Getting people on your list is easy.
Turning those subscribers into customers is the tough part.
If you don’t have a proper email marketing plan, you are leaving money on the table. Email marketing is still one of the best ways to get customers and here 16 Marketers share their best tips on how to turn email subscribers into customers.
In this article
- Amanda Thomas, Konstruct Digital
- Nick Severson, Startups Anonymous
- Matthew Dobinson, Expert Cog
- Petra Odak, Better Proposals
- Shaurya Jain, Attention Always marketing
- Adam Walters, muON Marketing
- Jeremy Moser, uSERP
- Toby Schulz, Lawn.com.au
- Skyler Reeves, Ardent Growth
- Jamie Irwin, The Hen Planner
- Swadhin Agrawal, DigitalGYD
- Chris Porteous, My SEO Sucks
- Matt Diggity, Diggity Marketing
- Chris Sloane, Paving Marketers
- Joseph Robison, Green Flag Digital
- Kevin Dam, Aemorph
Amanda Thomas, Konstruct Digital
The magic leap from subscriber to customer!
Your main offer or service might be seen as “too risky” for your subscriber – cost, time, etc, it’s all an investment. Despite being a subscriber, they don’t fully trust you yet for that larger investment.
That’s where a very low cost offer comes in. Having the user commit to an activity, even if purchasing something that’s $10, gets their buy-in and commitment to the results. It gives you an opportunity to demonstrate the value of one of your deliverables. Once a subscriber buys from your once and you deliver, that trust is built and opens up the door to more valuable offers.
Nick Severson, Startups Anonymous
Find the hardest problem in the industry that has the least amount of content written around the solution. This is likely due to lack of commercial value in publishing this content, but it makes a great email lead magnet.
Matthew Dobinson, Expert Cog
Find a company in the industry that is actively trying to find customers (check who is running google paid ads for example), approach them and ask for a coupon to offer to your audience. They will likely be up for this for free exposure and potential new customers, now you have a lead magnet.
Petra Odak, Better Proposals
If you want to turn email subscribers into customers, it’s best to do so with the right offer at the right time. We have a sequence set up so that once a customer gets to the “aha” moment in their customer journey, they immediately get an email offering them to go from a free trial to a paid subscription.
It’s super easy to set up and the conversion rates from these emails have been better than anything else we’ve ever sent out, except for the holiday discounts perhaps.
Shaurya Jain, Attention Always marketing
Email marketing is one of the oldest digital marketing channels and surprisingly it still has not lost its effectiveness. People still check their email first things in the morning.
We actively turn our blog readers into email subscribers via opt in bribes. Initially we did not nurture these email subscribers and this resulted in low open rates when we did send them emails. But then we learned about welcome email sequences. As a marketing agency, we send out a 5 email sequence after they receive their optin bribe. The 5 email sequence involves sending our best pieces of content, case studies, and an offer to get a free website audit.
Our main objective is to continuously provide the email recipients value so that they know that we are experts at what we do.
This email sequence has totally taken away the headache of having to manually generate leads through cold emailing.
Whatever you business type is, you must have a welcome email sequence.
Adam Walters, muON Marketing
In the solar industry, money usually isn’t the issue for customers because solar panels are seen as an investment. Because of this, the primary “trigger-pulling” factor typically comes down to which combination of solar equipment works best for the customer.
What we recommend to our clients with higher-ticket items is to become the “thought-leader” of their service in their local service area. Trust-building between the company and customer is more important than any monetary value. The customer wants to see and know they are getting a value (for the next 25-years in the case for solar).
Consider a financial advisor. You want to trust them with your life-savings and believe what they are saying is in your best interest. In solar, or any other high-ticket industry, if you aren’t trusted you’re the sleazy car salesman nobody likes.
Jeremy Moser, uSERP
Converting email subscribers into customers is a long-game. Most marketers go straight for a coupon or a discount and cross their fingers, hoping someone converts. Instead, try first to cut down your email list into sections based on engagement. More engagement = more likely to convert with the right offer. Once you’ve segmented by engagement, personalize with a quick demo video.
Fire up a tool like Loom and simply record a 30 second demo on the value they’d receive from using your tool, service, or product. Showcase a specific use-case scenario that lines up with their brand. If you want better email marketing sales, you have to do better email marketing. The old ways of blasting a 10,000 person list and hoping for a few bites are over.
Toby Schulz, Lawn.com.au
Every business sends a welcome email before they dive into their regular content on specials. Instead, try a ‘welcome series’. It’s a series of emails all connected and centred around making a sale. This could look like a six to eight step email series with a connected story.
During each email, there’s a call-to-action to encourage new subscribers to take the next engagement step. All leading toward the sale. It keeps your open rate high, establishes your brand in their mind, and gives them multiple entry points to engage and purchase.
Skyler Reeves, Ardent Growth
Don’t go for a sale immediately. Instead, use a drip feed of your content to figure out what the person is interested in first. Use that to segment them so that when you do pitch a sales offer, you’re doing so based on what you’ve learned they like to buy instead of what you like for people to buy.
Jamie Irwin, The Hen Planner
First and foremost, understand your email subscribers (target audience), learn what they want and incentivize them with an exclusive offer. This offer could come in the form of free shipping, 10% off or a special one-time deal for subscribers only – something to say thank you for taking the time to join the email list.
An incentive like this could condition subscribers into looking out for future emails, increasing your open rate (who doesn’t love an exclusive deal?) and becoming regular repeat buyers.
We do this successfully with our hen / bachelorette demographic where we offer exclusive deals and heads up about new products to those on our lists.
Swadhin Agrawal, DigitalGYD
For me, email subscribers are my community or a tribe more than anything else. If you consider them as your community you’ll automatically switch from selling mode to helping mode and that I think helps you convert them into customers.
Once someone has subscribed to your email, show them that you value them. Send them educational emails that solve their current problems. Often, start with effective but free solutions.
After that, you can gradually soft pitch them your products and show them how it helps them. This is the time to also position yourself as a credible brand. You can do so by sending them customer success stories, helping them cross the fence by answering commonly asked questions (that they might have) which keeps them on the fence of buying.
Another key aspect that works for me is, don’t abandon them but instead start nurturing them. It’s all about relationship marketing after that. If they are nurtured the right way (by informing, educating and engaging emails) they will turn into return buyers or loyal customers for a long time.
Chris Porteous, My SEO Sucks
I believe that the best tip I can offer when it comes converting email subscribers to customers is make an effort to optimize the email messages to be better read on mobile devices’ screens. It is no secret that more and more consumers today are using their smartphones not only for checking the latest on social media, but also for checking their emails.
Following this tip can actually fine-tune your email marketing campaigns in a number of ways. First of all, optimizing your emails encourages you to be more strategic and efficient in the way you convey your message. So your emails will now tend to be less wordy and shorter, while your subject lines will be more on-point. Second, optimizing for mobile urges you to be more disciplined in choosing your graphics, which should make way for faster loading times on the part of the target audience. More crucially, optimizing emails for mobile gives you an opportunity to work on your CTAs and CTA buttons.
It might be tricky to pin down the exact conversion factor at first, but the good news is that with each email you optimize, there is bound to be some improvement as you get better in designing messages that connect or engage better with email subscribers and urge them to purchase your product or service.
Matt Diggity, Diggity Marketing
List segmentation – You likely have people that are subscribed to your list that have signed up for slightly different purposes. For example, I’m in the digital marketing and SEO niche. Some of my subscribers might be people running SEO agencies. Others might run digital media sites. Others might create affiliate sites.
They’re all interested in different things.
If you can “tag” them by their interests and focus, then you can make sure to send them the offer that suits them best – whether that be in email blasts or your automated email funnel.
A great book to read more on this subject is “Ask” by Ryan Levesque.
Chris Sloane, Paving Marketers
The number one thing you can do to turn email subscribers into customers is to provide huge value to your email list. What you give away for free should help solve a problem they have. Many subscribers will simply take what you give and do it themselves – which is fine. They are not the real target of your content. Some of them will see how much work is involved to get the results they want, and decide it doesn’t make sense for them to do it themselves and they will hire you (the expert) to do it for them. Build your list with value, nurture your list with value, and your future customers in that list will repay that value in due time.
Joseph Robison, Green Flag Digital
I love the approach of offering massive amounts of value in most emails, and then leading up to the period where you want to turn them into a customer, start sending more commercial emails. At the same time, you should make the commercial period fairly short. Many course creators do these launches really well, and many other industries can take a cue from them. The course creators will often offer free 7-day courses on the front end, drip out value multiple times a month, and then during the few selling periods, send out the sales emails interspersed with value emails.
It is, however, important to consider your business model and industry. Pure ecommerce companies should certainly send informational and value-driven emails as well, but they’ll likely want to tilt more towards new product launch announcements and discount emails, rather than sending as many educational emails.
Lastly, it can be very powerful to drop small commercial hints at the bottom of educational emails, and have the readers take a more inbound approach when reaching out to inquire about your services or products.
Kevin Dam, Aemorph
There are many ways to get visitors to opt-in to your lead magnet offer, but the experience from the start must be value-driven. You can use follow up emails to educate and importantly tell stories of how you have helped other people in the past. You shouldn’t make an offer straight away, but instead build a relationship and nurture the trust. You should consider using email as a way to lead into a bigger story that you have hosted on your website or landing page where they can get more content and a better experience than what’s available in email.
There are different methods to achieve this and commonly starts with indoctrination, value-adding, ascension, and a sequence called gain-logic-fear – sharing the benefits of your offer, justifying the offer with logic, and then taking away the offer (if the subscriber hasn’t purchased yet).
It requires time and effort to set up email sequences but once done it can be run on autopilot and your task from there is to tweak and optimise your emails to increase your conversion rates.