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The first rule of selling by email
👉 courtesy of Bill Bernbach
The world is full of tyros claiming everything has changed, and curmudgeons claiming nothing has.
The truth is somewhere in the middle, of course.
But one thing I’m certain has remained unchanged since the dawn of time is encapsulated in this quote from Bill Bernbach:
You cannot sell a man who isn’t listening
Blindingly obvious. But stunningly important.
And often ignored.
No one will click through to your offer or read your clever PS if they lose interest in your email halfway through.
Or worse, if they’ve unsubscribed because they don’t feel they’re getting anything useful. Or if it’s just too painful to wade through your emails to get that value.
And if no one is reading, no one is buying.
That’s especially true if you sell something with a long sales cycle. A high-value product or service. Or something that’s complex and takes time before people are ready to buy.
My guess is most people reading this email are in that world.
And if that’s the case, the vast majority of your potential buyers won’t be ready when they first sign up.
So the first job of your emails is to make sure they’re still reading when they are ready to buy.
Not the only job. You want to build credibility and trust and accelerate their readiness too.
But the first job is simply to make sure your emails are valuable and entertaining enough so that as many of your potential buyers as possible actually read them.
A lot of what I’ve written about here on Unsnooze Your Inbox is about making your emails valuable and entertaining. And I double down on that with detailed training in the Effective and Engaging Email Newsletters course.
But I’m going to suggest the most important factor isn’t the techniques or the tools.
It’s deciding you’re going to do it.
Deciding you’re not just going to churn out another “how to” guide with the same steps your audience has seen time and time again from others. Or a list of 5 things your readers should be doing without any clues as to how they might go about it. Or anything that’s neither insightful nor interesting.
Choose to do something new. Choose to work hard on an insight your readers won’t have heard before. Choose to use a personal story, a funny quote, a weird analogy or a cartoon. Choose to make a sentence sound like it came from a 90s film.
Choose to do little bit of extra work for a lot of extra reward.
Because if you don’t, you’re selling a man who isn’t listening.