The IRS Email Sequence

Email marketing is something I always ending talking about with online and eCommerce entrepreneurs.

Email marketing is probably the single most powerful and high-ROI marketing tool available today — it’s cheap to get started and it’s virtually free to send an email to a subscriber.

There’s a lot of pieces to the email marketing game, but there’s one key strategy that will maximise your results — sell something!

I’ve worked with a lot of eCommerce store owners, and there’s two things that come up all the time — they don’t email their lists and they hate Google Analytics.

You’d be shocked by how many people have solid email lists but NEVER sell send anything to them — let alone sell anything.

Can you imagine if a traditional business did something like that? That’s like running a restaurant and having people come and take a seat — but telling your waiters to not to bother coming in. Crazy, right?

Here’s an example of one of my good friends who’s guilty of under-leveraging her email list (I’ve blurred out identifying information so I don’t embarrass her haha):


an example of one of my good friends who’s guilty of under-leveraging her email list

Despite having grown an email list of 4,087 people — just from the checkbox on their Shopify checkout — they’ve only sent 2 emails in the last 2 1/2 years! And people want to hear from them — look at those open rates.

After seeing this, I wanted to give you a simple strategy — it’s called the IRS Email Sequence and it’s a bulletproof formula for selling via email.

Step 1 — Information -> Step 2 — Reminder -> Step 3 — Scarcity


This is the part where you make your subscribers aware of your offer.

Give them everything they need to make a decision and take action.

You might be wondering if all this information should be in the email, and the answer is — it depends. Lame I know, but it depends on the complexity of your offer.

A good way to think about selling in writing, is to imagine how long it would take you to sell it face-to-face to your typical customer.

If you could convince them in 3–5 minutes, put it all in the email — and put it on the landing page as well in case they don’t read it all or they share the link. Good examples here would be:

  • you’ve got a great sale going on
  • you’re giving away something for free / as a bonus.
  • you’re launching an upgrade or enhancement to your core product

If not, put the things you would say in the first 3 minutes inside the email and make sure to leave them wanting more.

Either way, be sure to clearly point out the limit on your offer (scarcity) so they know they should take action.

PROTIP: include at least 3 links in your email — make it easy for them to get to your landing page


After a period of time (it depends on your offer, your offer limitation, and your personal preference) send them another email kindly reminding them that your offer is still there.

It’s usually a good idea to come at things from a different angle this time in case your first attempt wasn’t quite enough to get them over the line. Some good ways to do that:

  • Change your subject line (this will help you get people who didn’t open your last email)
  • Focus on a different benefit — maybe your first email was heavily focused on only one benefit of your product
  • Send your email at a different time of day — maybe they’re busy at that time of day and didn’t have time to buy your product

It’s also a good idea to actually tell the reader that this is a friendly reminder, so they know you’re not just blasting them with your offer.

PROTIP: write your email as if you’re sending it to just one customer (one you know quite well)


This is the part where you turn up the heat a little. If you’re using an email system that’s capable, it could be a good idea to write two versions of this email:

  • one for those that you know are interested (clicked through to your landing page)
  • one for those that haven’t engaged with your offer yet — this one should start with the content from email #1

Your scarcity email should be focused on the limitation of the offer and that they’re going to miss out if they don’t act now. The tone of this email will depend on the ‘voice’ of your brand — so be sure to consider things like:

  • being pushy — “This offer is strictly limited and I won’t be selling this product again, so if you don’t buy *today* you’re missing out forever!”
  • playfully teasing — “I’m sure your wife would love it if you got her something nice”
  • being dismissive — “Look, I know this is an amazing offer — this will be my last email and I understand you don’t want to <benefit>”
  • being friendly — “I know I’ve already emailed you about this, but I know how busy your life is — so I just wanted to give you one last reminder that <limitation>”

Originally published at Bryce York.