38 replies
I wanted to share with you a big lesson that I learned today.

If you are a member of my mailing list, then you know that I like to send out emails that have insight and value. I get a lot of replies and I try to answer them all.

Today, I sent out an email blast that broke down the sales tactics of this week's number one selling ClickBank product. It was a long email that explained the different parts of the seller's sales page and included tips on using some of these tactics.

One of the things that I pointed out was the exit pops. I said like them or not, they are clearly working for him. At the time that I wrote the email, there were two exit pops. When the email went out today, there were something like fifteen!

Whoa! Backlash hell!

I have just learned how quickly you can go from months of attaboys to I want off your list emails.

Many folks had stated that they purchased the product previously and it was no good. I guess that I did not make my point of the email clear enough. My email was not a review of the product, just of the product's sales page, which clearly is working for him.

So, what lessons did I learn from this email blast?

1. Don't even think to linking to a page that uses tacky sales tactics in an email to your trusted list, no matter what the intentions of the email were.

2. Test all emails that could have a hint of controversy associated with them. If you send to a small portion of your list and they hate you for it, then... um... don't send it to the rest!

3. Don't send any emails that have a hint of controversy associated with them.

4. Apologizing to your list after making them mad makes them even more mad. I sent an apology email that included a free gift. It was a download for a product that I sell for $19 elsewhere.

I hope that somebody gets some value from this post, so that I know my day wasn't a total failure!
#harsh #learned #lesson
  • Profile picture of the author fullmatrix
    So what happened after you sent them the gift?

    Thanks for sharing, this can be a valuable lesson for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
      Originally Posted by fullmatrix View Post

      So what happened after you sent them the gift?

      Thanks for sharing, this can be a valuable lesson for me.
      There were a lot that sent emails thanking me, but an equal amount that thought the gift was a ploy to overthrow the government.

      I take full responsibility for not being more clear and concise with my emails. What was designed to be a little tongue and cheek look at a successful sales page, was interpreted as a sales pitch.
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  • Profile picture of the author Greg D
    Thanks for the share. I appreciate your honesty. Admitting a mistake is definitely one of the true signs to identify someone's character.

    I have learned that people do not read everything.
    Not the signs in front of them
    Not the instructions
    Not the directions
    and certainly not the emails.

    This is part of the problem, not yours really, but theirs. Your problem (as is all of ours) is we have to adapt to this.

    This post has helped me to know that I am going to keep my emails to small bite size chunks. Maybe a teaser that will lead to a post on a site where the full version is kept.

    Thanks again.

    Greg
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  • Profile picture of the author ladida
    Lots of value there. Thanks Brian!

    Sometimes even the best of intentions get you in the worst of trouble.

    Go figure...
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  • Profile picture of the author Greg D
    Oh, the old "gift was a ploy to overthrow the government" conspiracy theorists.

    Don't they belong to the local chapter of "Give me a refund and more for my troubles, shoot the manager, close the store and I still won't be satisfied" group of loons.



    Greg
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    • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
      E,

      I, for one, appreciated it the gift. In fact, I tried to reply to the email but for some reason Gmail wouldn't do it. I think it shows that you care about your list and if people don't see that, well...maybe they're not the ones you want on your list. We all make mistakes but our character shows in how we handle those mistakes. You get two thumbs up from me!

      Tina
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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    Yeah - painful lesson.

    I was annoyed by those popups too and I wondered if you realised what people were experiencing when you sent that.

    You called it a 'look at a sales page' rather than being focused on the product - but then you used an affiliate link so I guess people assumed you were also recommending the product and bad stuff sticks to you when you make that association with a product that they get a bad experience with.

    To be honest - I didn't even read the apology emails. Since I knew why you would have sent them (based on the experience of following your earlier link) but I wasn't so bothered I would send you a complaint. But if I'd been in a bad mood when I followed that link I probably would have unsub'ed because of it.

    Don't worry about it - you made an apology and people can choose whether to accept it.

    Andy
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    • Profile picture of the author oneplusone
      I was very happy to receive the e-mail, I even printed it out for future reference.

      Yes there were a lot of pop ups on exit which were slightly annoying, but that would be missing the point.

      There were a lot of things to be learnt from your breakdown of the sales letter, and even though I knew some of it already there were some great reminders.

      Unless it was a huge percentage which complained (like 25% or 50% which I seriously doubt), don't forget there is something called the "silent majority".

      Okay maybe 10, 15, 20 people complained, but how many read your e-mail like me, and got some serious value from it?

      I read all your e-mails, and to be honest this was probably the one which I got the MOST value from.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Fullman
      Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

      Yeah - painful lesson.

      I was annoyed by those popups too and I wondered if you realised what people were experiencing when you sent that.

      You called it a 'look at a sales page' rather than being focused on the product - but then you used an affiliate link so I guess people assumed you were also recommending the product and bad stuff sticks to you when you make that association with a product that they get a bad experience with.

      To be honest - I didn't even read the apology emails. Since I knew why you would have sent them (based on the experience of following your earlier link) but I wasn't so bothered I would send you a complaint. But if I'd been in a bad mood when I followed that link I probably would have unsub'ed because of it.

      Don't worry about it - you made an apology and people can choose whether to accept it.

      Andy
      Apology?

      Are we living in a world where someone like E. -- who is clearly as helpful as they come -- needs to apologise for including a link in an email to his opted-in subscribers?

      Sometimes folks don't like the answers they're given, and sometimes they feel quote-unquote exploited. Nothing wrong with that, of course, except there's a point where you shouldn't feel responsible for them. After all, we all started from point zero.

      Imagine bashing Marlon's door down demanding answers...would that work? Maybe, but only once. Folks owe it to themselves to do some learning before slagging other people off.

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Meharis
    Originally Posted by E. Brian Rose View Post

    I wanted to share with you a big lesson that I learned today.

    If you are a member of my mailing list, then you know that I like to send out emails that have insight and value. I get a lot of replies and I try to answer them all.

    Today, I sent out an email blast that broke down the sales tactics of this week's number one selling ClickBank product. It was a long email that explained the different parts of the seller's sales page and included tips on using some of these tactics.

    One of the things that I pointed out was the exit pops. I said like them or not, they are clearly working for him. At the time that I wrote the email, there were two exit pops. When the email went out today, there were something like fifteen!

    Whoa! Backlash hell!

    I have just learned how quickly you can go from months of attaboys to I want off your list emails.

    Many folks had stated that they purchased the product previously and it was no good. I guess that I did not make my point of the email clear enough. My email was not a review of the product, just of the product's sales page, which clearly is working for him.

    So, what lessons did I learn from this email blast?

    1. Don't even think to linking to a page that uses tacky sales tactics in an email to your trusted list, no matter what the intentions of the email were.

    2. Test all emails that could have a hint of controversy associated with them. If you send to a small portion of your list and they hate you for it, then... um... don't send it to the rest!

    3. Don't send any emails that have a hint of controversy associated with them.

    4. Apologizing to your list after making them mad makes them even more mad. I sent an apology email that included a free gift. It was a download for a product that I sell for $19 elsewhere.

    I hope that somebody gets some value from this post, so that I know my day wasn't a total failure!
    Well, I don't understand what I did wrong but, I can't find the thread
    I've posted regarding this matter. I did say I received an email from
    a marker I was subscribed.
    More less like this:
    Title: 12 clicks to get away from a sales page ?
    What would be your reaction if you have to click that many times ?
    I don't know how wrong I'm but, I refuse to use this kind of system.
    What do you think ?
    Meharis
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt Bard
    Hey E. Brian,

    I've wanted to ask you about your "confirmation page" and the logo image that says "Internet Marketing Strategies...For Losers Like You"



    What's up with the "...For Losers Like You"?

    Was that part of an old campaign? Or is it an inside joke?
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    • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
      Originally Posted by Matt Maiden View Post

      Hey Brian,

      I've wanted to ask you about your "confirmation page" and the logo image that says "Internet Marketing Strategies...For Losers Like You"

      What's up with the "...For Losers Like You"?

      Was that part of an old campaign? Or is it an inside joke?
      I'm glad that you brought that up. I need to change that. Originally, my site and list had a "don't be an IM loser" theme to it. I had several articles that pointed out loser tactics and how to avoid it. I used a comical approach to IM lessons. Most of my readers got the joke and responded with witty comments and emails. However, some were very offended that there was a website that spoke to people like this. These were the ones that made a point to make blog posts about the arrogance of EBR. One person posted that he lived nearby and made a silly threat because of my "highly offensive blog". (He actually lived in Ireland.)

      I changed the theme and I try to be a bit more sensitive now.
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      • Profile picture of the author Roy Penrod
        Sorry you had such a backlash from this, Brian. I thought your content was good solid info.

        In the future, you might consider using a hosted screenshot instead of a link to the target page. I don't think anyone could find fault with that ... but I'm probably wrong. ;-)
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  • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
    Thanks all. I am glad that some of you got value out of the mailing. Andy, you are spot on about the aff link. it should not have been there. I got into the habit of putting it on links even when I am trashing a site.

    I once sent an email titled "What a Sales Page Should Not Look Like" and I trashed the unethical sales techniques that the seller was using. I put the product on my do not recommend list, but 25 people bought the product anyway. My thinking was that of a site that makes reviews. While most are review sites consist of a bunch of copy and pasted sales letters, some actually do a review of the product. Whether the review is good or bad, they place their affiliate link in there.

    Add to lessons learned: Do not use an affiliate link on a product that I do not recommend.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt Bard
    I gotcha

    Was just a little confusing because there was nothing on your blog that really related to the tag.
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  • Profile picture of the author Trent Brownrigg
    Well I just subscribed to your list after reading this post so I guess some good came out of it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeff Henshaw
      Many folks had stated that they purchased the product previously and it was no good. I guess that I did not make my point of the email clear enough. My email was not a review of the product, just of the product's sales page, which clearly is working for him.
      It was clear enough to me.

      I'm glad that you have posted your experience as it demonstrates how easy it is to offend some subscribers, even loyal subscribers. It must be particularly painful, as you were offering us business advice in the form of a clinical review of a sales page.

      You may have lost some potential or real customers over this episode, but at least you and the thread readers will learn from this experience, me included. On the positive side, you may have a 'better' list as a result - time will tell.

      I'm still subscribed by the way

      Best Regards,

      Jeff.
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    • Profile picture of the author N4PGW
      I don't know about your link, but I find that most times when there are four or more exit popups, they are the result of a series of affiliate offers.

      IF your visitor leaves, you offer them a discount or two. If it fails, you send them to an affiliate site. Then, the affiliate site does the same thing. Then the third affiliate site does the same thing again, but in one case I ran into, it used the original site as an affiliate site creating an endless loop.

      I created a thread warning about this months ago.

      Originally Posted by E. Brian Rose View Post

      There were a lot that sent emails thanking me, but an equal amount that thought the gift was a ploy to overthrow the government.

      I take full responsibility for not being more clear and concise with my emails. What was designed to be a little tongue and cheek look at a successful sales page, was interpreted as a sales pitch.
      Some gurus teach how to take advantage of idiots being on their lists. If a person gets a free gift but never buys, they bombard them with affiliate offers until they either leave or buy something.

      It seems to be generally accepted that any large list will have quite a list of idiots and it is a waste of time to deal with them as nothing you can do will satisfy them. Sometimes a member makes a mistake, and that doesn't make them an idiot, but some just don't get it and never will. The more idiots you get, the better you can feel about being in the 'big league'.

      Originally Posted by Meharis View Post

      Well, I don't understand what I did wrong but, I can't find the thread
      I've posted regarding this matter. I did say I received an email from
      a marker I was subscribed.
      More less like this:
      Title: 12 clicks to get away from a sales page ?
      What would be your reaction if you have to click that many times ?
      I don't know how wrong I'm but, I refuse to use this kind of system.
      What do you think ?
      Meharis
      These days I subscribe to lists only when there is something to get in the direction that I am moving in my business. I unsubscribe very quickly. If someone bombards me with affiliate offers, I drop them. If they recommend something bad, I consider the source and often drop them. Again, some people, even great marketers, make mistakes. I have to allow for that. I make enough of my own, thank you.

      I have been known to block access to sites with my hosts file when I get caught in a series of too many exit pops, especially when it is a popular product launch and everyone is promoting it with different descriptions and cloaked links.

      Originally Posted by E. Brian Rose View Post

      Thanks all. I am glad that some of you got value out of the mailing. Andy, you are spot on about the aff link. it should not have been there. I got into the habit of putting it on links even when I am trashing a site.

      I once sent an email titled "What a Sales Page Should Not Look Like" and I trashed the unethical sales techniques that the seller was using. I put the product on my do not recommend list, but 25 people bought the product anyway. My thinking was that of a site that makes reviews. While most are review sites consist of a bunch of copy and pasted sales letters, some actually do a review of the product. Whether the review is good or bad, they place their affiliate link in there.

      Add to lessons learned: Do not use an affiliate link on a product that I do not recommend.
      One marketer said she started using affiliate links to products she recommends against buying because there are people who will buy from that link. So, why not get paid?

      As for the OP, I have learned from other marketers that it is best to keep emails fairly short. If you need a long one, you should break it up into a series or post it on a website and link to it. Write a teaser in the email and refer the reader to the web page.

      People like me scan through long articles or emails to see if there is something i am interested in. It is possible that people just scrolled down to the link and followed it without ever having read your email.

      I can't tell you how many times I unsubscribed from an email list because the "one click unsubscribe link" was either at the top of the email or above the link to edit subscriptions.

      Life goes on.
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      • Profile picture of the author Christian Sawyer
        I'm also on your list, and the gift is AWESOME!

        I've used this tactic before, and so does McDonald's! If I wait for 5 minutes on my Big Mac, I get an Apple Pie for FREE!

        It works for all business models...

        -Christian
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        • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
          Originally Posted by Christian Sawyer View Post

          I'm also on your list, and the gift is AWESOME!

          I've used this tactic before, and so does McDonald's! If I wait for 5 minutes on my Big Mac, I get an Apple Pie for FREE!

          It works for all business models...

          -Christian
          I wasn't shooting for a tactic. I was doing damage control. Same thing, I guess, but it certainly wasn't planned. I had every intention of selling that product to the list! Oh well, the next product will just have to be better.
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          • Profile picture of the author Christian Sawyer
            Originally Posted by E. Brian Rose View Post

            I wasn't shooting for a tactic. I was doing damage control. Same thing, I guess, but it certainly wasn't planned. I had every intention of selling that product to the list! Oh well, the next product will just have to be better.
            Ya I guess that came out as you should do it on purpose...HAHA

            Except the McDonald's part, but maybe they actually do it on purpose...hmmm



            -Christian
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    I wasn't mad, and did appreciate the gift, and either didn't get or neglected to read the offending email so I never got perturbed about all the exit pops. lol. How's that for a good day.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Williams
    This convinced me to sign up for your list with an email that isn't for collecting spam even! Guess this hasn't been all bad, eh?
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Williams
    Also, I don't see the problem with throwing an affiliate link in. If you're already putting a link there - why not be able to collect if someone decides they want the product that you're bashing? Is it your fault that they've decided they want to try the product anyway?
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  • Profile picture of the author Greg D
    Tough call on the aff link.

    Isn't the point of being in this biz is to make money, right?

    As mentioned, isn't that what review sites are for, even on the products you are 'not' recommending have the affiliate link in them, right?

    There will be a % of the list who will disagree with you and look at the product and see something differently than you do and might purchase, as you have shown before.

    Maybe a good REDIRECT plugin would help (hint hint), this way it is less obvious to the list. On another domain of course.

    Either way, I do not think you should apologize for putting it there, even out of habit.

    For the next time, you could mention that it is an aff link if anyone wants to check it out, even though you do not recommend it. But that is your call.

    Greg
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  • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
    I'm one of those on your list who wrote you back and ask if you'd lost your mind. LOL But you know what? You handled it perfectly! You didn't return fire (even though my beef was with the 15 exit pops, not you), and you managed to inject some humor into the situation. Props to you, man, for dealing with a minor issue with grace and professionalism. I, for one, find your reaction to the experience a reason to look forward to your future emails.

    John
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  • Profile picture of the author Big Al
    I hadn't read the email ... so just went and checked it.

    It's a really good email and I don't think it reads like a recommendation. In fact I'll be keeping that email for future sales pages I create ... it's a good check list for sales page design.

    Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author deannatroupe
    I was so busy today that I didn't get to read the sales page, but I did read your breakdown of the sales page. I got a lot from your analysis. I do think you handled it the best way you could have.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mario Brown
      Hey Brian,

      I've to admit that I only skimmed through the email and because I'm working on my launch I decided to check out the sales page - but I definitely thought that you were actually promoting that product.

      I gotta read email more carefully, at least the ones from marketers like you that I respect.

      Great how you handled the situation, even though I don't think that it's a big deal.

      Cheers,
      Mario
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  • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
    Seriously, don't beat yourself up about it, EBR. We know you to be a solid dude. Unless you own a crystal ball and ignored its forewarning that the doofus would add 13 more popups to his routine, you were the victim here too. The awesome thing is how you dealt with it. It actually made me an even more loyal subscriber! You did good.

    John
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  • Profile picture of the author ej2012
    thanks for sharing this. It's helped me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob Howard
    I also think some people are on the lookout - the moment you screw up - even on accident, they pounce, ready to rip into you.

    I've seen it happen so much in my life - not just business either. When I worked at McDonalds and Walmart - perfectly happy people would become mini-devils the moment something minor happened.

    In any event, I hope you aren't beating yourself up too much! It was a simple error and perhaps those that dropped you from their list will now lighten some of your CS work!

    Rob
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    • Profile picture of the author iva
      You dealt with this situation with class and showed incredible integrity. I wish many other list owners would treat their members the same way. You were trying to teach and help people to get better at making their sales page. The least they can do is to appreciate your effort, rather then complain and complain. Thank you for this post. Hope, we can all learn from it.

      Evgueni
      (aka iva)
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  • Profile picture of the author Trent Brownrigg
    One thing I have figured out from this thread...

    Every member of the warrior forum seems to be on your list!

    Kudos to you for that.
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    • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
      Originally Posted by Trent Brownrigg View Post

      One thing I have figured out from this thread...

      Every member of the warrior forum seems to be on your list!

      Kudos to you for that.
      Ha. The only list that every member of the Warrior Forum is on belongs to Allen.
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      • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
        It's such an important lesson to be careful who and what you link to from your site, in your emails and in any other way.

        Any time you give a link it's going to be seen as an endorsement of some kind and if you don't endorse something wholeheartedly then you probably shouldn't link to it at all.

        Complaints about the emails you send is an interesting topic.

        I get the most complaints from lists where I NEVER promote any products of any kind and only give them high quality content.

        Different lists and groups of people can have very different perceptions of what is reasonable (or spam) and what isn't.

        Kindest regards,
        Andrew Cavanagh
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  • Profile picture of the author THK
    I just checked the email after reading this thread. That is a useful list. I am surely going to keep it. I wish I could see the page in question as well, but I think you disabled the link. oh well...

    And I wouldn't worry too much about the whiners. There was nothing offensive in your email. I just wonder how the ultra sensitive type actually run their own business? People who cannot control their emotions over an email, how do they deal with people in real life!

    Tanvir
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