The Secret To A Good Email – Part 1

The secret of a good email

The secret of a good emailIf you are an Internet marketer the difference between success and failure can all too often be down to your emails.

All too often we think to ourselves I need to do a “quick email” to my subscribers,  thats probably the worst thing you can do, a good email takes time, sometimes a lot of time. If you consistently write good emails then your open rates increase and more people see your messages which leads to more sales.

2 Types of Email

There are generally 2 types of emails that you will have to write in an IM environment.

A Follow up email- which is your basic standard auto responder series

A broadcast email which is usually an announcement or a promotion.

In this post i’ll focus on the follow up emails, and in part 2 we’ll look at the broadcast email, as both emails need different skills.

Your Personality In Word Form

First off  I want to cover what a good email does. Too many times I get emails that are just words on a page, they don’t press any emotional buttons and don’t have anything of the writers personality in them.

If you can get the reader to have empathy with you then you start to have a relationship.

The 2 examples below say exactly the same thing… If you had acne which do you think would would resonate more.


When I was younger I suffered badly from acne. it was so bad I’d find excuses not to go and hang out with my friends”



Do you ever feel like you can’t leave the house because of your bad acne? When I was younger my acne was so bad i’d resort to making up excuses about why I couldn’t go out and hangout with my friends

The difference is obvious, the 2nd talks about the reader first and foremost,  but it’s something very few people do. If the reader answers yes in their minds they have had an emotional response… they know you’ve been through the same things you are going through. If they answer no then they probably aren’t your target market.

The Secret Handshake

Another way to start the relationship is to use the same language that the reader does, if you are writing a followup sequence for a skateboarding product then use skateboard slang. Let the reader know/think that you are part of the crowd and one of them.

People naturally relate better to someone who is from the same social group as they are, just like the Freemasons have a secret handshake groups have their own language, If I was to tell you in an email that “I totally fragged King Wee Wee last night” hardly any of you will know what the hell I am talking about but If you did understand it you’d know exactly what i was referring to and you’d know that we had something in common.

Avoid The Urge to Sell Too Soon

All good email relationships should start with a good series of follow up emails. These have one aim , to build a relationship with your subscribers. I usually recommend a 7 email series as that allows you time to introduce yourself and to give some hopefully helpful advice to your new subscriber.

If you have something to promote this should only be done in emails 6 & 7 although you can mention it earlier but not as a sales pitch.

For example

” When I was creating product x I discovered to my horror…..”

The Writing Process

Your followup series should be treated like a script, it’s not something you just create and post up and then forget.

You need to tweak it and rewrite it, I recently changed the subject of one of my emails as I noticed it had a significantly lower open rate that the emails on either side of it. That simple tweak resulted is 4% more opens.

When I write an auto responder series I start off by writing it like a script for a movie. I know what I want to happen at the end , I just need to find a good place to start and then fill it in with various story lines which all lead to the end point.

Once i’ve written it I go back and rewrite it and tweak it until I am happy with what I have at that point it’s still a single script.

Now I need to split it up into 7 parts, it’s like the film producers have scrapped the film project and are asking me to use the script for a TV series

The trouble is if you were to just cut in into 7 equal pieces then It wouldn’t make sense so now the magic begins. You start to weave natural breaks into the emails, you start stories and don’t finish them in the same email, you make people want to read the next email just to get closure.

Leave Them Hanging

I am sure 99% of people reading this have probably seen at least 1 episode of 24… Do you remember how you were desperate to watch the next episode to find out what happened? If you were brought up in the Uk you would have seen Dr Who, how many times did an episode end with The Doctor facing impending doom?

Charles Dickens published ost of his books a series published in newspapers If you read the books now you can still see the breaks where one episode ended.  If you read any book by any successful author you will notice how they generally have 3 or 4 story lines running through them and they never get resolved at the end of a chapter until the end of the book.

If you have watched TV or read a book then you know the secret to good emails… so go and use it.

I’ll do Part 2 of this next week as we are almost at 1000 words so far. If you have any questions please post them as comments and i’ll address them in the next post..  If you enjoyed this post please take time to share it … I really do appreciate it!!



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Ah geez you left me hanging – now I have tune in next week to get part 2!
That was a VERY subtle difference in the acne examples at the top. I actually would have used the first version, but the second is clearly the one that gets them nodding along with you. That’s a really important distinction.

And your idea to first write the series as a long piece before breaking it up is an interesting approach.

If you have any thoughts on auto-responders I’d love to see that covered in the future. I’m now switching from GetResponse to AWeber hoping they have a better optin form, or do IMers typically use their theme or a third party service for on-site optin boxes? I’ll search to see if you’ve covered in the past.
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Aweber have lots of form templates or you can create your own



Now I understand – you use my coaching sessions to create blog posts! Pretty crafty, Mark. Killing two birds with one stone. 🙂

I’m off to create my 7 day TV show with cliffhangers.
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Lol…. I’d rather kill a whole flock 😉


Mike Long

For what it’s worth, I’m part of the 1% who has never watched 24. 🙂

But I do remember a cliffhanger episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, when the Borg captured Picard, and turned him into a Borg. The season ending with Riker ordering Work to fire on Picard’s ship drove me nuts…lol.

Your readers may complain a little, but there is little doubt they will come back for more. 🙂



Hi Mark,

I recently subscribed to your newsletter, and boy am I glad I did it!. This post couldn’t have a better timing for me!
I was just struggling to send a follow up to my tiny list. And I say struggling, because I had so many things I wanted to share with them both free and paid, but didn’t know where or how to start.
This article really opened my eyes on how to do it! And the tip about starting stories that do not have a closure in the same email is GOLD!
Thank you so much for this eye opener!

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Paul Forcey

Nice post, I think the urge to sell too soon is the hardest one to beat.

After all you only earn once someone actually buys from you, and you want to make money so you have to sell them something. It can be hard to see the long game, particularly when you need/want the cash to do something with.

But the relationship you build will allow you to have higher sales rates and probably sell higher ticket items over time because people will be more willing to listen.

Lots of food for thought in this post.



Teresa Miller

This is a great post! I appreciate the pointers. I know when I first started out, I struggled a lot with finding my “voice” with my subscribers. I do much better these days, but as you said, things should be tweaked and rewritten. I know for a fact that some of my original follow-up emails are crying out for some attention! Thanks for the reminder.

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I just Loved the idea of scrutinising the open rates for individual emails in a series and looking for significant discrepancies. That approach helped Mark boost the relevant open rate by 4%. I’m going to be diving into my follow-up email cycles, studying out the numbers and with luck improving them. This is a real handy tip; I shall be coaching it some day I shouldn’t be surprised 😉


John Lenaghan

I have a funny feeling I know where you’re going with this series. The “24” image rings a bell for me 😉

There are a couple of lists that I’ve been on for going on 8 years now, and still read every message I get. They’re typically pretty few and far between, but I’ll never forget who those people are because they made a good impression from the start.

And there are lists that I ended up on in the last two or three weeks, after buying something, where I get daily emails, don’t recognize the name and never read them. Those people never did anything to impress me, or even to get me to know their name.

I still buy things recommended by those people who did a good job many years ago. They probably didn’t make much off of me for the first while after I subscribed, but they’ve certainly done pretty well since then.
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Bill (LoneWolf) Nickerson

I like the idea of writing the entire script for your autoresponder series as 1 unit to start. That makes a lot of sense. But it would take the extra work when breaking down into 6 or 7 emails since there won’t be that natural break point.

One thing that I’ve heard of is that there is a soft sell and a hard sell type email to use in a series. I guess your mention of “when I was creating product X” could fit the bill of a soft sell if you have a link for it. But the hard sell is the email that details benefits and leads to the sales page.

Anyway, thanks for letting me know that I’m not the only person out there that doesn’t think cranking out emails is the way to go 8=)
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Sally Lazarus

Wow! What a great post, Mark! I wish you’d written it a couple of months ago, then I could have improved the relationship I’ve got with my new list.

I do my best to connect emotionally with them, but having read this, I reckon I could do a lot better. And creating 7 emails as one long script and then crafting them into 7 is a stroke of genius! I’ll have to see if I can rework or rewrite the ones I already have in my follow-up sequence.

I’m still finding my way with email marketing and not quite sure yet what makes my list tick yet, but this has definitely helped me, so thank you 🙂

I’m off to read part 2… no cliffhangers for me because you’ve already written it, hehe!

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