Can one email really bring in $30,000 in revenue?
Growth Labz's Will Wang shares with us the real-life details of the marketing they ran for a client. This campaign generated $30K from a single email.
Will reveals their process from thinking to execution. And you’ll see it differs hugely from your typical marketing email blast.
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Regular listeners of SuperFastBusiness know this episode’s guest. Growth Labz‘s Will Wang makes recurring appearances in our Get Clients Series. He’s back today to break down the profitable campaign he executed for a client, and how you can do something similar.
That much from one email?
$30,000 from a single email can elicit disbelief from someone outside the internet marketing industry. In the online world, however, it’s not pie in the sky. Will shares some of the context.
For some of the businesses Growth Labz do campaign management for, $30K doesn’t begin to pay the bills. The client for whom they wrote the email in question is an SEO/branding agency that works with some fairly midsize businesses. Their packages range from $3,000 a month to $50,000 or $100,000 a month, depending on their clients’ needs.
The sale and the process that led to it
The $30,000 we’re talking about was banked into the client’s account within three weeks of working with Will and his team.
What happened with the client was, the email went to one of their leads, who read it, responded, had the necessary conversation, and signed on for the lowest fee package ($3,000 a month). Now, because of the time of year it was, they wanted to pay in full for 12 months, so they could go back to their managers and get more budget for the next year.
The fact that this was one sale is important, says James. We know of internet marketers selling low-ticket products via bulk email to lists of 800,000. What we have here is a high-ticket product, where one sale is made through a specific strategic campaign.
“In the online world, you can generate between one and 100 or 1000 sales.”
One of James’s marketing activities, when he’d run a live event, would be to send one email to his members, selling tickets at close to $1,000 each. They could sell 100 in 24 hours, banking $100,000. In the online world, these are not outrageous numbers.
What pipeline means for customer value
Now the $30,000 refers to bank revenue. Will also talks about the pipeline built, which is many times bigger.
Pipeline is the potential for future revenue – how many conversations did that one email bring about that will result in potential future work? Will measures the pipeline to be somewhere between $150,000 to $200,000 over the next three months.
That will be measured, says James, in appointments booked, proposals issued, people specifying when their timeline or budget is, and then factoring in typical closing percentage of how many could land across the line and what sort of products or services they might buy.
And that’s probably still measuring the front end. The lifetime customer value could eventually be quite high, considering annual clients have a typical 50 percent renewal rate.
“When you make a mistake, there’ll be a compound effect.”
Just as there is a compound effect when you make a mistake, there could be a positive compound effect generated by Will’s email.
Will adds that the client, two months in, has actually upgraded their package, from $3,000 a month to $8,000 a month, almost triple of what they committed to.
So what exactly was in this email?
Naturally, someone will ask, what was in the powerful email?
It was based, says Will, on Dean Jackson‘s very famous – and probably overused at this point – nine-word email, which basically says, Hey, are you still interested in X, Y, or Z, which is the service we provide or the benefit that our service has?
For the services Will’s client was selling, they needed to be a bit more nuanced and sophisticated. Straight up nine-word email, Will says, is good for maybe lower-ticket items, or a B2C play. But this was very high touch B2B. They needed to adapt, make it more personal, more subtle, softer, to bring back the conversation in a way that actually helped the sales to move along.
One of their goals was to get the leads back in a way that quickly picked up from where they left off, rather than having to restart the entire sales process again. These were leads who had seen some kind of proposal from the client, but had said no for one reason or another. In CRM terms, a closed loss database.
What they had to do was reference the fact that they had spoken to the leads extensively before. They started with something like, Hey, we spoke to you at a certain date about one of your projects, one of your SEO projects. Many of the leads were marketing directors or CMOs, who knew what a nine-word email was. So Will’s team had to really personalize and make a reference to who their client was and why exactly they were having the conversation again.
Personalization, says James, is a step that almost everyone misses. There’s no effort. This is typical of the email blast, and you don’t want to blast your list. Any time you’re email-blasting, you’re not personalizing, and you’re risking becoming commoditized.
Exactly, says Will. So they put out the exact month and year that they had spoken to these people. And lest some listeners think they had a good list, Will mentions some of these leads hadn’t heard from their client for about 16 months. It was an old list. And it was a small one, just 20 strong, which shows what you can achieve with small numbers.
The thing that doesn’t happen in a nine-word email
So they looked at the list, they took their personalization, like the month that they spoke, a little bit about the topics that were spoken about. And the next thing they did, which doesn’t necessarily happen in a nine-word email, was they gave them a trigger point. That is, a reason why they were reaching out again.
It was about what was happening within the industry. If you don’t have something like that, says Will, do some research about the industry your clients are in, research about what’s happening in the world, and make a reference and give them a reason why you’re coming back to have another conversation with them.
“People are very curious about motive.”
He refers to a story by Robert Cialdini, from his book Influence. In a college experiment, people were trying to cut into a line for printing. If someone asked to cut in front of the first person in line, without a reason, the answer was most of the time no. But if they gave any kind of reason, even if it was just so they could get their printing done, it actually increased the chances of a yes.
The roles of fear and goodwill
Now the trigger that Will’s email used was a change in the SEO industry. But what they needed to really do was bring it back and say, why is it relevant to the people they were reaching out to?
So they actually had another element along the lines of, Look, I’m reaching out to you, I’m sending you an email again, because of this change. I just wanted to make sure that you had everything in place to deal with this, and it’s not going to have a massive bad impact on you when the change goes through.
So alongside the reason, they put a little bit of fear. They weren’t trying to scare monger, but it was true that if the leads didn’t have everything needed in place, the rankings they’d been working so hard for could actually fall. So Will used that as a psychological driver.
Things learned in debt collection
Both James and Will worked previously in debt collection, and many of the principles they used on the phone were applied in the 30K email – don’t tell them everything, keep it intriguing. Don’t go into more detail than you need to. And the ultimate goal is to get them to call back, to talk to them over the phone or face to face.
“Don’t go into more detail than you need to.”
So it wasn’t that Will’s client sold on emails, it was literally, how could they get these people back on the phones, and see if they’re still interested, and if they could still help them?
Getting them to do what makes sense
James was reminded of when he was repossessing cars, when the customer sometimes wouldn’t give the key. And he gave them a choice – they could tow the car onto the truck, or they could hand the key over so they could put the car in neutral. They would almost always give the key, because it just made sense.
And that’s the final point of the email, says Will. These leads are busy. They want to do what makes the most sense and takes the least time. So Will and his team made it simple.
They said, Based on what we saw last time, we already know three things we can do to immediately mitigate 80 percent of the issues you’re going to have. We wanted to share this with you on the phone – it’s not really the best place to do it over email, because it’s going to get too long. When can you chat?
They made it easy for the lead to say, That’s brilliant. I want to see what these three things are. I obviously don’t want my rankings to be hit. Let’s talk tomorrow.
They actually would be negligent, says James, if they didn’t take the free advice on how they could save themselves a train wreck. He was sure many of them would just say, Shut up and take my money.
Well, for that one email, says Will, not even a sequence like they usually do, they had more than 10 conversations.
And of course, says James, in selecting that database, they would have found people who would really need to do something or they might be in jeopardy, so it was a relevant offer. It was compelling to the right prospect.
How to make it all their decision
They wouldn’t have made the offer otherwise, says Will. And they structure their emails normally using what’s called permission marketing. They don’t come in forecasting doom and gloom for people. They say things like, Is it okay to run this by you? Are you seeing this as well? Are you finding this is the same in your industry or in your company?
Because then it becomes the lead’s idea, and no one’s trying to beat them with a stick to talk with Will’s client. It’s more like, Oh, that makes sense. They’ve thought about it, and now it’s their idea.
Breaking down the magic email into its elements
The $30K email can be summed up in the following parts:
1. Selecting who you’re going to send to. Segment that up, get more specific, get really down into details of who it is you’re going to send your message to. In this case, it was a lead who had received the proposal, but had refused to come on board at that time.
2. A reference or personalization, to a conversation that had happened earlier, remembering this is not totally cold email. What data points do we have to personalize with? With this email, itt was, what were the proposals? When they had a conversation, who in the company was it with, and what services were they looking at?
So personalize the greeting: Hey, Fred, how are you going? I know we spoke together about three or four months ago about some SEO solutions for you.
3. Open a loop to get the reader excited or curious: Hey, just wanted to follow up because I’ve been hearing something that I thought you might be interested in.
4. Go into the trigger, which is why they should be curious, something like: We’re hearing grumblings about this change within SEO that I think, based on your structure, could have a massive impact.
And that’s the point of fear, of something that might happen if they don’t respond or don’t think about it.
5. One more personalization: But we’ve already thought about a few things you can do to mitigate this, based on what we saw from your account last time.
So you’re offering them a solution, offering them hope.
6. Put it back in their court, ask them for permission to share this information with them: Look, if this is something you’ve thought about, or if you’d like to find out more, or even if you just want to have another chat with us to see how you can be better prepared, we’d love to continue the conversation that we had last time.
Responding to objections
Awesome, says James. Now, what if there’s no big news in your industry, no impending doom situation? Could you use a variation, for instance, of the 16-Word Sales Letter?
For example, they ran a campaign for themselves using a case study and said, Hey, we’ve actually come up with this new way of structuring emails, which is getting us really great results. Based on our conversation, I think this structure will work well for you as well. Just wanted to see if you want to pick up the conversation again, and we can share this idea with you freely. You can go and run with it and generate more sales.
So the trigger doesn’t have to be negative, but it has to be relatable to what the reader is trying to accomplish.
Innovate, in short, says James. Do your R&D. There will be things. You just have to change something in your business, and now you have a reason why. And the fact is, change is inevitable.
If you’re stuck for ideas, get in touch with Will. He does answer listener questions from this show.
And if you want a question answered by Will on the show, we plan another Grill Will episode. Just reply to any of James’s emails with #Grill Will.
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