How I think about sending a lot of email.

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For the first year or so of egghead's existence I avoided sending email. I was nervous. I didn't even want to send receipts when we charged people, because I thought they'd see the receipt and just cancel leaving John and I destitute.

That's an extreme outcome that wouldn't happen, but that's how I felt at the time.

Since then egghead's email list has grown, and I've sent millions of individual emails to folks across the globe. My attitude has changed. I've become hardened by the replies and vitriol that is inevitable when you are contacting that many people directly.

I still get pangs of anxiety from sending lots of email, but I take my friend Alex's advice and JFDI.

Developers in particular are sensitive to email. There is a threshold that they reach where they just can't fuckin stand it anymore and need to tell you about it. I've been called every name in the book. I get countless tips on how to properly run an email campaign. I get told that I'm too aggressive. I get told that emoji in subjects is bad.

So many tips on how I should run my business.

As my friend told me:

I also sometimes suspect that there's the idealized inbox where "your extra emails are ruining my pristinely raked sandbox" when in reality it requires literally no effort to not open email you don't want to

When I first started, I felt the need to engage. I'd send a whip crack comment back. I'd engage in the snark-fest and deliver my best zingers.

It was kind of fun tbh 🙂

But it's also emotionally taxing. The initial rush of "fighting back" left me more anxious. Now some email shit post is floating around, and at the end of the day it just makes me look actually bad.

These days I've got a different approach. I only reply to questions or positive feedback.

As it turns out, the "fuck you bois" are a minority. An angry bunch of fellas, with a seemingly unwavering inability to simply hit the always present unsubscribe button and be on their way.

For the most part, people are very positive. They are thankful for the offer, and happy to get the notifications and the opportunity to add value to their lives through the product/service we offer. The well-adjusted folks that don't appreciate the offer simply unsubscribe and we part ways.

This is great. I don't want to send email to anybody that doesn't want to get it! That's what the link is there for.

One thing that I work very hard to do is not sending marketing emails to people that are already customers. This takes effort and thought to get right, but it's an area that you can't be lazy. It's disrespectful to bombard these folks with "buy buy buy" when they already have. It's also imperative to honor and respect unsubscribes. Sometimes folks use multiple emails and it gets tricky, but I feel very strongly about respecting the relationship and people's wishes with regards to contact.

At the end of the day, folks that get aggravated with the emails and don't want to hear about it are never likely to reciprocate anyway. They aren't my audience. They won't be customers.

This is true both for the folks that quietly click the link, and those angry dudes that want to send 🔥 replies and call me a "fucking c**t".

In a recent campaign I sent 7 emails over the course of a weekend. That's quite a few emails, especially when you multiply it by 150,000 or so individual subscribers!

chart of sales during weekend promotion

This is a chart of the weekend. It's not hard to tell that the "final" day is where the magic happens. The serious "put food on the table and stay in business magic" of sending a lot of emails.

the report of all 7 emails in a weekend email campaign

  1. Friday: This is the announcement, a sale is on!
  2. Saturday (1): This is a FAQ. The questions are always the same, so we actually just fill these in and then update them for a new campaign.
  3. Saturday (2): This is a pitch that contains the "why" of thing we are trying to sell.
  4. Sunday (1): The final day. The countdown has started. This contains some real human success stories and notice that the window is closing.
  5. Sunday (2): More pressure to jump in before the deal is done.
  6. Sunday (3): That's it, buy or don't. If you miss out, we did our best (there is ALWAYS dozens of emails from people that missed out...)
  7. Monday: OK, weekends are tough and some people have philosophical issues buying stuff on Sundays so we open a few hour window to give people a final FINAL chance.

It is genuinely a lot of email to send over the course of a weekend. It also happened to overlap with course announcements on Thursday and Friday - which is something I'd normally try and avoid but we had some miscommunication.

Here's the thing. We don't send out emails like this all the time. It is 2-4 times a year. For the rest of the year we aren't pitching/selling at all in people's inboxes. In fact, we are sending free shit all year long, because we release everything for free for at least a week.

There were a lot of unsubscribes, and this is healthy. It's a great way to prune the list and shake out the folks that will never buy.

I don't feel bad about it.

At all.

I'm not asking for marketing tips. It isn't "ruining egghead's reputation". It isn't "excessive" or "too aggressive".

And too the fella that told me "you only need to send one email to announce the bargain, that's plenty..."

Good fuckin luck with that.

I'm a huge believer in the "value, vlaue, value, value, value, soft sell, value, value, hard sell, repeat" approach that my friend Nathan Barry taught me in his wonderful book Authority. I want to help people achieve the outcomes they desire in life through useful content.

Doing this allows me and many others to work on our own terms and build relationships with other great humans in the process.

When I run a promotion like this, egghead instructors feel the boost. Directly. In their monthly royalty check.

So ya, I'm going to keep being "aggressive" and will always send that final FINAL email.