How to sell email marketing automation to customers

In this blog post I’m going to show you how to sell email marketing to customers. We’re going to talk about how to price email marketing, what kinds of “offers” you should make. As well as how to pitch and close a customer to sell them email marketing.

Email marketing automation is an amazing product to sell to your customers. It’s high margin, creates massive value for the customer and is a fantastic lead in product for further offers.

Email marketing and email automation could be the ONLY thing you sell to businesses, and I’m going to teach you how to sell it.

Customers don’t really know what “email marketing automation” is

Here’s the biggest roadblock facing you though. Most customers don’t know what email marketing automation is. If you want to sell email marketing automation to customers, you’d think they have to know what it is.

Email marketing, email automation, marketing automation. These might be terms that you deem simplistic. But your customers aren’t funnel builders. They’re business owners.

They could be authors, course creators, directors, YouTube film makers, accountants, gym instructors. At no point in their business have they had to invest in automation.

Don’t make the assumption that email and marketing automation is on their agenda. Even with a few intelligent guesses, most people could probable guess what email marketing automation is. But to immediately understand the benefits it could bring them and their business, is unlikely.

Email marketing automation is a NEED. It’s needed by businesses, but people don’t really WANT it. When push comes to shove, people will buy what they want, not what they need.

Even if what they need seems amazingly obvious to you, they’ll still buy what they want.

Have you ever noticed that despite knowing how much money, how many sales and how much time that email marketing automation could make and save someone, they still don’t want it?

Ever questioned why people challenge the price of your email products or automation services, when you know it could make them 10x what they earn?

It’s because no one has told them about WIIFM. WIIFM is the world’s best radio station. WIIFM. What’s In It For Me?

As soon as someone understands how their life is better, through using a product, they care about it. That’s the transition from need, into want. And no – higher email open rates is NOT a better future that someone wants, that’s still what they need. We’ll talk about that later.

Don’t talk about email marketing

The first rule of selling marketing funnels is.

Rule #1 of selling marketing funnels:

Don’t talk about marketing funnels.

Mike Killen

And the same is true of email marketing. If you want to sell email marketing to customers, don’t talk about email marketing.

Instead, talk about the customer. As counter-intuitive as this sounds, the more you talk about the customer and the less you talk about the product (in this case, email marketing), the more likely you are to make a sale.

All things being equal, people will buy from their friends. All things being unequal, people still buy from their friends.

The mistake most funnel builders make when they try to sell email marketing automation, is they heavily push and sell and pitch – email marketing automation.

They’ll talk about how great the automation is. How smart the triggers and tags are. How much data you can collect. Sounds amazing right? All the customer hears is “this will cost $X for this widget.”

Instead, you need to shift the focus to what the customer wants and who they are. I’m going to show you how to sell email automation to customers, using this method.

Automation is a dime a dozen feature

Email marketing uses automation to get lots of jobs done, with clever programming a code. However, as it becomes more and more powerful and easier, it’ll become easier.

Think about websites in the 90’s. You had to code it all in to make a very basic site. The rate at which page builders have advanced is now to the point where anyone can throw together a pretty decent looking site, sometimes for free.

But HOW then, do website businesses still charge $10K+ for a website? It’s the same for email marketing and email automation. As it becomes cheaper and easier for customers to do this work themselves, why would they pay someone for the work?

$10000 for email marketing

On top of all that, how do you charge five figures for a marketing service that is becoming more and more commoditised? Simple.

First, you read the rest of this post.

Second, you remember that you don’t sell email marketing, you sell the customer a future they want.

How to sell email marketing automation to customers

Throughout this post, I want you to remember that some people spend $2000 on a car, some spend $40000 on a car and some spend $120000.

They all basically do the same thing. There’s not much difference between a 4,5 and 6 figure car. It’s not how fast it goes, it’s not how many wheels there are or how many seats.

I’ve talked before about why people buy anything. The biggest mistake people make when trying to sell a service (I almost re-wrote this line to say sell your service but I couldn’t make it work), is focusing on the service.

They talk over and over about the product, failing to include the customer in the conversation. We mistakenly believe that if we give the customer all of the information we think they need, they’ll buy.

Instead, focus on the customer, follow these steps.

1. Don’t sell email marketing

We’ve talked already about what not to sell. It’s a bit like telling someone how not to have sex. I was very good at that for most of my young adult life. What I want to know, is how to have sex. I mean sell.

Check out the below pitch.

Warning: You will have to throw out all your clothes and buy a whole new wardrobe because you’re not going to fit into your current one.

What if you could easily and quickly lose weight, without dieting and while still eating your favourite food?

When you wake up, you’re going to feel more refreshed than ever. You’ll have more energy throughout the day and you’ll go to sleep excited about the day ahead. Your family and friends will comment on your new look, your great physique and they’ll ask your secret.

You just have to tell them, your secret is…

Chesterfield cigarettes. The doctors choice for pregnant and hysterical women.

Joking. It’s not cigarettes. Although that is kind of the point.

Tell me, after reading that, what IS the product we’re selling?

It’s difficult right? Comment below if you think you know what the product is.

The point is that there isn’t a product or service mentioned in the copy. We don’t sell the product, we sell the customer.

What you sell is a better, happier, easier, more convenient future. You are selling the customer a better version of themselves. When you sell email marketing automation, you need to sell what email marketing automation DOES for the customer.

The copy above could be a book, or a gym membership. It could be coaching, a YouTube channel, a blog, a course, a home study programme. It could be an app, a podcast.

Can you see the difference between selling the product and selling the customer? The fastest and most powerful way to sell email marketing is to sell the customer.

Most funnel businesses will pitch email marketing and automation like this (which in case you can’t tell, is fucking way off. Like…sour milk off – gone so far wrong that Jesus couldn’t save you wrong).

FunnelMail delivers powerful and effective marketing automation through CRM and email automation platforms. We help businesses with their email marketing and automation to create high-value and revenue based returns.

Trigger based email campaigns to send emails on automation.

CRM and lead scoring for better customer insight.

Weekly newsletter campaigns for content engagement.

Does this sound familiar?

This isn’t about poking fun at poorly written marketing copy. I know hundreds of businesses that position themselves like this. I’ve done it. And some copy is better than none. At least they’re being specific about what they do.

The problem is that they’re doing just that. Telling people what they do.

Rule #2 of selling marketing funnels:

Who you work with matters more than what you do.

Mike Killen. Really pushing hard to get these quotes out.

If you describe a “who”. Someone who clearly has a story and a future that they want, you’ll attract customers.

The cold hard reality is that almost everything we sell, isn’t needed. It’s all intrinsic value. Stuff that makes our life better or a little easier. It’s about us and our life.

Rarely are we selling anything that helps with survival. Email marketing and automation is cool and all, but it won’t keep you alive on a desert island.

So we must sell intrinsic value. We have to sell a brighter, happier, easier, more convenient future. Otherwise we aren’t appealing to the customer. Talk about them, talk about their life and their future. That’ what you should be selling.

2. Create a monthly and one off price

Before we create a pitch for your email marketing services, I want you to create 2 prices.

A monthly price that someone is going to pay once a month, every month.

And a one off price for a set-up process.

Pick your price. It could be anything. $1000 per month and $10K set up. $50 per month and a $5000 set up.

As a rule, your set up price should always be at LEAST four figures (minimum), but a five figure price is good too. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a lower price means you’ll find it easier to make sales now.

I’m going to assume you don’t charge crazy high prices now, so what would be different about choosing a price. One method you can use to pick a price is to DOUBLE your largest ever project fee.

If it was $500, make it $1000. But it has to be at least four figures. Your price should make you feel a little queasy. Like it’d be cheeky to ask for this much. You should look at your price and think “I couldn’t afford this, so why would anyone else?”

I’ve got another post here about how to create a $25000 price tag for your products if you want to read it. And I suggest you do.

The price is the level of value we have to reach, before the customer is willing to exchange with us. They have to see $X value in us and our service.

Most funnel builders will pile on the features in order to increase the value of a product. The problem is that this only addresses ONE of the necessary requirements for value.

Value, by the way, just means difference. What is different or better about your service. What DIFFERENCE does the product make to the life and business of the customer? What is different about them and their life?

I’ve got a video below that talks about the components of value, and what most people miss, in order to sell expensive marketing funnels:

In short, you have to be very clear about what is better for the customer, after they work with you. Most funnel builders, when creating an email marketing automation product to sell, will think of all the features first and then randomly choose a price.

They’ll measure the expensive options and think “I can’t be that high because I don’t have the experience/testimonials/skills/other excuse” and they see the lower options and think “I can’t price that low because I’ll never make any money”.

So they price in the middle thinking that is a pricing strategy. Really, it’s like a load of blind drunken pirates randomly heading to different directions in the ocean, sure that treasure lies in that way. And you coming in and thinking “if I sail between the 2 directions I’m bound to find something”.

You need to pick the price FIRST. You have to decide the price based on what you need to make. It’s the absolute most important step. Choose how much you want to earn first. Choose your budget first.

Then, when you’ve got two numbers written down (a monthly and a one-off), list out everything you’re going to deliver, for those prices. What features are you going to deliver to the customer?

  • Email design and copy
  • CRM lead scoring
  • Email list hygiene automation
  • New subscriber follow up automation

List out what you’re going to do for the customer, the features that you’re going to deliver, for the price that you’ve decided.

3. Pitch this to customers

Your list of features is not what you sell. That’s what you deliver. What you sell is a better version of the customer. You’re selling futures, not features.

Rule 3 of selling marketing funnels:

Sell futures not features.

Andrzej Sapkowski. Jokes. It’s Mike Killen.

There are 3 ways to get in front of a potential customer.

  1. They’re already a customer or a lead and you can talk to them because they already know you
  2. They reach out to you because they’ve heard of your reputation via referral or content marketing
  3. You’ve contacted them or got in front of them, via advertising, cold calling or a speaking engagement

The last 2 are essentially cold. They don’t know you. The first person is warm because they know you, but they might not have bought from you yet.

Remember our copy from before, about losing weight? It could have been a 2 week boot camp, private resort getaway. Or a free blog post. The delivery is irrelevant. The results are what matter.

Delivery ≠ results.

Whatever you write out as your “pitch”, it could be attached to any level of product. That could be an advert that goes to cold prospects who have no idea you exist, or a sales email to warm customers, or an in person pitch that closes people there and then.

Don’t over-complicate your pitch thinking about different levels of buyer readiness. Don’t worry about the advert pitch to cold prospects, being different to the pitch you give to warm customers.

It’s a misconception that you need to adjust and change the pitch, depending on how ready the customer is. Yes, there are different methods for getting the attention of people in different stages. But as a rule, the message or “pitch” stays the same.

There’s a loop that you need to remember. It doesn’t matter what your message or pitch is, just remember this loop.

The Pitch Loop

The Pitch Loop above is what 99% of marketing and sales is.

The attention stage is getting someone to listen to you for the next 3 seconds, 3 minutes or 3 hours.

The message is the pitch. The story you tell about the better life someone could experience.

The call to action is the next step someone has to take.

When someone has taken that next step, we get their attention for the next stage. Where people go wrong is thinking the message needs to change. It’s not – its the attention and action stage that need to change.

Let’s use email marketing as an example.

Advert to cold traffic
Attention: Here’s how to generate sales on auto-pilot
Message: Imagine waking up every morning to new customers in your inbox, sales on your website and money in your account
CTA: click here to learn more

Video to warm traffic
Attention: 5 steps to wake up to new sales every morning
Message: Imagine waking up every morning to new customers in your inbox, sales on your website and money in your account
CTA: download our 5 point guide

Sales letter
Attention: How to use email automation to sell products
Message: Imagine waking up every morning to new customers in your inbox, sales on your website and money in your account
CTA: click here to buy the course

As counter-intuitive as this looks, this is how successful pitches are made. The attention and call to action change. The message stays the same.

The message might become longer or more complex. It might have steps and points and tactics, but at it’s core, the message will stay the same. The method of getting attention changes, the call to action changes, but the message stays the same.

What’s your message?

In order to discover your message you need to take a look at your list of features. Remember, we sell futures, not features.

We need to convert those features into benefits. Or, better futures. The way we do is this to take each feature and ask “if someone used this, how would their life be better?”

How is their life easier, better, faster, less difficult, more fun, more entertaining? How does this get them more sex, money, power, status, relationships, time, freedom or satisfaction?

It’s a bit of back and forth between what the customer wants and what we can offer. We have to write and re-write our benefits or futures over time. But this gives us the future we’re giving to customers.

Some examples below.

CRM databasebetter relationships with customers
Email list hygiene
lower marketing costs and higher click rates
Email automationless time spent managing customers
Email sales campaigngenerate sales quickly and easily
Nurture campaignreduced time between sales

For every feature, you need to finish the sentence “if my customers used this every day, they’d have/see/feel…”

Ultimately you need to balance what the customer wants with what you’re offering. Remember our weight loss example before though. The message and results are NOT tied to the delivery. Take a read of the pitch below (which of course you can steal).

Imagine waking up and seeing new orders and sales in your email inbox. You’ve not even had breakfast yet, but you’re already confident and positive about the day ahead because you’ve reached your sales targets for the month.

Instead of cold-calling prospects, you get to spend an extra 30 minutes with your family, having breakfast with them. Why does everything seem so good?

It’s remarkably simple. Your customers can’t help but buy from you. You’re doing everything you can to talk to them and you spend every waking minute building a relationship with them.

The only difference is that you physically aren’t there, you’ve got thousands of virtual sales people talking to customers and closing deals.

Email marketing pitch

This could go on and on, it could be as short as this. It’s unlikely that someone is going to spend $25000 on email marketing services, after reading this short paragraph (although I have seen it happen).

The difference is the call to action required. This could easily offer a lead magnet or training webinar. It could be a message for a discovery call.

If you created a longer pitch like this one and offer a larger commitment or call to action. Depending on how much tension you create with your message, depending on how much desire you create, your call to action will increase and change.

Lot’s of funnel builders make the mistake of including more features in the message, in order to increase the CTA value. Imagine spending 30 minutes building a compelling story and selling a brighter, better future, only to end the message with a load of words like email automation, sales campaign and list hygiene.

4. Close customers like this

Whatever stage the customer is in, either during a proposal or discovery stage. Or their close to buying. We have to remember to close them.

Alec Bladwin famously talked about ABC in the film Glengarry Glen Ross.


Always. Be. Closing.

Always be closing.

The saying has been misinterpruted and frankly fucked for a few years now. Low rent sales people use it as an excuse for jumping to a sale too early.

Or they’ll quote it when they’re pushing for something they want. ABC doesn’t mean always try to close as soon as possible, it means always end your sentences with a call to action.

Closing could be getting a meeting booked. It could be getting a commitment or a sale. Closing could be you asking if they want a proposal in the first place.

When you’re at a networking event and you talk to someone you want a meeting with, you have to close them on that meeting.

You: “We can help with that. How about I come over for 30 minutes next week?”

Customer: “I don’t know. We’re pretty happy with our current supplier. And I’m not in next week.”

When we try to book a meeting with that customer, they might offer an objection. It’s like a soft no (important to note that it isn’t a NO though). We get them all the time, during the sale, presentations, pitches, discovery calls.

It’s a way for the customer to push the boundaries. Even if the customer says “I can’t do next week”, that is an objection. Your job, is ABC. Always be closing.

It’s not a no, it’s a fact. Sometimes it’s more of a complaint. Our example above is both.

Fact: They aren’t available next week.
Complaint: They’re happy with their current supplier.

We turn the objection, acknowledge their thoughts and close them anyway.

You: “I totally understand Mark, I don’t want to push. How about the week after? Tuesday?”

Customer: “Yeah that sounds good.”

This is one of the mistakes people make during the close. The “objection” is really just a fact or a complaint. You can’t do anything about it. Lot’s of people try to prove that the customer is wrong, or they take the objection to heart.

“You’re happy with your supplier? Let me list of 15 reasons why we’re better.”

You’re not turning the objection, you’re not giving 15 reasons why they should have a meeting with you. You’re giving the customer 15 reasons why they’re wrong.

Agree with them. Acknowledge the complaint or fact. Close.

“I totally agree, X are a great company. Are you around the week after?”

If you’re clear on what the next stage is, you should close on that. Asking for the deal is 100x more effective than never asking.

“Can we set up a meeting?”

“Can we set up a call?”

“Can I send over a proposal?”

“Can I get you to sign here?”

Complaints and objections are just part of the process. It’s a natural resistance that you have to work with in order to make the sale. Even when you KNOW what your favourite meal is at your favourite restaurant, you still look over the menu. It’s part of the dance.

Assume the customer wants the next stage too. You just have to tell them how to get to that next step.

During the proposal stage, after you’ve pitched the product we want to close them on the deal and get the sale.

We’re looking for two things. Commitment to the proposal (signature) and skin in the game (deposit).

Our job is to remind them what we’re exchanging. That’s the close – exchange.

We’re giving them benefits, they’re giving us commitment and money. We need to close them on the benefits and get them to give us a signature and a deposit.

At the end of your proposal or pitch, or if you send a proposal do the below. Use a core benefit/future from your pitch and close with that.

…end of the proposal “if you want us to start generating sales on automation, we need a signature here and a deposit. How did you want to pay?”

That ASSUMPTION preceded by the benefit tells the customer what they need to do. If they have questions, they’ll ask them. Don’t ask them if they have questions, tell them what they need to do next.

If they have an objection, do what we did with the meeting example above. Acknowledge the complaint. Agree with them. Close.

There are more complex objections. A typical one being “how do I know you’ll get these results?” That’s a true objection and not just a complaint. I talk more about closing objections here.


But what if the customer says “that’s too expensive?”

Agree. Acknowledge. Close

“Hey man, that’s a lot of money. It’s quite expensive.”

“Yeah I agree, it is a lot of money. We just need a signature and a deposit to start.”

Simple as that. Do not justify the price or go back and list everything. It’s a complaint. The customer just want’s to be heard. Nothing you can do about their money – that’s their problem. That’s a complaint.

An objection is something you handle. It’s something you can change or turn. Timescales, proof, deliverables. Those are things people object to that you can alter.

You can’t change the customer’s money complaints. Agree, acknowledge, close.

How to price a marketing funnel

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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.