Welcome back, my email-sending friend. We’re getting really, really close to mastering email marketing strategy for your business. By now, I hope you have a few lead magnets running on your site, and you’re starting to feel comfortable with the email provider you’ve chosen. Today, we’re going to talk about email automation, and what you absolutely need to have set up for your new email subscribers. But first, let’s talk about automation itself.
You’ve heard me throw that term around a lot, automation. Let’s talk about what that really means. An automation in the olden days was a system set up with various controls to operate machinery in factories. That sounds super hard, to be honest. Luckily automation now, when it comes to marketing automation at least, is way easier. Simply put, it’s a system that reduces human intervention and runs automatically.
Why is this good for you? Because you don’t have to spend a massive amount of time each week sending out emails. You’ll need about a week or two to write and set up your email automations, but once you’ve started them, they run by themselves…forever. Like literally set it and forget it. But we won’t forget it, because we’re going to track some stuff and do a lot of tests. But you know what I mean.
So let’s go over the first email automations you’ll want to set up for your lists, shall we?
Welcome Email Sequence
The welcome sequence is the single most important automation you need for your email marketing strategy. This is where you introduce yourself and your brand, and explain why your new subscriber wants to hear from you. This sequence should come shortly after someone subscribes to your list, and everyone should get it, including those who you just captured using a lead magnet.
I recommend having about 3-5 emails here, depending on your business. If you’re a software company that needs to explain how to use your product, you may need 7-9 emails here. If you’re a small candle company, then you may only need 2 emails to get your point across. Do what feels necessary here. There’s not a magic number, but I will tell you the emails you probably need in this sequence.
Welcome Email 1
This is your first email to your new subscriber. Now, keep in mind that if this subscriber came through a lead magnet, then they may have gotten an email from you with the delivery, so make sure you’re not being redundant. If you did deliver a lead magnet, this email can be a simple follow up email asking them how they liked it.
If this is a totally new person, then it’s time to charm their pants off. Welcome them to your business and thank them for being a part of it. Tell them who you are and why you started your company. Personality sells here, so having this email come from a real person will really help them connect to you. People love to hear passion too, so show them why your business is important and how they can be passionate, too.
Welcome Email 2
This is a place for instruction. Tell the customer what you want them to do. Again, if you’re a software company, this is where you’ll want them to take the next steps in using the software. Take them to your FAQs, or tell them the next step in creating their profile. If you’re a company selling goods, teach them about your products. Is your soap organic and does it make you smell like an angel? Tell them about it. This is where people are going to fall in love with your product.
Welcome Email 3
Show them other people who love you. This is the perfect time to use social proof to show others that you’re a legit company with real followers. There’s a variety of ways you can do this. Were you featured on a well-known blog? Send them the article. Do you have rave reviews from real customers? Share them. Do you have 15k Instagram followers? Invite them to follow you there for more. Once people see that you’re actually really cool, then they’ll have even more reason to love you.
Welcome Email 4
Now, this is optional, as it does lead to our next automation: the sales sequence. If you don’t want to do a full-on sales push, then you can do a quick sales email here that showcases your most popular products or offers a small coupon. This is just a small push for sales now that they’ve gotten to know you. I recommend using a full-on sales sequence for this, but there are certain businesses that just don’t need it yet. This email has one singular call to action: buy my product.
Once you’ve written these emails in a sequence, go back and read them to make sure they’re all cohesive. You also want to make sure that your voice and brand are strong, and that these emails all look exactly alike. This is the introduction process so you’re training your subscribers to look for your emails and what to expect when they open them.
When you load these emails, I recommend scheduling them 2-3 days apart after each send. Every single day is overwhelming and annoying, and anything over 5 days, they’re just going to forget about what they’re reading. Make sure they get all of your emails in one short burst so you maintain cohesiveness and purpose.
Sales Email Sequence
Now that you’ve wooed your new subscriber, it’s time to get down to business. They should be enamored with your and your product by now, but if they haven’t purchased anything yet, it’s time to ask them to. And by ask, I mean tell. Now, you are not going to mean or pushy here, but you do need to tell your follower what you want from them. And you want sales.
I recommend doing a flash sale sequence when doing this automation. That means you’re offering them a discount on your products that aren’t normally available. This runs separately from any seasonal or usual sale that you have, and it runs all the time. Because it’s an automation, remember? If you don’t have the ability to offer a sale, then I recommend focusing on just one product and showcasing its benefits and convincing them to buy it.
Here’s what a flash sale looks like: You want 3-4 emails that run over 4-5 days. I recommend testing what works best for your audience, so start with one and see how it does, and you can change your timing later on. This is always running, like I said, so make sure it’s not seasonal related or day-related.
Sales Email 1
This is your first sale announcement. This is super duper exciting and your customer should be stoked to buy your product now that it’s on sale. You’re just going to introduce the product, introduce the sale, and then give them a coupon code and tell them to purchase. You’ll also want to direct them on how to redeem it.
What’s really important here is also letting them know when the sale ends. One of the best sales techniques is giving them a limited time available so they feel that they need to purchase right now.
Sales Email 2
Your second sale announcement. Now that you’ve already introduced the sale, it’s time to talk about the benefits of the product. How is this going to make their life better if they buy it? We’re talking about emotions here. Are they going to be happier, richer, more good looking? Let them know why they absolutely need this, and then gently remind them they have only a few days left to take you up on this offer. Time is running out!
Sales Email 3
Let them know that the sale is ending. You can either do it the day of, or one day before. This is just a simple, gentle reminder that they have X amount of time left to buy, and you really don’t want them to miss out. You can literally just say that.
Sales Email 4
This is the last-ditch effort to get a sale. You’re letting them know that they literally have hours left to redeem this coupon. This can also be a pretty gentle push, but make it sound like you’re really doing them a favor for emailing them for the 4th time this week. You don’t want your list to be tired of getting emails, you do want them to be thankful for the sale you’re offering.
So there’s your sales sequence! As always, I recommend loading this and testing it yourself as a user to make sure everything looks and sounds good, and also super important, make sure your coupon actually works!
Abandon Cart Email Sequence
I know I’ve been really demanding of you, so we’re going to take a break to write a really easy sequence: the abandon cart sequence, or as I like to call it “We are watching what you are doing, now please buy this product.”
The abandon cart sequence is simple: if someone put an item in your cart and did not buy it, you email them. If you have an eCommerce provider, they will probably already have this option available within their own program. If not, you can connect your email provider to your cart and trigger it the sequence that way.
I am totally fine with only sending one email here. Like I said, you don’t want your audience to get sick of your emails. Some people recommend sending 2-3 emails, and honestly, if you think it will work, you can test it. Just make sure your email open rates are not declining, as that is a basic sign of list fatigue.
Abandon Cart Email 1
“Hey, you left something in your cart, are you sure you don’t wanna just buy it now?” It’s that simple. You’re just giving them a quick reminder that they didn’t purchase something, but they still should. Maybe they saw an ice cream truck outside and got distracted. Or maybe they checked their bank account and realized they can’t afford it right now. Whatever it is, you just want to stay top of mind so that when they are ready to buy, they absolutely do.
Another option you have here in the abandoned cart sequence is to offer a coupon in the second or third email. I would recommend testing this, of course, to see if it actually promotes sales, or if it’s possibly losing you money down the road. You always have to be careful offering coupons because people may stop buying your products on a regular basis if they’re awaiting a coupon.
Sending Regular Emails
Now let’s take a second to talk about what you need to keep your list warm: regular emails that are not automated. Once someone has gone through your main automation, they’re going to be a committed subscriber (at least, if you did it right). You need to send them regular emails so that your list stays warm and people don’t completely forget about you.
Regular emails can mean different things for different businesses. You may only need to send an email once a month, while other businesses may find it necessary to send emails twice a week. Find out what works for your audience by sending emails at different times and seeing how open rates are affected.
So what the heck are you supposed to talk about every week? Well, that’s up to you, but I recommend a variety of things to keep your users interested.
Here are a few options, so I don’t just leave you hanging (I would never do that to you, you should know that by now):
- Link to a blog post
- Share a new product that’s available
- Share a customer story
- Share customer feedback (great reviews)
- Seasonal sale
- Newly discounted items
See? The options are endless. Make sure you’re sending them valuable information, and not just a newsletter that tells them useless stuff about your week to week dealings. Also, make sure you’re tracking your open rates, as always, so that you can see what your audience responds to best and continue to provide the same useful content. In fact, we’ll be talking about open rates in our next installment. Until then, happy emailing!