Mmm, nurture sequences. They sound so comforting. Like snuggling up in a blanket, sipping a cuppa, and having a little bonding sesh with your reader.
Truth be told, they’re not entirely unlike that. But first:
What the heck is a nurture sequence anyway?
Also called a welcome sequence, it’s essentially an introduction to you and your business.
It’s a little series of emails in which you establish a relationship with your reader, in the hope that she’ll either jump on board the You-Train or opt out and decide you’re not quite her cup of tea. (Which is fine. We like that! More here on why it’s a bleeding fantastic thing to have a curated email list.)
Nurture sequences are not actually designed to sell to your reader, (though they can completely upsell through the entire nurturing process), but rather for them to get to know you and your brand. It’s an opportunity for them to connect with you directly and become long-terms lovers of your stuff.
Also, nurture sequences are, well… nice! They are nurturing. Imagine the difference between downloading someone’s free offering and then getting lumped in the pile with all their other regular email marketing subscribers. It’s like walking into a medical degree in third year without textbooks. Well, perhaps a little less dangerous for any future patients but that same feeling of plonking down consuming content you’re not yet sure about applies.
Do they really work?
Good question. The short answer is: yep.
Your email list is made up of folks who want to hear from you. You know that because they subscribed.
And subscribing means, in audience lingo:
“Please communicate with me some more.”
You can shout into the social media void all you like (and look, yes, social media-ing can be important but it’s not the One True Communication Method) but talking 1:1 to your people is what truly converts.
It sounds a little obvious, but this is what every. single. businesswoman. who is scared of starting a regular conversation with their email subscribers does:
1. Starts a list.
2. Doesn’t email that list.
Let me drop a bit of a truth bomb for you:
The people on your email list want to hear from you.
If these subscribers have chosen to stick around they are probably going to be your people — your biggest fans. And eventually, if you nurture them and love on them and give them the value they need, they’ll be waiting, credit card in hand, for you to send an email to let them know they can finally purchase your latest course, product, or service package.
According to Oberlo, for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42. That’s huge. But you won’t see ROIs like that if you ignore your subscribers.
So, write your nurture sequence now (yep, right now, you’ve got ‘spare’ time, right?) before you start adding more folk to your list and have that job done and dusted quick smart.
What should your nurture sequence include?
- Firstly, it needs to sound like you. Do the work in establishing your brand voice, and you’re most of the way there. Introduce yourself and pop a bit of your bio in there. If you’ve no idea what I’m banging on about when I say brand voice, start with this freebie.
- Clear instructions. If you’ve offered a freebie or opt in as a fair trade for someone’s precious, precious email address, it should include the delivery of the thing along with super clear instructions on how best to use it.
- A solution, and something for your reader to do. You could write the world’s greatest email but without some incentive and a call to action you’re missing out on conversions. Remove the hurdles. Ask for things. Showcase your stuff. People are either online to learn something or buy something – throughout a nurture sequence, you can give them the opportunity to do both.
- Structure. Ever received an email with a broken image, words that run off the screen, or a wall of words? Yep. Not appealing. Consider the ways we all read words on a screen: there’s a bit of scanning going on, with headlines catching our eye. And consider your visually impaired readers. You can never go wrong with black font on a white background. Make your email simple, scannable, and readable.
- Relevant parts of your backstory to help the reader understand why it is you sell your stuff and why you’ll be a great fit for them when they need that stuff. (Stuff can be things, or you, and both need big shiny lights directed at them so the right people can have a “YES! I’m in!” moment.)
- Testimonials. Has someone said something nice about you? Of course they have! Whack it in your email as proof that you’re wonderful. It doesn’t have to be a paragraph extolling your virtues- even a short sentence will boost your reader’s sense of trust.
- Finally, though it comes first, a Subject Line that gets opened. Because unopened emails don’t get read, and unread emails don’t get conversion. Bah.
Nail your nurture sequence and you’ll have readers eating out of your hand.
Fireside Kumbaya optional.
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