Read this before starting your email sequence

July 16, 2020

When I tell people I’m a copywriter, it’s not really the full story. In truth, writing is only a fraction of my process—especially when it comes to creating email sequences. Long before I sit down to type that first subject line, I do research to ensure my words are purposeful, not just placeholders. 

Here’s an overview of my process that you can (and should!) replicate before drafting a new email sequence.

Step 1: Creative Brief

When I begin working with new clients, the first item of business is actually to make them do some work by completing my 37-question creative brief. This includes questions like:

What are the five words that best encompass your company’s identity?

What do you think is your most powerful selling point?

How do you fit into the market relative to competitors?

And so on… 

The goal here isn’t just for me to receive background on the business, but also for the clients to get clear about the purpose of their emails. Yes, it’s pretty exhaustive—but it always proves to be a helpful exercise for clients.

Step 2: Competitive Analysis

After receiving the client intel on who they consider to be competitors and/or brands they admire, I go into sleuth mode by signing up for those newsletters. No, no, no, we aren’t trying to rip anyone off here. There is just a lot to learn from what others are successfully offering, how often they send emails and even how much they integrate visuals. 

Step 3: Customer Survey

If you hear one thing from me today, let it be this: You don’t have to guess about what will connect with your dream clients/customers. You can ASK! 

When I work with clients, I get them to pass along contact information for a handful of past customers who may be willing to respond to a survey. Then I reach out with questions about their experience with the brand, what kind of emails they want to receive (e.g. educational, deals, updates, etc.) and even the frequency with which they want correspondence. 

I do think I have a slight advantage when I’m sending the surveys because I can assure people the information will all be shared anonymously with my client—which tends to make them more open with their true thoughts. But it’s definitely something you can do for yourself!

Step 4: Sequence Storyboard

With enough background to fill a binder, my last big step before writing the emails is outlining the content in a storyboard so that the objectives and elements are super intentional. 

[Read next: How to structure a basic nurture sequence]

For my client storyboards, I start with an analysis of their brand mission, unique selling points and audience insights from the survey, which are all used to guide the emails. Then I give an overview of the sequence to explain the purpose of the flow and the smaller calls to action build up to their main CTA.

Next up are bullet-point outlines of the individual emails, like this…

Then it’s time to get writing! I know it may sound like the longest route ever to a single welcome email, but this process is a total game-changer if you’ve ever struggled with writer’s block or wondered how to write emails your audience will actually appreciate. 

Still have questions? Comment below and I’ll respond so others can learn!

  1. […] [Read next: 4 essential steps before writing your email sequence] […]

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