Editor’s note: The following article serves as a recap of a recent webinar taught by Talia Wolf of GetUplift and Bob Sparkins of Leadpages. You can watch the full webinar here.
Creating an automated welcome email series for all new subscribers is one of the quickest ways to create consistent revenue for a small business. Whether you’re just getting started, or have hit a plateau in your business, crafting (or re-drafting) your welcome series should be on your to-do list.
Once you get a better understanding of why this type of email series is so beneficial (to you and to your prospects), you’ll want to implement the strategy we’ve outlined below as soon as possible.
But, first, a bit of background.
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The #1 challenge currently facing small business owners
Earlier this summer, Leadpages surveyed over 1300 coaches, consultants, service providers, and other small business owners. One of our questions sought to discover which marketing challenges do they want to most overcome right now?
The #1 answer was “how to turn leads into clients.”
That top response doesn’t surprise us at all.
Since 2013, Leadpages has been supporting small business owners (perhaps just like you) with conversion tools to generate leads and get more clients. So we know it can be frustrating to get leads coming in, but not see a resulting bump in revenue.
That’s because getting leads is just the beginning.
To turn those leads into clients and revenue, you need a few key ingredients in place. Here are a few of them:
a strong offer,
a compelling sales page that converts the sale,
the ability to attract the right audience, and
a solid, automated email sequence to build up your 'know, like, and trust' factor quickly.
It’s this fourth piece that we turn our attention to today, as it makes the other three a lot easier to optimize.
Why is an email nurture series so important?
Unlike a biweekly newsletter or an occasional broadcast, a nurture sequence is a series of 5-7 emails that automatically go out to every new subscriber. It can have a huge impact on your business, particularly in bringing you more consistent results and more revenue.
If you write your first few messages the wrong way (especially your welcome message), those hard-won leads run for the hills, never to be seen or heard from again.
But when you craft your nurture series the right way, a larger portion of those leads will hang onto every word you write, and many will buy from you within one week.
The best part: your quick, focused effort in creating this email series lasts a long time. That’s because every new subscriber you get (next week, next month, next year) experiences the same email series for themselves. This brings you consistent income, better clients and customers, and a more stable business.
Also, with the same emails going out to all subscribers, key data in your email service provider dashboard gives you insight into what your readers are responding to. When you pay attention to open rates and click-thru rates of each message, you can better optimize your subject lines and message content to boost your results without additional traffic or spending.
Message 1: Start off strong with a compelling welcome message
The first message your new subscriber sees is often called the “welcome” message. This is because you are welcoming the new reader into your sphere of influence.
This message is critical to your success as a marketer of your business because it sets the tone for your entire relationship.
Will you be obnoxious and overtly abusive in your attempts to extract money from your reader?
Or… will you kick things off by delivering what you’ve promised and let this new relationship develop a bit more naturally?
In case the answer to that question isn’t obvious, recall that for an email marketing strategy to be effective, you have to get your emails opened and read. Not just the first one, but as many as possible.
If you take an aggressive approach to sales in that first message, you run the risk of alienating a significant majority of your new readers – so much so that you’ll see a huge drop-off between the open rates of your first and second message that becomes difficult to recover from.
What to say in your welcome message
So what should you say in your first message to get people excited to hear from you again?
First, deliver what you promise. Lead with the reason they chose to subscribe in the first place.
That means two things.
One, link to the lead magnet you promised. Make sure that’s prominent within the first 2 paragraphs of your message.
Two, be sure to remind them why they signed up today. Your landing page likely posed a question or stated a type of end result people are looking for. Repeat that phrase and support it with your understanding of their situation.
The second thing you want to include in your first message is expectation. What can they expect from you? When will you be reaching out again (hint: tomorrow)? What kind of tips are you going to provide them?
And the third thing you want to include is some type of action for them to take.
We call your entire marketing funnel a conversion journey, because you are guiding each individual person from where they are to where they want to go (i.e., who they want to become).
Give them an action to take now to establish yourself as a guide.
This doesn’t mean offer them something to buy. Instead, consider one of these options:
Connect to your Facebook or LinkedIn group. If you don’t have a group, then link to your profile. In either case, encourage them to say hello.
Ask them to send you a quick note to introduce themselves via email. If you’re just starting out, this is a priceless opportunity for finding your future raving fans. If your list is larger, have a virtual assistant help you to answer the responses, but do your best to keep an eye on the responses you get from real people eager for solutions from you.
The goal for this first message is to reassure your new subscriber that they made the right choice in giving you their email address. Stick to that goal, and be patient as your relationship develops over the next few days.
Bonus tip: Get more eyes on your first message
One way to get more people to open your first message is to put a great Thank You page to work in your marketing funnel.
The Thank You page is the page people see after they’ve said yes to your free (or paid) offer. Be specific on this page with instructions on how to find your email in their inbox, including the subject line and the from address so it’s easy to hunt down in a Promotions tab or spam folder.
Also give a reason to go open the email, namely by providing the link to the lead magnet you’re offering within the email, not from the Thank You page itself.
Get a free welcome message template
During our recent training, Talia Wolf shared a template for creating a powerful welcome email that gets readers hungry for more. Be sure to unlock the training so you can receive Talia’s welcome email, too – all for free.
As the expert guiding your new subscriber to a desired result, you will be well-served by your second message.
Sent within 24 hours of your first message, your second message establishes your authority in this space, while providing a valuable piece of the puzzle for their better life.
Without crossing the line into irrelevant boasting, share one thing about you and your experience in this area that sets you apart from others. The more you can show off the success of one of your clients or previous customers the better.
Then discuss one specific pain that the reader is likely suffering from. It’s important that you choose a specific pain point here, and not waffle between all the different possible pain points that people could be facing. The more you speak directly to a specific pain, the more attractive your emails become.
You don’t want to stoke this pain and leave them hanging for the next email. Instead, link them to a surprise – a valuable piece of content that gives them a clearer picture of the problem they’re facing, and a step in the right direction for solving it.
This can come in the form of another PDF, a template, checklist, spreadsheet, video, or blog post.
Do not ask them to opt-in again; simply link to the resource so there is less friction between your reader and the next step in their journey.
Pro tip: if you want to know who in your audience clicked on this link, use a trigger link from Leadpages to segment them from list to another.
Message 3: Empathy goes a long way
People prefer to buy from other people who they feel know them, and speak their language.
When you craft your third email correctly, you’ll often hear people respond with phrases like, “you read my mind,” or “it’s like you’re inside my head.”
In your third message, share a personal struggle that you experienced on your own journey solving the core problem you’re addressing now. What frustrations did you face? How did those frustrations make you feel?
Of course, it’s important that this struggle that you faced is in your past, and not part of your current situation. People will commiserate with the drama of a current tragedy – but they won’t buy from you if you’re stuck in the same muck that they are in, too.
As you discuss your own journey and understanding of the core pain experienced by your subscriber, deliver yet another PDF, template, checklist, spreadsheet, video, or blog post. By providing a third piece of content you’re verifying your authority and demonstrating the value you bring to the table.
Now before your readers get used to getting everything from you for free, wrap up your third email by letting them know you have something very special to offer them in your next email. Do not specify what it is, but let them know what the specific subject line is going to be. With this “open loop,” your subscribers will anticipate (and be more likely to open) your next message.
Want to see an example of the second and third emails in action? Talia and Bob go through her email sequence in our free email marketing training. Jump to 29:41 for Message 2, and 40:25 for Message 3.
Message 4: Introduce your solution for sale
Your patience in relationship building begins to pay off in your fourth message. This is the first true sales email in your welcome series, and it builds off the authority, empathy, and value you’ve provided up to this point. Use all three of these elements as you reveal your offer.
Start your fourth message with a story and/or personal struggle (again, in the past) that highlights the core pain that your readers are wanting to overcome. Share what you (or others you’ve worked with) have tried in the past that failed. Describe why the other solutions didn’t work out, where they fell short, and how it felt to keep hunting for a solution that actually works.
Then, introduce your solution and what makes it different. Provide social proof in the form of one or two testimonials or brief results achieved by previous buyers of your product or service. If you’re new and don’t have these yet, be sure to return to this message to add them in once you have them. Even one successful client goes a long way.
Stick to the benefits and highlights of your offer; leave the specific details to your sales letter. Also, while it’s a great idea to speak to the value of your offer in terms of time, money, and frustrations saved, do not include the price in this email. Save these details for the sales letter, which you’ll link to in the body, close, and postscript of your message.
Message 5 (and after): Go for ‘yes’ or ‘no’
The final message in your initial welcome series should get your subscriber to make a decision, regardless of if that’s a yes or a no. When you detach yourself from the outcome of the decision, and instead focus on just getting them to choose, you’ll continue to be in service of your readers.
This may contradict what you’re used to hearing about aggressive closing practices. But even in your sales messages, you should be providing value to your subscribers.
Since your business will move forward fastest with clients excited to work with you, don’t be afraid of telling your subscribers why they should say no. Hesitant buyers typically exhaust your support, result in more refunds, and fail to produce raving testimonials to influence your growth.
Of course, you also want to make it clear why they should say yes.
Answer their most burning questions at this point in their problem-solving journey. At first, you’ll make an educated guess as to what those questions are. However, you’ll likely receive responses from your first few emails in the series from your prospects that will inform what those questions are.
Utilize social proof once again in the form of a quick story on the success previous buyers have had with your product, service, or program. Be sure to include “before and after” elements to those stories, so your readers can see that it’s possible for people like them.
Finally, put a time limit on your offer. Ideally this is connected to an evergreen countdown timer on your sales page that encourages their decision within a 48-hour or less period. Then redirect that page (or reveal page sections) to show a second-chance offer that is available for a longer period of time.
Although this is the end of your 5-part welcome series, don’t hesitate to add to this series with additional sales/decision emails. Address additional questions that may be popping up for people. Share additional stories that demonstrate authority, empathy, and possibility.
Turn More Leads into Clients (Within 7 Days)
Free Instant Access
Take a deeper dive with our free video training this recap is based on. Discover the formula for a 1-week email marketing nurture series that converts more subscribers while providing high value along the way.
Now put this strategy into motion
Your welcome series plan is now ready for execution.
If you want to turn more clicks into customers, and drive more consistent revenue with a solid email nurture sequence, learn from Talia Wolf and Bob Sparkins in this free welcome email series training (available instantly for a limited time). In addition to a deeper dive into this email series, you’ll learn from specific examples Talia has used in her own marketing campaigns. You’ll also receive a Welcome Email template you can use to kickoff your own series.
Then take action on what you’ve learned and enjoy the accelerated results you experience.