Email Marketing Do's and Don'ts - The Momma Method

Written by Michael Cheney. Last updated on 9th January 2021

Email marketing do's and don'ts were not on my radar over 20 years ago when I first started my online business. It was the year 2000 and I was clueless. 😀

The Momma Method - Email Marketing Do's and Don'tsSince then I've made a ton of mistakes and got a bunch of things right too.

I've been fortunate to generate over $6 Million in sales with email marketing and now I want to share with you;

"The Momma Method" -

A simple way to create the best email marketing campaigns.

By the way - if you're totally new to this (and have 25 minutes spare!!) then feel free to watch this video from Google which gives you some of the basics;

What the heck has your Momma got to do with email marketing do's and don'ts?

I'll tell you;

The biggest mistake most small businesses make with their emails is to treat them like corporate emails.

Yes, of course, you need to be looking at ROI, metrics and key performance indicators.

But when it comes to your email marketing itself you should be creating emails which are PERSONAL and not at all businesslike.

Momma Knows Email Marketing Do's and Don'ts Best

Email Do's and Don'tsWrite your emails like you are sending them to your Mom.

I created this method because I got sick of seeing business owners struggling to get anywhere with their emails.

They would contact me complaining about low open rates, bad click through rates and lack of sales.

Even when they had pretty decent-sized lists.

Assuming the leads are targeted then this can only mean one thing;

You are not building enough credibility, trust and rapport with your subscribers.

And the biggest reason for this is because you're not writing your emails as if you are writing to your Momma.

Think about it...

It Starts With Your Subject Line

Email Subject LineLet's just take a look at some of the email marketing don'ts with the Momma Method...

You don't want to CAPITALIZE EVERY WORD of your subject line - it looks crappy, promotional and not like an email you would send your Mom.

If in doubt at any point just ask yourself;

"Would I send this to Mom? Would I write an email like this for my Mom?"

Using promotional language and marketing talk in your subject lines is a big no-no too.

It's a real turn off.

Do you ever get this email from your Mom?

SUBJECT: "WOW. Come See Me This Weekend (50% off My Meatloaf!!)

No. You don't.

If you write personal-style emails they will get under people's radar.

This means your emails will get noticed, get opened, get read and get clicked on.

Let's move on to a shocking secret...

EXPOSED: The Ugly Truth About Your Inbox

Email Marketing InboxLet's be honest...

When you fire up your inbox in the morning it resembles an explosion in an enveloped and canned meat factory (spam!) - am I right?

Gone are the days where you have a few spare hours each day to diligently look through every single email.

You skim-read your inbox and quickly start filtering, trashing, spamming, junking, deleting and ignoring anything you feel is UNIMPORTANT.

You are ruthless.

Quite right - you have to be.

Time is short and you don't want to be bothered with the latest discounts, offers and marketers trying to peddle their wares on you do you?

So why are you emailing people in exactly this way?

Are you ready because it's time to do...

A Quick and Dirty Email Experiment

Hold onto your underpants because in a sec here I'm going to show you a selection of email subject lines. 🙂

I want you to skim-read them as if you're looking at your inbox in the morning and tell me which ones (if any!) stand out to you...

Ready? Here goes...

SUBJECT: ABC Corp would like your feedback

SUBJECT: We just SLASHED our prices

SUBJECT: 15% off nylon trousers, today only



SUBJECT: Today's Special Offer

SUBJECT: This Month's Newsletter is Ready

SUBJECT: Our widget just WON AN AWARD

SUBJECT: Can you help? My wife said you would hate this...


Email Marketing ExperimentWhich email subject line stands out to you?

(Please don't say the BLUE PILLS one! haha!)

My guess is, if you're like everyone on my mailing list, you said this one;

SUBJECT: Can you help? My wife said you would hate this...

And here's why;

Because that subject line sounds personal, evokes curiosity, is addressing you directly and has several "open loops" such as;

  • Help with what?
  • Who is this guy's wife?
  • What did she say I would hate?
  • Why does he need my help with this?

The combination of question, curiosity, non-promotional languge, everyday language, normal formatting and a personal approach makes this subject line a winner. 🏆

An easy way to get things right with email is to look at your inbox and do the opposite of everyone else.

Stand out.

Get rid of all the promotional talk and just write emails as if you were messaging your Mom.

Here's something you really need to know...

The Cold, Hard Truth About Email Marketing in 2021

Stand Out in the Email InboxYes, it might still be the best way to grow your business but email marketing has never been harder;

You are competing for attention in the inbox with a growing number of businesses.

A simple offer, discount, coupon or deal just won't cut it any more.

"If you write in a promotional tone using promotional words, language and formatting you are dead in the water."

You will be consigned instantly to the Trash Can.

Thankfully the Momma Method is here to save you.

Just write as if you are emailing your Mom or imagine how your Mom writes to you.

It's all about standing out, being different, being authentic, being genuine and forming a real personal connection with each one of your subscribers.

You can't do that using marketing language and promotional gimmicks.

You need to just write as you talk in everyday life.

Be yourself.

Let me share with you a...

Nifty Little Secret to Boosting Your Email Open Rate

Boost Email Open RateThis is so easy but lots of people don't even know about it.

Here it is;

Just read your email out loud.


Once you've finished writing it (but before you send it) read it out loud to yourself.

If you stumble on anything, edit it.

If you get stuck on a word, edit it.

If something sounds clunky or confusing, edit it.

"You want your email to be so easy to read that a 5th grader could read it."

Unless you're selling technical engineering equipment there really is no need to get into difficult language.

Keep it simple.

You want your emails to flow like a knife through butter.

Do you ever struggle to read emails from your Mom?

Have you received an email from your Mom before and had to turn to a dictionary or ask a friend what a certain word meant?

No, you have not.

Momma knows best.

Now it's time to move onto...

7 Email Marketing Do's and Don'ts

I've been doing email marketing for over 20 years.

In this section I want to share with you some of the biggest do's and don'ts which can add boost your open rates, click through rates and revenue from your email marketing campaigns.

Let's dive right in...

#1. DO Make Sure You Email at Least Once a Week

Email Weekly at LeastThis will vary from business to business. I had one business where I would email 2-3 times A DAY and people loved it!

It's important to create emails which are informative, entertaining AND have an offer inside them.

You can email more often when the very content of your emails is adding value.

This is the trick.

If you just send promotions all the time then this won't work.

#2. DO Speak To Subscribers One-To-One Like a Real Person

Speak To Your Subscribers Like a Real PersonDon't hide behind a mask, a business name or some anonymous entity.

Be yourself.

Form a relationship with these people.

Tell them personal stories and start building rapport so they get to know you, like you, trust you and buy from you.

You can't do this if you're writing promotional, corporate-style emails.

#3. DO Polarize Your List to Create Raving Fans

Polarize Your Email ListIt is better to have a smaller amount of people who love you (and some who hate you) than a large group of people who are indifferent.

In today's world political correctness has gone mad.

Businesses are terrified of offending anyone or speaking their mind.

As an entrepreneur you can throw a little caution to the wind here and say it like it really is.

"Speak as you would to a friend and show some of your personality."

Yes you will annoy some people.


This means it's working.

If you are not getting a small number of complaints or unsubscribes then you are not emailing emotional enough content often enough.

Be bold, be brave and be a little controversial on occasions.

The biggest names out there in all walks of life know this.

They have raving fans and haters.

Don't try to tread the middle ground to please everyone - it's boring and will not get you the results you want.

#4. DO Use a Story in Every Single Email

Use Story in Your EmailsForget special offers, discounts and "limited time deals".

Tell a story in every email.

It can be a personal story about you, a story about something in the news or a story about something that happened in the workplace.

Set the scene.

Use curiosity to draw people in.

And then nicely flow the ending or lesson of the story into a link to your offer.

#5. DO Always Have Just ONE Single Link in Every Email (at the bottom)

Only Include One Link in Your EmailsYou want to train your subscribers to always be looking for that link.

It encourages them to read all of your email rather than click away too early.

It's your job in the email to PREPARE them for seeing an offer.

"It is NOT your job to sell the offer or explain all the details and benefits of it inside the email."

This is what the salesletter or website is for.

And whatever you do;

Don't be tempted to put multiple links or offers in one email.

Did you know?

The more choices you give people the less people will make ANY choice.

So while you might think you are increasing your chances or a click and sale you are actually killing your chances stone dead.

One story, one angle, one offer, one link.

Commit this to memory because it can make you a fortune.


#6. DO Use Curiosity Wherever You Can

Use Curiosity in Your Email Subject LinesThe late, great copywriter Gary Halbert famously once said;

"Nothing sells more than curiosity." - Gary Halbert

Read that again.

Forget about pain.

Screw desire.

Pure and simple curiosity is where it's at.

It's true - people will often buy something just to find the answer to a mystery question.

I've seen this firsthand time and time again as people will contact me and say things like;

"There was a bullet point on your salesletter that mentioned a secret 7-minute tactic, please can you tell me which part of the training covers that?"

One single curiosity-creating bullet point got someone to hand over their wallet and buy something.

Think about that.

"If you're not using curiosity in your email marketing campaigns you are seriously missing out on big revenue."

You want to use the best email subject lines that stand out and evoke curiosity, yes.

But this is also about following that curiosity through the email from the opening line, to the main content and then the call to action and link at the end.

Leaving open loops like this in your email will have people desperate to click and find out what the full story is.

You don't want to hold too much back though.

You need to provide enough content and details that the email is still informative and entertaining in its own right.

It shouldn't be a bait and switch exercise where you use totally "blind copy" to trick people into clicking.

#7. DO Use Simple Language and Formatting

Use Simple LanguageJust like your Mom would do;

Use plain language and normal, basic formatting for your emails.

Nothing screams "PROMOTION" more than capitals, different colors, animations, pictures in an email or highlighted areas.

You don't do this in emails to your Mom so don't do it in emails to your prospects either.

Okay, so that's the good stuff you SHOULD be doing.

7 Don'ts of Email Marketing

Now let's look at the other side of the coin and talk about what you most definitely should NOT do in email marketing...

There are a lot of No-No's in email marketing but these are my top 7 recommendations for you...

#1. DON'T Obsess Over Unsubscribe Rates

Unsubscribe RatesYou can't please everyone all the time.

It's far better to polarize your email list and have a bunch of people who adore you and some who unsubscribe rather than just a bored old list of people who could care less either way.

All the really matters with email marketing is what kind of relationship you are building with the people who "get you".

How much value you are delivering and how much money you are making as a result of these two things.

Anything else is just noise.

#2. DON'T Use Promotional Language and Messages

Email Sales and PromotionsUsing words like "sale", "discount", "coupon", "special deal", "limited time", "50% off" etc. turns off your prospects.

They're not stupid - they know your emails are going to sell something.

"People want to be entertained and educated, not sold to."

Almost every single email in their inbox is just trying to sell to them in a loud, shouty voice.

Be different, stand out and avoid using the sales talk.

Almost every single email in their inbox is just trying to sell to them in a loud, shouty voice.

Be different, stand out and avoid using the sales talk.

#3. DON'T Try To Hide Your Unsubscribe Link

Don't Hide Your Email Unsubscribe LinkAhhh this old chestnut...

I've seen people try doing this in many ways over the years;

  • Putting a number of spaces in after their email content to push the unsubscribe link down the page
  • Only including an unsubscribe link in the online, web page version of their email so people have to click twice
  • Just blatantly not including an unsubscribe link at all!

Don't do any of this.

If people want off your list then it is their loss and you should be glad to be rid of their sorry asses.

You are trying to build an army of raving fans, remember?

If people don't value your brilliant emails then screw them - let them leave.

#4. DON'T Treat Your Emails as Your Propaganda Platform

Email PropagandaEmail marketing is not a one-way street.

This is not about you taking to the stage as the masses stare up at you hanging on your every word.

You are building a relationship here.

Relationships are built on TWO-WAY communication so...

You need to use this to your advantage with your emails by asking for feedback, inviting people to reply and engaging with all your subscribers who take the time to message you.

Yes this takes more time than the lazy "Do Not Reply To Me Because I'm So Busy And Important" method but it is worth it.

The personal touch you show your subscribers could seal the deal on that 3-figure or 4-figure sale you've been working on...

#5. DON'T Forget To Test Your Emails Before Sending

Test Your Emails Before SendingI've made this mistake a LOT, I'm embarrassed to say.

And while it does give you an excuse to email people again with an "Oops, sorry!" type email I don't recommend it.

You should be checking everything over before you broadcast any email including things like;

  • Reading it out loud to check ease of reading
  • Making sure it goes to your inbox
  • Proof-reading for typos
  • Checking the link inside the email goes to the right place
  • Running a spam-check on it from your autoresponder to make sure it will get through
  • Viewing it on a cellphone to make sure it looks okay

This all sounds like a pain in the ass but...

Trust me.

It's well worth doing.

You will get this routine down so it becomes second nature and it will make your email marketing campaigns much more profitable.

#6. DON'T Use a "Do Not Reply" Email Address

Do Not ReplyNothing screams 'Egotistical Maniac" than a DoNotReply email address.


Who do these people think they are?

Regardless of what the email says, if someone messages your inbox but won't let you reply to them what does that say about their business, their ethics and their motivation?

Be open, be available and be present for your subscribers.

You will be richly rewarded.

#7. DON'T Underestimate the Power of Email

Power of Email MarketingEmail still remains the best way to reach prospects and customers.

As new digital marketers shout from the rooftops about social media, video and text messages the stats just don't lie;

According to DMA, for every $1 you spend on email marketing you will, on average, generate a $42 return.

And according to Statista, over 300 billion emails are sent every day!

Email marketing is not something to be added to your marketing mix.

Email needs to be your primary #1 focus!


I hope you enjoyed and got lots of value from this training.

Now grab this next one, a free video, which shows you how to turn emails into money;


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