How to write the perfect email sales campaign

I’m going to show you how we write all our email campaigns. For every email we send, we run through this process before writing the emails. This way we make sure we maximise our conversions, open rates and click through rates.

You can use this process for your customers, or your own email campaigns. The principles are the same for large products, small products, subscriptions or one off products.

Our businesses have to generate sales and revenue. It’s becoming harder and harder to break through the noise and speak to customers. Email marketing can save us time, money and energy by automating the process which we talk to customers.

It’s critical to note that our email sales letters should absolutely be a conversation. We should be talking to our customers. Not just putting sales emails in front of them.

In the good old days, we’d just hire a copywriter to write a long form sales letter and send that to as many email addresses as possible. That doesn’t work anymore. Simple as that.

I’m going to show you the critical questions we ask before every email campaign. We could be building a 3 month launch series or an automation series. Whatever the email campaign, I’m going to show you how we write our sales emails.

Just before we start, we’ve got 5 pre-written sales emails here. Sign up and get them sent straight to your inbox. You can use them for your campaigns or for your customers. They’re yours to copy and paste. Fill in the blank, white-labelled sales emails that you can use. Plus, they come with notes on how to best use them and what to write in them.

What’s the product?

First, and most critical we have to know what the product is. We need a description of the product. We need a price, a sales cycle length, whether it’s a service or product. Physical, digital or service based. Is it sent to the customer or built? We want to know everything about the product.

We need to know what the product or service is, in order to understand how we’ll answer the rest of the questions. Do we have product images for the sale?

Action points: write up a short product description for the product. It doesn’t have to be detailed, we’re just exploring what it is that the customer physically will get when they buy.

Content questions

Below are the content questions that we have to answer for every email campaign. If we’re sending one email or twenty, we need to make sure the content that goes into each email helps people understand why they should buy.

What’s the benefit to the customer?

What is the benefit to the customer if they buy? We often are taught benefits and features in marketing courses. Things like “sell the sizzle, not the steak” or “sell the destination, not the journey”. I’m not a massive fan of these because they miss the key point of a benefit.

It’s absolutely no benefit for me to be at a destination that I don’t want to be in. The key point to a benefit is that it has to be something the customer WANTS.

Your product might accelerate weight loss, or save them money or give them more internet data. But it still has to be something they want.

Think about what the customer gets and ask yourself “so what?”. Why does anyone care that they can loose weight? Why does someone care that you’ll save them money?

Answering that why question will give you the benefit to your product. A benefit is something almost intangible about a result, but something that can be felt. It’s emotional, or selfish. A benefit of weight loss is that I’ll look better and feel confident.

A benefit of saving money is I’ll have more money to spare and I won’t be panicking about my next mortgage payment.

What’s the benefit of someone buying your product?

What’s better about their life if they buy?

Let’s look at a broader perspective of their life and see how it affects their average day. What does their life look like after the buy and use your product?

Think about the average day of your customer before they buy, where they are now. The struggles, frustrations and roadblocks they’re facing every day.

Remember, their life is supposed to be worse, if they don’t buy. Focus on the negative aspects of their life before they buy from you.

Then think about how their day is better after they buy from you. What is better in their life, now that they’ve bought? Do they have more time? Do they have more energy or money?

How do they wake up? How do they sleep? Think about mealtimes, the gym, work, commuting and all the aspects of their day that improve if they buy.

What’s better about their life after they buy?

What kind of results can they expect?

Results are tangible outcomes of buying from you or working with you. For example, more traffic per month to my website is a result. That’s something which can be measured and improved upon. You need to make sure that your product or solution, will get tangible results for the customer.

It’s important not to promise results that you can’t deliver, but promise results you can deliver. What will someone see and get if they buy from you? What results will they get if they follow your advice or use your product exactly as you say?

If you can guarantee more traffic, say that. If you can’t guarantee weight loss, don’t say it. But what can you guarantee? Because promised results are often what tip people over the edge to a sale.

Maybe instead of weight loss, you can guarantee that they’ll raise their heart rate for 15 minutes. Maybe instead of guaranteeing that they’ll make money, promise them that they can talk to you as often as they need.

You need the tangible results that you can get for your customers. Prove that you got those results for someone else.

If your product or service is designed to help customers increase sales for example, you might find it dangerous to promise that they’ll have more money. But you should be able to prove what you did with your other customers or users.

Businesses that aren’t comfortable guaranteeing or promising things shouldn’t be in business. Simple as that. What kinds of results can customers expect? What is the products designed to give?

How quickly can they expect results?

How fast will they see results? Maybe they’ll get the entire weight loss training plan instantly, and they’ll see results in just 4 weeks?

Or if we’re a traffic agency, maybe you can get more traffic in 5 working days?

If you can add a timescale to the results that you find for customers, then you’re ahead of the competition. For example, at MeBox, we guarantee that our Epiphany Labs sessions yield life changing business clarity in under 3 days.

How quickly can you get results for the customer?

What problem does the product solve?

What’s the problem or roadblock that you’re helping them overcome? This is the negative opposite of the result or goals. For example, if I want more traffic to my website, the problem is that I don’t have anything to drive traffic to.

Or it could be a roadblock, preventing them from achieving the goals and results they want by themselves. Maybe they have no traffic strategy which will increase the visitors I see to my site.

Finally, think about the “bleeding from the neck problem” which is driving them to make a change. They’re just not getting enough customers in. They’re loosing money every year. They’re losing market share to their competition. Their email list growth is stagnant.

How do you know if it’s a “bleeding from the neck problem”? Think about the consequences. If they don’t fix this problem, will they bleed out? Is it something they’re aware of and is it something they both WANT to fix and WANT to avoid the consequences?

Sometimes it’s not even enough to know about a problem they have to solve. If they don’t want to and aren’t sufficiently motivated by the potential consequences, it’s going to be harder to sell to them. It has to be something they want to solve.

So what problem, which the customers has and wants to solve, does your product solve?

What’s the old way of solving the problem (which doesn’t work anymore)?

Are there any myths or old/outdated ways of solving the problem, which don’t work anymore?

For example, in the good old days, to build our email list, we’d just slap up a squeeze page, offer an eBook and drive tons of Google Adword traffic. That doesn’t work now.

You need to identify what they customer is doing now, which doesn’t work. Help them see there is another way, they don’t have to try the frustrating, slow and ineffective way anymore. There are options.

What the old way of solving the problem or what is a myth? Something which they think they’ll have to do but really they won’t.

What’s the reason to buy NOW?

What are the consequences if they don’t buy? Or, what is the scarcity of the product? It’s important to look at what’s changing in our environment for better or worse.

If they don’t change now, they’ll miss out or their business will be in worse shape. What are the technological, sociological or financial incentives for changing now?

Is this a sale which means they can’t get it at this price any longer? Or is it limited stock or limited numbers? There needs to be additional motivation for making the choice NOW and not waiting.

It can be either your scarcity of the product, the changing environment for better or worse OR it can be both.

What proof do we have?

Finally, what evidence do you have that the product/service gets the results they want?

Testimonials and videos for social proof from previous customers, is the strongest leverage you can use.

Sources and links to other articles supporting your statements are also useful. If you’re talking about changes in environments or opportunities you can leverage, then try to find blog posts, articles and other content supporting what you’re saying.

If you have screenshots, video evidence and written evidence too, that all helps. The idea is that we want to cement that we’ve done this before or we know what we’re talking about.

Think about the proof you have and what you can leverage as evidence.

Action points: Write up the content question answers and keep them handy, we’re going to use those snippets in our email series. Remember too that we have these 5 pre-written sales emails here which you can use today and get sent straight to your inbox.

Have you earned the right to send a sales email?

If you haven’t earned trust, authority and started a dialogue with your customers, then you can’t send a sales email.

All too often, we’re so desperate and in a hurry to send a sales email, that we send something which will fall on deaf ears.

You have to ask yourself, “have I earned the right to send a sales email? Have I given enough value and been helpful enough to send a sales email?”

Sales emails are designed to help someone take the next step. They’re not designed to suck money from your list. What you’re doing is asking them if they want help and that you can help them

Action point: Have a think if you’ve earned the right to send a sales email. Ask yourself if you’ve already proven yourself to be helpful and useful. Are you considered a valuable sender of emails? If so, then they’ll welcome a sales email. If not, you’ll lose trust with your list.

Have they bought before?

Have these customers bought before? If so, make sure your language addresses them as a current customer. Welcome them back. Talk about their previous purchase and make sure it’s clear you know they’ve bought already.

Action point: Divide up the emails between current customers and new customers. Keep new customers happy and make sure you refer to their previous purchases.

What have you helped them do already?

If you’ve been helping them with weight loss, SEO or their taxes, does your new product help them get the same results?

It’s understandable that you might think a social media course is the next obvious sale to someone who bought SEO software from you. But you have to make sure that the results and problems are seen as the same.

If they’re totally different problems, that’s fine too. But you have to still understand what THIS customer wants TODAY. What they bought last time might indicate that they’re still looking to drive traffic. If your next product is about video production, are you sure this will make sense to sell to the same person?

The closer you are to their last purchase, the better the conversion rates.

Action point: Whether they’ve bought or not, maybe they’ve signed up to a lead magnet, think about the results they’ve got from you before and does your sales email or campaign help them do that again? Are you helping them get the same results faster and with less effort? Or a totally new set of results?

Is this a new product, a launch or an up-sell?

This could be an entire course in itself, so I’ll cover the basics. If you’re launching a product, to a current or new audience, you have to work hard at proving you can help them. A launch doesn’t have to be a new product, it can be a closed launch loop which only allows people in a few times a year.

New products to the market need time to mature. You need to do weeks of pre-promotion to get the product in their mind before it goes live.

Or it could be an up-sell or cross-sell. Are you helping customers get the same results faster? What is the stage of the product? Is this a fire sale where you’re offering a bonus or promotion for a limited time?

Action point: Make sure you know exactly what type of campaign you’re running.  A launch or new product, is probably a campaign, as is a promotion/fire sale campaign.

Up-sells and cross-sells could be entirely automated depending on previous actions within your CRM.

What’s the call to action?

What is it you want the customer to do and what does that journey look like? How are they happy to buy and do you need to be there?

For example, I might see a house in an email, but the actual call to action is to give the Estate Agent a call. A $10 000 website might need me to set up a Skype call and book a discovery call.

A $1997 course could be purchased from a sales page via Stripe or PayPal. Same with a small $19 book or course. What’s the call to action?

Action point: You have to be explicit and clear in your instructions. Work out this call to action before writing anything else. If you want people to call you, tell them “if you want these results, call us”. If you want them to click through to a page, tell them.

Make it obvious and easy to take the next step.

How many emails are you sending?

Are you sending 3 emails for the whole campaign or 3 emails a week? The more emails you write, the more chances you’ve got to make a conversion. But if you send the same 3 emails 15 times a month, you’re going to look like an asshole.

Sending 3 emails an hour is fine, if the customer gets something of value from those emails. If you send 1 sales email a month with no other communication, that’ll be considered spam.

Action point: Write out how many emails you’re going to send and when. If it’s a sales campaign, you need a minimum of 3 emails per product. If it’s a longer term promotion, every new product or webinar or page needs 3 emails. You can even automate people skipping an email or two if they click.

Write the subject lines.

After we decide how many emails we’re sending, we need to write the subject lines. Just think WHAT would get someone to open?

If you need help deciding on your subject lines, take your answers from the content questions above and craft lines that would pique your interest using that copy.

Don’t say things like “Now on sale – weight loss course”. Be provocative, be emotional, be funny.

“Hate working out 3 times a week?”

“15 ways in 15 minutes that will loose fat”

“You look great. Now look greater”

Your job is to get them to open the email. That’s all.

Action point: Write the subject lines for your chosen number of emails.

Choose a theme for the email.

Remember that we have 5 pre-written emails you can use here, fill in the blanks that you can use for your customers or your business.

Is your email based around the loss that they’ll experience if they don’t buy? Or maybe it’s based on the potential gain they could see if they do buy?

You have to tell a story. The length doesn’t matter. If you’re crafting a long sales letter, then make it long. If it’s short to get them to click, make it short.

But pick a theme for the email and write your emails. Follow the subject line and introduce the promise, the problem and the old way.

Explain they should buy now and that they’ll see a change if the do or don’t buy.

Action point: Write the emails based on the content questions you’ve answered about. Make it personal, think about how you’re helping them. Work backwards from the call to action. What are you asking them to do? How can you make it compelling to take action?

You’re just having a conversation

My favourite part of the whole process is answering the content questions. I get so much clarity that I understand exactly why someone would but.

All in all, you’re just trying to tell a story which helps them. What is going to be better about their life?

“But Mike, my customer’s products aren’t very good”. I hear this a lot unfortunately, and you’re not alone. The truth is that if you’re not excited by your customer’s products and if your customer isn’t excited by their products – then no one will be.

Have you tried writing a sale email before? I’d love to see any examples if you’ve got them. Is there anything I’ve missed off the list? Let me know in the comments below.

Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.