Guest post by Sarah Anderson
Strategic email sequences are one of the best ways to leverage time in your business. You set them up once, send traffic to them, and let the email automation take over. More sales with less work sounds perfect, right?
If your current marketing includes promoting your list, you’ll get a bigger return on the time you already put into your business. With a profitable sequence in place, you can basically pay yourself to grow your list.
But how do you do that?
In this post, I’ll share 3 email funnels you can create today to sell digital products, courses, programs, and affiliate offers on autopilot.
3 Ways to Create Passive Income with Email Sequences
1 | Sell With Your Welcome Sequence
Your welcome sequence is probably your biggest missed opportunity when it comes to creating passive income with email marketing. Every new subscriber goes through it and if you’re not promoting your offers, you’re missing out.
Your welcome sequence can be very simple: follow up with new subscribers, show them how you can be of service, and pitch your offer.
Chances are that they downloaded your freebie because they have a problem. They’re looking for help and they found you. They trusted you enough to give you their email address.
Now they’re looking to you for next steps. If you offer a product that’s a solution to their problem, there’s no reason you can’t share it with them in your welcome sequence.
But how do you sell to someone who’s just joined your list? Won’t they get annoyed and unsubscribe?
Maybe. Some people just want the freebie and will unsubscribe when you share a paid offer. But if you lead with value and show how your offer helps them, most people will stick around.Discover 3 ways to create passive income with email sequences in this guest post by @proemailcopyClick To Tweet
And don’t worry, we’re not going to hard sell them in the first email. Conversion is a process. Your welcome sequence walks them through that process step by step.
After you send the freebie, follow up with more content that builds on the freebie and demonstrates your value. Share your best tips — you know, the stuff they can’t find easily on Google. Present yourself as the expert they can trust by showing you understand them and the problems they have.
Follow up with some testimonials or a case study. Share the success story of a former client. Paint the picture of their before and after. Then introduce your offer and frame it as the solution.
The next phase is to help them through the decision process. This could involve tackling objections, answering FAQs, or sharing a guarantee that makes it easier for them to give your offer a try. Think about the reasons why someone might not buy and use your emails to address those head on.
End the sequence with a sales focused email that includes a clear call to action.
When you set up your welcome sequence this way, every new subscriber clearly knows what you do. Even if they don’t buy now, when they need what you offer you’ll be the person they think of first.
Need more help putting together a sales focused welcome sequence? Download my free Welcome Sequence Blueprint here. You’ll get an outline for a 10 email welcome sequence designed to turn subscribers into buyers.
2 | Promote Affiliate Offers
Another way to create passive income with email is by promoting affiliate offers to your list.
You can do this with a dedicated sequence to promote an affiliate product your audience will love. You’re basically creating a mini funnel focused on one affiliate offer.
Here’s a rundown of what it might look like:
- Write a blog post on a topic related to the offer
- Create a content upgrade for the post to build a list of interested leads
- Follow up with an automated sales sequence focused on that affiliate offer
By having people opt-in for a content upgrade to get the sequence, you’re segmenting your list. This is key for keeping your list happy. You don’t want to annoy your whole list with an affiliate offer that’s not relevant to them.
Instead, you’ll send this sequence to a small, targeted list of interested subscribers. These highly segmented sequences often have fewer subscribers, but higher open rates because the content is so specific.
Once this is set up, all you have to do is promote the post and content upgrade. That will get the right people in the funnel and the emails will do the rest.
Think about the products or services you would recommend that would be a great fit for your audience. This type of sequence works best when the affiliate offer matches your market.
As an example, I created a sequence like this to promote ConvertKit. Since my niche is email marketing, promoting an email service is a natural fit for my audience.
I wrote a blog post about why I recommend ConvertKit and included a content upgrade in the post. You can see the example blog post and content upgrade here.
Once people join that list, I segment them so I’m only sending follow up emails to people interested in ConvertKit. I don’t send these emails to my entire list, since many of them may already have ConvertKit or another email service they’re happy with.
For this sequence, I wrote 6 follow up emails that dig deeper into the benefits of ConvertKit, the results I’ve seen from it, and comparisons to its popular competitors. For most people that would be too much. But for the people who have already let me know they’re interested in ConvertKit, these detailed emails are exactly what they need to make a decision.
When you create a sequence like this, you step into an advisory role. You’re using your expertise to recommend tools you trust to the people who need them most.
Related post: How To Get People To Engage With Your Email Newsletter
3 | Create a Free Email Course
Another way to create passive income with email is a free email course, bootcamp, or challenge. You create a valuable free resource for your audience and monetize it with affiliate offers or paid upgrades. (Or both!)
You can make your course profitable by using it to promote affiliate products. Give lots of value, teach people how to do something, and recommend the tools they need to be successful.
Create a course that’s worth paying for, but offer it free of charge. When you give away so much valuable content, people want to pay you back by using your recommended resources. This is the principle of reciprocity in action. Give before you get to get more in return.
You can also offer a paid upgrade as part of your email course. When someone signs up for free, they get the content dripped out each day for the length of the challenge.
But what if they want access to all of the content on day one? Offer them the option to pay a small amount to get everything delivered immediately. It’s instant gratification for them and instant cha-ching for you!
You’ve already created the content, so this is an easy upgrade to put together. You can include additional bonus content that’s not available in the free course to make the offer even sweeter.
The 30 Day List Building Challenge from Nathalie Lussier is a perfect example. She offers a Fast Track option that gives you access to all the content immediately, plus a bonus training program at a huge discount.
After someone signs up for the challenge, promote the upgrade option on the thank you page. You can also share how they can upgrade in the first few challenge emails.
Once you have everything set up, just promote your free challenge and let your emails do the selling for you!
Related post: Sales Funnel 101: Breaking Down Each Step of a Sales Funnel + Examples
Setting up these sequences can be a lot of work at the beginning. Planning the strategy, scheduling them out, and writing the emails takes time.
The time investment is worth it though because the results are so rewarding. Once you set your sequences up, they’re ready to work for you. All you have to do is promote your list.
But instead of being sent straight to a newsletter (or email limbo when you get too busy to send out your newsletter), you have a well thought out follow up strategy designed to convert. That’s a major win!
And if you want to learn how to write copy that packs a punch and increases sales, we recommend checking out Ashlyn Carter’s copywriting templates!
Note: This page contains the affiliate link(s). And, we only recommend the products that we love and have used ourselves.