Nobody has an email problem. Everybody has a relationship problem.
Psychology on Email Marketing
When somebody asks me, Is email marketing dead? Or says my email doesn’t work. Or people don’t read my emails, what I tell them is that nobody has an email problem. Everybody has a relationship problem.
It’s not email marketing that’s broken. It’s the context of the relationship that’s broken. Email marketing is not dead. In fact, it is quite opposite. Email marketing is mandatory. It is the backbone of the customer journey. Email is like having a direct invitation to somebody’s kitchen.
On social media, your relationship with somebody is predicated on them seeking you out, or an algorithm placing you in front of them. Email is your direct connection directly into their home. It’s like putting a letter in their mailbox. And when you think about it like that, when you go to your mailbox and you open it and you see that same old junk and those same old flyers, what do you do? You don’t read them. You throw them in the trash.
When you go to your mailbox and you go open it, you are looking for something new, something valuable, something that excites you, something that helps you. Because if you look at your consumption of direct mail, it’s very similar to your consumption of email.
Email marketing is not dead. It just needs to be resuscitated with love, with value, with the connection. You have to know how to do email, based on you, your customer, and the value that you provide.
There are some of you who are going to be able to email your customers every day. And there’s some of you that are only gonna be able to email your customers once a week. There’s some of you that are going to require personal emails to build trust, to build longevity, to build a longterm relationship. Some people want you to email them daily nuggets of content. and some of them that just want to be sold every day.
If you run a business that does daily sales or daily deals where you’re always featuring products, people want to be emailed every day and they want to be emailed the new deals. If you have a health company and you help people lose weight or get better, and you have supplements, they’re going to want to know what new supplements you have. And in between those they’re gonna wanna know how to better use them, how to feel better, how to eat better, how to sleep better, how to move better. And so your most important part is understanding how to use email, based on you and your audience.
Is email marketing dead? No! Email marketing is the opposite of dead. It is very much alive and it is required for you to be successful. I have had trouble thinking about any company or any business that cannot benefit from email marketing.
Content strategy to Customer journey
At an event, someone asked me, how would you do email marketing for batteries? I literally was stumped for about 10 seconds. And my brain started thinking about batteries, like how to use them, how to properly store them, the history of them. And if I ran out of content there, I could talk about the environmental impact and how to use them better while funding a nonprofit that literally looks for renewable energy, or something along those lines.
What you need to think about is what my customers want. Not just my product or my service, but what else do THEY want? What do they want to learn about? What do they want to know? What’s going to help them in all the other modalities of their life. And then what is it that I have to share? Do I have information to share? Do I have accountability to share? Do I have research to share? And when you think about all of those and combine it together, you get the relationship map for how email should be done.
So when people say email marketing is dead, or my email doesn’t work. I say no, your lack of a strategy, or your shitty strategy is the reason why people aren’t buying from you or consuming your emails. It’s the reason why they read one and disappear forever.
So when you think about it, an email is not designed overnight. You have to know your customer’s journey. Where they are now, where they’re going to be a week from now, a month from now, and a year from now. You have to think about that. Which means you have to think about who you are, what you have to offer, how you’re going to offer it, and what’s the best way to offer it. How can I deliver it in bite-size nuggets to help them on a journey? Your email marketing is supposed to be a touchpoint in a relationship with your subscribers. Let me say that again, your email marketing is supposed to be a touchpoint in a relationship with your subscribers, not a transaction machine.
Customer journeys take a long time, somewhere between five and 150 touchpoints, depending on your product, your service, where they’re coming from, the level of commitment, how much money it costs. But yet a lot of people treat email like it’s a one-off thing. If you treat your email like it’s a one night stand, I guarantee you it will not work. Go look at the best email marketers in the world. Go look at the best direct response copywriters in the world. Go look at the companies that are absolutely crushing with email. Do they ignore you for three weeks, then email you once, then disappear again? No. Were they inconsistent? No. Did they talk to you incongruently? No.
Look at your email behavior from a consumer standpoint. Look at what you read, why you read it, why you look forward to it. Do you notice when it’s not there? When you do read it, what makes you click? And was it that email that made you click or was it the preexisting relationship before that email that built the trust?
When you see their name in your inbox, how does it make you feel when you see the subject line? Does it make you want to open the email? When you see the email, does it make you want to go to their social?
I want you to just audit how you feel when you read your emails. I want you to look at yourself when you go through your inbox, what did you delete? Why did you delete it? What did you keep? Why did you keep it when you kept it? How did it make you feel? Were you excited about the next one? You need to think about these things because these are the things that your customers & subscribers are thinking about. That’s going to make a big difference with how you do email marketing.
Planning & Execution
Successful email marketing is 95% thinking and planning and 5% execution. So I’m going to give you the seven biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to email marketing. But before I do that, I want to share with you how I think about email marketing. And I always use health as an example because it’s a really easy concept for us to wrap our heads around. If I was a personal trainer or a nutrition coach, and I had a customer come to me and say, I want to lose a hundred pounds in the next 12 months.
We know that in order for that goal to be achieved, it’s going to come down to a few things. One of them being movement, one of them being nutrition, and one of them being habits. So we’ll just call it a lifestyle. So that person comes to me. Let’s call him Sam. Sam comes to me and Sam says, George, I want to lose a hundred pounds in the next 12 months… I have two options. Option one. All right, Sam here’s all your meal plan, here’s your workout, here’s your lifestyle regimen, here’s your sleep schedule. here are your supplements, here’s where you’re going to go to the gym, here’s how you’re going to do it. Go every day for 12 months and I’ll see you in 365 days.
Do you think Sam’s going to succeed? Probably not. Sam’s going to quit. He would be overwhelmed. Not gonna make it. There’s no momentum. The odds are stacked against him.
Or the other option, Sam comes and I simply say, “Sam, meet me at 7:15 tomorrow morning. And all I want you to do tonight is make sure you drink 16 ounces of water before bed. Then we will do 10 minutes walk every day and give him a protein shake then do everything else that’s normal. And then every single day we build upon that habit moving forward. Which one do you think is successful? Obviously, option two. That’s how I think about email.
So when somebody comes to me and they’re like, George, I want to know how to do email marketing. And they’re like, well, I’m kind of emailing my customers but not consistently. And I don’t know what to talk about. My brain goes to the email journey I would design for them. What would it look like?
Well, the first thing is I need to know where they are, so they need to identify their current state. Then they need to identify what’s missing. And they need to understand the entire ecosystem. And then they need to start building. So I might be able to teach it in a 20-minute video, but if I was breaking it up via email, I would probably break it up between 7 and 10 emails and give them something to do every day for two to four minutes to put it into momentum and build upon it so that the change maintains forever.
So that’s how I think about customer journeys. If you have a lead magnet and you’re like, I’m going to share with you how to lose 10 pounds in seven days. Well, you probably should have at least 10 emails. Email one is congrats. Email two is prep. Email three through nine or 10 is the actual content. Email 11 is the wrap-up and next steps.
7 mistakes that people make with email marketing
# 1 – Do not send unsolicited messages
So now let’s get into the seven mistakes that people make with email marketing. Number one. Do not send unsolicited messages. You must have explicit consent. If somebody opts in for a giveaway, you can’t take them from that giveaway and add them to a list to sell them something. People must opt-in specific for your list for specific reasons. And the emails that follow must be relevant to what they signed up for. You need to respect people’s consent and the containers in which they join you. So if somebody comes in for a giveaway and you get an email for a giveaway, And then you decide they didn’t win the giveaway, but you’re going to automatically start sending them sales emails every day. Not only is it unethical, but it’s illegal. If you look into GDPR and the canned spam act. Plus why would you want people on your email list that were tricked or forced to be there and then wonder why they don’t convert? Or they complain or they report you as spam and the rest of your emails go down.
So instead do this, you sign up a thousand people for a giveaway, and let’s say five wins at the end of the giveaway design a three-part sequence that tells them why they were there.Email one, like, Hey, sorry, you didn’t win as the, thank you. I just wanted to give you this. And I wanted to welcome you into our world. And then the next day, let them know what your commitment is to them and what you have to offer. And let them know that if they would like to get emails for you on topic X, they click that link trigger which would then move them over. And then email three is like, Hey, I noticed you didn’t click the link trigger or maybe you’re not interested in my daily emails, but would you love to stay on our list just to get our weekly newsletters? If so, click this link below. And if they do that may consent there, and if they don’t remove them from your list, They don’t want to be there, no matter how many times you shove your content or your agenda down their throat, they’re not going to say yes, but every time that you do and they say no, and they don’t open it and they report you as spam and they unsubscribe your sender score, goes down. Everybody else on your list, doesn’t see your emails, your reputation goes down, which is permanent, and it’s very hard to recover. And then you wonder why your email doesn’t work. But it was all predicated on how you treated it in the first place. So mistake number one, do not send unsolicited messages.
#2 – Don’t send an email without testing it
You send your test emails there. It tells you did it hit spam. Did it go to the inbox on what platform and why will tell you because your subject line contained this, or it contained this, or you had 17 links in your email and you should only have one? But you should never send it. An untested email, you would be shocked at the number of times I get emails from companies that are mailing a million people that didn’t test their emails that had a broken link that had an image that didn’t match, had a subject line that didn’t match. You need to make sure that you are testing it. And the way that I think about this is I always tell myself, I have one chance I have one shot. You had one audition that would give you the chance to change your life. That’s how I look at every single email. No, of course, mistakes are gonna happen. But if you live in this state of, did we check it? Is that ideal? Is it good? Did we hit this wicked? What I do is I have a checklist.
So for me, I know what I want in every subject line. I put a flashlight, an LL, and then the subject line. I know I want a quote at the top of the email. I know I want my content. I feature a podcast at the bottom. And then I have all of that. So once I write that email, I have a checklist that I actually go check and I go check it. I’m like, okay. Is it there? I save it. And then I’m like, test it and then I’ll send a test email to my test email. I’m like, does it look good? Did it load on mobile? Did it load? And it takes me less than 30 seconds, but it guarantees that at worst people, read it and do nothing. And at best they read it and move forward. But if I don’t test it, I can burn bridges. I can lose trust. I can burn relationships because I lack attention to detail. And how can I convince somebody or get somebody to trust me with their credit card or with their bank account when I can’t take the time to deliver an email that is on point and quality that is a representation of my brand and what I stand for.
So you have to remember that it’s all the little things that add up to the big things. And so think about that. So don’t send an email without testing it. So mistake number one, don’t send unsolicited messages. Mistake number two, don’t send an email without testing it. Mistake number three, do not ignore the two most important lines of the email, which are the subject line and the sender name.
#3 – Subject Line & Sender’s Name
The only reason why emails get opened is because of the relationship with the sender and the subject of the email. A lot of people like they didn’t open my email, let me change the content. They didn’t know my email. Let me change the content. They can’t see the content. That’s not why they’re not opening the email. There is only one of two reasons why they’re not opening the email. Number one, they saw your name and they were like, oh, I’m not opening another one of those emails. Or I don’t know who this is. Or every time I opened the email, it’s like this or two the subject line. Didn’t get them. Maybe they felt tricked or spammed or it just didn’t match. But you have to remember that the reason people open emails is based on the quality of the relationship with the sender and then the information that’s provided to them in that one second, makes a split decision. Do I open it? Is this for me? Do I want to read it? And so if their last email, you had a spammy subject line, they were like, this one secret will change your life. And then they open it and it was bull crap. Well, now the next email’s not going to get open. Cause they’re like, there was no secret, it was trickery. It wasn’t there.
And so Litmus did a study on this the plainest and straightforward subject lines are the ones that get opened the most especially when they have a positive relationship with the name of the person, sending the email. And so have your name there, put it in there, use a subject line that creates an opening, but also tells them what they want and what they’re going to get, and then make sure the subject line matches the body of the email so that it is a positive touchpoint for people moving forward.
#4 – Do not make it hard for people to unsubscribe
Mistake number four, do not make it hard for people to unsubscribe. If they don’t want to be on your list, let them go. If they don’t want to be there, it does no good to have them there. This whole belief I need a big email list. I’m afraid for them to unsubscribe. If they don’t want to be there, they’re not going to pay you. If they don’t want to be there, they’re not going to share your content. Stop holding people hostage and make it really easy for them to go. This is a game about quality versus quantity, and I’m not going to get into this one, or my tangent would be massive. Do not hide unsubscribe links. When somebody unsubscribes take them off your list, make it easy for them to go. And you have to remember, email is not divorce. If somebody unsubscribes, that doesn’t mean they’re never coming back. I am subscribed to emails all the time and then rejoin them months later. I’m cleaning up my inbox. I don’t want to focus on that right now, but my determinant on if I come to resubscribe again is based on the quality of my relationship with the center. So make it easy for people to unsubscribe does not make it hard.
#5 – Do not try to be a graphic designer
Mistake number five, do not try to be a graphic designer. Text-based emails almost always win. You don’t need fancy designs, images, and visuals. Your job is to help people achieve their goals, to learn more, to move forward towards their after state. And sometimes images do that. But I watch people spend hours designing a visual newsletter that nobody’s going to read or click on anyways. Plus most of those images aren’t displayed by default. And people want to read. They want a relationship with people. And so it, most, what I do is we use a primary text, heavy email, and then it occasionally put images in when we want recipes or sales or coupons or products and things like that. That’s when we will do it. But for the most part, it’s text-based to build that relationship, to respect their time, and to give them what they want, which is the information they need to move forward.
#6 – Ignoring statistics
Now mistake, number six, ignoring statistics. You need to watch your open and click-through rates. Those numbers will tell you what’s working and what’s not. So you can adjust. Do you need to be anal about it and obsess about it and wonder? No, you just need to make sure that you’re present about it. So if you’re looking at your email sequences, and you have a 70% open rate, 75% open rate is 68% open rate. And then email four has a 22% open rate. You need to look at that because really there’s only normally one of two options, three options, one technical glitch to your subject line was, or three, the email prior burnt a ton of bridges and people don’t want to read anymore. And so you have to look at that because you have to just be aware of what I’m sending working. Is this helping, is this moving me forward? Because you have to remember that people opening and clicking your emails are predicated on their relationship with you, the subject line, and the sender’s name.
And so if you have some depths or things aren’t working, or you promise everybody that you’re going to give them the seven-day guide to blank and email one gets open, but then emails two, three, four, five, and six don’t work. You need to look at it. The only reason people convince people that 18% open rates are good and 9% open rates are good is because they don’t want to do the work to put in the relationship. I believe a hundred percent open rates are good. And just so you know, if you want to see this done, when you sign up for the lightkeeper lessons, which is www.lightkeeper.club.And I’ve only put in 200 people through this, but there are 200 people through it with 22 emails. And there’s an average 91% open rate and a 46% click-through rate on the emails that you’re going to read. Take them, copy of them, use them, but the only reason. People say a 100% open rates aren’t possible or 80% open rates are because they’re lazy and they want to transact with people. But when you take the time to transform people’s lives and give them the value, they can escalate up and they create habits. They want to read it and you build an actual relationship. So do not ignore the statistics, but don’t make statistics, your everything.
#7 – Not emailing your customers
Buying cycles can take a long time. Litmus did the same study and they said that 30% of people that see your name in their inbox, don’t open your email, but go consume your content somewhere else based on their relationships. So an example I would give you would be Amazon, right? You might be shopping on Amazon. Add something to your cart and then forget it’s there. So in a day later, you go into your inbox you see an Amazon email, you don’t open it, but you’re like, Oh, there was in my cart. Let me go, can finish my purchase. That happens 30% of the time. And so open rates, aren’t everything, click through rates, aren’t everything, but you just need to have them be on your spectrum of awareness so that you can make the best decision. And then as long as you’re focused on that relationship with your customer and then the relationship they have with your sender’s name and the subject line, they’ll get to the content of the email. And if you’re helping people accomplish what they promised or what you promised they will get there.
Mistake number seven, the final mistake. Not emailing your customers. Email is the backbone that business is built on, and it’s a direct relationship in your client’s home. It’s like knocking on their front door. And if you are not emailing your list, you will have a business, nothing like convincing your significant other to marry you going to the wedding, getting married. And then when you walk out, ghosting them on the honeymoon and never coming back. Do you think your marriage is going to work? No, you have to earn the right to stay in it.
Marriages don’t work just because you get married. They work because once you get married, you put in the work every single day to make it work. Relationships are all the same and email is a direct relationship. And so whatever it is that you do, make sure that you’re there. If you tell your customers you’re going to do something, do it. If you tell, let me, we’re going to email them daily, you have to email them daily. A worst than, if you don’t plan on emailing them once they sign up, you need to tell them, Hey, I just plan on keeping your email address, but I’m not going to email you at all. And that way, there’s an expectation, but we don’t like open loops. Human beings do not like things that are unresolved, which is called the Zeigarnik effect. And so you need to make sure that whatever the expectation is laid out clearly by you so that they know what type of relationship that they are in.
And so those are my thoughts on email marketing. I’m going to say this again. If you want to see how I do email, and this is up to you. How I do email. You need to go to lightkeeper.club. That is my daily VIP newsletter. And let me just tell you now it is participation required, which means if you don’t open and click, you don’t get any more of the emails because I can track that. But I want to help you achieve your goals. This means that what I share has to be put into practice, but you can see the emails exactly what I’m doing, how I’m writing them, and applying the principles I’ve been using for 10 plus years.