5 email sequences your business needs

which email sequences does my business need. white woman with long brown hair and glasses sits cross legged on the floor with a laptop. Doodles of envelopes are in the air around her

Getting to grips with email marketing? Awesome! Let’s delve in…

(And if you’re still on the fence about whether you need email marketing, check this out)

What are email sequences?

An email sequence is a series of automated emails that go out to a specific customer or group based on an event or behaviour.

This is something you set up and then forget about. You don’t need to keep track of who’s doing what, because you’ve set the rules through your email marketing platform.

This means the whole thing just runs along nicely in the background.

Perfect 👍

The 5 most important email sequences are:

  1. Welcome sequence
  2. Onboarding sequence
  3. Abandoned cart sequence
  4. Repeat customer sequence
  5. Re-engagement sequence

1. Welcome sequence

Imagine you’re visiting a friend. You ring their doorbell and… nothing. After a couple more rings you try the handle and the door opens, but the hallway is dark. You can’t hear a thing, it seems like no-one’s in. You’re confused because you’re sure you both agreed this time. Eventually you leave because, well, it just feels weird.

Ever experienced the email equivalent of this?

You sign up, all excited to hear from this person/business you like the look of, and… crickets.

You’re not even sure the sign up worked because you don’t get so much as a confirmation message. Did you accidentally type in the wrong email?

This is one of the cardinal sins of email marketing.

When people sign up to your list, they need to be made to feel welcome. This is also the time when people are most happy to hear from you so make the most of it.

Your welcome email sequence can include:

  1. Who you are and how you got started in your business – a quick intro to you (relevant to them and what they need to hear) and your business so they can get to know you
  2. Your bestselling products/offerings – Don’t be shy about selling in your welcome sequence. A person is most highly motivated to buy when they first sign up
  3. Some actionable tips they can implement today – How to start a home yoga practice, how to cut down on plastic waste, how to start a business from home. How to guides relevant to your topic are a great way of adding value to subscribers
  4. Your most read blogs – Including these with a quick synopsis is a great way of getting readers used to clicking on links you send
  5. How to find you on social media – Having people follow you on several different platforms can be a great way to start building brand awareness and loyalty
  6. New customer discount codes – It’s common for e-commerce brands to offer 1–15% off for new customers as an incentive to sign up. I actually prefer to offer discounts towards the end of the welcome sequence as a nice surprise, however this may work differently for your business so think about what your own customers will prefer
  7. How to work with you – What you offer and how they can buy/sign up/book
  8. What kind of people work with you – Who you help and what they can expect to receive
  9. Information relevant to your topic – Value adds and education
  10. Ways for them to choose the information they receive from you – e.g. if you sell shoes you might give your customers the option to choose whether to receive info on kids’ shoes or not

2. Onboarding Sequence

How this looks will depend on your business but when a client signs up to work with you, or a customer buys, they need to know:

  • What happens next
  • What they can expect
  • Any specific information they need to move forwards.

This is your onboarding sequence – when your audience take the next step to become customers/clients.

If you sell products this may simply be a confirmation email stating what they bought and the address it’ll be sent to, or information on how to access it if it’s a digital product.

If the product has specific instructions your customer needs to follow, or if it can provide value in ways that aren’t immediately obvious, this is great info to include in your onboarding sequence.

This is also a great opportunity to let them know about other products they might be interested in and you’ll definitely want to ask for reviews and feedback after they’ve had a chance to enjoy what they bought.

If you’re a service based business this sequence is about letting people know what happens next, what you need from them and what they can expect from you.

You can also use it to ask for feedback and referrals, and to suggest upsells or other services that might help.

3. Abandoned Cart Sequence

According to Shopify, 60-80% of shopping carts are abandoned without the customer completing a sale.

Not all of these people would have gone on to complete the sale, but even if only a few of those could be persuaded to… that’s a lot of money left on the table.

According to SaleCycle, almost half of abandoned cart emails are opened and over a third lead to the purchase being completed.

The first thing to remember is that people don’t always abandon their cart because they decided they didn’t want that product. There’s 101 reasons why abandoned carts happen, including:

  1. The site crashed
  2. They couldn’t remember their payment details
  3. There wasn’t an option to checkout with their preferred payment method
  4. The process was too complicated
  5. They wanted to compare prices with another website
  6. They wanted to read reviews of the product
  7. They got distracted with something IRL
  8. They wanted to think about it a little longer
  9. They were put off by the price of shipping
  10. They were just browsing

Some of these points are easily addressed with a simple “We’re still holding this for you” email to remind them they wanted the product.

Others may need to have some objections addressed before being ready to buy, so you could include reviews of the product they were looking at, or even a small discount (use discounts with caution though).

4. Repeat customer sequence

Aquiring new customers is FIVE times more expensive than keeping the ones you already have (which is why it makes NO sense when utilities/insurance companies offer great deals to new customers but bump their existing customers onto higher tariffs, making customer loyalty a fool’s game. End rant…).

Of course you still need to attract new customers, but holding on to the ones you have, turning them into loyal repeat customers should be MUCH more of a focus than it is for many businesses.

Your repeat customer sequence could focus on similar products or upsells, special offers only available for repeat customers or loyalty/VIP memberships offering points for each product bought which can be exchanged for a free product down the line.

5. Re-Engagement sequence

The number of people on your email list is actually – like the number of social media followers you have – nothing more than a vanity metric.

The number you should really be interested in is your engagement. How many people on that list are opening your emails? How many are clicking through, making purchases, replying to you?

When you have a large number of people on your list doing none of those things it increases the likelihood that your carefully crafted emails will end up in Junk folders. Spam filters are able to identify when recipients aren’t engaging with emails from a specific sender and will “helpfully” send these emails straight to Junk.

Depending on the size of your list and the email platform you use, you could well be paying to send emails that no-one will ever see. So the long and short of it is – you ONLY want highly engaged people on your list, whatever that number actually is.

But you don’t need to just delete these people straight off the bat. After all, it could well be a lot easier and cheaper to re-engage them than to find new subscribers to replace them.

Firstly, why send a re-engagement sequence as opposed to just a single email?

The rule of 1 is paramount in email marketing: Every email should only have 1 message and 1 call to action. If you’re asking people to do too many things they get confused and distracted and end up doing nothing.

So your re-engagement emails should be short and focused.

Active Campaign suggests a 4 email sequence comprising:

  1. Reminder – A quick heads up to let them know you miss them
  2. Review – Give your reader the opportunity to review their email preferences. Perhaps they only want a weekly round-up and not daily emails, or they want to opt out of hearing about launches
  3. Receive – Offer them a gift for sticking around, and make this clear in your subject line
  4. Regrets – If they haven’t engaged up to now, it’s time to unsubscribe them. But remember to include the link for them to re-subscribe if they want to

I’ll go into more detail on all of these email sequences in future blog posts.

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