I would like to begin my presentation with a confession to which we can all relate (I hope): I like to spend the first 11 minutes of my waking hours on Earth overhauling my inbox by trashing emails I don’t want to see. Why? For starters, because it gives me the same sort of primal, vaguely perverse satisfaction I used to get peeling dry Elmer’s glue off my hands in 1st-grade art class.
For seconders, once the less-than-worthy emails are stuffed in the digital bin, I can enjoy the emails I want to see most, shining like freshly unearthed diamonds. This moment is what all email campaigners aim for—a target customer excited and intrigued enough by that little subject line to take action and click.
Why? Because A masterfully crafted email sequence can turn that little click into some serious caching for savvy brands. In fact, depending on your industry, you can expect your ROI to be between $32 and $45 for every dollar you spend on email marketing.
Yes, even I, I who am tyrannically obsessed with keeping my inbox clean as a whistle, will admit to looking forward to emailed content from brands I feel a kinship towards. And thanks to my profession, I know why some emails slap, and others just get trashed: the key is consistent, strategic, expertly-crafted email sequencing.
So, let’s take a closer look at email marketing, in 6 movements, that can help you grow your business without seeming like you’re fishing for clientele.
#1. The Welcome sequence
The Welcome sequence is your #1 opportunity to begin building a relationship with your customer. Welcome sequences are usually triggered after a customer makes the first move, like signing up for your email list or making their first purchase with you.
A Welcome email sequence should:
- Greet and thank your customer for hopping aboard
- Up-sell or offer other channels to enhance their experience
- Show them where they can get answers to any questions that pop up along the way
Here’s an example of a Welcome email from (fictional) tech brand meditation app, Cloud9:
- Welcome to Cloud9.
- New to meditation? Begin here.
- Quiet. Starting now.
- We saved you a cushion.
- 5 ways to start your practice with Cloud9.
- Zen, by Cloud9.
Headline: Elevate Your Day-to-Day
Subheadline: Enlighten your load.
Message: Here at Cloud9, we believe mental clarity means keeping things simple.
So, we’ll leave you with these 3 steps to start your practice with us:
- Create your account.
- Select your teacher.
- Reserve a 15-minute window.
You’ve already taken step 1: Arrive. We look forward to guiding you the rest of the way.
CTA: Start Here
#2. The Abandoned Cart sequence
Whether your customer got distracted by the latest Twitter pile-on or discouraged by your shipping costs, online shopping carts get abandoned all the time—69.57% percent of the time, in fact. The poor carts are developing abandonment issues, and it’s actually really sad.
Fortunately, there’s an email sequence to help them heal: the Abandoned Cart sequence.
The Abandoned Cart Sequence is arguably the most targeted of the bunch. Its purpose is to:
- Prompt customers to close out on a half-baked purchase
- (Sometimes) use incentives, special offers, or product education to get them to seal the deal
Here’s a sample from the (imaginary) luxury baby shoe company, Dolce & GabBaby:
- Baby shoes, never worn.
- Forgot something? Don’t walk off!
- We’ll save your cart while you browse.
- Complete your order, stick it to Hemingway.
- Leave baby shoes in the park, not the cart!
- Don’t let little Dennis steal their look.
Headline: Complete The Look
Subheadline: Polish off your order.
Message: Hey [customer name],
Baby’s new shoes are hot to trot and ready to come home with you:
Walk (don’t crawl) over to checkout to complete your purchase before someone else steals the shoe!
CTA: Go To Cart
#3. The Winback sequence
As ghosting continues to become an admissible practice in modern mating rituals, even brands are beginning to suffer the consequences.
When a customer falls back and the engagement is “off,” it’s time to bring out the Winback Sequence. Also known as a “Waking The Dead” sequence, this strategy brings the customer’s interest back to life (without you having to hire a John Cusack impersonator to stand outside their window with a boombox).
To that end, a compelling Winback Sequence should:
- Motivate a customer to follow through on an action
- Reiterate the value of their product and/or services
- Provide alternative channels to foster engagement
Let’s take a look at a Winback message from a (totally made-up) divorceé dating service, Singe:
- Still solo? Play the field.
- Enter single, leave smitten.
- Online flash dating, 20% off.
- How to widen your options for 20% less.
- Join our Speed Dating Salon with 20% off.
- The Zoom Room just got steamier.
Headline: Strike Up Your Next Match
Subheadline: Low stakes, HQ singles.
Message: Hey [customer name]—we get it. It’s rough out there, and dating profiles can numb you out after a few thousand swipes.
Give cupid’s arrow your best shot and join our next Speed Dating Salon—now, with a special 20% off discount.
Chemistry can’t be created in 2D. Cast a new line, claim your discount, register for our Spring Salon with discount code TAKETHATDONAVAN20 through your Singe app today.
CTA: RSVP Now
As you can see, Singe provides a tangible incentive—a “dead giveaway,” if you will, in the form of 20% off a congruent, brand new service—as well as a dose of heartfelt empathy to win their customer back.
#4. The Cross-Sell sequence
Let’s make one thing clear: businesses are not lemonade stands.
It’s not enough to set up shop on a corner of the internet and quench your customers’ thirst the one time it gets unmercifully hot in the middle of July. Ideally, they’ll drink the Minute Maid and realize it tastes infinitely more refreshing tempered with a chocolate cookie, or a homemade samosa, or whatever else it is you have in that there cooler of yours.
Hence, the Cross-sell sequence. These are sent as a post-purchase follow-up, built to furnish converts with any other information they need to get the most out of doing business with you.
A successful Cross-sell sequence should:
- Elaborate the utility of the purchased item or service
- Establish continuity between your range of products and/or services
- Encourage your customer to maintain or enhance their engagement
Take it away, Tagalong, an (invented) cultural exchange service that sends users to foreign countries on a work exchange. Here’s their first cross-sell email:
- Booked! Let the journey begin.
- Your adventure, your story.
- Make travel limitless.
- Document your travels with Taga-logs.
- With Tagalong, you write the prologue.
- Use Tagalong to unlock more adventure.
Headline: Introducing Your Travel Diary
Subheadline: Future-you thanks you.
Message: It’s official, [customer name]. In just 6 months' time, you’ll be living and working in [destination country].
Your Tagalong online diary is waiting for you to pen your first page. We call them Taga-logs. With Taga-logs, you can plan your goals, map your journey, and connect with fellow travelers in your area with a monthly subscription at just $2 per month.
To see how other wanderers have used their Taga-logs, follow us at @TagalongTravellers on Instagram. We can’t wait to see how you make the most of your experience.
CTA: Launch Your Subscription
#5. The Sale sequence
If you’re a business owner or have ever purchased an item using money in your life, odds are you know what a sale is.
How to communicate a sale successfully via email, however—that, friends, is an art. A craft. In its final form, it's known simply, sweetly, as the Sale sequence.
With sale sequences, you’ll want to follow up with 1-2 more email reminders before your sale closes up shop.
Here’s how Plushly, a (make-believe) toilet paper company, alerted its subscribers to the markdowns available:
- Need to stock up? Good timing.
- When you run low, we go ply.
- The Wipeout Sale starts now.
- Shop 4 through 8-ply with the Wipeout Sale.
- Our Wipeout Sale lasts through Friday.
- Paper + prices that go down smooth.
Headline: Plunging Prices
Subheadline: The sale to get behind.
Message: We’ve all been there. TFW you reach for the toilet paper, and it tells you no. No more. This well has run dry.
The Wipeout Sale is here to save your tuchus. Get deluxe rolls with up to 8-ply per square, plus free shipping on orders over $50.
Not sure how much to order? Find out how much toilet paper is right for your household by taking the Plushly quiz before you shop.
CTA: Shop The Sale
#6. The Newsletter sequence
This email sequence may be last, but it is most certainly—especially by Bill “Content-is-King” Gates’ standards—not the least.
Generating sales is typically not the main focus of a newsletter. Newsletters, classically suited to the medium of email, are arguably one of the earliest forms of branded content. And if “content is king,” then the Newsletter email sequence is the loyal envoy that relates notices, tidings, and any and all forms of “hear ye, hear ye”s to a general reading public.
The prohibitive word limit my editor imposed on me means I won’t be drafting a newsletter for the Roommate matchmaking service I just invented in my head. But here’s what a Newsletter sequence should do:
- Inform readers of any recent company developments or initiatives
- Offer a sneak peek into what’s on the horizon, or what they have to look forward to
- Forge a personal connection to their reader (e.g. wishing them a happy holiday)
- Be sent regularly to provide a steady feed of brand information
Copywriting for a newsletter can be tricky, but when you keep your goals in mind, the words will flow.
Let Copycat Craft Your Email Sequences
The dynamics of email marketing are changing all the time, but there’s one thing that can strike right to the heart of your consumer: your narrative.
Your email is a message in a bottle in a deep, wide ocean of brand communications. If you can weave your customer into your story, that’s a message they’ll want to receive. For that, come to Copycat. We’re here to:
- Help you claim your brand’s sweet spot in your industry
- Assign our cherry-picked writers to your emails, blogs, web, and copy in all forms
- Manage and meet all your content deadlines to a T
- Heighten your brand’s visibility using search engine optimization (SEO)
At heart, we’re writers. We sink, swim, and sail by the stories we tell, and we want to write yours with you.
To request a free piece of content for your company, give us a holler at Copycatcopywriters.com.
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