Welcome to the first post in my new Email Teardown series!
One of the best ways to learn about email is to study what’s already in your inbox. That’s why I’m opening up Gmail to see what the big players are sending out to subscribers.
These posts will give you an inside peek into what’s happening in email today. We’ll be looking at email funnels from top marketers, breaking down each email, and analyzing what’s going on with the copy and strategy.
For our first deep dive, we’re looking at the emails for Jenna Kutcher’s List to Launch Lab. According to the sales page, List to Launch Lab is “a 3-part system to get your email list growing, serving, and driving profits!”
At this point, I’ve got to make a confession.
I didn’t just hop in this funnel to analyze its emails.
Even though I’m great at writing emails that convert, I’m not great at list building.
My own list is small and has been stuck between 500-600 subscribers for way too long. I decided to make growing my list a bigger priority for the rest of 2018.
When I saw a Facebook ad for Jenna Kutcher’s free class on email, I signed up to see what it was about. Maybe she could help me crack the 1000 subscriber mark by the end of the year?
Let’s take a look at the stats:
9 total emails sent over 7 days
- 2 webinar show up emails
- 3 sales emails
- 4 closing day emails
6 day cart open period
Course price: $497
Type of funnel: evergreen webinar
(You can sign up for this free training and get in these emails on Jenna’s site here.)
Let’s dive into the emails!
Email #1: You’re in!
After registering, I went to my email to confirm and… got a templated webinar email. Womp womp.
This is such a missed opportunity.
When someone signs up for your webinar, there’s no guarantee they’ll actually attend. Use your confirmation email to sell the show up.
I hate seeing people spending money to drive traffic to webinars only to leave the reminders up to the webinar software.
Don’t let a robot do a copywriter’s job.
You need a show up sequence. With just a little extra effort you can get more of those that sign up to actually follow through. You’ll see higher webinar attendance and more revenue as a result.
Email #2: We’re starting in 15 minutes
It’s another generic software email and another missed opportunity.
You should be using your reminder emails to continue selling the show up. Why should someone show up live? What do they miss if they’re waiting for the replay? What’s the benefit of setting aside an hour of their day to tune in?
Email #3: Was that too good to give away for free?
The subject line of this one makes it seem like I was there. It asks a question I could only answer if I watched the class. But then the first paragraph acknowledges that I didn’t make it. Definitely a mismatch between subject line and content.
One idea would be to change the subject line to a quote from an attendee: “That info was too good to give away for free!”
Then open the email with feedback from attendees that demonstrate the high value of the training. Jenna saying it’s a fantastic class is one thing. But having testimonials and chat comments to that effect is way more powerful. #socialproofwins
Something else that struck me as odd in this email is this line: “So, I sat down with a really smart person and figured out how to get a replay out just for you!”
This would make more sense if the show up emails had mentioned that there might not be a replay. When I sign up for a webinar, I expect a replay. At this point, replays are standard.
Since she didn’t set the expectation that a replay might not be included, it doesn’t feel like she did me a big favor.
Overall, this email doesn’t give me a compelling reason to click through. I wish there was more about why I should watch the free class. What will I actually learn? (This might have been addressed on the opt-in page but at this point I don’t remember.)
Don’t just tell me it’s fantastic — get specific! Tell me 3 big takeaways I’ll get when I watch. Give me a reason to set aside time to watch the replay.
It’s also a great idea to set a deadline for watching the replay. If it’s coming down in 48 hours, I’m more likely to make it a priority to click through now. With no cut off date, it’s too easy to put it off and never get back to it.
Email #4: My #1 go-to.
Right off the bat, we’ve got one of my email marketing pet peeves. This email is addressing a group (Y’all, You guys) — but I’m the only one reading this. Email can be such a 1:1 experience, but only if write to just one reader at a time.
Don’t treat these like you’re writing an email blast. Act as if you’re writing an email to one person, even if it’s going out to thousands.
The email goes on to showcase testimonials from buyers lifted from Facebook posts. This form of social proof is great. It shows that people love your programs enough to rave about them online.
The only problem I have with these ones is they’re super long and it’s easy to miss the parts about the course (especially in the first one). That first person made $353 from ONE email — but it’s buried in that block of text.
I would highlight the most important sections of the testimonials so people don’t miss these great results. As it is now, it’s too easy to skim over these images.
Side note: Some email services don’t automatically display images, which means a chunk of the list might not see anything at all. Consider adding alt text or text only testimonials so everyone can see your happy customers :)
The email then goes on to introduce a mid cart bonus. This is a great way to help boost sales in the middle of a launch. It gives the fence-sitters a reason to jump in now instead of waiting for the cart to close.
Jenna introduces 3 bonuses that will help answer the question “What do I do if I want to skyrocket my opt-in rates?”
She ends the email with the call to hit reply with any questions. This gives her team the chance to address any sales objections while the cart is still open.
It can also help them gather data on the most frequently asked questions and common objections, which they can use to optimize these emails later. This direct feedback is so valuable!
Email #5: Sarah, don’t miss out on your bonus!
Here’s another subject line/content mismatch. There’s a personalized subject line with my name in it, but a generic “Hey there!” greeting.
Email personalization can have a positive impact on open rates. According to Campaign Monitor, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to get opened.
But it has to be done in a way that makes sense. Using my name in the subject line, then switching to calling me “friend” later in the email makes me wonder if you know my name or not.
Besides the subject line, there’s a lot going on in this email. It’s the longest of the series and it is trying to do #allthethings.
First, there’s the reminder that the bonuses are expiring (and a countdown clock that’s turned into a big red EXPIRED heading.)
Then it goes into an FAQ addressing some of the common questions that come up before you buy.
The question I had when considering this course was whether it would be right for me. I wasn’t sure if it would be too basic for someone who’s already started an email list.
That question is addressed as the last Q in the FAQ, but the answer points me to a quiz.
It seems like she’s using the quiz as a way to qualify buyers and help people make a decision. But as a potential customer, I don’t want to take the extra step and figure it out on my own. I want the course creator to give me the answer.
Including the quiz, there’s a total of 5 calls to action in this email. Here are all the things this email has asked me to do:
- Get the expiring bonuses
- Join the course
- Take a quiz
- Hit reply
- Opt out of future List to Launch Lab emails
- Take the quiz again (button call to action)
That’s so many things! Do you want me to buy the course or take the quiz or hit reply? Pick ONE action per email.
When you give people a lot of actions to take, your click rates typically go down. Your reader’s focus is divided. They might never make it to the checkout page.
Rather than trying to stuff everything into one big email, pick one goal per email and send multiple emails if needed.
Email #6: Shutting it down
This is the first of the closing emails. This funnel has 4 emails that go out on the last day.
Oh look, she does know my name!
Jenna talks about the impact her email list has on her business, but I think she could go further. I’d love her to share numbers and get specific about how her email list generates profit.
Can she generate income whenever she needs it with a simple email? Does she have a tribe of raving fans ready to buy whenever she launches? Does it help her fill her courses with ease?
Those are the reasons having an email list matters. It gets you out of feast and famine. It gives you security. It gives you an audience so you’re not launching to no one. But she doesn’t really get that deep in these emails.
This email could be so much better if it got more specific. What does my business stand to lose if I put this off? Give some sticky examples that I can relate to — don’t make me fill in the blanks for myself.
Next, the email goes on to list what you get when you join. But the bullet points here feel kinda light. Most of them are straight up features: More than 10 action sheets, 15 video training modules, 12 Customizable Email Templates.
Rather than telling me what I get, tell me why it matters. Remember: features tell, benefits sell.
One way to do this is by writing your bullet points as fascinations. Treat each bullet point as a mini-headline that promises a benefit and draws people in.
The whole course is fully spelled out on the sales page. The problem is not everyone will click over to the sales page. These bullet points don’t really give me enough to know what I’m getting when I join.
Some of them do a better job, like the last one about the 50 email subject lines. But they should ALL be pulling their weight like this.
The email then removes the risk of joining the course by bringing up the 30-day refund policy. This is a great way to make people feel safe about making the investment. She makes it sound like a really safe bet. If you get into in and realize it’s not a good fit, there’s a way to get your money back.
Again, this email muddies the next step by asking me to do multiple things. This time it’s asking me to email with last minute questions, take the quiz, enroll in the course, and opt out of future emails.
(By the way, I took the quiz and it does lead you to the sales page. But it asks you to put in your email again before it redirects. That’s too much friction. Make it easy for people to buy from you.)
At this point on the final day, I’d be sending all the traffic through to the sales page.
Email #7: Where will you be in 3 months?
Based on this subject line I thought we’d get some future pacing in this email, but no dice. Instead, it’s a short email reminding me to sign up now. It also mentions the payment plan and adds urgency by saying the course will close for 6 months.
If you’re not familiar with future pacing, it’s a technique that helps your audience visualize a new reality. It helps people see themselves as the after when they’re living as the before.
It’s a great way to show the results someone can get from a course like this by outlining what their life or business will look like after applying what they learn.
You can future pace what happens when they join and contrast that with what happens if they don’t join. Think of it like that movie Sliding Doors and share the different parallel realities based on the decision they make in this moment.
Will they have a growing list that supports their business? Or will they still be relying on unpredictable social media algorithms with no way to connect with their audience?
This is a great place in the sequence to drop a “quickest valuable win.” What tangible result can they quickly achieve after joining the course?
The key is to get super specific so the examples feel real. You can even go one step further and share testimonials from past students who have seen these results.
Email #8: do you need some help?
In the second to last closing email, we get a sneak peek at the course. Jenna sends a walkthrough video to show what’s inside.
She acknowledges at this point that I’m really considering the course — a smart assumption since I still haven’t bought at this point, but I didn’t opt out of the launch sequence. I could see this video giving some people what they need to finally say “yes” since she’s showing what’s included, how everything looks, and her unique teaching style.
She also drops a major credibility bomb and mentions she’s taught “more than 6K students — just like you.” It shows that she knows what she’s doing. She’s not some nobody who threw together a course in a week. She’s a successful teacher who has helped thousands of students.
She then adds a personal touch but saying she’s manning the chat box on the sales page and inviting me to come over and chat.
She frames the video as a way to help me decide if this course will be a good fit. It shows that she’s more interested in serving than selling. She wants to welcome me in the course, but only if it’s right for me.
Earlier in the sequence she talked about how she serves for 50 weeks of the year and sells for 2. This is a great example of her doing both. It’s not pushy. There’s no countdown timer. It feels like she has my best interest in mind — not like she’s trying to sell me on the course.
Email #9: What are you doing right now??
We’ve come to the end of the funnel with this final closing email. But it doesn’t really feel like a final email.
This is the LAST chance to join the course for 6 months, but it doesn’t come across as super urgent. It’s also short and feels like it’s missing some key things.
Even though she sent 4 emails on the final day, not everyone will see every email. In this final email, I’d pull out all the stops and include everything someone needs to decide yes or no.
Bring up the payment plan again and share the minimum investment to get started today. If the price is holding them back, a doable payment plan can make this an easy yes.
Mention the 30-day refund policy again to make saying yes feel like a safe decision. If someone’s a cold lead and not familiar with you yet, they know they can get their money back if it’s not a good fit.
Include some testimonials from students who have gotten great results. Include people from a variety of businesses so potential buyers can see themselves in the course.
Again, there are a few calls to action in this email — join the course or reach out to support with questions. But she also gives a cut off of 60 minutes. If you did have a last minute question, I wonder how likely you’d be to get an answer before the deadline. (This email also came on a Saturday, so support might not be as quick on the weekend.)
I do love her sign off. A big internet bear hug sounds like the perfect way to welcome a new student into your course.
I entered this funnel as a potential customer but ultimately decided to pass on this course. Even after reading all the emails, I couldn’t figure out if the content would be too basic for me.
My biggest problem with these emails is that they made the course seem like it was for everyone. They never spelled out who would be a perfect fit.
No mention of specific industries or types of business owners who would do best in List to Launch Lab. No qualifying where you needed to be in your business to get the best results. There weren’t even clearly defined results you could expect to see after going through the course.
The emails seemed to be trying to appeal to the widest market. There weren’t a lot of specifics, which made the whole series pretty generic.
The best thing you can do in your launch emails is to get very specific about your perfect buyer. It makes it easier for the right people to jump in. (It also keeps the wrong fits out which helps your refund rate stay low.)
That’s all I’ve got! Now I’d love to hear from you.
What are your biggest takeaways from this email breakdown? Any lessons you’ll be using in your own launch emails?