The Secret to Effortless Email Sales (No Evil Schemes Required)

Sales emails. Ugh.

You're just becoming accustomed to sending newsletters to your subscribers, and now you should start bombarding them with sales messages? The mere thought makes you feel like a sleazy second hand car salesman.

"Yes Sir, this car was driven by my grandma once a week to the church and back!"

Yeah right.

You don't want to treat people that way, least of all your customers!

Yet, with the insanely high ROI sales emails promise, you know your business needs to leverage them.

Could there be a way to sell through email without giving up your principles? Why does selling feel so dirty in the first place?

Let's talk about that.

More...

Selling - Trick Your Customer Into Buying and Make a Quick Buck?

“He's so good at selling, he can sell ice to eskimos!”

The classic misconception is that a good salesman can sell anything to anyone.

Bollocks to that.

This (surprisingly resilient) myth is rooted in a sales strategy built on selling to strangers. Salespeople would wrangle out a commitment to buy, even when buying may have not been in the best interest of the client.

You've seen this strategy used by the stereotypical used car-salesman. You know, the guy who isn't afraid to manipulate his customer into an emotional buying decision.

Nowadays, with reviews and social media spreading information in a flash, people are generally wiser in their buying decisions. It should be harder to get away with this sort of tactic, but it'll never fully go away.

There will always be some shady scumbag trying to make a quick buck.

This is why the term "sales" is still surrounded by a black cloud of stink. We don't want to be ripped off, and we surely don't want to rip off our customers.

Seems bleak, but thankfully the quick buck-sales tactic isn't the only way to sell.

Even in the olden days, not every salesman subscribed to this tactic. There was one insurance salesman in particular, who made a killing in the early 1900s, while creating meaningful and lasting customer relationships along the way.

You may have heard of him in the book 'How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling' by Frank Bettger.

When the quick buck-sales tactic focuses on immediate results, Frank Bettger's strategy focused on building relationships and creating value.

From Spammy Emails to Relationship Marketing

In the email world, we recognize the quick buck-tactic by another name: spam.

The Email Spammer

  • Blasts everyone with the same offer, regardless of whom it may concern.
  • Focuses on immediate results, rather than long-term relationships.
  • Tries to force a sale with pushy and manipulative tactics.

As with the proverbial used car-salesman, the spam email's only purpose is to remove value from the customer.

If Frank Bettger were alive today, he would send emails with a completely opposite strategy.

The Email Marketer

  • Targets a specific audience group with specific interests.
  • Focuses on building authority, trust and lasting relationships.
  • Aims to help readers by entertaining, educating or suggesting useful products.

The goal of an email marketer is to increase value for the customer.

When you realize that as a salesman, your only job is to connect people with what they want, it all becomes much easier. People start treating you as a helpful friend, rather than an adversary.

Jeffrey Gitomer says, “People like to buy but they don’t like to be sold.” He couldn’t be more right.

Once you've established yourself as a helpful and useful person, people almost expect to pay you. All you have to do is ask.

This is how true email sales are made.

How to Sell Effortlessly With Email (Without Being Sleazy)

Before even looking at email sales, let's establish some basics about how a sales pitch works.

Even if people are already interested in what you have to offer, they need to be led to the buying decision. There's a jungle of what-ifs and fears related to buying and you need to help your prospect overcome it all.

We can use the classic AIDA-sales model to create a pitch structure:

  1. Awareness - Shock, surprise or entertain your reader. What is your offer? Why is it awesome?
  2. Interest - Engage your reader, place them into a story/situation. Why is your offer beneficial? Describe a situation where they would benefit from your offer.
  3. Desire - Turn the situation into something frustrating, or amazing success for your reader. What is the future ideal situation your offer can help them achieve?
  4. Action - Address your reader's obvious objections. Shrink the cost in their mind. Show them that by taking action now, their frustration or desire can be fulfilled.

Write some notes down for every part. You will need these when you create your emails.

Avoid Becoming a Sleazy Salesman!

To keep your focus on value, remember these three tips:

  • Don’t worry if they’re not interested. Your offer won't be for everyone, whatever you do.
  • Don’t worry if it's not perfect first time around. Instead, feel free to test. See what works and learn from mistakes and feedback.
  • Be completely honest. Don't make claims without backing them up. If your prospect doesn't want the offer, it's best they say "no" immediately rather than be disappointed later.

Turn Your Pitch Into an Engaging, Useful Sales Email

Now that you've got your sales pitch down, creating sales emails gets a whole lot easier, but you're still not done. You can't just drop a sales pitch into an email and expect to get good results.

That's what spammers do.

Let's take a look at what email marketers do.

Derek Halpern​

Subject line: the RESULTS are in!

Ramit Sethi

Subject line: Inside the success of Gary Vaynerchuk

They're both based on the same AIDA-structure, and more importantly, they're both FUN to read.

Even if you're not interested in the offer, this email won't end up in the spam folder.

They've fleshed out the AIDA-structure into a story, complete with a great subject line, an engaging hook and plenty of useful links and information. This equates to loads of free value, which is exactly what your readers want.

Your every email should be a joy to open, whether or not your reader buys.​ Here's how:

  1. Start with a great subject line. It's imperative that your email gets opened.
  2. Come up with stories, find current events, personal anecdotes that relate to what you're offering. If you can't find any, move on to #3.
  3. Research educational material related to your offer, like blog articles, videos, or websites.
  4. Write a couple of engaging introductions.
  5. Start filling in the template below. You can have a simple email done in no time using this method.
  6. Proofread your email and make sure it flows nicely and the story or educational content makes sense.

Subject line: A Great Subject Line!

Attention - Use one of your engaging introductions to draw the reader in.

Interest - Elaborate on the introduction. What happened? To whom? What was their struggle? (Interest)

Desire - Tell how your main character solves his struggles using a blog post or free resource you know about. Detail the benefits of the post and how easily it solved your character's problem.

Action - Tell your reader they can do the same if they click now.

Once you get the hang of this method, you can lengthen the story and expand one email into a series of emails.

Advanced Method: Audience Segmentation

Let's be honest. Writing one email isn't the most difficult thing in the world. Doing just that will get you decent results.

To get EXCELLENT results, you're going to have to ​customize your email content to different readers and send the emails at the right time.

This is called segmentation.

Segmentation is the way you can step even further from spammy spam​ and deeper into building unique relationships with different parts of your audience. Writing a unique message to each subscriber would be best, but hardly practical. Still, don't be afraid to go very specific with your audience segmenting!

It's also a way to ensure you don't cheat, lie or force pushy sales tactics on your customers. You merely connect your reader with an offer that might interest them.​

Any decent email marketing service will offer segmentation possibilities, but you can also use our Signup Segue-feature to segment your subscribers based on the actions they take (such as clicking on a link in your email).

It's Time to Stop Selling and Start Connecting

Now you know the secret behind successful email marketing.

You can make email marketing a profitable part of your business and not feel guilty about it.

Forget selling. It's time to start creating value.

What's the best sales schpiel you've heard?

Author: Jay Pitkänen

Jay has an affinity for red wine, Monty Python-references and content marketing. He spends his time writing killer copy for business coaches as the Copywriting Maverick.

  • Suzanne says:

    You guys seem to read my mind perfectly every time. Not sure how you do that, but thank you!

  • Love it!! Thanks for the post. You always have super helpful content.

    As a side note, I’d love to see more on email marketing cause it’s something I’m still not great at. Love to get some more Thrive knowledge on this.

    Thanks again!

    • Jay says:

      Hey Bryce,

      You’re very welcome. Glad you liked it.

      Email marketing is a tough (and vast) subject for sure. We’ll try to create some more content on it.

  • Kai says:

    Thanks for the great article. (I was a ad copywriter in a previous life, and still picked up lots of great pointers in your post. Will be using them to promote my bijoux biz.)

  • I loved the email template Jay, thanks a lot! I kind of ‘know’ what I should do, but when the time come to writting, I freak out and end up writting very boring copy. This template will be extremely helpful!
    Loved the article :)

    • Jay says:

      Hey Maricarmen,

      I know how you feel. Templates often help to spark up creativity. Placing restrictions and boundaries, counterintuitively, is often the best way to open up creativity.

      Glad to help, you’re very welcome. =)

  • Another great post with fantastic content.
    It is always exciting when I get an email from thrive because I know the content will be useful and brilliant

  • Greg K says:

    Great post! If you could write a post on list building strategies that would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hanne says:

      Hi Greg,
      I think you’ll find lots of valuable information in Thrive University (simply filter for Build Your List) and you’ll get complete online courses on list building for free!

  • Britt Malka says:

    I’ve been studying how to write emails since 1998, and the AIDA model is always a winner, especially if you throw in stories. In face, I once paid $300 to learn that I should use that model for all my mails :D

    I love the relationship entertaining emails build with the subscribers, and having a template makes it much easier and faster to write the mails, but you should vary the mails anyway. Don’t always use the same structure or email length.

    • Jay says:

      Hi Britt!

      It’s funny how the simplest solution is often the best one, isn’t it. =)

      You’re totally right about variations. Templated emails are a good base to build on, but it always needs your own flair to go with it.

  • Hey Jay,

    Great post! I started to do more of this within this new year and I’m getting more clicks at the least, but in all it feels like I’m giving more value which as a result getting to know more about my subscribers.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Jay says:

      Hey Sherman,

      Thanks! You’re giving more value and getting to know your subscribers. To me that sounds like you’re on your way to becoming a huge success. =)

      Good luck!

  • kate says:

    I enjoyed this – I’ll be using that quote about people loving to buy but hating to be sold to. Plenty of useful tips. Thanks!

  • Albert Tan says:

    Hi Jay,

    This kinda like a revision course or motivating starter for me again.

    It is because sometimes I get a bit lazy and don’t follow a structure while writing.

    It is time to start writing an email a day (what Ben Settle does) and use the soap opera technique by Andre Chaperon’s Autoresponder Madness in my email campaign.

    Thanks for a great article like this!

  • Cecilia says:

    Great article Congratulations !!

  • >