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John Sonmez recently posted a great YouTube video where he argues that if you want to get good at something, you need to simply accept that you need to do it badly lots of times first. This advice applies to all kinds of areas, from learning to play a song on an instrument, to learning to program in a new language.

And email marketing is certainly another areas where this applies. Copy-writing is really hard, and so you should not be at all surprised that you are rubbish at it initially.

The only way you are going to get good at writing emails that engage with your customers is to write lots of them and learn from your mistakes. Mailing list service providers like MailChimp, or Drip will provide you comprehensive analytics showing you the “open rate” (percent of your list that opened the email), “click rate” (percent of your list who clicked on a link in the email, and how many people hated your email so much that they unsubscribed from your list as a result, or worse, reported you as a spammer.

Now I’ve been trying out email marketing for a while now, in a bid to improve sales for Skype Voice Changer, and to be quite honest, the results have been a little underwhelming. However, as John Sonmez points out, the only route to getting good at something is to accept that first of all you will do it badly lots of times.

So my approach to email marketing is to experiment and steal ideas. By experiment, I mean try out all kinds of different types of email. Tell funny or inspiring stories. Write short friendly messages. Write long and useful informational articles that aren’t directly selling your product at all. Run competitions. Do special offers for whatever random special occasion it happens to be somewhere in the world this week. And don’t beat yourself up if it goes badly. With each failed email, you’ve taken one step closer to the day you’ll write a great one.

I also said, “steal ideas”. By this I mean you need to learn from the best. Do you know of someone who’s been really successful marketing their product through email? Sign up for their mailing lists. You’ll get to watch a master practitioner in action.

I did this with Derick Bailey’s recent Rabbit MQ for Developers launch, and I have to say I was super impressed with his pre and post release sequence of emails. Even though I’m not a NodeJS developer and have no immediate plans to use RabbitMQ, the quality of his email sequence made me seriously consider buying his product anyway.

So if at first you don’t succeed with email marketing, don’t be surprised. That’s normal. But if you keep persevering, experimenting, and stealing ideas, then slowly but surely, you will improve.

Got any killer email marketing tips of your own? Share them in the comments. I’d love to steal your ideas too!