Seven Deadly Sins of Email Marketing

What baseball taught me about email marketing

Last night my beloved Tampa Bay Rays locked up a playoff spot for the second season in a row.

While I celebrate this step in the right direction, I thought it would be a great day to share some email marketing lessons I’ve learned from baseball.

Let’s get to it…

Show up: The Major League Baseball (MLB) season is long. Players and coaches get tired. Stuff happens. But step one of staying in the game is showing up and putting a team on the field each time. Consistency…showing up when it’s time to play day after day…is huge for your email marketing efforts. The fact that you keep showing up can help set you apart from your competitors.

You won’t win them all: I know this sounds discouraging, but it’s meant to be encouraging. Not every email you send will be a “winner.” Knowing that going in can help you avoid the perfectionist mindset. Show up. Play the game. Obviously you want to win everyday, but relieve yourself of feeling like you MUST win every day. You don’t, because…

There’s another game tomorrow: During the season baseball teams are always on the move. They play nearly every day of the week. And part of what can ease the sting of losing is knowing they’ll be back on the field very soon to try again. Your email today didn’t “pull” the way you hoped it would? Great news! You’ll get to send another email and try again soon.

Experiment: During the season managers test different lineups and strategies. They tinker and test to see if they can find something that works to give them an edge. When you use email marketing consistently (not randomly showing up every once in awhile, and mailing more frequently than once a week) you can put on your manager cap and do your own testing.

I wonder if part of why “America’s favorite pastime” is baseball is because there are so many life lessons the game teaches. Whether it is or not, they can certainly help you in email.

Something else that can help…a complimentary Email Consultation with me. I’ll look through your previous and current email efforts to see what’s working and what might need help. You’ll get a handy written analysis you can refer back to as often as you like to make improvements.

But I can only do so many of these complimentary consultations each month, so if you want to be sure to get yours locked in, click here for my online calendar and book an available time that works for you.

To better email,

John Allan

P.S.: Another lesson I learned from baseball is some games go into extra innings. And some emails can benefit from a well-written P.S. to reinforce something, or add an enticing detail.

If email were as easy as my last fishing trip

Last night I had a strange dream.

I was out fishing. Something I haven’t done in real life for at least two years.

I had some sort of black rubber worm on my hook. Terrible choice of bait.

And after a lazy cast and briefly getting snagged I reeled in to find my bait was gone.

I hadn’t planned well for this fishing trip, because I didn’t have a tackle box anywhere in site. Lucky to still have my hook, I started walking toward who-knows-where. Dream John must have known there was more bait that way.

That’s when it happened…

I looked down the creek bank and saw a spot crawling with fish. Dozens and dozens. Too many to count.

And there was something about the way they were swimming that made me think they might be crazy enough to bite anything that hit the water.

Even a bare fishing hook.

On a whim I tossed my hook in, and the scrambling began. The fight was on to see which fish could get to the hook first.

It would be nice if fishing ever really worked that way. But it doesn’t. The fish you want to catch don’t fight over the privilege of biting an empty hook.

You’ve got to give them something worth nibbling on!

And yet, there are online business owners who think they can use email to catch all the “fish” they want without offering them any good bait.

They seem to believe just throwing something–anything–into the water will do the trick.

In the language of my free report The Seven Deadly Sins of Email Marketing this fallacy falls under the category of Lust

It’s the (mistaken) idea that your email list loves you and wants you so badly they’ll do anything for you, without you even asking. No need to bait the hook, we’ll bite anyway! Don’t ask me if I want to buy something, I’ll just hand you my wallet because I really, really want you to have my money.

A random email to your list with no motivation to buy, and no invitation to take the next step will not magically land you a boatload of sales.

If you think you’ve been throwing bare hooks (or the wrong bait) to your email list, now’s the time to book a free Email Consultation with me. We can look at your current and recent campaigns to see if you’re committing any of the Seven Deadly Sins of Email Marketing.

Once we’ve had a look, I’ll send you a complimentary summary of what you’re doing right and what can be improved.

Yes, it really is free. There’s no cost of financial obligation for this. The closest thing to a catch is that I can only do so many of these each month. If you want to be first in line, check my calendar and choose an available time.

To better emails,

John Allan

The 180 Headline

Earl Nightingale is credited with saying if you look at what the majority of people are doing and do the opposite you’ll probably never go wrong.

Yes, there are obvious exceptions to this rule (eating, breathing, etc.)…

But it applies more often than you might think.

It’s what caused a recent Labor Day headline I saw to grab my attention.

It’s Labor Day weekend and it feels like every business that has my email address is sending me emails.

And the subjects are all the same:

“Save 20 percent on our Labor Day sale”

“Get 15 percent off during our Labor Day sale”

“Labor Day sale starts now”

You get the idea. The wording is slightly different, but the message is the same. And all these messages just keep coming and they’re piling up in my inbox.

But then I got an email from Dugout Mugs. And their subject line said “Not another Labor day sale.”

I wasn’t clicking on the other links, but this one had my attention. I had to click this one and see what was going on.

Why is it so great? Because I’d been getting all these messages about all these sales, and then this one comes along and says “Not another Labor day sale.” It’s a 180 degree turn from what everybody else was doing, so it stood out automatically.

It’s also good because it can work more than one way. You might think (like I did) “Good. This isn’t the same lame email everybody else has already sent me.”

Or it could mean “Our Labor Day sale is different.”

Either way it grabs attention, stands out from the noise in my inbox, and doesn’t let me know what they mean until I open the email and find out.

Key takeaway: In an inbox where everything looks the same, it’s OK to be different (and say so). A deliberate 180 Email might be just what you need to get noticed.

To better email,


Buzz off, customer!

Recently I looked on in horror as an online business told its list (their most important marketing asset) to shut up and buy their stuff already.

Brick-and-mortar businesses couldn’t tell their customers “don’t talk to me!” and expect to make sales…

But it happens in E-commerce all the time.

Granted, they didn’t literally say “shut up and buy our stuff.”

But the effect’s about the same. That’s because they told their readers the message was sent from an un-monitored account and if you write back nobody will read it.

Look, if you have an online business you’ve GOT to understand how important your email list is. Not just for sales, but also for building rapport and customer loyalty.

They can’t come to a brick-and-mortar shop and get to know you…

So don’t push them away when they let your shop come to them.

To better email,

John Allan

P.S.: For more email tips and my free report The Seven Deadly Sins of Email Marketing subscribe to my free email newsletter by clicking here.

Why you shouldn’t write NASCAR Emails

Let’s talk about what might be the biggest mistake I see online businesses make with their email marketing…

Sending emails with 100 different choices.

This is on my mind because I just read an email with 19 different links I could click.

Nineteen links!

The problem with having so many different actions they *could* take, is your customer will get overwhelmed and probably choose to do NOTHING.

Think of it like trying to read all the sponsors on a NASCAR driver’s fire suit while he answers interview questions. There are too many to process, so you’ll likely just quit.

This is an easy problem to correct, though…

Instead of talking about five different products (or having 19 different links) in one email, focus on one.

Decide what ONE thing you’d like your reader to click on when they’re finished reading your email…And then write an email that will encourage them to do that.

Make this simple correction, and don’t be surprised if you start getting more clicks and orders.

To better emails,


P.S.: For more email marketing advice, and to download my free report The Seven Deadly Sins of Email Marketing join my free email newsletter by subscribing here.