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.
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.
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 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.