When I teach email marketing and the Email Infinity method, there are several questions I keep hearing. Let’s answer them here...
Q: Is Email Infinity a definitive guide?
A: Hell, no! It’s 100+ ways of finding inspiration, most of them “evergreen” – so you can use them time and again, taking a different tack each time. It’s a system that’s worked well for me, and for those who’ve shared it. But it’s in no way definitive, and I’d be crazy to suggest otherwise.
This is how I see it. The 14 sources of inspiration are arguably all you need, but within those sources there will be methods and angles beyond the 100+ supplied. In fact, I’d urge you to think around this and find your own – and feel free to let me know, by commenting here or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What’s the best way to record email ideas?
A: It all comes down to how you work. Some people carry a notebook everywhere they go. Some use the notes function on their phone, others use an audio app to make voice notes when inspiration strikes.
What I would suggest is, recording ideas as they come is all well and good – but from there, you should add them to a structured log. I find a spreadsheet is the best option, as it lets you organise the info more effectively.
For example, you can use one column to note the idea source (“this is an EXPERTISE idea”, “this is a VALUES idea” etc.) then use the filter tool to see all the ideas from one particular source. That’s a good way of making sure your emails span the whole range of sources, rather than focus too heavily on one area.
You can also use it confirm which ideas you’ve used and when. Plus, you can note the success rate like the number of opens, clicks, enquiries or whatever else you’re measuring. Soon, you’ll have data that tells you what your audience wants to read.
Q: Do I have to tie the story back to my business?
A: Generally, readers are happier with emails that make a relevant point. They’ll reach the end and feel they’ve invested their time wisely – they got more than an interesting story, they got a valuable insight too.
But is it essential? No.
Many of the top email marketers ignore the “tie-in”, at least now and then. They’ll just tell their story, and throw in a “by the way” at the end (or in the P.S.).
You’ll need to decide if you’re happy doing this. But as a rule, it makes sense to offer a tie-in wherever you can. At least, until you’ve got an audience hanging on your every word!
Q: I just want to offer advice – why can’t I get straight to the point?
A: You can if you like – but it’s not advisable! For several reasons:
- You’ll run out of things to write about. There’s only so much to cover if you cast yourself as nothing but a teacher.
- If all you share is your expertise, you don’t get to show the human side that edges your readers closer to the first sale. That’s a huge price to pay!
- Your open rates will plummet. By and large, people read emails for that unique mix of entertainment and information. So opening with a story or titbit is a better way to lure them in.
It’s the same principle as mushing up a toddler’s pill and mixing it into a pudding! You give them something they want, in order to deliver something they need.
There are exceptions, of course. If you’re writing to hardcore enthusiasts, they might tolerate pure advice.
But even then, they’re human beings. They respond to tales and curiosities, the same as anyone else.
Q: If I give away all my expertise, what’s left for me to sell?
A: You have to prove your worth, but you don’t have to make yourself redundant in the process. There are two ways I look at this:
If you’re a trainer or teacher, give away a little – just enough to show your readers what’s achievable, but not the whole solution. There’s an optimum point for you to stop giving and start selling, and that’s usually when you’ve told them WHAT and WHY, and left them wondering HOW.
If you’re a coach or consultant, give them all the expertise you like – you’re selling the application of that expertise within the context of their life or business.
Q: Why should I let readers into my life?
A: It seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Every copywriting course tells you, make it about the reader – they’re not interested in you. And yes, in sales copy, that’s definitely true. But email is a little different.
Email is about relationships. So if you start out wowing them with helpful ideas, they’ll soon get to a place where they want to know about YOU – the charismatic expert who’s been rocking their world.
That doesn’t mean you can just bang on about yourself the whole time – even your most ardent groupies will get bored with that pretty quickly. But they will enjoy stories from your life… especially if they lead to some practical advice.
The question for you is, how much of your life are you willing to share?
It’s your call… but the more you let people in, the stronger the bond.
Q: This is not my thing, James – can you do it for me?
A: Maybe, yes – if we get on, I like your product and there’s space on my client list. A monthly slot ranges from £800 – £5000 (around $970 – $6040). If you want to apply, just drop me a line and tell me about your business, your goals, your audience… all that stuff.
What is Email Infinity?
If you send regular emails, and you know the agony of staring at a blinking cursor, waiting for inspiration to strike…stare at this instead!
Email Infinity comes from years of geekery, of late night sessions analysing email after email.
Stuff I’d mailed to my own list. Stuff I’d written for clients. Stuff from pros and gurus. Stuff from regular SMEs.
It all went under the microscope, in a furious bid to reverse-engineer whatever “it” was that was working.
The result is 100+ proven ways to generate ideas – enough to keep anyone in emails till the end of their days.