How To Write Engaging Email Newsletters That Drive Sales with Jeff Pecaro

David Hehenberger April 13, 2015

In this post, Jeff Pecaro shares how to write engaging newsletters that your audience will love and that will generate sales.

You will learn how to avoid common mistakes that will annoy your audience, increase unsubscribes and decrease open rates. (In the long-term, making these mistakes is something this will have a negative impact on your sales and reputation).

If you want to take your email newsletters to the next level I recommend you follow the email newsletter best practices outlined in this post.

Jeff Pecaro ghost writes one of my favorite newsletters. He knows more about writing awesome newsletters than anyone else I know. Let’s get started…

Which email marketing / newsletter tool do prefer, why?

That’s complicated – I use MailChimp when I’m dipping my toes into something because the free plan gives me the flexibility to try things out, then Aweber for serious projects.

It definitely has its flaws, though, and I’m looking at moving more things over to Drip in the near future – Rob Walling and the team are working on some amazing features, especially for autoresponders.

How do you grow your email list?

I slap up an opt-in and see what happens, but I have to admit that I’m terrible at list building – I prefer client work to keep things interesting.

If you put a gun to my head and said “Get 10k subscribers in 2–3 months,” I’d put together a free video course like James Schramko has, put as much money as I could into Facebook ads, and try to appear on other peoples’ podcasts as often as I could – the ROI of being interviewed is much higher than running a show yourself in the short term.

Any advice on creating an opt-in bait?

Blog readers and podcast listeners land on your site for a reason. For some of them, that’s entertainment – they enjoy a diversion from the reality of their daily lives, and entrepreneurial dreaming gives that to them, just like buying a lottery ticket and thinking about what kind of Benz you’re going to buy.

The rest of your audience, though – and the people that are relevant to your business – landed on your site looking to learn something or otherwise improve their lives. If you can prove that you’ll help them accomplish that, the client’s in the bag.

So you want your opt-in material to be valuable enough that your subscribers feel like it’s helping them achieve their goals. Ideally, this will build goodwill while you help groom them into ideal customers for your offer.

Do you use any specific tools to grow your list?

I like LeadPages a lot, but at the end of the day, I think the offer that you make – how compelling it is and how closely it matches what your readers want – determines conversion rate. If I offered a $100 dollar gift card to the first twenty people that signed up for a strategy session, the form I used wouldn’t matter much, would it?

People spend too much time worry about the software and not enough time worrying about the offer.

People spend too much time worry about the software and not enough time worrying about the offer. Click To Tweet

What’s your email marketing process?

I focus on value – specifically, I try to give readers enough value to show them that we can help them live a better life, without giving away all the secrets we’re trying to sell.

jeff pecaro

How do you use autoresponders?

I know most people use autoresponders to push for a quick sale while the prospect is hot, and they’re not wrong. But they’d turn even more leads into customers if they put as much effort into delivering value and demonstrating authority as they put into trying to squeeze sales.

You know that old saying that “People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy?”

People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy. Click To Tweet

That’s true in email too, so I spend 3–4 emails of my autoresponders focused on showing people that I know what I’m talking about and teaching them valuable lessons about what they opted in to learn.

I want the people who read my emails to be so excited about what they’ve learned, and so impressed by what I’ve taught them, that they’re confident I know what I’m talking about and would be excited to work with me in the future.

That’s all – it’s the simple art of helping people and offering to help them in the future, for a fee.

How do you approach newsletters?

That’s my specialty. People push too hard in their autoresponders, then they’re too soft in their newsletters.

People push too hard in their autoresponders, then they’re too soft in their newsletters. Click To Tweet

If the key to a sale is getting a prospect to know, like, and trust you, there’s nothing more powerful than ongoing email marketing – especially if you pushed them hard for a sale in your autoresponder.

Here’s the thing: people get enough email already – too much, really – so your ongoing emails have to earn a place in their inbox.

What does that look like?

Dense, valuable newsletters that put their interests first – I’ll promote a blog post from my competitors if it helps the reader’s business.

I make my living by being someone who’s smart, hardworking, and has their best interests at heart. It might not seem like it’s in my best interest to promote people that are competing with me, but if my readers know they get the best stuff every time they open my email, they’re never going to leave and I look like I’m the most trustworthy person in the industry for having the nerve to promote the competition and let my customers decide who’s best.

What’s the biggest email marketing mistake you see others make?

You could probably guess this from my other answers, but people clog up their readers’ inboxes with so much bullshit.

Your readers are self interested – they’re nice, normal people that logged onto the internet one day looking for information about how to live a better life.

Email marketers get so wrapped up in their echo chambers that they forget the essence of business is one person giving another person money for something valuable.

If you have something useful to offer the world, sales and marketing are truly easy – touch into what your subscribers want, give them a little bit to show you can, give them a little more to show you care about them, and then offer to help them get what they want at a price that seems fair to them.

I’m not trying to be smug – I’ve just found that people will pay you what you’re worth if they really believe you can help them, and the best way to do that is creating marketing assets that actually help.

Jeff offers newsletter + autoresponder copywriting services. Make sure to check out his site.

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