Welcome to the Marketing Automation Master Class

Hi there!

First of all, I’d like to welcome you to this course, which is going to give you a lot of interesting and useful information about email marketing automation. You’ll learn how to ask the right questions, at the right time and, finally, how to organize the work to get it all up and running.

The truth is that you won’t find anything like this anywhere, especially not for free. The reason is in what I mentioned before: the entire email industry revolves around selling either information or technology. Or both.

But I’m not in the business of doing that. I believe that knowledge should be shared freely because it’s a positive-sum game: the more each of us knows, the higher the chances all of us will benefit. As if it’s not already hard enough to learn and implement something new. Charging for it just seems wrong to me.

This course will heavily feature the 9 Steps of Email method, which is something I created back in 2013. Since then, it underwent several iterations and has been used in many different scenarios and industries: from dating, SaaS, info products, services to job portals. It’s probably safe to say that it’ll work well for any digital product or service.

The method is basically a framework of steps required to take when building a sustainable, automated marketing program. Actually, they’re not steps per se, because they’re not sequential. You can think of it as a checklist of things that you have to do, but not necessarily in the exact order.

We’ll start with the basic questions like identifying your personas and value propositions (of the email channel). Then we’ll go over the flows to, inside and away from the product (opt-in, conversion points and opt-out). After that, we’ll build a matrix of messages and their respective triggers. Then we’ll dive into creating individual email messages, writing the copy, coding and QAing them. After that, we’ll talk about dynamic automatic segmentation, sending and actually delivering the message to the mailbox. The last phase is analyzing the data and identifying where we can improve.

But why just email marketing? Aren’t we talking about the automation of marketing in general?

Sure, there are chatbots and SMS and all sorts of re-targeting and dynamic messaging. However, the email address is the centerpiece of one’s digital identity and, as such, a very powerful medium for communication.

I even go a step further and claim that

Email is the most intimate place on the Internet.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Email is one of the oldest services on the Internet.

It’s over 50 years old!

You can’t have any other account on the Internet without an email address.

Sure, there are occasions when you can open an account with just your phone number, and there are even countries where digital emancipation is relatively low and people don’t use the email that much but, for the most part, email is a must-have if you want to have a digital identity.

And don’t get me wrong, you can add more channels to your marketing program, but whatever you define for email should be your general guideline. Although other channels like chatbots have a different interface, the main idea can still be carried over.

Now, if we look at the basic principles of email services from their inception until today, we can see two emerging principles:

  1. relevancy
  2. security

Relevancy pertains to the nature of peer-to-peer messaging: I send you a message, you receive it and reply back.

Things went south a little bit during the ’90s when people started to realize the power of the online mailbox and email SPAM was born. And up until several years ago things weren’t that great. So the users yearned for filtering solutions that fight spam and the companies answered by providing them.

That has shifted power from marketers to mailbox providers, who remain to this day the grand masters of the industry.

Nothing gets in or out if they don’t allow it.

If they put you on their black list, you immediately lose a big chunk of your list.

Of course, I’m talking about the big ones: Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft (with Hotmail, MSN and Outlook domains) and AOL.

Even if you’re using a premium ESP that takes care about a lot of technical aspects of mass email sending, you still have to worry about being relevant enough so that your in-email engagement percentage doesn’t fall way below a certain threshold that those mailbox providers have put.

Which, by the way, you can never know. Tough.

But, you might say “yes, but all marketing needs to be relevant! If I post a Facebook ad and it’s not relevant, people won’t click on it,” and you’re right. But…

What separates such “offenses” on Facebook or Google from email is that Facebook won’t block your account (unless you’ve done something really terrible) for not being relevant. They’ll just up the price of a click. Pretty much same with Google.

But email providers will block you. Put you on a blacklist, which then tells everyone that you’re an offender. It will be bad, you’ll have to beg them to remove you and if they won’t, you’ll have to redo your sending domain and IP addresses and set up everything from scratch.

By the way, this is what spammers do all the time. “Swapping IPs” they call it.

SEO is similar, in fact. Google might severely punish or even block your domain from being shown in the SERPs if you simply don’t abide by their rules.

Now when I think about it, SEO is becoming more and more similar to email marketing. It’s complex, technical, and requires relevancy, authority and engagement.

Security is the second principle that’s rooted deeply in email technology. This is the reason why the front-end technology of email is changing so slowly: almost no scripts are allowed in the email message body and, until recently, no GIFs were either.

Because email is such a private space, offenders who are clever enough to trick you might cause great damage. This is why mailbox providers prefer to lock off all the fancy functionalities. Better safe than sorry.

What I want to point out with this is that you need to embed both principles into your marketing automation program because without them, no matter how classy your copy, sassy your design or techy your code is, you’ll get nowhere.

You can’t expect anything else from email other than getting someone interested to learn more about what you have to say.

Let me repeat this:

You can’t expect anything else from email other than getting someone interested to learn more about what you have to say.

That interest is represented in a click through the link in your email.

That’s it.

You can’t expect nothing more.

But nothing less as well.