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the single biggest scam in email marketing

I got a bone to pick today. And it’s a big bone.

In fact, the bone is so big that companies like Klaviyo, Drip, MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact, Infusionsoft, HubSpot, and more gnaw on it with unrelenting hunger. Nay, hanger.

But it’s a scam nonetheless.

Of course, I’m talking about the Great Click Rate Scam.

Y’see, click rates don’t really matter. They’re a vanity metric, with only slightly more importance than open rates. Yet, all of these email software companies (aka ESPs) fap over them like they’re an incel living in their parents basement.


Well, here’s where the scam comes in:

Click rates matter more to these ESPs than they do to your brand. That’s why they all preach “advice” to help boost your click rates. (Their advice, turns out, actually means something like adding a colorful button to your email, using one of their gar-bage templates, and that sort of thing.)

But when you actually think about click rates… there’s no good reason they should have as much importance as ESPs make them seem.

You can’t drive to your local bank with your laptop in…well, lap…load up your ESP, show how many clicks your latest email got to the bank teller, and get cash money in return.

For that, you need to make actual sales. And yes, while your customers will need to click your links to order your products, that doesn’t mean that click rates can pay your bills.

Do they help?

Eh, I’ll let you decide for yourself.

Here are a few recent campaigns I sent from my client’s Klaviyo account. Tell me if higher click rates = more sales or revenue generated.

Example numero uno:

Example numero dos:

Example numero tres:

Now, you tell me which of these emails you’d rather have:

The one that had a higher click rate? Or the one that made more sales?

I rest my case.

Y’see, there are a bunch of things you can do to artificially increase click rates. I say “artificially” because oftentimes, these tactics won’t do a damn thing to increase your sales.

Things like:

* Creating hyper targeted segments (which explains the screenshot above where an email got a 2.5% click rate, but only made $1,063.93 in sales.

* Adding extra links to click that swim upstream from the sale (like sending your customers to YouTube, your social media profiles, or an unrelated article not hosted on your site).

* Adding an image with a clickable link (bonus points if this is a small-ish “before/after” type pic, where people click on it to expand it, only to be sent elsewhere after they do).

And there are many more tricks like these that can boost your click rates at the detriment of your sales.

But for me, my clients, and now you, my cully?

We see click rates for what they are:

A scam.

Now, don’t take this the wrong way:

The unfortunate truth is that, yes, getting more people to click the links in your email may help deliverability, and may help generate more sales (if they’re accurate, which isn’t always the case).

And yes, I’ve only shown a few examples of where the lower click rate email made more sales. I have plenty of examples of the opposite as well.

But my point is this:

Focusing on increasing click rates is the wrong approach to email. Instead, you should focus on things that can actually pay your bills, i.e. sales.


If you wanna tank your click rates (just kidding…) while also making more sales, book a time here, and let’s see if partnering together makes sense.

Catch you back here tomorrow.


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