How to Increase Your Email ROI with Personal Deadlines
Anthony Xiques July 12, 2018

Email can be a powerful marketing channel, but it can be REALLY challenging to build an email marketing machine that provides a positive ROI for your business…

What if it doesn’t have to be that difficult?

It turns out there’s one specific piece that most people miss when building out their email marketing.

In this post, I’m going to tell you exactly how to use this missing piece in your marketing to build email marketing that converts to real dollars for your business.

We’ll also go through some of the prerequisites for building a successful email marketing strategy. 🙂

What we’ll cover

  1. Understand user behavior
  2. Analyze who you’re writing for
  3. Identify the value you can provide your audience
  4. Structure your email sequence
  5. Create personal deadlines

1. Set a goal with user behavior in mind


When you start planning your email marketing, one of the first questions to figure out is what your ultimate goal is.

And you might have several goals, such as:

  • Product awareness
  • Education
  • Purchasing
  • Using your product
  • Referral

With any of your goals, there is always a specific behavior that you want your email subscribers (your users) to take.

One of the most popular frameworks for understanding user behavior is the Fogg Behavior Model:

Behavior can be broken down into three parts: motivation, ability, and triggers.




Motivation represents people interested in taking action on one of your goals.

As an example, let’s imagine you’re selling an online course about “How to Learn Piano in 30 Days.”

If your subscribers are not interested in learning piano, then they won’t be motivated to open your emails, purchase your course, or share it with their friends.




Ability looks for “people who can take this action.” If the course costs $99 and your subscribers don’t have $99, then they don’t have the ability to purchase the course.

Since your course is about playing the piano if they don’t have access to a piano… then there’s no ability to move forward with that behavior.




Triggers are the last layer, and a trigger is what takes a group of people who are motivated and able to do something, and it encourages them to do it now.


2. Know who you are writing for


Now that we’ve figured out what causes people to take action, we need to look at who these people are!

In your email marketing, you’ll have a few different groups of people (at least!) that you’re writing emails for.

Here are a few examples:

  • New subscribers
  • First-time buyers
  • Repeat customers
  • Non-buyers
  • “Dead” email subscribers

Drip – a popular email marketing platform – provides a great list of example workflows you can use for different segments of your audience:


email drip


And the easiest place to start is with new subscribers


3. Provide tons of value to new subscribers


The emails that you send to a new subscriber in the first week after they opt-in are going to frame the rest of their experience with you, your products, and future marketing.

Focus on improving your email marketing for new subscribers, and you’re setting the stage for success everywhere else!

When I first subscribed to the Beardbrand email list, they sent me an email a day for the first week after I subscribed:




It’s basically a free one-week mini course on all things beards!

Here’s a sample from the first email:



Beardbrand is over-delivering on content… beyond what I had expected when I gave them my email address.

And now that they sent me through this welcome sequence, I trust them a lot more because of the investment they made to EDUCATE and build trust before trying to sell me anything.

Remember how motivation was the first part of the behavior model?

Over-delivering through education and entertainment is one of the best ways to motivate your audience to purchase from you in the future.

Keep in mind… you don’t always need to create new content for these emails. Many times you can start by repurposing existing content – blog posts, videos, webinars, podcasts, courses.


4. Strategically structure your first week of emails


This is a template that our team uses as a starting point for new subscriber sequences that we build:


Day 1   Welcome
Day 2   Killing the “sacred cow”
Day 3   Problem, agitation, solution
Day 4   Story, introduce the offer
Day 5   Story, more details
Day 6   Expires tonight
Day 6   Reminder
Day 6   Last call
Day 7   Feedback


The first three and a half days are focused on content and education. It’s only about halfway through this email sequence that we introduce a special offer.

On days 5 and 6, this is where you focus on presenting the details of the offer, answer common objections, and close the sale.

Notice how on day 6 we’re sending out three different emails. This is really important! Don’t be shy about sending multiple email reminders about your offer on the last day.

Adding multiple emails on the last day of your offer can dramatically increase your email conversion rates. Most of the time your subscribers just need to be reminded a few times about what you’re offering and when it’s going to expire!

And finally, on day 7 you can send out an email either congratulating them on their purchase (with info on next steps), or if they don’t buy you can send them a quick survey asking for their feedback.


5. Create personal deadlines for your subscribers


So let’s talk about creating personal deadlines for your subscribers.

There are lots of strategies for increasing your conversions, but having an authentic deadline built into your offer is one of the most effective.

So how do you set up a deadline that’s unique to each person that opts in?

We’ve built Deadline Funnel exactly for this reason – to help you add real authentic urgency to marketing. It integrates with almost every landing page builder and email platform and is being used by thousands of marketers to increase conversions.

If you don’t want to use a platform like Deadline Funnel to automatically manage your evergreen campaigns, here are some other ideas for adding deadlines to your email marketing:

  • For new subscribers, offer a special bonus if they purchase your product within a week of signing up for your email list. Then ask them to forward their receipt to you showing when it was purchased.
  • Create a product launch campaign – manually send out the email sales sequence and take your special offer page down at the end of the promotion.
  • Once you run your first product launch, set up a monthly process to send it out at the beginning of each month for anyone on your list who hasn’t purchased previously.

When you bring each of the foundational elements together – user behavior, understanding who you’re writing for, delivering value, creating a structured offer sequence – and layer a personal deadline on top of that – you’ve created your first evergreen marketing campaign!

And from there, you can focus on increasing traffic and optimizing your campaign for even more conversions. 🙂



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Editor’s Note: This article is part of the startup tools blog series Grow Your Business brought to you by the marketing team at UniTel Voice, the virtual phone system priced and designed for startups and small business owners.

Anthony Xiques
Anthony Xiques Product Manager at Deadline Funnel

Anthony is a product manager at Deadline Funnel, a marketing funnel automation software that creates deadlines personalized to each visitor.