sly : marketing

We need to start selling and not just build relationships

I know. The title does not represent who I am. But, today I want to tell you about one of my biggest challenges when it comes to online marketing. I’m talking about email marketing.

I’ve been writing my email newsletter for a long time, but I’m still questioning if I’m doing things right. Email marketing is still very powerful, and even though I filter all the emails I receive, I read a lot of emails every single day. So, if I’m reading a lot of emails, my guess is that you’re still reading them, right?

My first question to you is this, do you read a lot of emails every single day? When I say a lot, I’m thinking about more than 20 emails a day. Do you read them, and click on the links, and sometimes you end up buying, because you’ve received the email?

I do this all the time.

The most important reason why I am using email as part of my marketing, is to build strong relationships. To me, emails are still personal, and it’s how I get in touch with people on a personal level. When I’m writing a blog post like this, I’m still writing to you, but it’s not as personal. You know it, and I know it. It’s still about the words, and I really enjoy telling stories – sometimes they make an impact, but they’re still not as personal as email.

The newsletter

I have told you this before; stop sending me your blog posts as a newsletter. I am looking for something unique, and not just another push to sell technique. I do receive a few newsletters like that, but the reason I’m still subscribed, is that I either have a strong relationship with the author, prior to the newsletter, or that they are creating personal emails, an interesting story, inside the newsletter and then, at the bottom, they’re linking to their blog posts.

My newsletter is not that different. I am writing articles, sometimes, based on what I write about here on my blog. But, it’s content that you won’t find on my blog. I’m sending them to my subscribers, every Sunday. I use my newsletter to build a personal relationship with my readers, and I use my newsletter to test whatever is on my mind. I might send a link to a blog post, once in a while, but that’s because I’m testing something.

I’m using the autoresponder at AWeber. It means that I’ve written many of the emails in a batch, and I’m sending them to my subscribers once a week. I have scheduled everything. You’ll receive my emails depending on when you joined my newsletter. That’s about it. One more thing;  once in a while, I’m using a broadcast, which means that I’m writing my emails/newsletter and sending it to my subscribers the same day or the next day.

The thing is; I’m always focusing on building relationships.

How often

I started with one thing in mind; I was going to send my newsletter as soon as I had some quality content to share. But, as soon as I started to write, I discovered that I thought that I had quality content too often. I keep writing every single day, because I love to write, and even though, what I am writing is not great content on a daily basis, I thought that it was good enough for my subscribers. I discovered, that most people get a huge amount of emails, so I decided to send my newsletter once a week instead – no matter what I thought of my content. I’m sending it on Sunday, because I believe that we’re more relaxed on Sunday and we’re more ready to read and think about what we’re reading.

The thing is; I’m doing it, because I’m building relationships.

A single focus

To me, email marketing, should be about a single focus. I don’t focus on converting leads to customers. I don’t focus on selling. I have a single focus, and that’s the same thing when I’m writing. That’s the reason I wrote; how to focus on writing when your cat is peeing on the kitchen table. I focus on one topic, and I do my best to write, and create quality content, on that single topic.

I keep focusing on … yes, you’ve got it.

Selly sell

You’ve probably tired of reading this by now. But I’ll say it again; I’m building relationships with my emails. I hardly ever sell anything. On the other hand, I think that I should sell, at least sometimes. It’s hard to keep a business running, without ever selling.

I am sending emails once a week, and I have thought about selling quality products and service 1/5 of the time, or maybe once a month. For instance, you’ll receive three emails with just tips and quality content from me, and then the fourth email will be a product or service I’m currently using, that I recommend you buy. How does that sound?

Like I said, I am not good at selling with my emails. But, in order to run a business, we need to sell and not just build relationships. How do you use email marketing, are you building relationships like me, or are you also selling?

Let’s discuss in the comments.

11 responses to “We need to start selling and not just build relationships”

  1. Ashvini says:

    Hi Jens,

    Very well said. I receive a ton of emails daily and mostly they are ignored but it is very hard to find time to attend to each mail.
    I was intrigued by getting your emails on Sunday ( and I thought you were working on that day too ;).
    I need to start sending emails too. Maybe from this month, it will work out right :).

  2. Sunday says:

    Building relationship in marketing is still superior to selling. A good relationship paves way for easy selling. Email marketing done well would bring about selling. Selly sell should be made to provide value to the audience always!

    I have shared this comment in where this post was shared for Internet marketers.

    Sunday – contributor

  3. Antoinette says:

    Relationship with selling that’s the best – making your customers come back again!

  4. Marc says:

    I mostly use email marketing for staying in contact with subscribers and building relationships. I have one site right now where I sell products and I do use the newsletter to announce new product launches and occasionally discounts, but I make sure to always have other stuff aside from just trying to sell.

  5. That sounds cool 😀

    I do understand your argument about relationship building, but we got to do what we have to, right? Money is a useful tool (as long as we don’t let it control us).

    Reading emails…I don’t read that many emails, especially not from my primary mailbox.

    I have separate emails for: Blog contact, commenting and email newsletters, each.

    And I do check those emails (not daily though..every 2 days or so).

    As for my own newsletter, I am experimenting with. The very first decision (when I started my current list) I took is not to send any updates with blog post links. My list stands completely apart from my blog. I am still not sure whether that’s a good thing, but I am going to stick with, at least for now).

    I am planning to use my list…to make money. Affiliate marketing, of course. I don’t buy that many products, so my recommendations will be limited.

    Anyways, thank you for sharing this, Jens 🙂 Good luck with your list!

  6. metz says:

    Keep in our mind that selling or to make a sale is our main reason why we enter internet marketing and build relationship. Good rapport will help you convert a visitor or a subscriber into a buyer.

    Selly sell, Jens is true and I must add that marketers should make a move and send emails once a week.

    Well put all in all! Your post has been shared on, IM. social bookmarking site, enabling me to find. this good piece.

  7. Adrienne says:

    Hey Jens,

    Most people who venture into the online industry are here because they want to build a business. In order to do that you have to sell something whether it’s products and/or services you use, coaching, consulting or a service you offer.

    The key as you very well know is to build that relationship with your subscribers before you start pushing anything on them. They’ve already given you permission to sell to them so I think if and when you have something to offer them then do it. Because they’ve built that relationship with you then they’ll trust that what you’re sharing is good.

    I think those that stuff if down our faces every time we turn around are just proving to us that they’re more here for the money then our welfare.

    As far as emails, if I subscribe to someone’s list then I definitely open it but I’m not subscribed to a ton of them only because we all become very overwhelmed with the amount of emails we get. That’s why I don’t get my feelings hurt when someone unsubscribes from mine. There are just never enough hours in the day my friend.

    Good luck to you Jens, you’ll do fabulously.


  8. Pau says:

    When you are giving people value and things that they can use and learn from, they will trust you as a source of information, and if you have something you know is good quality and valuable for people to sell, they will know before buying that it will be well worth their while. Perhaps focusing on selling something every such and such many weeks makes the process a little more artificial.

    I have been subscribed to some other marketing newsletters. Every single e-mail I got was to the line of “there’s this awesome knowledge I want to share with you, but only if you pay me first!”. Free webinars, the same, 95% self-promotion and selling, 5% or less valuable content. I would believe very few people stay loyal to such marketers. I sure got tired quick.

    I would feel much more inclined to click on a link and buy something when I have already got value from that person, and I see the product they promote as a great opportunity to further my education or help me achieve my goals.

    • Hi Pau,

      That’s exactly what I’m thinking. My problem though, is that I almost never sell anything. I keep building relationships, and I keep doing my best to add value, but I believe that I should be more “aggressive” when it comes to selling and not just keep focusing on building relationships.

      • Pau says:

        I suppose it’s about finding that balance that you can feel good about. It is hard for me to say as I have no relationships or that many products I would recommend, but I am thinking the danger of trying to be too regular with sales (like say every 4 emails) is one day running out of products you want to promote and then lowering the quality standard of the recommended products just to stick to the schedule. Do you have a lot of products you are holding back at the moment that you would like to be promoting?

        If you don’t want to be too aggressive perhaps it is possible to have a section of the blog dedicated solely to the review and promotion of good products, while the newsletter only makes passing comments on the new product reviews coming up and offers for those subscribed or those that have bought from you before. However that could be complete nonsense as I am still learning about all this in which case you can just disregard everything I said haha.

  9. Christo says:

    Hi Jens and everyone.

    Great article, great thoughts and great comments. The truth is, we don’t usually buy because someone is selling. We buy becuase people are offering things that we want. It just happens that we are more likely to buy from someone whom we already trust. Would people care if you mentioned a product which has proven valuable to you? Would they care if you earned a commission on this? I don’t think so.

    What they would care about is if you were selling them something which only benefits you. That would be no good.

    I believe you have done it right. You have built stellar relationships. Most people on this blog – including myself – genuinely feel as though you have cared for us individually. This is rare and precious. You have added substantial value to out lives and have not held back. I certainly appreciate that!

    My personal philosophy is that I won’t sell what I won’t buy. That way I am emotionally and financially committed to what I sell. It helps a lot.

    Also, if you have products which people want and you aren’t using selling teqniques, the outcome is sales. If one uses teqniques in order to sell, people will realize this and lose respect, which breaks relationships and trust, which causes sales to decline, which is no good.

    I think you should offer products, with reviews, of things which have genuinely passed your scrutiny and approval of quality.

    As you have done: Add value, add value, add value and then offer a product, you are good to go.

    Thanks for the article!

    Best regards,

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