How I made a month's salary off my first email campaign

I’m not here today.

It’s my birthday so I’m slacking off for the day, but thanks to the wonders of modern software I can keep dripping wisdom into your inbox.

Birthdays are about nostalgia so I wanted to tell you about my first email campaign.

Way back in 1995.

I was working for a schoolbooks publisher and they’d released a really cutting edge CD-ROM Dictionary product (jeez I feel old telling this).

I was convinced that the schools they usually sold to couldn’t afford the “multimedia-PC” that you needed to run the software for this thing. These were huge bulky beige things with speakers and (wait for it) a colour monitor!

So, I got them to add a product feedback card in the box. (Yep, another ancient practice. Selling software in shrink-wrapped boxes.)

Anyway, I remember the very first one coming back.

The very first email I ever collected as part of a marketing campaign.

It was from an IT sales guy at IBM in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Not a school.

The next couple of dozen were all the same. Overseas businessmen trying to improve their English.

So, I gathered them all into a spreadsheet and did a little sales letter for a set of business language tapes. I remember it had an order form you had to fax back.

Now, one of my friends once described me as the world’s laziest workaholic.

I hate repetitive tasks. They literally make my brain want to escape from my skull, so even 24 emails were too much for me to bear.

Back then there was a little tool in Windows that would record your keystrokes and repeat them, so I set it up to do the mailing for me.

– go to the spreadsheet
– move down one row
– copy the email address
– paste it into the email
– copy the text from a word doc
– paste that into the email
– attach the order form
– send
– repeat

No Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign or any of these tools back then.

I set it running and left for the day.

When I came back in the morning I dropped by the sales office and what I saw made me literally shake with excitement.

We’d already had a half dozen order forms back from the emails I’d sent.

The sales manager who had made comments about me being too lazy to fax letters to each of the contacts was looking pretty sheepish.

My first money ever from an email.
6 orders of a £200 product.

Over the next couple of days we did £2,000 off these emails.

This was more than my salary at the time. I’d found a way to earn my keep by pressing one button each month.

If there’s a lesson there it’s this.

Start without the tech.

“We go to war with the army we have, not the army we might want.”

Tech is not the difference. The offer and your audience is the difference.

Find an audience that’s spending money, find them something that will work better, and you could tell them about it via carrier pigeon for all they care.

Now, this strategy has a modern-day version that I’ll tell you about tomorrow.

Until then, I’ll be causing a fire hazard a.k.a. lighting the candles on my cake.

Stephen Pratley
Copy & Conversion Consultant
The Conversion Co.


c/o The Conversion Co., 2a The High Street, Thames Ditton, KT7 0RY, United Kingdom
You received this email because you signed up on our website or made purchase from us.
Click here to unsubscribe



Get Free Email Marketing by Mailerlite