The #1 Email Marketing Mistake You Are Making

Welcome to issue #3 of our still-unnamed weekly email marketing newsletter.

Funny. I wrote about the biggest email marketing mistakes, and I left out the biggest one of all:

Focusing on little things over big things.

Email marketing tools like ActiveCampaign (my choice as of 8/6/2023), ConvertKit, MailChimp, and Beehiiv let you split test things like:

  • Subject lines
  • Email formats
  • Images
  • Colors & fonts

Your goal is to learn from your results so you can boost your email open rates or click rates — and turn that into more money.

These are not the most important email marketing metrics, but they do matter.

Where Testing Goes Wrong

My email marketing strategy came from testing best practices and worst practices.

Because I’m a skeptical person and I need to see things for myself.

Tell me something will work, and I test it.

Tell me something will fail, and I test it.

You should do the same.

BUT… here’s the danger you find yourself in.

You start obsessing over little things like:

  • The color of your buttons and links
  • 18-point type vs. 20-point type
  • Whether you say “Click Here” or “Sign Up Here”

And you get so caught up in these little things you forget this:

Email Marketing is About Using Big Ideas to Get Big Results

Maybe you’ve tested 20 different email formats.

Different email lengths.

Different images.

Different logos.

But have you tested actual BIG IDEAS?

Because BIG MONEY is made from BIG Ideas – not the color of your freaking button.

What’s a Big Idea?

A big idea grabs people by the throat and makes them feel something so powerful that they have to act right now.

Hope. Disgust. Anger. Ectasy. Greed.

The big idea is often the headline or tagline on a sales page.

That big idea is the theme you write your email around.

And yes, you can use the same exact thinking if you create sales pages, articles, or social media assets.

Here are 3 examples of big ideas in different niches:

Dating: “Get the Number Tonight: The College Guy’s Guide to Cold Approaches”
Here, you would write an email about how your prospect could hit the bar tonight and approach someone with confidence.

Golf: “150-Yard Drive Machine: The Newbie’s Guide to Hitting the Long Ball”
You’d write about how good it feels to nail that huge drive.

Writing: “30 Days to Your First Client: Financial Freedom Through Freelance Writing”
You’d focus on making enough $$$ to supplement or replace a 9-5 paycheck.

Each example has something people care about. Like meeting women, hitting a huge golf drive, and earning $$$.

And they’re specific to one type of person.

The shy college guy. The new golfer. The beginning writer.

And two of them have a time element.

I call this the BaRFs framework:

  • Big Result
  • Fast delivery of that result*
  • Specific to one person

*Note: the time element must be somewhere on the sales page or the email body copy.

You Must BaRF Often So You Have Big Ideas to Test

Say you’re marketing a video course teaching men over 40 to build muscle.

Here are 3 big ideas to center emails around:

  • Kill Your Dad Bod Once and for All
  • Be Stronger at 45 Than You Were at 25
  • Move Over Thor: Get Strong Enough to Be Your Son’s Superhero

*WARNING: the Marvel legal team may not like this…

Now I want you to do two things:

  1. Think for 30 seconds about which email would perform best, and why
  2. Put your ego aside

Because the humble marketer destroys the egotistical marketer

You must be humble enough to accept results you don’t expect.

You can’t always predict which big idea drives the most money.

So let the numbers do the talking.

Now you know which big idea works.

What’s next?

Start Testing the Little Things

Since your big idea is your #1 money driver, you are now free to test the little things.

Because you want to power up your big idea in every way possible.

That’s when you get anal retentive and start testing images and logos and button colors and all the other tiny details.

Because going from a 4% click rate to a 6% click rate could have a shocking impact on your bottom line.

And then… you:

Test More Big Things

Don’t get complacent.

Even if your big idea is killing it, you want to test more big ideas.

Say you send 20 sales emails a month.

You can dedicate:

  • 18 emails to your proven big idea
  • 2 emails to testing new big ideas

The economy and social trends are always changing, and you don’t want to base your entire business on one big idea that can die at any time.

You also never know when you’re about to stumble onto an even better idea.

Email marketing is volume game.

The more emails you send, the more money you make.

And the more big ideas you test, the more winners you find.

So get out there and think big.

Then think small.

Then think big again.

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