Marketers enjoy making automated email sequences sound complicated, but they don’t need to be. The secret to an excellent email sequence isn't really a secret, it's just being as helpful online as you are personally.
An email sequence is just some or all of your sales process distributed through a series of emails. It anticipates questions and objections and delivers resources your prospect wants throughout their journey. The only difference is that you set the pace and monitor your prospect's progress along the way.
In this post, I’ll show you 9 simple but effective automated email sequences that service businesses should use.
1. The Welcome Sequence
The moment a subscriber opts-in to your email list is that the moment they're most inquisitive about your brand. That’s the instant they’ ready to read whatever you serve them, so take the chance to serve them relationship-building content.
In this sequence (it might be one email or a series), the goal is to personally introduce the new subscriber to your brand. This is NOT the time to sell them something. Your goal is to get them to like and trust you. Introduce them to your brand on a private level, give them a tour of your best content, and teach them anything they have to understand to get the most value out of your messages.
2. The Training Sequence
The goal of this sequence is to show your new customers the way to get the most value out of your service. For example:
an internet app teaches users the ways in which to use different features in order to get the most out of it.
a medical office shows patients the way to confirm their appointments.
a business firm teaches clients about their lawsuit process.
This sequence not only helps your customers use your service, it can even eliminate customer support overheads. By proactively training new customers, you’ll answer fewer questions and spend less time educating them one-by-one.
3. Purchase Reminders
Customers of many industries have predictable buying habits. Purchasing might happen on a cycle or in respect to their previous purchases. If you predict their behaviour, it’s smart to remind them to shop at the appropriate time so that they place their order with you. For example:
a doctor’s office can remind a patient it’s time for his or her yearly exam and offer a technique to schedule an appointment.
a boutique marketing agency can remind its clients in September to consider quotes for their holiday marketing campaigns.
These reminders should happen automatically supported by triggers. That doctor’s office for example, would set a trigger for every patient eight months after an appointment to schedule their next yearly exam. That marketing agency would set a September 1st trigger to email anyone who hadn’t scheduled a Christmas campaign.
Your reminders will be one email or multiple emails, just take care to finish the sequence if the customer takes the required action.
4. Re-engagement Sequence
Re-engagement sequences are perfect for reminding your once active subscribers that you’re still here and still care about them. These are usually triggered after a subscriber has been inactive for a specific period of your time, say 30 days. For example, you would possibly declare that a subscriber who hasn’t logged into your web app’s account for 30 days to be inactive.
Once an account reaches inactivity, the re-engagement sequence sends content specifically designed to urge them back on to your website (maybe with a special offer or bonus). Other types of re-engagement sequence triggers include; not purchasing frequently enough, not clicking or opening emails or not visiting your website.
5. The Upsell Sequence
Your existing customers are the best customer to sell to. They already trust your brand, so half your battle has been won. It’s especially important to upsell your customers if you sell differing kinds of services or higher priced plans/ and subscriptions. An upsell sequence identifies those who have made a recent purchase and are likely to make another purchase or upgrade. The sequence then sends promotional content or offers that clearly show the worth of the extra purchase.
You can get as dynamic as you prefer here. For example, you would possibly send one sequence to those that use a basic version of your service (attended one appointment, spent $X, purchased the Bronze Plan, etc.) and another sequence for power-users (multiple appointments, spend over $X, use the Platinum Plan, etc.).
6. The Evangelist Sequence
Your biggest fans and customers are an incredible resource and often undervalued. You can use their goodwill to market your brand and drive new sales.
Create an segment of your most active, engaging fans - you may select people that often open and click on links in your emails, people that regularly fill out forms for gated content, regular website visitors or folks that participate in events. Then create a sequence of emails that encourages them to submit testimonials, sign on to be interviewed for a case study, or share your content on social media. These people love your brand, so that they would happy to contribute.
7. The Lead Nurturing Sequence
I’m willing to bet that only a few of your customers decided to buy after their first interaction with your business. In fact, it often takes six to eight touches with a prospect to get a viable sales lead. The purpose of lead nurturing is to present yourself as an expert and authority on your subject so that prospects are comfortable sharing their problems with you.
Similarly to the evangelist sequence, you can target prospects who signal they are interested in your brand by their behaviour - if they’ve signed up for multiple pieces of content, if they’ve signed up for content that indicates intent to buy (such as a demo or price guide), or if they have contacted you direcly with questions, they’re warm.
Warm leads should receive middle of the funnel content (product-related materials to help them make a decision) to push them into the bottom of the funnel.
8. The Onboarding Sequence
The purpose of an onboarding sequence is to assist the subscriber in reaching a specific point in your service. It’s like the training sequence, but encompasses a very specific end goal.
For example, a program that helps users schedule social media posts knows that the product’s value isn’t realised until the user actually schedules a post, so the onboarding sequence walks the user through the steps to actually schedule a post.
To get this right, you need to first work out your user's desired outcome. What problem are they trying to solve? Once you recognise the solution to it, you simply need to lead them there.
9. Transactional Triggers
It’s always good practice to email your customers after they take action on your website. For one, it’s confirmation of a successful transaction and two, it helps create an email-based relationship with the customer so t hat they open your future messages.
Send a receipt, invoice or confirmation anytime someone makes an acquisition, subscribes to a brand new list, or achieves a milestone (like activates a feature or gains a web site permission). You can even use transactional emails to deliver requested content or direct the user back to your web site.
Get Started with Email Sequences
Building your own email sequences is simpler than you’d expect. All the trendy email marketing platforms (MailChimp, Active Campaign, Drip etc.) have interfaces to make email automation sequences but often clients reach out to us because we can do it faster and more effectively.
But whether you do it yourself or hire a partner, the sooner you begin using automation to interact with your list, the earlier you’ll cash in of one of your most powerful assets.