Nurturing Lists

9 Characteristics of a Killer Email Nurturing Sequence


Building a solid email prospecting strategy is critical. It’s how you turn your lead into a customer. But don’t leave your email efforts at the door once you make the sale. Acquiring a customer is one thing, but keeping them is something entirely different. Your relationship with your new customer is a marathon, not a sprint, so that’s why you need a solid email nurturing sequence in place.

Your nurturing (aka onboarding) sequence could last anywhere from days to months with plenty of meaty content in the middle. That’s why we’ve focused in on nine elements to create a nurturing sequence that will keep your customers around for the long haul.

1) A friendly “welcome” can go a long way.

Welcome emails have, on average, four times the open rate and five times the click rate of other mailings. You already made the sale, so take this opportunity to make your newbie feel like part of your community. AbesMarket does this effortlessly in the email below by sharing its mission statement along with a personalized note and picture of its co-founders.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make your welcome warm and worthwhile.

2) Give tips or tutorials to engage your customer with their new service/product.

If your customer never engages with or uses your product, chances are they won’t become a recurring customer. Since it can cost 4-10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one, leverage email to introduce your customer to your product.

One way to do this is by sending “getting started” tips or a breakdown of what your product can do for them. Moz’s email does a fantastic job of breaking down all the ways you can use the tool to get the most bang for your buck.

Airbnb also does a stand up job of empowering users to utilize their service by giving step-by-step directions on how to book accommodations for their next adventure!

Do note, the necessity for a “getting started” or “tutorial” of sorts depends on your product and/or industry. For example, getting started tips for a SaaS product could be very helpful, but a tutorial for the new blouse you just bought, well… you get the point.

3) Brand consistency is key across all channels.

If someone is making a purchase on your site, it’s important to ensure the follow-up communication has a similar look and tone. It would be quite alarming to buy a television from Best Buy and then receive a fuchsia follow-up email in Comic Sans font.

Soap&Glory did a fantastic job of designing their email to reflect their e-commerce website.

Here’s their website…

Now check out their pretty in pink email…

Having consistent branding isn’t just limited to your website and emails. Every channel you use to communicate with your customer should be consistent in design and tone.

4) Manage your new customer’s expectations.

Setting and managing your client’s expectations from the get-go is key to building a healthy and happy relationship. How often will they hear from you? What’s the best way to contact support? What should they expect after becoming a new customer?

Pardot’s onboarding series does a fantastic job of expectation setting by letting subscribers know this is the first of five onboarding emails and then explains purpose of the series.

Birchbox does a stellar job, as well, by laying out when the new customer will receive their samples in the mail, how many samples they receive and where to go to purchase the full-sized version of a new favorite product.

Manage your customers’ expectations successfully and you’ll manage the relationship successfully, too!

5) Provide value beyond the product/service itself.

Here at Email on Acid, we make it a point to share coding guides, templates and other freebies with our users since we understand how frustrating email development can be! When a new customer signs up, we give them a boatload of email freebies on top of the testing tools so if/when they run into issues, they’re prepared.

Check out our email below giving access to our resource center.

Other good examples of using this tactic are when retail stores offer discounts and coupon codes after a purchase is made. New subscribers are always appreciative when you go the extra mile.

6) Allow your customers to interact with you on platforms other than email.

Three quarters of adults are connected to one or more social media platforms. With the broad reach available on social networks, you’re throwing money out the window if you are only connecting with your new customers through one channel, email.

Neiman Marcus has one of the better emails I’ve seen to allow their customers to connect with their brand through other digital channels, like social media.

While I’m partial to email (of course), some of your subscribers would rather browse through their social feed than connect with you in their inbox.

7) Personalize your messaging.

Experian found that personalized mailings had a 29 percent higher open rate and a 41 percent higher click through rate than mailings that were not. The simplest version of personalization is to include your client’s name in the email; while the most complex way would be using dynamic software to customize offers and products displayed to users based on their on-site behaviors and purchasing patterns.

In the email below, Thomas Cook does a great job of using dynamic content to display not only the customer’s name, but also a countdown before Matt’s vacation.

Relevant emails drive 18x more revenue than broadcast emails. If you’re struggling to gather enough information to personalize your email, take a lesson from PiperLime and capture behavioral information during the individual’s onboarding process.

Don’t let your subscriber’s personal and behavioral information waste away in a database, use it to create more personalized (read: relevant) emails with dynamic content!

8) Send a cross sell/upsell based on past behavior.

Cross sells and upsells are exponentially more effective when they are based on past behavior. Evaluate your ability to use this technique based on your answers to the following:

What did the individual purchase to become your customer? Have they opened another promotional email or visited more pages on your site?

The best example of this strategy comes from Amazon. Amazon does a bang up job of tracking your past purchases, then offering follow up emails with their, “You bought this, so you might like this” upsell. Check out the email below giving personalized recommendations based on the subscriber’s past behavior.

This past-purchase email method leads to more purchases, and a greater overall customer lifetime value.

9) Give subscribers a reason to stay.

Once you’ve spent all of this time and effort into nurturing your new customer, be sure to continue to give them a reason to stay loyal to you over time. Incentives, discounts or a loyalty program are great ways to keep your customers, well, your customers!
Priceline does a terrific job of this by following up with a hotel discount right after their customer returns from vacation.

This email allows Priceline to stay top of mind with the customer in a moment when they might want to plan their next adventure.

What does your onboarding process look like?

Did we miss any important email tactics you use when welcoming new customers? Share your nurturing process in the comments section below!

Once you nail down your email workflow to ensure your customers stick around for the long haul, don’t forgot to test your new autoresponders before you hit send! It would be incredibly embarrassing to send out what you think is a warm welcome but shows up in your new customer’s inbox funky (or broken).

Get unlimited email, spam and image testing, free for 7 days, so you always put your best foot forward.

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