email marketing

3 Questions to ask yourself before you start selling online

3 Questions to ask yourself before you start selling online

3 Questions to ask yourself before you start selling online

A former coach once asked, "Do you have an email list?"

To which I replied, "No."

She followed with, "Oh no. Who are you going to sell to online?"

"So...I need a list if I want to sell online?" I asked. "I Can't I just hop in Facebook groups on promo days and share my offer?" 

"You can but not if you want people to take you seriously and actually buy from you," she said instantly shutting down what I'd thought was a pretty ok idea. (Come on, I'm not the only one who has tried this).

Let's just say this was a sobering conversation. 

When I first started my business, I thought you needed a website, sales page, complicated sales funnel and a large social media following (or a few hundred dollars to spend on Facebook ads). But, experience has taught me that you don't need all that to sell online.

While it's great to have a website, sales page, funnels and social media followers, you can sell online with much less.

The Minimalist's guide to selling online

You only need three things: an idea, an email list and a payment link. (Simple, right?)

One of the reasons why I am always preaching about the importance of list building and email marketing is because I've seen them transform businesses (both my clients' and my own). You could have a Facebook page, Twitter following and be on Periscope but if you're not getting those leads and clients on your list, using permission-based email marketing, you're still leaving money on the table.

Why do I need to get people on my email list? You ask.

Because Facebook pages get shut down. Twitter accounts can get hacked and Periscope is owned by Twitter (in other words, not you.)

When you use these channels to sell (exclusively), you're giving away two things:

1. Control over the relationship.
2. Your ability to earn income that doesn't require you to show up and exchange dollars for hours.

If you're using social media to sell exclusively, I have one question for you, "How will you nurture your warm leads that don't buy from you after seeing the first your post, tweet or Scope?"

Enough already, Semonna. Tell me how to avoid this mess and start selling online. I've got you covered.

There are 3 Questions to ask yourself before you start selling online

#1: Do I really need an email list?

This is a question I get asked quite frequently as my clients (coaches) try to regain control of their ever-growing to do list so they can start selling online. 

I hear this all the time. "I speak. I go networking. I'm in Facebook groups. Do I 'really' need an email list?"

The short answer: Yes. (Duh.)

But, the truth is you don't need an email list. (Yes, I just said that.)

Any of the strategies I listed above can help you gain more clients. Not having a list won't stop you from getting clients.

But, you NEED a list if you want to create leveraged income and more time freedom).

That's right. You need an email list if you've ever:

  • Dreamed of servicing others by designing an e-course,
  • Wanted to increase your income without decreasing your time with loved ones
  • Desired paid time off
  • Had the crazy idea that your business could reach and transform the lives of thousands.

#2: What do I need to start selling to my list?

Funnels and sales pages are all the rage right now, but you don't need them to sell to your list.

You only need three things to start selling to your list: An idea, an email service and a way to accept payment.

I've included two tutorials below to help you get started with two of my favorite tools. Katie Martin of Tin Shingle has a great step-by-step resource (with screenshots) to help you Set Up Payment Plans & Subscription Orders Using PayPal here.

How to create a buy now and subscription button in Paypal

Send Owl Tutorial - How to create a payment link to sell your products and services

Paypal is a great option if you're just starting out. It's a free tool that you can use to create buy now buttons, subscriptions (reoccurring billing) or invoices. You can use advanced settings to connect it to your email service and collect payment from your clients.

Send Owl (affiliate link) is a great option if you're more seasoned and looking to create custom coupon codes or offer affiliate commissions. You can use it as a shopping cart to collect payments via credit cards and Paypal.

#3: How will I know what my people want to buy?

I you really want to know what your community wants, you should start off my asking them. Use Ryan Levesque's Ask Method. You can learn more about Ryan's strategies here.

Here are three things that you can do to get inside your ideal clients head.

1. Stop worrying about your list size and start treating every subscriber like a potential client.

Butter her up and make her feel loved and appreciated. Never make her feel like she's just another number.

2. Ask them

Send them a survey. Ask them within your welcome series or just send a single one-off email.

3. You know them. Put your keen knowledge to work.

Use the knowledge you've collected to offer a product or service that aligns with their needs.

4. Give them a free taste of your upcoming product, program or service.

You could offer a lead magnet such as a checklist or create a free mini course or a complimentary challenge.

Now that you've had time to ask yourself these questions, get out there and implement. It's time to start selling online.

Email Marketing Hacks: How to minimize unsubscribes and Spam complaints during your next launch

reduce subscribes

How to reduce unsubscribes and Spam complaints during your next launch

Experience is our best teacher.

It used to drive me crazy when my clients would get upset over losing 3 to 10 subscribers, per email, during a new launch.

From my (detached) perspective, I looked at it as a good thing. That’s one less person that you’re paying to talk to. That’s one less person and one less unresponsive subscriber. 

I didn’t realize how much it stings. Even though we’re taught not to take it personally. It’s easy to see that unsubscribe notification as a big old neon sign saying, “I don’t like you.” (Que the knife to the gut and twist.)

 I thought, ‘I’m supposed to be growing my list - not losing subscribers.’

#1: Give them the option to ‘update your preferences.’

Let your subscribers decide when they want to receive emails from you. They can either pick an option based on the frequency (weekly or twice a week). You can also choose from the various lists you offer.

Pro tip: Not all email service providers offer this option. I believe Aweber and Mailchimp still do.

#2: Let them say NO

Create a separate email list or separate tag that allows your subscribers to raise their hands and say I don’t want to learn more about your promotion/product/program.

I’ve been able to achieve this for clients in various email tools including, Aweber, Get Response, ConvertKit (aff link), Infusionsoft, Active Campaign and Mailchimp.

#3: Add an unsubscribe list at or near the top of your newsletters and broadcasts

Adding an unsubscribe link above your header image or before your intro paragraph may scare you.

After all, "won't that encourage them to subscribe?"

No. It does; however, make it easier for your subscribers to leave your list. Some people opt for the spam button rather than scrolling down to the bottom of the page to subscribe, not knowing that spam complaints can hurt your business and your ability to reach your ideal clients’ inbox. 

Adding an unsubscribe link at the top of your emails helps deter this behavior by giving people who aren't your ideal client an easy out. Though it might seem like you're losing a subscriber or your list is shrinking,  I want to encourage you to reframe your thinking. Rather than losing out, I want you to look on the brighter side to see that you're actually gaining a more responsive list of potential buyers (who want to hear from you).

#4: Don't automatically roll them over to your main list

Let’s say you offer a special opt-in during your pre-launch period, like a challenge or a giveaway. After this list building activity is over, take a moment to nurture these new subscribers. Then, ask them to join your main newsletter list (make sure you give them an ethical bribe or a new lead magnet) and provide an explicit opt-in offer to get their permission to enter your inbox weekly.

Be clear and tell people exactly what they’ll receive. If you’re planning on sending out a weekly newsletter and promotional emails, just say that (I’m all for authentic and simple marketing).

Which of these four suggestions are you going to implement to avoid an increase in unsubscribes during your next launch?