How to Convert Your Email Subscribers into Customers

What use is an email list – however large – if you cannot convert those names into paying customers? The first step is securing those precious sign-ups yet that’s just the beginning. You still have to persuade your list to buy and this is where many list owners fail. They send emails without having a strategy or purpose and are surprised when their emails are met with inaction or, worse, unsubscribing.

Sooner or later, a sale must be made.

Many emails fail because they are written ad hoc, without purpose and without strategy. In order to turn subscribers into customers you need to create an email sequence (emails that you send out on autopilot using a web marketing service such as Aweber) that walks the prospect through a logical sales process, ticking proven selling triggers as you go.

  1. Every email needs a single purpose. That purpose could be to encourage the reader to take action; address a pre-sale concern or some other function. Each email should typically be short and have only one purpose.
  2. You will typically need to create 10 emails per email sequence. Each email will need to walk the prospect through an invisible sales process as follows (there are more steps than this in a live email sequence but this covers the main points). We learned this sequence from Yaro Starak of Entrepreneur’s Journey:
    Welcome email – this email goes out at soon as someone subscribes. Thank the subscriber and tell them what to expect in future emails.
    – Plant a seed – this email opens the recipient’s mind to a new possibility related to the product you want to selll eventually. For example, say you want to ultimately sell a “software development” course. Your email will plant the seed, “Have you ever thought about becoming a programmer?” You might talk about the rewards of programming; how others like them learned programming and how many now run their own software development businesses or earn six-figures a year.
    – Teach them something valuable. Your next email will teach something valuable about your topic (or point them to a blog post that will). Using this programming example, you might teach, “How find clients who will buy your software before you’ve created it“. Notice, you’re not teaching them everything (that’s in your course), you’re just teaching them a valuable aspect of your course to build trust and credibility.
    – Deal with objections. The next email you send out deals with all the common objections you expect to encounter, e.g. it’s too expensive; it’s too technical/I won’t be able to do this; will it work?
    – Social proof email. Give an example, e.g. a case study of how someone has used your course to achieve the desired result. If you don’t have anyone to begin with, use your story as the case study.
    – Make the offer. In this email, you make the offer. Tell the reader why the course is perfect for them, what it contains, and how it will deliver the promised outcome. Hopefully this will result in the sale.
    – Nudge them to take action. If after a week the person has not taken action, you can send them an offer reminder. If they do not buy after this email, draw a line under this prospect this time round. They did not buy this time but they may buy in the future. Conclude your promotion at this stage.

Powerful selling triggers to include in your emails

Kissmetrics has produced a comprehensive list of psychological triggers that can convert subscribers into customers. From their article:

Would you like to know how to get more customers who can’t wait to buy your products and services?

It’s a lot simpler than you might think. And the best part is that, as you strive to increase revenue, you actually will be serving your potential customers better. You don’t need to manipulate or hypnotize them into buying. You just need to give them what they want:

  1. The driving forces of all human behaviour. All human behaviour, at its root, is driven by the need to avoid pain and the desire to gain pleasure. Even when we do something that appears to be painful, we do it because we associate pleasure with the action.
    To use this trigger in your marketing, you need to first understand what your customers associate with pain and pleasure, because not everyone associates pleasure with running a marathon or crossing an icecap. This is a key point to remember in any marketing message: In order to influence someone, you need to know what already influences them. You find this out by getting clear on who your audience is.
  2. Tell a story. Human beings have been telling stories for thousands of years. It is how messages have been passed on from generation to generation. Why? (See what I am doing here!) Because they trigger emotions and we are emotional creatures. Telling stories activates parts of the brain associated with sight, sound, taste, and movement. They transport us into the world of the story and light up our emotional brains, which is where we make our decision whether to buy or not.
  3. Simplify your solution. In his bestselling book, Thinking Fast and Slow, Nobel Prize winning psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, says “If there are several ways of achieving the same goal, people will eventually gravitate to the least demanding course of action. In the economy of action, effort is a cost, and the acquisition of skill is driven by the balance of benefits and costs. Laziness is built deep into our nature.”
    [Your customers will] always migrate to the easiest option to achieve a desired result. It is no surprise that Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People became a multimillion dollar bestseller. It provides a simple formula to follow to become a highly effective person. All it takes is 7 habits.

Read the full post here:

Takeaway points

  1. Every email you send out should have a single purpose. Emails should be long enough to make your point – and no longer.
  2. Every email should form the part of a strategic, logical email sequence designed to move the recipient along the sales process.
  3. Your email subscribers have shown interest in your topic but don’t expect them to easily hand over their money. You’ve cleared one hurdle in getting them to sign-up to your list; you now need to clear the other hurdle of successfully selling to them.

Action steps

  1. Write your email sequence as above. Don’t be tempted to alter the sequence without good reason (i.e. you have conducted your own split-testing over time). It works.
  2. If you have not done so already, open an account with AWeber to manage your subscriber lists and the automation of your email campaigns. It’s an essential tool if you plan to market and monetize your know-how.

Photo credit: Prem Sichanugrist via / CC BY 2.0

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