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How to craft the perfect email sequence for a launch, step by step – 6 experts share their methods

Email sequence strategies for a perfect launch- 6 experts share their methods

You have a product or program launch coming up; you know you need an email sequence to bring in those leads – but you have questions. Is there a standard successful structure to how high-conversion launch emails go? Are there ‘magic words’ to use? Magic pain points to push? How do the pros lay the foundations for their successful programs before they even send the first email?

I asked 6 experts all of these questions and more. Step by step, they explain what they do before, during and after their launches to ensure a successful email sequence

 

Part 1: Before the first email

The question: What do you need to do before you send the first product/program launch email to ‘prime the pump’, so to speak? What does the larger relationship with your prospects look like so they are more likely to convert when you want to sell something?

Rebecca Tracey, founder of Uncage Your Business

Before every launch, I make sure to get super engaged with my audience (starting at least 4 weeks before). This usually means a weekly Facebook livestream where I teach a topic and get people to comment, share their experiences, and post examples for me to review. This helps them start to see my teaching style, see how active and engaged I am with them, and also how much I can HELP them in a short amount of time. I then email this recording out to my list and share it in my FB group to make sure it’s widely watched! In these FB lives, I make sure to mention my program at least 2-3 times (in passing, not direct selling) so they start to learn the name of the course and a little bit about what it is

I actually consider this part of the pre-launch — warming people up — so that when actual sales emails start to come in, they are already primed and ready to hear more about it!

Val Geisler, email conversion expert at ValGeisler.com

A lot of times we, as marketers, get so busy building the thing we’re going to launch that we forget to actually tell anyone about the thing. Or we think everyone knows already since we’re up to our necks in it. But you have to talk about what you’re building throughout the process.

Tease out some content (yay for repurposing!), write standalone articles on the topic, or share the process of what you’re building. Most of all, be sure you’re capturing interest with a landing page and email signup. You’ll have a targeted interest list who are warm leads by the time you launch.

Alaura Weaver, Story-based copywriter at WordWeaverFreelance.com

Personas, lead magnet opt-ins, content marketing, lead nurturing and segmentation! Even if you don’t have a product launched, you can still start building relationships with prospects by getting specific about who you want to reach and building awareness about the problems you want to help them solve.

As you interact with your prospects, you can build a repository of relatable language and scenarios to use in your email sequence.

Sue Duris, Director of Marketing & CX at M4 Communications

I’m a big believer in LEAP – listen, engage, assist, and then promote. You must develop relationships with your prospects on social first. Who are they? What motivates them? What pisses them off? Then you can craft a first message that will resonate with their pains and desired business outcomes they have. Thus, you need to plan – who are the prospects? What is the message? What does the campaign look like? The best way to do this is visualize what success looks like and work backwards.

LEAP GIF

Lauren Van Mullem, Copywriter for Coaches at TruerwordsbyLauren.com

Laying the foundation for a program launch is the most important part of the process – but you have to understand that you’re playing the long game. You have to train people to open the emails you send, so when you send an email with an ‘ask’ in it, they’ll open it and listen to what you have to say.

How do you train people to open your emails? You have to make each email useful, interesting, fun to read, and personal. You have to give a lot of good information away. You have to spend time building a relationship with your readers that’s based on mutual interests and shared passions. And every email has to sound like you wrote it. Then, by the time you’re ready to launch a program, your list is already listening to every word you say – and they feel like they know you personally. You’ve become a friend. I don’t know about you – but I’m really excited to support my friends.

 

Part 2: During the email sequence

The question: Is there a template for the arch of an effective email sequence? Or basic principles?

Rebecca Tracey, Uncage Your Business

I do 4 weeks of pure value before the cart opens (FB lives and emails) and I send people to a waitlist in these emails, then a direct sales email for open cart, then daily emails until cart closes (covering misconceptions and objections, case studies, FAQs, program walkthroughs, and lots of value). Then, on cart close day, I send at least 3 emails.

The basic arch can vary, but you do need to balance value and selling (you don’t want every email to be “HEY BUY MY COURSE!”), but you also don’t want the emails to feel like like any other blog posts – they should ALL be related to course content, and should all link to a sales page!

Val Geisler, email conversion expert at ValGeisler.com

Almost every email sequence I write follows a foundational formula I call The Dinner Party Strategy®: a welcome, serve the appetizers, bring out the main course, add some side dishes, plate up the dessert, and then wrap it up and invite them back! You might be wondering how to do this with email, so let me help.

The welcome is the first email that follows your warm-up emails. It tells them about the topic and gives them the lay of the land.

Appetizers are the precursor to the main dish. These are emails that share teachable content. You might be tempted to dive in with the sale, but remember the principle: give, give, give, get. Teach them during the appetizer emails and whet their palate for more.

The main course is your sales email(s). Break down the product, why they’re perfect for it, and serve it up on a big beautiful platter.

Side dishes enhance the main course. These are emails that give sneak peeks of the content, share a worksheet from the course, or anything else that might be a fun value add via email.

Dessert is the pièce de resistance. Now is when you add bonuses or offer a discount. Make it impossible for them to say no.

Once dinner is all served and done, you want to invite your guests back. So even if they don’t buy, keep the conversation going. You may launch again in the future and you don’t want to ghost people just because this particular product wasn’t for them. Oh, and those who did buy? Give them a huge thank you and tell them what to expect next.

Of course, each of these phases can have several emails. And you should segment your subscribers based on who purchases (so they don’t get any more sales emails) and who’s clicking links and showing interest (so you can send them even more reminders as the doors start to close). There’s no magic number as far as emails go but if you cover the bases of The Dinner Party Strategy you’ll have a solid foundation to build on.

Alaura Weaver, Story-based copywriter at WordWeaverFreelance.com

I follow the stages of awareness and build toward a sales campaign in a 7-email launch sequence.

Email 1 (Problem Unaware): Discuss a common problem that people in their role have which indicates there is a deeper problem (which your product solves). Make them aware of the deeper problem. Refer to the fact that you have a tool/service/approach that solves the problem, but don’t go into detail.

Email 2 (Problem Aware): Talk about the ways this deeper problem manifests and the consequences of not taking action to correct this problem.

Email 3 (Solution Aware): Discuss the various ways people can solve the core problem, including your product/service/approach. Don’t discuss the features of your product, just the ways your product removes their pain.

Email 4 (Product Aware): Introduce the ways your product features meets their needs and solves their problem better than competitors.  

Email 5 (Recommendation): Now it’s time to announce your product launch and provide your prospect with a call to action through recommended next steps based on their segment and needs.

Email 6 (Offer): Give a time-sensitive offer.

Email 7 (Close the sale): Announce that the offer is expiring and that this is the last chance to get in on the special deal (and mean it).

Sue Duris, Director of Marketing & CX at M4 Communications

I’ve found this is a pretty decent template to follow. Of course, I customize it to the particular situation I’m in.

Email drip campaign flow

You want to continue to provide a message that resonates along with tools that help them be more successful. But be judicious on spacing your drip campaign. Too frequent, not good. Too much time, not good either. It’s going to take experimentation – with subject lines, content, timing, visuals, etc. Your goal is really to be thinking Time-To-Value – because your prospects want to be successful now, so if they can trust you will deliver on your promise, then they’ll convert…sooner rather than later. Think of the drip campaign as a crescendo in music – you’ve got to build up to it. Of course, in addition, providing a CTA is also key. You’ve got give them an action to take.

The question: What email conversion technique have you seen work surprisingly well?

Rebecca Tracey, Uncage Your Business

Personal attention always works like a charm. During launch, I ask people to reply to emails and tell me something (what their fears are, what they are working on now, etc — anything related to the content of the email). And I send personal replies. When I get emails asking questions specifically about the program, I send voice replies (it’s much easier for me to explain stuff about about my program by voice, and they LOVE the personalized touch). Any amount of personal connection during a launch massively helps conversions!

Alaura Weaver, Story-based copywriter at WordWeaverFreelance.com

NOT including pricing/discounts in your subject line. In my experience, subject lines that talk about pricing invariably convert less than those that refer to a prospect’s pain or their dream scenario.

Sue Duris, Director of Marketing & CX at M4 Communications

To the point, appropriately spaced, always thinking about how to help the prospect succeed. Above all, it’s all about prospect – know what they’re going through. Be authentic and empathic.

The question: Is a good email sequence like a long-form sales page, but serialized? How are they similar, or different, considering both have the same goal – conversion?

Rebecca Tracey, Uncage Your Business

This is an interesting question! I don’t think they are the same… the sales page talks about the program – what it is, who it’s for, how it works etc. Emails help bolster that content by offering additional value to show people you truly are the expert and they should trust you, by highlighting more in depth case studies than you could put on a sales page, and by getting the offer in front of people in different ways. Yes, a sales page does all of that, but an email sequence gives you SO much more room to flesh it out, showcase your expertise in different ways, and make sure people are getting the info they need.

Alaura Weaver, Story-based copywriter at WordWeaverFreelance.com

Yes, but because it’s serialized, your messaging can be more in-depth.

Sue Duris, Director of Marketing & CX at M4 Communications

Gosh, personally, I don’t like long-form approaches. Honestly, you have seconds to get to the prospect and it takes at least 7 touch points for the prospect to remember you.

The question: For the penultimate email – the “last chance to buy before the cart closes!” one. What is the secret to making this email effective at converting the fence-sitters?

Rebecca Tracey, Uncage Your Business

SO many people wait ‘til last minute! I think I usually have around 30% buy in the last 48 hours. Last chance emails tend to work best if they are to the point and direct, but since I like to send several last chance emails, I do like to throw in one that speaks to their specific objections, shows them I understand, and shows them how my program is different. The job of these emails is to get them off the fence, so don’t beat around the bush — speak directly to their fears (and you can even call them out on procrastinating!).

In the past I have asked people directly “why haven’t you signed up” and had them hit reply and tell me! I was then able to personally reply to those emails, either saying “thanks for sharing that and all the best” if they weren’t a good fit, or addressing their objections or misconceptions if they were actually a fit!

Alaura Weaver, Story-based copywriter at WordWeaverFreelance.com

Most customers wait until that last chance email! People today are marketing savvy and know to milk any special offers until the very last drop.

As for converting fence-sitters, the best way I’ve seen is to ask them to imagine how their lives will change once they purchase. Then go for the FOMO.

 

Part 3: After the campaign ends

The question: What does your follow-up look like? How do you continue to nurture the relationship after the cart has closed, and the people who’ve bought have bought, and those who didn’t aren’t going to (this time)?

Rebecca Tracey, Uncage Your Business

I always send out a “why didn’t you buy” email after each launch, a few days after the cart closes. I ask people why they didn’t buy, and also what would have to be included for it to be a YES for them. I gather SO much data in this email it’s insane! Most of the comments are lovely “The program looks fantastic but I am already working with a coach” and stuff like that… and a few (luckily VERY few) are nasty… so it does take some guts to open yourself up to this kind of feedback, but what you learn is SO valuable! It gives me huge insight to what my audience needs. I often get new ideas for free trainings and opt-ins I can create based on their feedback, which I am then able to create and send out to them!

Free stuff GIF

I also have a Facebook group where I do a lot of marketing during launch but am also active the rest of the year too, so I don’t totally disappear. I’m still in there offering help and answering people’s questions, so they know I’m still there for them EVEN IF they didn’t buy. I also continue to blog and create free stuff so that those who didn’t buy can still lean from me (and – bonus – this often helps them get ready for the next round of the program! and they often turn into clients!). 

Alaura Weaver, Story-based copywriter at WordWeaverFreelance.com

That’s just the beginning of the relationship. Now it’s time get to know their individual goals and help them get there through informative content, 1:1 outreach, and a supportive community.

As for those who haven’t bought yet, they are still a part of my professional community, and I want to deliver just as much value to them as paying customers. I continue to send valuable resources that will help them get closer to their goals, and once they’re ready to buy again, they’ll think of me.

Sue Duris, Director of Marketing & CX at M4 Communications

Celebrate those who bought; they are your customers! Be grateful for them every day! And continue to nurture that relationship from purchase through advocacy. Make sure they are properly onboarded, continue to check in with them, and give them opportunities to provide feedback, advocate for you, and even co-create with you.

When a prospect says No, it might not necessarily mean No, it could mean “Not now”. So you have to segment those prospects who didn’t convert and experiment with different types of communication and nurturing. A good practice is to implement some type of win-loss analysis – ask them why did they buy? not buy? what went into their decision? where can you improve? This serves two purposes – (1) you get key insights on what you can do to improve and (2) you start your nurturing process with these prospects.

Of course, there are going to be people that are not interested. That is what segmenting is for, to separate the customers and the prospects who might buy from you later.

Kaleigh Moore, SaaS & eCommerce Copywriter

My list is still fairly small, so my follow-up is one-to-one and extremely personalized. I reach out to individuals with a message I’ve written just for them. It’s time-consuming, but the conversion rate and response rates are incredible. I think people are so tired of the mass message that they’re thrilled to get a real email from a real person.

 

Conclusion

Hopefully, these strategies have armed you with the knowledge to craft the perfect email sequence for your next launch. Are there any other methods that have worked for you? Let me know in the comments!

Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré

Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré

Nichole is a B2B SaaS consultant, growth marketer, and copywriter. She is also passionate about community: she has worked at Product Hunt, Inbound.org (now Growth.org), Zest.is, GrowthHackers.com and other popular online communities in the tech space. She is a Quuurator at Quuu, a member of The Shine Crew, a top 15 hunter at Product Hunt, a moderator at GrowthHackers.com, co-created SaaS.Community, and created Unicorn Think Tank. She is co-authoring The SaaS Growth Playbook.

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