Email Marketing Checklist – 5 Money ‘Leaks’ You’re Overlooking

Spend some time searching for email marketing tricks (or hacks) that offer a competitive advantage – you will notice rather quickly that most suggestions are 1.) common sense and 2.) as such not really helpful.

In fact, most articles on this topic look like rewritten copies of each other. If you’ve spend a week or two playing around with email marketing, you’ll come to the conclusion that the author has NO F***ING clue what he’s talking about.

These email marketing tips include suggestions such as

  • Know your audience. (Duh, really?)
  • Keep your emails short.
  • Add an opt-in pop-up field to your website or blog.
  • Make the most of your subject line.


These tips are groundbreaking.

I never thought of making the most of the subject line. Up until now, I thought it’s supposed to be as boring as possible. (SARCASM)

The ‘nonsense‘ continues ..

Expert A tells you to keep the email short, Expert B suggests you write an extensive story to engage the reader and end the email with an open loop so that anticipation for the next email is built.

Guru A recommends to add a pop up to collect email leads, Guru B points out that’s not a good idea because such a layover is too intrusive and distracts people from consuming your content.

This is a short summary of what you find on Google’s search result page 1-10000 searching for ‘email marketing tips‘.

Now you’re probably more confused and hence the question:

What are you supposed to do?

It’s rather easy, but it takes willingness to experiment.

  1. Ditch common sense advice.
  2. Try unconventional approaches (see my 5 tips below)
  3. Experiment and see what works for you (your niche)

That last step is critical.

Nobody will be able to tell you exactly what works for your audience and niche. Everyone’s different (to a degree). Apply what you read, experiment and fine-tune.

Most importantly – if you’re not already in the boat …

Make Sure You Use E-Mail Marketing

A number of people will read this article and discredit all suggestions, saying …

  • ‘I am selling on Amazon FBA. I don’t need email marketing.’
  • I’m just using Shopify. Emails aren’t relevant.
  • I make money on YouTube, bro! E-Mails are a thing of the past.

Needless to say, none of these are valid reasons not to do email marketing.

Even if you operate an offline business, you can benefit from email marketing.

Before you start using the checklist below, get a hold of yourself and start implementing the basics.

  • If you’re not yet sold on email marketing, read this.
  • If you want to start email marketing, but don’t know how.
  • If you’re already doing email marketing, but don’t get the desired results, keep reading.

Here’s a checklist of 5 things you should be doing with your email marketing.

What’s your score?

1. Customize EVERYTHING (Confirm, Thank You …)

Everything should be customized. Not doing this would be a waste of attention, time and ultimately revenue.

1.1 Custom Confirmation Page

It starts right after the visitor has entered his email and pressed the confirm button. If you are using a MailerLite pop-up, then automatically the confirmation message is shown.

There is no redirection, the pop-up just changes it’s text.

This is very powerful because there is little to no friction. If the user is being redirected to another page, there’s a chance he might also get distracted.

Mailerlite Popup

Keep it simple and focus on the one thing you want the user to do: check his email inbox and click the confirm button.

Everything else is secondary.

Mailerlite Optin Success

1.2 Custom Thank You Page

This is what the standard confirmation email looks like. Complete. Waste. Of Potential.

Confirmation Email

By now you should notice how bothersome the entire process must be for a user.

  • Opt-In > Confirmation Page > Confirmation E-Mail > Thank You Page > E-Mail w/ Download/Bonus

Most of these steps between the opt-in and bonus download serve no purpose. They are completely unnecessary.

Here’s how I trim the fat and simplify the entire process.

I do it by using the pop-up form.

  • Opt-In (Pop-Up Form) > E-Mail w/ Download/Bonus

What would have usually taken 5 steps is now done in 2. There’s little to no friction and no chance for confusion.

To be able to do that,

I use a pop-up opt-in so that the confirmation message is displayed right then and there INSTEAD of redirecting the user to a dedicated confirmation page.

email popup form

I change the standard confirmation email so it becomes the first ‘real‘ email containing the bonus the user signed up for.

The standard ‘confirm email‘ button is simply changed to ‘Download Bonus‘ (whatever bonus is offered).

The ‘Thank You’ page is changed to become the bonus download page.

User clicks on the confirm button and is instantly led to the bonus download URL. (see below)

Email Confirmation Page

All of this happens in the background without the user being aware.

He knows that he just signed up for something and that the process was surprisingly smooth.

2. Use Double Opt-In (Two-Step Opt-in Process)

This might be counterintuitive. You want to make it as easy as possible to sign up, right? To a degree, but a single opt in will attract fake email signups.

Single opt-in means anyone signing up to your email list does not need to confirm the email address. Double opt-in means confirmation is required.

The only way to prevent this is by forcing people to confirm their email after opt-in. You will still have people signing up with their dedicated ‘trash/spam‘ email, but the ratio will be drastically lower.

Other than that, there isn’t much else to say about using double opt-in. It increases the quality of your email leads.

Most email service providers allow you to turn on/off double opt-in with a single click.

Mailerlite Double Opt-On

MailerLite Double Opt-In

ConvertKit Opt-In Settings

ConvertKit Double Optin

AWeber Confirmation Settings

AWeber Double Opt-In

3. Unsubscribe Page = Go All-In!

Someone decides to unsubscribe from your email list. You got nothing to lose. What are you waiting for?

Displaying the standard unsubscribe message,

‘You have been unsubscribed. Hope you come back soon.’

Are you kidding me? That’s all you got?

Of course, I am not talking to you directly, but most people stick with the standard unsubscribe page.

I look at that page and see the very last chance to ‘win’ back a person that has just unsubscribed. Not necessarily for him to sign up again, but to utilize that lead in some way.

That’s precisely where I like to experiment with unconventional approaches.

Ditch the cookie-cutter unsubscribe page – instead offer a time-limited discount on your product or service (or simply a special offer). It works!

More about how to actually implement time-limited discounts in step 5 – including how to add a countdown timer to your emails!

For now just keep in mind to use that unsubscribe page (any way you want) – but use it!

4. Welcome and Encourage Replies

Not only that but occasionally include screenshots of those replies in your emails. One challenge with email marketing is that emails can easily come across as ‘automated‘ – lacking personal touch.

A simple way of changing that is by asking people to reply to the very email you’ve just sent.

Not only do you receive valuable feedback, but it let’s people know that they can get in touch with you directly, that the email wasn’t sent by some bot or virtual assistant.

Keep your expectation in check though. Typical reply rates are 5-10 for every 1000 emails opened …

5. Use Time-Limited Promotions

One very powerful email marketing strategy I like to use (a few time per year; on special occasions) is time-limited promotions.

There are pros & cons to offering discounts – some say you are training customers not to buy at the regular price and simply wait for the next promotion.

In my experience that concern is completely unfounded. Time-limited promotions have proven to be a great way to increase (not decrease) revenue.

Before you launch your promo, implement these 3 strategies to maximize effectiveness.

1. Special Occasion

The way I like to implement discounts/promotions is by making it relevant – not just randomly but for a specific reason. Perhaps your brand has just turned 1 year old, or you’ve reached a certain number of subscribers on YouTube.

2. Significant Discount

For such a promo to work REALLY well, the discount needs to be massive. Forget about 5, 10% off … I am talking about 40% or more.

Customers that were on the fence of buying anyway really need to feel FOMO (fear of missing out) and a huge discount achieves exactly that.

BUT there is still one final piece missing. The most important ingredient.

3. Add A Countdown Timer

The countdown timer is the secret sauce. Think about it. Would you care about a special anniversary discount that lasts for weeks, or months?

Of course not – such an offer would lack urgency, which is exactly what a countdown timer generates.

I simply add a countdown timer to the promo email that I am sending.

It’s really easy to do. I am using MailerLite and just drag and drop the countdown element into the content section.

Mailerlite Countdown Timer

Then I set the timer to either 48 or 72 hours. I’ve tested both – both work well.

Mailerlite Countdown Settings

That’s it, really!

When using this strategy, just make sure your website can handle the additional traffic. There’s nothing worse than having your website crash during a big promotion.

What’s your score?

If you just read this out of curiosity but haven’t started your email list yet, here’s how to get started in a few minutes.

If you have an email list, how did you score?

Out of the 5 email marketing strategies, how many are you actually doing right now?

1. Customize EVERYTHING (Confirm, Thank You …)

2. Use Double Opt-In (Two-Step Opt-in Process)

3. Unsubscribe Page = Go All-In!

4. Welcome and Encourage Replies

5. Use Time-Limited Promotions

I’m pretty sure I’ll expand this list over the years, but for now these are the most effective email marketing strategies I am using myself.