Email marketing is really nothing new. One of the most powerful tools in any business' or marketer's arsenal, the tactic can significantly boost customer engagement, drive lead generation and conversion, support sales, and get your name on the map.
It's also one of the most consistently popular, high-performing marketing channels brands can deploy. According to research from HubSpot, around 77% of marketers saw greater email engagement in 2021, and around 37% of brands are increasing their email marketing budget.
Consistency is attractive, but it's safe to say we're entering a period of increasing inconsistency - in our economy, market and consumer behaviours. Agility and adaptability are some of the most crucial priorities for business right now, and it could be time to take your email marketing to the next level.
Here's your introductory guide to email sequences, why you should consider implementing them into your marketing, and how they can help avoid a sales plateau.
The ins and outs of email sequences
In simple terms, email sequences provide 'nudges' or 'prompts' to visitors using a set of predefined conditions.
For example, your target customer downloads a whitepaper from your website, but doesn't enquire about your services any further. After a defined period of time, your automation software sends a follow-up email with more information or incentive. Target customer reads the email, returns to your site, and converts.
A little reductive, but you see the logic.
Whether professionally or personally, it's likely you've received email sequences yourself - think about those "take another look" emails you get from your favourite brands. They might be trigger-based (reacting to your browsing behaviour) or time-based (issued a few weeks after making a purchase), but the impact remains the same.
Done right, these types of sequences can have astounding results for your business, for any number of objectives. Including boosting sales, and minimising those that tend to fall through the cracks.
Traditional email marketing vs. email sequences
This definitely isn't an either or situation: there's a time and a place for both 'traditional' email marketing, and email sequences. The core difference is an enhanced experience for enhanced results.
If you use personalisation in your traditional email marketing as best practice, then you could think about email sequences as the next level of that, extending personalisation to behaviours, needs and pain points, and importantly, decision stage.
For businesses, there are a host of benefits, including being resource- and cost-effective. The clue's in the name, but email sequences are fully automated within your CRM of choice, meaning reducing the risk of missing potentially big leads, minimising labour-intensive email writing and sending, and more. In essence, the CRM does the work so you and your team can focus resources on more complex tactics.
Driving your email sequencing success
Brands use email sequences for any number of needs or objectives, and there's really nothing to say you can't make them your own. Having said that, there are five common types of email sequences:
Email sequences can be used in B2B or B2C marketing, so depending on your target audience type, there'll naturally be differences in best practice. Principles remain largely the same, but things like consistency and volume of emails will differ. Here's where you really want to consider the nature of your audience and their known behaviours and attitudes.
If you're targeting a consumer browsing your online clothing store, it's likely your email sequencing will involve one or two prompts. A brand looking for a PR agency, however, might have a longer decision-making journey, and therefore spacing out your emails over a prolonged period of time could be more suitable.
There are a wealth of platforms out there that can help you launch your email sequencing, such as MailChimp, HubSpot or SalesLoft so if you aren't already using a sophisticated CRM, it's worth spending a little time on research to ensure you're using the best software for your needs.
Deploy outside support
Deploying freelancer or contractor support is a great way to get up and running, particularly if your business hasn't tried its hand at email sequencing before.
A fractional CMO or freelance marketer will be able to assess your target audience and what you already know about their needs and behaviours, implementing email sequencing as a standalone or as part of a wider strategy. Or, if you have the CRM but want support with the copy, most good content strategists or writers will have experience with email sequencing.
Here's the last thing we'll say about email sequences: the vast majority of the workload is at the start. It takes a little time to coordinate and test effectively, but once they're fully set up, there's very little effort involved for you and your team - but huge benefits to reap.