Many Marketers Break E-Mail Rules

by Paul Gram 20 replies
What happened to content in emails? Some marketers get it but many do not. When I send out email, 60-70% is good solid content, if not more. I do this because I want subscribers to know that when they open up an email from me, they will get some value.

Over the past few months, I have received up to five emails per week from some fairly well known marketers and they were 100% sales pitches, zero content. Maybe they are testing this kind of thing out but I can tell you that it's not the best way.

If you are sending email pitches, remember to make that email valuable with content as well. Doing this will grow and strengthen your list and make you more money.
#main internet marketing discussion forum #break #email #marketers #rules
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  • Profile picture of the author hugofortin
    Hi,

    You make a good point here, Paul.

    There a lot of marketer who don't really know what there are doing Online. They just send garbage. No good content. Everyone are looking for good content Online. So, you have to send them content not just a sale pitch. If you do it, it won't work. Try you will see. The only thing you will see is no one answer to your sale pitch.

    Have a good evening or day.

    Hugo
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  • Because I make more sending out non stop promotions, and get fewer unsubscribers than sending out freebies and content.

    It depends on the market, it depends where you got the subscribers from, it depends what your autoresponder does, depends on what your squeeze page promised, depends on a lot of variables.
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    Money isn't real, George. It doesn't matter. It only seems like it does.

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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel E Taylor
    In the context you are using email marketing
    the goal is to close the sale where you can
    provide the information that will add value
    to their life.

    If you can get the sale much faster
    by going 100% and not beating around
    the bush with content, then so be it.

    There is no rule saying you have to provide
    content. Your point is to get the sale.

    Me? I personally prefer content in my niche
    because it builds credibility and relationship
    with my list. But again thats ME.
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Paul,
      Maybe they are testing this kind of thing out but I can tell you that it's not the best way.
      Oh? Have you tested it?

      Fact: In the IM niche, high content emails regularly get more spam complaints than a pure pitch email.

      Fact: In many niches and for many people, sending one promotion after another sells more than sending a lot of content and moderate to minimal promotion.

      Fact: Pitch emails are easier to write than good, original content.

      I have a pretty high content to pitch ratio, so I'm hardly defending it based on my preferences. But, I have my own approach to the thing, and that isn't going to fit everyone's goals.

      At any rate, coming here and stating an opinion as fact isn't going to make people who've done the testing suddenly change their minds.

      Here's an email I got on September 24th. It's the explanation of why someone unsubscribed, exactly as I received it.

      it's not readably.. way to much stuff to buy and no information for free..

      I got another one that was even less sensible today, with the same sentiment.

      Here's the thing. Including the welcome sequence these folks got and the recent series on selling, they've received over 100 pages each of pure content (after removing the promotions) during that time. I could very easily take the content they got, turn it into two products, and sell the hell out of them.

      Now, I don't kid myself that everyone who gets the thing is going to find every single article useful. That would be stupid. And I know that some of it will be beyond some folks' experience, and other parts will seem basic to other people. There's no way around that without publishing for only raw newbies and keeping everything as simple as possible.

      Still, even including the heaviest month of the year for me for promotions (I run a birthday sale every year with some serious deals), the content outweighed the pitches during this guy's subscription by a LOT.

      This stuff doesn't bother me. It is going to happen, no matter what you do.

      For example, if your promotions relate in any way to the topic of the content, some people will see the whole thing as a useless pitch. Yeah. Even if they can use the content productively without buying anything.

      Some people don't read the longer emails containing the content, so all they see is the short stuff with pitches. For them, that really looks like all you sent them.

      As publishers, we have no idea what's going on at the other end of that connection unless they tell us. Assuming anything beyond what we're told is a waste of time and energy.

      The point is, if you send nothing but pitches, you don't hear as much of this stuff, and you don't care if you do. If it's all pitching and someone unsubscribes because of that, they weren't who you wanted on your list anyway.

      Of course, if someone can't recognize an email that's 100% content with no pitch in it, like most of my welcome sequence, that's not who I want on my list either.

      You choose a model and you work it. For some people, it's pure pitch. If that's what they promise when you sign up, no problem. If you don't like what you're getting and the unsubscribe stops it, again, no problem.


      Paul
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      • Profile picture of the author BlogBoom
        Paul I'm really surprised you get unsubscribes that say you're not providing enough content. Yours is probably the most content heavy newsletter I get. Not coincidentally, it's one of the few I open every time. So I'm double surprised when you say that a content heavy email gets more spam complaints than a pitch. I'm sure you've seen the numbers, so I don't dispute what you're saying - but it is very surprising nonetheless. I'm in non-IM niches and I have found the opposite to be true in my case.

        Most "newsletters" I get aren't really newsletters at all. They're pitchfests, and that's ok. I knew that when I signed up and I like to see how other people are doing things.

        All that said, today has been out of control. Several marketers have sent me 3+ emails each telling me to go get Mass Control. They usually don't send that much, and I think FK is one of the brightest, and certainly one of the most entertaining marketers out there....so I'm not sweating it. But after awhile it does come off as desperate.
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        • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
          Tim,

          Half a day to you, too.

          This stuff will happen. I'm surprised by very little in this business any more.

          Consider: If I put a short recommendation for something at the beginning of an issue, and the longer article afterward, what will the person think if they see the pitch and delete it without reading the rest?

          As far as they know, they got no content.

          I might start listing the contents at the beginning again. That actually makes sense, regardless of the complaints. Make it easy for people to see if there's anything there they're interested in.

          Some people just want to complain. I got started by sending out the first email digest in this market. Multiple articles every week by different authors. 20 to 40 pages of content. Sometimes I'd have a 4-line ad in the middle, and I'd invariably be accused of spamming people with useless crap because of those 4 lines.

          There's no sense worrying about it. Some people don't see the content and some people don't care about the content. Some people want everything for free, and they resent the reminder that you can't get it.

          I could speculate as to why content-heavy issues in this market get more spam complaints, but why bother? It'd be speculation and wouldn't change the fact of the thing. It happens. I'm comfortable with the fact that there are things I'm not going to understand.

          On the number of pitches for one or the other big launch... That happens for reasons that have little to do with desperation. It's mostly trading favors and competing to prove who's the best promoter. Of course, the payoff for a successful promotion of one of those things is pretty large.

          I was talking with a friend recently who's one of the "big launch" guys. He's actually bothered by how much pitching he's done lately. But, he feels he owes the folks who promoted his products to promote theirs, as long as the product is good.

          It's a cycle that can easily get out of hand. It's also one reason I avoid most of the big product launches.


          Paul
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      • Profile picture of the author Paul Gram
        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        Paul,Oh? Have you tested it?

        Fact: In the IM niche, high content emails regularly get more spam complaints than a pure pitch email.

        Fact: In many niches and for many people, sending one promotion after another sells more than sending a lot of content and moderate to minimal promotion.

        Fact: Pitch emails are easier to write than good, original content.

        I have a pretty high content to pitch ratio, so I'm hardly defending it based on my preferences. But, I have my own approach to the thing, and that isn't going to fit everyone's goals.

        At any rate, coming here and stating an opinion as fact isn't going to make people who've done the testing suddenly change their minds.

        Here's an email I got on September 24th. It's the explanation of why someone unsubscribed, exactly as I received it.

        it's not readably.. way to much stuff to buy and no information for free..

        I got another one that was even less sensible today, with the same sentiment.

        Here's the thing. Including the welcome sequence these folks got and the recent series on selling, they've received over 100 pages each of pure content (after removing the promotions) during that time. I could very easily take the content they got, turn it into two products, and sell the hell out of them.

        Now, I don't kid myself that everyone who gets the thing is going to find every single article useful. That would be stupid. And I know that some of it will be beyond some folks' experience, and other parts will seem basic to other people. There's no way around that without publishing for only raw newbies and keeping everything as simple as possible.

        Still, even including the heaviest month of the year for me for promotions (I run a birthday sale every year with some serious deals), the content outweighed the pitches during this guy's subscription by a LOT.

        This stuff doesn't bother me. It is going to happen, no matter what you do.

        For example, if your promotions relate in any way to the topic of the content, some people will see the whole thing as a useless pitch. Yeah. Even if they can use the content productively without buying anything.

        Some people don't read the longer emails containing the content, so all they see is the short stuff with pitches. For them, that really looks like all you sent them.

        As publishers, we have no idea what's going on at the other end of that connection unless they tell us. Assuming anything beyond what we're told is a waste of time and energy.

        The point is, if you send nothing but pitches, you don't hear as much of this stuff, and you don't care if you do. If it's all pitching and someone unsubscribes because of that, they weren't who you wanted on your list anyway.

        Of course, if someone can't recognize an email that's 100% content with no pitch in it, like most of my welcome sequence, that's not who I want on my list either.

        You choose a model and you work it. For some people, it's pure pitch. If that's what they promise when you sign up, no problem. If you don't like what you're getting and the unsubscribe stops it, again, no problem.


        Paul
        Great post Paul. To answer your question, yes we tested it in many niches and sending emails with content and a pitch always far outpulled emails with just a pitch. I am sure this won't be the case for every marketer out there, but it was in our case and those of others that I know as well. You need content, you need pitching, using both works great and it sounds like it's something you do yourself very successfully.
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      • Profile picture of the author Colin Evans
        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        Here's an email I got on September 24th. It's the explanation of why someone unsubscribed, exactly as I received it.

        it's not readably.. way to much stuff to buy and no information for free..

        I got another one that was even less sensible today, with the same sentiment.
        He He... I got a good laugh out of that

        Off hand I can't remember noticing any adds in your emails, I'm sure you do add a few but they aren't in your face.

        I recon you get comments like that because you make people think... Sometimes your emails "get really close to home".
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        Sig not working today - too hung over...

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      • Profile picture of the author David Neale
        When people talk about what works or doesn't work in email marketing they seem to always be talking about the short term.

        Making short term profit at the expense of a larger, loftier goal can be a foolish decision don't you think? At least that how it's always worked in the traditional world of business.

        Mat Furey is probably right that sending daily email will make more money, but surely that is for the short term.

        I don't think John Reese or Paul Myers developed their authority status or loyal following by sending email to clients every day containing an offer with little or no content.

        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        Paul,Oh? Have you tested it?

        Fact: In the IM niche, high content emails regularly get more spam complaints than a pure pitch email.

        Fact: In many niches and for many people, sending one promotion after another sells more than sending a lot of content and moderate to minimal promotion.

        Fact: Pitch emails are easier to write than good, original content.

        Paul
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        David Neale

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        • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
          Originally Posted by David Neale View Post

          Mat Furey is probably right that sending daily email will make more money, but surely that is for the short term.
          Yes, his method of making millions per year is so short-sighted. :confused:

          I guess to maximize sales, you should never send any offers.
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          • Profile picture of the author David Neale
            Chris I don't know a whole lot about Matt Furey. Are you saying that he teaches that his success is based on sending email every day containing nothing but an offer? And that's it?

            Looking at his Blog it would appear that he also attempts to have an ongoing relationship with customers and potential customers by not pushing any offer on them but just having conversation with them.

            Combat Conditioning Strength Training and Conditioning Program

            I can't see where "his method of making millions" is based solely on carpet bombing subscribers with offers, I'm sure there is just a tad more to it than that.

            I don't think any poster suggested not making any offers.


            Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood View Post

            Yes, his method of making millions per year is so short-sighted. :confused:

            I guess to maximize sales, you should never send any offers.
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            David Neale

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    • Profile picture of the author David Neale
      Originally Posted by Daniel E Taylor View Post

      There is no rule saying you have to provide
      content. Your point is to get the sale.
      Not the sale at any cost though. There are many different types of salesman. Most retail salespeople for example would agree with you.

      Bebacks ain't Greenbacks.

      On the other hand wholesale salespeople who need to develop a long term relationship with their customers cannot take this approach. Overselling the client or putting him into something inappropriate is committing career suicide.

      He is using consultive or solution based sales techniques that will not tolerate the hit and run approach.

      Aren't most email marketers hoping to develop a longer term relationship with their subscribers? Wouldn't that make the second selling style more appropriate and profitable in the long term?
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      David Neale

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      • Profile picture of the author ExRat
        Hi David,

        Aren't most email marketers hoping to develop a longer term relationship with their subscribers? Wouldn't that make the second selling style more appropriate and profitable in the long term?
        Depending on what market you are in, perhaps we should be asking -

        'Are the majority of subscribers around for the long term?'

        Or perhaps, 'Are the subset of subscribers that we are mainly targetting around for the long term?'

        Because if they are not, then using long term strategies for short term relationships would not be wise.

        I believe that many marketers put more emphasis on developing long-term relationships with their JV partners, so that they can work together in order to keep each other supplied with a fresh influx of new subscribers.

        Just some thoughts.
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        Roger Davis

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        • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
          Paul,
          You need content, you need pitching, using both works great
          Some people do very well by making the pitch into actual content. Stories are a wonderful way to do that.

          My comment about the reactions of people in this market was limited by those last 3 words: "In this market." Even that is a generalization. So much depends on the full context:

          What were they promised?
          What expectations did the publisher set?
          What do they present as content?
          How relevant and interesting is the information?
          How entertaining is the writer's style?

          Lots more factors. The act of reporting content as spam more often than ads doesn't seem related to this as far as I've been able to determine. I can come up with a number of plausible explanations, but they're purely speculative.

          That said, the number of spam complaints for content is still way below the trigger thresholds for most publishers, which makes it mostly a non-issue, delivery-wise.

          You can learn a lot by watching what people do. For instance, I have two main segments of subscribers. They both get the same content. One tends to read all the way through if they read at all, and the other tends to act on links much earlier in the emails.

          If you track that stuff, which I do occasionally, you can learn a lot about group tendencies. That's why I asked if you tested it.

          Colin,
          I recon you get comments like that because you make people think...
          I'm sure that's part of it. I think the perception that's based on what they do and do not read is a bigger part.

          The people who don't like being made to think choose a different route. They unsubscribe and say nothing, or they just filter it to a folder or to the trash.

          David,

          Matt's approach seems to be focused around developing authority through his products, and building relationship with his paying customers rather than his free subscribers. That can be just as valid a long-term approach as the content-first model, if not more so. It's certainly the standard in most industries.

          Again, the right approach is determined by your goals. You adapt your methods to those, rather than the other way around.

          Roger's comments point to a very real fact of life in this business. Most of the market is short term. Folks who play at it a while and then go on to other things. Selling to them is, assuming your products provide useful information, a way to help them make it in the long term. Still, most people don't even read what they buy.

          You can adapt your strategies to focus on those folks, or the folks who'll be around for the duration. You can do things in the "hobbyist" end of the market (folks who want supplemental income, rather than a full-time business) that wouldn't work as well in either of the other two markets.

          As with most things, the "right approach" depends on who you're approaching and what you want from the transaction. You tailor your offer based on those two factors.

          There are very few "rules" for this that are universal, other than the general rules of human psychology.


          Paul
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          • Profile picture of the author psresearch
            Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

            Paul,Some people do very well by making the pitch into actual content. Stories are a wonderful way to do that.

            My comment about the reactions of people in this market was limited by those last 3 words: "In this market." Even that is a generalization. So much depends on the full context:

            What were they promised?
            What expectations did the publisher set?
            What do they present as content?
            How relevant and interesting is the information?
            How entertaining is the writer's style?
            That pretty much nails it for me.

            I have lists I've signed up for like one of Wes Blaylock's list and a Larry Dotson list where I know I'm just going to get pitches and it's not a problem because they set that expectation right up front.

            I have lists where someone's set the expectation that I'll receive content and product recommendations BEFORE I opted-in to their newsletter or AR series.

            And in addition to the above there's some writers who's style I just have a hard time reading style-wise even though they set proper expectations and delivered on those

            etc, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andres
    Very true - after a while I just unsubscribe they offer a great sales pitch for their 5 day course and boom. You get almost an email a day with them slamming in your face whatever affiliate product they can sell.

    The smart ones offer content and some product - those newsletters I stay loyal to.

    Andres
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
    Isn't there an email rule about deceptive subject lines?

    I opened this thread assuming it would be about marketers who break email rules, but it's just someone trying to tell others what to say in their emails and presuming to know better than they do.
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  • Profile picture of the author davezan
    Don't take this poster's word for it, but as something to consider:

    The King of Email Speaks - Page 3 - Copywriters Board

    The King of Email Speaks - Page 3 - Copywriters Board
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    David

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    • Profile picture of the author Takuya Hikichi
      If someone complaints to Paul (Myers) that he doesn't provide content, frankly, I don't think those people understand this business.

      Honestly when Paul tells me to buy something through his email, I'd skip the salesletter and just look for that order button.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dmitry
    Ah, rules, rules, rules... so many rules... Isn't it about ultimately getting where you want? And you are free to get there any way you can imagine. So why limit yourself with all the rules...
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