I see a lot of bad advice online, but this particular piece of advice might be the worst. And it keeps popping up again and again.
Here’s a common scenario: Somebody makes a post on the Warrior Forum asking when they should start selling to their subscribers. Dozens of self appointed experts chime in saying something like, “You must provide value before you can start pitching!” Then there’s the guy that thinks he has the magic formula. It usually goes something like, “Value email, value email, value email, pitch email, value, value, pitch, etc…”
This advice is obviously from people that don’t have a background in sales. It doesn’t take a genius marketer to know one of the Golden Rules of selling is ABC, which means “ALWAYS BE CLOSING“.
Notice, I didn’t say “Sometimes Be Closing”, I said “ALWAYS BE CLOSING”!
Before you get your panties in a wad, I am not saying you shouldn’t be providing value, as you should provide value in every email you send. I am saying these people don’t have the faintest idea of what value is to a consumer, especially if they are giving that advice without knowing anything about the list your subscribers are signing up for.
Different lists call for different measures. If you’re goal is to sell them a solution to a problem, then you better be hard selling from the get go. Every second wasted is another second they can go somewhere else for the solution.
Hard Sell Example 1: You have a squeeze page that offers information about eczema remedies. Anybody that subscribes to that list is in need of a solution to their problem. They are hurting and they want the problem fixed now. You could easily offer a review of several different remedies and provide affiliate links to them all. This is “value” and selling at the same time.
Hard Sell Example 2: You have a squeeze page that promises to deliver a list of the best prices on vacuum cleaners, your subscribers are going to expect links to well priced vacuum cleaners they can buy now. It would not make sense to send them a few emails giving them the history of vacuum cleaners before telling them where to buy one. To these subscribers, a list of vacuum cleaner prices IS the “value” they are seeking.
If you are an authority and your goal is to generate a following that acts on your recommendations (affiliate offers), then a soft sell approach is in order, but I would not wait ten emails to start. You can start soft selling in your first contact. Just provide a lot of ideas and information in each of your contacts to go along with your soft pitches.
An example of a soft pitch with a lot of value would be a case study that details how you solved a problem that may be common to your subscribers. If you used a certain piece of software or training course to solve this problem, an affiliate link to that product would fit nicely into the message.
Sometimes the advice you see online is like watching the blind lead the blind.