How to Plan a Long-term Email Nurture
One of the most common mistakes small business owners make when it comes to automating their communication is not implementing a solid email nurture series.
Now, I will admit: Not everyone needs a long-term sequence.
But if you want to create a sustainable long-term business, ensuring your leads and prospects keep you top-of-mind as they get closer and closer to saying “maybe” and then “yes” to your products or services, then this is an absolute must.
In fact, many of my clients develop a long-term series and they often receive emails from their happy prospects (and now lifelong fans!) who boast with gratitude for the value they receive from their emails. And the best thing? It’s all happening automatically.
In this post, I will outline some best practice and ideas for your emails to remain fresh and engaging, so you can continue to move your prospects down towards a full-hearted “yes” while growing your authority in the meantime.
Best practices for long-term nurture series
Before I dive into the best practices I want to explain something that you might not realize. If you’re sending consistent emails to your prospects, you are already doing a form of a long-term nurture. The thing is, though? It’s not automated.
And because it’s not automated, it’s more likely to come across as sporadic or irrelevant to your prospects meaning they are more likely to disengage.
Think about it: You wouldn’t talk the same way on the phone with a prospect who has been eyeing you for six months and asking lots of questions (but hasn’t bit the bullet yet) as you would with someone who just became aware you exist within the last two weeks. Would you? (I hope not!)
That’s the key. The beauty of automated series is that you structure them based on what you know your prospects need to hear first, second, third—so that you control how they are exposed to your work, the value you provide and are therefore going to say yes sooner.
After all, you are getting them onto your list using a particular lead magnet. Based on that lead magnet, you can create a long-term series that addresses that particular pain point and then continues to talk to them in regards to that, and then transitions only when you believe they are ready.
The next logical question you may have is: how long should my series be exactly? That’s up to you. I have clients who have a year-long series because they don’t like sending a lot of newsletters but want to make sure their leads are being taken care of.
On the flip side, I know people who have a shorter sales cycle so their series is shorter, too. It’s really going to depend on your specific business and goals and objectives and how your sales funnel looks like exactly. Keep in mind the objective you want your series to achieve and then once that objective has been reached, you take your lead out of that series (and into a post-purchase series) so that you continue sending them the most relevant emails possible.
How often should you email is another common question. Here’s my take on this, and I say this having been doing email marketing for seven years: It’s totally OK to send daily emails to your prospects in the beginning of your relationship.
Why? Because they are usually the hottest in the beginning. They want to hear from you. If you drop them into a series and then they have to wait two weeks before they hear from you again, you know what might happen? They might flat out forget who you are.
I can’t tell you how many lists I have unsubscribed from simply because I had no idea who the person was who was emailing me. Like, how did I end up on your list? You don’t want that.
So the beginning is important; you have to establish a real connection and a lasting impression. This can happen by sending daily emails in the beginning, filled with value and content they actually want.
Then, you slowly taper off and make the emails less frequent. From daily, you move to every other day, to every three days, to every four, and five, and seven, and on. The longest I would wait between each email is 10 to 14 days, but that’s only if you also send newsletter emails once a week or so.
If you send no broadcast emails outside of the series your leads are in, I would not go longer than 10, maybe 12 days between emailing.
Sales to value ratio
In all these emails, are you just selling all the time? Not necessarily. However, don’t go full blown GaryVee on your people. While content is powerful, you still have to make sure you are providing epic value with a purpose. That means each piece of content should be building up their belief in you, in the product, in a solution, and the hope that their pain can be resolved.
Don’t share random content for content’s sake. No need to record a thousand videos per week. Aim for quality, not quantity. But make sure you keep your work focused.
Make it easy for people to reply back to your emails, or to schedule a phone call to talk more, or to flat out buy your product. Obviously, the right next step is going to be 100 percent reliant on your particular business model. This is a big part of what I help my clients with, so don’t worry if you’re feeling unsure. It gets easier with time.
What if you run out of ideas? I’ve got you! I have some ideas for what you can share in your emails to keep them fresh and engaging. Here are my seven top ideas.
7 content ideas for your long-term nurture series
1. Share a relevant story
We all love stories. We desire them; we crave them; it’s how we connect with others. So don’t feel like just because you have a business, you can’t bring in relevant stories—please do. And don’t be all boring with it. Make sure there is a hero, a challenge, a solution, all that jazz. Bring emotion to it. We often buy based on emotion so why wouldn’t you bring that into your emails?
Maybe it’s a story about one of your clients who changed her life with your services. What about your own story as you were starting this company you love dearly? And remember that one incredible milestone you reached recently? How can you make a story out of that?
2. Write about a behind-the-scenes and the lessons learned
With the age of social media, we’ve all become voyeuristic. We want to know what’s going on behind-the-scenes, and we value companies that are transparent and keep it real. This is especially true when it comes to the millennial market and younger. If we think you’re hiding something, you can forget about getting that sale.
So how can you pick a time where something interesting, crazy, or shocking happened in your business—and show the behind the scenes. Bring the people there. Maybe there’s a video? Photos? And how does that all tie into why people should work with you? Find the common thread and use that.
3. Address commonly asked question(s)
One of the most important content types—answering those questions. Your prospects have tons of them, but the thing is? Most won’t even ask. I’m not sure why, maybe they’re embarrassed (this question is silly, so I won’t ask it), or maybe they aren’t sure how to articulate it (how do I even describe this problem?), or maybe they don’t even know they have a question, but they really do? If you don’t address these questions ahead of time, you’re treading tough waters, my friend. Be a friend to them, look out for them, answer those questions.
4. Feature a case study or success story
People love seeing the stories of success. Even more so when they can put themselves in the shoes of the “hero” of the story. So bring them there. Naturally, you can’t talk about only the most well-known clients you have, or the most rockstar ones, because some prospects just won’t relate to that. Maybe some prospects feel like they won’t ever achieve the results you are promising because they aren’t at the level they think they should be.
So bring forth stories of other clients—the ones that are more relatable. And the transformation doesn't have to be huge. And in fact, it’s better when it’s realistic. You want your prospects to be put in a state of “Oh my goodness, if they can do it, then I can definitely do it too!”
5. Share a piece of publicity
I mean, there’s nothing wrong with tooting your own horn a little bit, especially if you’ve gotten some great publicity. Done a TV interview? An incredible podcast episode? Were you featured in a magazine? Use that. We need social proof to see that you are indeed trustworthy. And if the media touts you as the expert, then of course you must be. And it could just be the thing that gets your prospects off the fence.
6. Do an interview with an expert
Have a point you’re trying to take home, but your own content or your own perspective isn’t feeling enough to convince your prospect? Bring on another expert and do an interview with them talking about the topic. Perhaps it’s about the importance of doing what you do in your business, perhaps it’s the dangers of the pain points of your clients, or perhaps it’s something else entirely.
Find some experts to interview and use that as a way to drill home a point from another person’s perspective. It may be helpful to see that it’s not just you who believes in what you’re doing, preaching, or selling.
7. Repurpose your live streams
Last but not least—live streaming. If you’ve ever done any particularly great live streams on Facebook Live or elsewhere, this can be a great opportunity for you to repurpose them and share them again.
How can you know it’s a good live stream to use? Well, if it’s been getting some comments or likes, or perhaps it’s been getting more views than your other videos, it’s possible that this particular video struck a tune with your folks.
Oh, and if you’re not doing any live streaming yet, what are you waiting for? It’s one of the most effective ways to break through the noise on Facebook and talk right to your prospects. Use it!
And if you’re not sure what to do on your live streams, I have a great resource on my blog that outlines 65 ideas for your live streaming topics (read it here). You’ll never run out of ideas now.
Go ahead and create your email series and I can’t wait to hear all about how it’s going to make your life in your business easier. Don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know what you think.
Kamila Gornia is the “Blow Up, Scale Up” Marketing Strategist who helps passionate entrepreneurs to get seen and get paid online so they can become thought leaders in their space. She specializes in Facebook Ads, sales funnels, and lead generation through strategic personality-based profit systems.
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