From conversation to conversion with email marketing

On May 11, 2017

Email marketing is a powerful tool to reach potential customers and turn their interest into sales. But you can make it even more effective by shifting your focus. Let's look at why you should start looking at email marketing as an ongoing conversation.

A series of small steps

In an article for, author Geoffrey James argues that the key to successful email marketing is to stop thinking of it as an event, and start thinking of it as a process. Too often, marketers make the mistake of basing their email marketing on a single, lengthy email, sent to as many potential customers as possible. This "email blast" method, he argues, gets too low a response rate to be worth the effort, and runs the risk of alienating people who see it as spam.

Instead, what marketers should do is treat email marketing as a long game. These are the steps James recommends you include in your campaign:

  • To begin with, you should make sure your mailing list is trimmed down and focused on your target audience.
  • Your first email should be brief – just three to four sentences. It needs just enough detail to interest the reader, no more.
  • If that email doesn't get a response, send two follow-ups. These should be forwards of the original email with a brief "did you get a chance to look at this?" message.
  • If the follow-ups don't get a response, then you give them a final chance to respond with what James calls the 'Hail Mary' email. If there's no response to this, you can consider the lead a dead end.
Keep your initial email brief and enticing - don't put off potential customers with a wall of text.
Keep your initial email brief and enticing – don't put off potential customers with a wall of text.

The ongoing conversation

For all that email marketing can be an effective method of conversion, there's still value to it even without a sale. Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media points out that even when potential customers don't commit to a sale immediately, the strength of email marketing is that it keeps them connected.

Email marketing has value even when it doesn't lead to an immediate sale.

"Smart marketers love email because it keeps people in the conversion funnel," he says. "Not everyone is going to buy or become a lead right away. But when we give them a way to sign up, we can stay connected."

By treating email marketing as a long-term series of interactions rather than a one-off event, you let prospects develop their interest in your business over time.

The way you choose to conduct your email marketing will depend on your brand, your audience, and the kind of relationship you want to develop with them. For help with your next email campaign, including access to a range of curated email lists, get in touch with The Prospect Shop today.

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