How to Generate Excitement using Emails

Sarah prepares to launch her new course about how to become and remain healthy through diet.  She has a list of potential customers but they have not made this commitment before and so she worries they won’t respond to her emails.  How can she generate excitement through her emails?

Sarah uses OVO email strategies.  She understands people who are interested opt into her list.  She sends regular emails that share advice about healthy diets.   Now she wants to make an offer and she needs to communicate its value to them.

This post focuses on the content of the emails.  The subject line is integral to the success of this strategy.  A good subject line increases excitement and encourages people to open the emails.  So think about spending 10 minutes at least on the subject line for key emails. 

Tension Builds Attention

Let’s start with Value emails, they build reputation and so don’t aim to make direct sales.  Don’t promote specific offers all the time.  These emails serve some specific purposes:

  • Emails remind people you exist.  Recipients don’t need to open them.  They see and delete them but know you’re still in business.  If they’re really not interested, they may unsubscribe.  This means they are unlikely customers, so don’t worry about it.
  • It’s better if they open your email and read it.  They’re more likely to if they are keen supporters and more so with a good subject line.  You see who opens emails from statistics, collected by your email service.
  • The content is educational and inspirational.  You share valuable information, so those who want more are likely to respond to your offers. 

When someone opens your email, how do you get them to read on?  The most effective way is through a story.  In early sentences, build tension, resolved at the end of your email.  In between you can break off your story for teaching.  Finish with a call to action, perhaps encourage readers to click on a link.  For example, Sarah could finish with a link to a recipe on her website.  These could be coupled with low-end offers during the times when she’s not running a campaign.

Use Anticipation to Generate Excitement

When people open and read emails through to the end, the next step is to build anticipation between emails.  Release three emails that build on a theme and then a fourth that makes a big offer.

These 4 emails taken together are similar to a long sales letter.  Plan them together as such.  Sometimes they are called a sideways sales letter.  The call to action of the first builds anticipation for the second, the second for the third.  The third builds anticipation for the offer so recipients look forward to your offer email, if only to see what your offer is.

There are many ways to do this.  Videos are perhaps most effective.  A 10 minute (maximum) video offers immediate value and raises anticipation.  The content is mostly teaching with a story arc that builds anticipation.

Why Do Prospects Respond?

A lot depends on your offer, so focus on offering something people really value.  What do your prospects find valuable?  Prices should reflect value to the customer.  They buy if they perceive the price to be less than the value of the product to them.

Most marketers suggest you consider these other factors.  Some are introduced by you and some are there anyway.


… helps if you sell something genuinely scarce.  It is unlikely to convince with online products but may apply to physical products.  Applies where events have maximum seating capacity or offers include one-to-one coaching, where you are limited by capacity.  It may be possible to argue an online course has limited seats, if you offer personal feedback short of one-to-one coaching.       

Time limits

… similar argument applies.  Don’t impose artificial deadlines.  An invite to an event is a good example, it has to be on a certain date.  This may work for online courses where there is live input from you, so you need people on board from the start. 


… may help, especially where prospects don’t know you.  A simple refund is all you need.  Some offers promise a refund up to 30 days.  These are rarely activated.  If they are, honour the promise without question and with grace so you can find out more about the reason.  It’s not worth offering guarantees with low-end products.  Be open to occasional expressions of dissatisfaction.  If someone made a genuine mistake with the purchase, then make a refund.  Don’t feel obliged to refund people who don’t turn up for live events.  Most understand this payment should be written off.  If someone made a genuine mistake, offer them an upsell with the original payment as a discount!


… are additional offers attached to the main.  It helps if they are relevant to the offer.  Sarah could offer access to her collection of recipes, for example.  If you use affiliate marketing, your affiliates may offer bonuses too.  Probably less effective with low-end offers, although you could bundle a few things to sell at a low price. 

Endorsements or Testimonials

… show how others value your products.  Endorsements come from recognised experts in your field.  If you use affiliate marketing, they could be affiliates but in any event they are recognised for their authority.  Testimonials are from previous customers who have experienced your work.

Offering real value at each stage is key.  This means commit to educational content readers can implement immediately but leaves them wanting to know more.  We’ll look at this in depth next time.

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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