Today I'd like to share some thoughts around getting people onto your email list and converting them into paying customers.
Specifically, in this article I'm going to outline a system that's designed to:
Introduce someone to you and your brand
Segment subscribers based on a combination of who they are and why they joined your list
Turn new subscribers into "ready-to-buy" customers
Once ready, deliver a personalised pitch
And, should someone not buy, further segment them based on what held them back
The framework is called LBPS, and it stands for Lessons-Bridge-Pitch-Survey.
Over the years, quite a large number of companies have adopted and implemented the LBPS system – typically with great success. And while I teach the specifics of building these systems in my courses (like Mastering ConvertKit), I thought I'd give you a short overview of the how's and why's of the system.
Where most lead magnets and opt-in forms fail
People come to your website.
And, in the words of my friend Rob Walling, what you don't want is for all of your website traffic to be "drive-by visitors."
After all, the natural next-step when reading or watching content online is to either hit the back button or close the tab, and that's exactly what you don't want people to do... especially those who are getting a lot of value out of your free, publicly available content.
So you decide to create a lead magnet, which is basically an opt-in form that's designed to give someone something they want in exchange for their email address.
A bare minimum lead magnet is a newsletter opt-in. It's the promise of future value, but there's nothing immediately gained by opting in. You join the list, and wait for the next email to be sent.
Beyond a newsletter opt-in, email marketers have come up with more immediately useful opt-in offers that turn more drive-by's into subscribers:
Webinars / videos
Reports / whitepapers
While the above tend to perform better than the typical "join my newsletter" opt-in form, they usually deliver the goods (like a PDF file) and then throw the new subscriber head-first into whatever the next newsletter du jour happens to be about.
There's rarely any follow-through or individualised conditioning after the "here's your thing" email. And this is a massive missed opportunity for helping new subscribers.
Let's now look at what an LBPS is, and how it's designed to succeed where traditional lead magnets fail.
Step 1: The Lessons
An LBPS is an email course that is designed to get someone to realise that there's a problem, this problem can be solved, and that you can help them solve it.
I have an LBPS called Charge What You're Worth. Yes, it has a bit of a link bait-y title, but I wanted to offer something universally compelling to people who are reading the free blog posts on my website. And who doesn't want to charge more?
After someone joins the LBPS, I deliver 9-days of Lesson content that are designed to set the stage. I cover:
Why identifying yourself as a "freelancer" holds you back
Why it's important to go beyond what someone technically needs, and to find out how doing whatever they need will positively impact their business
A method for quantifying the potential value of implementing these technicals
And, finally, how to pitch someone on why hiring you is the safest and best path forward – even if you're charging well above market rate
So while everyone wants to make more money, what I'm really teaching is a system that someone can use to deliver a better product that's more valuable to a client. Give clients a better tomorrow, and that's worth more to them. And, thus, you'll get paid more.
When you join the LBPS, I find out why someone joined and what kind of work they do. This ultimately allows me to personalise the content they get in the Lessons so I can speak more designer-y to designers, more market-y to marketers, and so on.
It also helps me deliver a better product pitch, which I'll talk about later.
Additionally, I want to make sure that people are engaging with the Lessons. I don't want people just passively consuming my content.
Attached to the end of each lesson email is a worksheet. If a subscriber completes the worksheet, which includes a few prompts that help them apply what I teach, then the next lesson is delivered immediately. Otherwise, the next lesson comes 24 hours later.
The end result is a subset of subscribers who really go wild: they read what I'm sending them, they're doing the work and applying what I'm teaching to their business with the worksheet, and – no surprise – they're much more likely to buy from me.
My not-so-subtle goal with the above is to show someone that there's a clear gulf between freelancers who are always fighting on price and those who aren't. And that crossing that gap isn't done by just becoming technically better. It's done when you deliver a better product to your clients.
After the new subscriber goes through the 9 Lessons they're "staged": they understand that there's a better way to freelance. They know how this better way delivers superior results to their clients. And they're starting to see that this better way can be learned.
Step 2: The Bridge
When I released my first email course, I made the mistake of jumping directly into a pitch after delivering the final lesson. Sales sucked, and for a while I thought that email courses – or at least my email course – weren't going to be all that effective.
The fix was to create what I call a "Bridge" – which is simply a method of tying together the free stuff (your Lessons) with the paid (your product/service.)
This is where you want to recap what you've taught, deliver examples from customers of yours that help overcome any imposter syndrome that they might be feeling ("someone like me can't really charge more..."), and then outlines what's coming next. Basically, you don't want to blindside the subscriber with something you want them to buy.
Your Bridge should present someone with three paths:
Continue doing whatever you were doing before opting in to your LBPS (the path of stagnation)
Attempt to reach the outcome you're looking for through trial and error (the path of risk)
Buy my thing and I'll help you get the outcome quickly and efficiently (the "shortcut")
You want to make it very obvious that you have a natural "next step" that someone can act on if they've been agreeing with the Lessons you've delivered thus far.
For my company RightMessage, this is software that implements the personalisation and segmentation strategies that I've taught.
For my other company, Double Your Freelancing, it's a complete framework – templates and all – for implementing the value-pricing ideas I've left someone with.
And for Andy at RippedBody, it's a book that delivers a substantial amount of dietary information and case studies for someone who learned a lot about basic nutrition from his Lessons.
Your Bridge is probably two emails delivered over the span of a week, one that's responsible for recapping the Lessons and the other that overcomes imposter syndrome. Both of the emails should close with what's to come: next week, I'm opening up a special offer for X just for you.
Here's how RippedBody presents the upcoming Pitch in their Bridge emails:
Step 3: The Pitch
The following week, you Pitch subscribers on a time limited offer.
Unless what you're offering can only be purchased then and there, you'll need to ensure that you include some sort of urgency – especially if you want decent results. (You can potentially just introduce your product and get conversions, but overcoming "I'll do this later..." is best achieved with a bit of urgency.)
I won't focus too much on how to actually pull off a product pitch over email (I'll likely write about that in a future issue), but just know that there's virtually zero difference between a "live" pitch and an LBPS' Pitch.
At a minimum, you'll want to:
Introduce the offer. "Get X% off if you buy before Friday night at midnight."
Do a deep dive into what you're offering and how it will benefit the subscriber. Bonus points if you continually relate it to what you taught in your previous lessons.
Showcase a case study of someone (ideally someone just like them – thanks segmentation!) that has benefited from your product
Tackle any common objections (Frequently Asked Questions)
Include urgency elements, like a countdown timer
Depending on what you're offering and what it costs, this might be a 5-day Monday-thru-Friday sale window, a two week window, or maybe even just a 24 hour flash sale.
Because the Pitch will be running weekly for anyone who has recently joined your LBPS, you can test these things out over time. But, for now, just settle on something.
Tools like Deadline Funnel can make adding countdown timers and expiring links really straightforward.
And don't be afraid to come up with creative offers to Pitch. If you're a consultant, you might offer a free 30-minute strategy consult (that you usually charge $250 for.)
Or if you're like the private school I recently advised, offer a virtual school tour. If they register this week, you'll take a few hundred dollars off the enrolment fee (should they decide to enrol their child.)
There's no one right offer. You just want to help someone take that next step.
Step 4: The Survey
Finally, the majority of people probably won't buy at this point. And that's OK.
For non-buyers, you'll want to find out what held them back.
Why someone didn't buy can be reduced to 5 reasons:
They don't have the time to dedicate to your product
They don't have the money to buy your product
They don't think they need your product
They might need something like what your product offers, but don't trust you to help them
They missed the deadline
Your LBPS will find out what held someone back, and optionally re-pitch them (for example, if they missed the deadline.)
Over time, this data can be used on a macro level to help uncover any "bugs" in your LBPS:
Most saying "no time"? You're not doing a good job convincing someone of why this should be a priority for them
Most saying "no money"? Either you have the wrong audience (i.e. students with no $?) or the value your presenting doesn't outweigh the cost. Fix how you're positioning what you're offering.
Most saying "no need"? The Lessons component of your system isn't doing a good job at showing people the need for what you're offering.
Most saying "no trust"? You're not authoritative enough with what you're teaching, or you're not including enough social proof within your lessons or pitch content. How have past customers of yours benefited from your product? Are you including any sort of guarantee with your offer?
This feedback loop will help you constantly improve your LBPS, gradually increasing its value-per-subscriber.
It can also be used on a micro level, by individually re-pitching the offer – either immediately or at a future date.
Let's say someone missed the enrolment window. Maybe they were on holiday last week or just really focused on something that wasn't their inbox. Consider giving them another chance. According to data from Spreadsheeto, a company I consulted with a few years back, 18.5% of people who select this option go on to purchase within 24 hours.
If they answered they don't have the time, maybe you need to fire off a few emails about how they're missing out on opportunity by not taking that next step and buying your product. Then, afterward, consider re-pitching – with an emphasis on making solving the problem you've laid out a priority.
How about if they answered they don't have the money? That might be true, but it might also mean that they don't see the value in what you're providing. Focus in on that angle, and then consider re-pitching – this time with an emphasis on maybe your moneyback guarantee and the R.O.I. others have experienced with your product.
Finally, after the LBPS completes you'll likely want to move everyone over to long-term nurturing – which is either your live newsletter, or an evergreen "shadow" newsletter.
And that's it. That's your LBPS.
Great assets take time to build
Executing on the above, especially if you go all out, can take a lot of time. Writing content, wiring up automations, and so on.
While I hope you see the value of the LBPS system – both for your business (better subscribers, more sales) and for your audience – I really don't want to overwhelm you. There's a lot of fancy stuff you can do: at-your-own-pace lesson delivery, personalised Lessons and Pitches, sophisticated post-survey automations, etc.
At a minimum:
Create a series of Lesson emails. You can add worksheets later. How many lessons will depend on how much you need to do to "create" a customer.
Create a Bridge of 2 emails. Set it up to go out on Tuesday and Thursday. Tuesday's email recaps the Lessons, and Thursday's overcomes imposter syndrome. Both prepare someone for the following week's Pitch.
Repurpose a previous launch you did as an evergreen Pitch. You don't need to add countdown timers and such immediately.
Automate an email to go out a few days after your Pitch ends to non-buyers. This is your Survey. To start, just ask people if they were considering buying and, if so, what held them back. Have them reply. Add link triggers and such later.
Your LBPS is an asset. You can promote it on podcasts, pitch it at the bottom of blog posts, or even run paid traffic to it.
In time, this asset will end up with a value attached to it. "The value of someone who joins my LBPS is $1.45" This will give you a benchmark that you can run experiments against, with the ultimate goal of increasing the value of your LBPS.
And, most importantly, you'll now have an asset that does a pretty damn good job of explaining to someone what you're about, delivers the right sort of content that prepares them to be your perfect customer, and offers them the "shortcut" (buy my thing) OR the promise that, even if they don't buy, they'll continue getting great material from you from here on out.