“Grow your email list”,
“Your email list is the most important commodity you own”,
“Email marketing is the most high-converting channel for business”,
“You don’t have an email list???”
☝️ Those up there, are the never ending messages we get on webinars, blog posts, guides and paid programs about the urgency of having an email list.
Everyone advocates for growing your email list to sell more, because every time someone hands you their email address, you have a golden opportunity to convert them into a client or customer.
But it’s not quite as simple as it sounds, is it?
Once they subscribe, you run into hundreds of questions… like,
What emails should you be sending them?
What content are they looking for?
How often should you email them?
What should the emails say?
How long should they be?
And… at what point is it ok for you to pitch them your services?
The simple answer to these questions is that each business and each audience is different, and there isn’t just one process that’s right for everyone,
Sure, you could search on Google, you can sift through hundreds of guides, but the truth is, most of the advice you’ll find is generic AND irrelevant to your own audience.
The truth is, the key to succeeding with email marketing is focusing on your subscribers, their pains and their goals.
My go-to for turning more email subscribers into customers or clients, is creating a welcome email sequence.
Whether the sequence is for my own business, my clients, or my students, I have seen them time and time again prove to be highly successful in establishing trust, building your authority and selling (yes, selling) to your audience.
The great thing about a welcome email sequence?
It’s automated, you set it up once and launch it, instantly making sure that anyone who subscribes to your list, gets the information and value they need, no matter where you are in the world, what day it is, or how busy you are.
The power of a welcome email sequence
Simply put, a welcome sequence is a set of emails you drip out to people as soon as they subscribe.
Each email is sent on a different day, touching on different pain points and selling your solution to your prospect.
The goal of the email sequence is to ultimately convert your subscribers into customers or clients and the emails help do that by nurturing them, connecting with them and supplying them with all the information they need to make a decision in a short amount of time.
At this point you may be thinking you to yourself, “a sequence of emails…? As in, plural?”
Yup, a minimum of 5 to be exact.
The biggest objection I get for this kind of email sequence is ALWAYS from people who fear “spamming” their list. So let’s tackle that right off the bat:
Email Marketing Myth Busting
If you’re worried about sending too many emails to your list, you’re not alone.
Countless marketers, students and clients have told me they’re worried about “spamming” people.
Turns out, many people don’t know what to send or how often to send emails, so they end up not sending any at all. Or, if they do, they send them once a month and they’re not really consistent.
You probably get some of these emails from time to time in your inbox.
You vaguely remember signing up for something, but the name and the subject just aren’t really ringing a bell because you haven’t heard from them in ages.
Public Service Announcement:
If you’re not sending emails on a weekly basis, you’re actually letting your prospects down.
If you’re looking a little like Agatha Hartness right now, allow me to explain:
It’s a psychological thing.
When people sign up for your email list, they’re essentially making a promise to themselves.
They’re saying, “I’m no longer willing to continue feeling this pain. I’m going to solve this.”
And they’ve decided to solve it with you.
They’re promising themselves that with your help, they’re going to fix the problem.
Now, when I say “pain,” I’m talking about that thing—that agonizing, annoying thing that keeps them up at night and makes them feel like they’re going to go crazy if they don’t solve it.
Whether it’s a skill they’re hoping to finally learn, a personal or a business problem that they want to figure out, or an internal communication problem with their team they want to solve, they signed up for your emails because they have a problem and they’re hoping you’re going to help them solve it.
They’ve mentally decided you’re the person or the company that will get them off the sidelines and help them take some kind of action (e.g leave their job, hire someone for their team, run viral TikTok campaigns, figure out how to sell their home, use your software and so on).
So, if you’re not sending emails, you’re not delivering on that promise. You’re actually disappointing them because you’re not holding up your end of the bargain.
If you email them every day for a month with info on your product and your price, then sure, that’s going to feel like spam. But if you have a well-thought-out welcome sequence that speaks to their pain and provides value, they will be getting exactly what they signed up for.
So, you need to have an email sequence you can send to someone immediately after they subscribe.
Now that that’s settled, let’s set some ground rules:
The 4 Key Goals Of An Email Sequence
#1 Building Trust
The goal of any welcome email sequence is to establish a relationship with your readers and slowly prove to them, you’re worthy of their trust.
One of the failproof approaches I use is writing emails that relate to your subscribers, allowing them to get to know you, and see that you are a brand or an individual that understands them, has experienced their pain and their challenges.
While many companies send emails to their subscribers, they’re often self-centered emails that focus on what the company is selling, not who they’re selling to. Those emails tend to be very business-centric, focused on driving conversions, leaving out human connection and the audience.
To establish trust your welcome sequences’ content and language need to be about the subscriber, not what you’re selling.
The most high-converting emails are those that articulate the reader’s pain (proving to subscribers you understand them and know them) and break down the different ways to solve it. If you can solve someone’s problem for them repeatedly, they’ll grow to trust you and what you have to say.
If your subscribers don’t believe you can help them with their issue, they’re going to stop opening your emails so, you have to provide value to your readers in every single email.
#2 Establishing your Authority
Every industry is flooded with competing brands. whether they’re direct competitors, or in-direct ones, chances are you have them too.
One of the most successful ways to stand out is by establishing your forte. Your welcome email sequence allows you to do that right at the beginning of your relationship by showing up in their inbox and consistently delivering value.
For example, creating a fill in the blanks worksheet that helps them solve a specific challenge they’re facing , writing a guide so they can DIY a certain project, establishing a community with like-minded people, or filming short video tutorials that teach them how to do something they have felt incapable of doing beforehand.
Every time they take your advice and use something you’ve created for them, you become a little more authoritative and gain trust.
Over time, they may begin searching specifically for what you have to say on a certain topic simply because they believe you’re the authority in that area. It takes time, but you may be surprised at how much authority you can establish over the course of just one email sequence.
#3 Providing Clarity
One of the most important goals of your welcome sequence is to provide clarity to your readers around the results they’re going to achieve as a result of subscribing.
Your subscribers need to know what they can expect to receive from you, what actions they need to take next and why. You want your subscribers to know they’re in the right place, AND that they made a smart decision by signing up.
With hundreds of ads, notifications, calls and prompts targeting us around the clock, our attention is pulled in every direction, all the time. This is exactly why people need clarity.
Don’t be afraid to clearly tell people what the next step is. Tell your readers, what to click on, what to download, or how they should use the information you’ve given them.
If your emails lack clarity and focus, people won’t follow through on the next step. They won’t do what you want them to, and you may lose them as a subscriber or see them stop opening your emails.
Be clear and succinct in your emails. Make sure there’s always a next step or something they need to act on once they’ve read your email.
#4 Reducing Friction
Last but not least, your welcome sequence plays a key role in reducing friction in your readers decision-making process.
Over the course of your welcome email sequence people will get to know you and see that you provide immense value, they’ll feel your consistency and perceive you as an authoritative figure.
All this leads to trust and to reducing any hesitations or or roadblocks when you reach out with a paid offer. When your readers trust you and the content you provide them, they’ll be far more inclined to consider your paid solution and convert.
If you don’t do the work ahead of time with your email sequence, there’s going to be a lot of friction in their decision. “Who is this person again? Why would I trust them? What exactly are they selling?”and so on.
It’s incredibly difficult to get someone to convert if they can’t remember why they signed up in the first place.
When To Send Your Email Sequence
There is no perfect answer when it comes to how you should space out your welcome sequence. The rules aren’t set in stone.
While it’s clear the first email should be sent immediately after signing up, different brands generate different results from different cadences.
Some people may have a lot of success sending five emails in five days. Others could space them out over the course of a week or even two weeks.
The question shouldn’t be, “Do I email every day?” but, “Is this email valuable to my reader?”
It’s about being consistent and showing up for them when they need you.
Here’s who to establish your cadence:
Start by mapping out all the emails in your sequence (you can follow my breakdown below), and then send out an email every other day.
Look at your report – how many people are opening your emails? How many are clicking through? How many are unsubscribing?
People aren’t necessarily unsubscribing due to the volume of emails, but more likely because they aren’t getting the value they thought they would when signing up.
Focus more on optimizing your emails and the value you provide, than the cadence.
You can always spread them out more, but here’s what I know:
If you space your emails out too far apart, you’ll notice that your open rates begin to go down because people aren’t seeing consistency and they don’t feel like they’re getting a regular benefit.
Their struggles don’t stop whenever you aren’t emailing them. So, why would they choose you as their problem-solver if you aren’t consistently showing up for them and providing value?
How long should each email be?
People often ask about the length of these emails.
Some of the examples I’ll share below may feel long to you, especially because we’re constantly told that, “People don’t read.” From that perspective, you should write as little copy as possible.
However the reality is that people do in fact read, if we’re given a reason to. If we can identify some value in it, we’ll read much more than any “average” number of words.
Sometimes my emails are just a few sentences. Sometimes they’re 2000 words. No joke.
When I have something of real value, I deliver it.
And if that takes several thousand words, so be it.
It’s simple: People quickly lose interest if it isn’t relevant to them.
People “don’t read” because most of the information they come across over the course of a day isn’t really geared toward them. It might be of passing interest, but it’s not helping them or targeting their interests or struggles in a specific way.
When someone gives you their email address, you have a golden opportunity to actually speak to their pain and their specific interests. If you can do that well enough, it doesn’t matter how long the email is—people will read it.Rule of thumb: Don’t worry about the length of your email. Worry about the value you’re delivering.
An Email Sequence You Can Steal
News flash: Everything you build within these five emails is leading toward a sale. Whatever you’re selling, you can use a Welcome sequence to do it.
So, as you’re putting this sequence together, you want to be thinking, “What am I actually offering people?” Is it a physical product? Is it a coaching package? Is it some type of freelance offering? Is it a software? Ultimately, everything you do in these five emails should be leading toward that.
However, you’re NOT going to start selling to them as soon as they subscribe.
Think of the Welcome Sequence as if you’re taking the subscriber on a journey from lead to client.
The goal of each email is to take them one step farther in that journey.
Each email builds a little more trust, a little more authority.
Each email provides some value and helps them understand who you are and how you can help them.
Each email builds the relationship that will make it much easier to eventually get a sale.
I know it’s tricky to think about without seeing some examples, so I’m going to show you a few emails from one of my actual welcome email sequences and explain why they work and how you can achieve the same result (even if you have a totally different business than mine).
Welcome Email Sequence Template
Email #1 — The Welcome Email
This is the first email a prospect is going to receive from you after taking action and signing up to your email list.
The first, most important task you have is to reassure them that they made a great decision.
It’s a psychological need.
After making a purchase decision (or any type of decision), Choice Supportive Bias (or Post-Purchase Rationalization) kicks in. A cognitive bias that’s in charge of making us feel confident and happy in the decision we just made.
We all want to feel like we make good decisions, and your welcome email is in charge of exactly that, showing them the connection between the pain they want to solve, and your ability to help them make that happen. Highlighting the fact that they’re on their way to success.
Your welcome email needs to hit on 3 key elements:
- Reassuring them for signing up
- Delivering on your promise (e.g – if they signed up for a lead magnet, include it in the email)
- Telling them what to expect (explain exactly what’s going to happen over the next week or two).
Let’s breakdown one of my welcome emails:
Email #1 Breakdown
- I start the email by detailing the pain they’re experiencing: “You’ve tried all of these “amazing” solutions, read many articles, done everything you can think of, and nothing’s working. You’re stuck on a hamster wheel and it’s frustrating”.
That’s my way of reassuring them. They signed up to have a problem solved, and right off the bat I’m talking about that exact problem they’re trying to tackle so they know they’re in the right place and they’ve done something smart by signing up for this email.
I’m also creating relatability because I’m sharing a personal story about how I got started with optimization. This establishes trust, as well.
- Next, I deliver on my promise—I give them a complete guide that explains how to use psychological triggers with plenty of examples.
Doing this establishes that I’m knowledgeable and can help find answers to their challenges. People can see I deliver value that can help them solve a problem.
- Finally, there’s a call to action, telling them to download the guide. I’m letting them know I’ll be sending them all sorts of emails over the next few weeks with all sorts of resources. So I’m telling them what to expect and giving them clarity around what happens next.
These are the key items that should be in your welcome email, reassuring them they signed up for the right reason and you’ll be delivering on your promise.
Also, let’s take a moment to pause and think about what this is doing for the subscriber. I’m training my reader to expect value. And not only that, but they can get even more value by clicking to my Facebook group. Even the “P.S.” at the end gives them an action they can take to get a reward.
Action, reward. Action, reward.
A lot of people forget about this part and end up dumping information on their subscribers without giving them anything to do next. A story is great, and it might make you relatable, but you need to give the reader something to do once it’s all said and done.
Make sure there’s always a next step of the journey you’re taking people on.
Keep in mind, you’re not throwing a hard pitch their way, either. You’re not saying, “If you want to solve this ASAP then buy my $3000 course,” or anything similar. You’re trying to nurture this relationship a little longer, giving people value and connecting them to your brand before you start selling your solution.
It’s a slower buildup, but the payoff is much bigger in the end because, as you’ll recall, you’re reducing friction in their decision-making process.
Email #2: Building Your Authority
I send the second email within two days of signing up (note: this may change, depending on what my ultimate goal is). The goal in this email is to provide a solution to one of the specific pains your prospects are experiencing.
I don’t mean that you’ll spend this email solving everything for them. I’m talking about something very, very specific.
For example, if you’re an agency leader and you run PPC campaigns for your clients, you’re not going to teach them how to do PPC in this email. But you might solve for something like helping them choose their call-to-action buttons or their images.
If you’re a Health coach, you won’t be giving away your entire methodology for a healthier life, but you may tackle eating healthy, or one very specific habit people need to stop (and how).
It’s something related to their overarching pain, and by solving it, you’re positioning yourself as an expert.
Remember, your goal is to get them prepared for the end of the sequence where they’ll have an opportunity to become a client or a customer. At that point, yes, you’ll be solving PPC (or whatever it is you do) for them. But in the meantime, you’re showing them you can solve these smaller, but still annoying, problems for them.
Here’s an example:
Email #2 Breakdown
- I lead with one crucial pain, which is trying to stand out in a crowded market. No matter what space you’re in, it’s really difficult to stand out in people’s inbox. People are getting hundreds of emails a day and it can feel so overwhelming. Yet there are still people that manage to grab our attention when we go to our inbox.
We all know there are emails we just delete and there are emails we always open because they manage to catch our attention every time. And they do that by talking about a specific pain someone is struggling with.
And that goes right back to the main point at hand—I’m mentioning their struggle. They’re having a hard time standing out in the crowd. Then, I deliver a valuable solution in the form of a guide, a template, or a free worksheet. This time it was a complete guide on how to build out a lead magnet. I’m explaining the pain they have and providing a solution.
- At the end my call to action is, “Hey, go check this out.” That’s it. At this point, I’ve established my authority. Now I can even tell people what to expect in the next email and tease what I’ll be delivering next.
Pains you can solve in your email
If you’re struggling to come up with any pain points, here’s a few examples:
- If you’re a business coach, you could talk about the pain of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
- If you’re a marketing services freelancer, then maybe you could talk about the pain of not knowing your value proposition or the pain of being unable to write ads that stand out in someone’s timeline.
- A real estate professional could talk about the fear and uncertainty around buying a house for the first time, or putting up a house for sale.
These are specific, small pains that you can touch on in one email and then provide value to solve them. You’re not giving away your entire business for free. You’re simply establishing that you’re an expert in your field who delivers value regularly. You’re establishing that you know what you’re doing, you’re here to help, and they can trust you. Yet at the same time, none of this is about you—it’s about their struggles and pain.
Your first assignment for today
Take an hour out of your day today and find 3-4 communities that are built around the main problem you’re business solves. There are probably many Facebook groups, subreddits, or other online communities you can go through. Look at all the questions people are asking, and then rank them by engagement:
- What are people frequently asking about?
- What questions get answered over and over?
- What does everyone seem to complain about?
One of those can be the pain you tackle in your second email.
Email #3 – Leading with Empathy
During the first email our goal was to affirm and give them our promise.
In the second email, we touched on a pain they feel and introduced a way to solve it.
In the third email, we’re going to touch on a different pain point and deepen our connection with our reader by showing empathy and a way to solve that pain. In addition, we’re going to start teasing the offer that is coming up in our next emails.
In this email, start by sharing a personal past struggle they can relate to. A struggle similar to theirs, and describe the way you solved it.
The goal here is to share a story that is compelling and relatable. A story that shows them that while you experienced the same challenges, frustrations, or pains in the past as they do now, you’ve come out on the end of it, and are thriving.
Your audience will be interested in this story, because (if you’ve done your research well), they want to solve it just like you have.
If possible, as you tell your story and share your understanding of the pain experienced by your subscriber, include another free content piece to help them (e.g a template, checklist, video, or blog post). This will help further drive the point that you deliver value.
Here’s an example:
In the email below I talk about the pain of going it alone (“the valley of despair”).
It’s tough. I know it is and I emphasize that I’ve been in the same spot.
Then, towards the end of the email I tell them what they need to do and challenge them to find their crew of people who can help them:
Then, in my P.S. I introduce a new concept: I prepare them for tomorrow’s email.
The third email has a similar template to the second email, but in this email, we get to start teasing what’s coming next. We establish anticipation for an offer I’m about to make.
Again, I’m delivering a valuable solution to them, and then I’m teasing what I’m going to offer next. That might be launching a new course, sending out a new guide, or creating a new master template for something that’s difficult for them to do.
Note that it isn’t a pitch or a sale, it’s simply letting them know what’s going to happen (e.g “Tomorrow, the door opens to this amazing deal,” or “Look for me in your inbox tomorrow, something amazing is coming your way!”).
Email #4 – The Sales Email
To be clear, the rest of your emails in this sequence will be sales emails.
Get comfortable with that now.
You know what you’re selling.
You know you have a ton of value to provide.
It’s time they knew about it, and you feel confident about it.
The idea is that once you finalize this email sequence, there will be people who’ve continued on their journey with you and hired your services or purchased your solution, and there will be people who choose not to, but will receive other emails from you outside of this sequence, as long as they choose to stay on your list.
The fourth email has 6 parts to it:
- It starts with a story—a personal struggle—that your prospects know all too well (something they can relate to). Remember, it’s about them, not you, so make the email about them.
- Next, you dive into solutions they’ve tried before that haven’t worked for them (maybe you tried them too?).
- Then, you’re going to introduce your solution—the solution that does work.
- Next, you’re going to provide social proof. Other people who’ve used your solution and have great things to say about it.
- You’re going to invite them to learn more on your sales page and add a link to it.
- And… If you want, you can offer a special bonus to your subscribers.
Let’s take a look at an example:
Subject line: I failed this big time…
Notice that while I’m telling the story, I’m also talking about the things I did and spent tons of hours on. I’m establishing the pain and reiterating how bad it was for me.
Only after that, do I introduce the solution: A step-by-step training program. That’s how I introduce the sale. Then, I add social proof in the form of a testimonial and then, in the P.S., I do a rundown of what’s in the actual offer, so they have a better sense of what they’ll be getting.
I introduced the pain I experienced, what I went through, and my solution (finding someone to help me). Then I wrote about how she helped me. And then I said, “I’m going to do this for you. This is how I’m going to help you.”
I only expanded on the product itself in the P.S.
Not because it doesn’t matter, but because it’s secondary to the value. The value isn’t all the live group coaching calls and pre-recorded videos and worksheets and templates. The value is having me be there to be the Jo to their funnels.
That’s how I presented it, and that’s what you need to do with your own sales email.
You can do this no matter what your product or service is. At the end of the day, you just have to make it about them. If you do that, you’ll notice that the people will convert at a much higher rate.
A lot of people get stuck writing effective sales copy because they think they have to focus on the product itself, its features or benefits. But you really just need to prove yourself as someone who can solve their problem.
Email #5 and after: Decision Time
Each email you send from now on should be designed to get your reader to make a decision.
Each email will focus on a different pain your prospects are feeling OR an obstacle or hesitation that may be holding them back from making a decision.
Whether you’re breakdown a pain you solve, addressing questions people frequently ask about your offer, or presenting different outcomes they can expect to experience, you want to make sure you include:
- Social proof to support your promises
- Stories that relate to your audience and connect with them on a deeper level
- Examples and use cases of people similar to your audience
In addition, one thing to test toward your final emails is emphasizing that your offer is coming to an end.
Ultimately what matters most is that you nurture the relationship with your readers. Whether they choose to buy from you or not, you want to keep offering valuable content and solutions for their problems.
Why this Email Sequence Delivers Conversions
One of the best results of these kinds of email sequences is that you’re essentially identifying people who want to hear from you. Who know you provide value and are hoping to get solutions with your help. By opening these emails they’re essentially saying they want what you have to offer.
Oftentime, when they finally get to the sales page, they have an easier time skimming the sales copy and clicking the buy button. They’re going there to see the price, and ready to justify it in their mind. They might double-check the guarantee or read a few more testimonials, but they’re much more likely to buy because they’re already mentally prepared.
Your emails have done the prep work to help them make a decision. Now you have someone coming to your sales page who is psychologically ready to buy—the perfect scenario.
If you want to turn more leads (aka subscribers) into customers or clients, one of the most high-converting strategies is setting up a Welcome sequence. As you’re starting to create your own welcome email sequence, here’s what you need to remember:
- Focus on their pain. Make a list of the top 3 problems your prospects face, problems they’re actively trying to solve. Start solving these problems for them on a regular basis via your welcome sequence. Do it frequently in small ways and they’ll be ready for your big paid solution when you offer it.
- It’s about them. While our business instinct might be to talk about how great our product or service is, what we need to be doing is speaking to our subscribers’ pain, and desired outcomes instead. Check out this guide to learn more about emotional targeting and how to tap into your customer’s emotions.
- Show them you’ve been through the same thing. Using a personal story to connect with your subscribers has two benefits. First, you make yourself relatable—and people trust those they relate to. Second, they can see themselves in your story. You were struggling, but now you’re not. You used some sort of solution or got help to get to where you are now. That’s how they want their story to go too, and now you’re perfectly positioned to give them the help they need.
- Always provide value. Always lead with your reader’s outcomes, and their benefit from taking action. If possible, get them used to taking an action to get extra value—joining a group, downloading a guide, following a link to a video, etc. You’re prepping them to take action when your sales emails kick in.
A welcome email sequence is one of the most important tools in your arsenal for converting leads into clients. It allows you to build a relationship with your subscribers before you make any pitches, and it increases your conversion rate when you finally do send those sales emails.
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