How to Take your Email Readers From Prospects to Purchasers

I will always advise and encourage marketers to use selling tactics responsibly and ethically. 

I will also always advise and encourage marketers not to overlook selling tactics that work…  tactics that help move the reader from being a prospect to being a purchaser. 

As an ethical, responsible marketer, you know that your product or service will benefit people.  And you want to provide a benefit to as many people as you can, as quickly as you can.  You’re passionate about it.  You believe in it. 

And you really want to feel good  about moving the prospect to a purchase quickly.  So if you’re feeling guilty about the idea of using marketing “tactics”…don’t!

Here are a few tactics to put in your tool kit:

In selling a product or service, it’s important to tell your prospects why they should take a particular action.  If you want to know more about why this works, and why it’s important, I recommend Robert Ciadini, PhD’s book:  Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion.  One of the topics he covers is an experiment conducted by Harvard social psychologist, Ellen Langer.  Ms. Langer conducted a simple experiment that demonstrates the difference between how people respond when provided a reason for doing something.  In a library, people were waiting in line to use a a copy machine.  A colleague asked those waiting if she could go ahead of them saying, “Excuse me, I have five pages.  May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?”  Interestingly, 94% of those asked, complied.  Later, in a line of about the same size, the colleague said to those waiting, ” Excuse me.  I have five pages.  May I use the Xerox machine?”  Only 60% complied, a significant decrease.  This experiment was repeated a third time, again inserting the word “because” into a last sentence…”May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies.”   Once again, the compliance rate rose…this time to 93%. 

It’s easy to see that while everyone had to make copies, providing a reason, even one so meek as the addition of the word “because” was sufficient to persuade a much larger group of people to comply.  A simple, but good tactic, to have in your tool kit, don’t you agree?

Another tactic that works well is the embedded command.  Generally this will consist of three to seven words stated in the imperative voice.  Begin with an action verb that presupposes the subject “you.”  A few examples would be:

  • Take action now.
  • Read this paragraph first.
  • Get your arms around this…
  • Learn this trick.

Then, embed them into the sentence and set them out in bold print.  For example…”I’m sure you’re ready to take action now, so you can discover immediately how much this program benefits you.”

Also… add this tactic to your toolkit … the cliffhanger principle.  You’ve probably heard the broadcaster for a nighttime soap opera saying something like …”Will Eleanor and Bob really have an affair right under Suzy’s nose?  Stay tuned for tonight’s program at 9 PM EST, ”  or read the headlines on the newsletter that said “Is white tea really able to cure cancer?  Find the answer in the pamphlet that reveals this and thousands of other natural cures your doctor doesn’t want you to know.” 

The question that hangs, with a promise of an answer,  draws in the reader like a bear to honey.  We want to know what will happen next.  Our minds demand a “completed” thought.  This is an excellent tactic if your e-mail takes the reader to a link in your webpage, or if your e-mail is a multi-page document. 

Using tactics such as those just mentioned isn’t unethical or irresponsible.  What it is is good salesmanship, and the expansion of possibilities to move your reader from prospect to purchaser; to be helped by your services. 

Your goal, after all, is one of service, and we all want to serve as many people as we can…as well as we can…as quickly as we can…for the greatest benefit.

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