Last week I talked about the fact that if you’re not building an email list you’re leaving sales on the table.

But how on earth do you use it? Do you just blast people with the sales you have? Do you email them daily or weekly or monthly? Do you send extra emails during the holiday’s or for big sales?

The 80/20 rule

The best rule of thumb to start with is the old 80/20 rule. Provide 80% useful free content to your email subscribers and only ask for sales 20% of the time.

By bombarding them with requests to purchase all the time all you’re going to do is tire them out and make your real call to action when you’re launching a new product something that your users are blind to.

If they even read your email anymore.

Now putting a ‘brought to you by’ section with a link to a product you sell at the end of every email is different. That’s a ‘soft sell’ that people will just see in the bottom.

When I’m talking about not selling to them, I’m saying that you shouldn’t just make the whole email about selling for 80% of the email you’re sending.

What’s in the 80%

So you’ve got the 20% taken care of right. You’ll write some stellar copy (hey have you seen the CopyHackers material on awesome copy?) and people will purchase your content in droves.

What goes in the 80% though?

For my email list on my personal site I email weekly and most of the time I send people the content from my blog post for the day.

I also send them some awesome content I’ve found around the web during the week that’s not mine.

Yup I may even send them to competitors and no I don’t worry about it at all.

See I’m the one that found it so I’m still the contact to the competitor. I’m the one that will be remembered as the connector, even if they purchase from the competitor.

The goal is to make sure that you’re providing relevant content to your subscribers so that they keep opening your emails and reading them. If they’re not opening them then they’re not going to see when you’re launching something new so they’re not going to purchase it.

The exception

The only exception to the 80/20 rule is when the sole purpose of your email list is to send people information on products. That’s what AppSumo does so all you get from them is emails on deals they have on products.

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If that’s the type of email list you’re building then my all means email about products all the time.

No go forth

Now it’s time to set up that email list (I recommend MailChimp and Leadin) and start using it for awesome content so you can get more sales.

Not sure how to set it up, get in touch and we can help.

Posted by Curtis McHale

Web developer specializing in membership and ecommerce sites. I like to ride my bicycle.

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