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How Sending Emails Saved My Business During Covid19

Here’s a marketing secret I wish I knew earlier – building an email list is like building a goldmine.

When I advice business owners to “send more emails” if they want to grow their revenue, I often get this response:

“Does sending emails really work?”

Well, before I come up with pointers to share why you should start building up your email list…

Here’s how sending emails saved my business during the pandemic.

Prior to 2020, I was spending up to $30k a month on Facebook/Instagram ads driving traffic to my eCommerce store.

I often boast that I spend so much on ads such that Facebook invited me over for several free lunches and tours at their office.

Here’s a photo taken with my team at Facebook’s Singapore office at One Marina.

Group photo at Facebook

But the thing was when the pandemic hit, it didn’t make so much sense to spend so much anymore.

The tough period for my business wasn’t at the point when Covid19 struck, but it was the months after when there were still restrictions.

The revenue for my music workshops and corporate team bonding events were virtually $0 (from an average of $500k/year).

It didn’t make sense to spend on ads because it didn’t make ROI sense. 

I recall the government only allowed 5 pax in a class.

So if I ran ads to my music classes, to get only a maximum of 5 people joining, I’d definitely not be making much profits or even making a loss.

So what did I do?

I tapped on my email database where I had about 8000 subscribers back then.

We continued holding our small music workshops but this time, instead of running ads…

We sent out emails every week to inform our subscribers about our upcoming classes.

And we managed to fill the workshops up, slowly but surely. 

For 2 whole years.

2 years of workshops without running ads – and that’s how sending emails helped my business to survive.

Seeing how that helped my business tide through bad times, I now have placed more emphasis on growing my email list.

The biggest reason why I’m focusing on growing my email list is this:

One day, if Google/FB/IG don’t exist anymore, how are you going to engage your audience?

Imagine no more FB page, IG accounts, no more platforms for you to post content…

How would you then tell people about your latest products or service?

From how I see it, you can either manually call them or text them one by one…

(Assuming you keep their contacts)

Or, you could send emails.

Emails have been around for the longest time…

With an email list, you actually own your audience, without being at the mercy of any other platforms.

So to “future-proof” my business, or rather limit the “social media downfall risk” my businesses could face…

Email marketing will always be part of my digital marketing strategy .

By the way…

Email marketing is more than just sending emails.

You can create automated email workflows that can make your life much easier.

Here are some workflows I have that have given me enormous benefits in terms of time saved and extra boost in sales.

1. Automated email follow ups

I run ads to get interested leads for my music workshops. 

They usually submit their emails to me and they enter my email workflow where I get them to make payment for the class.

1 day upon indicating interest, and if they still have not paid, an email will be sent automatically to ask if they’re still keen to join.

All the payment links are included in the emails so they can make payment easily.

This automated follow up workflow has saved me a lot of time over the years, without any manual effort to call leads.

2. Automated upsell workflow

If you read my eBook, the first chapter is on customer lifetime value.

The key to making your marketing campaigns profitable and sustainable in the long run is to increase the amount of money someone can spend with you.

That’s why upon buying one of my products, I have automated emails to get buyers to buy MORE of what we offer.

When someone buys my flexi-piano, 45 minutes later, I’ll send them an automated email to offer a special discount for my complete piano course.

This automated workflow has given me a boost of 11% in revenue on average.

I implemented a similar workflow for a client who’s in the education industry.

They sell a class for $179. 

Upon the purchase of 1 class, we created an automated workflow to offer a bundle package at 10% discount.

We get them to spend an additional $400+. 

(A 2-3x boost from the front end revenue of $189)

Till date, we have at least 20% of buyers who bought this upsell.

This workflow is a great revenue boost without having to spending more on ads.

3. Automated cross-sell workflow

As I have 3 different music workshops (piano, guitar, ukulele), I have workflows in place to cross promote them.

When you sign up for a ukulele workshop, you’ll receive a discount to join my piano workshop as well.

The whole idea is to once again increase my overall workshop sales, without having to spend more on ads to acquire new buyers.

4. Abandoned cart workflow

This is a MUST have for all businesses running an eCommerce store.

When some reaches the checkout page and fills in their payment info, but for some reasons decided not to buy…

This workflow will automatically trigger to win them back – most of the time asking if they need help to checkout.

2 days later, if they don’t buy, we send a small discount to convert them.

These automated workflows are the reason why I remain confident and assured on days where my campaigns perform poorly. 

Because I know systems are in place to convert these leads into paying customers.

Maybe not immediately, but somewhere down the road.

This is not forgetting that I send weekly emails to update our subscribers our latest schedules, promos, and they form a small part of revenue each month.

So if a lead who indicates interest in my products, but is not ready to buy yet.

It’s okay.

They may buy from me through my future emails.

So if you haven’t thought about using emails to make more money for your business, it’s time that you consider.


For my eCommerce biz, I use Drip as my email service provider.

For this email you’re reading now, I’m using ConvertKit.

The platform you use doesn’t really matter.

What matters is you actually send more emails to get more sales for your business.

Who Is Edmund Chew?

I own a 7-figure music education company called TravelClef. I help fellow business owners scale their business using paid ads. I’m obsessed with marketing and entrepreneurship.

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I dive deep into online marketing and business so you can grow to the next level.