Train Your Email Subscribers to Buy Your Work
Email marketing is the single, most-lucrative promotion channel for your side-hustle. Not only is email the most-valuable app in your pocket, but it’s the most-consistent.
While you’ve got to pay-to-play with social media (and when you do pay you can’t access your entire audience), email is the great equalizer.
With email you can contact everyone on your list, as frequent as you want. And with no additional cost to you, save for your email service fees.
But an email list-alone won’t cut it.
Just having a list won’t help you sell anything. You’ve got to train and encourage your subscribers to buy from you. When someone joins your list, it’s up to you, the entrepreneur, to define the upcoming relationship.
Keep reading and I’ll share how you can train your email subscribers to buy your work–automatically.
We set the table right away
A good rule of thumb is to earn at least $5 per email subscriber within the first 30 days of her joining your list. When we set the table, encouraging a commercial relationship right-away, there will be no surprises later when you make a large ‘ask.’
Too many side-hustlers ignore this.
They feel guilty about asking for money, so they never set the table. Instead, these folks provide an endless stream of free, valuable content and never sell a thing.
Until it’s too late.
There will come a point when these entrepreneurs will get sick of working for nothing. All those late nights creating free content with no sales to show for it. The entrepreneur will finally create a product and pitch it to her list.
The list will revolt.
Until that moment, there were never any sales pitches. Only free content. The subscribers developed a different expectation from the entrepreneur and once she offered something for sale, it was a shock.
Most of the list unsubscribed.
I hear stories like this all the time. I don’t want the same thing to happen to you. If you set the table in advance, you set the tone for a commercial relationship. You’ll provide a ton of value, but you’ll also ask for the occasional sale to keep the lights on.
Train your subscribers to open your emails
Before you can ask for the sale, you’ve got to get your emails opened.
We accomplish this training with a twofold path.
First, we’ve got to write compelling subject lines. You should spend just as much time writing the subject line as you did the entire email (maybe more).
The subject line will make-or-break your email.
Subject lines should be short and curious. You don’t have to sell the entire email. The purpose of the subject line is to pose a question in the reader’s mind. She must open the email to get the answer.
The second part is to provide valuable content.
Not only should you provide value, but you’ve got to deliver the content in an entertaining way. We call this process ‘infotainment.’ Entertainers earn the most money of any other vocation.
We crave entertainment. We don’t want to be lectured-to. But if you’ve got something important to teach your email subscribers, you’ve got to wrap those lessons in candy.
- Use interesting stories and powerful anecdotes.
- Use jokes and silly riddles.
- Paint vivid images in your readers’ minds, so they remember your lessons on the first telling.
Infotainment, combined with a powerful subject line will get your emails opened. Subscribers will look forward to the next email, instead of swiping it into the trash without opening it.
The trash is what happens to your competition’s emails.
We’ll do things differently.
Train your subscribers to click your links
The next phase of our process is to train our subscribers to click the links in our emails. Every email we send must ask the reader to take some kind of action.
Whether it’s to buy your work, take a survey, hit ‘reply,’ or click a link, every email serves a purpose.
We can’t sell anything if our subscribers aren’t used to taking action from our emails. This is another big mistake most marketers make. They send a ton of one-sided emails, asking little of the reader.
From the beginning of your reader’s subscription, start training her for clicks.
This means you provide links to valuable reports or training documents. Maybe you write an email that include a free blueprint to solve a certain problem.
I have a 7-day masterclass I use as my opt-in gift (my Easy Invite).
All these different devices train the subscriber there’s action to be taken inside. There’s something to read and something to do. She knows if she opens and email, there will be some kind of action to take in almost every email I send.
Train your subscribers to buy from you ASAP
As I mentioned earlier, try to earn $5 per subscriber within the first 30 days of her subscribing.
Not only should you provide a ton of valuable, free content, but you’ve also got to train her to buy. You’ll teach her that this isn’t just a charitable relationship. It’s a commercial one.
Ask for a small sale on the first day the reader subscribes.
No, you shouldn’t pitch your $5,000 course. There’s plenty of time for that sale later. You need to build a relationship with the reader before you can make a big sale.
…but you should ask for a small sale.
This sets the table again.
I sell what I call ‘micro-courses.’ These are short courses that can be digested in a less than an hour. They cost less than $40 and don’t take a large amount of decision time on the reader’s part.
When you make these early asks you paint the relationship for the reader. She doesn’t have to stay on your list. That’s her decision. But if she does, she’ll know you have a commercial relationship.
You’ll provide a ton of value. Occasionally, you’ll ask for a sale.
Pepper your emails with occasional offers
I’m on a lot of email lists–too many. And one huge mistake I see are the endless pitch-fests. Your reader came for the value you provide, both free and paid. She didn’t join for an endless stream of offers without substance.
I like to follow a little pattern.
For every three ‘giving’ emails, send one ‘ask.’
Not only will you keep your subscriber longer, she’ll also appreciate your offers more. Your free content will be so good, she’ll wonder what’s inside your paid content.
You’ll make a lot more sales when you spread the offers further than you will if you fire-hose your subscriber to death.
Always treat your readers the way you want to be treated.
- Would you open this email?
- Would you stay on this list?
- Would you click the link?
- Would you buy this offer?
Aim your free content towards your paid offers.
Provide an actionable piece of content in every email you send, but when you send an ‘ask’ email, show the reader she’ll get even more value if she buys the solution in your product.
We give. We ask.
We treat our subscribers like family, because they are. There is a real person at the other end of every email you send. These people aren’t numbers or dollar signs.
If you show you understand their current situation and you have solutions to their most-pressing problems, they’ll respond by buying your work.
It’s time for a new approach
If you want to sell more of your work through email, you’ve got to train your subscribers from day-one.
We’re all on multiple email lists.
- What makes your work different?
- How will you train your reader to open your emails and click your links?
- How will you provide infotainment to keep your readers, not only engaged, but wanting to open your email the next time one arrives in her in-box?
Provide valuable, free content from the beginning of the relationship. Demonstrate you can help others by actually helping them, asking little in return.
Ask for a small sale the first day your reader subscribes. Your welcome email is one of the most-opened emails in your sequence. Open rates decline after the first day.
We all get pitched via email on a daily basis, but not every email marketer gets it right.
If you give your readers something exciting–to look forward to–not only will your open rates be higher than your competition, you’ll also out-sell them in buckets.
Talk to your reader like family.
Picture a friend, sitting across the table from you, sharing a cup of coffee. No, you don’t have to tell dirty jokes, but you don’t have to write in a stilted, professional voice. Remember, there’s a person sitting there. A person with struggles, just like you.
When you position yourself, not only as a deep-giver, but as an entrepreneur with valuable offers that will solve your reader’s problems–you’ll develop a customer for life. And a repeated buyer.
It’s time to sell more.
Email marketing will get you there. Just look at the process as a long conversation between two people and treat every reader the way you want a business owner to treat you.
August Birch is an author, email expert, and entrepreneur from Michigan, USA. As a self-appointed guardian of writers and creators, August teaches indies how to make more work that sells and sell more work once it’s made. When he’s not writing or teaching, August carries a pocket knife and shaves his head with a safety razor.