Email Marketing is Like Sex… Everyone Thinks They’re Good at It

How You Can Be Good at It (Email Marketing … not Sex)

Email Marketing

July 11, 2021

Email marketing Portland Oregon Kybree

Email Marketing Isn’t Sexy, But It Does Work

When you think of really cool ways to do marketing, I’m sure email campaigns are NOT the first thing to come to your mind. You probably think of making an entertaining video (also highly recommended, see Why Video article) or doing some clever social posts on Instagram or TikTok. That’s the sexy stuff, right? Well, yes, it is. However, if you are a smart businessperson, read ahead for the best return on investment for your marketing dollars.

A Brief History of Email Marketing

The first email was sent by Ray Tomlinson in the 1970’s. Consisting of a series of numbers and letters, it was nothing like today’s marketing emails. But this was the birth of communicating with another person electronically.

Years later, Gary Thuerk sent the first commercial email to a list of addresses, creating a bit of a monster considering how we are all inundated with marketing emails today. This revolutionary way to think outside the box also created a way for brands to engage with prospects in a 1 to 1 channel, changing traditional advertising forever.

“Email has an ability many channels don’t:
creating valuable, personal touches – at scale.”

~ David Newman

Money Spent on Email is Money Well Spent

Email marketing is undeniably the cheapest type of marketing you can invest in. For every $1 spent, your ROI (return on investment) is anywhere between $38 – $44, significantly higher than any other medium.

Why is the ROI so high for email marketing?

First, you can scale email marketing to a reach that is as large as you can build your email list. So really, the sky’s the limit. And you’re spending the same amount of money sending that one email no matter how big or small your email list is.

Think about it – you write one email, but if you have a healthy, engaged email list, you can send that one email to hundreds or even thousands of people by clicking the SEND button one time.

Second, unless someone is living totally off the grid, they are always on email.

How often do you check your email? Exactly.

A recent study found that 82% of employees check email outside of normal business hours, with 49% of employees checking email “every few hours,” and 13% checking email “multiple times per hour.”

If you want to be where EVERYONE is ALL the time, send an email.

I know. Everyone’s doing it. This isn’t a novel idea.

So how do you break through the spam and marketing emails sitting in your prospect’s inbox to connect with them enough that they want to buy your product or service?


Keep reading for some helpful tips and guidelines to make you a master email marketer.

But if you’re short on time, I can give you the formula for a perfect email campaign in one sentence. If you do nothing else, do this:

“There is no formula for the perfect email –
Authentic and honest messaging works best.”

The Four Must-Haves of a High Converting Email

  1. Subject line/preheader
  2. Lead
  3. Body
  4. Call to Action

Subject Lines – Your ONE Chance to Snag Your Readers

Subject lines (like the headline of this article reads) are your ONE chance to snag your readers.

Give it everything you’ve got to pull them in. Entertain, excite, and engage your readers.

Keep it short (1-20 characters)

Emails with shorter subject lines have a significantly higher open rate, unique click rate and click-to-open rate. The second highest rates are lines with 61+ characters – still significantly higher than the average, boring, medium-length lines with 21-60 characters.

Keep it informal, friend-like, and personal

Write your subject line as if you’re addressing an email to a good friend. Use lower-case or sentence-case, not Title Case, and certainly not ALL CAPS.

Also, don’t be a punctuation stickler. You could even pretend you’re texting your good friend, not worrying too much about punctuation since it’s just your friend.

Wouldn’t you want your friend to be engaged with you and your message? Don’t you think asking questions can accomplish this goal? Show you’re interested in engaging with them, not just talking at them.

Lastly, use teasers. Intrigue and offering up just a little bit of information will make the reader want to keep reading. Did YOU want to read ahead when you read the “Everything thinks they’re good at sex” headline of this article? Exactly.

They’re In … Now What?

You’ve pulled in your reader with an intriguing and interesting subject line. Now, give them the payoff with a lead sentence or paragraph to keep them reading, then write copy that will engage your reader.

Consider where your audience is in their buying journey. Put yourself in their shoes to determine exactly what it is they want to hear right now. Then write it in a way that is, again, personal, and interesting. Just like if you were excited to tell your friend about something cool that you just discovered.

And Finally, Tell Them EXACTLY What You Would Like Them To Do

This is where you get your reader to do something. If you have taken up your audience’s time, and added to their email inbox, your message must have a point and must offer something to the reader in exchange for their attention.

Assuming your email copy has done a good job of not only explaining what it is the reader will get, but also enticing them to believe that the offer/content will add value to their business or personal life, your readers will do what you ask them to do. Press that button.

Provide a hard-to-miss button for readers to click on. Only include one button per email so as not to confuse your email contacts with too many options. This button should be labeled with what you would like your readers to do.

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Some Additional Hacks to Ensure that Your Email Breaks Through the Noise

  • Use a personal sender name instead of a company sender name
  • Send during prime time (midweek, mid-morning)
  • Talk about your reader in your copy, not you or your business
  • Don’t ask your reader to do something; tell them

A Quick Note on Email Service Provider (ESP) Platforms

This article is primarily about why and how to send an effective marketing email to prospects potentially interested in buying your product or service. But none of the magic can happen unless you have a marketing automation platform that does everything from collecting and maintaining your email database to automating your email campaigns to tracking and testing the effectiveness of each.

Here are three well-known platforms that all work well, from basic to more advanced.

  • MailChimp
  • Constant Contact
  • ActiveCampaign

If you’re new to email marketing but are interested in developing and executing an effective email marketing campaign, drop us a line. Or to schedule a free 30-minute consultation, sign up at this calendar link. We would love to hear how you think we could help you with your email marketing needs.

*Bar Graph Illustration: McKinsey & Co.

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