Ka-Pow! Transform email subscribers into (paying) superfans with a compelling nurture sequence

Ka-Pow! Transform email subscribers into (paying) superfans with a compelling nurture sequence

By Whitney Ryan, Copywriter + Content Strategist

Imagine your picture-perfect ideal client is clicking around on your website.

They’re totally digging your design and website usability (thanks to Website Superhero, naturally!). They’re connecting with your copy and message are hungry to get more from you. So they click the shiny “Subscribe” button and sign up for your email list.

Parade music plays. Confetti canons explode. The internet marketing gods give you a glittery high five from heaven.

That visitor did the ONE thing that is so vitally important for them to do when they visit your website.


Now what?

If you’re like most entrepreneurs…not a whole lot. You’ll mix this new subscriber in with all your existing ones to create one giant melting pot. You’ll send your entire list your blog posts (when you’ve got time.) Maybe you’ll send a webinar or free training here or there. And eventually, when you’ve got something big to promote, you’ll hit ‘em up with a few sales emails.

The problem is, by the time those “new” subscribers get your sales emails, they’re no longer new subscribers. But they still don’t know, like, or trust you enough to buy from you.

Think about it. You wouldn’t console a crying toddler the same way you’d comfort your hysterical bestie who just got dumped. (Tequila shots and shirtless Zac Efron movies are NOT okay for babies.) It’s the same with your email subscribers. Newbies and oldies are apples and oranges. So you need to treat new subscribers in an extra special way.

The hidden opportunity in each and every email subscriber

The main challenge in online marketing these days is standing out. Because let’s be real — you’re not the only person who does what you do.

You do it in your own unique way, definitely! But to the casual subscriber who doesn’t know you that well yet, you’re pretty similar to the other designer / coach / social media marketer / hairdresser / [insert your niche here] they’re following.

With every single person who shares their email address, you have an opportunity to become unforgettable.

And the way to do that is with a killer nurture sequence.

What’s a nurture sequence?

Nurture what, now? Some people call them “funnels” or “autoresponders” or “drip campaigns” or “welcome series.” Different names for the same shizz.

A nurture sequence is a set of emails that goes out automatically to every new subscriber. They’re highly strategic messages designed to do ONE thing: get subscribers to know, like, and trust you.

You give new subscribers a taste of what you do, how kick-ass you are, and how you can help them in a fun, easy-to-digest way. So when your sales email eventually shows up in their inbox two months down the line, they say “I love Toni, she’s the funny chick with the sick vegan recipes!” rather than “who’s Antonia Smith, RD?”

How a nurture sequence makes you mad moolah

The know, like, and trust factor is a crucial ingredient in the selling equation. That’s why a good nurture sequence is worth its weight in GOLD.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing has an ROI of 4,300%. With traditional sales, you sell on a one-to-one basis, but with email marketing, it’s one-to-many.

Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.

The average open rate for welcome emails is a whopping 50%, making them 86% more effective than regular email newsletters.

And it’s not just open rates that are higher. Welcome series also have 40% higher click rates than promotion mailings.

Aaaand subscribers who receive welcome emails show more long-term engagement with a brand, 33% more, on average.

Plus, the best salespeople know that the magic happens in the follow-up.

Studies have shown that 80% of sales are made after the fifth touch point with a new customer. Yet only 10% of people usually get to that point. Almost half give up on a prospect after the first contact and 90% stop after four touch points.

Think about that. 80% of purchases are made after the fifth touch point but only 10% of people get there. That’s a whole lot of opportunity up for grabs!

That’s why nurture sequences are totally worth it. You put in the work once to create your sequence and reap the benefits with each and every subscriber. The multiple touch points in your nurture sequence position you as someone subscribers are comfortable buying from.

The 1 thing you need for a high-converting nurture sequence

When subscribers open Email 1, they barely know who you are, right? They obviously like you a little bit, or else they wouldn’t have opted in to your list. But they’re not nearly ready to buy.

The key is to top-load your nurture sequence with value. Give, give, and give some more. Show new subscribers that you are all about THEM. Don’t mention your services, don’t push your packages, and whatever you do, DON’T ask them to do anything that directly benefits you in the first 3-4 emails. You want to condition subscribers to think this way:

[Your name] + their inbox = major good stuff happening

You do that by giving them lots and lots of juicy, valuable content in your early emails. Share tips. Tricks. Tools you love. Recommendations. Actionable advice they can use to get results. You really want to wow readers in these early emails.

Doing this early in the sequence gets subscribers to like you. You’re giving them all this free value and you’re helping them. Who doesn’t like someone who does that? This also taps into the mental trigger of reciprocity. When someone does nice things for you, you want to do nice things for them in return.

Once you’ve had a few emails full of pure, reader-focused value, you can move into talking about you. Share a personal story. Show you’re human just like them. Drop some of your credentials, experience, and why you’re truly an expert at what you do. Talk about a case study where you helped a client get mad results. Share a testimonial. This helps subscribers know you.

And at the end of your sequence, start talking about your big ask. This is key! You only start asking for something once you’ve given, given, and given some more.

When you lead with value, subscribers will be primed and ready to buy from you when you (eventually) ask for it.

So start your sequence with value, then share some personal tidbits about you, and eventually move into the ask. When you follow this flow, you’ll move subscribers through your sequence in a natural, feel-good way.

If you want more guidance on creating your own nurture sequence (one that gets you 47% larger purchases, 50% higher open rates, 40% high click-through rates, and 33% more long-term engagement) I’ve got a free training you’re going to love. You’ll learn the five relationship-killing mistakes people make with their nurture sequences (and how to avoid them.) AND I’ll give you a cheat sheet that breaks down what to include in each email of your nurture sequence.

Click here to watch the free nurture sequence training and download your cheat sheet. >>

Now I want to hear from you!

How do you warm up your subscribers to know, like, and trust you?

Do you currently use a nurture sequence? How else are you warming them up?

What is your big ask? What is ONE action you want new subscribers to take to move them closer to working with you?

Whitney Ryan_bio photoWhitney Ryan is a copywriter + content strategist who’s loved sharing stories since Mrs. Sawin’s first-grade writing class. Armed with a background in psychology/marketing and over half a decade creating copy for small businesses, she turned down a position at a top online marketing agency to start Whitney Ryan Copy + Content.

She uses her business as an excuse for reading too many blogs and spending too much time on Pinterest. She also loves vegetarian cooking, traveling to new places, and long Chicago walks with her 10-lb poodle-mystery-mix Brody.

17 Responses to Ka-Pow! Transform email subscribers into (paying) superfans with a compelling nurture sequence

    • YES, awesome takeaway. Glad you enjoyed it so much! Whitney did a wonderful job :) Best of luck with your nurture sequence, Victor :D

    • Thanks, Victor! I’m so happy to hear you like the strategy. :)

      You’re right on the money with front-loading with value. It’s kind of like bringing cookies over to the new neighbors’ house before you ask them to water your plants when you’re on vacation.

      It’s always effective to give first!

  1. Nurture sequences are so important! Thanks for sharing this powerful engagement technique, because so many business owners AREN’T doing it. And it’s essential if you want to have an active, buying list.

    • Thanks, Jessica! You’re right, so many business owners skip setting up their sequences. This makes it like a double whammy — it seems *extra* impressive when you make the effort!

  2. It’s all about “giving it all away” for a little while to build that likability and trust — and make them feel like they’re getting so much value and goodness from you. Because they are! And, you’re so right – they will want to buy from you later if they like you and as a way to “return the favor.” Nurture sequences are definitely something that I need to incorporate more into my business. Thanks for the tips, Whitney!

    • Right on, Jessie! I’ve heard the pros say “give away the house for free, but sell the backyard” as a way to think about sharing valuable content. You can’t prove you’re a person of value unless you share some of your golden nuggets!

      • Ah, what a great and interesting analogy, Whitney! You’re a fountain of wisdom when it comes to this stuff, no question :)

  3. This is SUCH a great post Whitney and you’ve re-inspired me to set up my nurture sequence TODAY! (You initially inspired me when I watched your video about it, a few months ago) :-)

    Question: What should I do about new subscribers if I’m just about to launch a promotion? Should I isolate those new subscribers so they don’t receive those. I love the “give, give, give,ask” strategy, but what if my “ask” goes out during their first week of getting to know and like me?

    Thanks for always sharing such valuable, actionable stuff with us. I really appreciate you! :-)

    • YES! So happy to hear that. :)

      That’s a really good question. I agree with your thinking — you want to warm people up before you sell to them. Newbies are unlikely to buy from you so quickly (though it’s not entirely impossible!)

      It ultimately depends on your email service, though. If it allows you to exclude certain people from receiving your promotional emails, I would recommend holding off on the “ask” until you’ve given them value first. It’s ultimately a better long-term strategy.

      I personally set up all my nurture sequences to be 14 days in length. That way, I “turn off” all other emails to any subscriber who joined within the last 14 days. It’s a clean and easy way to make sure they’re properly warmed up before potentially being sold to.

      Does that help?

  4. This was super informative! I have a nurture sequence but I need to definitely personalize it and I can absolutely add more value… especially in that first email.

    Thanks for these tips, Whitney! I’m going to work on making a few changes this next week to my auto responders.

    • Yay, Carla! So glad to hear it. The first email really is key to give great value. I like to give a quick tip that gets BIG results. Really prove you know your stuff!

      Good luck with the personalization. And if you need any help, just let me know!

  5. This is amazing and basically I think I need to work with you. I’m learning the copy mixed with the strategy is TRULY an art form in itself. There are subtleties I never would have picked up on before reading your content. Thanks Whitney!

    • Yayayay! So happy to hear this, Libby. :) And I’m glad you’re recognizing the magical potential in mixing copy with strategy. I know your creative skills can cook up some killer copy!

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