Yes, today we are going to talk about selling because if you don’t sell anything your business won’t survive. And you know my motto, at this moment we want to survive, we will become millionaires later on 😊.
Creating an email sequence can help you sell more in automatic mode* since you only have to create the sequence once and it will be sent automatically to each new subscriber.
Those email addresses of people, who have provided them to you voluntarily because they are already interested in what you offer, are very precious.
Having thousands of followers on social media can be very cool, but when Instagram will no longer be trendy and people don’t even show up over there anymore, what are you going to do if you don’t have their contact details?
Having a list of subscribers guarantees you that even if fads pass away, they will still be there. As long as they don’t unsubscribe from your list. But this also depends on you and how much value you offer.
With emails, you can build little by little a lasting relationship of trust, or a sales funnel that goes more to the point, you choose depending on your strategy and the type of product or service you offer.
Today we’re going to look at these two ways to create an email marketing sequence.
Well, let’s get started.
*Automatic mode doesn’t mean you write 5 emails and go to sleep while you watch your business figures grow crazy. This is an image that some people are trying to sell and it does infuriate me.
Nothing is totally automatic, you have to put a lot of work into creating a good email sequence that works and then you will have to write more emails just as well if you want the relationship to last.
To be clear, there’s no such thing as creating an automatic sequence with 5 emails and going to lie on the beach. A good email sequence is like having a salesperson selling for you when you are working on other things for your business.
How to write an email sequence for a sales funnel
These type of email sequences have a very clear objective: to sell a product.
It’s a well widespread strategy and usually requires some preparation time, like any strategy in fact, and to follow a predetermined model.
There are funnel sequences that are already tested and usually work, although I keep my personal opinion on this for the end of this post.
First, let’s define exactly what a funnel is.
A sales funnel is a very visual representation of what it really means in marketing terms.
Since what a sales funnel does, is to attract a lot of people at first offering something for free, and then as people become interested, or not, in your product, they will either go away or continue reading your emails until they buy your product or service.
The goal is that all those people who have downloaded your content for free, or who have attended your live webinar, end up buying your product, but the reality is that not everyone will. If 5% of the people who got into the funnel buy, it’s already considered a successful funnel and you can uncork the champagne.
You can see many examples of sales funnels on the net, and surely your mailbox has already received a few that have hooked you or not.
In this post we are going to see first the email sequence most used for sales funnels designed to sell a product or info product.
We are not going to see the whole process of metrics and social media strategy because it’s not my speciality and we would be here for days.
My job is to write, and that’s why we’re going to talk about how to write that sequence of emails.
Regarding the previous steps before writing the sequence, just to tell you that you need to offer something for free if you want a person to give you her email address.
It can be an eBook, a webinar or a mini-course by email. You can advertise this free content on social media and on your website in order to get more people to subscribe to your list.
Below we will see the most effective email sequence for a sales funnel. If you’ve already read other articles about email sequences, you may find this one different. And it really is.
I’ve read a lot about this topic and there is always an email missing in the middle of the sequence that, in my view, is vital. I’ll tell you which email is this at the end of the post
1. The welcome email
To be sent immediately after the person has downloaded your free content.
The content of this email is vital, it’s what will determine that the recipient doesn’t unsubscribe from your list and will be eager to receive more emails from you.
This first email has an average 50% opening rate, which is amazing since the average email opening rate is only 20%.
So you have to make sure that what you say in that first email is of great interest to the person who has given you her email address.
The key here is to empathize with the potential customer, with that pain point or desire that has led her to download your free content.
For example, if what you sell is an online English course to pass the official exams and the free content you have offered is a test exam with real questions from one of those exams, such as the Advanced Certificate, you know that most likely the person who has downloaded it needs that certificate to get a job or to access a higher degree course.
In the email you can ask the person why she needs to get the certification, what her actual situation is, this way you’ll create a more personal relationship with her.
If you choose this option keep in mind that the funnel will no longer be fully automatic unless you have created several sequences depending on the different possible answers.
For example, you know that half of your audience needs the certificate to access a higher degree course and the other half to improve their curriculum, so in this case you can create two sequences aimed at each of those cases.
In any case, in this email the most important thing is to empathize with the potential customer and her problem (I want to get the advanced certificate but I don’t have the money or time to go to a language school) and thank her for having downloaded your content, hoping it will help her.
Here you don’t have to sell your course yet, this email is just an introduction, like when you meet someone for the first time briefly, you don’t tell him everything about your life.
If you already try to sell your product so soon, the person will probably unsubscribe from your list because she doesn’t know you at all and is probably fed up with receiving hundreds of marketing emails.
Don’t try to run. Walk instead.
2. Introduction with social proof email
To be sent 1 day after the welcome email.
This is when you have to empathize even more with your potential customer and add some information explaining what they can get if they listen (or read) to you.
Let’s go back to the example of the English course. In this second email you can add a short introduction of who you are (or who is your company) and how you help people with those similar problems.
You’ve been teaching English for many years, you’ve lived in England for 6 years, you’ve worked in several language schools, you’ve helped students prepare for official exams, the success rate is 80% etc.
With all that experience you have created this course that has already helped several people to get the certificate.
And this is where you can add your best testimonials.
I never say it enough, testimonials are one of the most powerful tools you have to sell your product.
The person who receives your email and doesn’t know who you are will believe other people who speak very well of your course more than they will believe you. Even without knowing any of those people who have given their opinion.
It is the law of the empty restaurant. If you are in a city you don’t know you will choose a restaurant where you see a lot of people eating. If you pass by a restaurant where there’s no one and you can even hear a mosquito flying around, you will never go in.
3. Email full of empathy
To be sent 1 day after the introduction email.
Now that the person knows you better it’s time to get her trust you.
Don’t try to rush to sell your product without first making it clear that you know very well what the problem is and how it feels, either because you’ve been through the same thing before, or because you’ve been helping people like them, with the same problem, for a long time.
In empathy emails what works very well is to introduce some storytelling and getting a little more into the personal level.
You can tell a little story about yourself or someone else that will inspire the person who reads and help her feel closer to you.
Let’s look at this in more detail with the example of the English course.
In this email what you should do is first empathize with the reader’s pain points and then tell them something about yourself (or as mentioned before, it can be about someone else).
“Learning a language can be overwhelming, especially when you know you need it to find a better job or to study abroad.
I decided to start learning English seriously when I wanted to study journalism in England. In Spain I was on the verge of getting into the journalism faculty, that year the cut-off grade was very high and, I still remember, I was 0.2 tenths of a point short of entering the quota.
As you can imagine I felt desolate because being a journalist was the only thing I wanted to do in life. How innocent!
But I didn’t give up. At that time, it was still possible to study in England since public universities were quite cheap and I calculated that by working as a waitress in the evenings I could afford to pay for my studies.
But there was a small problem, I needed to pass the official British Council exam with a 6.5 grade at least.
I started studying on my own because I couldn’t afford what the relevant schools were asking for.
And I got a 6.3. The 0.2 curse had happened again.
I didn’t study journalism, I stayed in Spain and studied a career that had nothing to do with me and that would be of no use to me afterwards, but I set out to speak perfect English and succeeded by moving to England and living there for 5 years and studying very hard.
I decided to create a method to pass the official exams that would be effective, fun and cheap. Because I want to help people who face the same challenges…”
This is just one example I’ve quickly written to give you an idea of how you can empathize with people and at the same time tell an inspiring and entertaining personal story.
After reading this email people will feel closer to you and will have the feeling that you know very well what they are going through.
Now it’s time to introduce your solution.
4. The email with a product demo
1 day after the empathetic email
In this email you will present your product. Remember that the key is to explain, as simply as possible, what benefits the person reading can derive from this product and how exactly it can help them with their problem.
If you have the right resources and you dare to, you can even include a demo video, but if you don’t have them, don’t worry, you can also include some photos and, above all, a compelling text.
If what you sell is an online course, a video can help the customer to get an idea of what he is going to buy.
You can record a session in which you show how to use the course tool and display some of its features. You can record these sessions with Zoom or Loom. Both are very easy to use and free tools to record sessions on the computer.
And if you want to record yourself explaining in more detail the product, you can use YouTube or even your mobile phone. Just make sure the sound and image quality are good.
Very important: At the end of the email include a clear picture with the benefits and features of your product to make it even more attractive.
With the intensive 8-week online course you get:
– 30 video lessons
– 40 pages of exercises designed for the exam
– 2 hours of conversation with a native speaker
– Email support 24/7
– Exclusive material created by us
These would be the characteristics. Now let’s see the benefits:
– Online course fully designed for official exams
– Freedom, study when you want
– Proven efficacy, 80% success rate
– Half the price of any language schools
I hope you’ve had an idea about how to write these benefits. The trick to writing compelling benefits is this:
Think about the person’s problem and how your product solves it.
Problem: I don’t have time to go to a school – Benefit: Online course to follow from the comfort of your home
5. The emotional email
To send 2 days after the email with the product demonstration
As we saw in my previous post on How to sell to the brain people buy moved by emotional impulses.
The most important emotions that push people to react are these:
– Shock and awe
Use one of these emotions to convince people who are still undecided and have not purchased in the previous email.
Let’s take again the example of the English course. We can use fear of failure as a powerful emotion.
“Studying for an important exam is always hard. You’re afraid you won’t get it and thousands of failure scenes pass through your brain. I’ll never make it, I’m terrible at languages, I don’t have the willpower… These negative thoughts actually come from the fear of leaving your comfort zone. But only by leaving your comfort zone will you be able to get that job you really want or study at that university you so much wish.”
Use one or more of these emotions to convince the reader.
There are sequences that include an email with a webinar and another one with a percentage discount as a last resort if the previous emails have not worked out.
This option depends on your taste and what you think will work in your specific case.
If you decide to send these two emails, let’s call them “desperate” 😊, do it, but in a slightly more spaced way so that your audience doesn’t directly unsubscribe because they think you’re a pain in the ass.
I personally don’t like these two emails in this first sequence, as I said they seem desperate calls.
But there are cases where it works. It’s up to you.
Have you guessed now which email have I included that other people don’t include?
Yes, the third one, the email full of empathy. For me, this is the reason for failure of many of the funnels that I have seen and that have landed on my mailbox. There is a lack of empathy.
People want to sell me something so fast that they don’t stop to think about what I want. I don’t care what that company needs to make in terms of income, what I want is to have the certainty that my life will be better if I buy that product.
So if the people who are trying to sell it to me don’t know either what my problem is, or what I’m hoping for, then I’m going to unsubscribe immediately.
These type of funnels are designed for expensive products since people think twice when it comes to paying a certain amount.
software or workshops for example, this type of product
s usually start at 100€.
Then there are other types of sequences, the ones I prefer and what I call “a more serious relationship”, since they are not just a flirt.
The most lasting relationships are always those that start well and grow little by little.
For these type of sequences, there is not a defined number of emails that you need to send until you can introduce your product or service, it can be 6, 8, 15 or more.
Let’s see how these types of sequences differ from sales funnels.
Email sequence for a long-lasting relationship
In many cases a sales funnel is not the answer. Sometimes it’s more productive to maintain a relationship of trust, built little by little, and by being very generous with what we offer.
For these type of sequences you need to have a blog with a lot of valuable information for the type of audience that may be interested in what you offer.
But let’s see first how you get subscribers in the first place.
If you want a person to give you her email address you have to offer her something in return. There may be people who after reading a post on your website immediately subscribe to your list because they think you are going to help them by giving them a lot of valuable information.
But let’s be 100% honest, there are so many blogs and newsletters out there that people hesitate a lot when it comes to subscribing to a new list because they don’t want to be bombarded with thousands of emails that they won’t have the time to read.
So you have to think of something more valuable than just a single blog post.
It can be a guide or a free mini-course by email with the best tips to learn English faster. It can also be a webinar if you like this format.
It has to be something that offers real value to your ideal customer, that person who needs your help but perhaps doesn’t know it yet.
If this free content called Lead Magnet is very good, your potential customer will provide you with their email address in order to download it.
Email sequence with blog posts
After downloading the Lead Magnet, you can create a sequence with the best posts you have in your blog.
The ones you know add a lot of value which your audience is going to appreciate a lot.
In the email you can write a short introduction on why that post will interest them and encourage them to put your advice into practice.
Remember, in the first welcome email it’s very important, as we saw in the sequence for funnels, to ask the person directly what their problem is and how you can help them.
These kinds of questions reinforce the message that what you really want is to have a conversation with them and not just a monologue to brag about your product.
What matters here is the other person, what they need, and how you can help them.
In this type of sequence you can introduce your product or service as well, of course, in the end people know that we are in this because we sell something, but the good thing about these, let’s say less aggressive, sequences is that when you eventually introduce your sales pitch, the person who is reading already trusts you, respects you, listens to you and likes you.
So it’s worth the investment in time and money.
These long-term relationships are likely to stay with you for a while and you may be able to sell them several courses and books.
Because it’s not just a funnel to sell a product quickly and part separate ways, but it’s a relationship of trust.
In this type of sequence there is freedom of styles and contents. The email shouldn’t be too long and always containing a link to your website in order to increase the traffic.
However, I see lately many people who send their emails without a link back to their sites and they work really well. In these cases the email has to be complete, including some photos to be attractive to the eye and above all, contain great value.
The frequency is also quite personal, I receive emails from people that I follow twice a month or once a week.
I don’t like those who send emails every day, it’s too much for anyone. But this is also personal.
It depends on your sales style, more or less aggressive, and above all on your audience. You can try and change the frequency to see what works best.
When it comes to the technical aspect, there are many companies that offer automation services, choose the one you prefer after doing some research, I have no economic interests with any, so I’m not going to recommend any of them.
I use Mail Chimp because it’s the one I decided on in the beginning and I’m lazy about changing. They say there are better ones, so do some research before deciding on one because afterwards if you want to change, it’ll mean some extra work.
Yes, I tell you right now, automating means lots of work, you need time to understand the tool (unless you leave it in the hands of an expert, which is often the best option), but if you do, prepare to invest quite some time.
You also need time to write the emails, which in the end is the most important part, since, what you say in them influences whether people will be willing to be part of your audience or not and accompany you for some time.
These people are my sources of inspiration when writing emails for my audience. I encourage you to find your own “idols” 😉.
Start writing your email sequence and test a lot. If you feel like it, tell me how you’re doing.
See you around.
Featured image by Dave Sharman
I write web copy and engaging content for businesses without borders. I live in the Netherlands, I write everywhere. I love arthouse films and books that make me think. Tolstoy and Chekhov are my life coaches.