ecommerce content creation

How do you turn one-time website visitors into lifelong customers?

This is where email campaigns come in.

This guide discusses the process of creating an effective email campaign that leads to increased sales revenue and high customer satisfaction.

Boost Revenue with Email Campaigns That Convert

When a lead enters your website, he could have many reasons for visiting other than making a purchase. Chances are, he is just there to do some research for a product or service he might need sometime in the future. As a marketer, it falls upon you to bridge this intent gap and show why it is preferable to act now.

If you are selling a high-ticket item or there’s a lot of competition, it may take the lead a while to be ready. A well-designed email campaign can speed up this process by motivating and educating your leads to buy sooner than later. Even more importantly, it will keep your solution on the top of his mind when it is time to make a decision.

Here are five steps to create a strong email campaign:

1. Identify Your Ideal Customer

Since you are going after lifelong customers, you need to make a conscious decision specifically about who you want to target.

What kind of customer or business will benefit the most from your product or service?

In an ideal scenario, the customer would feel they are getting the deal of a lifetime and consistently recommend you to others.

Write down how you can help, what they are willing to pay and what perception they need to have of you and your business. This information is crucial for targeting the people that are right for the product or service you are offering.

Also write down how your ideal customer behaves. What are the do’s and don’ts?

It helps to create a Customer Avatar, which gets everything down on one sheet of paper. Look at your best customer or, if you don’t have any, imagine your ideal customer. Write down who he is, how he behaves, how much business he brings in and how he makes his buying decisions. Targeting this type of customer ensures you maximize the ROI on your resources and time.

COMING SOON: Learn more about creating a Customer Avatar.

2. Make Sure They Get a Quick Win

Make an offer your ideal customer would be crazy to refuse. That is how you should build your lead magnet. A strong lead magnet should contain valuable advice that ideal customers would normally pay for, except it would be delivered to them for free in exchange for their email address.

If you follow up with even more content (e.g. engaging blog articles and informative resource content) that is helpful, you have begun mutually beneficial building business relationships.

This only works if you completed step 1 and correctly identified your ideal customer. Your lead magnet, however, is only as effective as the extent to which it resonates with their specific needs. When they read it, their response should be:

“Wow, this is really useful and informative, and this is exactly what I needed for my business!”

Only then would they consider buying from you (unless they know you and need your solution immediately). They will only do business when 1) they are certain they will benefit from it, and 2) they already trust you.

Want to know more about lead magnets? Read: Why Lead Magnets Are (Still) The Way To Go

3. Get Them to Opt Into a Well-Structured Email Campaign

email campaigns that convert

After sending a lead magnet that provided good value, your leads should already be familiar with you, your products, and your brand at this point. The best way to turn this into revenue is by nurturing these new relationships with a well-structured and engaging email sequence.

Don’t forget that you are competing for their attention, and their email inbox is a valuable space in their daily life that warrants a lot of respect and a thoughtful approach. Sending out random newsletters, or worse, spammy mass emails, won’t cut it. You need to have a strategy for how each email brings your lead one step closer to buying from you, and cut out everything that does not directly serve that goal.

Here’s an example sequence:

Start with a cliffhanger. The middle of good stories are typically more compelling than their beginning. Your first email (after the welcome email) begins with the height of tension within a wider narrative. Your reader will feel compelled to open the next email just to find out how the story ends.

Keep in mind that the storyline is there to hold your readers’ attention. If they are not ready to buy now, they may be in the future. Using storytelling to keep your audience engaged helps to prevent your competition from getting a grip on them before they’re ready to buy from you.

Provide context. Before you solve the tension of the story, you first qualify yourself and give them some background leading up to the climax. You tell more about who you are and what you do, all within the context of demonstrating how qualified you are to help him solve their problem.

Part of providing context is making sure your emails are relevant to the main problem your leads are having. If you completed step 1 and intimately know your ideal customer, you’ll be able to use language that resonates with them, while sprinkling in links to other premium content that are relevant and helpful.

Provide value. Before you make them a sweet offer (or give another freebie that leads to a more segmented, and thus more targeted, email campaign), don’t forget to resolve the cliffhanger. I prefer to offer a tripwire product or service immediately, to couple the story’s conclusion with an opportunity to make a purchase.

4. Make Sure the Story Ties Into the Lead Magnet

It would be outright weird to tell a random story, even if it’s beneficial for making sales. Your lead signed up so he could receive the lead magnet. So as long as your story line is related to the lead magnet, you minimize the chance of your lead ignoring your emails, or worse, unsubscribing.

If, for example, you run a logistics company, and your reader signed up for a lead magnet on how to cut costs by using your novel solution, you can tell the story of how this technology came into existence.

Do not fret if your chosen topic isn’t sexy or somehow attention-grabbing. This is why storytelling techniques are crucial. It is recommended to have an experienced writer create the emails to make sure your story is as compelling as possible. Or sign up for our email list so you can see how we do it (and get a Content Marketing Blueprint for free to boot!).

5. Find Creative Ways to Capture Email Addresses

You offer your lead magnet to your ideal customer in exchange for their email.

There are many ways to go about this:

  • You can place a small form at the bottom of relevant blog posts.
  • You can make a dedicated “squeeze page” that sells the reader on your lead magnet, and funnel all incoming traffic to it.
  • You can target potential customers with ad campaigns. When they click through, they land on your squeeze page.
  • You create an opt-in form for your lead magnet on all landing pages.
  • You add a link to your lead magnet in your email signature.

The goal is to alert your customers that you have a piece of premium content that will be helpful to him.

Which method you use is up to you. You can use one or several at the same time. Your readers will thank you for it as long is your offer is properly targeted.

6. Make Sure You Aren’t Annoying Your List Subscribers

Email campaigns are powerful tools to turn qualified leads into lifelong clients, but only when used correctly. A poorly executed email sequence will do the exact opposite. Repulse your readers and they are gone forever. I will show you the three most important factors that you can check yourself for creating strong email campaigns that benefit both you and your leads.

 SELF-CHECK #1: Is Your Email Useful to the Reader?

If the email is not useful, don’t send it. Why waste your time and theirs if they won’t find much value in what you have to say?

But if you are not sure, ask yourself the following questions:

☞ Do you have a clear idea of what your followers need?

☞ Does your email campaign actively help to fulfill those needs?

☞ Is the end goal of the campaign to get your followers to sign up for a product or service that will benefit them?

☞ Do you know how to communicate the above in a language your followers can understand and in a tone that doesn’t ruffle their feathers?

☞ Do you know what language to avoid and which sales objections you should address and which you should ignore?

You should only hit “send” if your email campaign is useful to your followers and is written in a language they can understand. If you are not sure, it is better to invest in market research and create a profile of your ideal customer before you start a campaign.

Note: Don’t start a marketing campaign before you know what you want to sell.

Having said that, the second most important factor to prevent aggravated unsubscribes is how you handle your readers attention.

 SELF-CHECK #2: Are Some Aspects of the Email a Waste of Their Time?

If you send an email, you have to make sure that your reader gets something out of it. He can only pay attention to one thing at any given moment. If he regrets opening your email because the first few paragraphs are irrelevant fluff, he will stop reading it and ignore your emails from now on. You only have one shot with each lead, so it behooves you to use it wisely by respecting their time and personal inbox.

One thing you should always be doing is checking every email before sending it. Review all paragraphs and remove anything that is not worth your reader’s attention. The cleaner your emails are, the more successful your campaign will be. If you can pull this off while keeping your emails engaging with some masterful storytelling, that would be a real bonus.

In automated campaigns, you could send a test email to yourself to see how it renders in your personal inbox. More often than not, there will be something you might want to change.

Always use email campaign software like ActiveCampaign or ConvertKit (these are not affiliate links) to measure how many leads open your emails and how much time they spend reading them.

 SELF-CHECK #3: Are You Including Those Who Are Interested But Not Ready To Buy?

Here’s a little-known secret of marketing:

Only 3% of your market is ready to buy at any given time. 97%, even if they match your ideal customer perfectly, won’t be ready to buy upon the first touchpoint or even after the first three.

[bctt tweet=”Only 3% of your market is ready to buy at any given time. 97%, even if they match your ideal customer perfectly, won’t be ready to buy upon the first touchpoint.”]

The 3% might jump at the chance to take you up on your offer, but it’s far better to play the long game by nurturing prospects who might become ready to buy in the near future. If you don’t, your competitors might swoop in and use a clever marketing campaign to convince the prospect to buy from them.

You want to stay in touch with your prospects over time, so that when they finally are ready to buy, they will come to you first. You can make this easy for yourself by automating this process with email campaigns, perfecting the content and tone of your message along the way.

7. Don’t Spam! Find the Right Email Frequency

Optimizing the cadence of your email campaigns is a sure way to grow your business.

We’ll cover how to determine what kind of email frequency is right for your specific leads.

The Problem with Mass Emailing

The end goal of every email campaign is to increase revenue. It is tempting to think that sending more emails will lead to more sales.

This is true to some extent. Sending an offer every once in a while is obviously better than never sending an offer at all.

But there is a point of diminishing returns. If you send too many emails your leads will get annoyed. They will mark your messages as spam, unsubscribe from your list, or ignore future correspondence. As a result, your revenue will actually go down.

As if that weren’t bad enough, you have to consider that large email providers track how their customers treat the emails you send them. If they notice your messages go largely ignored, they may decide to automatically put your outgoing messages in the “spam” or “promotion” folders.

In a 2018 study, this was the case in 24% of promotional emails.

This is prevented by finding the optimum email cadence, so that your leads are happy to read every message you send them and do not press Delete out of irritation.

So, What is the Ideal Email Frequency Anyway?

Let me start by giving you the fastest way to win at the email game.

Do not send more than one email per day.

How many emails you should send that best serves your business goals largely depends on the nature of your business. An online fashion retailer with customers that shop every two weeks can send offers more frequently than a SaaS business with a “one payment for lifetime access” model.

In most cases, however, less is more.

It’s better to create email campaigns that convert by delivering tremendous value than to send generic newsletters or impersonal sales pitches. Leads that show a lot of engagement are the exception. If a group religiously reads your emails and gets in touch frequently, it is obvious that your emails are of high value, at least to them. Emailing this group more frequently is likely to increase revenue.

How GDPR and CAN-SPAM Affect your Email Campaigns

The CAN-SPAM act and the European equivalent GDPR protect consumers against spam. As a business, you have to prove the prospect consented to receiving your marketing emails. That’s why a prospect always needs to give his consent while opting into your email list.

If you are reaching out to warm leads, be aware that if you can’t prove they gave you the consent beforehand (or that you have a valid reason to contact them), you are not compliant with GDPR. You also need to give them the option to opt out by clearly displaying that your email is an advertisement and listing your contact information (including your address). If you do not comply with these regulations, you may be subject to exorbitant fines up to millions of dollars.

You can send as many emails as you like as long as you comply with these regulations. However, it is recommended to be completely sure you are compliant before you send any email. If you’re looking for a compliance checklist, you can find it here.