July 16, 2020
Can I share a secret with you? Even though I help clients start email nurture sequences, there was a time when I was frozen like a deer in headlights when it came to creating my own. The problem wasn’t a shortage of ideas—it was actually that inspiration was leading me off in 100 different directions and I didn’t know where to focus my attention. Sound familiar?
The solution for me, like many of you, was to start by taking a deep breath and realizing I didn’t have to do it all right now. Instead, I could start my sequence in exactly the same way I advise clients: With three key elements they should hit. Then plan to expand as I go!
So, for both my sake and yours, here are the essential pieces to include as you structure a basic welcome sequence for email subscribers.
In almost every case, people sign up for email lists with the expectation of an immediate reward. This could be a discount code, a guide, a link to a quiz or any other number of lead magnets. Just make sure that email goes out immediately so they aren’t left hanging after opting in. (They WANT your name in their inbox!)
The catch? Don’t drop the freebie and dash. The first email you send to new subscribers is nearly 90 percent (!!) more likely to be read than future emails. You need to capitalize on that by also hitting on two key elements: A very brief introduction to your brand and expectations for future emails.
For example, in the email where I deliver my 10-minute habits to grow your email list, I include a short story about how I came to love email marketing after getting completely burned out from professional social media management. Then I tell people what they will learn from future emails and when they can expect to hear from me next. Ta-da!
Now that you’ve delivered something valuable and have email subscribers’ attention, get personal. The email equivalent of the about page on your website, the goal here is to share your memorable, unique selling points through a narrative that appeals to could-be clients/customers.
NO super detailed life story
NO totally random fun facts
NO big pitch
How to go about this will depend on the nature of your brand: When I worked with a photographer who was creating a course targeted at moms who wanted to build their own photography businesses, this email shared her background in a way that would enable readers to see the possibilities for themselves. On the other side of the spectrum, when I worked with a retail brand without a big “face,” we treated this email as a guide that explained what made their products unique.
The goal in both cases was to position as an authority through an interesting narrative. Then, to encourage another connection pathway, the call to action here should be to your preferred social media platform.
One of my favorite books about social media marketing is Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk. To give a super condensed summary, this describes providing content that’s of interest and value to an audience through posts without asking something of them every time. Then, after a few “jabs,” you can go in for an ask or “right hook” because you’ve established respect and trust.
The same principle can (and should!) be applied to emails. Yet I see way too many people/brands email only their right hooks. Do you know what I do in these cases? Unsubscribe.
But let us not forget that one point of being in business is making money. That’s why a well-timed, well-earned right hook is completely justified—and after delivering your freebie and introducing your brand, this is when I suggest getting crystal clear about what you offer clients/customers. (There is no need to feel icky about this! You can’t serve people if they don’t know what you offer.)
If you really want to knock it out of the park, base this email around another free resource you are offering that is tied to your paid offer. This reinforces your expertise and helps people feel like the email was worth their time to read regardless of what they do next. For example, one brand designer I helped build a nurture sequence used this opportunity to share five tips for standing out in a visual world—which conveniently segued into her offer to help clients create a cohesive brand.
Then, as you probably guessed, the call to action here is to make a purchase or schedule a call.
The keyword here is that this is just a start. You can adjust when you see how people respond. Fill it out with more emails in between. Extend it to cover a full year-long sequence. No matter what, you can feel confident you have a solid foundation. 👏