Email is the biggest driver of sales for companies with e-commerce websites. Not Google. Not social media. But Email. Given that fact, it is critical that you grow your own email list of people who want to read what you have to share.

My recent post, “Should I buy an email list?” discussed how to grow an email list. But once you have built an email list, how can you use it to generate sales? Here’s the thing: email forces the reader to take an action. The action might be to delete the email, but never-the-less, the viewer must take some action. Your goal is to make that action become a sale.

Think about how you make a purchase, especially a purchase that isn’t a staple you buy every month, like toilet paper. Most likely you don’t just walk into a store, see a new chair, and buy it. Instead, you think about it, do some research on the manufacturer, compare it to other chairs, assess whether it will look right in your home, talk to the salesman about color options, fabric, warranty, etc., and if possible, consult with others who have purchased that chair or at least other products from that vendor. All of this background information goes into helping you make a decision on whether or not to purchase that chair.

With email, you need to build that same level of confidence and trust with your reader, and it might be harder because they can feel, see, taste, or touch your product. You must overcome all these obstacles simply by the message you convey. With WooCommerce and MailPoet, you can see the actual sales you made as a result of your email. For example, here is a recent email campaign we did for one of our clients.

Notice that your list doesn’t have to be huge – from only 713 people on this list, we were able to generate over $500 worth of orders in a single email. Here are the exact steps you need to sell from your email…

A great headline that grabs their attention

If your headline doesn’t grab the reader’s attention, they probably won’t open your email. People that are way smarter than me study headlines and what makes them work, including the exact words, length of the headline, whether or not to use emojis, caps, punctuation, etc. I’m not sure there is any conclusive evidence of what really works, other than the word FREE (but that is sometimes caught in spam filters). So what I do is when I see a headline that has caught my attention enough to open the email, I save it to a swipe file. then when it comes time to write my own headlines, I go into my swipe file for inspiration.

Personalize the message

Imagine reading an email that includes your name in the copy, especially in the first sentence. You are much more likely to continue reading the rest of the email. This is why segmented lists work better than just blasting an email to everyone. When the email starts with, “I saw that you purchased some chocolates for your mom, Jeanette, for Mother’s Day. Did you know that dads also enjoy getting sweets on Father’s Day? In fact, let me tell you about how Father’s Day came to be…” People like hearing (and seeing) their name, so use it.

Tell a story

You might find that people relate more to your emails if you tell them something interesting instead of just trying to sell them something. For example, I ran an email campaign for a company that sold space exploration memorabilia. Rather than just saying, hey, buy this model of the space shuttle for 20% off, we would tell a story about how the model was commissioned based on some historical event and was actually signed by the astronauts who went on that mission and some of the things they did during their mission. It made it much more interesting and people would actually read the email. Plus, we’d include a link to where they had to finish reading the email on the website. You might notice I frequently do this with this newsletter, cutting the email off at a cliffhanger point and then saying read more…

Include a testimonial

When you are selling products, people always believe a third party person more than they do the expert who is selling the product. so including a testimonial from someone who doesn’t stand to gain anything from the transaction provides both credibility and increases the level of trust. Here is a great example – I recently saw that this company quoted me and created a meme from my book, The Influencer Effect. Not only was this a huge compliment, it creates a trust factor that I can’t gain on my own.

Videos are also a great way to impart information about what you are selling and provide a level of trust because potential customers can actually see what you are talking about.

Offer an incentive with scarcity attached to it

Everyone loves a deal. 20% off is great, but if you always offer 20% off, this no longer becomes an incentive. You need to attach a level of scarcity to your offer, and the scarcity should be real, not made up. For example, “while supplies last – only 15 left in stock” is real. When those 15 are sold, the promo is over, so this encourages people to buy now. Research has shown that a primary purchase driver is to offer free shipping, so consider that in your offer.

Include a “Buy Now” button

You can actually allow people to add something to their shopping cart directly from your email. Don’t just put in a link to your website, include a “Buy Now button. Here’s how:

Go to your category or product page and right-click on the “add to Cart” button, then “Copy the link location” as shown below:

Now simply create a button in your email that when clicked on goes to that link. If you don’t have that link and you are using WooCommerce, you can append the following to the product link: ?add-to-cart=XXXX, where XXXX is the product id. The product you’ve been describing in detail in your email will be put into the person’s shopping cart when they click on that link. Obviously this means that your email should be geared towards selling one product at a time, not a general promotion about your store. yes, you can sell more than one product per email if each has their own “Buy Now” button, but this is your opportunity to really tell a story about one product and why someone should buy it, so don’t dilute the message by trying to sell everything.

Here is an example:

I’d love to hear about your success after implementing these ideas. and of course, if you need help, be sure to contact me at 877-924-1414.