Information and Resources for Solopreneurs

11 Lessons To Boost Your Email Marketing

Written By: SiteSell in CTPM | October 31, 2014

11 Lessons To Boost Your Email Marketing

by Dominique de Rooij (

“The money’s in the (email) list” is a popular saying among email marketers, and for good reason. But you need to take your email marketing seriously. Just playing around won’t get you anywhere.

I have been playing around with email marketing over the past few years and sold a few products. Some of them are really good, some of them not so much.

Here are 11 lessons that I learned over the years:

1. Stop marketing, start engaging.

Ask and listen.

It’s amazing how much you can learn from your subscribers when you ask them. I have learned from subscribers to my marathon series that most of them were actually hoping for good tips for another race distance. But because the marathon series was available, they subscribed to that one. My subscribers keep providing me with great ideas for new content. That’s why it’s so important to listen to them.

2. Consider the purpose of your autoresponder.

What are your goals?

Develop a long-term relationship (e.g., a newsletter type of arrangement) or straightforward selling? Or something in between.

For my autoresponders I have opted for the “something in between.” I am giving useful info, but I am trying to sell as well. And at some point the autoresponders stop, so towards the end I am willing to be bolder and push harder in order to get sales.

3. When you want a relationship, don’t sell immediately.

One mistake I made in the past is being too eager to sell.

So I’d set up this email series and would provide useful info, but would also immediately start pushing affiliate links into messages. The thought would creep in that I had very limited time to get them to buy anything and as such, I thought it was a good idea to throw links into every message.

Now I wait until message 5 or so until I start providing links.

4. Ask questions and reply to every email.

Throughout an email series I ask questions. And I reply to every email.

Don’t worry, there aren’t too many people who reply to your inquiries. And don’t be concerned with lengthy email replies. Keep your responses to messages short and sweet (“Thanks for your answers. That’s really helpful!”)

The result is that they understand they are dealing with a human on the other side of the line, not a corporation. Some of them become raving fans. Just last week I got a message with this line:

I do not have a marathon plan, but obviously, I will follow the one you recommend to me.

And that’s another sale right there.

5. Don’t let the freebies lose your subscriber.

I found that giving away a freebie is a good way to increase subscribers. But, the risk you may encounter is that many just want the freebie, then unsubscribe immediately. Try to combat that with a good first message. Introduce yourself, reassure your new subscriber that you have their best interests at heart. Be clear about the benefits of staying connected with you, including any special or exclusive offers for your loyal fans.

7. Use the sneaky second message.

I picked up this trick from another marketer’s autoresponder series:

Hey [firstname],

Just noticed that you subscribed to [name series]. Thanks for putting your trust in me.

Hope you’ll like the series and, if you ever have any questions, please just send me an email.

Kind regards,

When I first saw it, I was almost touched that this guy sent me a personal email, until it dawned on me that it was just part of his usual autoresponder series. In my opinion, most people will see it as a nice personal message rather than a trick, so I have been using it happily ever since.

8. Make them open your next messages.

A mistake I used to make is that I would just write the emails as stand-alone pieces. They were good, but they were not part of a series. Open rates dramatically improved when I started connecting them with providing teasers at the end of a message, pointing to the next message, like this example:

My next email will be titled “The four reasons why you’ll never lose weight.” If you don’t know these things, your weight loss efforts will all be for nothing. Keep an eye out for that one.

9. When you launch a product, find an excuse to contact them again.

When I launch new ebooks, I will contact them several times in a few days.

For example, I sent out an email to a subset of my weight loss series list. The subset was people who have gone through the entire series. I started re-engaging them two weeks ago, to see who was still opening messages. Out of that I got 188 addresses.

My first message got opened by 61 of them and 8 clicked through to the sales page. 1 sale. I told them they had 72 hours to get the product at a discount.

My second message got opened by 49. 2 clicked through to the sales page. 1 sale. In this email I told them they had 48 hours left.

My third message (telling them they had 24 hours left) got opened by 51, got 4 clicks, and again, 1 sale.

Now these are not earth-shattering stats. 3 sales. Wow. But, it was to the part of the list that was at the end of the series and had seen quite a few sales messages from me already or maybe received the series three years ago. The only criterion I placed was that they had to have opened one of my re-engagement messages over the past few weeks.

The point I was trying to make is that I got extra sales, just by sending out multiple messages.

Another point is that if you send 188 people to a sales page, just cold, your conversion is probably going to be between 0 and 1%. I got 3 sales out of a semi-cold list with only 14 visits to the sales page. And I am no salesman, I just followed one of the many sales guides that says you need to include benefits, testimonials, etc.

10. Manage your list(s).

I used to be focused on the number of subscribers. Until I realized that with about 4,000 subscribers to my autoresponders, I was only averaging 66 unique opens per week. Now I am being a bit smarter with that. I prune my list whenever I no longer plan to re-engage inactive subscribers. For example, I’d rather have a list of 1,500 subscribers where 1/3 opens a message from me.

11. Look at what others do.

I subscribe to other people’s lists all the time. Just to see how they approach things. Perry Marshall is considered to be one of the best. I personally like Paul Myer from Talkbiz.

There are plenty of marketers you can learn from. I subscribe to their series and analyze it to death. What do I see after I hit the sign-up button? What is the first message like? How long till I get the second message? How long until they start selling me stuff? Etc. I learn lots just by watching.

For more tips how to grow and market your online business, subscribe to the SiteSell Newsletter.

SiteSell is a privately held Canadian-based company that helps everyday people start profitable online businesses.

Join The Solo Build It! Community

Get the latest in best-practices and advice for your online business. Let each new article be delivered to your Inbox for free.