In marketing, consistency will determine if you’re successful or not. It’s not that you have to have a presence in all the places, doing all the things — I teach my students to pick a lane, commit to it and follow through.
This episode is all about email marketing because it’s truly the most impactful and reliable way we can reach our audiences and I wouldn’t tell you this if I didn’t believe that it should be on your short list of places you’re going to show up consistently for your business. Maybe you’ve listened to my advice and started one but are struggling with the consistency part, maybe it’s been at the bottom of your to-do list for the two years I’ve talked about it, or maybe you’re doing it but you’re not sure you’re doing it right.
Want to get caught up on my past teachings about email lists? Listen to Episode 221: What You Really Need to Know About Email Lists and Episode 223: 5 Strategies That Add 5,000 People to My Email List Every Week. You might also find my episode on How to Batch Work super helpful, too!
Let’s talk about it today. I’m going to teach you about an effective way to harness the power of email marketing: the nurture sequence. I’m covering what a nurture sequence is, how to write your first one, the most important things to include in it, what to say in each and every email, and why nurture sequences work. If you’re panicking, take a deep breath, I’ve got you — today is a training in email lists and you’re signed up. Press play!
What is a nurture sequence?
A nurture sequence — also referred to at times as a funnel — is the process of converting traffic with a lead magnet or freebie, and then using automation in your email marketing platform to deliver a series of emails that starts with delivering what they signed up for and then follows up with related content sent in a series of emails over a period of time..
Basically, when someone raises their hand and says they want to learn more about you and receive your emails, or maybe they signed up for a free offer or promo code that you have, the nurture sequence is what comes next. A lot of people understand the term welcome sequence, so if that makes sense to you, insert the word “welcome” when I say nurture.
The sequence is typically 3-5 emails sent at a time when people are most interested in hearing from you and it allows for you to “nurture” them — serve, help them grow and care for them while serving them since they are a new member of your audience.
It gets its name because we are essentially nurturing a new lead and taking them along the path from a stranger to someone who ultimately will be served by and pay for our products or services as a customer or client.
Why is it important?
Fifty-percent of leads or people on our email list are not ready to buy when they initially come into contact with you. They just want information, want to know WHY it’s worth reading emails from you and who the heck you are. People do not buy from businesses that they don’t know and trust and it is on us to give them the information they need to ultimately decide if they are going to be a customer of ours.
I like to think of a new email subscriber as someone I’ve just met at a party. They’ve likely gotten the gist of what I’m about and what I do from my website and they have chosen to hit the “sign-up” or “subscribe” button which means they want to know more. Think about this new person who is excited to hear more from you. How can you introduce yourself, meet them where they are at, share about your products and services that will serve them and tell them more about your business? How can you set expectations and identify ways for them to dig a little deeper into your content?
Why does it work?
Let’s start with your open rates. Yours are going to be the highest when someone first raises their hand to say they want to hear from you, they are EXCITED to hear from you and thus more likely to open what you send. You’re fresh on their mind, they’re interested in what you have to say and we need to capitalize on this fact.
Think about this: what is the point of making a high quality lead magnet or freebie or free offer that attracts someone to your business if we aren’t going to take this next step and actually serve them beyond that first interaction. Far too often businesses are missing this huge opportunity. If we’re going to take the time to establish an email marketing plan and create content to attract our audience, we need to have a plan of how we will continue nurturing them through the sales process.
Simply starting an email list isn’t enough, simply getting people to sign up once isn’t going to really move the needle, we have to have a plan on how we can serve each and every person through AUTOMATION beyond the initial sign up process. Automation is the key word, and we can set this up intentionally once and then know every time someone signs up, they are being loved and served.
Inside my email list building course, I give my students a welcome sequence template that shows the goal of each email, when you should deliver and how to introduce yourself and your products or services to take the guesswork out of this stem but having a sequence or a funnel like this is a key to working smarter and not harder because it allows you to create these passive systems in your business, things that will run even while you rest. Because once you have this set up, you can serve 10 people exactly the same as you can serve 10,000.
Parts of a Nurture Sequence
First, you need initial understanding of your traffic, as in the people visiting your site or your social media account. Next, you need a lead magnet, also known as a freebie or opt-in. This is free content or a coupon code that you create that people will trade their email address for to sign up and receive.
Finally, you need a landing page. This is a page that has a sign up form connected to your email marketing service provider. It can literally just be a sign up form or it can be more detailed like a sales page for your free offer and be a place someone can enter their information in order to receive it. Think of a landing page as the URL you will point people to in order to take advantage of your freebie.
Once those three steps are taken, you’ll start to think about, create, and set up your email nurture sequence.
The Framework of a Nurture Sequence
When someone arrives at your site and enters in their contact information on your landing page or your little simple sign up form to receive your freebie, they are put on a list with your email marketing service provider.
Now, once they are on this list, they’re set in a campaign that first delivers the thing they signed up for and then your email marketing service provider will check to see if this is an existing subscriber or a new one. If they are an existing subscriber and already on their list, they’ll simply be sent the freebie as a one time email.
Here are some examples and types of sequences you could use in your business to nurture your subscribers:
- Welcome sequence: simply introducing a new subscriber to you, your business, your resources, and finding out how you can serve them better.
- Challenge: a series of tasks, generally completed by a group automatically delivered in email form — ex. My 5 day Instagram challenge, etc.
- Teaching – a series of related emails building on each another teaching a specific topic — this would best topic that is often in depth and has many moving parts so it’s best delivered in multiple emails broken up to teach it slowly and intentionally
- Pre-launch: this is a series leading up to a live launch, serving and building up to selling something when launch time comes.
- Storytelling to make people feel understood and relate before promoting one of your signature offers
- Evergreen sequence – this is a series that would run to an automated product or course, so something that is always running.
- Upsell sequence: targeting past clients with a related product or service to upsell them something new or extra
- Transactional sequence: guiding a new purchaser through using your product/service when they are a new purchaser to ensure they have a positive experience
- Reengagement campaign – a series of emails targeted at people on your list that haven’t engaged in awhile – so if you’re listening to this and thinking you haven’t sent your list an email in awhile, this might be the one for you!
What to Say in a Nurture Sequence
Think about a new person who is excited to hear more from you. How can you introduce yourself and your business, set expectations and identify next steps for them to dig a little deeper?
Here are some topic ideas to get you started:
- Your freebie, deliver it and explain it, how to use it, etc.
- Next, share your story
- You can include a Shortened version of your bio
- Share with them where else they can find you online
- Invite them to check out a popular blog post you wrote
- You can set expectations for future communications
- Give them insight into what type of content you’ll be sharing? What topics will you cover?
- Share with them any promotions or events that coming up to watch out for.
- Set expectations on how often they can expect to hear from you
Make sure you separate people based on their interest. You can also use your welcome sequence this as an opportunity to survey your new audience by giving them a simple question to answer or through encouraging them to hit reply and engage in a conversation with you.
Write your email like you’d speak to a friend over coffee, you want to come off personal and relatable and well, like a person! Your subject line is important! Be clear about what your email is about and think about how to get them to click through. Don’t forget to include a way for them to learn more or take action in some way with links so you can track engagement and always have a way for people to unsubscribe (it’s the law!)
Nurture Sequence in Action
Now let’s look at a nurture sequence in action. I’m going to walk you through an example from earlier in my business that was a 3 part email welcoming new subscribers.
EMAIL #1 Goal: Briefly introduce people to you/your brand and deliver your freebie. Get them to take action and follow you somewhere else online. Start by celebrating and thanking them for their trust and what it means to you that they’ve joined your tribe. Include your freebie and a little information about it (or let them know it’s on its way in a separate email). Then write a few sentences that shows them that you truly understand them and the challenges they face (that you have solutions for!) Hint: have some fun with this! End with: “Over the next few days I’ll be…”
Remember, people are more engaged for this email than they will ever be, so getting them to take action now is important!
EMAIL #2 Goal: Dive deeper into your story with your values. Motivate and inspire. Invite feedback. Touch more on why you do what you do and who you do it for. Hint, a storytelling format works great here! Tell your brand story. What makes you different or unique? What’s your secret sauce that your competitors don’t have? Invite them to reply to the email and engage with a question! End letting them know you have one more email left for them (and hint that it’s FULL of goodies made just for them) and link to other places they can follow you online if it makes sense!
EMAIL #3 Goal: Build trust and provide unexpected value and end your time together by setting expectations. Solve a problem they signed up to follow you for and solve it. Segment to better serve them by asking questions! Thank them for spending this time with you. Include links to some of your top posts or other freebies. Try to cover a variety of topics so everyone can find something they’d be interested in clicking through to read more!
Let them know from here on out they’ll be receiving your regularly scheduled emails. Make sure before you leave them in this series that they know what to expect from you next. How often and what days can they expect to hear from you?
Often knowing the length of your campaign will determine how many emails you need to write. A rule of thumb would be the higher the price point, the longer it may take someone to go through the sales funnel and be ready to buy from you. I’ve seen successful week long campaigns that work well and ones that take months. Some of this is going to be determined by testing and getting to know your audience and what works for your business.
Try not to email every single day unless it’s a daily challenge and the person signing up is expecting that. Be aware of when emails will be sent and try to avoid weekends if you can because open rates will be lower at that time.
If a subscriber has opened the initial welcome email from you, they are also 40% more likely to read additional emails from you over the next 180 days. So let’s keep this high open rate going!
What Happens After
The goal of each nurture sequence may not end in an offer. The goal might just be to serve and introduce them and get them to take some other action like sign up for a webinar that ultimately pitches a product. Or maybe it’s just to peak their interest so that they stay on your general newsletter so that when you do have something to sell in the future, they will be primed. Think through your goal for each campaign and end with some sort of call to action that will help you gauge the success of that campaign.
Once a subscriber has made their way through your nurture sequence, they should be moved to your general newsletter list to receive your general newsletter with current updates and offerings in your business. This step is completed differently depending on what email marketing service provider you use, but most have great tutorials on how to actually accomplish this.
The Big Picture
The Bottom Line: ANY nurture sequence is better than NO nurture sequence. Don’t miss this huge opportunity and get your best email written and set up today knowing you can always tweak it later. I started with one welcome email, then expanded it to a 3 part email, mini nurture sequences, then longer ones for all of my offerings. Refine and perfect later, but make sure to take action now.
These are some of the most important emails you’ll write in your business and I hope this episode helped make that process just a little bit easier on you! Take just an hour or two to intentionally create this mini sequence, start with a 3 part and expand from there knowing the possibilities are endless and trust that every time someone opts in, you will kick off their experience with emails that make them glad they signed up.