Email marketing campaigns that get results usually involve convincing subscribers to do something you want over a series or sequence of messages.
You can’t always go straight for the sale. Sometimes you have to build up a relationship of trust and familiarity. Sometimes you have to give to get👌.
It’s the same principle at work here that makes it a bad idea to ask someone to marry you on a first date.
Just because someone agreed to go for a drink with you, it doesn’t mean they necessarily want to spend the rest of their life with you.
And just because someone signed up to your email newsletter, it doesn’t mean they necessarily want to spend money with you.
We can’t promise to sort out your love life, but we can help you understand how to put together great sequence-based email marketing campaigns that get results. In this blog, we’ll look at:
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Part 1 – The Funnel
This is a typical example of a sales funnel, showing the customer journey from knowing nothing about you to buying from you.
Your marketing and sales activities – including email marketing campaigns – aim to move people from the top of the funnel to the bottom.
Precisely what steps somebody has to go through and how you can best accomplish that is something that depends very much on what your business is. Many people say you need 7 touchpoints to make a sale.
People don’t buy houses in the same way as they buy apps, so you’ll need to figure out your funnel journey for yourself.
Suppose you’ve just signed up a new newsletter subscriber through your website. That person is in the AWARENESS phase – they know who you are, but they’ve signed up to receive content, not to buy stuff.
Our email sequence or 💧 drip campaign 💧 will gradually change the nature of that relationship until they ARE in a buying frame of mind:
- By raising awareness of your products and services (moving to INTEREST)
- By identifying a need for them and pitching the benefits when appropriate (moving to CONSIDERATION)
- By gradually turning “thinking about buying” into “deciding to buy”(moving through the remaining phases)
- By PROVIDING VALUABLE CONTENT AT EVERY TOUCH POINT to keep readers engaged
The first steps in building great email marketing campaigns are:
- Working out what steps feature in your journey from awareness to purchase ✔
- Identifying WHAT will move a person from one phase to the next ✔
- Identifying WHEN somebody is receptive to being moved on ✔
👉Check out this earlier blog where we provide sales funnel templates you can customize!
Part 2 – Use Cases
The funnel model can be applied to loads of different use cases – not just literal conversion from newsletter subscribers to paying customers. “Purchase” can be read as “conversion” in a much broader sense👍.
As well as lead nurturing of the kind described above, email sequences are ideal for:
- WELCOMING NEW SUBSCRIBERS – introducing yourself and urging them to explore further
- ONBOARDING NEW USERS – taking them through a structured program to get the most out of your services
- ENCOURAGING REPEAT PURCHASES – presenting special offers and related products to existing customers on the basis of known interests
- ADDRESSING CART ABANDONMENT – enticing the 78% of people who don’t complete online purchases to do so
- RE-ENGAGING LOST USERS – attempting to win back lost business, to get feedback from those on their way out or to check if disengaged subscribers still want to hear from you
Whatever “conversion” means to you, you need to map your funnel to a workflow like the one shown above
Here’s another example from one of our earlier blogs:
- A web visitor reads your blog, enjoys it and signs up for more content via email
- They receive a welcome email.
- After a few days, they receive a second email with some helpful information; and then a third and a fourth.
- Eventually, they receive a special offer email
At every step, a few people drop out of the funnel by not engaging or valuing the content. But given enough subscribers going into the funnel, SOME will convert!🤩🤩
Part 3 – Emails that Work
Here are our top ten tips for creating emails that move subscribers along the sales funnel:
- Ensure the emails are deliverable: Many email systems aim to stop unwanted messages from getting through to users’ inboxes. Some do this on the basis of the reputation of the sender domain and IP address; others have lists of “spam words”. So use a mailing system with a good reputation score and avoid troublesome language.
- Make sure that emails render properly: Did you know that 56% of desktop email use takes place in Microsoft Outlook? And that Outlook does not automatically render images embedded in emails? It’s vital to anticipate how your email marketing campaigns will appear in all email clients. You can do this by testing.
- Have a killer subject line: The best messages in the world will do you no good if they don’t get opened! The subject line is usually the first and only thing people see when an email lands in their inbox. You need to sell the relevance to them immediately because most clients will cut off a long subject line.
- Personalize the message: Use personalization wherever you can, ESPECIALLY in the subject line. Personalized sequence emails have open rates 25% higher than generic emails and 51% higher click-through rates.
Personalization is particularly important in email marketing campaigns, where you are developing a conversation over time.
- Incentivize activity: Don’t just ASK your audience to take the desired follow-up actions. Give them incentives to do so! It can be a discount, a free trial, free shipping, entry into a prize draw, etc. Make the engagement worth the readers’ while.
- Focus on value: Make sure that your messages push HOW YOUR SERVICE WILL IMPROVE READERS’ LIVES. Only when a reader is a long way down the funnel should you talk about features and pricing. Less engaged readers want to know how your services will benefit them. So tailor your copy as shown below:
- Appeal to emotions: It’s easy to ignore emails when they seem abstract and distant. Emotional language makes it harder for readers to disengage.
- Be clear and simple: Each email plays a specific part in the sequence, developing the customer journey. Your layout and content should all be geared towards getting the reader to take the next step. So strip out complexity, multiple calls to action and focus exclusively on that single purpose.
- Provide social proof: 63% of people say they are more likely to purchase from websites that feature reviews and product ratings. That’s the power of “social proof”. When you show readers that other people are using your service and finding it valuable, you make it easier for them to agree to do what you ask too.
- Choose an appropriate length: What is “appropriate”? It depends… Some experts advise keeping messages as short as possible to make it easier to finish reading. Others claim that people will keep reading for as long as the information is relevant. What’s best for you? TEST your email marketing campaigns to find out.
Part 4 – When to Send Them
There are two options here:
- Time-based messaging: emails follow one another at set time intervals (also known as autoresponders)
- Trigger-based messaging: emails follow automatically from actions performed by the reader
Of course, you can combine systems – having emails that send two days after a trigger event, for example 👍.
What is appropriate will depend on your sales funnel, your services, and your audience. For everyone though, there are two rules of thumb to follow:
- Don’t flood people’s inboxes: Too many emails in too short a space of time and you will annoy your audience, at best causing them to miss important information and at worst causing them to unsubscribe. Worse still, sending too many emails can affect your sender reputation – making ALL your future messages less deliverable.
- Make contact at the most helpful time: If somebody has just signed up, a triggered welcome email should be sent immediately to capitalize on that positive momentum. A cart abandonment reminder should not be sent too early (eg as soon as someone leaves your site) nor too late. Depending on the product, anywhere between 6 hours and a week might be appropriate. The key to timing is to understand your audience and have a clearly articulated sales funnel.
Part 5 – Automating Email Marketing Campaigns
If you’re only dealing with a handful of leads at any one time then maybe you can manage your email sequences manually 🖐.
But for most businesses, that’s not the case.
And that’s where MARKETING AUTOMATION software comes in. Tools like Get A Newsletter enable you to:
- Build out and test emails in your sequence
- Automate the sending (including personalization) in line with a pre-defined workflow
- Set time-based and trigger-based sending rules
- Analyze the results and improve future performance on the basis of data
Automation means that you can set up your email campaigns in advance and leave them to run without further input. People can move through your funnel at their own pace, with the system feeding the right information to them at the right time.