Before we get into customer journey maps, let’s look at a short and simple sales email sequence. This tiny guide was designed to help you promote info products under $100 core to your body of work. This assumes the product is already readily available to purchase on your site.
The Attention Earner
There are tons of frameworks out there for email based sales campaigns pretty much the whole copywriting world is in agreement that a good sales campaign starts with getting someone’s attention.
I prefer the term “attention earner.” Why? Because earned attention is easier to keep. So how do you earn it?
- Flip a common assumption in a way that immediately resonates
- Lead by demonstrating a deep understanding of who or where they are
- Have some gravitas. A mystical mix of presence, conviction, wisdom – that seems to come only with consistently high performance over time
- Use your best, most resonant piece of work
Leveraging your best, most resonant piece of existing content
We don’t decide what’s worthy of attention, the user does. When a content creator has their first piece really take off, its often after they have published 100+ pieces of content (rule of thumb via Mark Schaeffer’s Content Code).
By definition, only a tiny fraction of your work hints of greatness.
Start there. Audit your existing work. Look at engagement metrics like shares, comments, links, organic traffic, responses in past content. Can you pull from or distill your more resonant work into an attention earning email?
The True Gift
Note: Step 1 and step 2 can be combined into one email if the value offered is the attention earner. Or the steps can be two sequential emails, a day apart.
The goal here is to transform someone’s life in a small but meaningful way.
Ideally this email would:
- move them to take some action, however small, that turns them in the right direction
- be noticeable and measurable
- demonstrate your subject matter expertise (SME)
- convince them that the gift is worth significantly more than the $0 tag you just put on it
This doesn’t have to be crazy, in fact the simpler the better. Here are three approaches to nailing a true gift:
1. Create helpful low friction mental models
A good trick is to show them a simple mental model they can easily try out (assuming its relevant to your product). Some examples:
- Jim Kwik recommends that people try brushing their teeth every morning with their non-dominant hand.
- Jordan Harbinger recommends people scroll way down in their text message history to reconnect with people they haven’t talked to in a while.
- James Altucher recommends writing 10 ideas a day.
- BJ Fogg (via Maneesh Sethi) recommends people start a daily flossing habit by flossing one tooth, adding another tooth each day.
These examples are off the top of my head. They stuck with me, I tried them because they were quick and easy and the reasons for trying them were well sold and self-evident: be more alert, strengthen relationships, exercise your idea muscle.
Jim Kwik and BJ Foggs are the best because it provides an existing trigger to hook into as you’re already brushing your teeth in the morning.
2. Ask question-exercises
Another trick is to get the user to do a question-exercise that positions you as an expert, preframes your product as a good next step, and shakes them out of their status quo helping them see something from a new perspective:
- “If you were gone tomorrow, how long would your work stand up? A year? Two? More? […] What are you working on right now that will be here in 40 years?” (Rochelle Moulton, personal brand expert) Used to help clients realize the importance of building a body of work.
- In a year you will be a year older, what will you have done? (Prab Sethi via Ramit Sethi, personal finance expert) Used as a way to help quickly get centered on a focus for the year.
- “Which of your pet peeves have a meaningful relationship to the results you get for your clients?” ( Philip Morgan, specialization expert) Used as a way to quickly generate good ideas for content marketing.
- “What could I sell to my ideal buyer for $50, $500, or $5,000?” (Jonathan Stark, pricing expert) Used as an exercise to help think about productizing services.
If you look at the above four examples, you’ll notice that the question-exercises lead the user to an improved state of awareness while also instilling a desire to move forward. The exercises start turning the wheels that will lead to good buyer state momentum.
3. Give something with real scarcity
If you can offer something real, that is not scalable, not a digital download, but something with real bonafide scarcity, you will start stacking reciprocity. The oldies but goodies here are:
- limited structured access to your advice, like a free x minute coaching call, private AMA, or group coaching slack
- limited unstructured access to your advice, like a free review, teardown, or analysis of something
Declare the value plainly
Because the gift is freely given the problem is that it can be viewed as worth very little. It’s pivotal that the value is real and plainly stated.
“I regularly charge enterprise clients $3,000/month for this type of advisory work.”
If you’re like me, writing something like that is hard to write.
The point is that you start with real, not perceived, value by looking at what you’ve charged good money for consistently that you can offer a more portable version of.
Here are some other value indicator examples:
I have spent the better part of a year, researching and distilling this *whatever* into what it is.”
“We spent x to develop this product into what it was.”
There is no real value in a potential benefit. The idea that a freely offered gift is worth anything without setting something real in motion is just another broken promise in a sea of info product hype.
The Product Offer
This email is a straight-forward and brief description of the product with a call-to-action to view the sales page.
If the product is good, well-researched, well-received, and anticipated, then simply stating what the product is, maybe something about its inception, and what the typical outcomes of using the product are, should be an exciting proposition to the user. If it’s not, then there is a product problem.
40% of the battle is selling something that your audience wants
40% is effectively communicating what your product is
20% is forcing consideration and a decision to buy or not buy
Effectively communicate what your product is
Communicating what the product is seems obvious but it’s almost guaranteed that what’s obvious to you is not obvious to one of your readers without your context.
Here’s a quick checklist to make sure you have the communication part “good enough”:
- Is there a 1 to 3 sentence description of the product?
- Does it include:
- what it is
- why it was created
- who it’s for
- Does the user understands a typical outcome of purchasing the product?
- Is product format clearly stated? (e.g. 4 week video training series with syllabus and weekly group coaching calls)
- Is the product clearly described in multiple emails including
- once at top of an email
- once in a PS section
- once with a button CTA
Force consideration that results in a decision to buy or not buy
If the product stays “open,” that is, if it’s a book or you don’t close the doors on sales like you might for an online course, then you’ll want the focus to be the relevant bonus add-ons or limited time pricing. I’m not a big fan of discounts but if its done once per customer per product over a lifetime, and stated as such, it can work quite well.
Bonus addon(s) should be no brainers. Info products core to your existing body of work should be part of a larger strategy and readily available online so moving a new subscriber to action here requires strong addons that majorly enhance the value of the product to the user. We could talk about add-ons for days but these are common ones:
- worksheets, checklists, swipe files (anything systems oriented)
- group channel access
- lifetime access to all new versions and updates
- built in accountability (setting up a coach.me sequence can be good here)
- related product bundling (ideally in another format, e.g. video or audio if the core product is a book).
Length of offer
For length of offer, about 36 to 60 hours is a good rule of thumb. Smaller products should get smaller windows, higher-ticket products often require more consideration, so give people more time.
Next is Part 2 (Days/Step 4) of “A Simple 5 Step Email Funnel for New Subscribers.” After that, we’ll look more deeply at the customer journey from a new subscriber’s point of view.