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9 unpopular opinions about email

It’s been a while since I served up a dish of a tasty listicle.


But that ends today, cully, because I got 9 unpopular opinions about email ready to unleash on you.


My hope is that you vehemently disagree with several of these…


Let’s give in:


1. Segmenting is overrated


If you were to google “email marketing best practices” right now, I’d bet my sweet arse you’d find a HubSpot article where they emphasize how iMpOrTaNt!i! segmentation is.


But it ain’t as sexy as these companies make it sound.


In fact, there’s a reason why email marketing software companies hype up segmentation:


They’re more worried about their delivery rates than they are about your sales.


If you wanna make the most amount of sales, then you probably need less segmentation, not more.


2. Unsubscribes are a good thing


Most people fear the unsubscribe because it bruises their ego. When someone unsubscribes, it means, quite literally, that they don’t care about what you have to say. And this punctures the ego in ways humans couldn’t have experienced prior to 1995.


But what’s bad for the ego is often good for the business—at least, so it is with unsubscribes.


Worrying too many about unsubscribes is the definition of playing to not lose instead of playing to win—a fatal mistake many entrepreneurs make to protect their ego.


The best emails—the ones that make the most amount of moolah—also usually get the most people riled up enough to unsubscribe. It’s okay, they wouldn’t have become buyers anyway… and if they did become buyers, they’d be some of your worst customers.


3. Long emails perform better than short emails


Another bone to pick with HubSpot articles:


Every “pro-tip” type of article (which, by the way, is written by some of the most amateurish staff members, if’n that doesn’t tell you something) always makes it a point that people lead busy lives (duh!), have shrinking attention spans, and won’t read anything over 500 words, let alone 1000+ words.


The truth?


This fascination about miniscule attention spans irks me. Humans have always had short-ish attention spans… Even back in the 1800s, humans would, say, look at birds while also holding a conversation.


The short attention spans have been here. Social media apps like TikTok simply tapped into this phenomenon, instead of creating it.


But you know a bulletproof way to make sure your audience reads your every single word?


Make your writing more interesting. Speak to their problems in a way that makes them sit on the edge of their seat. And write in a way that helps them convince themselves that your product or service is the golden ticket they’ve been looking for, which will melt their problems away and trap them in the past.


After many such tests, long copy tends to convert better. But if, and only if, you write something interesting. If you bore your audience to sleep, then, well, the short attention span will kick in and they’ll never read your emails.


4. Like segmentation, automation is also overrated


I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have email automation set up. I mean, I’ve just created a sneaky VIP sequence for one of my clients that has already driven over $47k in revenue in the past 6 or so weeks it's been active.


But automation is also overrated.


Many ecom brands, for example, think that automation is all an email marketing strategy needs. But my clients consistently make more from sending broadcast emails than they do from automations—even in the above example where 2 automations brought in $47k… the welcome sequence brought in $24,975.73 in that timeframe… the browse and cart abandonment brought in around $8k… and the various post-purchase sequences I’ve written brought in at least $1,000 per.


Despite all that, we still make more from broadcast emails. And without the broadcast emails we send, the automations wouldn’t be a fraction as effective as they are.


5. The from name is more important than the subject line


Most people overlook the from name, but whether someone reads your email on desktop or on mobile, they read the from name first.


On desktop, the from name appears on the left, before the subject line. On mobile, the from name appears on top of the subject line.


And, well, the best subject line in the world can’t beat a from name from someone you know, like, and trust (which is the biggest benefit email marketing unlocks…).


6. The use of emojis in subject lines comes across as “relating to millennials” cringe


If you were to exit from this email and take a stroll through your inbox, mesuspects you’d find several subject lines that use emojis.


More often than not, these subject lines come across as “relating to millennials” cringe.


Now, I’m not saying you should never use emojis. In fact, I’ve written emails where I used nothing but emojis—but see point #5 above.


7. Outsourcing your emails to ChatGPT is dumber than jumping into shark-infested water


I recently watched a terrible video:


The video?


A new highschool grad was on a cruise, and decided it’d be the coolest story of his life to jump from said cruise into the ocean…


…the shark-infested ocean…


He died almost instantly. Shocker, I know. But towards the end of the video, you can see the shark swim up to him and gobble him to pieces.


And you know what?


It reminded me of marketers and business owners relying on ChatGPT to create their content. It gives me the same exact vibe of jumping into shark-infested waters. And, if AI takes over the world someday, as many people have warned it might, then, well, this analogy will become just a little too real.


8. Personalization isn’t as “sexy” as ESPs make it out to be


Back on the HubSpot hate trend that’s been a loose link between each of these so-called “unpopular opinions.”


Load up that same “email marketing pro-tips” article, and you’ll also read how personalization is eVeRyThInG!i!


But it ain’t.


In fact, if the deciding factor between someone buying your stuff or not is you starting your email with a “Hi %FIRSTNAME%,” then, well, you have bigger problems than addressing your list by their first name.


They’d become terrible customers if they need to see their name in an email to buy. And when you do more investigation into this personalization hype, you’ll realize that including first name tags is all they mean.


Sure, if you’re say a political candidate, then personalizing via zip code or location could make sense. But for most businesses most of the time… personalization starts and stops at including first name tags.


9. Inbox Zero is stupid


This one isn’t directly related to email marketing, but it kinda is.


Inbox Zero is this inane idea that you should delete every single email you ever get, so when you open your inbox, you see a big, fat goose egg.


But both as a consumer and content producer, keeping emails is a superior idea in every way. You can refer back to previous emails to study them, buy from them, or, if you’re like me, to “swipe” content from emails I’ve previously written and sent.


I know I said I had 9 unpopular opinions, but I’d be doing this whole “unpopular opinions” thang wrong if I didn't also include a bonus one:


10. Email marketing ain’t dead, and ain’t never gonna die


When social media came out, marketers screeched “email will die!”


When Chatbots came out, marketers screeched “email will die!”


When SMS came out, marketers screeched “email will die, SMS has almost 90% open rates!”


When ChatGPT came out, marketers screeched “email will die!”


And when The Next Big Shiny Object™️ comes out, marketers will screech “email will die!”


But this simply ain’t true.


Wanna see just how untrue this is?


Hit reply, and let’s jump on a quick call and I’ll prove to you—beyond a shadow of a doubt—that email still reigns supreme at generating cold, hard cash in your business.


Call my bluff:


John


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