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Email Sequences 101: An Overview

By Deborah Kurfiss, Umbrella Content Marketing Director on Oct 7, 2022

Email is an amazingly efficient way to turn prospects into customers. Email marketing ROI averages $36 for every $1 spent. That’s better than any other channel. But to do it right, you need to use email sequences.

You must nurture your prospects along. As we’ve said many times before, marketing is a process, not an event. Email is no different. That means you must know the ins and outs of writing motivational email sequences. Set up email sequences to inform, educate, motivate, gain top of mind awareness, connect and in the end, increase your sales.

This article will concentrate on the various types. We will get more in depth on writing email sequences next week.

But Exactly What Is an Email Sequence?

An email sequence is a set of emails you set up to be sent automatically to your prospects or customers when that they perform an action or in some cases after a set period of time. This is the only way to efficiently address customers by email at scale in order to reach a pre-determined goal.

Depending on their response to each email, they may be sent down alternative paths.  For example, if they ignored a webinar invitation, they will be sent another email focusing perhaps on alternative benefits to the webinar. If they accepted a webinar invitation, they will be sent a confirmation and more information about the event to keep them excited.

Just blasting out unrelated emails now and then is not going to cut it. You need to strategically lead your audience on a journey to purchasing your products and services.

Some Types of Email Sequences

You can set up email sequences for whatever you need, but the vast majority are going to fall into one of these categories.

Nurturing Email Sequence

A nurturing sequence brings people along who are not yet ready to buy It keeps them warm and gives them more and more information to familiarize them with your company and to gain trust. A nurturing sequence is informative but not heavy on sales language. The focus is education and giving value.

A welcome email sequence is a type of nurturing sequence that welcomes the user and gives them information they need as someone new to the company. Perhaps they just signed up for your newsletter or downloaded a lead magnet such as a white paper from your site.

Along with welcoming them and perhaps sometimes offering them a perk, some of the content might ask them about what kind of products or information they are interested in. From there, you can send them email specific to their interests.

An educational email sequence is another type of nurturing sequence. For example, you could

  • Simply send information useful to the audience and related generally to the type of products you sell
  • Instruct the audience how to use one of your products
  • Inform them of market trends
  • Provide them with useful related resources
  • Provide your audience with any other type of information valuable to them

Engagement Email Sequence

Engagement emails strive to spur your audience to some kind of desired action. They are meant to motivate the reader to engage with your brand.

This could be just about anything from promoting a social media contest soliciting user-generated content to taking a poll about desired product features. The more people interact with you, the more memorable you become. Interaction builds connections and loyalty.

Of course, for those who respond with a high degree of interaction, you will probably want to note what they are reacting to and start them down a path designed for them. Those who do not interact at all might then be sent to a follow-up sequence, and eventually maybe to a last ditch sequence. (See below.)

You will generally want to send engagement email sequences to those who already have some history with your company and have responded to some of your previous emails.

Conversion Email Sequence

A conversion email sequence is sent to people who are ready to buy. Or in a high ticket, more complex sale, its purpose is to motivate them to take the next step such as scheduling a demo or a meeting. You decide on the call to action you want them to take, and you focus the entire sequence on moving them toward that.

Follow-Up Email Sequence

Follow-up emails come on the heels of another email sequence to which the prospect or customer did not respond. People are busy. They may see something float by their inbox they think is interesting, but don’t have time to click on it immediately. They may think they will get back to it, but let’s face it, people have jobs to do, deadlines to meet and fires to put out. So often they never do.

Sometimes those not responding have responded and engaged on other emails. For them, a couple follow-up emails be the reminder they need to click.

Reminder Email Sequence

Let’s say you have had good response to an email sequence intended to sign people up for a webinar. Don’t let it go there. You need to create a reminder sequence. This will make a vast difference in attendance. You might want to send a reminder one week before, a day before and the day of the event for example.

Of course, you can also send reminders for appointments, Zoom meetings and so on. They have already agreed to show up, so these emails should be short and straight forward.

Last Ditch Email Sequence

Email lists get old, and you want to keep yours up to date with active prospects and customers. For those on your list who never open your emails much less respond to them, it’s worth a last ditch effort to engage them. You may want to tell them about how your products and services have changed since the last time they interacted with your business. You may want to give them a special offer.

But after a couple of these last ditch emails with no response, you will want to send a final email asking whether they want off your list. The subject line could be “Are we breaking up?” or “Last chance” for a couple examples.

Why trim your list? For one thing, it gives you a clearer picture of your sales and marketing to drop the deadweight. It also enables you to focus better on those who actually are interested in your products and services, and serve them better.

How Many Emails Should Be in an Email Sequence?

There is no set number of emails you should send. It really depends on your goals, the topic of the emails, how educated your audience is on the industry, where your audience is in your marketing funnel, and the typical length of your sales cycle. All these vary dramatically from one business to the next.

Resell Email Marketing: Call Umbrella

Strategizing about email sequences and writing them is both a skill and an art form. But you aren’t alone. You can resell white label email marketing services from the experts at Umbrella. Contact Umbrella now to discuss how we can help you with any or all facets of your clients’ email marketing.

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