Have you ever been on a first date that was totally amazing, but then the dude you went on the date with never called you again?
Me too my friend, me too. (One day I will write a book on ALL the dates I went on before I met my husband. It’s pure comedy gold – but I digress.)
That disappointment, the let down, is exactly what happens to your new subscribers when you entice them with an opt-in, get them all excited about what they’re learning and then – they never hear from you again.
The job of your opt-in or content upgrade is to be the first date with your newest subscriber/community member/future favorite customers. Many of us are great at the first date, but we don’t know what to do for that next date, or in marketing terms “the nurture sequence.”
Today I’m breaking down the basics of a nurture sequence to help you get started as this is an area that so, so many business owners struggle with.
Why You NEED a Nurture Sequence
The job of your nurture sequence is to woo your subscribers so they can build on what they learned with your opt-in and to then provide them with a way to get to know, like and trust you.
If you want to actually do business with your subscribers, you can’t just skip over those steps in between. You absolutely need a nurture sequence to be your second, third and fourth dates before you talk about getting married.
Here’s the thing about email marketing. For it to actually work, people need to open your emails and value what you have to say.
For that to happen, you need to be consistent.
Don’t be the person that hustles to get someone to opt-in and then drops the ball by not having a nurture sequence or just sending sporadic emails. But when you want them to buy something, you’re all up in their inbox.
That’s email marketing done wrong. There’s no shortage of people out there committing this marketing sin, so by doing things with thought and care, you’ll stand out in a big way.
Now that I’ve got you convinced that you need one, let’s talk about how to actually make that happen.
Establishing Your Nurture Funnel Strategy
If you asked 100 different email experts about the strategy for your nurture funnel, you’d probably get 100 different answers.
When it comes to establishing your nurture funnel strategy, there’s no set cookie cutter way to do things. No magical number of emails, as so much is going to depend on your customers, your message, your offerings and much, much more.
Generic advice is just that – generic. So put on your thinking cap and figure out what makes the most sense for your audience.
Here are a few basics to help you get started:
>>Have at least three to four emails in your sequence. You may want more emails if you have a higher value offer or there’s more nurturing to be done. The goal is not a set number of emails, but to offer high value content that adds to the relationship.
>>Timing is Everything. Every audience is going to have a different threshold for how many emails are too many emails. Use what you know about your audience to figure out a good frequency of emails.
>>Handle Confusion. One of the goals of your nurture sequence is to eliminate confusion by not just putting people on your weekly newsletter list. You may want to tag those in your nurture sequence so they are only getting those emails before you have them on your regular email communication list. (This helps avoid confusion in a big way!)
What to Write in Your Nurture Emails
You’ve got a plan in place for your nurture emails, and now it’s time to write them.
I’m sure you’re wondering what you actually put in these emails. There are no hard and fast rules out there but there’s no shortage of “systems” out there that will tell you what to put in each email, or of swipe files showing you how to put them together.
Just like with your strategy, what works for one business, may not be the best content plan for your emails.
Before you think “oh great, I still don’t know what to put in my emails!?1?!”, there are a few things that are universal to help you plan out your content:
>>Maintain Cohesion. Your nurture sequence emails should carefully match up to your opt-in offer. Don’t have an opt-in on superfoods and then suddenly switch topics by talking about green cleaning. Take your opt-in and build on what they’ve already learned.
>>Be Valuable. When someone opens an email, you’re taking up valuable time. Time is the one thing no one seems to have enough of, so you need to make sure that what you’re including in your emails is useful. This may be more ideas to build on the opt-in, your best blog content or even follow-up materials.
>>Make it Personal. While your nurture sequence is designed to woo your clients and deliver value, don’t forget to bring you to the table. Kick off the series with a strong introduction to who you are and what you do. In all of your emails, don’t shy away from using examples, personal stories or even client stories to bring things to life.
Making Your Technology Work
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to a nurture sequence is timing exactly how to set up your autoresponders in your email marketing system.
Most email marketing systems enable you to set up a series of emails that are triggered when someone opt-ins to your list. The complexity and flexibility of how intelligent you can make your nurture sequence will vary by email service provider.
For example, you can set up complex sequences and automations using something like Infusionsoft, while a system like ConvertKit offers a way to easily set up your nurture sequence.
One feature we’ve come to really love in ConvertKit are the “suggested” emails for creating an email sequence. It simplifies the process of getting started with your nurture sequence:
Another great feature in ConvertKit is the fact that you can exclude people from a sequence pretty easily. This comes in handy especially if you have a sequence that’s ONLY meant for new subscribers.
So if they already have your newsletter tag, you can exclude them from your sequence. Sophisticated automation without complicated if/then logic.
You can do this in ConvertKit by going to the Settings tab in the upper right hand corner of your Sequence and then scrolling about halfway down to the Exclusions section.
The Recap: Create a Nurture Sequence and Woo Your Subscribers
Create your nurture sequence now so you can woo the subscribers that you work so hard to get to notice you in the first place. With a little bit of planning you can create a nurture sequence that helps you build lasting, trusted relationships with your email list.
This post was inspired by questions from students in ConvertKit School, which you can check out here. Included in ConvertKit School is a special bonus training on you guessed it – nurture sequences. (And if you’re just getting started with ConvertKit – you can get an exclusive free trial here.)