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Introducing the Ecom Cowboy Code

(And the first few wordslinger approved “codes.”)

Welcome to the first installment in what will be somewhat of an ongoing series in which I’ll list out some “codes” for ecom email marketing.

Think of these as rules, principles, and maxims served up from your favorite email wordslinger. Each “code” reveals a little more of the secret sauce that makes my emails so profitable, engaging, and, dare I say, addictive. (Quick side story: one time, my client and I threatened non-buyers on our list to make a purchase or unsubscribe—and my client got flooded with non-buyers practically begging him to let them stay subscribed. So, I don’t make my addictive claim lightly.)

Anywho, some backstory:

If’n you follow Ben Settle, full disclosure, I’m “swiping” this idea from his Email Players Rules. But I’m gonna put my own twist on it, which is a lesson for those swipe-hungry copyfakers.

If’n you follow Ben and know of his Email Players Rules, then you know that he swiped the idea himself from The Beige Phillip Show, which taught castrated males how to get their cajones back.

Today, we’re gonna look at the first few Ecom Cowboy Codes I abide by most of the time. (As always, and as is especially true for cowboys, knowing when to break the rules is as important as knowing the rules themselves.)

With that said, let’s feast:

Ecom Cowboy Code #1: Plain text emails convert better than heavily-designed ones

You probably already know this by know, but let me hammer the point home even harder with an unusual story:

Couple of days ago, I jumped on a Discovery Call with an ecom brand. This brand just fired their email agency because they were paying them far too much than the revenue they generated made them worth. And, to be honest, while doing my initial research before the call, I was pretty set that this brand wouldn't be a good fit.


Well, they just seemed like the type of brand who got duped into believing that heavily-designed templates perform better than plain ol’ plain text.

I was half right:

Y’see, they did get duped into believing that heavily-designed templates work better. That’s all the email agency they hired sent. But they were a bit more cunning than they appeared at first glance:

The gal I chatted with also came to the same realization:

Plain text emails converted better. She ran a bunch of tests because she couldn’t believe the results. And bar none, the plain text emails reigned supreme.

Moving on:

Ecom Cowboy Code #2: More emails = more money

This is another point that I’ve repeatedly drilled into your noggin, but still, it bears repeating:

Sending more emails = making more monies.

This applies anywhere you might deploy a campaign or automation:

* Regular broadcast messages to your entire list

* Welcome series flows

* Abandoned cart and browse abandonment flows

* Post-purchase automations

* Product launch campaigns

* Time-sensitive promos

And so on and so forth.

By sending more emails, you’re gonna make more money.

As for the last code today…

Ecom Cowboy Code #3: One CTA per email

Otherwise known as “The Rule of One,” which was coined by Michael Masterson.

Now, Michael’s point was a little broader than mine (remember, cowboys learn the rules, so they know when to break them as much as they do to know when to follow them).

Michael’s rule means that every piece of copy follows one powerful idea, one core emotion, one desirable benefit, and one inevitable response.

It’s good advice, don't get me wrong. In fact, following Masterson’s rule will instantly boost your copy.

But I stray from it with my “code” a bit as well.


Well, email is a more intimate channel. It’s a warmer audience on the receiving end of your emails — especially when you write emails in a way that creates a bond with your readers (while also getting them to buy your products).

That’s why my code is one CTA per email.

You should still (mostly) have one big idea, one emotion, one benefit, and one way to take action. But you can also fray from that rule too — as long as you abide by the one CTA per email rule.

Reason being, sometimes one of those secondary benefits or emotions could be the linchpin that forces someone to take action. And since it’s a more intimate medium, it’s better to be truthful. You (or your clients) come across as more of an expert that way.

But sticking multiple CTAs in a single email won’t work.

(Of course, there are times and places to use multiple CTAs. Don’t forget the overarching point: Ecom Cowboys know when to break the rules and when to abide by them.)

And that’s where we wrap today.

This is far from the full list, and over time, I’ll learn you up on some of the other codes I abide by.

In the meantime, if you wanna get the maximum benefit from this here wordslinger (without waiting months or mayhap even years for me to reveal all my Ecom Cowboy Codes), then book a call, and let’s see if partnering together makes sense.


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