Bruce Smith

Anecdote founder

Email is free and makes you money, follow these 7 proven steps

Welcome to another week of bite-size marketing help. For those of you new to our insights posts, we would urge you to read through our previous posts, they are a treasure trove of useful, informative information about everything marketing.

Now let’s talk about email. It’s a controversial topic. Everyone hates email, don’t they? Bloody email, argh. 

Well, if we told you that email is a great way of developing leads and sales into your business for FREE, how would you feel about that? Would we suddenly have your ears?

Well, it’s true, email is Free and can generate you sales, no questions, but how?

The world of email
The email has come a long way from its inception back in 1971, yes 1971, and a lot has changed during that time. Whether you or I like it or not, email is still one of the most important ways of communicating for business today.

Yes, you’ve got Slack, Monday.com, and a whole host of other communication tools, but for the masses, email is still number 1.

The stigma of sending emails
Now maybe it’s a British thing, but businesses are scared of talking to customers and prospects regularly via email. And when we say talk regularly, we mean twice a week, not twice a month. Business owners say, ‘We don’t want to ‘badger’ them’. Well, that’s bollocks, to be honest.

As long as you are providing them with information that is really helpful, which is all about them, not you, then they will lap up what you are sharing with them and they will want to know more.

The bottom line is, if you are genuinely trying to help your customers and prospects with the service or products you are selling, you are doing your business, and theirs a disservice by not communicating with them regularly over email, it’s that simple. 

You are making your customer’s lives more difficult and you’re missing out on income, that’s the bottom line.

There is so much spammy email crap sent
The stigma of email lies in the fact, most businesses are lazy and are only interested in making money as quickly as possible, they don’t have the patience or care to really try and help their customers.

Instead, they use generic, automated email which is sent to the list they have purchased, hoping it will work. And the thing is with email, much like Tinder I guess in the dating world, it’s a numbers game.

The more emails, these companies send the more chance they have of getting a return on their investment. The problem with that approach is, it fills up people’s inboxes with completely irrelevant drivel that no one wants to read.

That’s why email gets a bad rap, understandably so, but it’s not emails’ fault, it’s the idiot companies who are chasing profits at the expense of a great customer experience.

Think of it like this, email is a channel by which you can build a really warm virtual conversation with leads and customers alike, and once you understand that and commit to that, the results will be astonishing.

OK, we hope that sets the scene, now we’ll let you into a little secret.

We will share with you our proven email strategy for delivering sales via email.

Before we get into this, it’s vital you understand that this will take time and critical thinking to do it properly. 

If you are looking for a quick buck, go away, you’re part of the problem.

Your list and how you organise it

Before you can think about closing a sale you first need a list of prospects and a system to deploy the email through. Now there are lots of great Customer Relationship Managers (CRM) out there. 
We use Hubspot as it works well for us, but there are loads more, Keap is another. Take look around, do some research to better understand which one is a good fit. 
Most of them offer a free service to get you going and then, a paid one as the services prove themselves and you grow.

Now your list, this is critical and takes time
The first thing to remember is, never buy a list. It’s lazy and you have no real idea how many of those emails are worth a jot to your business. 

No, the way to build an email list is by good old fashion hard work. Now the laws have been tightened up, quite rightly to mitigate the use of spam email. I’m not sure how successful that has actually been but anyway.

From our understanding, you can send unsolicited emails as long as you have your business address and an option to unsubscribe from the email.

This information was obtained here

Spend time collating it yourself
Good, old-fashioned research and data entry. This takes time, which I guess is money, but you are not having to shell out to do it. 

You could do it in the evenings or for 90 minutes before you start work. The great thing about this is, you are creating a list that is targeted. 

These are businesses you want to work with, and as we’ve said, you can help make their lives easier, you’re helping them make more money.

Your website
This is a no-brainer. Make sure you have a pop-up register your interest email on your site. Remember, this is about helping people and businesses, it’s not about ‘badgering’ them. When you create this pop-up, make sure it’s fun and engaging, not like all the drivel you see out there.

Trade shows and events
If you are at a trade show or event, anyone who approaches your stand is a potential customer and it is vital you get their email address.

Now you need to be clever and intelligent about how you do that, but it should be a fundamental part of your event strategy. Set a target and aim to exceed it. 

Those email addresses are warm leads already, you then need to build further trust with them via the content you share before making contact.

Social media and landing pages
When you create really interesting content you want to make it work hard for you. Social media is a great place to do that. You can chunk the article into many posts to build engagement. 

You can then create a landing page on your site where the user has to add their email and name to download the full piece of content. There are some terms in the industry you may have heard them, ‘Gated content’ ‘Lead magnet’ among others. 

Put your brain in your customer’s heads and ask yourself 'What would make me click and read that content'

Become a teacher and mentor for them. Email campaigns are about building trust. They are not about selling! Selling comes later, we will explain that. The key here is to share content that is really valuable to your list.

Think of all the questions you or your sales team get asked by leads or customers. Write them all down and answer them with great content. 

That’s your email campaign, period, that’s it, it’s that simple, answer the questions your customers and leads want to be answered. Not just with written content but video as well.

Be consistent when deploying content

This is really tough unless you have a dedicated content manager. 

Consistently creating and posting content that is really useful and engaging is hard and takes time, and if, like us, you are flat out most of the time delivering work then finding time to create the content is hard.

But you have to find the time if you’re serious about generating leads and sales. We would love to say we can deliver 3 pieces of content a week to our list but it’s not possible at the moment.

We aim to deliver one really useful piece of content a week, ideally at the beginning or end of the week but really whenever we find a time to do it. We’d like to guarantee Monday, Wednesday and Friday but at the moment, it’s not possible.

Be personable and specific with subject lines

The subject line is critical. If it doesn’t have the recipient’s name in it you’re wasting your time. 

This is about being intelligent and really helping your leads and customers. Sending emails with generic subject lines, is not it. Don’t do it.

The subject line should start with their name followed by a short, concise explanation that illustrates the benefit of the content. 

Spend time thinking about this, as you write the content, ideas will pop up about the subject line, always have it in the back of your mind, and rewrite it until you are happy it is super strong.

Don’t be scared of unsubscribes

Unsubscribes aren’t a bad thing, they are actually a good thing. What? Well, look at it this way, you want your list to be full of engaging, warm leads, people, and businesses that like what you say and think it all makes sense.

The ones who don’t will never do business with you so it’s a good thing they unsubscribe. You don’t want to waste each other’s time. Again, this all about helping your warm leads and filtering the ones who aren’t interested. 

If someone unsubscribes from your list make sure you take them off it before you send out any further content.

When to know to make contact

This is again a critical piece of the process of turning leads into customers. 

As you start to create and deploy really useful content a pattern will start to emerge of who is interested and who’s not. Now they may not unsubscribe but they’re not clicking through to your website to read the content. There may be many reasons, they are busy, they like the subject lines and feel of the email but the subject hasn’t caught their imagination enough yet.

Again it takes time so be patient. After 3 months of emailing and posting really useful content, you should have a list  of emails of people who regularly click through to your website to read it.

Now, you know, they are engaged and like what you’re saying so now it’s time to take the next step.

Take your list of really engaged leads and plan how you will make contact with them. Remember, they like what you say, they are now aware of your business and the things you believe in. 

Here are 3 ways to make contact that are proven to work.

The 3 line email
This is great as it is so short and concise:-


Do you need help with XXXXXXX?

Speak soon


You’d be surprised how many responses you will get to this email.

Send them an informal email
Introduce yourself to them and ask them for feedback on the content you have posted. 

Make sure to explain how much you are interested in their business and what they are doing and suggest you believe there could be an opportunity to collaborate.

The call to action is critical. ‘Do you have time to get on a call to catch up and we can have a quick chat to see if there is anything there?

Give them a call
Good old fashion, just ring them up. Call them and asked what they think about the content and see if there is an opportunity to set up a physical or virtual meeting to discuss further.

Now not all of them are going to agree to your meeting idea but the fact is one or two will and that could be the start of a really powerful and long-term relationship that benefits them and you in equal measure.

Email marketing is a great way to develop actual leads and sales fo FREE but it does take time and you need to make sure the content you post and the service or product you offer is of genuine help to that prospect.

We hope this article has been helpful for you and shorn a different light on the world of email marketing.

Thanks for reading right to the end. We know you’re busy and we really respect your time so hopefully, the fact that you’ve got to here means that you’ve found it worthwhile.