Case study: How to turn subscribers into customers (when your market hates sales emails) - Trial and Eureka

Case study: How to turn subscribers into customers (when your market hates sales emails)

By Alp | Marketing Strategy

How would you solve this dilemma:

On the one hand...

You have an online school with 60,000 email subscribers, and you need to convert more of those into paying members of your continuity programme (@$40 a month or $395 a year).

On the other hand…

You have a problem: Your target buyers are artists. They do NOT respond well to sales emails. And standard online marketing tactics backfire on this market.

What would you do?

Well, here is what I did.

That’s the problem Brainard Carey of the Praxis Institute consulted me on. (More on that: here and here.)

Before we can brainstorm solutions, first we need to understand WHY the problem is occurring. Why are these subscribers not buying?

To understand what was going on, I conducted a full scale audit of Brainard’s business and marketing.

Here is what I discovered:

His email subscribers had been trained to see him as a charity - a fountain of free content. This made it harder to sell to them.

There were three reasons for this.

First, the Praxis Institute was creating too much free content.

(We’ll look at the other two reasons later this week.)

Wait… but why is this a problem?

Aren’t you supposed to give value for free until your subscribers know, like and trust you enough to buy?

Not always.

People value what they pay for. Giving everything away for free hurts you because it devalues your work. It also hurts the people you’re trying to help, because they are less likely to take action on your advice.

Once I understood what the problem was, and why it was happening, I could devise the right solution.

Part of that solution was to completely change Brainard’s email marketing strategy.

Specifically, I showed him a way to create “soft sell” emails, which look like content but trigger an overpowering urge to buy.

These don’t look like “sales emails”. They are the kind of emails busy subscribers *make* time to read (and actually love to buy from).

But don’t take my word for it. The results speak for themselves.

Here is fanmail Brainard received to the first sales email he sent using this strategy:


“Alp, I just sent this email out - with your edits, and I thought you would like this reaction 🙂 - Brainard


‘Brainard, I love you! If you were a woman and I wasn’t turning 80 in two months, I’d propose. Even when you’re selling your product, you are sincerely helpful and just plain terrific.

In a world where young artists have to be wary of every hustler out there, you are an honest guy. Thanks - Ivan’ ”


If you are wondering why your subscribers aren’t buying, I can help you find out why. If you want to convert more of your email subscribers into paying customers, I can help with that too.

Here is how:

I’ll conduct an audit of your online business, fix your marketing strategy, and write up all my recommendations in an optimisation report. Then we’ll go over it face to face.

I’m only going to do 5 of these optimisation reports in February.

To get your hands on it in time, go here: