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Rule #4 of selling by email
👉 is the simplest one yet
I’m going to tell you a cautionary tale which I think really illustrates today’s point.
Years ago I used to subscribe to one of those fancy coffee bean subscription services.
I know, I know, how very middle class.
Initially, it was a bit wasted on me. I wasn’t really a huge connoisseur of coffee. We just got one of those bean-to-cup machines on a bit of a whim and I started using it a lot because I discovered it would get me a decent drink faster than brewing a cup of tea.
But as happens with these things, the more I drank, the more into it I got.
We used to get a delivery of a couple of bags every week. Beautifully packaged, with a little card with each bag saying where it was from, how the beans had been processed, what “notes” they had, the altitude they’d been grown at and what varieties had been used.
But what was always missing was any attempt to offer me anything else.
There I was burning through way too much coffee each week to be healthy and they never thought to see if I might be interested in coffee cups, storage jars, other equipment, or even a special new premium roast they had coming out.
They were already posting me a package with my beans each week and adding in the explanation cards. It would have been simple for them to add an offer every now and then.
But they never did.
It got to the point where it was actually annoying me each week when they failed to try to sell me anything.
And that’s the lesson. Many, many people are frightened to sell. They don’t want to upset people who might be potential customers at some point in the future by pushing something at them too soon.
There’s some sense in that. But most people take it too far.
Like the coffee people, they end up never offering anything for sale.
And the easiest way to offer something for sale with pretty much zero risk of offending anyone is to focus your offer on people who are basically telling you they’re interested.
In my case, the sheer amount of coffee I was drinking should have told them I liked coffee. Either that or I was a small office.
With email you can do something similar by segmenting your list based on who’s the most interested in certain topics. You can either base that on their historic behaviour or simply send an email with a tip on a topic where you have a relevant product to promote and end the email by asking them to click if they want more emails on that topic.
You can then send more emails on that topic to the clickers - along with promotions - safe in the knowledge that these people are actually seriously interested in the topic. So they’re unlikely to mind being offered a relevant product.
With the people who didn’t click, you don’t send them the follow-up emails so you’re not pitching them something they’re not interested in. You can loop back to offer them the follow-up again after a while because by then things might have changed.
An even simpler approach is to offer a more in-depth video or webinar and make your offer at the end of that.
If someone stays to the end of a video or webinar that delivers a lot of useful insight on a topic it’s pretty likely they’ll be interested in a paid product that goes even further. Even if they’re not interested they’d have to be pretty mercenary to lap up all your insights then get upset if you made a relevant offer.
In the next email I’m going to talk about how to structure a call to action in an email so that it flows seamlessly from your content and doesn’t grate or jar.
But for now, just reflect on rule #4: if someone tells you they’re really, really interested - sell them something!