This post by Brenda Do, www.BLCopywriting.com
What to sell (and never sell) via email
Email is so quick and cheap, it’s no surprise most businesses use it to get the word out about new products, special offers, and other promotions. But most emails end up with lackluster results because many businesses try to do all of the selling in the email.
What they don’t understand is:
Emails are not supposed to make the sale. Emails are supposed to drive your reader into the sales process.
To understand this better, let’s look at the typical business client…
The people I talk to usually get about 300 emails a day at work. About 150-200 of them are legitimate emails they must answer. If they spend one minute per email, that eats up nearly three and a half hours of their work day!
This doesn’t include the gobs of time spent answering these emails. So the shorter your email, the higher your chance they’ll read through it.
And you need to keep emails brief because roughly 7 out of 10 people read emails off their smartphones. When you’re reading from such a tiny screen, your patience level shrinks fast.
These reasons are why most savvy marketers keep their emails so short, they can be read in 30 seconds or less.
Step into the pitch
As you can imagine, it’s tough to convince anyone to buy or sign up for something in just 30 seconds.
That’s why you shouldn’t sell the product in your email. Instead, sell the next step.
Your next step is what comes naturally in your sales process.
For example, let’s say you developed a new pain relief technique called Manual Therapy Technique (I made this up, by the way). And you’re selling a 5 series class to a mailing list who hasn’t heard of the technique. You want 60 people to attend the classes at your workout studio.
Most people would send an email out saying something like:
Got back pain?
Learn exercises to relieve chronic back pain. Using
simple exercises nearly anyone can do at home. Taught by
Suzy Q, trained in Manual Therapy Technique (MTT)
Maybe there will be a picture of Suzy Q smiling, a brief bio about Suzy, a logo image of the studio, and a generic website address about the studio. That looks a lot like a flyer you see on a bulletin board, doesn’t it?
Unless your mailing list consists of Suzy Q devotees who would give their last dollar to sign up for one of her classes, this email will likely flop.
It’ll flop because the email left a lot of unanswered questions that most reasonable people need answered. Remember their time is valuable, their money is valuable, and they’re skeptical.
So you must answer their questions before they’ll consider buying. In this example, possible questions include:
- What’s MTT?
- How effective is MTT?
- Do I need special equipment to use it?
- Can I do it from home?
- Do I need to be in physical shape?
- Is it hard?
- How qualified is Suzy Q?
- Can I get a refund if I don’t like the class?
Follow your prospects’ thoughts
There’s no way you can effectively answer all of those questions in a 30-second email. That’s why you shouldn’t expect your email to do all of the selling.
Instead, make your email intriguing enough to pull the reader into the next step of your sales cycle. That next step is your call to action.
**Tip: Every email should have a call to action.**
To figure out the appropriate call to action, think about what your prospect asks during a face-to-face sales call.
If you tell them about a new pain relief therapy, do they ask to see how it works? Do they want to know why it’s better than what they do now? Do they worry they’re not strong enough to do it?
Let’s say it’s “yes” to all of those questions. Then the email from Suzy should be a fast and intriguing introduction to MTT with a link to a landing page. The page should include a short video explaining and demonstrating MTT. Even better, include one or two simple exercises you can do at home now, so you feel how it really does work. That’ll help convince the skeptical prospect why you’re the solution they need.
Now let’s step back for a second here…
You know a prospect likely will not sign up for your class until he sees a demonstration and maybe practices a couple of basic moves.
With that in mind, your initial email introducing your classes should NOT sell the class. The email should sell how to learn two quick exercises that relieve back pain—for free.
Here’s the reason why:
People are more likely to give you more of their time if it doesn’t cost them anything. In other words, you’re removing their risk.
At the end of the video, have another call to action that fits the next logical step in your sales process. Add a couple of paragraphs below the video to move your skeptical reader further into the sales process.
Maybe the next step is signing up for a free, 15 minute demonstration or to register and drop in for a free class. Then include a quick registration form in the landing page below.
See how your landing page does the selling for you? That’s where you have the room to say more and show more.
Remember: The sale doesn’t happen from the email. The email’s purpose is to get your reader’s attention, take him by the hand, and lead him deeper into the sales funnel.
When designing your emails, start from the end. What’s the big goal? For example, is your goal to have existing customers buy the new product upgrade from your website?
Then step a prospect backwards through the sales process, making note of each step.
Looking at the steps, see where your emails realistically help the sales process, and where they don’t. Once you know this, you’ll know what to write for each email and the call to action. Keep each email focused on what’s needed to advance your prospect to the next step.
To help, here are a few common calls to action:
- See a video demonstration
- Receive free product literature
- Download a special report
- Request a meeting
- Sign up for a newsletter
- Go to a landing page that drives them to your website
- See a free informational webinar
- Click to see the latest clearance items
- Click to read the rest of the article (good for newsletters that have several articles)
Brenda Do is a freelance, direct-response copywriter in Reno, NV and President of BL Copywriting, LLC. Contact her at: www.BLCopywriting.com or 775-223-3637.