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Sequencing Emails for Engagement and Retention

The third article in our Email Messaging Best Practices series

A typical prospect will learn about your brand, product or service from a series of messages over time. This slow burn-in often occurs over various devices: at a desktop PC, on a smartphone while on the go, relaxing with a tablet at home, etc. As such, it’s more important than ever to carefully strategize your email messaging sequence to align with the episodic nature of modern-day content consumption.

Here are a few best practices you’ll want to employ in order to encourage interaction with your sales funnel from the outset, retain your prospects during their discovery phases, and convert leads to inquiries when they’re ready to take the last step in their decision journeys.

Phase 1 – Initial Contact.

In this early phase, the goal is to take the first step in turning recipients into prospects. For a generalized list, use your welcome email(s) to give them an idea of the big-picture benefits/differences you offer — along with key products and services you’re able to provide. If you can segment your list into specialized subgroups, that becomes a valuable opportunity to supply targeted information and call-to-action (CTA) opportunities geared toward those interests.

Phase 2  – Lead Nurturing.

This middle phase can last anywhere from a few days to a number of months, depending on the prospect and the typical length of your selling cycle. The idea is to supply prospects with relevant information that keeps them engaged. Try to achieve an appropriate balance between educational content and promotional CTA-type verbiage. This provides the prospect with an evolving base of knowledge to keep the decision journey moving ahead — while also providing ample CTA opportunities to encourage inquiries, dialogue and requests for consultations/proposals.

Phase 3  – Closing In for Conversions.

By now, your marketing tracking and automation system is showing you which prospects may be ready to enter the final stage of decision-making. Significant metrics include multiple visits to your site, what pages of your website they’ve spent the most time with, content pieces they’ve downloaded, etc. This is the time to ramp up the effort with additional content that is geared to their demonstrated areas of interest — with CTAs that take it up a notch in terms of suggesting personal contact, setting up a consultation, or providing the tipping point that leads to a purchase/decision.

Addendum – Reconnecting with dormant prospects.​

In the e-commerce arena, about 3/4 of shopping orders turn into abandoned carts. While these dropoffs are substantially more visible in the retail space, this reality is a factor for email campaigns across all industries and genres.

Think of ways to bring these dormant recipients/prospects back to life. A follow-up with a download link to highly focused information. A personal appeal to answer specific questions or set up a consulation. A limited time offer for a reduced fee or subscription rate. These are just a few of the possibilities.

All in all, the key to success in digital marketing is the art and science of getting the right information to the right prospects at the right time. A well thought out strategy for sequenced emails — to serve the various points at all phases of the decision journey — is a time investment that can pay off substantially in the generation of leads, dialogues, conversions and ultimately relationships.

More in our Email Messaging Best Practices series


Neptune Web is a full-service Boston-area interactive web and digital marketing agency with expertise in Website Design, Web Development, Digital Marketing Strategy and Execution.

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