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How To Start A Successful Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing has one of the highest returns on investment in all of online marketing. For every dollar spent on email marketing, you can expect about a 3800% return.

And no, that wasn’t a typo.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Email marketing requires a combination of work and the right tools. Only you can put the work in.

For my tool, I’ll be using InfusionSoft. They can build opt-in forms, send email blasts, run email automation, and have super powerful list management tools.

All the better? You can try InfusionSoft free for 14 days. No payment method is required. You can use the trial to follow this guide and set up your own email marketing campaign.

Click here to try InfusionSoft free for 14 days.



I’m a big believer in the power of email marketing. There are a few reasons for that.


Email is a fact of life. And whether your audience is old, young, or somewhere in the middle, it’s almost guaranteed that they use email to some extent.

An OptinMonster survey showed that 99% of people use email every single day. You can’t say that about any other communication channel.

Imagine it like this: You have a business where you can sell an item to 100 people. You have 100 potential buyers.

But what if you could change locations and have 10,000 potential buyers? The move might be a little inconvenient, but that’s a huge increase in the amount of potential income you can make.

You can make the exact same comparison with social media vs. email. You could reach a fraction of your audience on social media (despite its hype, social media doesn’t encompass everyone; I’m a male in my mid-20s and despise social media). So you could reach some of your target demographic on social media.

Or you can reach 99% of people with email.

That’s a no brainer. No other communication channel is so prevalent (or so easy to market to).


As a guy who makes his living by getting visitors to a website, this is a big one. Email allows you to control your flow of traffic.

Social traffic can be hard to build (though Pinterest traffic may be an exception). Organic traffic leaves you 100% in the not-so-benevolent hands of Google. And with the ever-increasing trend of using featured snippets to steal clicks, I don’t think that trusting organic traffic is wise.

So what can you trust?

Your email list. They believed in your brand enough to sign up for your email list. If you did an excellent job on your lead magnet, these people already know and trust you. You’ve already established your value by giving them something. They don’t mind clicking a link you sent them as long as it's relevant to their interests.

Which leads me to my next point…


Since your audience trusts you, you can expect pretty high conversions on email since you've established value.

Joe Blow started down the rabbit hole by searching about dolphins and somehow landed on your site? Nah.

But someone who you’ve demonstrated your value to? Someone who already knows your name, your brand, and trusts you?

I can tell you from the Niche Pursuits email campaigns that email converts well. It’s an audience of people who are familiar with you and know that you do a profitable business. The conversions are fantastic.


This is, by far, my favorite thing about email marketing. Yes reaches everyone, yes, you control it, and yes, it converts.

But no matter what happens, you can always have your email list.

If the stock market goes down, if the real estate goes bust, you still have your list if you lose everything in a divorce.

You still have your audience.

An email list is an ultimate guarantee that you won’t have to suffer financial hardship again. You own it, you control it, and no one can take it away from you.

It’s the fruit of your labor. So let’s talk about how to use it.


Email marketing starts with building an excellent list. This means that you’re going to have to use some kind of opt-in form to generate interest for your list.

It doesn’t mean that you have to create annoying popups with pretty much zero value.

You know the type:

That opt-in provides zero value to me. Of course, I love adventure! That doesn’t mean I’ll get an ounce of worth out of their email list. 

You need to show your audience that you provide great content, that you’re trustworthy. We call this a “lead magnet.” It’s something to hook in your audience.

But how can we build a lead magnet without being spammy?

It’s easier than you think. 

Best Practices For Opt-In Boxes:

  • Use pop-ups
  • Offer something of value
  • Make them relevant to what the reader is learning about
  • Make it actionable
  • A pop up within 10 seconds of a reader landing on a page is about right.
  • Use content upgrades as your bread and butter.
  • Use super lead magnets to build trust for high ticket items.

Bad Practices For Opt-In Boxes:

  • Putting them in the sidebar (you won’t convert anyone!)
  • Popping up too late
  • Offering “tips, tricks, and hacks” or other unclear value
  • Making a general opt-in for your whole site


A good opt inbox will help your audience achieve or get something. In internet marketing, we call this a “lead magnet.” Your readers like it, they want it, and they’re willing to give you an email address for it.

There are tons of strategies for developing lead magnets, but here are the two that work the best:

  • Offer your readers a bonus on an existing piece of content. In the olden days, when Jesus walked the earth, these were often a PDF form of the post. There are better things to offer than a PDF. You want something actionable and comfortable for your readers to fall in love with. We’ll call this a “content upgrade.”

  • Offer your readers a super awesome, super unique, super fantastic, something that they would pay for. The good news is that they don’t have to pay for it; they can get it in their email address for free. These are best used if you have a funnel and sell higher-ticket items later on down the road. We’ll call this a “super lead magnet.”

Of the two of these, the content upgrade will be your staple. It’s the bread and butter of email marketing.

We’ll discuss building a fantastic content upgrade and then talking about making a super lead magnet.

Quick Note: I’ll be using InfusionSoft to build my email list. You can also use them to create your opt-in boxes. 🙂

Click here to get access to InfusionSoft free for 14 days. No credit card is required. 


A content upgrade is when you offer your readers something that’s “content plus.” If your page is about DIY craft ideas, then a content upgrade would be a video walkthrough for building home furniture (or whatever).

If you’re writing about how to catch big mouth bass, a content upgrade would be a free lure for bass.

The goal here is to take whatever your reader is learning about and upgrade it. Make it bigger, better, and more actionable. You want your content upgrades to be:


  • Start growing and monetizing your email list with InfusionSoft.
  • Grow your audience by turning casual visitors into subscribers
  • Build a meaningful relationship with your followers
  • Monetize with paid products or newsletter
  • Easy to build landing pages and forms


  • Related to what the viewer is reading now
  • Easy to consume (video, audio files, etc.)
  • Actionable

The first step to making an excellent content upgrade is to make it related to whatever your viewer is already reading. You don’t have to make these on a post per post basis, but you should have a different opt-in for every category.

Category level opts ins help you boost your conversion rate and will allow you to segment your audience. This is a big help later when you’re sending out emails or selling products. You already know what each segment is interested in, so you can craft emails or products just for them.

It’s a bit more work on your part, but the payoff can be enormous. 

I found a fantastic content upgrade on Healthline. I opened up an article about sweeteners that parents should watch out for. Here’s the opt-in box I got:

This content upgrade is brilliant for a few reasons.

  • It is related to what I’m reading. I am curious about unhealthy sweeteners, Healthline gives me an option to take a mindful eating challenge.
  • It’s easy! Look at the wording here—"Free.” “Our Nutrition team will show you how to create lasting, healthy eating habits. “ Lasting, healthy habits for free? I’m all in.
  • It’s actionable. It’s a challenge: go on this journey with us for 21 days. 

I can’t see they're opt-in rate for this, but I’m guessing that it’s pretty significant.

That’s a great opt-in. What are the characteristics of a bad opt-in?

I did a little digging and found a bad opt-in. It didn’t take me long.

This is a bad opt-in for a few reasons. First, you can see that it doesn’t offer me much value.

A Roadie insider? What is that? Why would I want to be one?

The next things they offer me are “exclusive deals and discounts.” I don’t think I’m interested. I’m reading an article about how to tune a guitar. The odds are good that I already have a guitar, so I don’t need deals or discounts.

Second, they don’t offer anything actionable. Since this is an article about guitar tuning, an excellent content upgrade would be a video guide. It would be easy to consume, helpful. 

And third, this is unrelated to the content I’m consuming. Nothing here about being a better musician or tuning guitars better. I’ll pass, thanks.

The biggest problem with this opt-in is that it doesn’t offer me much value. What does “deals and discounts” even mean? Is that a $10 off coupon once a blue moon? Or is it 50% off a $500 purchase? The difference between those two things is enormous. They need a better value proposition.

Here’s an opt-in that is okay. It’s not great, but it doesn’t make me want to bleach my eyes:

The value proposition here is better: saving money on my next trip. That’s pretty appealing. I do love saving money.

But it doesn’t tell me how I’m saving money. Will I be spending less on airfare, or will I be swapping a lovely Airbnb for a hut in the wall?

It also doesn’t tell me how much I’ll be saving or what I’ll need to do to start saving. A better opt-in might be “3 things to say to your airline to guarantee cheaper flights” or something like that.

It’s a fine opt-in. But it’s pretty, eh. With a more exact value proposition and more actionable content, this could be a killer.

So now let’s look at an amazing opt-in:

Woah. Take a look at that copy.

I have no desire to be a profitable Youtube music star, but I opted in any way. Let’s break this down:

  • It’s related to what I’m reading. I was checking out the best apps to learn guitar. They know I want to play music. They know I have a technical inclination. I’d instead use my phone then go to an instructor. There are good odds that I’ve seen someone teaching guitar on Youtube and have thought that I’d like to be in their shoes. They know that I’m a “real world independent musician.”
  • It’s easy to consume (a free book, excellent!) and has a super clear value for me. I could make between $4,077 and $22,573+ per month! Look at those specific numbers.
  • It’s very actionable. 5 steps to a profitable music career. What gets more comfortable than that?
  • It has social proof. They show you that the book has 4.5/5 stars. Nice!

That’s an excellent content upgrade.

As mentioned before, you can build these types of content upgrades in InfusionSoft. Try InfusionSoft free for 14 days. No payment method is required.


Content upgrades are significant at building your email list for pretty general purposes. You want direct traffic, you want affiliate sales, you have a small funnel.

But if you sell oversized ticket items?

You might need to build a little more trust with your audience. You need to show them that business with you is always a win for them. 

The easiest way to build trust and give fantastic value is to give something away for free. But this can’t just be anything for free; it has to be something so cool, so excellent that someone would pay money for it.

These “super” lead magnets should be something that most people would pay in the range of $20-$100 to have… and you’re giving it away for free.

The best super lead magnet I could find was on Authority Hacker. They have a course called The Authority Site System that teaches you how to build 4+ figures per month authority website (check out my Authority Site System review).

Their opt-in process looks like this:

First, they have a popup that offers relevant, actionable, easy-to-consume content:

And the free training they mention?

It’s an hour and a half long webinar that tells you step by step how to build one of these sites.

No hype, no fluff. It’s an hour and a half of pure value. They give you their strategies for building sites, proof that the methods work, and tell you how to replicate it on your site.

This free training alone is better than some online courses.

And I don’t know their numbers, but I’m going to guess that The Authority Site System sells like hotcakes.

That’s the power of a super lead magnet: you establish trust with your leads. And once they trust you, they won’t have a problem buying from you.

Since these are more difficult to make than a content upgrade, I recommend a super lead magnet if you’re looking at selling your own products. Super lead magnets work well with high ticket items that require a lot of trusts beforehand.

Now that you have a strategy for your lead generation let’s look at what to do once you have the email list.


The best way to run your email marketing campaign is to start with the end goal.

What is your ideal outcome?

Do you have a funnel where you want someone to buy, or do you want to build the relationship? Are you trying to wish a happy birthday to your list members, or are you planning a 7 email series to create customers?

Or maybe you want all of these things for different audiences. Maybe high ticket clients get a happy birthday, and others get a welcome message when they join the email list.

No problem. You can do all of that.

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