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SPI 544: How to Build a Remarkable Email Marketing Machine with Brad Hussey

Have you ever had an ambitious goal—one that when you’re finally faced with the opportunity to fulfill it, you’re met with resistance and ultimately try to self-sabotage? It’s that voice in your head that tells you you’re just not good enough.

Today’s “Teaching Friday” guest host, Brad Hussey, calls that voice the Arsonist. The Arsonist knows you’re on to something spectacular and wants to stop you from accomplishing it, so it tries to convince you to burn it all down.

What we must always try to do as creators and entrepreneurs is feel that fear, that anxiety—and do it anyway.

The “it” in today’s case is email marketing—and not just any ordinary email marketing. Brad will be sharing his approach to creating a remarkable, hyper-personalized marketing machine that delights, resonates, and turns traffic into customers and fans for life. Tune in if you want to learn how to build an email marketing cycle (not a funnel!) that builds momentum and eventually lets you grow your business on autopilot.

Today’s Guest Host

Brad Hussey

Brad Hussey is a creator, web designer, and consultant from Canada. He’s taught more than 600,000 web designers & developers how to get better at their craft and make a living doing work they love. As a consultant, Brad helps busy creators, coaches, and authors double their business with remarkable email marketing that runs on autopilot.

SPI 544: How to Build a Remarkable Email Marketing Machine with Brad Hussey

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later.

Speaker 1: And now your guest host, he studied musical theater in college, and though he’s a little rusty, he can sing, act, and tap dance. Bet you’ve never heard of a tap-dancing web designer before: Brad Hussey.

Brad Hussey: Hey, my name is Brad Hussey. I’m just an ordinary Canadian guy providing for his family in an extraordinary way. I’ve been making a living online since 2012 as a freelance web designer, a course creator, and a marketing consultant.

Brad Hussey: As a creator, I’ve had the privilege of helping more than 600,000 web designers, developers, and creatives, how to get better at their craft. And as a consultant, I help busy creators, coaches, and authors double their business by building remarkable and personalized email marketing machines that run on autopilot.

Brad Hussey: You could follow my journey at or say, “Hey” on Twitter @BradHussey. And if you’d like to learn how I can help you double your business with autopilot email marketing, watch my video at

Brad Hussey: Have you ever had an ambitious goal that when you’re finally faced with the opportunity to fulfill it, you’re met with resistance and ultimately try to self sabotage? You know that voice in your head that tells you that you’re just not good enough? Well, I call that voice the Arsonist, because he knows that you’re onto something spectacular and wants to stop you from accomplishing it, so he tries to convince you to burn it all down.

Brad Hussey: For me being on this show is one of my longstanding professional goals, so it brings me intense joy and anxiety to have your ear. And because of the importance of this moment for me, I’ve frequently been visited by the Arsonist, who takes pleasure in reminding me that what I’m about to say will royally suck.

Brad Hussey: But what we must always try to do as creators and entrepreneurs is feel that fear, that anxiety, and do it anyway. So friend, here I go, and I’m taking you with me.

Brad Hussey: Today, we are talking email marketing, but not just any ordinary email marketing. We’re talking about how to create a remarkable, hyper-personalized marketing machine that delights, resonates, and turns traffic into customers and fans for life.

Brad Hussey: It’s also worth mentioning that doing this properly has the potential of doubling your business in the process. To help me illustrate great personalized email marketing, I want you to think of your favorite conference that you’ve attended. For me, that conference was Craft + Commerce in Boise, Idaho, hosted by the ConvertKit team. Here’s why. Before I even attended the conference, I was invited by the ConvertKit CEO, Nathan Barry, to attend a private session with a dozen or so other entrepreneurs who were way above my weight class. This was when I opted in to the conference, the lead magnet, if you will. When I arrived at the event location in Boise, I was warmly welcomed as if I was already a good friend. I was provided with relevant information about the event, the schedule, directions, and answers to questions that I hadn’t even asked yet. This really helped me to feel relaxed and at home. This, I would consider the onboarding stage or the welcome sequence.

Brad Hussey: Since I opted in to an exclusive mastermind invite, I was taken aside and whisked away into a private conference room, filled with a bunch of high-performing entrepreneurs. Some of them I’d even recognized and looked up to. The short session was everything that I’d hoped it to be and more. I’ve made connections, and I was challenged with some high-level thinking, and I felt like I’d received more value than the time I invested.

Brad Hussey: What I’m trying to say is every piece of the conference was expertly planned, from the mastermind session to the main stage presentations, the food to the breakout workshops, the networking opportunities, even the sponsored pitches and promotions were on point and relevant. Peppered throughout the event, the ConvertKit team would gently remind us that we could pre-order next year’s conference tickets at a discount. And ultimately, after the speakers wowed the audience and throughout the weekend, we’d received value from networking, learning in workshops, and the dinner parties, it was then that ConvertKit offered everyone in the audience tickets for next year’s event at a discount so long as we purchased before the end of this event.

Brad Hussey: The timing, it was right, the audience was primed, they front-loaded with value. The entire weekend was jam-packed with learning and breakthroughs and value. That trust had been established, and we were all paying attention. The offer at that time, it was relevant, time-sensitive, and scarce. Let’s call this section, the “offer sequence.” And finally, after the event was over, we’d all flew back home or drove back home, ConvertKit maintained a relationship with the attendees. Now, I’ll speak from my experience and say that they would consistently send me relevant and valuable content, videos, workshops, training, education to my inbox, helping me accelerate my creative business success, and that would keep them at the top of my mind. They were very relevant to me in my mind. And this is why I’m a long-term customer of their software and will certainly attend a future conference of theirs when I have the opportunity.

Brad Hussey: This ongoing communication and provision of value, if you permit me to stretch this metaphor one last time, we will dub the “nurture sequence.” Quick recap, lead magnet, opt-in, welcome, offer, and nurture. This all happened at the conference in real-time. This structure is the email marketing cycle. It’s simple, but crazy powerful.

Brad Hussey: Okay. The reason I like drawing comparisons between a flawlessly executed event and email marketing is that just like a conference, your email marketing can be precisely planned to provide a highly personalized and valuable human experience at each and every step. Now, email marketing software, you have to remember, is merely a tool to help you connect with humans, provide value, and make offers at scale around the clock.

Brad Hussey: Now it’s incredible when you think about it, so why aren’t more creators doing it this way? Why aren’t more creators extremely satisfied with their email marketing strategy? The reason I think is because most creators, and not by a fault of their own, they approach their email marketing in a shortsighted and tactical fashion. What I mean is, they’ll attend a webinar or a workshop and they’ll pick up a few tactics, tricks, and play with a new feature in their favorite email marketing software and they hope that it will transform everything. Well, of course it never does. As the saying goes, “You can’t read the label from inside the jar.” When you’re applying a tactical, short-sighted approach, you’re not actually looking at the big picture.

Brad Hussey: What I suggest is creators must view their email marketing from a broad perspective and create a holistic plan that treats each subscriber as a human being on a journey and design every single step, just like the conference. And approaching it this way should work seamlessly whether you have one subscriber, a million subscribers, whether your content and promotions are evergreen, live, or a combination of both, and whether you want to employ a more aggressive or casual approach.

Brad Hussey: How do we ensure that our email marketing is as remarkable as a flawlessly planned conference? Well, we start with a strategy, a plan, a piece of paper. Remember, your email marketing software, it’s not a planning tool; it’s a tool to deploy your plan. We need to zoom way out and start with the ABCs of your business. Scratch some notes down in a notebook if you’ve got a piece of paper somewhere, or just make some mental notes and try and answer these questions and reflect on this, why are you in business in the first place? What is your business about exactly? Do you have a detailed customer avatar? What preexisting problem does your business solve? How do you go about solving that problem for your target customer? What’s your primary offering? Your main thing that you sell. What’s the transformation being promised to your customer in that offering? Write it all down, make mental notes, you know the drill.

Brad Hussey: All of these answers matter in a real-world way. We don’t do these exercises for fun or to stroke the ego; your answers inform everything, your marketing, your sales conversations, your copywriting, your delivery, your pricing. The more clarity you have on the fundamentals of your business, the more precise everything will be. And that’s a promise.

Brad Hussey: Okay. So how do we implement our plan? Well, I’d like to share three principles for you to keep in mind while you implement the strategy and ultimately build your email marketing machine. Number one, good email marketing is more like a cycle rather than a funnel. Cycles are in constant motion, they build momentum; funnels are more like a one-time use and they drain everything in one direction.

Brad Hussey: Number two, apply a modular and holistic approach to your strategy. Now, what do I mean by this? Modular, meaning each individual piece of your email marketing, your lead magnets, your welcome sequence, your offers, nurturing. They all work independently and stand on their own, but holistic in the sense that together, they build a powerful, complete machine.

Brad Hussey: Number three, be 100% you. People can smell a fake. Even through their screen. You probably emit a virtual odor. If you’re copying a competitor, you’re simply making your competitor look better. The less you are like everyone else, the less your marketing will suck. Try to be the one to copy.

Brad Hussey: Let’s talk practical application. You got that notebook of yours? Let’s get people on your list with a lead magnet. A good captivating lead magnet gets your subscriber 10% unstuck. Remember when you wrote down the big, hairy problem your primary offering solves for your target customer? Well, how can you get them 10% unstuck in short order? That’s your winning lead magnet. Keep it short, keep it actionable. And don’t confuse value with volume. If you overload your subscriber with a 10,000-word white paper, hours of free video and a bonus worksheet to boot, you’re just going to scare them off. You’re going to give them more emotional labor than they actually want. A lead magnet can come in the form of a PDF cheat sheet, a personality quiz, swipe files, templates, coupon codes, a one-week challenge, or my favorite, a five-day email course. It all really depends on your customer and your business and what you think can get them 10% unstuck. Write down some lead magnet ideas that do just that.

Brad Hussey: Next up, your welcome sequence. The welcome or onboarding sequence should guide your new subscriber into your world. And it comes after your initial lead magnet delivery. When they opt into your list, they get the lead magnet, give them the lead magnet, whether it’s sending them to the page or sending them an immediate follow-up email. Your welcome sequence comes immediately after this. You want to introduce yourself, tell a bit of your story, get them up to speed on what you do and why you’re worthy of their attention, why you’re relevant to them at this stage of their journey. Now, the reason why I like using email courses is because it acts as both a welcome and an education sequence. In one fell swoop, I can introduce myself and create a personal connection, highlight my expertise and establish authority, help my new subscriber get 10% unstuck, and prime them for my offer.

Brad Hussey: Here’s a pro tip: if your lead magnet is a five-day email course and not just a quick PDF download, then the email course and the welcome sequence can be one and the same. This is so you aren’t sending them a five-day email course and then a five-day welcome sequence after that, for example. If you want to use an email course like me, write down your answers to these few simple questions: What’s the transformation your primary offer creates for your target customer? For example, I might say, “the transformation my offer creates is doubling your business with email.” What does 10% unstuck look like to your new subscriber? For example, I might say, “to have a plan with the building blocks of a remarkable email marketing machine.” Now, the last answer is what your new subscriber will achieve by the end of your email course? All you have to do now is break that objective down into five simple, actionable, daily learning lessons, sprinkle in some personality, tell a story to strengthen a point, provide some examples, and you’ve got the makings of a really great email course and welcome sequence.

Brad Hussey: And now that you’ve got your subscribers 10% of the way, naturally, they want to see how you can take them to the finish line. They’re primed and expecting you to make a relevant offer. Let’s do exactly that with an offer sequence. This will be a five-to-seven-day sequence, usually the following week after your email course, offering your primary product or service that gets them the transformation that you are promising, the 90% remainder. Don’t shy away from pitching your thing. You’ve earned it at this point, but keep it balanced. Start out by introducing your offer, and as you move throughout the week, soften up a little bit by leading with value, objection handling, answering questions, providing testimonials and social proof. Give a peek behind the curtain of your offering.

Brad Hussey: And then at the end of the email sequence at the end of the week, finish off with one last offer email. Some will take you up on your offer. Many will not. That’s the math, and that’s precisely what you want. Onboard your new customers, and then deliver what you promised. Now for the remainder of subscribers who didn’t convert to a customer, or take you up on your offer, what you can do is add them to an automated sequence that asks for feedback and why they chose not to buy at this time. This will create a feedback loop and inform future messaging, promotions, and possibly even rescue the sale if they were confused about something.

Brad Hussey: Finally, your subscribers are now ready to be nurtured over time, as long as they remain on your list. Serve these people by sending an evergreen newsletter sequence. Most creators are familiar with a newsletter where you write and send a one off email blast to your entire list, usually weekly or monthly. The problem with this strategy is that your new subscribers will feel like they’ve entered in the middle of something and wonder what they’ve missed because, in fact, they will have missed something, possibly a lot. For example, if you’ve been writing weekly issues of a newsletter and you’re about to hit send on newsletter issue number seven, the person who subscribed to your list yesterday will get newsletter issue number seven, but they will have missed issues one through six. And unless they go hunting around on your blog to try and find that content they’ll have missed perhaps some of your best material. Enter the evergreen newsletter. This is when you create a sequence of all of your, let’s call it “all-star” content, to send out based on the date your subscriber joined.

Brad Hussey: Let’s say you have 52 emails pre-written and queued up in your evergreen sequence. That’s one year of weekly content. The subscriber who joins today will get email number one, while the subscriber who joined 10 weeks ago will be receiving email number 10. Make sense? And keep in mind, this happens without you having to remember to write and send an email blast every week. Automation for the win. Am I right?

Brad Hussey: Pro tip: your evergreen newsletters aren’t just for providing free value and content. At the bottom of those emails, might I suggest, in a quick PS, write a short, relevant call to action. This could be your course, a done-for-you service, a discovery call, webinar, even affiliate product, whatever makes sense. And this means that on any given week, every subscriber, regardless of when they joined, will be reading your best content, deepening their relationship with you, and receiving relevant calls to action, and ultimately, taking you up on your offers without you lifting a finger. It’s an online-business-growing miracle machine.

Brad Hussey: Now I know what many of you are probably thinking at this point, “Brad, what if I still want to send live newsletters?” I get it. And that could be a part of your brand. The reality is you can do both, live and evergreen. In fact, many of my clients whom I help with their email strategy, do this exact thing. I do it, as well. If your evergreen newsletter is scheduled to be sent on Tuesdays, like mine, just make sure that you send your live newsletters on a different day, like Thursday, which is what I do, for example.

Brad Hussey: Let’s review, first, start with a plan before building anything in your email marketing tool. By intimately understanding your business, your target customer’s pain, and your offer that solves that problem, provides the transformation, you’ve informed every step of your email marketing strategy. Remember, you’re building a cycle, not a funnel. Cycles build momentum and are in constant motion whereas funnels spill out on the garage floor. Capture a person with an irresistible lead magnet that gets some 10% unstuck; frontload with value. Onboard them into your world. Assure them they’re in the right place to achieve the transformation they seek. Make a relevant offer; you’ve earned it. Nurture the relationships on your list by playing the long game with an evergreen newsletter sequence. Let the cycle run, build momentum, and grow your business on autopilot. Now, all you have to do is keep doing what you do best and add people to the machine.

Brad Hussey: My friend, I want to thank you sincerely for listening to this episode. It was a total joy to do this, and I hope that what I’ve shared with you today helps you create or improve your own remarkable email marketing machine for your business.

Brad Hussey: To help you get everything set up, I’ve gone ahead and put together a special page just for the SPI podcast listeners at The page is complete with resources, templates, and further guidance to ensure that your email marketing strategy is on point. And if you’re just too darn busy and you’d like me to build this entire thing for you, I do offer a service called, where I will create a tailor-made email marketing machine for your business in one day for a flat fee. You can watch my video to get more information and read more testimonials at to see if it’s a right fit for you.

Brad Hussey: Once again, thank you so much. My name is Brad Hussey, and I’ll see you around.

Pat Flynn: Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sarah Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski. And our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown.

Pat Flynn: The Smart Passive Income podcast is a production of SPI media. We’ll catch you in the next session.

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