Having a good email nurture sequence makes our lives as creators easier. With a good nurture sequence, you can build a returning audience and eventually turn that audience into customers. However, designing one is also one of those tasks that many of us actively dislike or at least find confusing. How long has it been sitting on your to-do list?
When you started blogging, either as a standalone goal or in order to support your business, you probably learned about the importance of building an email list. If the idea didn’t come naturally to you, then ads across Facebook, YouTube and Instagram surely appeared like ghosts of Christmas future to spook you with the risks of ignoring this business task.
You may have offered a freebie or lead magnet to your audience, either on your blog or on social media, in return for their email address. This left many of us with an email list that we are not entirely sure what to do with.
If you recognize yourself here, you’ve come to the right address. In this post, we’ll talk about how you can make better use of your email list. Let’s look into some of the things that go into designing an effective lead nurturing campaign. But before we do that, let’s all get on the same page with the jargon.
What Is An Email Nurture Sequence?
Basically, a lead is just another word for a potential customer who is already interested in what you have to offer. You can’t expect people to just buy from you though. Potential customers are often not ready to say “I do” until some repeated exposure and need some wooing. Lead generation is the active process of attracting leads to your brand and your email list. Remember, people buy from people that they know, like and trust. This is where your nurturing email sequence comes in.
A nurture sequence is a series of emails that go out on a regular basis that all aim to prepare your subscribers for an eventual sales pitch. People normally subscribe in order to get the freebie you’re offering. Luckily, you can fully automate this process and it is one of those glorious put-in-the-work-once-and-forget-about-it parts of your business.
In order to turn someone from a viewer into a customer, you need to show them that your product or services are the right fit for them. With a nurturing sequence, you shed light on your brand and on who you are as an entrepreneur. You can really zoom in on your expertise and make it clear that you understand your audience and that you have what it takes to solve their problem.
If this sounds like a lot of work, I have some good news: a nurture sequence presents the perfect opportunity for reusing old content. By strategically including links to your best, most resourceful content, you can serve your audience and boost your website traffic. The email marketing gurus at Emma did some research into this. They found that people were very likely to click on links in their emails, resulting in a boost in click rate of 119%!
How To Design An Email Nurture Sequence
Designing an effective nurture sequence takes time and effort but the results are worth it. In order to convert your audience, you need to convince them that you are the one who can solve their pain point. Don’t forget, they subscribed because they want you to solve their problem, so make sure you deliver!
You should offer solutions that are both free and paid. Not every email should contain your sales offer. Never forget that the goal of this email sequence is to build that relationship and trust until your leads are ready to buy from you. Some individuals will be ready to buy after a month of being wooed. Others will enjoy your free content for months or years before being in a position to buy.
By value-stuffing your emails, you will increase the odds of your emails being opened. Making people open your emails is not easy. After all, many people get dozens of emails a day and standing out is far from simple. A well-designed email campaign consists of emails that people want to read because there is something in it for them. It’s vital to make sure that every email is packed with value.
Let’s look at some of the principles that you should take into account when designing your own nurture sequence.
Step 1: Identify Who This Is For
Moving forward developing your email nurture sequence is murky until you have a very clear picture of who your target audience is. Always stay centered around the mission of designing a lead nurture sequence that builds relationships. No brand is appealing to everyone and it is impossible to sell to the whole world. Instead, your best bet is to appeal to a carefully selected group of people.
You can make your offer more appealing by really targeting a specific demographic. It is almost impossible to be too specific here. In fact, the more specific you make your brand, the more attractive it will become to your “people.” Instead of having a generic blog on running, you could have a single-moms-in-their-40s-that-run-marathons blog. I mean, if you were a single mom in your 40s who ran marathons, which would you pick?
Step 2: Set Goals For The Email Nurture Sequence (And For Each Email)
Before you start writing your lead nurturing emails, it’s wise to spend some time on what you want to achieve with the sequence. You have countless options here. Do you want your audience to attend your webinar? Maybe you want to boost your traffic by having them click to your website? Do you want them to sign up for your coaching program?
Besides thinking about the end goal, you also need to think about the content of each individual email. A well-crafted nurture campaign consists of a series of emails where each email plays a particular role. Each individual email should somehow contribute and should therefore be written with a specific goal in mind.
For example, let’s say you want to display your expertise because you want people to hire you as a coach. After an initial welcome email delivering the freebie and welcoming them to your community, you can start by offering a solution to a pain point that you know your audience is struggling with. By presenting a clear solution to some of your potential clients’ problems, you come across as both knowledgeable and approachable.
Maybe the most efficient way here is to reverse engineer this process. Start with what you want to achieve and work your way forward to the email itself. Don’t forget that each email needs to be written with your audience in mind and should contain more than just your sales pitch. Like we discussed earlier, there needs to be a reason for them to open the emails you send so make sure they’re packed with value.
Step 3: Decide On Length And Frequency
Is there a perfect length for a nurture sequence? Well.. yes, but not really… just like all aspects of online business, it’s the Wild West.
Something thrown around the content marketing world a lot is ”the law of 29.” It’s a theory that companies need to expose potential clients to their products or services 29 times before they become actual customers. Does that mean your nurture sequence needs to be 29 emails long? Not necessarily, but it does show you that it can sometimes take an extended period of time and effort before people are ready for your pitch.
The required length of your email nurture series depends on the goal and ultimate call to action you set in step 2. People are willing to make tiny changes in a short period of time but they need more time for bigger steps. If you want people to attend your free webinar you can probably get results with a relatively short sequence. However, if you expect people to buy your $2k course, you will need to give them more time and therefore design a longer sequence.
Ultimately, it all comes down to how much time you need to convey your expertise, trustworthiness and message. If you can explain how you stand apart from your competitors in 5 emails, why make more?
How long should your nurture sequence be? The answer is simple, it needs to be more than two emails long. Every sequence needs both a welcoming email and something to prepare subscribers for your eventual pitch.
Has anyone been trying to write their email nurture sequence for a long time but struggles to get the words out? After understanding the importance of this task, I bought these nurture campaign templates written by an email marketing pro and they were worth their weight in gold.
Step 4: Decide Where To Put In Your Call To Action
Eventually you need to present your subscribers with your pitch. Be careful though, you don’t want to bombard your audience with your products before they’re ready. Moreover, you don’t want to pitch them only to see them unsubscribe because you were too quick to get down on one knee. The ideal spot for your call to action depends on the change in behavior that you want your audience to make. The important thing to remember here is that changing behavior takes time.
In order to create big change, you need to slowly build up to it. For example, let’s say you want people to sign on to your coaching program; that’s quite the step! In order to prepare your audience, you might want to start with encouraging them to take smaller steps. Maybe start with having them download a workbook and the occasional freebie. Through these free products you display your expertise and you follow this up with a free webinar. Then finally, after offering a free discovery call, you present them with your final offer.
A note of caution here: carefully think about the tone in your emails. You’re trying to give your audience the feeling that you’re speaking to them personally. Using their first name and writing in a conversational style can make your emails feel more personal and less spammy and less salesy. A monotone, corporate voice is the kiss of death to your emails. Show your personality to naturally build your know, like trust factor.
Through emails packed with valuable content as well as actionable steps, you can prepare your audience for any of the offers that you’ll eventually make. Just be aware that people might need more time than you think in order to be ready.
Step 5: Automate Your Nurture Sequence
This explanation of email nurture sequences may sound like yet another to-do on what seems like a never-ending list, but it’s work you’ll only do once and automate. In fact, emails are the easiest part of market automation. God bless the internet. Your email nurture sequence should be fully automated because it makes your life easier. Also, it’s better for the consumer. They will get the goods (your freebie offer) right away, instead of waiting for you to manually send it.
Setting up this type of automation is really straightforward, and is done within your email service provider. That could be Mailchimp, Convert Kit, Flodesk, etc. Personally, I’ve tried each of those providers and now use MailerLite. One of my friends is an email marketing pro and she swears that MailerLite is hands-down the best provider for deliverability, which was enough to convince me to switch.
Before launching your automation, there are a few important things that you should not overlook.
First and foremost, make sure that you leave the option to unsubscribe. This is a legal requirement (and your email service provider will educate you on the other legal requirements of sending automated emails), but this is also vital for your marketing. Not having a way out of your email nurture sequence destroys all the trust you’re trying to build.
It also touches on an important expectation that you should have: some people will want to unsubscribe. It’s not a real loss to you, because anyone who unsubscribed wasn’t going to buy from you or become a raving fan of your brand, anyway.
Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure not to send your regular emails to anyone on your nurture sequence. You don’t want to bombard them with a bunch of disjointed emails at once. Let them go through the entire sequence before you add them to your regular email list.
On MailerLite, that’s as simple as creating a segment for these users in the funnel, and then excluding them from your normal emails:
Step 6: Analyze And Adjust
After you have designed a series of well-written emails that speak to your target audience, it’s time to see how they perform. As we discussed, crafting an efficient nurture sequence takes time and effort. It doesn’t end there though, constant analysis and adjustments are also part of the crafting process.
The obvious place to start is looking at the outcome of your nurture sequence. Are people actually showing the behavior you hoped to see? Are they signing up for your webinars, your courses or programs?
The second, more detailed metric for success can be measured by looking at the average open rate. Just to give you a benchmark, the average open rate is about 18 %. After some time has passed, take a look and see how your emails are doing. What can you glean from the user experience?
When you see that people tend to stop opening your emails after the fourth one, revisit that one and see if you can improve it. People might not read them because the subject line needs work. Experiment with differences in tone or change a few words here and there to improve it.
In addition, you may want to experiment with sending out emails at different times of the day. For example, find out if your audience likes to read your emails in the morning or in the evening. Do they prefer weekdays over the weekend etc.
MailerLite has the fantastic feature to schedule emails to send based on time zones:
Examples Of An Email Nurture Sequence
Would all of this advice on creating an email nurture sequence make more sense if you could see it in action? Sign up for email lists of creators that you love and study their emails. Look for their strategy behind the emails, be curious about how you experience them as a viewer and learn from them. You can even sign up for my email list right here:
And, disclaimer: every time I get a compliment on my email nurture sequence, I immediately spill the tea that I use templates. There’s no reason for entrepreneurs to pretend that we do it all. You’ll never get that fake SuperWoman stuff here at Writing From Nowhere.
After learning about the importance of engaging with my email list, I bought the Happy Subscriber Toolkit to help me commit. I had tried and failed before, and it was worth it for me to spend $37 on templates to know that I could finally make it happen for my brand.
The effects have been huge. My email list has ushered in Pinterest management and coaching clients, driven traffic back to my website
It comes with 2 years of email content, written by an email marketing pro. Each email services a unique purpose and has an explanation and pointers on how to utilize this email marketing angle specifically.
I’ve sung its praises enough; you can buy the Happy Subscriber Toolkit here if you want to check this off of your list as quickly as possible.
Final Thoughts On The Lead Nurture Sequence
Do you feel confused or intimidated by your email list? I really hope this helped demystify the process so that you feel more empowered to act.
Having a well designed and effective nurture sequence is worth its (virtual) weight in gold. Use these tips to craft one that is you, that perfectly encompasses your brand and highlights that which only you can offer!
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ll see if I can help!
As always, I am right here at Writing From Nowhere cheering you on!