Is email marketing dead? 

On the contrary, evolving algorithms and technological advancements have made this marketing method even more potent. Its low-cost and highly productive characteristics play crucial roles in both retaining current customers and reaching new market segments. 

How can a simple email accomplish all this? One approach is to automate messaging with email sequences. It might surprise you, but automated emails generate 3.2 times more revenue than non-automated emails. So, let's talk more about email sequences after learning some fundamentals.

An Introduction to Email Sequences

To better understand how email sequences can generate record-high profits, it’s crucial to know the essentials.

What Is an Email Sequence?

An email sequence is a series of automated emails sent to a predetermined group of customers using email sequence software. 

It can be time-based or trigger-based:

  • Time-based email sequences are sent regularly, like a subscription celebration or a purchase reminder. 

  • Trigger-based email sequences are based on an event, such as when a customer makes a purchase or completes a feedback form. 

Elements of an Effective Email Sequence

Creating an email sequence allows you to increase your brand awareness, build trust with potential customers and make a sale. Additionally, it helps you save time by sending multiple emails at once.

No matter which part of the customer journey you're targeting, all effective email sequences have certain elements in common.

  1. Keep it focused. Your email sequence should have one specific goal. Trying to accomplish too many things at once will only confuse your readers and make it less likely that they'll take the desired action. 

  2. Make it personal. Your emails should address the reader by name and include other personal touches, like curated images, stories and details that make them feel like you're speaking directly to them.

  3. Be consistent. Sending out a series of emails requires commitment. You need to be consistent in your frequency and message. 

  4. Offer value. Your emails should offer value, helpful information, a freebie or a discount on your products or services. If you're not giving your readers something of value, they're unlikely to stick around for long.

Now that you know what an email sequence is and what components you need to keep in mind, let's look at how to make one.

Creating an Effective Email 

The following steps will help you pass through the process smoothly.

  • Identify the goal. Typically, the main objective of the majority of email sequences is to bring in new clients. 

Understanding the clients you want to target is necessary before you draft your message to fit the context, intention and time. Additionally, it will make it simpler for you to evaluate the success of your email.

Let's say you work for a design studio and send a cold email to a potential client. Success in your case would involve setting up a meeting.

The goal is to give you the freedom to explore your options so you can logically and intentionally organize your email sequences. 

  • Choose a trigger for the sequence. You should outline an email sequence's requirements before implementing it.

This is referred to as a trigger, a stimulus that initiates the sequence. Take the previous example once more. Your triggers as a design studio could be:

  • Filling out an inquiry form

  • Booking a meeting

  • Subscribing to your newsletter

Make sure the automation program you select is compatible with these triggers; alternatively, you could manually enter them into your CRM system. 

  • Choose the sequence length. Although there are no strict limits on the number of emails you can automate, it is always a good idea to know how many you will need to convert a prospect into a paying customer.

Let’s assume your email marketing funnel is approximately 15 days long. You can communicate with your leads twice weekly, four messages in total over the span of 15 days. 

You can increase or decrease the frequency according to specific events, especially if you've had a personal interaction because then you might want to follow up a week after speaking to the prospect. 

  • Draft the message. The next step is to write your email while keeping in mind that it should fit all your prospects.

These emails will be sent to multiple recipients, so the information should be relevant for each client, along with the language, style and a powerful CTA. Thus, your message should significantly increase customer retention. Note that watery information will make your emails draggy, and the client may lose interest. 

  • Bring technology into play. When you have the message ready, it’s time to set things in motion and punch it into your automation software. 

Most software allows you to add personalized elements to your emails, like links, so make sure you leverage that option. 

Gmail as a mail client offers tons of templates to choose from.

For example, a sales email template is clean because it needs to be direct. At the same time, a marketing email should be more fun, conversational and interactive to keep the lead engaged.

  • Automate the message. After you’ve pasted the message into the program, you’ll need to set specific instructions for automation.

These instructions involve:

  • Enrollment criteria

  • Specific actions that will trigger the email (making a purchase, subscribing to the email list, etc.)

  • Durations between each sequence

Be extremely specific with your instructions. You can always include yourself in the sequence to send a test email to your mailbox if you're still unsure.

This will also help you save time in the long run, enabling you to judge whether all your information is in order.

Everything eventually boils down to creating content that matches your potential consumer's psyche. Give them good value and a reason to choose your service over your competitors, and they’ll come back asking for more.

With the process mapped out, now it’s high time to check out a few examples and get inspired.

Examples of E-commerce Email Sequences That Generate Profits

An email sequence's effectiveness depends on your message's strength and timing. 

Additionally, you need to have in-depth knowledge of your customer's preferences. Let’s have a look at some effective sequences to understand this better.

Welcome Sequence

Welcome sequences come into play when introducing your brand for the first time, e.g., after leads sign up for your newsletter. It is a way of setting the foundation for a blooming business in the future. 

Think of this as your first impression, which should stand out by utilizing compelling subject lines and special welcome offers. Let’s see what else you can add in a welcome sequence.

  • Email 1. Talk about sign-up offers and coupons or anything that might be valuable to the customer. This is a good place to slip in a light introduction to your brand.

  • Email 2. Tell your story. Talk to the customers like they’re sitting in front of you, and make sure your story is compelling.

  • Email 3. Show how your brand solves a market problem and why customers should trust you. This is where you generate the need for your product/service.

  • Email 4. Share a client's journey or a testimonial to add credibility.

  • Email 5. Think of this as an elevator pitch. By this point, the client should be sold and ready to make the purchase. This section is content-heavy, so draft your message cautiously.

Abandoned Cart Sequence

As an e-commerce marketer, you should be prepared to face customers who will add products to their carts but never go through with a purchase.

We’ve all done that, too, at some point, so it’s no surprise that you need to handle this tactfully. Here’s what you can include in your cart abandonment sequence.

  • Email 1. This initial reminder should be followed up one to two hours after products are added to the cart.

  • Email 2. This should follow up in 24 to 48 hours with instructions on completing a purchase in case the client has had trouble. You can offer discounts or reduced shipping charges to make it more compelling.

  • Email 3. This should be the final reminder, which should only be sent if the first two emails fail to complete the funnel. Content in this section should provoke a sense of urgency in the client.

Nurturing a Lead Email Sequence

This sequence is a way of nurturing leads through offers and incentives. 

You not only remind the client about the abandoned cart but also take them through additional discounts and offers to make the purchase more compelling.

  • Email 1. Show them your offers and incentives. Studies indicate that more than 66% of customers purchase a product purely because of the offer. 

  • Email 2. This is the first reminder in case the first email doesn’t generate a response.

  • Email 3. This is the second reminder that sets a deadline for the offer and instigates a response.

Post-Purchase Email Sequence

This email sequence comes to action after the purchase goes through. You can decide when you want to send this. 

For instance, it could be directly after the purchase, while delivery is underway, or even after the delivery has been made.

  • Email 1. Talk about order confirmation or shipping details. 

  • Email 2. Encourage conversations to build prospects for selling more products and build a good rapport with the client. It’s also a good time to ask for feedback or a review.

Don’t burden yourself with worrying too much about the intervals between each message. It should do the job, as long as the content is top-notch and the information is clear.

Pro-tip. Use email tracking software to establish a positive rapport with your customers by responding to their questions immediately. 

Final Words

If you want to increase sales engagement, boost sales rep productivity, prevent leads from slipping through the cracks and close more deals, then indulging in automated email sequencing is the answer. 

Try to combine different types of email sequences, improve them and define which ones will fit your e-commerce business. Once you have the right mix, you’ll be on your path to success.