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How to Make 20 Million a Year Using Email Marketing — A lesson from Ramit Sethi

Disclaimer: Our team spoke to Ramit to give us more details about his strategies. 

Ramit Sethi is one of the masterminds in the field of email marketing. His company, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, has more than 800,000 subscribers to its mailing list, attracts more than a million monthly visitors, and generates $20 million in annual revenue from email marketing alone. That’s huge. 

This article will break down the cornerstones of Ramit’s email strategy. You’ll learn Ramit’s unique email marketing strategies and marketing funnels

Let’s get started. 

How did Ramit use a lead-gen onion to grow his email list to ~1 Million subscribers?

Ramit’s list-building strategy can be viewed as an onion diagram divided into layers. The main layers are the outer and inner layers. At the surface level (outer), there is an auto-segmentation strategy that he and his team use to segment subscribers depending on interest and stage in the buyer’s journey. 

Let’s break this down. 

Auto-segmentation strategy

Auto-segmentation occurs when Ramit decides what opt-in form to show on specific content. This is done by incorporating specific downloadable materials (aka lead magnets) in the content. Based on the content you’re reading, Ramit presents helpful related resources you would enjoy reading to build upon the knowledge from that specific content. 

For example, if the article is “The Best Online Business Ideas You Should Copy,” Ramit knows the reader would make a good fit for the “Find Your Dream Job” course, so he offers to sign up for that list by proposing “FREE Ultimate Guide to Working from Home” as a lead magnet. 

Auto-segmentation strategy allows Ramit to match new visitors with resources that are relevant to them. It also helps him keep readers in specific segments based on the blog content and free resource that got them in. 

He has hundreds of lead-gen opt-ins on the site, but most of these opt-ins allow him to create two main segments: a segment for “Find a dream job” and the other one for “Grow an online business.” Both are his flagship courses.

 We recommend using a marketing automation tool that supports integrations with form tools and advanced audience segmentation.  Encharge supports several various conditions that you can segment with, like email activity, page visits, user fields, and more. 

Self-segmentation strategy

At the Inner level, there’s a self-segmentation strategy where Ramit gives options to subscribers to hop on their preferred list — depending on their current goals. This layer covers several parts of his website.

1. The homepage

The homepage is where the bona fide strategy begins. Contrary to what most competing businesses would do, which is to display a lead capture form on the homepage, Ramit uses a quiz instead. The quiz stands out as an excellent lead generation strategy. It acts as a way to both:

  1. Drive newcomers towards taking their first actions. 
  2. And gather insights and send them to a list they belong to. 

Using a quiz to collect user data is the best way to categorize them into your subscriber segments. Ramit’s quiz packs nine strategic pre-qualifying questions that help him send subscribers to a segment they genuinely belong to. 

As you’re done answering the questions, a lead capture form will pop up. Upon filling out the form, Ramit’s team processes your application and shares the “Earning Potential type” that best describes you, based on the answers you have provided. 

2. Products Page

The product page has tons of resources for anyone who wants to grow their career, be more productive, or manage better their net worth. 

Some of these pages lead to a sales page to buy the course directly. Each of these pages has at least 10-15k words and only one CTA button to purchase. 

Here is an example for the product “Earnable”. 

You may think that 15,000 words for a single infoproduct page is beyond the pale. Well, it can be. But not in this case. Think about it. If a prospect isn’t really ready or qualified for a specific product, they will never go through that many words just for the sake of it. 

The truth is that every word and phrase on the product page serves Ramit’s purpose a little further. Plus, the call-to-action button is placed at the very bottom of the page, and it takes dedication to get to that level of the page. 

This strategy works, and it helps Ramit weed out all unqualified leads before they even reach the call-to-action button.

Usually, lower price courses are immediately available for enrollment. In Ramit’s case, the course pages lead to a landing page that leverages social proof and scarcity to entice the reader to join his waitlist. 

How Ramit uses an evergreen nurture tactic to connect With his audience on a deeper level 

A nurture sequence is a multiple-step email sequence with several touchpoints that aims to get your subscribers or readership to act on your call to action, i.e., buy a product or subscribe to software. 

For his marketing strategy, Ramit combines a set of excellent email content and automation to create a repeatable nurture funnel that helps connect with his audience quickly and efficiently. This strategy serves Ramit in four ways. 

Let’s discuss each one of them. 

1. Set the foundation for future business

You can’t start a business relationship by selling in the first email. You’d hit the unsubscribe button right away if you were in your subscribers’ shoes. Ramit and his team understand this is important. 

So part of their nurture sequence aims to provide additional touches to build a strong relationship with prospects. They take the time to connect with new prospects and prospects, in turn, get to know the business well. 

Here are some email examples they send for this. 

2. Foster customer/subscriber attachment

Ramit’s rule here is simple: Solve readers’ problems first, sell later. He knows most people on his list are tired of their current situations and want to find solutions to overcome them. So, Ramit and his team do a great job of providing guidance and solutions to their readers for free.

Here are some email examples they send for this.

As you’d have noticed, each of these emails is geared toward helping the email readers do ONE thing — either teaching them “how to control their money” or “how they can earn more.” This strategy brings TRUST into the equation and makes it easy for Ramit to position his brands as trustworthy and authoritative in the personal finance industry.

3. Move subscribers through the buyer’s journey

This is the very essence of any email nurture sequence. 

Ramit’s nurture sequence allows him to provide subscribers with relevant and interesting content to help set their expectations and move them along to the next step in his funnel. 

The nurture sequence consists of simple, informative emails to make readers get the core of “I Will Teach How To Be Rich” as a program and educate them to be future buyers. 

For this, you can expect to receive 7 emails within the first 8 days of joining their list. In this first sequence, Ramit presents no product whatsoever. 

Instead, he prepares the subscriber’s mind for having their own businesses and gets them curious about the process. This helps him in three ways:

  • Get the subscribers curious about what he does.
  • Set the expectation for his emails regularly hitting subscribers’ inboxes.
  • Get them ready before he can introduce his products. 

4. Close deals

Next are the sales emails. Ramit sends two emails a day when he tries to get you to buy a product. You can see it below in the date row.  

Sending two emails a day to the same subscriber may seem like bugging for most companies. That’s the very reason Ramit’s strategy is unique. The two emails a day technique allows Ramit to make the sequence more impactful and effective at the same time. 

The second email reinforces and builds upon the first one. It is the same product but presented in a new light with extensive illustrations and stories. This contributes to convincing the reader or subscriber to take the desired action. 

If you are employing this strategy, make sure that you don’t send sales emails to existing customers and people that have converted. You need to use a marketing automation platform that integrates with your payment provider and has an End Flow (or eject from sequence) action. 

In Encharge you can use the New Stripe payment trigger and connect it to the End Flow step. That way the user will stop receiving emails once they make a payment.

How Ramit ties in his products to make money

To be effective, the email nurture sequence needs to sell Ramit’s products (aka his courses). 

“We focus on the Bookings Per Name (BPN) and how each campaign fits into our overall goals. We have some campaigns with a $0.05 BPN and others with a BPN of $10. The goal is to ensure each campaign is creating value and adding to our larger financial strategy,”

Ramit Sethi

Now, for the sale to happen, Ramit employs a unique strategy that helps him win big time. As we mentioned earlier, you first receive seven emails before you actually hear about any products whatsoever. 

2 emails for product tie-in

These first seven emails are basic and not about anything specific. In none of them is any of Ramit’s products mentioned. They are primarily about best practices for money management and satisfaction. 

Now, after subscribers receive the seven nurture emails, there are two more to come. These are completely different, and this is where Ramit starts to tie in his product. 

Your engagement with the first seven nurture emails qualifies you as “Ready for the next step” in Ramit’s strategy. So, for the first time, Ramit brings a product to the conversation. Yet, you can’t buy the product because it is not immediately available to you. The real purpose of these two emails is to connect the dots between the first seven emails you received and connect them to a specific product.

In this case, the product is “Earnable“. This is the first email you receive regarding the product. 

For the first time, two emails over two days that finally reference “Earnable.”

After the two emails, you will see the product available to you, and you can purchase it immediately. By this time, you have already heard a lot about it, with social proof, testimonials, examples, and stories about how it can make your life easier. 

Keep in mind that the subscriber’s enrollment or opt-in form to get onto Ramit’s list determines what product is presented to them first. This means that depending on the different segments of Ramit’s email marketing system, the product introduction emails subscribers receive may feature different products. 

This allows Ramit to give each of its products a chance. Ramit’s funnel is not aggressive, and neither is its email copy. When his automated sequence gets to the end of product promotion, and you don’t act, he doesn’t push. 

Instead, it moves on and introduces another problem you may have right now that may be preventing you from taking action. This new problem leads to the introduction of one of his other products. And the cycle continues until you hear again about the product you missed in the first place. 

As you can see in the above screenshot, Ramit closed the promotion for “How to find a dream job,” and after a few emails trying to address readers’ objections, he introduced a new problem (The need to earn more), leading to the “Earnable” course.

8 emails for a unique launch system

Ramit’s strategy wheel continues to spin, and his marketing starts to feel a bit aggressive as he pushes hard on subscribers to act. Ramit’s objective now is to get his readers to buy the “Earnable” course. Ramit sends subscribers a sequence of eight emails spread over four days, at the rate of two emails per day. 

It seems like a lot of emails over a short time period, right? Here is a statement Ramit keeps in his “Zero to Launch” sequence.

“Yes, I’ll be emailing you more over the next few days, and I’m unapologetic about it. Zero To Launch is a serious investment. A lot of us “dabble” and dream about trying an online business, but when presented with the opportunity, we shy away.”

Ramit Sethi

He goes on to say:

“I want to give you every confidence that this program can help you whether you’re young, old, single, a parent, a man, a woman, in Europe or the USA…. it doesn’t matter. I’ve tested this material worldwide across ages, genders, and experience levels. But I want to prove it to you.”

Obviously, Ramit plays the “set-the-expectation” card by telling subscribers why they’ll be hearing more from him in the following days. 

Now let’s discuss the qualities of the actual emails in the sequence and how they help him bring the strategy home. 

All the eight emails in the sequence are created to secure sales for the Earnable course, but every email is designed with one specific purpose in mind. Each email is an opportunity to explain his product to subscribers and make them want to buy. They are attention-grabbing, informative, and persuasive, all at the same time – pretty much like a sales page. 

Each email is original and carries a different copywriting technique. There is always a call to action to click on a link to the product page. 

Let’s analyze each email subject line in the sequence to see how each email advances his strategy. 

Day 1 – Announcement 

Subject line 1: How to create your own income / Earnable is now open 

Goal: Announcing the product and presenting its ins and outs to help subscribers visualize what they’re into. 

Subject line 2: Earn more – how? And how much? (Use this calculator) 

Goal: Showing how the product works and letting subscribers visualize the potential. 

Day 2 – Benefits and relevance

Subject line 1: Join Earnable and get $6.000 in business – free 

Goal: Giving subscribers reasons to take action by providing benefits. 

Subject line 2: “Is this the time to start a business?”

Goal: Associating the product to subscribers’ needs and highlighting its relevance and importance for them. This email also aims to clear doubts and assure readers.

Day 3 – Building trust/credibility and addressing objections

Subject line 1: Faster results 

Goal: Make tried, and proven outcome promises to subscribers. This email also features social proofs and testimonials from happy customers to build credibility and instill trust. 

Subject line 2: “How do I know Earnable will work for me?”

Goal: Handling objections and providing extra reasons to build trust and drive action. 

Day 4 – Going off soon

Subject line 1: Earnable closes tonight. Earn more, be your own boss, do what you love

Goal: This email leverages FOMO to create a sense of urgency. It also builds upon the importance and benefits to encourage action. 

Subject line 2: Earnable closes @ midnight – did you decide? 

Goal: This is the break-up email. It announces the course’s closure and encourages subscribers to take action before the hour. 

Remember that each email Ramit sends contains only one CTA to the product page. The sequences’ emails leverage the email marketing trifecta: great copywriting, a scarcity deadline, and automated delivery. 

Read more: 6 Killer Tips to Craft Compelling and Clickable Email Subject Lines

This allows Ramit to achieve more in a few days with just a few emails sent. The sequence works because it addresses all of the reader’s objections across the funnel. Plus, the “scarcity” he builds around the course and the pending deadline help make it more successful. 

Also, as part of his strategy, the course is not available to all subscribers simultaneously. Consequently, you will not be receiving the same email as other subscribers. Visitors checking the course on the website will still see it as unavailable. This is evidence that Ramit’s products/courses are truly personalized and based on subscriber’s unique needs at a specific time.  

Also, note that Ramit does not audit his campaigns based on Open Rate and Click-Through Rate. And as such, he does not make any decisions based on these two metrics. Instead, he and his team only have their eyes on the metric that matters the most to them: Bookings Per Name/Subscriber. 

“Our CTR and Open Rates tend to vary pretty widely by campaign. And to be honest, we don’t track these too closely.  We only dig into these numbers if we have a clear issue with a campaign…”

He went on to say:

“We’ve found that these metrics are interesting but not very valuable in predicting behavior. We’re much more focused on Bookings Per Name and the average spend per person that received our content. 

Not only does that tell us if our campaign was successful, it helps us predict future behavior.”

Read more: Revenue is more important than vanity metrics such as opens and clicks. Learn more about the concept of revenue marketing.

How Ramit ends his evergreen sales funnel

Ramit implements a strategy to convert subscribers into customers and uses marketing automation to facilitate the process. But a marketing funnel can only end in two ways. Either the prospect buys, or they don’t. 

So let’s explain what Ramit does in each case. 

1. Purchase event

Ramit has specific email sequences he feeds his clients after they buy courses. Upon purchase, Ramit’s email marketing system automatically records the purchase and tags your contact. It then removes you from the list of the course you just purchased and gets you subscribed to another sequence. 

You can think of it as a post-purchase onboarding sequence to get you started and make sure you enjoy the content of the course. Essentially, this sequence helps Ramit ensure that:

  • You don’t purchase the course and let it go maggots in your inbox.
  • You get extra resources to help enlighten the perspectives in the course.
  • You take action and act on the tips and ideas shared in the course.
  • You make out of the course and ensure ROI.

2. No-purchase event

Whether you buy a course or not, Ramit still values you as a subscriber. His strategy is to dampen the blast on that course, provide you with valuable content, and then funnel you to another product that suits your needs. 

For example, if you don’t buy “Earnable”, you’ll be receiving fewer emails about it, and the other emails you receive won’t be oriented explicitly towards that product. Once you complete the Evergreen Funnel automation without purchasing, Ramit will move you to his broadcast list. You will then be receiving regular interesting nurture emails with updates.

In Encharge, you can easily create personalized sequences based on the behavior of your subscribers. To do that you can use filter steps. In the example below a Check Field filter step is used to personalize the flow actions based on survey response:

Wrap-up

Excellent copywriting and prospect nurture strategy make Ramit’s email marketing ecosystem so successful. Now, as the saying goes, even the best marketing can’t save a bad product. The first step in finding success is to ensure you have a great product before you even launch an evergreen email funnel. Ramit’s is no different.

After you prove your product is efficient, all it takes is drafting amazing email sequences and finding the right tool for automation. There is no other way around it. 

Here is what we can learn from Ramit Sethi.

Make sure your product is ready

Make sure of your products’ worth. You need to be sure your product works for your target audience before setting up any funnel.

Ensure a consistent lead flow

You need to have assets that consistently bring you new visitors and get them to subscribe to your list. Ramit Sethi does this exceptionally well with his auto segmentation strategies and the many opt-in forms on his site. Find something that appeals to your target prospect and leverage it to win them over.  

Build relationships with your subscribers

When we asked Ramit what makes his email strategy successful, he said, “We’re focused on creating a relationship with our readers.” 

He went on to say, “Some of our readers take a tremendously long time to buy—and that’s ok. It’s our job to provide them with value in every email and to become a trusted resource for them.

Keep your eyes on the right email marketing metrics.

Email marketing continues to be an extremely profitable channel when done correctly. While open rates are important to measure, it’s more important to watch how people respond to your emails.” 

Look for click-throughs and down-funnel conversions to truly judge how well your email campaigns are doing,” he said.
Are you a content creator or infoproduct marketer who wants to grow their business using email marketing? Encharge is a marketing automation platform used by thousands of content creators worldwide to deliver personalized email funnels and messages that convert subscribers to customers. Try it out for free for 14 days.

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