Article | 05 Jul 2023

3 Types of Email Marketing Sequences (+ when to use them)

Posted in Business, Marketing, Top tips, Tools & Advice, Learning, Client,

Think about when you've browsed your favourite brands online but not purchased anything, or left items in your shopping cart. Chances are, you'll have received a note shortly after along the lines of "don't miss out!" or "did you forget something…".

In other words: you've triggered an email sequence.

Email sequences are a great way of achieving business objectives. Using a set of predefined conditions, these provide 'nudges' or prompts to visitors to remind and persuade them to complete a decision-making journey, or something similar.

There's a reason they're becoming increasingly popular, and there's a reason you should be adapting them for your marketing. Here are 3 common types of email marketing sequences, and when to use them for your brand or client.

(If you're new to email sequences, we recommend reading our introduction to the topic (and how it could boost your sales performance) before diving into the below. It'll help you get to grips with the what so that you can better understand the why.)

#1. Welcome & Onboarding

Welcome and Onboarding sequences can be separated or combined, but these are typically triggered with new subscribers or form fill-ins. Their aim is to introduce your business, products/services, reaffirm any 'action' your new prospect has taken, and importantly, initiate a connection between them and your brand.

Best for: B2B & B2C

Welcome and Onboarding email sequences aren't exclusive to one audience type, but who you're communicating with and what their objective is will dictate how these are deployed.

B2Bs might have an automised welcome sequence that triggers when a prospect downloads a whitepaper. It'll likely include the download in question, some more information about the business and its mission, and a CTA such as arranging a meeting with a product specialist.

B2Cs might have an automised onboarding sequence that triggers when a new customer sets up an account, say for a brand rewards scheme. It'll likely include account details, info about the brand and scheme, and a prompt to complete setup or even look at new shop arrivals.

#2. Lead Nurturing

Converting prospects takes commitment, so use email sequences to your advantage. Setting advanced conditions can more effectively communicate with prospects by analysing the 'stage' they're in with their decision-making journey (be it research or buying stage). From there, you can issue emails with relevant content to answer the common questions, solve pain points, and progress their journey.

Best for: B2B

Unlike B2C, B2B typically comes with a significantly longer conversion journey. Instead of a single buyer, B2B sales will often rely on multiple stakeholders and decision-makers, not to mention budgets, systems and competitors.

Lead nurturing not only reduces manual labour and resources for your team, but it's a softer way of keeping in touch with your contacts (and preferable to calling every other week!) and means prospects can learn about your business without the risk of feeling pressured. Plus, the more you learn about your buyers, the more sophisticated those sequences can become.

#3. Upselling & Cross-Selling

A crucial pillar for all business types, upselling and cross-selling can significantly increase your sales performance and build customer loyalty; the right email sequences will help get you there. Keep content short and sweet, include strictly relevant items and quality imagery, and strong product benefits, user reviews or special offers.

Best for: B2C

While upselling or cross-selling sequences aren't solely for B2C, they are - in many senses - simpler when targeting consumers. If a customer has made a recent purchase (let's say, garden furniture) then you can send an email pushing furniture covers, BBQs or parasols.

Context is really important here. Garden furniture is a great example of what's likely a personal purchase - not a best friend's birthday gift. Something purchased around Christmas or Valentine's Day could well be for a loved one. Email sequences can use buying analysis to tailor relevant recommendations and leverage consumer behaviour.

The start of something great…

There are a vast number of sequence types you can use for your business objectives: feedback sequences, re-engagement, special access and even birthday and anniversary emails. And with more sophisticated systems and creative implementation rolling out all the time, their potential is only just beginning. 

Our advice? Start simple. Even basic sequences that issue gift guides to anyone browsing your Gifts Under £50 section, or a follow-up to an event registration can successfully introduce your brand to a whole new audience and ignite a new loyal customer.

Get the tone, frequency and CTA right, and you'll have a successful sequence in no time. Alternatively, enlist a little support. Most quality digital marketers will know precisely how to take your email marketing, and make something truly inspiring for your audience. We can help with that too.