Don’t Buy Into the Email Marketing Hype

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Don’t Buy Into the Email Marketing Hype

posted on April 8, 2019


Email marketing is amazing, don’t think for a second that I am bashing email. My frustration is around people drawing incorrect conclusions, then passing along those “learnings” as advice.

Read on and I will explain.

I’ve been watching a lot of videos on YouTube aimed at makers. My wife and I have been having fun getting into selling physical products made on our laser/cnc machines.

Amongst the how-to-make information there are a lot of well-meaning people talking about how-to-market, aimed at makers.

Problem is, a lot of it is taught with complete confidence, even though what they are teaching is often misguided.

One of these videos is the cause of this article (rant?).

That’s not how it works

Essentially, after one email campaign, this YouTuber felt she had discovered the holy grail of business. As usual, this particular lady took the “Email marketing as ATM” theme and ran with it.

Now, I have nothing against people sharing what they learn (it’s what I do, it’s the theme of this entire blog). Plus, there is an internet law (no, not Muphry’s law, though obviously I will demonstrate the truth of that) that states

“the best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask a question; it’s to post the wrong answer.”

Here are her conclusions and why they are wrong.

Past results are not necessarily indicative

Our YouTuber made a risky conclusion right off the bat. She now thinks every email she sends will perform at least as good as her first.

Let’s break down why this is not true:

  1. This was the first ever promotional email she had sent to her list. There was a clear novelty factor, and the rarity of the offer made it special and feel more urgent.
  2. She stated in the email that the offer was in response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers in her community … so more people were in a bargain-hunting mode.
  3. The offer was half-off her digital products, the cheapest products she sells, and obviously free shipping.

So already we can see future campaigns will not be super similar.

Then she doubled-down.

Why double the emails doesn’t necessarily mean double the sales

Our YouTuber now stated that she got a 1% conversion rate on her 10,000 email list.

Great. In fact not all her emails will have arrived, been opened, or read, but that is fine.

Next she said if she had sent another email the next day she would have doubled her 100 sales and gotten even better results!


Yeah, generally if you send more emails you would think you would get more sales, but the math doesn’t work like she thinks.

If I do a week-long campaign, I might do an email on the first day, an email in the middle, and one or two on the last day. The one in the middle gets the fewest and often it is the one on the last day that gets the most (depending on a long list of factors).

While it would be lovely to think two emails in two days would double results, it is unlikely.


Her last conclusion was also way off the mark.

If it worked so well the first time, do the same thing every month!

I am all for folks trying different things, sending offers, mixing up their marketing, but you can’t conclude from this point onwards you can get 100 fresh sales each month by doing the same or similar offer.

In fact, what could happen is you train your customers to wait for the next discount, because if you just missed one there will be another along in a few days.

It worked for me so will work for you!!1

She did admit that not all her viewers will have 10,000 email subscribers, but the lesson she passed along was that this was a great way to get all the sales you need for the month in one or two days.

Email marketing is amazing … when you have a list of buyers.

When I first launched this blog over ten years ago, I was so hesitant to ask for a sale that by the time I did make an offer a lot of my audience was horrified.

My personal Instagram has close to 2,000 followers. They are not in the market for what I sell so I don’t make offers. It would be weird for the folks who are used to pictures of mountains and pets to suddenly get a buy-now message so I wouldn’t expect even close to 1% conversion.

On the other hand, my Maker_Hacks instagram and blog list are made up of people who are into making, the same things I talk about and take pictures of. More of those folks might be interested in something that aligns with their interests.

In fact I know that to be true because of my product and affiliate sales.

Just having an audience isn’t enough. You need an audience of people who are interested in what you have to sell, and have the means to buy it.

You also need to keep adding new people to your audience, because you need fresh eyes on your offers versus people who already saw your offers and passed over them.

I don’t want to put anyone off, email marketing is definitely something more businesses should look into, especially artists and makers who tend to be shy about promoting their stuff.

Just … test.

Don’t assume or take the word of someone who literally just sent their first offer email 🙂

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