May 22


7 Things Russell Brunson Can Teach Us about Email Automation

By Nate McCallister

Last Updated May 22, 2018

It's important to have idols (even as a 29 year old man).

Russell Brunson is one of my internet marketing idols. His book Dotcom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online (which I got for Free + Shipping back when it launched) changed how I saw internet marketing but particularly, email automation.

In this article, I am going to share with you what Russell Brunson wrote in ​this book about email sequencing (email automation) and how and why you should implement his advice.


Russell doesn't know who I am. ​He didn't personally teach me anything, but he did change my life without knowing it. I highly recommend you grab a copy of this book either right now, or right after you read this article. It covers much more than just email automation. 

If you'd like to jump into the part of the book that covers email sequences, skip to "Section Two: Your Communication Funnel," which covers pages 55-98. ​

What Is Email Marketing Automation?

If you aren't familiar with the concept, email sequencing involves drafting a series of emails that are triggered when someone subscribes to your email list. 

Any quality email marketing service will allow you to set up these sequences and create various rules and parameters to make sure the right sequence is shown to the right subscribers.

For Example: If someone ​subscribes to my email list to download a lead magnet targeted to marketers, I would want to add them to an automated sequence that would passively market to them. 

I use ConvertKit or Actionetics ​for my email sequences (Actionetics is part of the Clickfunnels suite of tools).

Email Automation

An email sequence can be any number of emails, but I recommend at least starting with a 4 email broadcast. You will schedule time in between your emails (1-2 days). Russell explains how much time he puts between his automated email broadcasts in the Dotcom Secrets book. 

Why Is Email Automation Important?

Creating a quality email sequence takes a lot of work so it is completely reasonable that you are sold on the idea before investing time and energy into the process. 

I promise you, it is very much worth it. Here is why...

Automated email messages average 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher click-through rates than “business as usual” marketing messages. –Epsilon Email Institute

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  • Email Automation Saves Time. Your best emails should be shown to all of your subscribers. There is no need to continually write new emails when you have existing content that your new subscribers would love to read and that you know converts. 
  • Email Automation Creates an Instant Connection with Your Audience. Your email sequence will allow you to introduce yourself quickly to your new subscribers while you are fresh on their mind. 
  • Email Automation Leads to Higher Open Rates. Ironically, not emailing your list right out of the gate will usually lead to more unsubscribes and SPAM complaints. Think about it, people will forget who you are and why they are getting emails from you if you wait too long to get in touch with them and introduce yourself!
  • Email Automation Leads to "Passive Income." I have gone on the record as saying I don't believe in "passive income" (you earn it by doing the work at some point) but an email sequence is going to make you sales for every subscriber that joins your list and it will do it whether you do anything else or not (once you set your system in place).

Over 75% of email revenue is generated by triggered campaigns, rather than one-size-fits-all campaigns. Automated email campaigns account for 21% of email marketing revenue. 

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Setting up an automated email sequence may be the best decision you ever make in your internet business. 

Ok, let's get into Russell's takeaways from Dotcom Secrets. 

#1 Traffic Isn't the Big Reason You Aren't Making Sales

Traffic is awesome but it means nothing if you aren't converting it into sales. 

Russell Brunson Founder/ Internet Millionaire 

I found that the difference between a ten-thousand-dollar website and a ten-million-dollar company was all the things happening AFTER a buyer came into the initial funnel. (Page 6)

This is why creating a sales funnel/email sequence is so critical. Driving 100 visitors a month ​into a laser targeted sales sequence will likely earn you more than sending 10x the amount of traffic to something with zero follow up or monetization strategy. 

#2 You Need to Understand and Create Your Own "Value Ladder"

In order to create high converting sequences, you need to know what your goals are.

  • What actions do you want your readers to take?
  • Which products do you want them to see?
  • What order do you want your offers to be shown to your readers?
  • How can you "indoctrinate" your readers and get them to buy into your community and message?

Do not write an email sequence until you have your value ladder in place!

Here is an example of a dentist's value ladder (found on page 25 of Dotcom Secrets).

Do you notice how the first part of the value ladder is free? I'll explain more in the next step...

#3 Your Sequence Should Provide Insane Value and Some Should be FREE

One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is holding back their best content. 

In Dotcom Secrets, Russell explains how you should GIVE AWAY some of your best content as part of your email sequence. 

This sounds crazy right? Well it serves a purpose. 

This is what a normal person will think when they get something from you for free that is really high quality:

"Wow! If this is the FREE stuff, what is the PAID stuff like?!!?"

This is part of why Russell gives away the Dotcom Secret's book for free (plus shipping). He is giving you his BEST content for free so you will become a lifelong fan and ascend up his value ladder (higher priced items). 

That is the goal of an email sequence: to build lifelong fans who will buy from you over and over again because they know, like and trust you. 

#4 Test Everything

David Ogilvy Legendary Advertiser 

Never stop testing and your advertising will never stop improving.

One of my favorite features of ClickFunnels is the ability to split test pages. You don't need to use ClickFunnels to run split tests, but it is an awesome tool to do it. 

If you want to see some of the split tests that Russell and his team have done over the years, grab a free copy of the 108 Proven Split Test Winners.

Each email marketing platform will have a different approach to testing. Some allow you to do a lot and some have little testing functionality at all. 

#5 Create a Relatable "Attractive Character" in Your Indoctrination Emails

People buy from people they know, like and trust. 

Your email sequence is your chance to make this happen. ​We can also indoctrinate our users into our community. 

Russell Brunson Founder/ Internet Millionaire 

You share your backstory because you want people to see where you came from. If they can relate to where you came from, then they will want to follow you to where you are now. If they don't see the backstory, potential customers won't follow you or listen to you. (Page 63)

Be sure to share who you are in the following ways...​

  • Be Relatable. Your readers need to feel that where you are is possible for them too. If you are seen as some insanely gifted outlier, people will think you're an exception and will think that what you're selling and teaching won't work for them. 
  • Be Yourself (Even If It Is Polarizing). Being a people pleaser will keep you from having "haters," but it will also keep you from earning real money in this business. Don't be afraid to showcase opinions and stand by them regardless of what others think. Russell talks about working in the "prolific zone." Love me or hate me, there is no money in the middle. 
  • Show You Aren't Perfect. Don't hide your mistakes from your readers. Sharing your journey "warts and all" will help develop trust and prove you are not much different than you're audience. 
Attractive Character

Building an attractive character has many components so I recommend you grab a copy of Dotcom Secrets and read more. I can't cover it all here. 

#6 Create a Soap Opera Sequence

A soap opera sequence is a sequence that you use to quickly build a bond between you (the attractive character) and your new subscribers.

A "soap opera sequence" involves crafting a story that relies on open-ended, high drama "episodes" that draw your readers in and make them want to come back and find out more (in this case, open your next emails). 

One of the best parts of the Dotcom Secrets book is that Russell shows his own sequence. You can use his for a point of reference.

You will really need to read the book to get a complete understanding of the soap opera sequence, but here are some key-points.

  • Use Open Loops. Each email should lead the reader to want to open the next one. Create interest and capitalize on our need as humans to have "closure." This is how soap operas work. They create unresolved situations right before commercial breaks or at the end of episodes. 
  • Make Sure Your First Email Isn't Boring. Your first email needs to set the tone for future emails. If it is boring, you're toast.
  • ​Tell Stories/Parables. Nothing draws readers in like storytelling. The greatest marketers in the world understand this. Since our goal is to connect with our new followers, there is nothing more powerful than a relevant story (or many stories!)
  • Start Each Story on a High Point. Most people make the mistake of starting at the beginning. This isn't the book of Genesis, it's marketing! Start with the point of highest drama. A perfect example of this is the show Breaking Bad. Every episode starts with the end and makes you ask, "What in the heck happened here? I have to know!" The show then fills in the blanks throughout the episode and then, leaves you hanging again at the end. 

Please, do yourself a favor and read more about the soap opera sequence in the Dotcom Secrets book. I am not giving it justice here!

#7 Entertain Your Readers (90% Entertainment + 10% Content)

Brunson likens this practice to the show Seinfeld (he calls this the "Seinfeld Sequence." You email your list frequently (he recommends daily!) but you make sure your emails are so entertaining that they don't annoy your readers. 

He says to write about things like:

  • What is going on in your life.
  • What happened that was embarassing
  • What did you recently buy that you love.
  • Etc...

Basically, nothing! Just entertain with the goal of getting readers to eventually click back to whatever it is you're selling. 


Dotcom Secrets is an absolutely game-changing book. Some of the advice I have implemented has literally made me tens of thousands of dollars (how I approach my email marketing was the biggest improvement). So, do yourself a favor and get a free copy! You'll learn more about email marketing and sales funnel creation. You will only pay shipping and handling. 

About the author

Nate is the founder and main contributor of He is a lifestyle entrepreneur who spends his time building businesses and raising his two kids Sawyer and Brooks with his beautiful wife Emily. His main interests include copywriting, economics and piano.

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  1. Hey Nate, I looking for someone familiar with Brunson’s SOS to do a little brainstorming with. I’m trying to adapt the concept for physical products I sell, but I’m getting stuck on what my revealed secret should be, and the major CTA at the end. I have ideas, but could use some feedback. You game?


    1. Hey Steve. Typically I’d be down to do this but I’m like an hour short per day as it is right now with some new projects haha. You’re welcome to email me over what you’ve got and I’ll try to reply but I can’t promise 100%.


  2. Russells emails are borderline pestering he hard pitches in most of them ! no real value anymore….he just spruiks everything clickfunnels …Clickfunnels is almost single handedly responsible for making entrepreurship ‘Pop Culture’
    Popculpreneurs are everywhere…

    “HOW To Do This ‘1Thing’ With This SECRET one thing WITHOUT doing ANYTHING OR LESS!
    “hurry the fake timer isnt running out”


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