If you’re not sure what an email welcome sequence is, or how to create an email welcome sequence, this article will give you a quick introduction.
Today’s competitive 24/7 world with higher buyer expectations of service is putting more pressure on marketing and sales time and resources.
Email follow-up to leads has many advantages, and is something you can do that goes beyond sending out email newsletters and offers and promotions by email.
How to create an email welcome sequence – step 1 = when
Depending on the nature of your business there may be many points of first contact where a welcome sequence can apply. For example:
- Someone phones in and asks for product information
- Someone registers on your website through a contact form
- Someone responds to an online campaign offer and fills in their details on a landing page
- You meet someone at a networking event and they give you their business card
- You’re at a trade exhibition and gather business cards on your stand or booth
These and other occasions are ideal opportunities to consider and to put in place an email welcome sequence, as described below. Note: you should make sure you gain permission to send emails to people.
Email nurture for lead follow-up
Email continues to be a very effective and popular lead follow-up method. It’s certainly better than not doing any follow-up, or relying on busy sales people to do all the follow-up by phone, (assuming you have the contact details), or by ad-hoc email if you don’t.
E-mail nurture is not about trying to sell to them in a direct or overt way, but to achieve one or several other objectives, such as:
- to engage and create an opportunity for them to respond
- to establish your credibility as an expert and specialist in your field
- to inform and educate the prospect about the topic in hand
- to help them to do perform their research and buying activity better
- to build trust as a platform for an ongoing relationship
- to enable you to have a more specific conversation with the right people at the right time.
Email nurture advantages
Top level advantages are that email follow-up can happen in the background and include:
- Low cost – once set-up there is virtually no marginal cost
- Quick turn-around – reduce delay between lead registration and follow-up
- Automated – on a set-and-forget basis it’s one less thing to worry about
- Reliable – not prone to human error or forgetfulness
- Profile your leads better – use links and clicks cleverly
- Trackable – to aid decision-making
Email nurture considerations
Some things to bear in mind, and perhaps develop work-arounds include:
- Email deliverability and spam filters reducing arrivals in the in-box
- Attractiveness of the email in the in-box, and email overload, reducing open rates
- False positive and negative tracking results, so measures are not 100% accurate
- Your email messages might seen at odds with other contact, depending how they’re worded
Tips on How to Create an Email Welcome Sequence
These tips and ideas highlight some aspects that will help you prepare and create an effective email welcome campaign:
- Include a friendly, personable but professional welcome and a confirmation of why they are receiving the email
- Outline the benefits and ‘what’s in it for them’, what will they learn, discover, understand, gain, etc. by reading the emails
- How many and how frequently – a series of 5 sent somewhere between daily and weekly is a good starting point
- Create these as an ‘educational’ series to provide continuity and improve open rates
- Keep them non-salesy – build your credibility, share your knowledge and avoid pushing solutions and products
- Keep them short – aim for 3 paragraphs; intro, main and close, and 100 words or so
- Add a link to your website for more information, so you can track clicks – (nb. you probably want to keep these web pages ‘hidden’ from general view, out of the sitemap and out of Google index/search)
- Potentially tailor the wording and click options to help you qualify the prospect – offer click-throughs that would attract people with specific interests or issues.
Five Email Welcome topic ideas to get you thinking
Here are some ideas about topics you could cover, using one in each email:
- 5 things to consider when looking to buying w’ (the category of solution you offer)
- 5 tips to improve x (the issue or pain they are wrestling with)
- 5 steps to tackle y (the business issues related to buying what you offer)
- 5 ways to get the most out of z (the category or product/service you’re selling)
- 5 mini case-studies about what other customers found (when they started using our product)
At the end of the series provide a firm call-to-action – such as a survey or include a ‘contact request form’. This will help you to generate responses and get additional information to tie in with behavior you’ve been tracking.
Asking for their phone number and offering to call them is an ideal way to close the sequence.
Welcome sequence sophistication
Depending on your resources, volumes and pay-back potential there are different levels of follow-up you could implement, through the use of an appropriate email marketing software application, such as:
- Simple – an email auto-responder sequence or drip-marketing based on time delay after initial registration; 0, +2, +4, +6, +8 days etc.
- Intermediate – email plus other media (assuming you have contact details ie. Phone, Social Media account or postal address, ie. from their business card); something along the lines of; email, letter & ‘gift’, email, postcard, phone call.
- Advanced, adaptive or behavioural follow-up – where a subsequent email or other contact varies depending on how they interacted with the previous email(s). Lead scoring may also be used. This needs a more sophisticated email marketing platform, often referred to as email marketing automation. This does cost more and take more time and effort to set up, but the returns can be much higher if the volume/value can justify the investment.
Next Step – the Phone Call
With email nurture in place you should have more time to be pro-active, to call the right people at the right time, and have more productive phone calls.
And when people phone your office it’s really useful to ask what prompted them to call. This will help to guide the conversation to build on the information they have already received from you.
It also helps to record that the call was the outcome of an email nurture campaign, and track back to the original registration source.
I hope this outline of an email welcome sequence has been useful and given you ideas that you can implement as part of your lead generation activities.