Should follow up email content include just helpful content or paid offers?

Have you ever wondered about what to include in your follow up email content?

Should it be more offers for things you can sell?

Or free content where you don't sell anything?

If ever you’ve subscribed to someone’s email list, be that because you’ve purchased a product from them, you want the Lead Magnet they’re offering or you’re just interested in receiving their updates, but then you constantly receive email after email asking you to buy something else?

Buy this…

Then buy this…

Now buy that.

I see it so often and it really frustrates me.

It’s such a turn off and can leave customers and prospective customers thinking that you’re only after their hard-earned money.

What happens next? Yep, they unsubscribe. Or maybe report you for spam and then unsubscribe.

But then I see so many business owners who go too far the other way. In fact, this is the biggest mistake I see business owners making.

They’re so scared of falling into the constant-request-to-buy-emails trap and so rarely, if ever, send an email about a paid product or service. Or sometimes they don’t send any follow up emails at all!

So which is better?

The simple answer is that ideally you want to share a good mix of quality content that costs your subscribers nothing and shows them that you care. This should be relevant content that helps your subscribers in some way. In doing this, you’re building trust with your subscribers. You’re genuinely helping them.

This sort of content could include:

  • tips on how to get the most from your products or services that they’ve already invested in
  • industry updates
  • behind the scenes look at your business and your team
  • and so much more!                      

This content is mixed with some content that helps you make a profit – which is necessary if you’re to stay in business. This profit-making content, or conversion content, might include information about:

  • other relevant products/services you offer that are likely to be beneficial for your subscribers
  • other people’s products/services for which you earn a commission or referral fee.
So, how do you get the balance right so you create a successful email marketing strategy?

First, we need to consider that there are many different types of email campaigns and your strategy may vary depending on each campaign’s aim.

Another variable to consider is whether you’re sending a campaign – that is, a series of automated emails. Or if you’re sending a broadcast, which is a one-off of email that you send, such as a weekly email.

Let’s look at campaigns first:

In general, you want to follow my 3-step formula for an effective follow up campaign. Those 3 steps being:

  • Action
  • Trust
  • Conversion

The ACTION phase is when your subscriber takes an action. For example, they opted-in to your list in order to receive a free gift you promised. The first email in this campaign then would be to send them whatever you promised them.

This is followed by the TRUST phase where you send a series of trust-building emails.

The CONVERSION phase, where you offer a paid product, is 5-7 emails into this campaign.

Keep in mind that conversion emails may not be to directly purchase a product. It may be to attend a webinar. Then you make an offer for them to invest in your product, service or training on the webinar.

This 3-step ACTION > TRUST > CONVERSION system is explained in more detail in The Biggest Mistake Small Businesses Make When Paying For Leads.

What about sending a broadcast?

When sending a broadcast email, although this might not be as structured as a follow up campaign it’s still important to follow the same sort of ACTION > TRUST > CONVERSION formula.

The ratio here is the same as it is for a follow up campaign. So you send approximately 5 TRUST emails for every 1 CONVERSION email.

For example, you might send 5 x emails each with some relevant helpful information that will benefit your subscribers. Then the 6th email you send them offers a paid product or service. This should still be relevant and beneficial, even though you may make a financial profit.

Then you send another 5 x emails with more helpful content, followed by another email where you offer something for sale. 

This number of 5 trust-building emails isn’t set in stone. If you happen to send 6 trust emails and then 1 conversion email, that’s quite okay. The main thing is you’re not sending too many nor too few conversion emails compared with the number of trust emails.

The sooner you get into this habit, the better. So if you’re not already following this sort of formula in your email marketing, start doing so this week. You’re sure to start seeing an increase in sales.

Interested in how we can help you set this up within your business? That's great! You can book a free call with us here.

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