You know it. I know it. There is a lot of information out there when it comes to email marketing, list building and sales funnels. Everyone seems to be saying the same thing – which isn’t surprising considering many online entrepreneurs learnt from the same couple of people or from people who learnt from those people and so on.

There is an epidemic out there of misinformation which can make even the most astute business owner confused about what you “should” be doing when it comes to email marketing.

There are a lot of well-meaning educators and course creators out there who, yes, some of which have had significant success. But many only understand the online course creation or membership world.

They just don’t understand how to translate these strategies into real life business. Or even online businesses that are selling things other than digital products. How could they? They haven’t had the experience or education to know the difference.

If you provide services digitally or in person or if you sell products in a physical store or online, the way you market your business and use email marketing specifically should be different than those online educators.

And we need to understand that distinction.

In this blog, I’m sharing some of the most common things those online gurus teach and how it is only part of the picture.

Take this as your permission to think outside of the box of what everyone seems to be teaching and instead think about it through the lens about what you know about your industry, business and audience.


Then add a dash of real email marketing magic to it.



What they don’t tell you:

Yes, you need to grow your list but by more than you think!

Here’s the facts – not everyone will buy from you. Shocker, I know.

If you have a smaller list, chances are that those people who signed up are those who know you best and have built a deeper relationship with your brand in other ways. Therefore, these people are more likely to convert.

However, as you add list building activities like opt-in incentives, advertising and Pinterest, the quality of your list drops.

Online marketing statistics show this will be around 0.5-2% of our list buying any particular promotion we do. So, for every 100 people, 0.5-2 will buy.

Of course, this is a number you need to start tracking for yourself because as soon as you know how well you convert you subscribers you can do some quick marketing maths to figure out exactly how many subscribers you need to reach your sales targets.

If you are interested, I break this down into more detail in this blog post: Does Email List Size Matter?



What they don’t tell you:

When starting (or even later), your “newsletter” CAN be your lead magnet. If you know you are sending valuable content to your email list every week or fortnight – why not share that as a reason for your subscriber to sign up.

Don’t just say “subscribe to my newsletter”. Say “Join the <quirky name> community and get regular doses of inspiration, tips & tricks and the occasional treat”.

You can get started with what you have right now and add to it later. It’s more important that you make a start than wait for months (or years) before you come up with the perfect opt in incentive.



What they don’t tell you:

A Sales Funnel is not exclusively advertising + opt in incentive + series of pushy emails.

Sales funnels have been around a lot longer than the internet and instead represent a process any member of your audience goes through from Awareness to Interest to Consideration to Purchase to Advocacy.

So, the answer is yes, you do need a sales funnel, but it does not have to be done in the exact way many of these experts teach.

In fact, all you need is a means of getting traffic and eyeballs on your offer and then a way for your interested audience member to take the next step. That could be as simple as a contact form or a phone call.

Email, of course, can play a vital role in this mix as you can automate this middle step and give your new subscriber what they need to make an informed decision.

However, this decision might not come within that first week of signing up. It could take them 2 years! And that’s okay if that’s what they need.


What they don’t tell you:

You can repurpose content!

Yes, if you can produce an amazing blog post or video or podcast episode every single week then go for it. But if you are like me and are limited on time that is just not achievable.

Instead, I choose to focus on creating quality and mostly “timeless” blogs.

That way I can repurpose and share them time and time again. All my new subscribers are given the best of tour of my content, so they don’t miss out of the good stuff shared in the past.

And I’m constantly referring evergreen content back to my subscribers to really ensure it sinks in.



What they don’t tell you:

This one I actually disagree with.

Yes, you need to be emailing your list often. At a minimum, once a month so your subscriber remembers that they signed up to your list in the first place.

But sending an email because you “have to send an email” can sometimes mean that it feels forced and not your greatest work.

Instead, I say challenge yourself and think ahead about content you can create. But, if you miss a week because you had a lot of stuff going on, don’t beat yourself up about it.

This is also less important because of the next bit of advice…



What they don’t tell you:

There is so much more to it than these two things! After someone signs up your email list and receives their welcome series, that doesn’t mean all they should get from you are your weekly newsletters.

Instead, this should just be the beginning.

Once someone is in your email database there are a tonne of different ways you can serve them through automation.

Automation means that if your subscriber does something, then your email system takes some sort of action.

The simplest example of this is if subscriber completes this form, then they receive this email.

But it can extend much further to if they click links, visit certain web pages, abandon carts, buy something, book in, don’t buy for a while or complete working with you. Each of these, and more, can trigger a series of events that are tailored to meet your subscribers needs exactly where they are at in that moment of time.

By adding in these automations, the pressure is then off to be emailing your list all of the time as you know those subscribers who are actively engaging with you are being looked after.

You can even use email beyond just marketing and into providing customer service and automating common administrative or business tasks.



What they don’t tell you:

Personalisation goes way beyond using someone’s first name in the opener.

Yes, email is a mass marketing medium. But every email doesn’t have to go to everybody.

Instead, you should be identifying different groups of subscribers right from the beginning. This could be subscriber characteristics like their industry, stage of parenting they are in or their location. Or, it could be their level of understanding of the topic that you teach. Or, it could be who has purchased what vs who has not.

Once you have identified these groups you can then send emails tailored specifically to different subscriber needs. And communicate with them on a deeper level.

With some email providers, you can even have different content showing to different people within the same email!

Heck, you can even use your email marketing statistics to see who your most engaged subscribers are and then contact them personally.

Email is the most personal of “mass” marketing tactics and this is one of the key reasons why it converts the best.



These are just a few of the common teachings out there and I am sure there are many more.

This is not meant as a criticism of any particular “guru”. Instead, it’s about providing awareness that because they are digital product and online marketing experts, their voices become the loudest and their results appear the highest in Google searches.

However, their tactics don’t fit every single business out there exactly. And if you try to cookie cutter your way to success – especially if you have a different business model – it’s just not going to work.

There are many good things we can learn about email marketing online, but it does need to be taken with a pinch of critical thinking and a big dash of seeing how it applies to your unique business.