If you’re reading this right now, I’m assuming you’re already using email marketing to sell your products and services… or you want to learn how to do so effectively.

If that’s the case, you also probably already know that email delivers the highest ROI of any channel available. In fact, for every $1 spent on email, you get back $44.25.

And if you have just a few minutes to breeze through this post, you’ll discover:

  • What smart email marketers do differently to generate 50% more sales-ready leads…
  • How to use email the RIGHT way to get the highest ROI…
  • CNET’s success formula for keeping subscribers engaged long term…
  • Real-life examples you can add to your swipe file for more profitable email campaigns…
  • And much, much more…

But before we dive into what you should be doing in your emails to retain more readers and get more sales, let’s talk about what NOT to do

The #1 Mistake Marketers Make with Their Email Lists:

They fail to view their subscribers as human beings.

Far too many business owners, marketers, and entrepreneurs hear statistics like…

– Email gets over 4300% ROI for U.S. businesses (Direct Marketing Association)

– Email is the most preferred way for consumers to receive regular updates and promotions (MarketingSherpa)

… And they immediately get to work building a list.

But after they successfully build that email list, things go very, very wrong because they do one of 2 things:

  1. They send 1 email blast then fall off the face of the planet… until they want you to buy something.
  1. They only use email to sell, sell, sell… without giving any value in advance.

Both of these secondary email marketing mistakes result in an unengaged, unaware, and unhappy list… all because the sender failed to understand that their subscriber base is made up of actual human beings – people just like you or me.

Let me ask you a question:

Would you go months without speaking to or acknowledging someone you just met, then ask them to give you their money?

Of course not!

And would you stay in a relationship if all the other person did was take, take, take?

Didn’t think so.

Point is: If you wouldn’t do something in a real life, in-person relationship, don’t do it in email!

Instead, if you want to get the highest ROI out of your email marketing campaigns, do this:

Use Email to Nurture Long-Lasting (Lucrative) Relationships.

Your subscribers are people with human thoughts and feelings. If you haven’t taken the time to establish any sort of relationship with them, they don’t know you from Adam, so why in the world would they pull out their credit card and give you money when you ask for it?

First, you must build up a trustworthy bond.

That’s where email marketing comes in…

Your subscriber has already given you permission to engage them with conversation through their personal inbox. All you have to do to get them to become a loyal paying customer is start sending them the kind of emails that develop a bond, build trust, and nurture a long-lasting relationship.

There’s a couple of ways you can do this successfully…

  • Add real value to the lives of your new subscribers: Send emails that show your brand new subscriber you are here to help and that you genuinely care about moving them from where they are right now to where they hope to be in the future by adding a ton of value to your relationship upfront… BEFORE you ask for any money in return. Welcome them to your brand, show them the benefits of being a subscriber, and speak to them like you would a new friend. This is how you avoid the “take, take, take” cycle that ends in you losing that new subscriber to your competitor.
  • Regularly provide access to free, interesting, and highly relevant content: Just because a subscriber has been on your list for awhile doesn’t mean it’s okay to start bombarding them with only offers or sending out boring, generic “blasts.” You should be using subscriber data to send valuable, laser-targeted CONTENT to new and old subscribers alike to show them that you are still there, you are trustworthy, and your emails are worth opening.

If you’re not busy creating email campaigns that nurture relationships with your subscribers by adding value and delivering interesting and insightful content, I strongly suggest you start now, and here’s why:

According to Forrester Research…

Companies That Excel at Lead Nurturing Generate 50% More Sales Ready Leads at 33% Lower Cost.

On the other hand, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales (MarketingSherpa). Why? Because marketers fail to turn those leads into begging-to-buy customers by nurturing them and building a relationship before asking for the sale!

Not only that, but according to a SilverPop/DemandGen report, lead nurturing emails get 4-10 times the response rate of standalone email blasts.

With facts like these, it’s fair to say that the “batch and blast” marketing of the past is dead.

In today’s world of savvy consumers and big data, smart marketers are leveraging nurturing emails focused on relationship building to get the highest ROI.

Technology and consumer electronics website CNET has been very successful with this.

At the 2015 MarketingSherpa Email Summit, Diana Primeau, Director of Member Services at CNET, described in detail how this company was able to keep an impressive 24% of brand new users and 46% of existing users engaged with CNET an entire 90 days after they ran a sweepstakes to attract subscribers initially.

What’s CNET’s “Secret” Formula for Keeping Subscribers Engaged Long Term?

Email series that add value and pique subscribers’ interest.

Instead of sending one big generic email that didn’t offer any value… or just bombarding their inboxes with offers…

CNET tested a welcome and nurture campaign that immediately engaged users with interesting, relevant content and showed them how to get the most value from their brand.

For example, new users received a nurturing series showing them how to receive their content and engage with their brand on different mobile devices and social platforms. New users also received a nurturing email that delivered a sample of CNET’s most popular videos as valuable content.

Their open rates for this new email series ranged from 40%-80%, demonstrating that the nurturing emails they had sent to new users were adding real value and sparking the beginnings of a long-term relationship.

CNET also used this same strategy of providing valuable content via email to RETAIN existing users.

Primeau describes how they segmented existing users based on their site behaviors, interests, etc. to send highly targeted content those subscribers would find relevant and valuable.

Needless to say, it worked.

In one test, they saw a 307% increase in click through rate just by replacing the content in their control email with ultra relevant, personalized content in the treatment!

As this case study proves, viewing your email marketing efforts as any healthy human relationship that needs to be nurtured and loaded with real value pays off big time.

To watch the full session replay and learn more about CNET’s success, click here: http://www.marketingsherpa.com/video/content-segmentation-increases-subscribers

Okay, so now that you know why you should treat your subscribers like human beings… and why it’s so important to send valuable, relationship-building emails… you’re probably wondering…

How Do You Put These Tips into Action to Start Building a Loyal List of Engaged Subscribers NOW?

I’ve collected 3 superb examples of emails from thought leaders who are using email marketing the RIGHT way. Feel free to add these to your swipe file so you can replicate their techniques that add value, build relationship, and turn your subscribers into loyal customers and raving fans.

Let’s take a peek…

Example #1: Ramit Sethi, New York Times Bestselling Author & Entrepreneur

In this first example, author Ramit Sethi frontloads his irresistible free offer with even more value – by teaching readers how to be “naturally good at selling” and “help your annoying friend who’s always in bad relationships” in the body of the email.

This whole email is just one big hunk of upfront value that weaves teaching and tips and a super relevant free offer together in the same piece. You can use this same approach to build powerful relationships with your subscribers fast by showing you care about them and are interested in providing value first, not just pocketing their money:


Today I’m going to show you how you can be naturally good at selling PLUS how you can help your annoying friend who’s always in bad relationships. All in one email. Sit back and enjoy. (And if you want to know how to start earning more on the side, I’m teaching a live class tomorrow night.)

Let’s pretend you were walking into a room to sell your services. (Doesn’t matter what you’re trying to sell or if you even have an idea yet. Just play along.)

What would you say?

Here’s what most people would say:

“You should buy this product because BLAH BLAH BLAH” (feature 1, feature 2…ZzzZzz…who cares)

Here’s a better approach.

“I’m thrilled to be here and I’ve been thinking about this all week. I have a bunch of questions if it’s OK, but it’s your meeting, so how would you like to begin?”

Why does this work?

  1. You’re showing ENTHUSIASM. Believe me, of all the people I interview for jobs at IWT, maybe 20% actually show contagious enthusiasm. In short, we like people who like us.
  2. You’re telling them you’re prepared and you’d love to ask questions, but…
  3. You leave it up to them on how they want to begin. “It’s your meeting.” Respect – learn about it, annoying millennials.

Now, 99% of the time, they’re going to say, “No, please go ahead with your questions.” AND THIS IS WHERE YOU WIN.

It’s so rare for people to actually feel understood – and this is exactly what you’re doing by asking questions. Almost every single other person would launch into some long-winded sales pitch.

Instead, you sit back, fold your hands, and ask them 3-4 great questions about their business. For example, “I have a couple of ideas on how we might be able to work together, but before I make any recommendations, can I ask what your biggest business challenge is? I know a lot of other CEOs in your place are thinking about hiring and management challenges. Is that the same for you?”

Watch how you can apply this to your annoying friend who’s chronically in bad relationships:

Annoying friend: “OMG! I can’t believe he did this again! I already told him no! And then he comes back and…” (you tune her out and contemplate suicide)

I get it. I have friends like this. My natural tendency is to start telling them what they “should” do – “How many times has he done this? You need to set boundaries! You should tell him…” (now she tunes me out).

BETTER APPROACH: “Damn. So how did that make you feel?”

Just watch what happens. It sounds like an ABC family movie, but try it and see what happens. The only rule is, you’re not allowed to tell her what to do. You can ask but you can’t use words like “should” or “you need to.” For most people – guys especially – this is like drowning. But it works.

In life and in business, few of us take the time to actually understand what’s going on. What if instead of telling her what she SHOULD do, you simply asked questions to better understand her?

Now, if you want to take some of what we learned today and use it to start earning extra money on the side, I can help. Even if you don’t have a business idea, I’ll show you how to find one – using skills you already have.

Then I’ll show you exactly what to say to find clients who are happy to pay – even if you’re not a natural salesperson.

Tomorrow, at 9pm EST, I’m doing a special presentation: How to turn your existing skills into $1,000/month – or more.

Remember, this is about earning money on the side, so there’s no need to quit your job.
Click here to automatically sign up for my free mini-class

The event is completely free for our readers. And here’s the best part: You’ll be able to put the tactics you learn to work as early as tomorrow.

You’ll discover:

  • How to make $1,000+/month with no website, experience, or special skills
  • The “Facebook Fallacy” that stops thousands from ever earning a dime on the side (and what to do instead)
  • A word-for-word script for landing your first, second, even 200th client (even if you have no experience)

Just remember, this is a one-time-only event.

If you want to attend we ask that you RSVP before the show starts at 9pm Eastern (see time zone).

Click here to reserve your spot.


Example #2: Mark Joyner, Founder & CEO Simpleology

This short and sweet example from Mark Joyner reminds us of the crucial understanding all email marketers MUST HAVE: We’re all people. Even the Founder & CEO of this time management “hack” is still a human being who struggles with procrastination. He could have sent a boring email and hid behind some faceless corporation. But instead, he speaks to other humans like a REAL human in order to build camaraderie.

On top of sharing his own humanness in the email itself, Joyner adds value by linking to a great blog post. Sending your readers to high-quality content you think they’d find interesting and relevant is a perfect relationship-building email tactic to swipe – even if it’s not your own content:

Dear Lee,

Yep, Simpleology keeps procrastination at bay
most of the time. But what does a Simpleology
Black Belt do on that rare occasion where
procrastination hits him?

He breaks out the big guns:

Click Here <–

All the best,


Mark Joyner
Founder and CEO
Simpleology – Get it done.  Faster.

Example #3: Jason Leister, Founder, Incomparable Expert

This final example shows how easy it can be to break down the wall of distrust and emotional detachment between you and your subscribers and start to develop a genuine friendship and bond.

Give them value first by sharing what’s on your mind. Assuming the content you have to share is relevant to your readers and written in an interesting way, they’ll start to look forward to your messages. You don’t have to have another offer or value add piece to send them to. The message itself is of value. Ask yourself if there is something that you noticed or experienced recently you could write your subscribers a brief email about. And don’t forget to use an informal, personal tone as if you were writing to a close friend:

The Client Letter

Incomparable Expert™ Transformation | The Field Report
Apply for the Way of the Incomparable Expert™
February 22, 2016
The Desert of Arizona
Full Moon Coming 38 Degrees

Back in the old days, when I was still drinking the marketing and cash sucking Kool-Aid, the idea of “monetizing” a list was something I thought about. How do you do it? How do you do it effectively?

These days, I realize that a perspective like that actually builds a wall between me and the people I am trying to help. It’s the same kind of wall that is built if you think that working with clients is an “Us VS Them” type of game.

I had that wall up for a LONG time.

When you realize we’re all the same… that we’re all individuals first on this big ball flying through space… things change. When you get to that view, then you’re able to develop a good understanding of what life might be like in the other person’s shoes.

The word for this ability is empathy.

But I don’t mean the empathy they teach in the marketing or copywriting books. That’s the version they tell you to “turn on” so you can sell something to someone.

I’m talking about the real empathy. You can’t fake this one. You’ve either done the work to have it or you don’t have it. People can feel the difference.

Doing the work to have it is worth it. Because once that work is done, you wake up and realize that you’ve outgrown words like “monetize.”

Do YOU want to be “monetized?” Of course you don’t.

Well, neither do Joe or Jack or Susan. Don’t agree? Just go ask them and see what they say…

I think the best kind of marketing, and the most effective kind of marketing (long term), is the kind where when you actually explain everything you’re doing out loud, right to your prospective clients, no one runs away.


Editor, The Client Letter
Incomparable Expert
The 60 Minute Incomparable Expert™ Transformation

Big Takeaways for the Smart Marketer:

It’s simple really: Realize your email list is made up of actual human beings and then treat them like you’d want to be treated.

Don’t ignore them. Don’t send them boring email blasts every once in a blue moon. Don’t constantly ask them for a dollar.

Engage them in real, relevant conversations. Provide them with value first in the form of educational, entertaining, and otherwise interesting content – whether it’s a blog post you wrote, a snippet of wisdom you’d like to share, a video sent to a targeted segment of people, whatever.

The idea is to build up trust and value and show your subscribers you truly “get” them. That’s how you build a list of loyal paying customers you can profit from for a lifetime.

Remember: It’s a lot harder to hit “unsubscribe” or become disengaged from a friendship, so take time to nurture your subscribers and build that relationship. You won’t regret it.


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