What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “sales” or “selling”?

…Not good, right?

But when you have a product to sell, sales are kind of crucial to your business model. That’s why we asked John Bonini, Growth Director at Litmus, to help explain the difference between creating “sales-y” emails and emails that sell. (Trust us, there’s a difference.)

Missed out on the chat? Here are the 7 takeaways you should know before you hit ‘send’ on your next campaign:

Here’s what we really think about sales-driven emails.

We’re not just marketers, we’re consumers. And consumers don’t like being sold to – at least not in the way we traditionally think of sales.

“When I hear ‘sales’ I automatically think $$$ – which isn’t necessarily the mindset you want consumers to be in.”

“When I hear ‘sales/selling,’ I think, ‘You want something from me,’ not ‘You have something for me.’”

Sound familiar?

As John explained, it’s easy to let the consumer-perspective of “sales” affect the way we promote ourselves. Many of us have become fearful of coming across too aggressively in our sales approach – which can cause us to use more passive language that might lead to missed opportunities.

There’s a difference between being influential and being “sales-y.”

Here’s where sales gets a little fuzzy for most people. How do you know when you’re pushing too much? How do you know if you’re doing enough?

John says influence comes from uncovering people’s needs and wants – and delivering value that helps address them.

Another great way to avoid sounding like a salesman? Speak as though you’re talking to a friend, human to human. In other words, keep your content personal and aim to solve the problem of each individual you’re reaching out to.

Be both brand- AND subscriber-centric.

You can’t be brand-centric without being subscriber-centric. After all, your subscribers are the heart of your brand.

The folks at Really Good Emails have a really good formula for keeping your content focused:

“We like subscriber-centric content with brand-centric email design. Keep the messaging personalized and experience consistent.”

The right time to make your pitch.

Not sure when you should go for the sale? The answer is…

“When it makes logical and/or economic sense for someone to buy something from you.”

There’s no right way to answer this question. Every subscriber is unique and some may take a bit more convincing than others. That’s why it’s always good to offer value from the start – for free. Segmentation also comes into play here. Subscribers that consume more of your content than others early on are more likely to buy from you sooner, so keep this in mind when planning your email strategy.

Avoid using these terms and phrases in your emails.


What do these words even mean to the average consumer? Avoid sales and marketing jargon and talk like a human.

Also consider the tone of your emails. Nobody likes to be talked down to.

Take note from these brands.

Think about the brands that you buy from most frequently. What’s their secret?

Personally, I love being shown the versatility of a product. If you can tell me how to use it and why it will make my life better, I’m sold.

Free shipping/free returns? I’m in.

Oh, that product plays well with this one? Add it to the cart.

Don’t be afraid to sell.

A few bad experiences shouldn’t keep you from promoting your product and services. There are many reasons why people don’t make a purchase. Maybe it wasn’t the right time/place/etc. If you’re sending your stuff to the right people, you’ll be fine.

“Don’t think of it as selling. When you “sell” to people for whom it makes logical and economic sense for, you’re not selling.”


Join us Thursday, May 19th for the next #EmailChat – Guest Host TBA. And stay up-to-date on the latest news, events and announcements by following us on Twitter.

What topic do you want us to chat about? Send me a tweet with your ideas and you could see it in an upcoming #EmailChat.

The post #EmailChat with Litmus: Writing Emails That Sell appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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