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How to Be the Worst Email Marketer in 10 Easy Steps

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Trying to be the best email marketer possible is just too mainstream, if you ask me. Really, why not aim to be the worst one instead? Besides, from the looks of things, many other marketers have already started pursuing this goal: There's no other sensible explanation to some of their practices.

So this post/guide/tutorial is for them. And, actually, for everyone who wants to be the worst email marketer online (for whatever reason).

And, first of all, good news: being the worst email marketer is a lot easier than being the best; but it still does involve some work on your part.

1. Send only promotional emails

This is the most important rule. To be the worst email marketer on the planet, you absolutely have to be sending promotional emails only. No useful content. No advice about anything. Just promotion.

You know, creating good content is too expensive and time-consuming. To create content, you actually have to possess some knowledge about something. But to promote an affiliate product, for example... you don't need anything at all.

And, of course, even when you promote your own products, don't invest in good copy, because there's no point. Just list a number of fake benefits, put a "buy now" link at the bottom, and press "send." Should be just fine.

2. Send emails twice a day

The more the better, right? I mean, since people have subscribed to your email list, they obviously want to be contacted multiple times a day.

People are bored, they have nothing else to do all day other than reading your promotional emails and buying everything you recommend.

You can also try sending the same email a couple of times, just to be sure that everyone sees it. You don't want to miss out on those precious sales.

3. Use only pitchy subject lines

The subject line is the most important element of the email (this one's actually true for everyone, not only for the worst email marketers). So use this valuable piece of online real estate to state something strange or something that doesn't make any sense at all.

Here's a perfect subject line: "BAD NEWS."

Online marketers love this one. It tells the recipient absolutely nothing, but it makes them so curious that they will most likely open the email anyway. Even if there's no real bad news inside... only promotion.

For example, place this in the body of such an email: "It's bad news for you because my special promotion ends this Saturday."

Well played, Mr. Marketer, well played.

4. Write only essay-long emails

Long copy is the best kind of copy. There's really no point in writing short emails. People have time. Remember, that's why we're sending them two messages every day. And every one of these emails has to be—really has to be—essay-long.

I mean, you have to tell a story about something. The best stories are about your life. About how you struggled to make it. How you were the underdog, and so on. But then you've discovered a great way of doing such-and-such—and now you're selling it for $47.99 or whatever.

You can always include some fake testimonials, or other elements that will make you seem more credible. For example, a message like: "As seen on: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo!"

In a nutshell, you can write everything you can think of that will help you get the sale. People will read anyway.

Actually, if you want to kick it up a notch, you can add a crappy membership site to your offering. One where you simply take your free content, restructure it, and then charge people for access. Sweeeet!

5. Trick people into taking action

Being honest is so overrated. If you're honest, you're lowering your sales.

Here's a better idea.

Try to promote offers that include something like a free trial, but later on charge a ridiculous amount of money on an ongoing basis. Such offers are usually not that transparent about their practices, so the info regarding any ongoing payments is not very visible (small fonts, and so on).

People are always more likely to take action on a free offer than on a paid one. "Free" is the most incredible word in the English language. Even more incredible than "sex." (Not as incredible as "free sex," though.)

Anyway, the message here is to be a little creative and not completely honest. It's always a matter of how much money you want to make in comparison to how honest you want to be, give or take.

6. Don't even care about what you promote

Promotion is promotion. If an affiliate product can make you money, you don't have to care about the quality of the product, or the merchant's honesty (remember what I said about honesty just a minute ago).

If the affiliate product has good promotional materials, good commissions and conversion rates, and a well-structured upselling backend, then it's great. Nothing else matters.

Even if the product has a 30% refund rate, it's not a problem—you're making a ton of money anyway.

And one more thing: don't bother testing the product yourself before promoting it. That step is unnecessary. Just recommend what's likely to be profitable for you.

7. Don't use a quality email service provider

In most cases, signing up for a quality email delivery service costs money. You don't want to spend money, you want to make money!

Go to Gmail and create yourself a free account. Something with a fresh name. Then use it to send mass email by hand. Of course, your messages will be flagged as spam, but they are already spam, so it's not like something is not right here.

Really, don't follow the herd. Solutions like AWeber or SendinBlue (where I work) are for the good guys only, for people who actually care about whether their emails reach their destination and provide some real value. But you're not one of those guys, right?

8. Send attachments

Attachments are great. You can always attach a 15MB PDF sales letter to your email message—just in case.

Or some images, or some other random document; they will obviously require more time to download, but it's none of your concern.

A good idea would be to send something that's not entirely related to the main message, or to send a couple of promotions at the same time: The more things you promote, the better your chance people will buy any of them.

9. Send template affiliate emails

Most affiliate programs will let you in on a range of promotional materials—things like ads, banners, and ready-made email messages.

These templates are great. You don't even have to change them at all; just copy the email straight into your email delivery service and send it out. Such template emails are usually well tested so they have pretty good conversion rates.

There's really no point in building any personal relationship with your subscribers. So don't waste time attempting to tailor content, and use the templates instead!

10. Don't change the placeholder tags

Most email templates will feature tags like "{name}" or something similar. The idea is that you should replace it with the name of the recipient (or whatever else the tag is for).

This, however, takes time, and you don't have time.

Sending the templates without changing the tags is a lot quicker, and people will hardly notice.

Or better yet, use something like this: "Hello, Random Subscriber!"

Here's a reality-check...

Whew... what a list!

Did I forget to mention anything? No, I think that's it: 10 quick steps to being the worst email marketer on the planet.

What's your take? Do you like dealing with such marketers? (They really do exist, by the way.) I know I do. Simply love it. No, really!

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Karol Król is a blogger, writer, and team member at SendinBlue, an email marketing service you can grow with.

Twitter: @carlosinho

LinkedIn: Karol Król

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  • by MJN Tue Jun 24, 2014 via web

    Soooo funny but very informative! Thanks for literally making me laugh out loud!

  • by Robyn Tue Jun 24, 2014 via web

    This really made my day! It's quite scary just how many of these 'marketers' are still out there.

  • by Cynthia McGarity Tue Jun 24, 2014 via web

    I. LOVE. THIS. Thank you for making me laugh all while teaching a great deal on a pretty important topic. The best kind of learning!

  • by Scott Hardigree Tue Jun 24, 2014 via web

    As embodied by the :-)

  • by Margie Dana Tue Jun 24, 2014 via web

    Love this for so many reasons - thanks! I'd add these practices, too:

    11. Don't bother testing your HTML emails to see how they'll look on different browsers. Go ahead, take your chances that some of your recipients will see tons of code and copy overlapping copy.

    12: Start your subject line with the deceit-filled "Re:" so that the recipient naturally assumes you're emailing in response to one of her/his emails.

    13. Don't worry about sending emails that smack of unprofessionally written content. Let all your misspelled words and poor use of punctuation fly with abandon.

  • by Gavin Tue Jun 24, 2014 via web

    Your forgot, don't worry about opt in, just send generic unsolicited mail by the billion.

  • by Karol Wed Jun 25, 2014 via web

    Thanks for the comments, guys!

    Margie, thanks for suggesting those 3 ideas. #12 is spot on. I probably get a fake "Re:" email every day.

  • by Fabienne Raphael Wed Jun 25, 2014 via web

    Hey Karol,

    What a great, surprising, original and unexpected way to share great content!

    Unfortunately, if you are writing about this, it is because tons of people don't care about how to do things properly and do exactly these 10 things with their email marketing. I do receive emails like that too!

    I am truly wondering if these bad email marketers react the same way when they receive an email like theirs, but from another bad marketer...

    I would add #14. Not having an unsubscribe button or having one that does not work...

    Great post Karol!

  • by Karol Thu Jun 26, 2014 via web

    Hi Fabienne,

    Thanks for commenting.

    To be honest, I'm not sure I'm getting many emails with the unsubscribe button not working. Does that really happen that often?

  • by Genia Wed Jul 16, 2014 via web

    This is good stuff. Would like to use it in a talk with young professionals, is that ok?

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