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When was the last time you sent an email to your mighty awesome community of subscribers, with a link in it? Specifically a link that asked them to take an action like signing up, registering, booking a call, or buying? Every solopreneur I know has been guilty of doing tons of nurturing and giving in their emails, and not enough sharing of offers. Often the reluctance comes from fear – fear of selling, fear of rejection, fear of no one wanting their offer, fear of how to write the offer, etc. What if it were easy to send your list offers? What if including links to offers – yours or an affiliate's/partner's – felt quick, easy and natural? Read on to discover the 5 ways any online solo business owner can comfortably and naturally share links to offers in their emails.
Email marketing is about relationship building for sure – but it’s also about building your business, which means earning money from your email list. They look to you as an expert, an insider, a trusted and respected source, and someone who offers them valuable solutions.
But that can’t happen if all you do is give, give, give and never open up to receive (I don’t like saying ‘take’) – are you making it impossible for your list to give back to you because you never tell them HOW? Because you don’t make offers?
Let me guess … because you’re afraid to make offers! You’re afraid to sell or be ‘salesy’
I get it – I really do!
But the offers in your emails could also be for a different freebie – or a webinar – a way to take another step deeper in relationship with you (they are now a warmer lead and more likely to purchase!).
Or the offers could be affiliate offers – programs, books, courses that you LOVE and recommend.
You need to work on naturally working in those offers and links to your emails.
Some will be solo, promotional emails (your offers or affiliate offers)
Sometimes those links will be just part of your regular newsletter or updates
No matter which – there’s a way that will work for your audience and your offers. It's time to start practicing sharing offers so your business actually grows!
Let a blog post do most of the ‘talking’, as a kind of ‘soft sell.’ In your email give a tip or two, as a snippet from a blog post and provide a link to the post to read more. In the post you discuss or review the product/course/offer. Perfect for review posts!
Want to see an example in action? For more than 6 years I've participated in Kelly McCausey's annual Stretch Yourself Content Marketing Challenge. And participants frequently write posts about what we love and get from the challenge, as part of the challenge itself. AND we get to use our affiliate links to promote the challenge – in its live and self-study forms. It's a blog post ‘soft sell' in action.
You talk about a topic X, give a tip on X, and casually mention ‘oh hey here’s this tool that helps you do X’ in an email you send. For example, my community knows I check out new software, and I love easy ways to do things, AND I dig video creation tools. It's perfectly natural for me to email and give a tip or two about creating easy, short, social-friendly videos where you never appear on camera and why they’re so popular on social media (85% of videos watched sound off). And then mention the 3 tools I like for creating videos like that: Biteable, Wave, and Canva– yes Canva does videos. Oh, and each of those links is an affiliate link (yep, they are affiliate links here too!)
See, this is mighty easy so far, right? You're still giving value and information – but you are including affiliate links to the stuff you already love and recommend for your people. It wouldn't be very kind or helpful of me if I taught you a tip and left you hanging on how to DO the thing. So I share the course, software, or tool that helps me and you get the thing done. Works for all niches and audiences.
TIME OUT …
There's a video to go with this blog post AND it's an example of content repurposing in action!
I took a conversation with another online business owner, a question from my email community, and some private label rights content to create show notes/outline for a Facebook Live video. Then some of those notes became my email – with clear Calls to Action – to invite my email community to watch the video. And then I showed how those notes became this blog post and where the video would be added when it was finished. So now I can share this post – with the video in it – to social media or a different email. That's Mighty Smart Content Repurposing in action! (oh, yes I have a self-study workshop about content repurposing where you can see more demos like this and get your content to work smarter and harder – not you work harder!)
It's time to move up a notch and to make a stronger offer- by including a clear, direct call to action in your email. Pick a topic for your email, write it with solid tips/info, then end with both text and a button as CTA (call to action) to “go pick up X course on Z topic” or “want to learn more, click here to sign up for X.” Consider adding another link in the P.S.
You aren't being so soft here. You are making your CTA very direct and not buried in the text. Use bold, maybe even a color font, and test out the button graphics in your email marketing software. You are making it clear to your reader what you want them to do, where to click, and where it's taking them.
For example, I could write an email about why segmentation is the future of email and how it leads to more engaged subscribers, which means more sales. And then I could tell you the best way I know how to easily create segments is in my preferred software, ActiveCampaign – click here to sign up for your free trial. It's similar to the casual mention, but more direct; a little more overt of a promotion.
Instead of sending you to an affiliate link for my fave email software, I could tell you that I have a webinar on email segmentation (I do!) or to hire me for a Borrow My Brain session to set up tags and segments in your ActiveCampaign account. (clients have done so!)
If you have a regular weekly or monthly newsletter you could make an offer for an evergreen product/service of your own (or an affiliate offer) and call it a “sponsored by” message. Or just in some way visually and design-wise set it off from the rest of your newsletter content- make your offer a mini ad.
Several of my pals have added in regular reminders and mini ads to let people know they currently have coaching slots available.
Or I could create a “sponsored by” area with links to ActiveCampaign – a natural fit for me. Or add in my own little graphic ‘ad' area for Borrow My Brain offers or a coaching offer.
What offer could you choose to be your ‘sponsor’?
Ok, time to power up our asking and receiving even further – it's time to work on a purely promotional email. But keep it in your style, your tone, your vibe and keep it natural! If you've built a relationship with your list as someone they trust, then they trust you to give them the straight info on how to work with you! Remember, they opted-in to your list because you OFFERED them some kind of a solution. Give them the next part of the solution!
Now we are taking a slightly harder sell because this email is dedicated to promoting a product or service and encouraging the reader to click and buy – or at least click and check out the sales page. Again, this could be something you sell or an affiliate offer. (hmmm when was the last time you did a dedicated campaign for an affiliate? Multiple standalone promo emails – talking about benefits, sharing results, overcoming any objections?)
Solo promo emails are necessary! Your CTAs and offers can sometimes get lost otherwise. The issue our communities can have is when they become the ONLY email someone sends.
It’s one thing for Kohls, Wayfair, Frontgate, Penzeys, or Readers to send me sales emails every day – they are all big retailers, all known for never-ending sales, and we signed up to their lists basically to get coupons and the sales. And THEY know, and WE know, that we delete 99% of those emails – which is why they send them ALL the time, so the one time I DO need towels or spices – boom, there’s the sale or coupon I need.
We serve our clients a little differently. We believe in content marketing – which puts education first. People subscribe to our lists looking for information, and yes for solutions, and I hope to hell they realize we are BUSINESS OWNERS WHO SELL THINGS, but it’s not the only thing we send them.
You have (or are working on – yay you!) built a relationship with your email community – you respect them, they respect and trust you, and you are establishing GIVE and RECEIVE. Your email community WANTS to know what you’ve got that can help them – and they can’t read your mind. So, sometimes you need direct, promo emails and sometimes you need to gently nudge and remind them via the other ways.
See, that wasn't so hard! Surely you can incorporate at least one of these 5 tips you've learned today to more comfortably make an offer via email this week. Mix and match your emails using a combo of offer types. Regularly work in links in your email that encourage your readers to click and take action. Sometimes it’s to check out an affiliate offer. Sometimes it’s to tell them about YOUR offers.
Start right from the beginning of your email relationship to get your community used to seeing links and offers from you. They will come to know you send them quality offers, that the links are worth clicking, and they will build a habit of giving back to you by buying.
Need help getting started with email marketing? Want to make sure you are setup for success right from the moment you decide to start a list? Then grab my FREE guide and 12-step checklist for the Mighty Email Marketing Setup for Success.
I want all of my solopreneur pals to feel confident and mighty in their marketing - sharing what makes their work special and so vital to their clients. No B.S. or fluff here. I do the digging and research for you, translate "marketing-ese" into simpler terms, and help you avoid marketing headaches.