What can Ravel’s Bolero Teach you about Email Marketing?

Updated on | By | Under the Category Email Marketing

The classical composition Bolero by Ravel has been viewed by many classical music fans as one of the most seductive pieces of music ever written. If you haven’t listened to this piece before, it starts off very, very softly. There is a steady beat and it keeps going until it gets louder and louder and louder. At the end, it reaches a point where it becomes almost irresistible and you just really get caught up with the music.

There is a sort of theme that runs through Bolero that builds up over time. There is a certain almost hypnotic appeal to Rave’s Bolero. This is one of the first things first time listeners report. This is one of the most common descriptions first time listeners say about this composition. Ravel’s Bolero can actually teach you quite a bit about email marketing.

Email marketing, if done right, is all about seduction. Unfortunately, too many online marketers look at email marketing as some sort of cure-all and easy gateway to instant riches. If you want to lose a lot of money and you want to waste a lot of time, you’re definitely welcome to think of email marketing in these terms. However, if you want to actually build a real business that can withstand the test of time you have to look at the whole email marketing sales sequence as a long drawn out seduction. You can’t look at your email marketing campaigns as these short bursts of marketing activity that has to pay off immediately.

If you do things right, even if you don’t make sales with your first few emails, you are laying the groundwork for steady sales in the future. That is the right way to look at email marketing. In other words, you have to look at it like Ravel’s Bolero. You have to start slow but the beat remains, and the pulse of the music remains constant and it gets louder and louder with time. It gets stronger and stronger with time because you lay the groundwork for later stages with your earlier emails.

This is the proper way to look at email marketing. In fact, if you really want to be successful with email marketing, it should be the only way to look at it. Anything else is really all about shortcuts. Every other approach is all about cutting corners and trying to cut ahead of the line. While these strategies may produce a few bucks here and there, if you really want to earn consistent money from your mailing list, you have to look at the whole process as a seduction.

Selling is All about Seduction

Make no mistake about it. If you are trying to get people to do what you would like them to do, you are seducing them. This is the essence of selling. Whether you’re selling online or selling offline, it doesn’t matter. This is the essence of selling. It’s all about seduction. It’s all about making contact appealing to the needs of the person that you made contact with and communicating clearly that you have the solution to those needs. Finally, the whole seduction process ends when you call that person to action. It’s too easy to think that this process happens in a short period of time, in fact, it happens over a gradual period of time.

For example, when people walk on to a car sale slot, they’ve already been marketed to by the car company. They already have a specific range of brands in mind. In short, the groundwork has already been laid. Ravel’s Bolero is already playing. It all depends on the salesman to bring that music to a crescendo. Selling is all about seduction. Seduction has many different phases. Knowing how to seduce people with suggestions is the essence of selling. You have to keep this in mind so there’s always a repeating process. There is always a message, a subtext that’s always being repeated in the background much like Ravel’s Bolero.


While the sales process can be reduced to getting the attention of the prospect, speaking in the interest of that prospect, waking up a desire inside the prospect and finally calling the prospect to action, the marketing aspect follows a similar yet distinct trajectory. The marketing uses the cycle that consists of knowing, liking, trusting and buying. These two work together. Sales is all about closing the deal. Marketing is all about getting the prospect to know you to consider you credible to like you and to trust your brand. At that stage of the process the sales process can then begin.

Starting Slow but Clear

One of the key lessons that marketers can learn from Ravel’s Bolero is that the marketing message has to start slow. You cannot just unload your marketing speech to somebody the first time you meet them and expect them to buy, it doesn’t work that way. Even if you’re the world’s best salesman, chances are, the odds are against you. Sure, you might close a few sales every once in a while, but if you really want to eat in a consistent manner, you really have to get rid of that do or die approach. Instead, you have to focus on starting slow. The value must be made clear to the prospect throughout the sales process. By starting slow, you give the prospect space and time to digest the information that youíre dishing out. The good news is that this information is impassive. This information doesn’t just lie there. In fact, they’re like corner stones. You’re laying out stones that you build on top of each other. The process may start out slow at first, but as long as you are clear, it is well worth it.

There is NO such thing as a a Wasted Email

During the email sequence, you’re starting out slow, you’re sending out information, you are gaining the trust of your list members. This is fine. The whole process is all about gaining trust. The whole process is giving them enough information for them to feel that they know you. You then keep sending information for your list members to reach the point where they like you. Then you keep sending more information until they trust you. Once they trust you, you can then get them to buy.

Based on this process, there is no such thing as a wasted email. One of the most common complaints email marketers share on marketing forums is that they keep sending email after email and nothing happens. They think that they just wasted their time. Well, if you’re just going to send out spam, you are definitely just wasting your time. However, if you’re sending out information that builds trust and credibility in the eyes of your list members, you are not wasting your time. Just as it takes time for an ice cube to melt, it takes time for a seed to germinate. The same way with your emails. You’re laying seed. It takes time for your list members to digest that and for it to bear fruit.

Avoid Disrupting the Chain with Broadcasts

Too many email marketers get worried about the email service fees that they have to pay so what they do is that they start sending out email blasts to their mailing lists. What happens then is that this disrupts the steady seductive pace of their auto-responder sequence. When you do this, two things can happen: you either disrupt the sales process and you lose credibility or they don’t take it against you and they might buy a few things from the email blast that you sent out. Don’t let this fool you, however. If you get too carried away with sending out broadcasts, your list members might think that you just got them to sign onto your mailing list so you can just send them spam. You don’t want to erode the trust people have in you because you need as much trust as possible for you to close the deal.

Your Chain must be Tight

Every email that you send must refer to and relate to emails that went before and emails that will come after. There is some sort of emotional and rational connection between these pieces of communication. Don’t blow the value and the strength of your email chain by sending irrelevant emails or sending emails that are part of the chain that don’t really add value to the whole process.

Just like in Ravel’s Bolero, each succeeding section builds on the preceding section. This is exactly what you must do with your email chain. You can start slow, you can start soft, but each succeeding email gets stronger and harder because you’ve already laid the groundwork. Your chain must be tight. You don’t want to be in a position where you start up really soft and slow and then all of a sudden your next email is all about the hard sell. It doesn’t work that way. In fact, your list members might get offended or it might disrupt the whole process. As a result, whatever trust that you may have developed with them goes out of the window. This is exactly the last thing that you want to see happen.

Each Email must have a Call to Action

As you reach the end of your email series, you should start making sure that the call to actions are more and more commercial in nature. It’s okay to start applying the hard sell at this point. However, in the earlier parts of your email sequence while you’re still trying to lay a foundation, the call to action should be to build anticipation for the next email. This is how you play the game. Again, selling is all about seduction. Start slow, start soft, but build anticipation. Each email must work to build value in the eyes of your recipients. Otherwise, it’s a wasted email. The key is to gain their trust with earlier emails so you can convert them with later emails.

By learning from Ravel’s Bolero and understanding progressive sales’ seductive strategy, you can turbo-charge the results that you’ve been getting from your email series. Too many marketers consider their email series as really just a bait to get list members which they can then blast with ads later on. If this is how you operate, you’re basically just wasting the tremendous sales potential of your mailing list. Learn from Ravel’s Bolero techniques that help you seduce your list members more effectively.

About the Author: Lewis Crutch

As the administrator of Marketing Bees, Lewis Crutch manages all of the free advice and tips available here on the Marketing Bees blog as well as spending time putting together in-depth marketing related courses covering a wide range of topics including email, content and social media marketing.

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