The Email Marketing “Myth” Debunked

by Derek Halpern · 18 comments

Email Marketing

There are some email marketing haters out there.

They believe the myth that asking for emails looks unprofessional…

…And worse, they think email marketing just doesn’t work for some companies.

But it’s time we bust these myths wide open.

If you change the way you view AND use email marketing, it rocks. And today, I’ll tell you all about it.

Think Of Email Marketing Like This…


No matter what business you’re in, you need leads.

And then, you need to nurture those leads so you can turn them into sales and happy customers.

Now think about it…

What are emails?

They’re leads.

What are email broadcasts to subscribers?

That’s lead nurturing.


Here’s Where Most Email Marketing Goes Wrong

Most people get started with email marketing for their business, and they go about it wrong.

They’ll add a sign-up form on their site that says something like “get updates from our company.”

And sure, they’ll get some signups.

But, really?

Who cares about news about your company?

People want solutions to their problems.

They don’t care about you.

And once you realize that, you can send out the RIGHT type of content that pulls the RIGHT people into your email marketing funnel.

How Can Email Marketing Be Done Right?

Emails are leads.

Follow-up emails nurture those leads.

It’s that simple.

In your business, if you don’t view your email marketing like this, your results will suffer.

Now let’s look at an example:

Let’s say you’re selling medical devices to doctors. You could promise that doctor updates from your company…

…Or you could give them a 7-page medical device buying guide that helps them choose the right medical device for their business.

Now take a guess… which example would help a medical device company attract the RIGHT people into the funnel?

The latter obviously.

And then once those people are in the funnel, it’s their job to nurture those leads.

How do you do that?

You’d send content tailored towards your target customer’s problems. You’d tell stories that connect with your leads, and position your products as solutions to their problems.

It’s a great strategy, and it works.

But still Derek, Email Sign Up Forms Look “Snake Oily”

Here’s the deal:

You need to know your target audience.

On Social Triggers and DIYthemes, the audience is tech-savvy, which is why the lead generation strategy is more aggressive, and focuses solely on emails.

But how can agencies and large companies use lead generation without seeming spammy, aggressive, and desperate?

Again… You need to know your audience and your market.

How to Use Lead Generation the Right Way

Here’s an example:

If you’re an agency, and you work with Fortune 500 companies, “just emails” won’t cut it. You’ll need more information. You’ll need names, emails, phone numbers, and more.

You’ll also know that you need several people in each company to sign-off before hiring you.

What does that mean to you?

You’ll know that the person doing the bulk of the research isn’t the decision maker.

So what can you do to get the sale?

Help the researcher gather the research they need.

Or better, provide them with that research. Offer a PDF document that outlines your entire company, and why your company is the perfect choice.

You can provide data, statistics, previous clients, talking points, and more.

And what happens when a researcher stumbles on that?

They’ll be PUMPED. Their work is now DONE-FOR-THEM.

They’ll just enter their information, get that PDF, read it, and move on to the next company.

And since you gathered the lead (name, email, phone, etc), you’ll be able to follow-up and see where you stand in their buying process.

The Bottom Line

You don’t need to be pushy.

You don’t need to be salesy.

When you’re working with a website, it’s about gathering leads, and nurturing leads.

And if you’re always thinking about your target audience, and offering them exactly what they want, they’ll thank you for it.

About the Author: Derek Halpern ran marketing at DIYthemes, and is the founder of Social Triggers. To get more tips on how to be confident, sign up to his list here.

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Mr. G

Nice piece or work!

Martyn Chamberlin

Thanks Derek. This is helping me see things a little more clearly. The whole reason I published yesterday’s article was to get the conversation started … 😀

You lost me here:

You’ll also know that you need several people in each company to sign-off before hiring you.

What does that mean to you?

You’ll know that the person doing the bulk of the research isn’t the decision maker.

You’re saying that this Fortune 500 company already has an existing contact with a Digital Marketing Agency? And the person who downloads your PDF isn’t ultimately the person who decides to buy from you? What am I missing?

Derek Halpern

When you’re working with big companies, the person who’s doing the due-diligence before hiring an agency, the person INSIDE that company, isn’t usually the person who makes the decision on the due diligence.

They need to prepare materials, and “sell” their decision to their higher-ups. Anything you can do to make that easier on the person conducting due diligence will make them happy.

Martyn Chamberlin

Ah. I get you. I think. But did you mean “sign up” when you said “sign off”?

Derek Halpern

I meant sign-off.

When they get together their due diligence, they’ll go to their boss and say, I want to hire Derek for the job.

Their boss needs to sign off on that decision before anything else happens.

Himanshu Chanda

Sign Off aka okay or concur that decision…..
I guess Derek has a tech background 🙂


Nice. I’d read Martyn’s post yesterday, so when I saw this in my inbox, I knew what was coming. BTW…just received Buzzmarketing in the mail…thanks for all the tips!

Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate

Good post. This is axactly what my site does.

4-15 leads per day. 4,000 in the database so far.

Lance Sonka

Fill-in the blank collateral that makes the marketing pro look great works like a charm.

Danny Cruz

I admit, I’ve done well with the email marketing lists for the companies I’ve done work. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing about my own business. I keep using my limited time for other aspects of the business that seem better use of my time. I’m not saying the email marketing thing is not important to me, I’m just saying I always run out of time before I can even get there!

Kenneth Benjamin @WisdomWebsite

Thanks Derek,

I do really appreciate the useful info you put out in your emails.

This one just reminded me that my website IS about marketing a product, my ideas and eventually seminars.

You’re inspiring me to get that document written that will hook subscribers (which I’m already doing with sign up forms in I think the right places).

Keep the good stuff coming.

Colin Gerard Garvey

I like the new email opt-in over the top on your social triggers blog here . It similar to the one you did for trey smith.

But that leaves me thinking… In order to build a relationship with your list, its best to get their first name & email!!
Derek why dont you collect first names??


As a newbie to internet marketing (my website doesn’t have an opt in form yet) I’m grateful for the advice outlined above.

Off topic a bit, I see there’a a wordpress autoresponser plugin – does anyone have experience with this? It seems to do everything Aweber does – but without the cost!
The one I’m referring to is called WP Autoresponder And Newsletter Plugin. (I’m not affiliated with this product in any way)

Gary Hughes.


Hey Gary,

My experience with the Newsletter plugin was pretty bad (if we’re talking about the same one…I think it was developed by a German?) Oh…and Aweber does *way* more than any plugin you’ll buy!
If you don’t want to spend money upfront, sign up for MailChimp, which has a freemium pricing structure. They don’t actually offer an autoresponder for their free service, but at least you’ll be able to begin to develop your list, and once you’re ready to spend money, you can upgrade…

Jesus Ramirez

Hey Derek,

I totally agree, no matter what business you’re in, you need leads,
and it only becomes “Snake Oily” when there is no value being provided.

You should write an article titled “The Direct Mail Marketing “Myth” Debunked”. And talk about the value people’s physical address still holds.

I’m involved in a project where emails are pretty much useless, we need the prospect’s addresses, and although the conversion rate might not be as high as with email, the quality of leads is much better.

Online Piano Lessons by QM

Good article. But you forgot to mention another important part of email marketing … unsubscribes.

Bob Bly just sent an email talking about this. He said you should know your unsubscribe rates so whenever you send email, you’ll know you’re sending too much (to your own list) by how many people unsubscribe.

Campbell McArthur

Awesome article Derek! It is great to have a resource such as this Blog on DIY-Themes we can learn allot from reading these very fundamental principles outlined in your blog articles. Over the years, regardless of what medium that I have worked in I have found that research is key to having success at anything you may endeavor in life. That is a fact!


Really nice share. Some times we also need to chat in a group with friends discussing a topic or subject of our own where we need to discuss with the chosen people so it will help us to do that .Thanks 🙂