The 5 T’s of Email Marketing: Do They Even Make Sense?

Written By Michael Comeau  |  Uncategorized  |  0 Comments

The digital marketing world is always changing. 

But the power of email marketing just keeps growing because it gives you a direct connection to your audience, fostering deeper connections and of course, conversions.  

One of the most popular email marketing frameworks is the 5 T’s – Target, Tease, Teach, Test, and Track. 

But you know I don’t believe in following conventional wisdom.

Because most conventional wisdom does not come from people doing real business in the trenches. It comes from amateurs copying other people’s conventional wisdom. 

So let’s go through the 5 T’s so YOU can use them in your email marketing… if they make sense.

1. Target: The Precision Art of Reaching the Right Audience

The first step in an email marketing campaign is figuring out what your audience cares about. You want to look at everything you know about your subscribers – demographics, purchase behavior, engagement levels, and most important – their hopes, dreams, and fears.

I am not crazy about segmenting your email list, but I do believe in using details about your audience to create hyper-specific messages and offers. Then, you blast the emails to as many people as possible.

Pros of Targeting

Broad messages are boring.

By using very specific messages based on details about your audience, you become a lot more interesting. 

Your number-one mission as an email marketer is to keep people engaged. Being specific does that. So create a differentiated brand and people look forward to your emails.

And you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many people respond to your targeted messages.

Cons of Targeting

You could be dead wrong. Your audience might see your hyper-specific, targeted messages… and roll their eyes.

And let’s say you do segment your email list to send targeted messages to very specific slices of your list.

You can very well make much less money because you are sending out fewer offers overall.

Plus it makes list management more complicated because you have to keep more balls in the air.

And you never have all the data you need on your subscribers. You only have a small piece.

When to Use Targeting

I use targeted messages all the time because I like to keep my audience on their toes.

I use targeted audiences much less often because I want to send messages to as many people as possible. More people are interested in each specific things than we think. Imagine you had an email newsletter about marketing. The people who want to learn copywriting probably also want to learn about SEO and email marketing. So why limit your sending?  

2. Tease: Crafting an Irresistible Invitation

Teasing is a critical part of email marketing because your #1 goal is to capture attention. You can’t persuade people that don’t know you’re alive. 

Teasing happens through punchy subject lines, engaging preview texts, or eye-catching visuals that drive curiosity.

Pros of Teasing

More curiosity means more email opens. If people want to know what you’re going to say next, they are much more likely to go down the rabbit hole, opening and clicking emails, reading your content, and eventually buying from you.

Cons of Teasing

You will always face a challenge balancing the tease with substance. An overhyped subject line that doesn’t deliver will cause people to lose trust in you. 

And if you go overboard again and again, your audience becomes desensitized. They stop testing you.

When to Use Teasing

I’m a big believer in teasing in subject lines as much as possible… as long as you deliver on your promise.

But to balance things out, I sometimes throw in boring subject lines, and I also like to inject some humor.
Here are 3 of my most popular email subject lines with teasing elements, and why they work:

And most important, all these emails include high-quality, in-depth content.

So it’s not clickbait.

3. Teach: Building Trust Through Knowledge

Email marketing is about more than selling. You can use emails to educate your audience to build trust and engagement over time.

Pros of Teaching

People will start to view you as an industry authority and a go-to source for interesting, entertaining information. This builds trust, which can be instrumental in driving future sales and strengthening brand loyalty. Plus, there are additional benefits like having content that is both SEO-friendly and shareable.

Cons of Teaching

You can get so wrapped up in teaching that you never make any sales. And if you teach too much, your audience will view you as a source of never-ending free information. Teaching can also be difficult and time-consuming.

When to Teach

You should teach with reasonable frequency, but don’t go overboard. You don’t want your audience to view you as a source of free goodies. Because the funny thing is, they’ll go buy from other people but never you.

4. Test: Fine-Tuning for Optimal Impact

While I don’t believe in best practices, I do believe in testing. If you give me an email marketing strategy, I won’t say it’s good or bad. I’ll test it and see if it works for me.

So I run new A/B tests every single week to test every component of my email strategies – from subject lines to calls to action to email designs to the most important thing – big ideas.

This is how you get better over time.

Pros of Testing

When you test, you find out what works for you. Not every strategy works for every list. Strategies that work for lists built on organic traffic may not work for lists built through ads. And vice versa.

So if you’re smart about it, you can test your way to better performance over time.

Cons of Testing

If you don’t have a data-driven mind, you may find it difficult to analyze the results of your test.

When to Test

As often as possible. You should always be trying new things to boost your email marketing performance.

5. Track: Steering with Data-driven Insights

You know what they say: “what gets measured gets managed.”

If you’re not tracking what you’re doing, you can’t make progress.

So you should make a point of analyzing your email marketing metrics on a regular basis. I recommend taking 10 minutes a week to scan through your data to see what’s working, and what’s not.

Pros of Tracking

Data tracking ensures that little things don’t fall through the tracks. What if you were averaging a 50% open rate last year, and a 40% open rate this year? Or if your conversion rate dropped to 2% from 4%?

You’d want to know that, right?

So you should keep track of everything going on with all your marketing (not just email).

Cons of Tracking

You have to be very careful that you don’t get fooled into obsessing over vanity metrics like open rate and click rate

Because sometimes, the things that increase your open and click rates make you less money.

When to Track

You should track your progress every week. Take 5-10 minutes and run through your numbers to see how you’re doing. 


The 5 T’s are a good way to think about email marketing because they help you focus on important things.

So are they conventional?


Are they useful?

Also yes.

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