Can’t judge an email by its guru - Trial and Eureka

Can’t judge an email by its guru

By Alp | Email Marketing

You know how they say you can’t judge a book by its cover?

Well, the same is true of sales emails.

Just because a “launch guru” wrote it doesn’t mean that it’s actually any good.

In fact, sometimes these guru emails are so bad that someone should take them to court for marketing malpractice.

Sure, if you have 1.5 million subscribers, you can get away with mistakes like that. With a headcount like that, there are bound to be idiots who buy regardless.

But for a small list, it would be kryptonite. Send an email like that and watch your sale graph go from man of steel to deflated balloon.

That’s why I’m determined to kryptonite-proof my protégés from email marketing malpractice.

It’s Day 1 of the August Run of Email Prodigy ( here, and the very first lesson of the training?

How to distinguish a good marketing email from a bad one

… which is a surprisingly tricky skill.


Because like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, terrible marketing emails are often clothed in great writing.

Well, if the writing is so good, what makes them terrible then?

They’re terrible sales emails because they just won’t get you sales. Period.

They fail to create the kind of buying tension your subscribers will feel compelled to relieve by whipping out their credit cards.

And if you can’t tell the difference, you’ll be swiping and modelling all the wrong emails for the wrong reasons.

Might as well inject liquid kryptonite into your launch sequence.

Now, I’m all for turning theory into practice-able rules of thumb.

So here is how I decided to teach this skill to my Email Prodigies.

First, I crafted a “litmus test” in the form of a question. If the answer is “YES”, then the email is likely to make sales.

Second, I also taught them the “3 hallmarks of greatness” to watch out for. If you can spot all three in the email, then it probably passes the litmus test.

If I do my job right, then by the end of the lesson my 5 protégés should develop the following prodigious superpower:

They can take one look at a marketing email and tell whether it’s good or bad.

This superpower will allow them to know when to hit “delete” and when to hit “send”.

So *did* they develop their first email marketing superpower?

I put them to the test.

And being the sneaky little devil I am, here is how I did that:

I gave them five emails to analyse - each written by a different big name guru, and each with deceptively good prose.

This was the task I set them:

“For each of the following emails, identify whether it’s a good marketing email and explain why. (Hint: Only one of them is good.)”

You can almost hear the sound of thinking in the Eureka Study Hall, as the Prodigies are searching for the hidden kryptonite in those emails.

Rob finished first and submitted his analysis just as I sat down to write today’s email.

And being a huge fan of practicing what I preach, I gleefully took that and turned it into email fodder.

(If it pleases the Inbox, we’d like to enter the email before you as Exhibit A of our wicked ways.)

So did Rob pass the test?

Is it time for him to put on the cape and spandex? Or should he think twice before he jumps off any inboxes today?




Mutation successful!

Rob developed his first prodigious superpower:

He can tell from a mile away whether a seemingly good marketing email will fly or… flop.

(Not sure if he’s going to glow in the dark though. Haven’t tested that yet.)

I mean, look at it. Look at how Rob is starting to experience email marketing in high resolution now:


“YOUR VERDICT: Good or bad?

The writing is SO GOOD! But it probably still fails the litmus test for meeting all 3 criteria.

WHY: This email had me hooked from the opening line. When it asked me to imagine this great scenario. Then each line of the copy was pretty fun -- in a way that’s kind of hard to explain. It peppered in ideas and strategies that were a little nonchalant and casual. That was the fun part.

Rule #1 =

Rule #2 is a little more subtle. He doesn’t make a direct ask here. He doesn’t even ask you to share your ideas or experiences. So without a CTA, I think this email will disappear into inbox oblivion. He DOES shows that he’s so much of an expert on the topic higher up in the copy, and I do feel like he HAS the solution. But he doesn’t prove it by mentioning anything more.

Rule #3 is definitely at play here. I want to know more about how he does this. He gives just enough information to make you want clients on retainer, but doesn’t really give you enough info to go out and do it yourself.

So that creates some tension. I’m like, “Tell me the insider secrets then????!! How do I do this?”

Overall, I think it’s a well-written email. But it fails to meet all the criteria above.”


But that’s not all.

Here is what Rob had to say on one of the other emails I assigned him - notice how incisive and crisp his analysis is:


“YOUR VERDICT: Good or bad?

Oh man! This one is GOOD!


It’s a really fun premise. Some dude who never bought his course sent in a testimonial. As a side note, think about how relatable that is to all the NON-buyers on his list.

Rule#1, check.

It’s also a very subtle, ninja way to sell. Notice he just casually talks about how it 4x’ed his conversion rates. Who wouldn’t want that.

Rule #2, check.

Rule #3 is definitely working here. I’m gonna click that link to at least see what’s going on here. And the casual-nature that he mentions it, it doesn’t feel like a hard sell. It actually just makes me feel like a friend is recommending an awesome restaurant or drink I need to check out.

Great email!”


You know what inspires me?

Witnessing my customers’ transformation.

There is nothing quite as inspiring as building something from nothing, and then seeing its impact on the world in real time.

Two weeks ago, Email Prodigy didn’t exist. It was just an idea in my head.

And now it has sold out (twice), and it’s already changing the way students approach their email marketing.

I was on the phone with another customer, William, on Friday and something he said stuck with me:


“I want to prove to my son that he can do anything. I want him to understand that this business came from just an idea.

This belief that if you’re in your late 30’s, it’s pretty much done... that if you’re not somebody by now, it’s over… It’s the saddest, most ENRAGING thing I’ve heard.

I don’t want my son to grow up believing that.”


I agree.

There is no satisfaction on earth (birds & bees included) that beats being able to say, “I built this from just an idea, and look at the impact it’s having on people’s lives...”

But for you to witness that impact, it’s not enough to just build your thing. You also have to be able to sell it.

Email Prodigy can help with that.

It can show you how to make as much as $981 per email you send to your list, writing them in 15 minutes a day.

For more info, put on your cape Supersubscriber, and fly over to:

(The August runs are now sold out. But there is still one place in the September run.)