There’s one question that comes up again and again when people are launching:
Should I send my sales emails to my entire list?
The logic is simple: you’ve got uber compelling sales copy that is going to motivate people to click and buy. So you want as many people as possible to get those messages, right?
As tempting as it is to send your sales emails to your entire list, I don’t recommend it. Here’s why…
The #1 key to effective email marketing is to keep your messaging hyper-relevant to each subscriber. You want people to feel like your content is custom-made just for them.
Because when people don’t feel your emails are meaningful for them, they don’t just not-buy. They unsubscribe. Forevs.
People are likely on your list for different reasons. They’re interested in different things, they have different problems, they have different goals. The closer you can get to each person’s unique situation, the more your message is going to resonate.
One way to keep your messaging relevant is by offering a way for subscribers to put their hands up and say, “Yes, I’m interested in this” before sending your sales emails. (More on how to do this in a minute.)
Let’s pretend you have a website called HowtoBeBritish.com and you share tips on how to cook British food, have a British sense of style, and speak in a British accent.
As someone who wants to speak in a British accent, I stumble upon your website and sign up for email updates.
Over the next few weeks, I get a killer welcome sequence from you which builds a relationship and makes me primed to keep opening your weekly emails. Although you send out content on cooking and fashion, too, I only click on the accent-related links because that’s really all I’m interested in.
A couple weeks in, I get an email that you have a free cheat sheet on the ten most mispronounced British words, which I click on because, duh! I want that bloody British accent.
After that freebie, I get some sales emails from you talking about your paid program, Three Weeks to a Perfect British Accent. Because I’ve already gotten great free content through your emails and your free offer, I like you and I want to hear what you have to say. So I read your sales emails intently.
They connect with me. They remind how much it sucks having a boring old American accent (because pain sells!). And I sign up for the program.
That’s the perfect scenario of how a launch funnel will go.
Now, let’s flip it and see what would happen if you sent your sales email to your entire list…
In this case, I still sign up for your emails and skip over the emails about cooking and fashion. You send me an email promoting a free guide on how to cook ten popular British recipes. I don’t sign up for it because I’m not interested.
Then, I start to receive your sales emails promoting your Three Weeks to Master British Cooking course. I get a sales email every day for 1-2 weeks, which annoys me. I’m okay with getting a helpful blog post about cooking. I’m even okay that you presented your free offer, even though it didn’t pertain to me. But to get email after email about this cooking course that I’ve shown zero interest in is downright irritating.
At best, I’ll start to ignore the sales emails — which is still pretty bad, because that means I won’t be as interested in opening your emails in general. You do NOT want to condition people to tune out your messages. As my copywriting girl crush, Joanna Wiebe says, “Every email your subscribers open but don’t care about is an email that widens the gap between you and them.”
At worst, I’ll unsubscribe because I feel like your emails aren’t meaningful to me anymore. And then you’ve completely lost your chance to sell me on a product that’s actually a great match down the line.
Neither of those scenarios gives you satisfied subscribers, raving fans, or paying customers.
So how do you avoid them?
How to keep your emails hyper-relevant
Instead of sending your sales emails to your entire list, ONLY send them to subscribers who have put their hands up and told you they’re interested.
The most straightforward way to do this is by offering a free webinar, guide, checklist, video training, etc. The people who opt in for the free offer have shown you they’re interested in that particular topic, which means they’ll be interested in hearing more about it (aka your paid offer).
BOOM. That’s who you send your sales emails to.
Another way is a bit more of a long-term strategy. This is where you create chances along the subscriber journey for people to put their hands up.
I like to do this by tracking the links people click in weekly emails. I love ConvertKit for email marketing because it makes this easy by automatically tagging subscribers based on links they click.
Going back to our example, you could set up an automation in ConvertKit to apply a certain tag to every person who clicks a link about accents.
When it comes time to launch your accent course, you can send your sales emails to everyone with the “[Interest] British Accents” tag — because they’ve already given you hints that they’re interested in this topic. Your paid offer is likely to be very relevant to them.
Still want to your send sales emails to your entire list? Consider this.
If you send your sales emails to everyone, you don’t just risk people unsubscribing or tuning out your messages. There’s a bigger opportunity cost at play.
Let’s say you send me sales emails about the British cooking program that I’m not interested in. I kind of skim through the emails and soak up a bit of the messaging but I don’t buy.
Six months later, I develop this freakish interest in British food and I really, really, really want to learn how to cook it.
When you re-launch the program and I receive your sales emails again, they’re not going to resonate. Instead of being compelled by your message, I’m going to be like, “wait a minute. I’ve read this already,” and get annoyed that you’re sending the same sales material out. It’s going to remind me that I didn’t buy the last time I read them.
And that’s not a state of mind you want potential customers in.
The most effective time to reach someone with your sales emails is when they’re the most likely to buy. They lose their potency otherwise.
Just because someone isn’t ready now doesn’t mean they won’t be ready someday. And it’s much more effective to save your best sales messages for the EXACT moment when they’re most likely to buy…which you can’t do if you send your sales emails to your entire list.
Bottom line: I know you want to get as many sales as you can in the short-term. But as Jeff Walker says, “The longer the runway, the smoother the takeoff.”
When you zoom back the lens, you can see that segmenting your list now leads to more sales (and more satisfied subscribers) later, which is ultimately what we need for the long-term health of our businesses.
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What do you think about this?
How do you segment your list and give people a chance to “raise their hands” to show you they’re interested?
Have you ever sent sales emails out to everyone before? What were your results like?