After a 20+ year career where I wrote all manner of things under the marketing umbrella or as a community manager, I now find myself spending most of my time writing copy for launches. A key part of any launch is the accompanying email sequence…in fact, this could be THE most important part of your launch. Sure, your hook and offer get people to your sales page, but if they’re trusting you with their email address you’d best make them not regret it.
Though I’m at the early stages in this game, I’ve already learned a lot about buyer psychology and how to integrate that into your email sequences in a way that’s compelling, ethical, and encourages the reader to go ahead and take that action they’re already there to take. All you’re doing is making them feel really good and excited about it.
So go on, read below to get a copywriting veteran and newbie launch enthusiast’s view on the things that have worked the best for me and my clients.
Tip #1: Be good at understanding buyer psychology, not just writing copy
There’s a really common mistake that newbie copywriters, or any business person writing their own sales copy, tend to make. See, they think it’s JUST about writing good copy, and spend all their time stringing words together in clever ways, or just trying to make sure their voice is perfect. That matters, yes, but what’s way more important is the WHAT.
In other words…what are you motivating your readers to do? What is the desired action you want them to take — give you their email address, buy your offer? Now look at your copy again, is it guiding them in that direction? In order to make your copy convert and hit a home run EVERY time, you have to understand the whole sales funnel.
That means understanding ads, opt-ins, sales pages, upsells, one-time-offers and the whole backend of the business. You need to understand that what makes a sales funnel work is that it takes the buyer through a story…a Hook-Story-Offer sequence, to be exact.
To describe that briefly:
Hook: For every story, there are at least several hooks (or pattern interrupts) that will get people to listen to that story. These can often go in the form of a question, on your opt-in page (the first page of your funnel).
Story: This is where you really deliver the meat of the story…what led you to create your new business or offer? How did you get there? What external and internal factors led to this? What struggles did you go through to get to where you are now? What was your moment of transformation? This all goes on your Sales page.
Offer: This is where you hit people with your irresistible offer, which you’ve irresistibly set up with your own origin story. You’ve allowed people to get to know you and establish an emotional connection with you. If they’re in your tribe, they’ll feel connected and be interested in your offer.
Tip #2: Make your 2nd or even 3rd email the strongest one
For whatever reason, people tend to ignore the first email you send. They might skim it out of curiosity: “Who’s this?” they say…“An email from Heidi Anspaugh? Never heard of her”…or “Haven’t heard from her in so long, wonder what she’s up to?” Then they forget about it.
BUT! You’re clever enough to pop into their inbox a second or third time, and this is where things get intriguing. Particularly if your follow-up message is either clever and humorous or you have a great hook/offer. If you’ve gotten this far to gain their attention, it proves to prospects that you’re serious. They know you care enough to follow through, and so they feel compelled to respond (even if the email is automated).
Lesson? Combine your charm with persistence, use magic email templates as appropriate, and make booking a call your end goal. This is where the magic happens. The email sequence just starts the conversation, it’s still up to you to close the deal.
Tip #3: Write the right type of sequence for the right audience
This is a really basic concept when it comes to email marketing, but I’d be remiss not to mention it. There are a few key types of email sequences you’ll need to write depending on who the audience is and where they’re at in your funnel. Here are some of the most common ones people use in marketing (and incidentally, the most common types I’m hired to write):
Welcome Sequence — These are the first 3–5 emails you’ll send someone once they opt-in to your email list…either because they signed on to get your free lead magnet or bought a service of yours. Sure, many of these people will be “freebie seekers” who are likely to immediately hit “unsubscribe” after they grab the goods and bounce on out of there, but you don’t want those people anyway. They’re typically not buyers, they’re tire-kickers. BUT..if someone really wanted the freebie AND they’re interested in what you have to say, this is your opportunity to introduce yourself, tell your story, and explain what you do and how you can help them.
This sequence is as much an introduction to you and your business as it is an opportunity to add value to your new subscribers immediately. Here’s where you can share resources you’ve already created (like helpful how-to blogs, mini-courses, video trainings, etc). They key here is NOT to ask for money right away, but to let them get a peek inside to your business offerings and welcome them as your valued Insider Club members. Give them an idea of what to expect from you too — how often will you send emails and what will they contain? This is also a great time to send a Reply email where you’re asking them to let you know what they most want to learn from you. Then you can go create those resources.
Launch Sequence — This is a super-important sequence when it comes time to make an offer to your list. Whether that’s a product discount, an online course, a coaching program with you, or whatever you’re selling…your email list is your best chance to sell it. When you hear people brag about making more than they used to make in a year off ONE launch to their email list, it’s usually because they’ve nurtured their audience over time while providing huge free value, so that by the time you’re selling something they can’t wait to buy it. This is because you’ve already proven to them that you know your stuff and/or they are so thankful for all the free help that they love having the chance to “pay you back.”
Re-engagement Sequence — It happens…you get busy, your autoresponder sequences run out (this is where you pre-create an email series and put it into an email software tool like Convertkit that your subscribers get on auto-pilot). You haven’t sent an email in a few weeks and your people are on the verge of forgetting about you. OR one of your subscribers hasn’t replied to your emails in a while…this is something that can be set up to send out automatically after 30 days of inactivity.
If you’re an e-commerce business, this type is also known as a “winback email” and is often your last chance to reengage with your customer before they totally disengage with your brand. You can do this with a limited-time-only discount or by showing off trending new products or customer recommendations.
Sending the right email sequence at the right time is crucial. There are lots of trainings around how to do this.
Tip #4: Use entertaining little stylistic tricks to increase open rates
You will never NOT be competing with 100s of other emails in someone’s inbox, many of whom may be selling the same things YOU are. You need to be different…to stand out. Here are some of the best tips I’ve heard of from people who are massively successful in this space to do that:
subject lines: we all know how important those are. Studies show they should not be over 9 words, should be compelling or attention-getting. Using humor here generally works, or self-deprecation. I recently sent a cold email pitch to about 400 prospects, and the subject line was “apologies in advance :(.” The email started out with a few self-deprecating lines and then went right into me introducing myself and giving my pitch. My open rate was 69% simply because people were intrigued.
“From” name change-up: this is where instead of seeing the expected From: Your Name showing who sent the email, you put something unexpected like “Your Future Success” or “Your Ego” or a body part. For some reason, this consistently triples opens rates and sales. Think of this as a character-based email sequence — the “characters” are alter egos of you. These get crazy results, we’re talking 5x more clicks and sales than regular “from” name emails! They also help make the subject line obsolete, because people are so focused on the weird “from” name in the email. The key is to make it entertaining, relate it to the email, make it heartfelt, and switch it up every time!
Compelling email opener: You have about 5 seconds to capture someone’s attention, so the first line of your email better be good. Things like “This is gonna sound weird, but…” serve as an excellent hook and people are going to NEED to know the rest.
Change your email signature EVERY time: Sure, you can still list your company website, social channels and all that to make sure people know where to find you. But it’s also an awesome trick to relate your email sign-off to what you just wrote about. People will open your emails JUST to read this part.
How can you sum up the whole email in one line? Here’s an example from one of my fave email marketing gurus, Ian Stanley— this was how he signed off on an email sharing a moving customer testimonial:
I was going to make this a 5-item list, but in reading this over I thought “No Heidi, you nailed it. These are the key secrets.” I’m not going to spend a bunch of time talking about psychology and HOW to write the actual email itself, because neither of us has time for that. These are some of the most winning tips and tricks I’ve discovered in just the last few months, so I’m getting them out to you while they’re hot. Hope this is helpful, and if you have additional killer tips to writing email sequences that convert, drop them in the comments so we can all learn from you. Cheers.