It’s a fact: no one can make someone do something they aren’t ready to do. Just like you can’t make someone wash a car, even if it is filthy, if they’re not ready to do it. Emails can’t make someone buy whatever you’re selling if they’re not ready to buy. Your perfect potential customers – the people who are most likely to buy from you – don’t care about your schedule, your revenue requirements, your quota, or your sales forecast.

So why do so many marketers spend time crafting emails that they send to their entire lists all about “here’s a special deal” or “this is on sale” or “sign up now”?

After seeing thousands and thousands of marketing emails, and talking with thousands of marketers over the years, there’s one obvious conclusion to be reached:

It’s what they think will cure a sales problem.

Email software companies and even email marketing automation companies like Genoo are darn good at teaching people how to use their software, but not so good at teaching people how to do email marketing well. In fact, we saw recently that 4 out of 5 marketers who actually HAVE full marketing automation software platforms are only using their platforms for blasting out the same emails to their entire list.

FOUR OUT OF FIVE.

This makes me cry. Four out of five marketers are missing the joy that real email marketing can bring to them. Four out of five are missing the magic. Four out of five marketers who are paying potentially thousands of dollars per month for their marketing automation platform might as well be using one of the cheap platforms that do pretty much nothing except send emails and track opens and clicks.

And… four out of five are working harder than they need to for results that are less than what they could be.

But I digress. The real question is this: why are so many marketing emails about what’s on sale, or the current special, or some way or another saying “buy now”?

Here’s why:

Organizations need sales to survive (duh), which means one thing – MORE SALES NEEDED. So marketers are constantly tasked with getting more people to buy. The obvious answer is to create a special offer – a discount, an extra service, a BOGO, whatever – and email it to everyone on the email list. After all, if they’re interested in your product or service, a good deal will push them right over the edge to becoming a customer, right?

No.

That’s a strategy designed to harvest the low-hanging fruit – to sell to the people who are ready to buy right now. And guess what? That’s only about 6% of the people on your list.

It’s a strategy that is doomed to fail.

When you constantly contact people with messages that aren’t relevant to them, they will opt-out of your list. While they might actually click the unsubscribe link, many will simply delete or ignore your emails when they see them. The people on your list will simply stop engaging with your emails, and that starts the downward spiral. Eventually, your emails won’t even get to their inboxes, because there’s no engagement.

You’re killing off your list while celebrating the few who actually bought.

A few people buy, most people ignore you, and you are now in a position of having to constantly feed your list with new people so you can get another few people to buy with the next email before they get tired of hearing from you.

But… we need sales!

Yes, you do. And you’re more likely to get them when you “listen” to your leads and respond accordingly – and that process can be totally automated, so it won’t take constant attention to make it seem like you are constantly paying attention.

The challenge is this: when you sign up for an email platform, you get taught how to use that email platform. That doesn’t sound bad, I know, but much of the training in how to use various platforms is about creating emails that are “this is on sale” or “here’s our newsletter” or “here’s a special deal.”

So people who go through the training for whatever product that is end up thinking those are the kinds of emails to send.

Those aren’t the kind of emails to send. In fact, over 75% of email revenue is generated by triggered campaigns, rather than one-size-fits-all “batch and blast” campaigns, according to the Direct Marketing Association. “Triggered campaigns” means “listening” to your leads and sending them emails that are specific to their interests. You don’t find much in a “how to use this product” tutorial that tells you how to do that effectively. In fact, many email marketing platforms are really just teaching you how to do email advertising.

Here’s one more stat: relevant emails drive 18 times more traffic than broadcast emails, according to a study by Campaign Monitor.

So how DO you do email marketing well?

The first step is to evaluate the platform you’re currently using.

If you don’t know already, ask your email marketing service provider if they let you track and automatically respond to things like website page visits, downloads, form-fills, and if you can set up rules to send specific triggered emails according to what you’re learning from your leads.

Ask them if there’s a way to see the entire history of a lead in one place, including every page visit, every form-fill, every download, every email opened, every email clicked, every email sent, etc.

Ask them if they have rules that you can configure to cause actions based on triggers that you define. I’ll tell you, if you’re using a simple email marketing platform, you likely CAN’T do any of those things, whereas if you’re using a true marketing automation platform, like Genoo, WPMktgEngine, Hubspot, or Marketo, you likely CAN.

The next step is to learn how to do email marketing that will speak to your leads and guide them through their journey (and your sales process). We’ve found that our Email Expert Academy is one of the few, and perhaps the only training out there that teaches you how to truly engage with your leads in a way that will effectively impact your sales.

You CAN Email your way out of a sales slump…

…but only if you follow this simple recipe:

  • Stop sending emails that are not relevant to your leads. Assuming that your entire list, or even portions of your list are interested in the same thing is a bad assumption to make. When you GUIDE your leads in response to THEIR interests, they will follow your funnel – in their time, though – not yours.
  • Focus on getting relevant with your leads, and make sure your email software platform will support you in doing so.
  • If you aren’t comfortable with emails that are more than promoting a sale or a special, or more than a standard newsletter, find a training program that will help you get comfortable. It will pay off for you, big time.

Doing email marketing in a way that will truly impact your sales results involves some science, some artistry, and some patience. It doesn’t have to take any longer than the time you spend crafting your emails right now, and the results you get will speak for themselves.

Oh, and one more thing: when you are engaging your leads and delivering relevant content in response to their interests, sales slumps will become far less of a plunge. You’ll be feeding yourself a steadier stream of customers. And life will get easier. I’ve been there, done that, and I have seen it work.