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How to Plot and Write Outcome-Driven Email Marketing Campaigns [Includes Checklist]

Why Email Marketing Should be a No-Brainer for any Business

The value of any business is in the list (customer and prospect database), and it’s important to nurture your leads after you have painstakingly acquired them.

Email marketing is the single best method of nurturing leads and – with $38 gained for every $1 spent1 – it has the highest return on investment of any type of marketing.

The best thing about email marketing is that – once you’ve set it up right – it doesn’t require too much ongoing effort. This is especially true for autoresponder campaigns, which are typically responsible for client nurture and conversion.

But before we get into the details of creating an autoresponder campaign, let’s take a quick look at the different types of email campaign and when to use them.

What types of email can you send?

There are five types of emails that are commonly used in email marketing, each with its own unique purpose:

  1. Broadcast emails – Manually written emails for a specific purpose or event. For example, a once-off offer or newsletter, a request for testimonials, to notify users of a new feature, etc.
  2. Autoresponder emails – A pre-scheduled sequence of emails that are drip-fed to users. For example, when someone signs up to your list via a lead magnet or newsletter.
  3. Transactional emails – Emails that are triggered based on a certain transaction. For example, a receipt for a transaction, password reset details, etc.
  4. Customer support emails – Emails that are triggered by a user request.
  5. Event-based emails – Emails that are triggered based on a specific event. For example, an abandoned shopping cart, someone visiting your page for the 3rd time, etc.

While all these email types can be effectively used for marketing, autoresponders are the emails most commonly used in an email marketing campaign.

Based on your content strategy, audience awareness, and email marketing goals, there are different types of autoresponder campaigns you can use.

Different types of autoresponders, and when to use which campaign

Depending on how you’ve designed your customer journey, leads and clients will join your email list for different purposes and at different stages of consumer awareness and your emails need to reflect that.

For example, if someone signed up to your lead magnet regarding product or service A, you will funnel them into the corresponding autoresponder sequence for product A. If they signed up to your lead magnet concerning product or service B, you will funnel them into autoresponder sequence B, and so on.

To ensure that each lead or client only receives the emails that are directly relevant to them, it’s a good idea to have different autoresponder campaigns for different purposes.

For each type of campaign, you should have a clear intention regarding its purpose, and every email in the campaign should move your prospect closer to fulfilling the intended purpose.

Here’s a quick overview of the types of autoresponder campaigns you might have in your business.

The welcome series

This is where you introduce yourself and your business and start establishing a relationship with your subscriber.

This type of campaign is triggered when a new user signs up to your list, and it should include a number of key emails.

The first one should ask them a question and prompt them to respond. This adds a personal touch and makes them feel like you genuinely care.

Also, having them respond to your email will make it more likely that your future emails don’t land in their spam folder. Possible questions could be…

  • What problem do you have that I can help you with?
  • What type of information would you like to see on the blog in future?

Further emails in the welcome series should present some of your best content and set expectations with your subscriber regarding how often you will email them and what type of content to expect.

Email tutorials

This type of campaign doubles as a lead magnet (e.g. 5-Day E-course). In this type of sequence, you drip out valuable information content so that subscribers eagerly await the next instalment.

Each email should have some bite-sized pieces of information and point subscribers to one of your blog posts as recommended reading to learn more about the topic.

Lead nurture series

Accompanying each lead magnet, you should have a lead nurture series. This is a sequence of emails designed to further educate your subscriber on the topic they signed up for.

It’s also a great opportunity to share your expertise, educate your prospect, and start building a trusted relationship with them.

Promotional campaigns

You can use this campaign when you are having a sale or promotion to generate awareness, anticipation, and excitement for what’s to come.  

For this campaign type, plot a series of 3-4 emails and drip them out over the course of your promotion.

The first one could be a sneak preview of the upcoming promotion, the second a full sales pitch, and the third one a scarcity/urgency inducer just before your promotion ends.

Onboarding campaigns

This type of campaign has the aim of converting free trial users of a product or service into paid users.

To do this, offer your users a warm welcome, introduce yourself, and ask them how they’re getting along.

Then, follow up with them in an email showing them how to get the most value from your features and what they can accomplish with your thing.

Just before their trial period ends, target them with an incentive or discount that’s only available to them if they sign up before the trial period ends.

Re-engagement campaigns

The purpose of this campaign is to re-engage subscribers who haven’t opened your emails in a while before the lead goes cold.

To do this, put together a campaign with your top content that offers extreme value. Then, get your subscriber excited about it by announcing the valuable content you will be dripping out to them over the next few days.

To make this as effective as possible, make sure your list is segmented so that you’re offering your users the exact type of content that’s useful to them.

Otherwise, if the content you’re sending isn’t relevant to your subscriber, your re-engagement attempt may backfire and push them over the edge to unsubscribe completely.

How to plot a successful email marketing campaign

The first thing you need to do when designing your email marketing campaign is to get clear about your goals. Ask yourself what the main purpose of your campaign is.

For example, are you wanting to:

  • nurture leads?
  • welcome your subscribers to the “family”?
  • onboard users? (convert them from free users to paid users)
  • revive abandoned shopping carts?
  • pitch subscription renewals?
  • sell courses?

You need to be clear and intentional about the purpose of the campaign itself and why you are putting it together.

Once you’re clear about the general purpose, you can set some specific conversion goals, e.g., convert 30% of new free user sign ups to paid users within 14 days of registration.

Having a clear conversion goal will help you design a compelling and effective campaign. To do so, start with the goal in mind and then reverse engineer the process your prospect needs to go through to reach that goal.

Therefore, you need to figure out which steps your prospect needs to take to get to the ultimate outcome, and then plot your campaign along these steps in a way that each email brings your prospect one step closer to the desired outcome.

For example, when you’re trying to onboard someone from a free user to a paid user, start by examining what makes your successful users convert.

  • What actions do your most successful users take in app?
  • Do they need to fill in a profile?
  • Do they need to integrate the software with other apps?
  • Do they need to invite their team to collaborate?

Understanding which actions your most successful users take is the key to onboarding more users, as your campaign can help them take those actions, step by step.

Decide how often you want to email out

Although it’s ultimately up to you how often you contact your list, research suggests that campaigns plotted along the Fibonacci sequence tend to be successful.

The Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers, where a number is found by adding up the two numbers before it. Accordingly, the sequence goes 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, etc.

In terms of email frequency, that means you send out two emails on day one, one email on day two, one email on day three, day five, day eight, and so on.

Sending out along the Fibonacci sequence ensures that you contact your prospect more often when they are most engaged (i.e. they have just sought you out and jumped onto your email list), but the frequency of contact slows down as you go so you don’t start irritating them.

The first of the two emails on day one should be whatever item you promised them in your lead magnet (the reason they signed up in the first place). Then, a few hours later, send them a personal welcoming message with a question for them to answer. This helps your email deliverability and makes it less likely that your emails will end up in spam folders. For example, you could say “Hey, did you get my email this morning, just give me a quick heads up that you’re receiving my emails and let me know if there’s anything I can do for you…”

Then, send further emails of your campaign according to the frequency/timing you set out.

Summary

There are different types of email marketing campaigns you can implement in your business, and which ones are suitable for you mainly depend on your goals and how you’ve designed your customer journey.

No matter which types of campaign you use, make sure you’re segmenting your list in a logical way, so that each prospect only receives emails that are directly relevant to them.

For instance, if you have one lead magnet about Topic A and one about Topic B, it makes sense to divide your list according to who signed up for which lead magnet, as this indicates their specific interests. You can then personalise the email series for each “segment” of your list to deliver more relevant content to them.

Another point to consider before sending out your next email campaign is whether you’re meeting your legal requirements under anti-spamming laws.

For legal compliance, you need to get your subscribers’ permission before you can start sending out bulk emails to them. Otherwise, you may be blacklisted for spamming. To do this, make sure your subscriber signs up to your list rather than manually adding your business contacts to your email database. 

Another legal requirement for bulk emails is that you need to provide a physical address, a phone number, and an unsubscribe option at the bottom of your emails.

If you follow these basic principles for segmenting your list, plotting a campaign, and meeting your legal requirements, then email marketing might just be one of the most profitable things you can do in your business.

If you have any questions or need help designing an effective email marketing strategy for your business, please get in touch with us under [email protected]

Email Marketing Checklist

  1. Does your campaign have a specific purpose (i.e. desired outcome)?
  2. Do you have different campaigns for different purposes?
  3. Do all emails in the sequence lead your prospect towards the purpose?
  4. Have you segmented your list?
  5. Are you sending out three emails of valuable content per one sales email?
  6. Is there story continuity throughout your campaign?
  7. Have you set the expectations with your subscribers about when and how often you will be in touch?
  8. Are you adhering to these expectations, i.e. are you consistent and predictable?
  9. Are you tracking your opening rates and split testing your sequences?
  10. Are your emails entertaining and authentic?

Helena Merschdorf
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