These Email Tactics  

Whenever possible, I ask for an introduction.

Before sending an email, look for 2nd-level connections to your recipient on LinkedIn. But be upfront about why you want this intro. Tell them why and give them an easy “way out” if they’re not comfortable giving an introduction.

Connect on Twitter and LinkedIn after sending.

Send them a short tweet letting them know why you’re excited to connect. If you didn’t get a reply in 2-3 days, jump on LinkedIn and send them a short message. Tell them the main benefit they’d get by connecting with you and let them know you’ve sent them a message.

Send Your Email Very Early or Very Late

Open rates are just higher when you send messages early in the morning (6-7 am) or around 8 at night. According to Mashable, at those times, about 40% of emails received a response.

Want 5 PROVEN cold email templates that will bring you warm leads this week?
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