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Ideas you should steal from last weekend’s bootcamp

One of the great things when you get a big group of people in a room (virtual or otherwise), is a great sounding board for ideas.

Last weekend, I put on the “Email Bootcamp for Startups” along with Patrick McKenzie @patio11 and Joanna Wiebe @copyhackers. It was an intense 2 day virtual bootcamp with attendees from all over the world.

Here are 3 ideas that resonated with attendees of the email bootcamp for startups and their followers on twitter.

1. Write about your audience, not yourself.

You’ve heard this advice from me many (many many many) times. Any time you can, change the subject (as in the person you’re addressing) to be the reader, not yourself. <- Note the previous two sentences as an example.

This will help you connect with your reader. It makes what you’re writing about them, and not you.

2. For every 3 emails you send to build equity, send 1 to cash in.

Joanna Wiebe from CopyHackers spoke about not being afraid of selling in your emails. Her advice: For every 3 (newsletter) emails you send that build equity with your readers, you’re allowed to send 1 email to cash in on that equity i.e. ask for something in return.

If your livelihood depends on converting people in to a product, or selling something, then at some point you have to ask for the sale.

A great strategy for overcoming the fear of unsubscribes is to use data. In a spreadsheet keep track of the marketing you’ve sent and the results. How many people unsubscribed. How many signed up / purchased.

Then you can use your head to evaluate whether or not an email was successful rather than feeling the sting of unsubscribes.

3. Send happy customers an offer to switch to annual billing.

This is just for companies that have a recurring subscription:

Patrick McKenzie advocated: After several months of continuous service, send people an email offering annual billing at a reduced rate. This will print you money.

Patrick has been talking about this since last year. Offering annual billing has made Patrick’s consulting clients lots of money. This is a great way to get happy customers to commit to a longer relationship and give your business cash flow.

Most companies offer a discount of a month or two off the service price for switching to annual billing.

One thing that came up in the discussion is “why not offer this to everyone?”. Some companies do. Having different options at the first buying decision makes it harder to decide which plan to pick. After a few months, the customer is happy with the product, and pre-qualified for a longer term relationship. They’re more likely to be happy with a 1 year plan.

Quick question for you:

Next week, I was thinking about sharing data from an A/B test we did on our landing page. Is sharing landing page data beyond the scope of what we should cover? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy emailing,

P.S. Many of you have written sharing your success with the Surprise Personal Email. If you haven’t tried it, yet, don’t be scared of sending 10 emails manually to recent signups. Tell me how it works out for you.