Making money with your email content relies on a well-honed strategy. A primary method for succeeding is by use of an email sequence sales funnel. It’s what turns readers into subscribers and then into customers.
In part one, we looked at the core locations your prospects fall into. We discussed the main objectives your blog and email content must have. You learned about developing the most effective content for your ideal prospect. You identified an end goal and we discussed content pathways that guide your prospects toward the desired action you wish them to take.
In part two of this three-part series, we’ll look at how to spread your content out over time by creating email sequences and sales funnels. I’ll show you specific techniques for creating a pathway which leads your reader towards your desired end goal.
About Sales Funnels And Email Sequences
As an email marketer, you will create your sales funnel through an email sequence. An email sequence is a series of emails sent over time. Each email in the sequence has a goal of nudging the reader forward towards your sale.
To define an email sales funnel: an automated sequence of email marketing messages that guide the reader towards a desired action.
Email sales funnels use a helpful, noninvasive, “soft selling” method. In other words, you first help your reader solve a problem and gently ask for the sale at the end of your sequence.
Your email sequence and sales funnel has a threefold goal:
- Educating your prospect
- Building a rapport with your prospect
- Motivating your prospect to take action or buy
The goal of the first phase of your email sequence is to give your subscriber as much helpful information as possible. This not only helps your reader, it shows them you are knowledgeable and someone they can look to for answers.
Building a Rapport
The goal in this phase of your email sequence is to earn the reader’s trust. This is where the reader gets to know you. You’ll share personal stories and/or how you have helped others with similar problems. You might suggest the reader contact you with questions.
Call To Action
This is the final phase of your email sequence. This is where you ask the subscriber to take your desired action. By this time, you’ve gained the reader’s trust and your reader is in a more willing frame of mind to take action or to buy from you. If your goal is to make a sale, you’ll tie in your products or services as the main ingredient for the subscriber to meet their needs or solve their problems.
We need to take a moment to discuss blog content versus email content. As I mentioned in part one, the information you send by email not only needs to be your best content – it needs to be exclusive. This content needs to be valuable information that you are not offering on your website. That is what makes your email content more “exclusive” and thus more effective for enticing people to subscribe.
Automating Email Sequences
Because your subscribers are opting in to your list at different points in time, trying to send each subscriber a sequence of emails manually would be nearly impossible to manage. To run a successful email sequence, you are going to need to use an email service or management software that handles the automation.
Most email management software allows you to automate the process of email sequencing. You can create a series of emails and schedule them. It allows you to adjust the sending time between each email. For example, you can set your second email in the sequence to send 24 hours after the first email, or three days, or a week. The timing for sending your emails is up to you.
Many email management services have templates in place you can use that already have predesigned email sequences. They have a series of emails in place that have placeholder text and default sending intervals. You can edit these to your liking. Here is an example from MailChimp.com of their automated email sequence dashboard. You’ll notice they have 11 different sequence types. They refer to their prebuilt email sequences as “workflows.”
Creating a Sales Funnel Email Sequence
A sales funnel uses a funnel analogy because you are narrowing the choices for your prospect. The funnel is broader at the top or beginning. Your funnel narrows toward the bottom or end – where prospects have one specific choice. Their final choice is to take an action such as a sign up or make a purchase.
The top of your funnel is the entry point. The bottom of your sales funnel is your eventual sale. Meaning, where you pitch your big-ticket item or the main product or service you wish your prospect to buy.
At the top of your sales funnel you are trying to get your blog readers to opt-in to your mailing list. The most effective method is to give away something of value.
Your free offer should:
(A) Be something of high value.
(B) Be highly relevant to your product or service.
The second point is very important because you want to ensure that you are attracting your ideal customers. Keep in mind, many people will sign up to your email list only to get your freebie. After that, they may never open another email from you again. Therefore, it’s important to give away items that are specific to your niche – not to a general audience. Your goal is to attract people who will buy your products. Make sure your freebie relates strongly to your product or service. Make sure it serves a significant need in your niche. That ensures it’s more likely to be something customers in your niche want and care about. Then, they’ll want to keep opening your emails in the future.
Let’s review a technique that’s wise to employ for your subscriber sign-up method…
Another step that you should take is using a double opt-in. Another name for the double opt-in is a “confirmation email.” This is where the subscriber confirms their subscription to your email list. A double opt-in is a method which triggers a second email, sent to the recipient immediately after they submit their email address through your sign-up form. This second email contains a link that confirms their subscription to your email list. When they click this link, it adds them to your email list and triggers another email which immediately sends the recipient a link to download your free offer.
Using a double opt-in helps ensure the following:
(A) The person is using a real email address for the sign-up.
(B) The person is further acknowledging they want to receive emails from you.
(C) Using a double opt-in helps prevent spam complaints and improves your reputation score.
This step also helps eliminate people from your list who only wanted your free giveaway and aren’t serious about reading your future email. By taking this extra step, it helps narrow your subscribers to people who are willing to take action to get your information.
Create an Outline of Your Sequence
Later in this article, I will discuss some specific tactics for the content of each email. But the first step toward getting started is to outline the plan for your sequence. Plans will vary depending on your particular strategy. Here is a simple example to show a typical outline:
Email 1: Welcome email and brief statement about yourself. Describe the benefits the subscriber will gain from their subscription.
Email 2: Remind reader of the problems they need to be aware of in your niche. Let them know why it matters. Tell them how you will help.
Email 3: Begin to help your reader solve specific problems or to accomplish particular goals. (You may do this with one or more problems over several emails)
Email 4: Explain to the reader how to solve the biggest problem, while introducing your product as a main solution. (You might hint that an upcoming sale or discount may be available for your product – but don’t ask for the sale yet)
Email 5: Share a personal story or story about a client’s success with your advice and/or approach and how your product helps.
Email 6: Remind reader of all the benefits that solving their problem will provide. Remind them how it will make their life better. Mention your product as a solution. Ask for the sale.
Email 7: Use a sense of urgency to remind your reader to act fast. Two tactics: (A) Time is running out. (need to act to get “early-bird” pricing). (B) Limited supply or spots/seats. Also remind reader of the key benefits they will receive by solving the problem.
Email 8 (optional): “Last chance” email that reminds the reader that their opportunity is ending soon. Remind the reader of key benefits.
Email 9 (optional): “Sale over” email that tells the reader the “early bird” opportunity has ended. (discount, best spots/seats) However, your product is still available at full price – but availability is scarce. Remind reader of key benefits. Thank the reader and remind them that they will continue to get valuable information and tips by email.
Coming Up Next
Now you have an understanding of the primary reasons for using an email sequence and sales funnel in your email marketing. You now know how to outline your email sequence and plan your sales funnel. In part three, I’ll show you a more detailed and effective email sequence strategy, as well as, specific techniques and tactics to use for each phase of your email sequence.