Beginner's guide to writing email sequences

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How To Write An Email Sequence

It’s tough to keep up with the types of emails that you need when you are trying to run your business. 

Most new business owners struggle with creating effective email campaigns that actually convert. 

They send out one email, and you never hear from them again, or you do a year later. As a result, they see low open rates and click-through rates as they have not formed a relationship with their email list.

Email marketing can be a powerful tool when done correctly and it has the highest return on investment (ROI). Litmus states, “for every $1 marketers spend on email marketing, they receive $36 in return”.

That’s why we’ve created a simple, step-by-step guide to show you how to easily create an email sequence that will help you increase your sales and grow your business.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to see better results from your email marketing campaigns!

Let’s get started!

What is an Email Sequence?

An email sequence is a series of emails automatically sent to your email list. An email sequence is designed for a specific purpose and you can have multiple types of sequences running depending on what your email marketing goals are.   

For example, when someone subscribes to your email list you can send out a 6 part series of emails to welcome them to your brand and business.

An email series is a great way to get your content in front of the people you want. You are able to share the right message at the right time with the right people.

These emails can guide your prospects through each stage of the buyer’s journey while forming a unique relationship with them. 

The buyer’s journey is a complex, yet interesting process buyers go through before making a purchasing decision. 

They also help you prime your audience to be sold to, so at the end of your sequence, they are all hyped and ready to go when you pitch them leading to better conversions. 

Email sequences are automated, so once you’ve created one, all that’s left is to test them, measure their results and alter where needed.

How Do Email Sequences Work?

The sequence of emails are sent out based on where the subscriber is in the buyer’s journey, it can be set based on criteria such as delays, decisions and goals.

Time delays let you choose when the next step in that process should start. An email can be delayed by minutes, hours, or days. For example, how long until the email should be sent. 

Decisions are a set of conditions you make to guide the subscribers to one of many possible paths. So based on what criteria the subscriber fits in, they will be sent on that path. For example, if the subscriber is an existing customer, A will happen, and if they are not, then B will happen. 

Goals are used to determine when milestones have been achieved. For example, If a user purchases during their free trial as opposed to unsubscribing.

3 Things You Need to Do Before Writing Your Email Sequence

Before you start writing our email sequence, you need to be clear on the following:

  1. What do you hope to achieve with your email sequence?
  2. Where is your audience in the buyer’s journey?
  3. What actions do you want your audience to take?

1. What do you hope to achieve with this email sequence?

The first step to setting up a successful email sequence is figuring out what you want the end result of your campaign to be.

Do you want your audience to book a sales call, purchase your products or service, or to join your webinar?

Do you want to generate leads, nurture leads, increase brand awareness, conversion rates or customer value? 

These questions are important because they will provide the context of your copy and prime your audience for your intentions, and your “call to action” (CTA).

2. Where is your audience in the buyer’s journey?

The next step is to identify where the audience is in the buyer’s journey. 

How To Write An Email Sequence

Source: HubSpot 

For example, suppose you sell video editing software. 

In that case, someone who downloaded your ‘beginner’s guide to YouTube’ ebook is likely at the beginning of their buyer’s journey and, therefore, in the awareness stage.

If you are offering a webinar about XXX and you have a few sign ups already, then chances are that these potential customers would likely be familiar with the brand and or product and in the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey. 

And if they have already signed up for a trial, they are likely to be further down the funnel and in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey. 

Now that you know where they are in the buyer’s journey, you can cater your messaging towards their needs and meet them where they are. 

3. What actions do you want them to take?

Remember when we made reference to delays, decisions and goals? This step is where we create the roadmap of how we want the series of events to take place.

So for example, each email may have a different goal, but the endpoint is likely to be the same, as in booking a sales call or signing up for the trial. 

Having more than one goal or message contained in each email makes it difficult for the reader to understand what you are trying to say. 

The number of emails you send out is a balance between being informative while not overwhelming your subscribers with emails that they might not find useful. When people drown in emails that they don’t find useful we call this “spam” and this is what every marketer wants to avoid. 

The typical length of an email sequence varies however the average is between three and seven.

How many emails do you think it would take for them to be ready to hop on a call? 

The best way to know what’s right depends on how many touchpoints (number of encounters a prospect has with a brand) will be needed throughout the process for them to feel ready to take action.

How to Write an Email Sequence

1. Welcome Email Sequence 

A welcome email sequence is traditionally composed of … and is usually sent after someone subscribes to your email list. 

Subscriptions to email lists often originate from:

  • Signing up to your newsletter, waitlist, or webinar
  • Offering lead magnets or opt-in (ebook, guide, or template)

It’s important to send a welcome email when a new subscriber signs up because they have not only just opted in to hear from you but it’s also a great way to create a solid first impression. 

Most subscribers expect to receive an email and actively check their inbox after subscribing. 

Invesp states that “welcome emails generate 4x more opens and 5x more clicks than regular email marketing campaigns.”

This is your opportunity to engage with your new audience members when they are eager and ready to receive your message.

The welcome email centres around providing value from the outset and is designed so that your new signups get to know, like, and trust you. 

Welcome emails can be created as a series of emails or sent out as a standalone piece, similar to the example below. 

Welcome Email Element Checklist: 

  • Thank the subscriber for signing up 
  • A brief introduction of who you are and what you do 
  • Let your subscribers know how often they should expect to hear from you
  • Reinforce the reason they signed up
  • Share some additional resources
  • Share where else they can find you online (social media links)
  • End with a tease… Leave them on a cliffhanger 

Check out this welcome email example from Marie Kondo.

She welcomes new subscribers and introduces them to her philosophy. She also shares a link to the blog.

There’s another link to videos showing her in action as well as her consultants so subscribers can get a feel for what it would be like to have her services.

And finally, she has a call to action to follow her on Instagram.

How To Write An Email Sequence

Source: Really Good Emails 

2. Lead Nurture Email Sequence

A lead nurture sequence is meant to build and maintain relationships with email subscribers. 

Email nurturing is a series of emails sent over time that bring your leads closer to conversion.

The goal is to direct them into becoming paid clients or purchasing your product.

This is a challenging goal. 

Unfortunately, the majority of subscribers do not immediately convert into paying customers during the welcome sequence.

Trust needs to first be built and this takes time. Not every subscriber is at the same stage of the buyer’s journey meaning that the awareness and intentions are different. 

You can even have two prospects in the same stage of the buyer journey, and yet some will convert faster than others.

That is because it takes, on average, seven interactions with a business before anyone is likely to take action – this is known as the Rule of Seven.

As mentioned earlier, lead nurturing is a process. It takes time to establish trust with your leads by presenting yourself as an expert and authority on the subject they are interested in. 

Here are some elements to consider when designing this particular type of email sequence.

Lead Nurture Email Sequence Checklist: 

  • Engage, entertain, inspire and inform your audience
  • Show understanding by talking to your audience’s pain points
  • Address their major objections and hesitations
  • Share additional resources 
  • Share testimonials 
  • Share your process and your offer (but don’t be salesy) 

Check out this nurture email example from Harry’s.

They share their 3 step process to getting a smoother shave. 

They share this with images accompanied by text to paint a clearer picture and they have also added a shop now icon for those who are ready to buy.

This is a great lead nurture email as they are educating their audience on how they could use their products in an effective way. 

They are sharing the process step-by-step so that the reader can get a sense of what it would be like to have their products.

How To Write An Email Sequence

Source: Really Good Emails 

3. Conversion Email Sequence

A conversion email sequence is a series of emails you send when a cold lead has become a hot one.

These leads have been nurtured to the point place where they know, like, and trust you enough to make some form of commitment, whether it be to receive a sales call or to actually purchase your product.

Conversion Email Sequence Checklist: 

  • Talk to their pain points
  • Offer your solution 
  • Add a call to action (book a call or purchase a product) 

Check out this nurture email example from Airbnb.

They share images with links to the world’s unique and wishlisted stays. 

In this conversion email sequence, they have created categories and email subscribers can click on the links that best suit their dream destination. 

Airbnb also educates their audience on how to create their own list, how to save their favourite destinations/Airbnbs and how to share them with family and friends.

Instead of focusing on traditional monetary conversion tactics that we are used to seeing, they are educating their audience on their most popular wishlisted places and sharing a link to them. This is a great example of a conversion email as readers can visually see and click through to well-sought-after locations and book a reservation for their next travel destination. 

How To Write An Email Sequence

Source: Really Good Emails 

4. Re-Engagement Email Sequence

A re-engagement email sequence is a series of emails sent to subscribers who have not engaged with your emails within a set time frame.

It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one!

Engagement in an email marketing context is determined by open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and bounce rates.

Thus the goal of this sequence is to get your audience to re-engage with your emails.

These types of emails are designed to remind your subscribers why they subscribed in the first place and how you and your company are the ones to help them overcome that challenge.

That is why it is so important to nurture relationships with those leads that you worked so hard to get and actively encourage them to engage with your brand. 

Re-engagement email sequences help recover some of those potentially lost leads while also letting go of the ones who remain inactive.

Re-engagement emails also help you maintain a healthy email list as they help you identify the subscribers that are interested and engaged versus the ones who are no longer interested. 

Re-engagement Email Sequence Checklist: 

  • Re-introduce your business
  • Share support links and FAQs
  • Remove subscribers who remain inactive after sending out a re-engagement campaign 

Check out this re-engagement email example from Google Local Guides.

This email is checking in on users who haven’t used the Google Local Guides platform for some time. 

They let them know that their contributions are missed and that they are valued and they end with a call to action to share a picture or review of a place that they have visited. 

How To Write An Email Sequence

Source: G mass

5. Abandoned Cart Email Sequence

An abandoned cart email sequence is sent out to remind users of an online purchase that they did not complete. 

With an abandoned cart email, you can nudge a subscriber to complete the purchase as they have already shown interest in your product or service.

The key to winning back customers who abandon their carts is by understanding why they left their carts in the first place. 

Sometimes users get distracted or felt the checking out process was too complicated. Either way, it’s important to know what stopped them from taking action.

Abandoned Cart Email Sequence Checklist: 

  • Offer an incentive such as a discount or trial 
  • Include images, prices or suggest similar items 
  • Add a clear call to action to complete the purchase

Check out this abandoned cart email example from Vacation.

Firstly they let the user know that they have left some items in their cart. They share the name, image, quantity, and total side by side. 

They end with the call to action to view their cart and they sign off with the regional sales director. This adds a personal touch to the email. 

How To Write An Email Sequence

Source: Really Good Emails 


So how can you make sure your email sequence is effective? 

First, it’s important to understand the different phases of the buyer’s journey and create content that resonates with buyers at each stage.

Next, make sure your emails are well-timed and relevant to what subscribers are most likely interested in. 

Finally, always test and measure the results of your campaigns so you can continue to improve over time. 

By following these steps, you can create email sequences that get results. 

Are you ready to get started? Let us know if we can help!

And if you’re feeling overwhelmed or don’t have the time to do it yourself, our team is here to help. 

Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us show you how easy it is to create an email campaign that actually works!

We offer email marketing services so you can focus on what you do best and leave email marketing to us.


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