A well-crafted email sequence is a vital part of your marketing arsenal. Master the art of writing a lead nurturing sequence, and you’ll regularly convert leads to customers. Get it wrong, and you’ll butcher your email list.
Luckily, there is a simple lead nurturing process that you can follow.
I’m going to show you how to write a lead nurturing email that:
- gets high open rates
- moves your prospects further along the buyer’s journey
- results in sales
But first, I want to start with a little myth-busting. You don’t need to be a copywriter or a bestselling author to write a lead-nurturing email. Anybody can do it. Just follow the process.
What is a Lead?
In many ways, a lead is a high-value future customer. This is a person or organization that will, in time, need your product or service. And you attract these high-value prospects with marketing.
Great content is vital for generating high-quality leads. I’m talking about writing blog posts, lead magnets, a landing page, social media, eBooks, etc. But you also want to capture their details—so their name, surname, phone number, and email address in your email list. And you can do this with an opt-in form.
Now the next step is to nurture these leads.
But what is lead nurturing, and why is email marketing the perfect medium to use?
What is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of building and maintaining relationships with a prospect at every stage of the buyer’s journey. It engages potential customers in a series of conversations, with the end goal of converting them into buyers.
For them to convert, they need to be nurtured repeatedly in the sales funnel.
Thankfully, automated email sequences make the nurturing process possible.
Lead nurture is the basis of direct response marketing. To learn more click here.
What is the Purpose of a Lead Nurturing Sequence?
Not all visitors to your site are ready to purchase immediately. In fact, only three percent of your target market is ready to buy at any given moment.
So what about the other 97 percent?
You could take a chance and hope they’ll see your next marketing campaign and buy your product or service then, but humans are inherently suspicious. They’ve been burned many times before by brands who’ve overpromised and underdelivered.
To convince prospects to invest in your product or service, you need to build trust. You do this through education, entertainment, and by taking a personal interest in them.
This requires email marketing. It’s a great way to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with minimal time, effort, and spend on your side.
5 Benefits Of A Lead Nurturing Sequence.
A lead nurturing sequence is an automated series of emails that a prospect receives after subscribing to your email list.
And the purpose of the lead nurturing process is to:
- Stay top-of-mind for prospects who are interested in what you’re selling but aren’t quite ready to make a purchasing decision in that moment. We want to be on their mind when they’re ready to buy.
- Give your prospect a result in advance. It’s compelling when a prospect takes your free advice, implements it, and gets a positive result. Imagine what a lead could get if they paid for the full service.
- Inform and entertain. Think of your lead nurturing email sequence as infotainment. You want prospects to enjoy engaging with it. If you can educate in a fun and unique way, that’s far more compelling than dry, boring content. Use it to send updates or share an important announcement. It is the best way to stay in touch with your customers.
- Stimulate a conversation. Conversions come from conversations. By engaging with your prospect, you build a relationship that makes the decision to buy from you easier because you’ve earned their trust.
- Move your prospect to action when they’re ready. It could be a subtle call-to-action in your email signature. Or it could be a direct call-to-action in the body of your email—for example: “Get 25 percent off when you purchase my course today. Offer expires at midnight.”
Now that you know the benefits of a lead nurturing campaign, let’s look at the types of email sequences you can send to your subscription list.
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8 Types of Email Sequences
When devising a lead nurturing campaign, you want to think about the type of nurturing sequence you wish to send your customers.
There are loads of automated email sequences you can use to nurture leads. Remember, the purpose of a lead nurturing email campaign is to build relationships with your prospects, move them closer to a sale, and become lifelong customers.
Not all of the email sequences listed below will be relevant to your business. For example, if you don’t sell directly from your website, it’s unlikely that you’ll need a cart abandonment sequence.
Your goal should be to familiarize yourself and choose the best lead nurturing sequence to suit your needs. Here’s our list of eight.
- Welcome email sequence—helps you build trust and enables you to set the tone and mood for pushing the sale.
5. Repeat customer email sequence – used to upsell or offer similar recommendations that can best entice a customer to make another purchase. We break down how to upsell your products or services here.
The beauty of a lead nurturing email is it’s simple but effective. A nurture sequence is a compelling way to stay in touch with your customers on a personal level and entice them to buy a new product.
What to Do Before Writing a Lead Nurturing Email
Most of the work that goes into lead nurturing happens before you ever write a single word. It comes from researching and understanding who your audience is and what the different sub-segments are.
Before you write, you’ll have answered in your head:
- What’s keeping them up at night?
- What do they hope for?
- What are their pain points?
- How can your product or service improve their life?
Answering these questions ensures you know what type of content to include in your lead nurturing emails. Next, you need to organize your email database and CRM.
1. Identify what type of email sequence you need to create.
Generally, an email sequence can be categorized into a time-based or trigger-based sequence.
A time-based email sequence sends messages at predetermined time intervals through an email autoresponder. For example, once a prospect submits her email address to your CRM, a welcome email is forwarded. A series of lead nurturing emails will follow—sent on specific days—no matter if she responds to your welcome message or not.
On the other hand, a trigger-based email sequence, as the name suggests, is sent based on a recipient’s actions. A series of lead-nurturing emails will only be delivered as long as the prospect responds, whether through clicking a button or checking out a link.
2. Organize your list of recipients.
Manually organizing your email list is a time-suck. A smart way to avoid this is to give your lead the option to self-select when signing up for your newsletter. This is particularly helpful to brands with multiple target audiences.
For example, an e-commerce platform selling various products will have some customers interested in kitchen equipment, others in the latest technology, and some in children’s toys. Now a business owner without kids won’t want to receive emails promoting Lego’s new technic line. It’s irrelevant to their needs, and they may unsubscribe.
So a lead nurturing campaign must be relevant to the customer receiving the email.
Also, don’t buy email lists. You’ll end up with a host of low-quality leads. Instead, develop a lead magnet such as a case study, eBook, worksheet, checklist, template, whatever. A lead magnet is an excellent marketing tactic and ideal for lead generation. (I’ve written about how you can create a lead magnet that converts in this blog post.)
So to recap: allowing users to self-select on your opt-in form ensures you funnel the lead into the correct sequence.
3. Check your email sequence.
Whether you have one or multiple lead nurturing sequences before launching your email campaign, you’ll want to ask yourself:
- Does it follow a logical marketing automation workflow?
- Does it help achieve your objectives and goals?
- Does each step move the prospect through the buyer’s journey?
- Will it result in more sales?
Much of this will boil down to your choice of a subject line, email content, and call-to-action. Let’s look at the content you’ll need to include in your lead nurturing campaign to help you start.
But first, how do you generate content ideas? I’m going to share my best practices for developing content ideas. Follow these tips, and you’ll boost your email open rate.
The Top Five Email Marketing Content Ideas
1. Write down frequently asked questions.
I generate a lot of my content ideas from frequently asked questions. Whether I’m on a podcast or presenting live, I encourage people to write to me. And they’ll often ask questions. I like to note these down. So I’ll use Apple Nights, but you can use something like Evernote. I can use these questions to generate content that my prospective customers are interested in.
2. Address the elephant in the room.
Next is objections. For example, why are your prospective customers saying no? Roadblocks could be that you’re too expensive or they have a false impression of what your product does in relation to competitors’ products. Addressing these objections in your content is very powerful. By addressing the elephant in the room, you create trust.
3. Use stories and anecdotes.
Human beings are wired to listen to stories. Weaving stories into your lead-nurturing sequences is an excellent way to connect with your audience, grab their attention, maintain it, and lead them to a sale.
4. Show them case studies.
Now I’ve found this syndrome that many customers suffer from. So they’ll say, “This works for B2B but not B2C,” or “This works for the tech industry but not the financial industry.” Very often, prospects will be wondering if what you’re selling will work for them. Case studies are a great way to bridge this gap. So showing people like them can get from point A to B, from a worse condition to a better state, can help the sale.
5. Tell them what's new in your field.
What’s new in your prospects’ life as it relates to your field, product, or service? There’ll be innovations or things that come out very often, and people don’t know because they’re not in your industry. So being that source of news in your field is very powerful.
How to Write an Automated Email Sequence
Now, it’s time to get into email sequence writing. Follow these best practices to keep in touch with subscribers and turn them into repeat customers.
Write an awesome subject line.
The subject line is the first thing that your lead will read. It’s been known to make or break email campaigns. It must be compelling or intriguing. Any time I come across a clever or quirky subject line, I like to note it down. Sometimes it sparks a new idea. But there’s also nothing wrong with shamelessly stealing a powerful subject line now and then.
Ideally, your subject line should not be more than nine words. Anything more, and you could adversely affect your campaign’s open rate.
Introduce a pattern interrupt in your email.
I like to use a pattern interrupt in my email content. Whether it’s an anecdote, a statement, or a question, this technique sucks people into the copy. It makes them read every sentence and paragraph because they’re intrigued.
A short anecdote, a statement, a question, or something that makes a lead keep reading, is very powerful.
Share a knowledge bomb in your sequence.
I have this rule where my free emails should be more powerful and more valuable than other people’s paid content. I don’t want my emails to be just about selling or promoting a product or service.
So I make sure to include some kind of knowledge bomb that customers can walk away with. It’s a nugget of information they can take and implement into their business and start seeing results.
Delve deeper into a topic.
I like to do this over multiple sequences.
I’ll write a soap opera sequence where I’ll open up a discussion on a topic and end the email on a cliffhanger. Like any well-written television series, you leave the reader wanting more. And then we move to the next one, and we go deeper.
So rather than just skimming over a topic in one email, I’ll do this over multiple emails. It’s a great sales tactic because I’m nurturing my prospect, building trust, and moving them along the sales funnel.
Add personalization to your message.
Customers or prospects want to feel like you’re talking to them directly, so a personal one-on-one email. People need to know they’re not dealing with a robot. A.I. has its uses but not in email marketing.
Here’s a tip: Address your lead using their first name. This creates personalization and encourages dialogue.
Write according to your goal.
What is the purpose of your lead nurturing campaign?
Is your email sequence intended to reactivate a dormant customer, entertain, or make an offer?
Each type of email sequence requires a different approach, so it’s vital to stick to your objective with every message you write. If your message deviates from your end goal, your sequence can end up being a total mess.
Address your leads' pain points.
Start with the pain. By recognizing what your leads are feeling and what keeps them up at night, you develop a sense of camaraderie.
Use their words in your marketing content—so your lead magnet, blog articles, or posts on social media. It’s the best way to attract high-quality leads.
Deliver what you promised.
Did you promise a free case study or access to exclusive videos on the form your lead filled out? Did your lead magnet promise to show them how to build a lead-nurturing campaign?
The quickest way to lose a potential customer is to overpromise and underdeliver. Make sure your campaigns meet expectations.
Encourage leads to connect with you on social media.
Besides email communication, share links in your message where the reader can connect with you on social media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram. This is another way to stay in touch and share different content.
Make them entertaining.
I prefer writing my nurturing sequences with a sense of “infotainment.” I want them to be educational and entertaining at the same time. This ensures you solve their issues without boring your reader. Best of all, customers will look forward to hearing from you.
End your message with a call-to-action (CTA).
This is an essential component of your message. What would you like your reader to do next?
Should they click a link to your offer? Or claim their coupon from your website? A strong CTA should convince your prospect to act.
You need to create a sense of urgency or add an element of scarcity in your closing. This makes your sales engagement more powerful.
The Top 11 Tips for Writing a Lead Nurturing Engagement Email
Lead nurturing is all about establishing a relationship with your email subscribers. Your goal with each campaign is to move them further along the buyer’s journey.
1. Be conversational.
Make sure you use a conversational tone in all of your content. It helps to break down barriers. It makes it easier to read or consume. It’s also easier to write. So write your lead nurturing engagement email much like you’re speaking to a friend.
2. Keep your sentences short.
Cutting long sentences into readable bite-sized chunks is an art. If you want to create an impact with your words, a sentence should have eight to ten words max. So keep your paragraphs nice and short.
3. Check your spelling.
Sounds simple, and yet, I get countless emails with spelling mistakes. I’ve sent out a few myself.
The problem with spelling errors is it looks sloppy and it can draw attention away from your message. Basically, customers focus on the grammatical mistakes, and if it annoys them too much, they may unsubscribe. So put your emails through Grammarly. It can help you fix weird sentences and phrases.
4. Highlight important words or phrases.
You want specific phrases or offers to stick out in your text. Highlighting, bolding, or underlining helps to emphasize a call-to-action.
Sometimes it’s called junking up or word art. Basically, this helps your customers focus on essential information. For example, it could be the link to a form or a new course you’re selling.
5. Include facts, statistics, or quotes.
Use data in your lead nurturing. Here’s why. Data is eye-catching. It reads as truth. So when writing your lead nurturing email campaign, consider using data to emphasize something you’re saying.
6. Only use one CTA.
It’s tempting to link to multiple offers or webpages in an email, but don’t do it. You’ll only create confusion. Instead, determine your email’s purpose and link to one call-to-action. You can include a link multiple times.
For example, if you have a limited offer or something that’s time-sensitive—like an opt-in for a webinar—you’ll want to pepper the call-to-action throughout your email. See below:
7. Focus on one topic.
Again, like with the call-to-action, you don’t want to create confusion, so focus on one topic per email.
8. Link to podcast clips or pieces of content you've written.
People like to engage with your emails, so make them interactive. It’s not just about sharing your thoughts; you want your customers to take action. Including links to podcast clips, blog articles, or contributor pieces is a great way to build trust, educate, and move your prospects from the bottom of the funnel to closing sales.
9. Write a super signature.
So a super signature is a soft sell. It appears after your name and can be included in sales emails and value-building emails. I like to have it as a P.S.
And what a super signature does is give your leads the option to purchase your product when they’re ready. So whether you’re creating an email marketing campaign or you’re just sending helpful content, make sure you’ve included a super signature.
10. Get someone who's not in your field to read your email.
It’s easy to assume that if you write with clarity customers will know what you’re talking about. That’s not always the case. So get someone who isn’t in your industry to read your emails. If they don’t understand what you’re talking about, it’s helpful to know before hitting send on your lead nurturing email.
11. Develop a copywriting style guide.
You might also want to consider putting together a copywriting style guide, especially if you’re planning to hand content writing over to your team. Style guides make it easy for content writers to get the voice of your business.
If you don’t use swear words or slang, that needs to be in your guide. If you prefer to write in the first person, note that down. Make it easy for a writer to get into your head and craft compelling lead nurturing emails.
How Often Should You Send a Lead Nurturing Email?
Now, this is a question my clients ask regularly. You don’t want to annoy your audience, so it’s vital not to bombard them with emails. For example, I don’t want to hear from my plumber three times a day.
Whereas my stockbroker, I want to hear from him regularly. I want to know what happened in the stock market that day. So the frequency depends on the industry.
Also, you don’t want to wait too long between emails. The maximum time you should go between a prospect hearing from you is a month. If you’re not connecting with your audience at least monthly, you run the risk of them forgetting who you are, and they could unsubscribe the next time you email.
Start Building Your Lead Nurturing Campaign
Now that you know what a lead nurturing campaign is and why it can help move your leads through the buyer’s journey, it’s time to craft your email sequence. Note down the process you need to follow:
Step 1: Build a lead magnet.
Step 2: Select your email sequence.
Step 3: Start writing each email in your lead nurturing campaign.
Step 4: Set up your CRM to funnel leads into the correct sequence.
Step 5: Hit the autopilot.
Don’t be afraid of marketing automation. It will help to move leads through your sales funnel and closer to becoming a customer. As long as you’ve written conversational emails that entertain, inform, and nurture, your campaigns will result in sales.
Found this helpful? Check out our blog on the difference between lead generation and lead nurturing.