Stories are the most effective means of persuasion — they’re also AWESOME for email autoresponders…
At the very bottom of this email, you’ll find a very generous testimonial I just received for my Story Selling Master Class. It is NOT today’s Mailbox Monday question, but I thought I’d include it here because of its relevance.
Today’s question is all about story…
And providing VALUE as part of the selling process…
And customer awareness…
And how that all mixes up into the selling process.
To have YOUR question answered in an upcoming Mailbox Monday issue, simply click here and fill out the quick form.
Now here’s today’s question…
As a new BTMSinsiders member, I can hand on heart say what you offer is by far the best content I’ve come across (and I’ve put my hand in my pocket more than a few times this year…far too many times.)
But currently I’m in a bit of pickle (figuratively).
I’ve taken your Value-First Funnel Strategy. Awesome.
I’m trying to gear a client autoresponder around this (free ebook -> autoresponder -> offer).
From research, I’ve found the prospects/leads to be Solution aware when they enter the funnel.
I’m planning to split the Autoresponder in half, 7 emails to transition from Solution aware to Product aware. 7 from Product to Most aware and to the almighty offer! (Is this a good split?)
I’ll be answering your questions you’ve laid out in the Value-First Funnel Strategy Course. The “What to discuss” parts (trying not to give your content away here).
I have two questions, so I hope this isn’t cheating.
But first, what’s the best way to blend the stories you teach in the Story Selling Master Class into an Autoresponder?
I’ve got an Invention Story and Darkest Hour from interviews. I’m think of using them to invalidate the competition. But struggling to connect stories into providing educational/valuable content….maybe I’m trying to do too much with one email.
Second, is there a best order in which to cover the points to discuss in order to move the prospect through stages of awareness? I.e. should be present ourselves as the best option first and then discuss why the competition may not be in the prospects best interest.
Thanks in advance. You’re helping me more than you could know.
Okay, there’s a handful of questions here — even more than the two that are specifically called out…
I’m going to try to provide a complete response. Because I think answering this in its entirety could be extremely valuable for you, my dear reader.
First: if you’re not yet aware of the Eugene Schwartz market awareness model, “solution aware” may not mean much to you, and it’s rather integral to this question. Here’s an article I wrote that, among other things, gives a quick breakdown of the model: What Eugene Schwartz’s market awareness model missed completely…
That noted, let’s dive in…
About the solution-aware assumption…
First, let me call you out on something.
While you always want to aim your marketing at one specific person, it’s best to realize that the total subscriber base to your email autoresponder will be on a bell curve.
There will be some people who are ready to buy NOW.
There will be some people who won’t buy for 12 months, no matter what.
And there will be some people who will buy when they’re ready, and they’ll get ready by reading your emails.
The most dangerous people to ignore (in terms of marketing response) are the ones who are ready to buy now.
And so before we even talk about the email autoresponder sequence, let’s talk about the sales page.
Every bit of advice I’m going to give you rests on the assumption that you have a reasonably-decent sales page.
Using the Eugene Schwartz model, it should basically take them from a place of at least acknowledging the problem, helping them identify buying criteria for a prospective solution, perhaps comparing solutions they’ve been researching, explaining how your solution in superior (as judged by the buying criteria you laid out), and making an offer.
My version of the problem-solution formula, Problem, Agitate, Invalidate, Solve, Ask — shortened to PAISA — is a pretty good rough outline for that.
Either way, you want a sales page that converts. That takes someone who is ready to make a buying decision, and takes them through the decision-making process required to do so.
When you have that in place…
How to start your email autoresponder series…
First and foremost, when someone signs up for an email and you’ve offered value in the form of a download, report, or whatever — give it to them!
One of the primary reasons someone will respond to an offer is because they think you’re trustworthy. So any promise you make, you must fulfill. That’s how you tell them that you’re worthy of their trust.
So make sure you start your autoresponder series with that.
You promised them something, you fulfill on it.
What to include next…
Next up, you should — almost in passing — give your hyper-responders and deal-ready leads a way to go deeper.
If I sign up and I’m ready to buy, I’m going to be on a lookout for relevant links.
You can do this as a conversational statement, such as, “If you’re looking for [PRODUCT], click here.”
There are more subtle ways to do it. And I’m trying to give a catch-all example. But the point is, if someone has their radar up and is ready to spend, you want to make it easy for them to find out where to go.
Alternately, you could stick an “Ad” in the email. This can be a PS. Or an editor’s note. Or one of these things…
Imagine, YOU, a master at using stories to sell…
Discover the 3 Pillars of Highly-Effective Story Selling. Plus well over a dozen specific story types and templates you can adapt immediately to become more persuasive.
This can still be in the first email.
Or, you can send a second dedicated email on the first day, encouraging the most interested prospects to click through.
Either way, you want to do this QUICK. Again, its sole purpose is to give the most responsive leads a way to go deeper right away.
Now, onto the rest of your emails…
How to build stories in everywhere…
First, nothing is as linear as the question suggests.
You don’t want to spend the first 7 emails assuming someone isn’t ready to buy.
You should instead bounce around a lot, with a lot of opportunities for people to go deeper.
I would do a few things early, though.
First, I’d use that Invention story. I’d do that in the second email (within the first 48 hours, minimum). It should do a great job of positioning the product in the field of competitive solutions. It should, of course, lead to the product page on the website.
I’d also use the Darkest Hour story pretty quickly. Because it’s a powerful connection-builder. Potentially it’s combined with the above. Or potentially it stands on its own. Either way, it should be pretty early because it provides a WHY for what you’re doing.
Then, continue to use stories as much as possible.
I like the idea, at some point, of using a Tiny Story to say, “I’m constantly getting emails asking important questions about [TOPIC], here are some of the most common questions and my answers.” That’s telling the story that you have people writing to you all the time.
You could even start your email in a way similar to how I started this one, saying I just got a testimonial for this product (or a question) and decided to answer it here. Another Tiny Story that adds life to it all.
You can also use Case Study stories, or Personal Product Use stories that seem random in the sequence, but that will do a great job of building proof and credibility around your product.
All of this provides value, by the way. Because if someone is trying to pick a solution, a story of someone else’s success is valuable. A story of how the product came together is valuable. You answering questions is valuable. It can all be done with an attitude of contribution, and it will be providing value. Told in the form of a whole mix of stories, it will also be engaging.
Don’t over-think the order…
As I’m approaching publication time, I’ll wrap it up with this about structure…
Always start by fulfilling any value promised.
Then, make sure you give hyper-responders a way to respond fast.
Then, mix up messages that accomplish the following, with a general trend of this order (but NOT step-by-step).
— Help them define the problem.
— Agitate their experience of the problem.
— Tell them why solving the problem is important to them.
— Tell them why solving the problem is important to you.
— Establish your credibility.
— Help them compare solutions.
— Define a set of ideal buying criteria to pick between solutions.
— Position your solution as the best fit for the ideal buying criteria.
— Share your customers’ success stories.
— Make an offer.
— Give them an urgent reason to act.
And remember, all along the way, any one reader may find their reason to respond, so you should be constantly pointing them back to the sales page. (Even something as simple as embedding links like I do constantly can be effective.)
Hope this is helpful.
Here’s that testimonial…
I’ve always been interested in telling stories and for the longest time, I thought stories were only meant for the “Word Magicians” — something that only the truly skilled are able to do. Or that it’s something that you could nail after years of study and practice…
But, have you ever seen shows where they reveal how Magicians do their tricks? How their tricks were just tricks, and that if you follow certain steps you could create the same illusion?
The Story Selling Master Class is exactly that — the SECRETS behind the Magic. And as copywriters, we’re also Magicians. We create Magic for the prospects.
This class is THE Master Class — not just about creating stories — but about CONJURING MAGIC. So many things clicked for me as I went through the modules – and that is magic by itself.
Just go through this class! You’ll end up being a Wizard.
Did you know you can get in now for just $37? New memberships will be more expensive in 2019. (But you lock in your rate for life the day you sign up.)
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,