14 MUST SEND email campaigns to make money in 2016


Do you like finding cash under couch cushions or in a pocket that you didn’t know was there?

It feels like a windfall, right?

Here’s is the same thing… only with your email list.

And, you can find the same hidden cash from your email campaigns without coming across as too pushy, salesy, or spammy.

It’s true. Some of your higher revenue emails can be chock full of great content that’s highly valuable to your readers.

The Direct Marketing Association reports that email generates $44 for every $1 invested.

What this means to you…

…is that email is not a marketing channel, but a revenue channel.

There are actually 14 different email campaigns that can generate revenue for you in 2016.

Wouldn’t it be great if someone could just tell you exactly what the “money campaigns” are?

So glad you asked…

1. Sales campaign

Start with the obvious because I want you to plot out all your annual promotions on your calendar first to help you keep your emails to a 4:1 promotion-to-content ratio. This means you’ll send out four educational or hot-tips emails for every one promotional email you send.

It’s how you keep from burning out your list with too much promotion without enough value.

If you’re a retailer, you don’t have to worry about the 4:1 ratio. Send us all the 40% off promos you want.

What to say: Use every one of these psychological triggers to close the sale over the course of all your promotional emails in each campaign: Big Promise, Benefits and Features, Emotion, Social Proof, Freedom of Choice, Urgency or Scarcity (or both), and an Easy Button. See my email quick training tutorial on this.

Work hard to keep your promotional emails a ‘win/win’ for both your readers to get useful information that is relevant to them, but still generates income for you.

2. Donor appeals

I’m a big fan of running 4 to 5 donor email appeal campaigns each year, with 3 to 8 emails per campaign. These are in addition to emails that support your direct mail campaigns and live events. Choose a different topic, theme, and emotion for each email appeal campaign to see what hits home with your audience the most. Then run with that topic, theme, and emotion for your most important end-of-year email donor appeal campaigns.

What to say:  You must hit all the psychological triggers I listed for Sales Campaigns (above) plus one more: theory of change. Your reader needs to hear exactly how the cause you’re raising money for can truly be fixed. More specifically, the impact your donor directly has on…reducing carbon, saving elephants, putting people back to work, or early childhood education. It must be believable. No one wants to donate to a losing cause.

3. Membership renewal

Want to beat your competition?

Treat your membership renewal as a “full on” membership acquisition series using all the psychological triggers listed in Sales Campaign in your renewal series, with a special incentive for early renewal: maybe a discount or an added bonus that not everyone gets.

Some associations I belong to make the mistake of just sending a “renewal notice” which isn’t enough anymore. It runs the risk of making your members feel taken-for-granted.

Spend three or four emails a year “reselling” your value proposition and your renewal percent will skyrocket.

What to say: Start by thanking your members and reminding them of the impact their membership has had (theory of change if you’re a nonprofit).

Your top two messages to nab the renewal are “loss aversion” (they lose benefits they currently enjoy) and social proof in numbers (all your peers are in).

4. Event registration emails

Live events are huge income generators. Ideally you’ll send one or two emails to your full housefile inviting your readers. If your subscribers didn’t open the first two emails, they are not your most persuadable, so just focus on persuading the 20% or so of your audience that did open your first two invites. They are the most likely to register.

What to say: you’re going to use all the psychological triggers listed in the Sales Campaign (above). Lead with a big promise, share the emotional benefits of attending, make a time sensitive offer, throw in scarcity of the event sells out, add social proof: how many others are attending or joining, and be sure to use the “easy button” to make registration appear as easy as possible—many of your attendees will register on their mobile device.

5. Webinars invites, reminders, and post-webinar sales

There is a surprisingly high amount of emails associated with live or automated webinars…

There’s the invite (1 or 2 emails), registration confirmation (1), pre-webinar reminders to show up live (4 or 5 emails), post-webinar replay and sales series (4 to 7 emails).

What to say: if your reader shows up live to your webinar, they are a hot lead, that’s why you send highly persuasive emails to get them to show up live…where they are more likely to buy.

If someone registered for your webinar but didn’t show up, they are still a warm lead. Here’s your chance to convert them with an email series that comes across as a conversation you’d have with them live… using the psychological triggers I listed in “Sales Campaign.”

As long as you have a replay of the webinar, you don’t necessarily need to recap what was in the webinar, unless a recap helps you “show” the psychological triggers you’re using to persuade your buyers.

You’re not trying to persuade them to watch the replay (the percentage that will watch the replay is low). For this series, you are in full-on promotion sales mode, so your email copy needs to read as if they will not ever watch the replay. Your offer needs to be golden at this point.

My best advice is to drive home the benefits of attending live and the “big promise” of the live webinar event in your pre-webinar emails. Use your post-webinar emails to share the webinar replay, testimonials, a story that “shows” your reader the big promise of your product or solution, benefits and features, emotion, urgency, scarcity, and of course, always make it easy or super-clear how to buy or donate.

6. Shopping cart abandonment emails

If you’ve got the technology to send someone a reminder that they’ve got an item in your shopping cart, by all means use it. These are your hottest leads.

What to say: it may no longer be good enough to remind your buyers they’ve got something in your shopping cart. Sweeten the pot with a special time-sensitive discount or bonus… or, if possible, use “loss aversion” to remind them what they lose by not completing their check out. Or use both to seal the deal right away. Maybe inventory is low, or the clock is ticking on the sale.

Your buyer will appreciate the reminder.

P.S. Shopping cart abandonment might also be a heads up that you have technical glitch in your cart, so double check that too! I often find that high shopping cart abandonment rates might be telling you that your cart is hard to use on mobile devices.

7. Drip campaigns

Drip campaigns take a bit of work to set up and test. I always underestimate the tweaking involved, but it’s soooooo worth the effort because they run automatically and keep generating new leads and income on autopilot.

You can run an informational drip campaign to acquire new leads. Your subscriber gets highly relevant content from you over a series of 4 to 7 emails in exchange for sharing their email address with you. Or, in the case of retail, free shipping, or a 20% off coupon.

If your email list isn’t used to you selling into it, or as a nonprofit, or have a huge list of non-donors, consider engaging them in a drip campaign as friendly way to build them up to a small dollar offer and to get used to buying from, or donating to you.

What to say: an ideal copy writing model to use is Problem, Agitate, Solve, where each email speaks to a problem your reader is likely having, turns the knife to make sure your reader feels the pain, and then gives them a solution. Another model to use might be… “10 days to pain relief” or “30 days to Start Your Blog,” where you provide micro-steps that lead to real change for your readers.

You can run the same drip “educational” campaign with a sales offer in the final email for a low-cost entry level product that drives revenue and further qualifies your lead as a hot prospect to focus on upselling later.

I’ve even seen a successful “free” drip campaign charge $27 to get immediate access to an entire 30-day mini-course instead of waiting for the daily drip for free. What’s cool about that is that it drives a small steady stream of income and highly qualified leads.

8. Welcome campaign

The very first and best email campaign you should create is your welcome campaign.

Welcome campaigns generate income in two ways: 1. Persuade a new lead to ‘know, like, and trust you” when they are paying the most attention; 2. Can be configured to lead to a sale or donation within 7 days or less.

Your first email to a new subscriber gets the highest open rate of any email you’ll ever send. It’s also 86% more effective than your newsletter. How’s that for pressure?

What to say: sweat this one out and make a stunning impression with a special discount, special deal, and incredibly valuable information, solve a problem they are having, insider tips, whatever people love about you…show it here.

Don’t try to sell with your first welcome email because that’s a huge turn-off unless you’re in retail. Instead take time to deliver value to your new subscriber and convert your new lead into a buyer or donor with an email welcome series that drops over 4 to 7 days.

You can use a drip campaign model for a short term conversion campaign. You can run a Problem, Agitate, Solve campaign to prove you can solve their problems which earns you the right to offer a product, service, or ask for a donation.

Or, I’ve had success with simply sharing my most popular resources in 3 or 4 emails and then asking the reader to join me for a live or automated webinar where I solve another problem and make an offer.

9. Whoops campaign

Hitting the send button at the wrong time is a “when” not an “if” for all of us.

You might even find a higher open rate for the correction email than the original email.

What to say: handle your mistakes quickly, gracefully, apologetically, and with a little bit of humor. The best subject line I ever saw was “Son of Glitch.” Use your correction email to show that you’re human (which people love to see) by pointing out the error, apologizing and the correction.

If you can fit it in, maybe boost sales or donations with a special whoops offer. Another clever whoops email used a special discount code of “WHOOPSIDIDITAGAIN.” Brilliant.

10. Partner promotion emails

If you have a product or service that you use and love, why not share that goodness with your email list in a special promotion. You’ll usually get a 30% – 50% affiliate fee, which you should disclose you are receiving to your email list to maintain transparency and trust.

What to say: share the exact benefits you personally experience from the product or service and make a “special offer” to your email list. There’s nothing worse than promoting someone else’s product or service with no discount or no value-add bonus. It risks looking like a money grab on your part to get affiliate fees. Set a deadline for the offer, just like any other promotion. Consider running it as a seasonal offer… right before the season your readers would get the most benefit from the product or service. You’re doing your readers a real service by teeing them up for success with a seasonal promotion that is a good deal.

11. Newsletters, Blog posts, and Themed Updates

The primary goal of your regular high-value email communication, if that’s a blog post, podcast notes, or a newsletter, is to help your audience know, like, and trust you. The more your subscribers know you, like you, and trust you, the more profits you bring in. Use your blog posts or newsletters to consistently deliver high value content that:

    • Drives traffic to your site (where they might see offers)
    • Reinforces your brand with readers
    • Builds community
    • Create anticipation about upcoming launches and products 

What to say: I always prime the pump for a promotion with blog post or high-value content with a teaser for my readers to be on the lookout.

It’s also fair game to have “soft asks” in your newsletter for donations, or registrations if you are a nonprofit.

Here’s a brilliant idea I learned from Darren Rowse at ProBlogger. He recommends that you occasionally bundle your newsletter/blog topics by “theme” and republish that content with any contemporary updates. Where’s the money? You can bundle the themed content as a lead in to offer around that theme because you’ve earned the right to make an offer after sharing so much free content.

12. Order confirmation

Order confirmation emails have as high an open rate as your first welcome email if not higher. Whenever possible turn it into something other than a transactional email. My shopping cart doesn’t allow a lot of confirmation email customization, so if you’re like me then send an immediate customized email directly from your email provider. People are okay getting two emails; it feels like you’re paying a lot of attention to them.

What to say: Avoid buyer’s remorse, and reduce your refund rate, by congratulating your buyer or donor on making the best possible choice from all the choices they have. Depending on your product or service, give them an immediate step that is easy and a quick win to reinforce buyer’s pride.

If you are a nonprofit, you would be surprised how often people are willing to give a second gift right away—from a link in their confirmation… especially if it’s year-end with a tax benefit looming. I know it sounds a bit brash or ballsy, but give it a try. You can thank me later.

Share a special thank-you promotion of your best sellers at a discount, or if your technology allows it, products or services that complement their recent purchase. I’ve seen an upsell rate of a high as 58% selling a complementary product so this one is easy money.

13. Reactivation campaigns

People check their mobile phone for email up to 150 times per day.

With that kind of obsession, if they still aren’t opening your email, it’s time to wake the dead or bury them.

Only send a reactivation campaign to subscribers that haven’t opened your emails for 90 or 120 days, depending on your email frequency.

What to say: We’ve all gotten the “we miss you” email, but I think you can do better than that…

…and here’s how…

Run a special promotion (discount, freebie, special offer, webinar, or premium) to re-activate your prodigal subscribers. Boost your results by simultaneously running a custom-audience Facebook Ad campaign to the same email audience with the special offer. Your ad costs are low because you’re advertising to your own email list. Essentially, get your readers to fall in love with you all over again by reminding them why they bought or donated or subscribed to you in the first place. Continue treating them as a new subscriber with a welcome back series, or an onboarding series around the reason they re-subscribed.

If a special promotion isn’t your thing, then you can usually reactivate around 5% of your inactive list when you run a 3-email series that says “We miss you” in the first email; “[your beneficiaries] still needs you or [your topic] still matters” in the second email; and the final email says “thanks and goodbye.” You’ll find your highest reactivation rate with the 3rd and final email.

14. Specialty

Almost all of us have specialized campaigns unique to our business or nonprofit that we can send to shake some money out of the tree.

Here’s just a few I’d suggest you plan on trying for quick cash, or part of your overall ingenious email revenue plan for 2016.

  • Piggyback on a hot trending topic in the news… if it relates to your mission, product, or service (you’ll be shocked at the conversion value of hot topic emails)
  • Black Friday special (not just for retailers and don’t wait until cyber-Monday)
  • Book promotion
  • Year-end bundle special
  • Any holiday theme-special, e.g. Jan 1st special for fitness gear or programs
  • Themed package special with bonus points for seasonal timing
  • Peer to peer participant recruitment campaigns
  • Peer to peer fundraising coaching campaigns
  • Peer to peer off-month stewardship campaigns
  • Waitlist campaign – with drip campaign for smaller offering while people are on your waitlist
  • Flash sale, use sparingly or this one can spike your unsubscribes

There are a staggering number of emails involved in 14 email campaigns.

It gets overwhelming quickly.

So pick your most important campaigns first and start there.

Once you’ve created and polished great emails that work, you can move to the next campaign and build upon each success.

Want to learn more?

Join me for a LIVE training Tue Dec 22nd, 2 pm ET for  “14 MUST SEND email campaigns for 2016 revenue” so you can finish your 2016 revenue plan before your holiday break!

I’ll cover:

– The psychological triggers almost all your email campaigns will need

– Email campaigns that uncover hidden revenue that you haven’t even thought of

– Other insider tips to help you write high converting emails faster