How To Write Emails To Sell Digital Products (In 2021)

By Chris Shaffer •  Updated: 05/12/21 •  12 min read

Even some of the best email marketers will often struggle when it comes to asking people to buy something from them.

This process doesn't have to be nearly as complicated or slimy as most people make out to be And if you've been struggling to come up with effective emails to sell your digital products, you'll want to take a look at the strategy laid out in the article below.

Set The Foundation

Before we can write or send emails to try and sell our digital products, obviously we need to have an email list.

If you haven't built your email list yet or you want a couple of great ideas on how to add even more emails to your list, you may want to check out this post here.

Once we have our email list we need to set the foundation.

In the case of selling our digital products, this means two things.

The first is that we need to be communicating with the list regularly. Only sending emails when we have something to promote will result in a much lower open rate and conversion rate from our email list.

Instead, we should be focused on sending helpful and content-based emails that add value to our potential customers at least once per week.

After we got into the habit of regularly sending helpful emails, we can take the next step and start building the runway for our promotional campaign.

Create Awareness

Essentially what we're talking about doing here is sending a few emails that gently mention that the promotion is coming.

For example, at the end of a regular weekly content email, you can add PS letting people know that you will be promoting your product within the next few weeks.

Casually mentioning it like this and saying something to the effect of “keep your eyes out over the next few weeks, we're going to have a special deal for you” is generally enough to start building interest.

Lastly, 7 to 10 days before the actual promotion will want to send an email letting everyone know that the promotion will be coming on a specific date.

We don't have to give all of the details about promotion in this email, but giving them a good idea of when to expect those details and a rough idea of price or how much you're going to discount the product is generally a good place to start.

Set a Deadline

Once we set our foundation and started to create awareness about the upcoming promotion, there is one more element that we need to take advantage of to maximize the number of sales for our upcoming digital product promotion.

Regardless of how good of a “deal” you've created on your digital product, there will be a large number of people that need a little extra help pulling the trigger to buy when the time comes.

While we could spend a ton of time trying to figure out how to answer every variation of every question that every potential customer might have, there's a much simpler way of gaining a large sales bump.

Set a deadline.

By creating a deadline, either time-based or quantity-based, we force people (in the gentlest way possible) to decide whether or not they want the product. Psychologically speaking, there's almost nothing that works better to help people make a decision.

If you've ever seen the look on your significant other's face when they realize their Kohl's cash is about to expire or you remember the days of sign up for Sports Illustrated now and get a free football phone while supplies last, you've seen this effect in action.

You don't have to understand all of the psychology behind why and how deadlines work, just know that you will almost always see a significantly higher conversion rate if you implement one.

Generally speaking, we use time-based deadlines (e.g. this offer will expire Friday at midnight Eastern time) and we typically limit them to between three and four days (72 to 96 hours).

There's a variety of solutions that make implementing deadlines or countdowns inside of your promotions extremely easy to implement, including our email marketing platform of choice Convertkit, which offers a countdown timers feature that can be added to emails forms or landing pages.

Once you've chosen the deadline for your promotion, it's time to start creating the emails themselves.

The Email Sequence

Now that we've laid the foundation and created our deadline, it's time to write the emails and you're probably wondering what we suggest a promotional sequence should look like.

Like with most promotions, we generally recommend the email profit push sequence (which you can get tested and proven templates for, along with all of our other email templates here).

The sequence will generally consist of 3-4 emails sent out over 3-4 days (depending on the length of your deadline).

Below, you'll find a quick outline of the things that should be included in each email as well as some pointers for how to put them together.

Day 1

The first email is also going to be the most complicated email that we create.

The reason for that is because we need to include the full details of the offer, as well as communicating the timing of the deadline.

Our day one email may look something like this:


I just wanted to give you a quick heads up that the new email marketing guide I've been working on for the past few weeks is now ready.

As you probably know by now, I designed this guide to be a complete step-by-step walk-through of everything that someone would need to build their email list from scratch.

We cover everything from how to get your first email to how to make sure people keep coming back for more and even how to get your email prospects to buy the products you have to offer. 

Once it's available to the public (starting on Monday), we will be selling it for $19.99, but because you're part of our family here at brand creators, I wanted to give you a special discount for the next three days.

If you grab your pre-order copy between now and Friday at midnight Eastern time, you'll be out to get your hands on it for just $4.99.

If building your email list has been something you've been struggling with, this book is for you.

Keep taking action,


PS as mentioned above, the price will be going up after Friday at midnight, so if you want your copy for just $4.99, grab it now.”

As you can see from the quickly constructed email above, we want to cover a few different things including why someone may want to buy the digital product and making sure that we not only tell them about the deadline but give them a reason WHY there's a deadline.

In this case, it's because we're going to be allowing the public to buy the book on Monday but because we value the people on our email list we are going to give them a limited time discount to preorder the new book before the public has the chance to get it at regular price.

At the end of the day the reason why doesn't matter

(In fact, studies have shown that just giving any reason, including “because I want to”, is just as effective as a “valid reason”), but having one included in the email can make a huge difference in the conversion rate.

After we've built out this first email, the rest of the days in creating the rest of the emails becomes a much simpler task.

Day 2

Unlike the first email where we need to communicate the offer and the deadline, the second email in the profit push sequence usually follows the reminder and deadline format.

Essentially what we're going to communicate here is just a very quick reminder of the offer from the previous email and a quick reminder about the deadline.

Our day to email may look a bit like this:


I just wanted to take a quick second to remind you that the new email marketing book we've been working on for the last few weeks is available for preorder for the next few days, and you can grab your copy for just $4.99 (before Friday at midnight).

[Insert the main portion of the Day 1 email]

If you have any questions about if this book might be right for you or not, feel free to hit reply and ask.


As you can see this day to email is much easier to create than the day one email. If you'd like to include some additional details or some additional selling points from the first email, for example, what the book covers in specific sections, feel free to copy and paste from the day one email.

We’ve even been known to send the SAME email as on day 1, with the “reminder” intro paragraph.

Day 3/4

On the last day of our promotion, we're going to send two different emails.

The first email is designed to give everybody a gentle reminder of the deadline coming up that evening and give them any additional information that they may need to decide whether or not they want to make the purchase.

This is a great place to include things like frequently asked questions or any customer testimonials that we have received so far.

The first deadline day email may look a bit like this:


I just wanted to remind you quickly that your opportunity to grab the new email marketing book for just $4.99 is going away at midnight tonight.

Click here to grab your copy now if you haven't done so already.

The feedback so far has been extremely positive and we've had a few questions that I know may be on your mind as well.

I received a few emails from people wondering if this book is still useful for them if they have an email list and a basic understanding of email marketing strategy.

The answer is absolute yes, in addition to all of the beginner information, we dive deep into a variety of different strategies that will help even the most advanced email marketer increase the number of opt-ins they receive and their standard email open rates.

Just like with all of our books, we give you all of the information that you need to get started with email marketing, even if you're a complete technophobe and don't know the difference between a landing page and landing on the moon.


PS after midnight Eastern time tonight the price of the email marketing book will increase from $4.99 to $19.99, so if you're on the fence about whether or not this book is right for you I would grab it now.

The second and final email that we will send on deadline day is simply a quick reminder and a call to action.

The only purpose of this email is to remind people that the deadline is coming within just a few hours and it's not uncommon for a huge portion of sales (30 to 40% or more) to happen in the 2 to 3 hour period between when you send this email and the timer expires.

The last email in our deadline sequence may look a little bit like this:


I just wanted to quickly remind you that your chance to save 75% on the new email marketing book will expire in just two hours (midnight Eastern time tonight).

I know I've been emailing a bit more than normal, and I promise that this is the last one for now but I wanted to make sure that you didn't miss out on this offer if you need some additional help with your email marketing.

Click here to grab your copy before midnight tonight.


As you can see, this last email is fairly straightforward and is designed to push the urgency of the incoming deadline.

A Bonus Tip

Using the format that we laid out above, you're likely to get the most out of your promotional efforts.

One bonus tip that we offer for every type of email that we're sending (not just promotional style emails) is to make sure you're taking advantage of the ability to resend to people who have not opened emails that you sent them.

Most email marketing platforms make this extremely easy and many have a feature named to the effect of “send email to unopens/nonopens”.

During the first two days of your promotion, we suggest resending the emails to people who have not opened them 24 hours after you made the initial send.

There's a wide variety of reasons why people may not have opened the initial email, not the least of which is just the sheer number of emails that people get, and by re-sending them this email we can often get 10 to 20% or even more of people who didn't open the original email to see (and click on) the message.

If you're not following up with people who didn't open your original email, where you outline the entire offer, you're potentially missing a huge chunk of your audience who can easily be recaptured by using this technique.

That’s a Wrap

Just like with most things in the online marketing world, building an effective promotional sequence to promote and sell your digital products is not all that complicated.

If you're able to follow the simple steps above, starting by building the foundation, building the awareness, and leveraging deadlines to increase urgency or scarcity, you'll be able to very easily build an email sequence that sells.

If you've been looking for some additional help with your email marketing, whether you are just trying to improve open rates or trying to get a better understanding of how someone would build and use an email list, you may want to check out the Email Marketing Fast Track workshop.

Chris Shaffer

Chris lives at the intersection of business strategy and growth tactics. Having consulted with dozens of different businesses (as well as building several of his own), he brings a unique perspective on what's working across the eCommerce world in businesses of all shapes and sizes.