by Chris Pearson | Oct 24, 2023 | The Email Muse

I’m at my friend’s birthday dinner earlier this week, and the question came up… 

“So, Chris, how often do you think about the Roman Empire?” 

If y’all haven’t seen it, there’s a trend (at the time of this posting) on TikTok that’s uncovered a secret men have been hiding for thousands of years. 

What’s that secret?

How often they think about the Roman Empire. 

“Probably at least once per week,” I said. 

The other eight people at the table erupted in agreement, laughter, and shame… all at the same time. 

Speaking of the Roman Empire, there were a few pillars that contributed greatly to their success and reign for so many years. 

What were those pillars?

Google it (later, of course), but… 

That’s my segue into how email is built on top of 6 pillars that any brand in the world can rely on to grow sales and scale impact. 

Why is this important?

Because too many brands complicate email so much so that they avoid it like the plague and let it rot in the back-office room, alone, cold, and yearning for some attention… any attention at all… 

Alright, enough of the dark stuff. 

Let’s make you some more money with email… 

The 6 Ecom Email Pillars For Big-Money Months

If your email marketer DOES NOT talk about this stuff (or leverage it regularly), then you’re leaving a whole lot of cash on the table. 

Let’s dive in: 


An offer exists at the core of every single email you send–along with two other things (which we’ll get to later). 


The offer is key for any email to have a chance at performing well (aka make sales for your brand). 

What is an offer?



This post ain’t long enough to answer that question completely, but… 

In the context of, say, a single email selling a single product, here’s what an offer is:

A compelling message that encourages the reader to take action for their own good. 

What makes a good offer?

Late Gary Halbert would say, “A starving crowd!” 

Here’s why that matters: 


You could have the cure to cancer, but… 

If you’re not presenting that cure to someone who wants to cure cancer, they aren’t going to pay attention. 

(Most likely, if you had the cure to cancer, I believe whomever you shared that with would do their damndest to get that into the hands of people who need it). 


WHO you make your glorious offer to matters as much as (if not more) then the offer you’re making. 

In fact, the offer and the audience (in majority of cases) does 80% of the heavy lifting to earn the sale. 

That leaves the last 20% or so (which we’ll get to later). 

How you segment your list can increase or decrease your chances of selling your offer to your subscribers… 

There are multiple ways to segment. 

Two of my favorite ways?

Desire & Behavior. 

Here’s where you use Behavior: 


A shopper just added two items to their cart… and then navigated back to Meta…

Now what?

Your abandoned cart flow better be warming up to fire off an email to that customer. 

Their behavior triggered the appropriate flow to hopefully bring them back and complete their order. 

This is one example of a behavior trigger. 

Here are a few other flows that fire on a behavior trigger: 

– Abandoned Browser

– Abandoned Checkout (different from abandoned cart)

– Welcome Series

– Post Purchase TY

– Replenishment

And so on and so forth… 

Your email software automatically (and behind the scenes) segments your list based on their behavior. 

There are 9 core flows every single ecom brand on the planet ought to use. 

Then, there are between three and infinite more flows a brand could custom build out for their customers. 

These flows are like the bumpers on a bowling alley, guiding the customer down toward the pins for a strike. 

But, how do you get them onto your site so they can start triggering these flows?


Do you remember that 20% I mentioned earlier?

This is where it shines. 

Broadcasts are typically what people think about when you say “email marketing,” however… 

The types of broadcasts that fill your promotion tab and spam folder ARE NOT the kind I’m about to talk about. 

I’m talking about a unique, specific kind of broadcast that has the reader: 

– Paying attention

– Leaning in

– Clicking a link to your product

– And buying

I’ll die on this hill: 

Design killed email. 

What keeps email alive?

How people expect it to be used. How is that? A plain-text, one-on-one message to and from friends, family, acquaintances, and those mail-order bride/husband sites. 

(I still don’t know how the hell they get our emails). 

I digress.

What’s that 20% from above?



What you “write/say” to position your offer for the selected audience. 

Majority of brands send emails that get sales from about 3-7% of their list–even though they chose “Master List” for recipients.


Because they send offers that only appeal to what I like to call “right now” buyers.  

Here’s what I mean:

Of your list…

~7% are “right now” buyers

~20% are “buy soon” buyers

~30% are “buy later” buyers

~40% are “not sure” buyers


Coincidentally, this breakdown matches up almost perfectly with the Customer Awareness tiers nearly every marketer (and their mom) talk about online: 

Problem Aware~40%
Solution Aware~30%
Brand/Product Aware~20%
Most Aware~7%

So, why is it that the majority of brands ONLY ever send discount, deal, or promotional emails assuming it will convince 90% of their list to convert… 

When it only resonates with about ~7% of their list?

I sincerely don’t have an answer to that question, but… 

I do have an answer. 

Send more offers = Make more sales. 

And when you segment your list into various groups, you can truly send 365 days per year and not annoy, frustrate, or piss off your subscribers. 

But what do you send?

There are ~14 email frameworks I like to work from that address the customer at each of the Customer Awareness tiers above. 

Here are a few: 

UnawareYou can’t convert these psychos… use their replies for fodder to the rest of your list. 
Problem AwareProblem-Solution/Personal Story
Solution AwareTestimonial/Case Study/Cautionary Tale
Brand/Product AwareQ&A
Most AwareStraight Pitch

Do you notice that none of the types I listed include a discount, deal, or promo style email?

No… they don’t. 

That’s because you DO NOT NEED those kinds of incentives to sell your products. 

If you’ve got a great product AND an audience the product can help… 

You can sell it without discounting it. 

I know, it’s mind-blowing stuff. 

The “golden rule” applies to life and email lists. 

Treat your list how you would want to be treated. 

Segmented, daily, entertaining, educational, and empowering emails are what people want. 

Send that. 

But… but… but… 

What if that 3% gets bigger and people unsubscribe?

List Growth

Every list has natural churn. 

People come and people go. It’s part of life and email lists. 


The better you can do to grow your list AND retain people gives your email efforts the greatest chance at continuing to generate more revenue. 

In fact, I would say it’s great to purposefully try and get people to unsubscribe. 


Stating your values, sticking by them, and letting those who do not resonate bail. 

The subscribers and customers who stick around will resonate more deeply and stick around for longer. 

Sure, a 10% off your first placed order coupon code is enticing for 7% of the people who see your form (which the benchmark for form submissions in most industries is 6%–coincidence? I think not), but… 

The customers who stick around and repeatedly buy are looking for more than a bargain. 

They want to feel validated, proud, safe, and more that they’ve chosen your brand. 

Think of growing your email list like growing a community of like-minded, value-driven people. 

Stick with inviting in the right people and removing the wrong people, and… 

You’ll do yourself a favor down the road.

But, how do you keep the hooligans off your list? 

List Health

Open rate, click rate, sales, bounces, spam complaints….

They all mean something. 

Like a tight-rope acrobat, you have to balance these “signals,” so you can get as much of your list to see as many of your offers as possible… each and every day. 

These signals are what tell email service providers which folder they should organize your email into: inbox, promo, spam, or block. 

These filters are advanced and can sniff out a marketing email form a mile away, but… 

If you send emails that entertain, educate, and empower people (while sharing the product that helps the reader do that), you can inbox more emails, which leads to more sales and engagement. 

Unfortunately, brands send discount, deal, and promo emails way too often… and it kills their sender reputation. 

They stop inboxing, which means fewer people see their offers–leading to fewer sales. 

How your subscribers “engage” with your email tells their ESPs how to filter your future sends. 

And one of the best ways to keep a high sender reputation + make more sales with email is to… 

Do everything I mentioned in this article.

A client of mine is following this advice and getting some awesome results: 

What You Learned Today: 

  • Craft compelling offers in your emails to encourage reader action, focusing on presenting a single product or solution in a manner that benefits the reader.
  • Segment your email list based on desire and behavior to ensure you are reaching the right audience with your offers, enhancing the chances of sales conversion.
  • Implement automation flows like Abandoned Cart, Welcome Series, and Post Purchase Thank You to engage with customers based on their behavior, guiding them towards making a purchase.
  • Use broadcasts effectively to send unique and specific messages that capture attention, encourage click-throughs, and drive sales without relying solely on discounts or promotions.
  • Tailor your email content to address different customer awareness tiers: Unaware, Problem Aware, Solution Aware, Brand/Product Aware, and Most Aware. Utilize varying email frameworks like Problem-Solution, Testimonial, Q&A, and Straight Pitch to resonate with each tier.
  • Focus on growing and retaining your email list by aligning with subscribers who share your values and are likely to engage with your brand over time, rather than solely seeking discounts.
  • Maintain a healthy email list by monitoring metrics like open rate, click rate, and spam complaints to balance and optimize your email performance, ensuring better visibility of your offers and sustaining a high sender reputation.
  • Avoid overusing discount, deal, or promo emails, and instead focus on sending segmented, daily emails that entertain, educate, and empower subscribers, aiming for a better engagement and sales conversion.

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