Rank these marketing tools in order of highest ROI: social media, SMS, display ads, Google ads, email.
If you said email, you’re right. This seemingly old-fashioned tool continues to bring in high conversion rates for most businesses.
That means you need a great email marketing strategy. And a vital piece of any email strategy is the email sequence.
What You’ll Learn:
- Benefits of automated email series
- How Ignite Visibility uses them
- Abandoned cart email sequence examples
- Re-engagement email sequence examples
- How to create automated email sequences
What Is an Email Sequence?
We previously went over some of the most popular types of emails. Email sequences take it a step further, sending several emails on predetermined schedules to a certain segment of your email list. There are email sequences for leads and prospects, existing customers, and past customers.
Trigger-based automated email series are sent whenever your program receives a “trigger”—for example, subscribing to your newsletter, downloading an ebook, taking a quiz, abandoning a shopping cart, or making a purchase.
Time-based automated email series are sent at preset intervals, for example on an anniversary, birthday, or a certain number of days after subscribing or unsubscribing. The most powerful email sequences combine both types.
Top Benefits of Automated Email Series
The obvious benefit of automated email sequences is that they are low-effort and high-reward. Open rates for welcome emails hover around 50%, and by some estimates are as high as 91%. That’s data any CMO will love. Plus there are benefits beyond streamlining your marketing efforts.
If you use top-of-funnel content to capture email addresses, use your email sequence to educate prospects. Build authority right from the start, and you’ll be the first name they think of next time they have a problem.
Building your brand authority also helps you accelerate your sales cycle. A well-crafted email sequence takes prospects through each stage of the buying process – and ultimately gets the sale.
Finally, you can use email sequences for loyal customers, too. They’re ideal for releasing information about a new product launch or a limited-edition offer, or letting them know about special events and pre-orders.
Types of Email Sequences and Examples
Prospect Onboarding Email Sequence
To trigger a prospect onboarding sequence, your target most likely filled out a form or subscribed to your blog or newsletter. Your goal here is to educate them and position your brand as the authority in your space.
Calls to action for prospect onboarding might include watching a video, downloading a guide or ebook, reading a blog, or following your brand on YouTube or social media.
At Ignite, our prospect onboarding email sequence is eight emails that include all of the above CTAs. We provide tons of original content that proves our knowledge and increases trust.
Here are the key points to include in this type of email sequence.
Email 1: Welcome to Ignite Visibility!
Your welcome email is essential. With a prominently placed “About Us” video and a letter-style format giving a short history of our company, the first email seeks to increase trust right away.
The video and letter are followed by several pieces of content that tackle high-level problems our clients might have and build brand authority.
Email 4: 7 Benefits of Hiring A Digital Marketing Agency
Now that the prospect has gotten to know us, they’re ready to be schooled on how we—or any digital marketing agency—can help.
This email has a stronger, more sales-focused CTA at the top, followed by content options showing Ignite’s areas of expertise.
Email 6: Complimentary eBook, The Forecaster Method
This email really showcases our expertise: I’ve literally written the book on digital marketing. Whether prospects choose to buy it or not, this email shows we know our stuff.
It’s followed by a video and several blogs to keep prospects engaged, even if they don’t click the main CTA.
Email 8: Your Trusted Source for Digital Marketing News
The main CTA in the last email asks people to bookmark our blog. We’re hoping to keep them engaged, even though our prospect onboarding email sequence is coming to an end.
A client onboarding email sequence is different from your prospect version because the recipient is in a different stage of awareness. They know who you are and they use your services. But they may not know all of the services you provide.
Use this type of automated email series to let new clients know what to expect and how to connect. Then you can try a cross-sell or upsell or ask for feedback in a survey.
Ignite’s client onboarding email sequence is four emails. The timing is more spaced out than the prospect sequence: the optimal email pace here is one week apart rather than five days. Let’s take a look.
Email 1: Welcome! Thank you for choosing Ignite Visibility
The welcome email introduces the client’s team and lets them know what the next onboarding steps are. It provides two contact emails and an “About Us” video to increase trust.
Email 2: Optimizing your strategy for success
The second email positions Ignite as the experts using my book, The Forecaster Method. It also encourages clients to connect with us on social media—another way we can promote our content.
Email 3: What are you missing in your current online strategy?
Many clients aren’t utilizing all of our services, and there’s so much more we can do for them. The third email is where we go for the cross-sell.
Email 4: How are we doing?
The client has now been working with us for nearly a month. We’ve done our onboarding meetings, started our first deliverables, and maybe even presented our first report. This is also our last message in the email sequence. Now is the time to ask for feedback.
Abandoned Cart Email Sequence
Email sequences aren’t just for onboarding. Let’s take a look at some other popular formats using retail examples. First up, the abandoned cart email sequence.
This series is triggered when a customer adds something to their cart, then leaves the site. If they’re a previous customer or have logged in to their account while shopping, you’ll have their email address.
This sequence from Ashley Homestore is just two emails long. The first notifies customers they’ve left something in their cart. The second provides even more incentive for them to claim it. You can also add a third email with a “last chance” offer.
Both emails also provide more suggestions for products that go well with the original item the customer put in their cart—always a smart retail strategy.
Email 1: Don’t worry, we’ve saved your Darcy Recliner for you
Email 2: The Darcy Recliner in your cart has temporarily dropped in price!
Re-engagement Email Sequence
Automated email series is an effortless way to win back lost customers. You can set your program to send out emails after a certain period of time has passed since a customer has been active or to those who have canceled their account.
Dollar Shave Club sends a two-email sequence to lapsed members. The first provides a product update, letting the customer know what’s new. The second email offers a quiz—always a fun CTA—and a special offer.
Dollar Shave Club is known for its fun tone of voice and unmistakable brand style. Their emails are un-ignorable and drive engagement.
Email 1: Let’s try again
Email 2: We miss you, Name
How to Create an Automated Email Series
Feeling inspired? Follow these five simple steps to create your own automated email series.
Set Your Goal
All things marketing start with your goal. What’s the key outcome you want to achieve? The list of goals for email sequences is long, so you’ll need to narrow it down:
- Collect feedback, testimonials, and reviews
- Encourage upsells and cross-sells
- Increase referrals or repeat visits
- Describe product options
- Increase engagement and reach
- Convert free customers into paying
- Improve website or blog traffic
- Get more likes and follows on your social media or blog
These can be categorized into two overall types of email sequences: those intended to convert prospects, and those intended to get more out of current customers.
Once you have your goal, you can create the targeted, powerful content that will drive engagement and conversions. Start outlining your automated email series by asking these questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- What does their customer journey look like?
- How many emails do you need?
- How far apart will you send your emails?
- What are the main value props for each email?
- What are the main and secondary CTAs for each email?
Now it’s time to start writing. Tailor your content to your audience by asking yourself the following questions:
- Why did this person subscribe to this list?
- What are their goals?
- What problems do they have?
- How do we solve these problems?
- What other benefits do we provide?
Always personalize your email sequences with information like name, industry, and company name—items you can gather during sign-up. Finally, create a strong subject line that catches attention and explains what’s in it for them.
Set It Up
Email sequences help you streamline your workflow, save time and money, and ultimately generate more revenue for your business. There are lots of tools available, from marketing SaaS like Mailchimp (which we use here at Ignite) to CRM software like Salesmate.
Here’s what you need to consider:
- Are you a small, mid-size, or large business?
- Do you have a staff or agency to run your email program?
- How many subscribers do you have?
- How many emails will you send?
- How much customization do you need?
Check out our blog on email automation software for help deciding which program is right for you.
Marketing and measuring go hand in hand, especially when it comes to email. No other format provides you with so many options to test, monitor, and improve your content.
Look at these metrics to get the most out of your automation series:
- Open rates
- Click-through rates
- Unsubscribe rate
- Website traffic
- Leads generated
- Cost per customer
- Close rate
Automated email series are a must-have for every business. Create efficiencies, close more sales, increase customer satisfaction—what’s not to like? When you follow the examples and best practices above and choose an easy-to-use automation software, setting up email sequences is a breeze. Get started today!