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How to Build an Email Marketing Machine

Imagine this…

Each day you wake up, type up an email, press SEND and watch the sales roll in.

Could there be anything more satisfying than that?

Actually… yes.  It’s much more satisfying (and lucrative) to…

… set up a SERIES of emails ONCE and watch sales roll in EVERY DAY on AUTOPILOT.

We’ll send over a million emails in over a dozen markets… today.  And we’ll do it again tomorrow.

I know a thing or two about getting ROI from email marketing and I’m going to share my system with you now.

But before I do… you should know that you don’t need a big email list or fancy software to start seeing amazing results from email marketing.  You simply need a plan.

(RELATED: Following Email Marketing Best Practices)

We call that plan “The Machine.”

Here’s how it works…

Each email we send has one of five purposes:

  • Indoctrinate – Teach them who you are
  • Engage – Get them to buy
  • Ascend – Get them to buy more
  • Segment – Learn what they want to buy next
  • Reengage/Win Back – Bring them back

Each purpose is dependent upon the last — creating 5 stages of email marketing.

It looks like this…

Email Machine

Your competitors aren’t using all five stages…

… and this is an expensive mistake.

Once you understand the stages of email marketing — you’ll be able to plug in a couple of autoresponder series (maybe you need to add an Engagement Series or an Ascension Series) and create a new revenue stream.

Here’s the thing…

Your prospect can’t be ENGAGED until they are INDOCTRINATED.  And they can’t ASCEND until they are engaged.  And so on… make sense?

This is how you maximize profit through email marketing — you send email with purpose — moving customers and prospects from one stage to the next.

Let’s go through these five stages in turn…

Stage 1 – Indoctrination Emails

Congratulations!  You have a new opt in to your email list.

Now what?

The first step is to teach your new prospect about you and your organization.  You need to indoctrinate them.

  • Who are you?
  • What do you stand for?
  • Why are you different?
  • What should they expect from you?
  • How often?
  • What should they do next?

Your new prospect will only receive the indoctrination series once.

Daily Worth has an email list approaching 1 million subscribers.

Here’s what you receive after opting in…

Example Indoctrination Email from Daily Worth

You’ve been indoctrinated.  Every sentence in the above email is designed to teach you what Daily Worth is about.

Trunk Club is a clothing business that assigns men a personal stylist and ships clothing to you based on your personal taste.

The Trunk Club model is a bit hard to understand at first and Trunk Club knows that.

They got me to opt-in to a contest offer and hit me with this indoctrination email that teaches new leads about the business…

Example Indoctrination Email

Even the mighty Apple knows they need to explain themselves to new prospects and customers.

When you sign up for Apple’s iCloud service you’ll get this…

Indoctrination Email from Apple iCloud

You might find that a single indoctrination email is sufficient… but more likely it will be more effective sent as a series.

Here’s the second email in a series from the guys over at Fizzle

Example Indoctrination Series

Notice how they ask you to engage with their email by replying back.  This is important and we’ll take more about why in a second.

Once you’ve indoctrinated your prospect… you can move them into an Engagement series.

Stage 2 – Engagement Emails

Engagement emails convert prospects into customers.

They make offers.

In this example, HubSpot is attempting to engage me in their partner program.  This email was triggered when I downloaded one of their free reports and I indicated that Digital Marketer is an agency…

Example Engagement Email from HubSpot

The cart abandonment series is a staple Engagement email for smart online retailers.

Lowe’s knows the drill…

Example Email Marketing

Your business can see big gains by simply plugging in an Engagement Series.  Check out the first video in this training series where I’ll walk you through a 7-Day Engagement Series you can put to work right now.

Once you’ve engaged your audience… it’s time for an ascension series.

Stage 3 – Ascension Emails

This is where the big money is made so listen up…

For every offer you make there is some percentage of buyers that would buy more.  

Every buyer you acquire through an Engagement email series should receive an ascension series.

This ascension offer from StudioPress was sent to customers that had previously purchased WordPress themes…

Example Engage Email from StudioPress

The folks over at StudioPress know I buy WordPress themes so why not offer to sell me more.

The entry level offer over at Marketing Profs gets you access to their free content but they are quick to move me into an Ascension Series to upgrade me to Marketing Profs Pro.

Example Engage Email from MarketingProfs

Notice the use of social proof to convince me to ascend.

The non-profit charity: water follows up with contributors to show them the impact their donation is having — and closes with a call to action to ascend to start their own fundraising campaign…

Example Ascension Email 2

So… what do you do when customers and prospects say “NO” to the Engagement or Ascension series you send them?

Simple… you change the message until they respond.

Stage 4 – Segmentation Emails

The goal of the Segmentation Series is to get your prospect to raise their hand (open, click or opt in) and show interest in something you sell.

When they do… they will be placed in the appropriate Engagement Series.

Notice how Joe Polish over at Pirahna marketing uses questions to determine my interest in his Genius Network Event…

Example From Joe Polish Email Marketing

By clicking through (segmenting myself) I then received this follow up email Engagement Series…

Engagement Email Following a Segmentation Email

Here’s how Marriot is handling segmentation… clicking on any of the offers below displays interest and segments the list.

Segmentation Email From Marriot

Are you seeing the power of Segmentation and how it feeds prospects back into your Engagement and Ascension series?

Sending a single Segmentation email to your list can set off a chain reaction of sales.

Ok… now let’s look at the simplest (and often the most impactful) stage of email marketing…

Stage 5 – Reengagement/Win Back Emails

What happens when customers and prospects stop opening and clicking on your email?

If your answer is NOTHING — you’re leaving big money on the table.

Setting up a Reengagement and Win Back Series is the lowest of low hanging fruit.  It just makes sense to put an autoresponder series in place that reenergizes disengaged subscribers and brings them back into an Engagement and Ascension Series to buy.

But that’s just half the benefit…

Leaving disengaged emails on your list does tremendous damage to the deliverability of your email.  By reengaging subscribers that have strayed from the pack you’ll avoid the Spam folder.

Notice how LinkedIn reinforces the value of their LinkedIn Today emails with this Reengagement email and threatens to take it away if no action is taken…

Reactivation Email from LinkedIn

The folks over at had their work cut out for them after thousands of people created accounts but couldn’t complete their registration…

Email Marketing example from

At pinkberry, they use a loyalty rewards card to track defecting customers and make a win back offer when customers haven’t visited in a while…

Example Win Back Email

Netflix makes a win back offer to customers that cancel their subscription…

Win Back Campaign from Netflix

How could you use email to reengage and win back customers and prospects?

How do I get started?

It starts with understanding that the 5 stages of email marketing exist.

After that, it’s a matter of determining where you can make the most impact on your business.

  • Can an indoctrination campaign produce more engaged prospects that are eagerly awaiting your next email?
  • Should you build an Engagement Series to revive an old product or service?
  • Could you squeeze more ROI from your customers with an Ascension Series?
  • Can you make relevant, high-converting offers to your list by sending a Segmentation email?
  • Would a Reengagement and Win Back Series bring 5, 10 or 15% of your list back to buy?

The answer is YES on all accounts.

Email Machine

Ryan Deiss

Ryan Deiss

Ryan Deiss is the Founder and CEO of and Founder and Managing Partner of, a digital media and ecommerce group that owns dozens of properties. Ryan has been called one of the world’s leading digital marketers by Shark Tank star, Daymond John. A best selling author, founder of multiple companies collectively employing hundreds around the globe, and one of the most dynamic speakers on marketing in the United States today, he is undeniably a recognized expert on the digital era. Connect with Ryan on Twitter.

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