How Email Marketing Works

How Email Marketing WorksI received an email from a Digital Media Minute reader in response to a recent post on Internet marketing newsletters I recommend subscribing to, where I listed nine newsletters that have helped me a lot over the years.

The reader complained that I’d pointed to these examples of great newsletters without really explaining how email marketing works and why it’s effective, also saying that he thought people were getting more than enough email as it is.

I thought I’d take a minute to quickly go over the thought process behind email marketing, just the basics and why it makes sense for both marketers and their subscribers.

So when marketing with email newsletters, here’s the basic rallying cry for marketers:

Give as much value as you can to the subscribers on your email list.

That doesn’t mean give value only after your readers have subscribed.

It really starts with the content marketing you’re doing on your website, publishing content Google deems worthy enough to send people to.

Content that gets readers’ attention and eventually has them recognizing you as an authority.

This helps you as a marketer in your efforts to get readers to trade their email address for a ‘lead magnet’ from you.

A lead magnet is a piece of quality content that will teach something related to the reason your readers came to your site in the first place. An ‘ethical bribe’, it could be a pdf or an infographic, free entrance to a webinar, or even a short course on a topic, delivered by–you guessed it–email.

With both your website articles/blog posts and your lead magnet, your goal is to educate and delight with the quality of the content you provide. It’s critical that your new subscribers associate your content with being valuable.

It will have them paying attention and opening those critical first emails you send them.

The first newsletters you send should create a small habit in them to look forward to what you send for the value it contains. It will also help to keep your emails out of their spam folder.

After this, you send out regular emails, always providing value. What about making money? Some marketers sell every once in a while to their subscribers, some sell on every single email (as we all know).

This is critical: do surveys and track email clicks to understand the people on your list, segment them based on those interests, and market to them accordingly.

This little dance to grow and sell to your list is still**very**effective in 2017, especially when done with care.

If you have a website, no matter if you are business or a blogger, even if you don’t yet know what you’ll sell your list, you should be making one. has excellent free tools to help you get started.

Even as a blogger with no thoughts yet of monetizing your efforts, your subscribers might become customers for digital products you create, or prospective clients for a marketing agency you might start.

No matter what you’re doing, there’s no reason not to attempt a communications channel for the 95+% of people who come to your site and never come back.

They say ‘the money is in the list’, and it’s one of those adages that’s still hard to argue with.

For many people, collecting email addresses begins their transition from ‘blogger’ to online marketer.


Nine Internet Marketing Newsletters You MUST Subscribe To

Internet Marketing Newsletters

It’s easy to find people selling online courses on SEO, paid traffic, copywriting, and many other skills that marketers in 2017 should have.

No doubt some of them will accelerate your education.

There is also a lot of free, high-quality info out there. You’ll find it via Google as part of the content marketing ‘value’ that marketing experts looking to eventually sell those courses on email marketing skills will provide.

If money’s tight and you’re motivated you can absolutely get started without paying for a course.

There’s one problem: a lot Internet marketing info online is either inaccurate of outdated. The tools and methods change constantly.

Also, it can be hard to know if someone you’ve never heard of before has actual experience or just a bunch of theories.

A Solution: Internet Marketing Newsletters

Internet marketing newsletters are a great way to get some of the best content from professionals you’ve decided are competent, most likely after reading their blog content.

Often marketers feel obliged to deliver some of their best free content to their newsletter subscribers.

Over the years I’ve been blown away at the quality of the best of it–articles introducing me to concepts and methods I’ve used to make money.

Today I’ll point you to several marketers whose free content–blog posts/lead magnets/emails–have helped me become a better marketer.

But the newsletters these experts send all include an additional helpful little built-in hack.

I suggest subscribing to all the newsletters below not just for the quality info each provides in their area of expertise, but because each of them, if you pay attention, also gives you a lesson on how to how to communicate with your subscribers, from the initial content marketing thru to product launches.

After all, marketing with email newsletters is itself an important skill to have in 2017 and will be for a while.

Some of these folks have businesses doing seven-figures per year of revenue. Their newsletters, for all of them, are a big part of their success.

Think about that.

Who better to learn email marketing from? Not theory, and not a course. The actual processes that work for each of them.

You can be sure the emails you’re getting from them have been tested and refined for conversions.

See how valuable this is?

So here’s what I’m suggesting: get as much as you can out of the free material these experts share with you in lead magnets, emails and even free courses.

But look at the email sequences they send too.

As I say, I’ve done this myself–reading one email after the other to get the flow and the big picture. It’s helped me.

So on to the list, in no particular order. If you’re worried about getting flooded with emails, set up a new account just for your Internet marketing education.

And by the way, if you’re just getting started and wondering how to ‘get on a list’, just look for the enticing free offer somewhere on the person’s homepage, or in a pop-up– that’s the lead magnet. Sometimes there are a few of them!

(Btw I have no relationships with any of these people outside of a little back and forth on social media maybe.)

Pat Flynn/Smart Passive Income

Pat’s been around for almost 10 years and has helped so many people. There’s gold in the archives of all the marketers on this list but no one more than Pat. It looks like nowadays from his homepage you can choose which of the following topics you want to learn, and enter a unique email funnel for that topic. You’ll be offered a ton of free education and lead magnets appropriate to the topic. See how Internet marketing newsletters work?

  • affiliate marketing
  • email marketing
  • tools and resources
  • blogging
  • podcasting
  • creating online courses

Bryan Harris/Video Fruit

Bryan focuses nowadays on helping you build your list–and fast–but you should also look through the articles in his site archives. Brian has a creative, original approach–spend time on his site looking though a huge amount of free value, like his business formulas to get an idea of what I mean, but definitely sign up for his list!

Charles Ngo

Affiliate marketing using paid traffic–Facebook ads, Google Adwords, mobile ad inventory, etc.–to earn commission on products you don’t own, is a complex challenge with a lot of moving parts. To do well at it requires competence in several different skills.

This form of Internet marketing is also a way to make a whole lot of money quickly if you can find or create an edge.

Charles Ngo has been one of the top affiliate marketers in the world for almost 10 years now. To determine whether this business is for you, or to start to really understand it if you think it is, I can’t think of a better person to learn from than Charles.

And that’s saying something.

Affiliate marketing is notorious for fake gurus out to exploit people full of hope who know how lucrative the business can be. Charles is unusual in that he educates extensively without hammering you with the fact that he does offer paid training!

As an extension of that free education he offers on his site, his training course/lead magnet takes you deeper into the nuances of Affiliate marketing. You’ll get a very good foundation without spending anything and you can be sure that it’s coming from someone who walks the talk.

Charles, as much as anyone I know, helps you to think of Internet marketing as more than a set of skills, but as a business. Highly recommended.

Brian Dean/Backlinko

Brian Dean has become recognized as a true SEO guru. The proof is that he ranks very highly for some of the most competitive keywords imaginable: SEO-related keywords like onpage seo. If you’re interested in Internet marketing his blog is an incredibly valuable resource, and there’s no reason not to get his newsletter either.

Jeff Walker

Where to begin with Jeff Walker? He’s been using doing product launches and teaching others how to do them since the mid-1990s. Jeff delivers much–not all–of his education nowadays via video, taking advantage of his exceedingly likeable, easygoing manner. But don’t be fooled. He’s a true creative pioneer– the first time I heard the details of constructing a ‘Sideways Sales Letter’ I was blown away.

Remember that I called each of these experts’ email sequences–the way they construct their emails, content mixed with sales–a source learning separate from their area of expertise? With Jeff Walker you also have an amazing lesson in ‘how to deliver value by being pleasant and natural on video’. Get signed up, because if you have an area of expertise (or even if you think you don’t!) Jeff will explain how to build a digital product around it, from A to Z.

Pete OC

Pete is a copywriter who focuses on helping people “launch simple yet highly profitable online courses”. He emphasizes education that won’t blow you out of the water if you’re worried you might not have enough tech skills to be effective. Take him up on it. Pete also uses Facebook heavily and along with joining his list you should join his Facebook group too.

Bob Bly

Bob is a master copywriter who’s published 100 books while sending out regular emails to his subscribers. His newsletters cover all aspects of making money from writing generally, but especially sales letters and copywriting. Sign up and you’ll get an ongoing education in how to balance ‘giving value’ in each email with a sales pitch in every email too. It can’t be easy to do this consistently, but I’ve been getting his newsletter for a long time and I’ve never been tempted to unsubscribe: too many interesting tips and educational topics.

Dan/Inbound Ascension

Dan teaches retargeting: using Facebook ads and Google Adwords to show ads for whatever you or your clients are selling online, after visitors leave your site and surf the web. The technology is extremely effective. In fact this is still one of the best marketing methods a person can learn, because it’s so effective and costs relatively little to run. Dan’s enthusiasm for retargeting is infectious and he excels at explaining it.

He has a long career in sales behind him. It informs his approach and sets him apart as more of a business guy than most Internet marketers. Sign up and look at his quickstart video and you’ll see what I mean. When he shares his case studies I’ll bet you’re drawn right in.

Kurt Elster/Ethercycle

The first thing you’ll receive from Kurt is an incredibly helpful and well-written five-email sequence on making the transition from freelancing to offering productized services.

Until you understand productized services you might think selling your time for money is the only way get paid for a marketable skill you have. Listen to Kurt’s story as a guy who went from selling one-off services at a low price to any client who would hire him, to offering a defined service to Shopify ecommerce store owners only. No exaggeration: it will really open your eyes, and maybe change your approach to your business. In fact if you’re a freelancer it should change your approach.

Kurt is another one of those marketers I mentioned earlier, who shows you the kind of emails you should be sending to your subscribers long after they sign up, with pertinent, non-sales-y content that doesn’t turn people off.

Who did I miss? What Internet marketing newsletters have blown you away even with their free content, whether you later bought a course from the people behind them or not? Let me know and I will expand this Digital Media Minute list over time.


Could Themed Newsletters Raise Your Email Open Rate?

themed newsletters USA Today
Image: and

If your website has a subscriber list–I assume you have a list!–there are two potential problems you’ll always be trying to sidestep, and themed newsletters might help you do so.

One is the challenge of keeping your content fresh and interesting enough to get your emails opened and hopefully engaged-with.

The other is simply coming up with topics for these emails without pulling your hair out.

Topical ‘pop-up’ themed newsletters can be a way to address both the challenges of content creation and engagement with your readers.

When Hurricane Irma came through Florida recently, USA Today used an interesting approach that turned out to be an unexpected win-win for both the newspapers and its readers.

This weather event was about to affect just about every resident of Florida and much of the Caribbean. Why not use the reporting its network of local teams were generating to send out a curated daily summary to newsletter subscribers?

They decided to try it, calling the temporary newsletter “Watching Hurricane Irma”.

Since USA Today has no doubt deeply segmented its list of 10.5 million subscribers and sends out 500 different newsletters each month(!), it wasn’t hard for them to focus on subscribers who’d be most interested in this particular series, i.e. mostly Florida residents.

In this case, they saw an open rate of over 50%.

95% of respondents to a survey conducted afterwards responded positively.

It’s interesting to me that most of those 500 newsletters I mentioned are currently are auto-generated. No doubt auto-generating a mix of already-written stories that should match the interests of given list segments is an easier way to organize and scale an effort like this, keeping costs low.

Part of what USA Today learned here however was that it was worth it to allocate a staff writer to create an original newsletter, using stories and raw information the local reporters were gathering.

Here are the takeaways I see for smaller publishers when it comes to themed newsletters:

Themed Newsletters For Smaller Publishers

As I said, this is as much a content generation strategy as it is a way to engage your readers.

No one ever said you have to restrict the amount of broadcast emails you send out, or that you can’t send a one-off email sequence over a few days (or, periodically) that is definitely not evergreen. Why not focus on timely content that comments on or weaves in a current news story?

As with website content, there’s a lot to be said for riding on the back of a topic that has built-in interest. Maybe there is an element of the story that would especially interest your subscribers, an angle that might not be covered by more general interest websites or news outlets?

You probably wouldn’t want to use a themed newsletter related to a natural disaster like Hurricane Irma to monetize–I sure wouldn’t–but your own commentary on a current event could have possibilities for new monetization.

Seems like testing themed newsletters might be worth a test.




Better Email Management With Baydin

Among other things, Baydin takes as its mission to help make e-mail fun again. I’m having difficulty recalling when exactly it was fun looking at an inbox with dozens of incoming interruptions, only a small fraction of which will serve to actually enrich my existence, but look at the audacious approach Baydin has toward better e-mail management through gamification: it integrates with your Gmail to actually make a game out of getting through your inbox faster!  This is a terrific idea and if it engages people to do something that lessens clutter and simplifies their existence it is a great thing. (Don’t miss the funny ‘About’ page for the motley crew at Baydin)

Create Stunning Newsletters Online

Letterpop is an amazing AJAX/Web 2.0 online newsletter creator.  You can choose from a number of templates and upload your own images and photos.  One of the nicer features is that you do not need to create an account to create a basic newsletter, so it’s really easy to give this app a no strings attached test drive. More and more people are starting to use newsletters as a more direct way of reaching their audience, especially if their blog or website is part of a larger business model.

Newsletters that  feature high-quality content do tend to get sent to the receiver’s inbox and in turn opened a very high percentage of the time, and whatever your motive for creating them is you need a good tool. If you’ve been thinking about it take a look at Letterpop.

Remove Text Ads from GMail

Do you find the text ads in GMail to be annoying? If you do, you can use Firefox to hide the ads from displaying.

This trick uses CSS and the Firefox configuration file named userContent.css . Before we start modifying our userContent.css file, I would recommend that you install an extension named ChromeEdit that simplifies the process of modifying your Firefox configuration files. So before you enter the CSS code listed below, go and install this extension (note: you’ll need to restart your browser after installation, so you may want to bookmark this page).

Now that you have CromeEdit installed, click on the Firefox Tools menu and then click on the menu item labeled Edit User Files. A new window will appear that has five tabs across the top. Click on the tab that is labeled userContent.css. Next copy the CSS code below and paste it into the userContent.css file, then click the Save button.

#rh table[class=”metatable”]{display: none !important;}
#rh div[class=”c”] {display: none !important;}

Now, restart your browser and open GMail – the ads are gone!

The above rules make use of the *!important* property value to override any rules that may already exist within the page that is being loaded. In the first rule, GMail has an element with an id of rh and we are setting the tables that have a class equal to metatable within that element, to not display (ie . display:none)

A word of caution, we are only hiding the ads from displaying. They are actually still there, just not visible. This means that Google is still indexing your email messages to provide you with “targetted ads”. It is also worth noting that as this hack is based upon creating CSS rules for existing GMail code, it is very possible that this hack will break as GMail continues to evolve.