Most small businesses get 90% of new customers from referrals. If they had more time, they could generate leads through inbound marketing, and if they had more money, they could buy over $30,000 worth of ads or sponsorship. But since time and money are limited, they must seize new opportunities…
The ROI of email marketing can be as high as 3800%, generating up to $38 in revenue for every $1 spent. An email sequence adds even more value because of the time it saves. Plus, they drive 320% more revenue than non-automated email sequences.
But what is an email sequence?
It is a series of emails sent to a prospect, user, or customer automatically by automation software based on predetermined criteria, such as a deadline or action in progress.
There are different types of email sequences depending on the results you want to achieve.
A so-called development sequence
A supposed sequence of development introduces prospects to your business. They may have downloaded an e-book or opted into a content offer, but aren’t ready to sell yet. A sequence like this is designed to get them there by providing social proof, handling objections, and establishing the value of your offer.
An engagement email sequence
An engagement email sequence uses emails to build a relationship with your prospects. The idea is to engage them in your content to generate interest and keep your organization top of mind. This type of sequence can help you identify engaged subscribers who open, click, and act on emails so you can enroll them in other sequences tailored to your specific journey.
A conversion email sequence
This sequence is used when you ask your prospect for something (for example, to schedule a call or a meeting). This means that you target all of your email copy around a single call-to-action and use the sequence to get the recipient to take that action.
A follow-up email sequence
It’s not because prospects don’t respond to a prospecting email that they’re not interested. They may need some “feelings” before they act. With a sequence of follow-up emails, it allows you to go back and touch your prospect’s base after a few attempts to build awareness. This is how sales reps can reduce the amount of manual emails they send and the administrative work they have to do.
A reminder email sequence
Whether a prospect signed up for a webinar or landed a spot at an event, your organization has an opportunity to satisfy your prospect (perhaps win the deal). However, you can’t offer that gift if the prospect forgets to introduce himself. Reminders can have a huge impact on your engagement rate over time, increasing the number of opportunities.
Reminder emails are a way to make sure the prospect doesn’t forget about the event or appointment and also gives them all the necessary logistical details.
A re-engagement email sequence
To get results from email as a channel, you need a healthy database. However, email addresses can change and prospects lose interest. The average email database loses contacts around 25% per year, even if you’re generating new leads at a rapid rate, you’ll get skewed data from indifferent or stale contacts.
To recover some of these contacts, you can do a reclosing sequence. The goal is to trick the user into opening the emails and taking action; otherwise, the end result is that they will be removed from your database. This helps you keep your mailing list healthy and accurate.
How long is an email sequence?
For the length of your email sequence, there is no ideal length. This will depend on several factors, such as the buyer’s personality, the buyer’s buying stage, the average length of the sales cycle, and what you want to achieve with your sequence.
Let’s say you’re creating an email sequence for a potential customer to take action. Such a sequence should do several things:
- Educate them throughout their buying journey;
- Deal with any objections they have along the way;
- Establish their authority and credibility within the market (and therefore their supplier of choice when they are ready to buy);
- Keep in mind until they are ready to buy.
Don’t want to do too much in one email? Every email should be designed to play a role, taking the prospect from where they are to where you want them to be.
But the number of emails and the duration varies depending on a number of factors. For example, a first-time homebuyer may begin their buying journey years before attempting to obtain a mortgage, while someone looking for an emergency HVAC repair is ready to act immediately (and therefore would not need an attention sequence at all). Also, if someone who downloaded a “How to prepare my credit to buy a house” ebook is much earlier in the process than someone who filled out your contact form and is not ready to sell.
In other words, how long has your buyer been buying, where is he in the process based on what you already know about him (actions he’s already taken on your site), and what information do you need him to know about it? Understanding these factors will help you determine the length of your streak.
How to create an email sequence?
Now that you have an idea of email sequences, when you can use one, and how long a sequence should be, here’s how to set it up.
Determine the purpose of your sequence
Most email sequences (especially those created in a sales context) have the larger purpose of winning new business. There are many ways to “win new business” and context is important to get the right message across at the right time. Understanding their reasons will help you structure your automation logic, design your emails, and measure success.
For example, you want to create a simple follow-up sequence designed to turn a conversation into a demo. In this case, success would mean the prospect booking a meeting through your scheduling software.
Alternatively, you may want an automated campaign to be triggered after an eBook or content offer is downloaded. Being successful would mean turning them into SQL so that it gives them insight and the ability to take action and meet their SQL criteria. Once they do, you can tell your system to move them to sales.
The opportunities for specific experiences are endless if you are strategic about it.
Identify the criteria that trigger your sequence
Automation software can’t read your prospects’ minds at least not yet, like any tool we have to tell it when and how to work.
This is where entry criteria come in. When you set up your sequence, you specify the conditions that must be met for the automation to trigger. For a sales follow-up email sequence, it can be as simple as manually recording them with your CRM or email marketing software.
You can use more advanced criteria if your automation software allows it. Here are some examples of triggers:
- When a contact fills out a form;
- When a contact visits a particular page;
- When a contact enters a new stage of the life cycle;
- When a contact makes an appointment.
And much more. If your CRM records it and if your CRM data is reliable, you might be able to automate it.
Determine the length of your sequence as well as the number of emails you want to send
As mentioned, there is no set deadline or number of emails. You must strategically define the required contact points and their frequency.
For example, if I know my buyer persona’s average sales cycle is 30 days and I want to have touchpoints twice a week, I need to schedule about 8 emails. This provides a framework for planning the necessary messages and taking the prospect step by step.
On the other hand, if it’s a sequence of follow-up emails to a face-to-face conversation, you might consider receiving fewer emails before sending yourself a reminder to contact you by phone (this can also be automated).
Write your email sequence
Once you’ve framed the number of emails needed, it’s time to move from pen to paper and write your email sequence.
Each email will be sent to multiple prospects, probably at different times. Your emails should be permanent, and the information you include should be universal enough to apply to any potential customer that meets the criteria you set.
Balancing the universal and the specific is how you can scale while making each prospect feel like you’re talking directly to them.
An additional tip: every email should have a purpose. Don’t overload every email with information. By keeping it to a goal and a call to action, you eliminate confusion and increase your chances of success. You can always add more emails if one of them is doing too much work on its own.
Create your email sequence using software
When you have all your emails in text form, it’s time to put them into the system.
- With sales emails, it’s often best to keep it simple, such as having a rep personally send the messages from their own inbox;
- Marketing emails have more room for brand style and eye-catching images.
You can copy and paste your text into the email builder. Putting them in your system allows you to tell your automation software what to send.
Set up your sequence automation
Think of this part of the process as telling your automation software step by step how to do the tasks you want. This includes:
- Specify the registration criteria you have decided on;
- Designation of the actions to be carried out and when;
- Configure how much time should elapse between each action, what to do when specific scenarios occur.
Automation software is extremely literal, make sure you don’t take anything for granted or overlook anything when creating these “instructions”.
test your sequence
It is useful to test the sequence before running it to see if it behaves as you expect. You can do this by uploading it and registering.
Alternatively, you can also send test emails. You’ll want to make sure that emails display correctly on all devices and that personalization tokens work properly.
The best email marketing sequence:
- Find prospects mentioned in the news, for example;
- You can send them an email to congratulate them on their media coverage;
- Then follow up with a tailored follow-up email relevant to your market;
- Send the email template with “Try to connect”;
- Lastly, send “Authorization to close your file” which is the follow-up email template;
- It improves email templates based on the performance it measures for each one.