This is going to be interesting.
Why? This post is about making money via email automation.
It’s not about how to:
- Write captivating emails.
- Increase open rates.
- Write powerful subject lines.
- Improve click-through rates.
- Use the best automation tools (okay there’s a brief section about this one … but you get the idea).
All that is crap if email automation doesn’t make you money in the end.
That’s right. If it doesn’t make money, it doesn’t make sense.
Let’s dive right into a few proven strategies to help you make money from email automation.
Avoid joining the lead nurturing bandwagon
Of course, lead nurturing isn’t bad. Not entirely at least.
It only tends to become bad when you’re taking too long to ask for the sale — often because you think, for some reason, it’s unethical to just ask your contacts to buy.
No, it’s not unethical. In fact, you’ll be hurting your business to think it is.
You have a product to sell; sell it.
Don’t keep nurturing contacts for so long that you don’t realize when they’re ready to buy. (I cover when you should be sending out your sales emails in my next point).
Email copywriting veteran Ben Settle, who’s popularly known for blatant sales pitches in his newsletters, puts it this way (in a recent newsletter):
“Customers have pains and problems needing to be solved. That’s why they are on your list. Screwing around spending days or weeks trying to pretend you don’t have something that can benefit their lives while they are suffering seems incredibly selfish to me.
Far more selfish than being honest and upfront and telling them there is something for sale that can help them. I am not saying you have to bowl them over with blatant pitches each day. But it makes no sense (in my way of thinking) to not at least let them know your solution exists.
Otherwise, it’s like if you have a splitting headache and go to the store to get painkillers and are told, “we aren’t selling painkillers, today, it’s a goodwill day, in the meantime here is a free pamphlet about pain…”
There’s nothing to be ashamed of in selling.
And truth is, while you think you’re “nurturing” your contacts with non-promotional, email niceties, many of them already know — even right from when they handed you their emails — you’d have something to sell at some point.
They know you’re a business.
They know you have products to sell.
Heck, they’re probably even aware of having them on your list and sending them emails costs you money, so there’s almost no way you won’t be needing revenue to at least justify that cost.
They know you want to sell.
But of course, you need to do this right.
Otherwise, your unsubscribe rate will jump.
The right way to sell via email automation
First, when should you introduce the sale?
- A specific day when you just need to sell your product.
- Less than an hour after they get your welcome email.
Why? Two reasons:
- Any day is a good day to sell — apart from weekends. (Remember Ben’s quote?) There’s no reason you should be ashamed of selling at any time.
- People are usually excited already about your brand before they hand you their emails. So once they get your welcome email, it’s best to not take longer than a few hours before following them up to introduce and pitch your product.
A study from Harvard Business Review reveals that:
“…1.25 million sales leads received by 29 B2C and 13 B2B companies in the U.S. Firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead (which we defined as having a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker) as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer.”
In simple English, following leads up with your sales email less than an hour after they’ve subscribed boosts your chances of converting them to clients.
Conversion rates are seven times better within the hour than if you wait even one more hour.
And don’t consider waiting a full day. The study above shows that can mean near death to your business.
Less than one hour after they submit your signup forms is a great time to ask for the sale.
That’s the time they’re still warm leads. The pleasant experience they had with your brand that made them convert is still fresh in their minds.
It’s a great time to tell them about what you’re selling — before they go cold.
Now, how do you write an autoresponder sales email that converts existing and even new contacts to customers? Communicate the value you’re offering.
Excellent communication looks like this: in every email, you’re strategically using stories, facts, figures, videos, and everything you can possibly lay your hands on to prove to your contacts they need to buy your product.
Here’s one example of a well-constructed email from a MarketingProfs’ newsletter:
This email has virtually everything needed — empathy, proof (testimonial), and a clear communication of value — to convince marketers they can benefit with MarketingProfs’ product.
It’s all about making the customer better at what they do in an easier and faster way. It solves their problem and makes them look good.
Which leads to my next point.
Make your sales email all about customer satisfaction
There’s a subtle difference between your product providing a solution vs. its supplying satisfaction.
Providing a great product is a means of solving a problem.
After it solves a problem, it doesn’t care if the customer is satisfied.
Satisfaction, on the other hand, is quite different. It’s an experience — a state where you’ve solved a problem and are now basking in the enjoyment and fulfillment that comes from that solution.
When your emails paint a picture of how customers can get satisfaction (not just a solution) from your whatever you’re selling, it becomes relatively easy to convince them to buy.
Everything just falls in place — they want a satisfactory solution (again, not just a solution) to their problem; you’re selling that solution.
How do you paint that picture of satisfaction (that your solution brings) in your sales emails? You need to always put customers first in your emails.
Even though your aim is to sell, make the sales email about their (specific) problems first and how your product provides the solution to that problem.
Most importantly, describe the satisfaction they’ll experience.
The MarketingProfs email above is a great example of a sales email showing the satisfaction buyers can get from the product it’s selling.
Three crucial elements you’ll find in this email:
- An illustration of a typical customer problem.
- An explanation of the solution the product provides: …PRO membership gives you all the relevant, current and reliable information you need — in one handy online location. That is coupled with the satisfaction that comes from it — highlighted in yellow marker: You’ll find a wide range of topics ranging from analytics to branding (and everything in between), all designed to help you get up speed, excel and succeed in all your marketing projects.
- And lastly, a testimonial from a thoroughly satisfied customer.
It’s all about the satisfaction gained from the product.
Making your automated emails about customer satisfaction, however, won’t convert all your leads to clients. But it will convert more than if your emails aren’t addressing the problem of thoroughly satisfying your customers.
So let’s talk a little about tools. Can email automation tools help you communicate your sales messages more effectively?
Email automation tools
Managing your lists and dishing out emails manually is almost an impossible task, so you definitely need a tool to help you out.
But you need to choose wisely, as there’s a broad palette of email automation tools out there. Each of them showcases their product as the best in the market.
Bryan Harris at VideoFruit recently covered a bunch of them and spelled out their various features, including their pros and cons. Bryan covered the following tools:
- ConvertKit Review
- Drip Review
- ActiveCampaign Review
- MailChimp Review
- AWeber Review
- Infusionsoft Review
Pick the one that best fits your email automation goals.
But what’s your Plan B for when some contacts don’t take your desired action?
Plan B for when email automation goes south
Always have a Plan B for when your contacts don’t take your desired action.
That is, decide what action you will take after you send your automated sales emails and some of your contacts don’t convert (which is totally expected, by the way).
This tool provides templates for different types of email sequences that are primarily aimed at converting subscribers to paying customers.
VideoFruit Founder Bryan Harris mentioned in a recent newsletter that he used one of the email sequences, called the Shopping Cart Abandonment email sequence, to increase sales by 35%.
This particular email sequence in DripScripts contains three email templates to get cart “abandoners” back into the fold and convince them to buy:
Email #1: Sent within one hour of cart abandonment
Email #2: Sent one day after cart abandonment
Email #3: Sent two days after cart abandonment
Each of these three emails is sent out within one hour, one day and two days after cart abandonment respectively.
Brian sent them in this order to each lead who bounced off without buying and got a 35% increase in sales.
That’s a sneak peek into the power of Plan B’s.
You should always use them. They’re not just for when a lead visits your checkout page and bounces off without buying. Here are some other cases to keep in mind:
- Your email isn’t opened (Plan B: resend the email with a different headline in a few hours)
- Email opened but didn’t get clicked (Plan B: resend as well but with a different headline and a more compelling angle).
- And so forth. Ensure there’s a Plan B for the different scenarios you experience.
By now, one question you probably have is this:
Is it okay to use email automation to build relationships?
Definitely. But when should you be doing this? Here are three cases:
- When you have nothing to sell.
- After a series of automated sales emails. (You just want to take a breather from selling for a while and actually connect with people on your list. That’s good. You shouldn’t always be selling something.)
- Before your sales email (where you’re pushing out emails related to what you’re about to sell). This helps to warm contacts up and get them ready to buy.
These are typically the cases when you should build and nurture relationships with customers.
Want to install a cart abandonment workflow of your own?
For those of you who are using Drip, you can click the install button below and voila, it will be imported into your account.
Be sure to select the campaign emails as well and edit them for your specific offer.
Okay, let’s wrap it up here
Email automation has the power to singlehandedly rake in profits for your business — even while you sleep. But that’s if — and only if — you’re doing it the right way, which is what all the tips above will help you accomplish.
- Your leads should be getting your sales email within one hour from the time they submitted your form. At this point, they’re still pretty fascinated by whatever convinced them to hand you their contact information.
- You should also feel free to send sales emails whenever you need to. (People already know you’re a business, so take this advice to heart.)
- Your sales email sells better with an effective communication of the value you’re offering. Use every resource — stories, stats, screenshots, a good copywriter, CRO expert, and all your ammunition — to ensure you’re communicating solid value per email.
- Map out a Plan B for when leads don’t take your desired action.
- Feel free to use email automation to build and nurture relationships. But again, this is usually for when you don’t urgently need to sell anything, want to take a breather after a series of sales emails, or when you want to nurture contacts before sending them a sales email.
And there you have it. You’ve got your work cut out for you.
All the effort you put into this aspect of your business will pay off handsomely.