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last updated:
March 6, 2020


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Reading time: 11 min.

So you bought ConvertKit, started a free Mailchimp account, or are just DIYing a launch. Now, you’re ready to implement some email sequences—to do something beyond just send out a monthly newsletter. Today, i’m walking you through FOUR email sequence examples you need so you can DIY the strategy of your email campaigns in your creative business … by selling your brand and not your soul.

Without further ado, let’s go! 🙂 

4 email sequences you need

Last year, I was refreshing the copy for my friend and client Jenna’s sales page and I came up with this big idea, (that’s what copywriters call it) the big hook for the sales page, the algorithm proof your business.

I mean we can’t count on these social media apps to talk to our people—that’s why I think email marketing is so ~very~ important.

Here in the US, the ROI right now is for every $1 that you spend on email marketing, you’ll probably make back $44. Across the pond in the UK, every one pound spent on email marketing comes back with about 38 pounds….think about that for you and your business. 

If you already have email marketing set up, what do you pay every month? Then, I want you to multiply that times a number like 44 or 38— think about what the ROI could be on your business. 

And if like me, while you love social media, you also respect that it’s these for-profit businesses prerogative to change the algorithm and do what they want with them. We do not own these people so we need to focus on something we can control, which is our email marketing and our list.

We just need to play the game well and that means having some solid email marketing strategies in place, beyond just the monthly or the weekly newsletter.

If it’s not there yet, no worries, these four email sequence examples that I’m walking you through today will help you get there. 🙂 

I’m also doing a workshop with my friends over at ConvertKit, it is a totally free workshop. It’s all about the top five emails your audience needs from you…click here or click below to grab your seat! 

(Annnnd don’t  even worry about a pitch coming in for a paid offer, ConvertKit now has a free version of the software as well—you can find more information about that here.


Email Sequence No. 1 | A basic sales or product announcement sequence

Quick story: I am a mom and I have a 14 month old. I recently bought into a toy subscription that creates these really beautiful, more heirloom-quality toys. They’re wooden, they’re Montessori based. 

I’ve loved it, BUT what I’ve really liked is how I first signed up for this.

They noticed where I was as far as my child’s age and now I get emails about every other week that includes activities that I can do with my child at the exact age he is now. It’s SO helpful, especially for someone who didn’t think she was very maternal at first, to actually have activities and crafts and things that I can do with my child that he’ll enjoy at the age he is.

Now, let’s bring it back to YOU and your creative small business. 

How could you set something like that up for your brides, for your couples, for your art-collecting clients, whatever it is that you do? 

I ~know~ I talk about launching all.the.time, here I’m not talking about a launch sales funnel so much as an evergreen sales funnel, that can always point back to either the one-on-one services, the group coaching services you provide or your products that are constantly available. 

You need to have a sequence in place that can always be running in the background of your business, pointing to these things that you have for sale, these opportunities that you have to come in and serve people well.

And yes, in full disclosure, I am an affiliate for ConvertKit. I built my email list up to 20,000 on ConvertKit before I moved over, just because honestly, a lot of the sequencing I was handing off to someone on my team. She was more versed in Infusionsoft, so that is what we use now in my business, but I still recommend highly, highly ConvertKit, especially when you’re the one DIYing a lot of the sequences.

Here is a quick example of how you would go through an offer using this email sequence example: 

  • Start with two priming emails where you’re helping them understand why they need your product or your service
  • Then tease and mention the offer by name in this email
  • Next soft pitch it, go ahead and mention the opportunity, if you can add some deal or urgency that they’re going to get, do that as well
  • For the next email, give a case study and testimonial
  • Next put out that hard pitch email and close the offer after that
  • Now that you have primed, made and mentioned the offer, but now you’re going to end with why it’s created—”go ahead and click here to check it out” etc…

p.s. Don’t have a “product?” I *highly* recommend Tara Gentile’s Turn Your Service Into a Product course on CreativeLive. Otherwise, here are some baby steps to get you thinking in the right direction:

Crowdsource what your people want – Search in Facebook groups, ask a poll, and call 10 — yeah bud, 10 — dream clients to find out your audience’s immediate goals or biggest struggle. Copy and paste all of that into a spreadsheet … you’ll thank me later for this copy!

Email Sequence No. 2 | A list-cleaning sequence

You’ve seen the movie, He’s Just Not That Into You, right?! Let’s take it back a little further.

When the book came out, I was in high school and I was totally  😍 for guy who just wasn’t that into me. I read that book and a light bulb went off. He’s just not that into me…what freedom!

That is the beauty of a win-back campaign or a re-engagement campaign like this.

Maybe it’s a little bit of a buzzkill to kick 100, 1,000 or even 5,000 people off of your email list, but do you know what will turn that frown upside down?

You’re going to feel sooo much better once you see that uptick in the metrics that matter—your engagement rate, your click through rate, your open rate, and even your deliverability.

Based on simple statistics and overall industry metrics, you can guarantee you probably have somewhere hovering around a 20% open rate in your emails. Now, I don’t know what corner of the industry or what niche you service specifically, but a 20% open rate is somewhat standard. 

The more you grow your email list, the more that that 20% number is going to be growing to more people. This means that bit by bit this pool of people that are not opening your emails at all, that’s just dead weight you’re pulling around and it’s costing you money because you’re paying for them.

You need to get them off your list. They’re not interested in buying, they’re not your ride or dies, it is okay to delete them. Go ahead and put a recurring reminder on your calendar about every quarter or at least three-ish times a year to do this!

Quick example of how to implement a “list cleaning” email sequence:

  • Send out a series of emails to people who have not really opened or engaged in your emails in the past 3-6 months. 
  • Go ahead and tell them that you’re going to remove anyone who’s not interested—don’t just send this out and hope that they’ll click and that you can pull them in.
  • Be very clear in what you’re trying to say—you are going to remove them if they’re not interested.
  • Give them a few different freebie options that can also help you segment them. Based off what they’re interested in and see, try to segment these people into just starting out, mid-tier and then a little more advanced business owners..you will be able to salvage and pull back some people in here.
  • In couple of days, through ConvertKit, send them all broadcasts, but I would suggest not actually using an automation, especially on a sensitive campaign like this, so it feels a little more organic.
  • Next up is another version of this with a different subject line to everybody who didn’t open it 3-4ish days later.
  • Then 3-4 days after that, send an email to everybody who had not opened it at all and say, “I am removing you if you didn’t click” kind of thing. Sticking to your brand voice, for me it tends to be witty—not harsh.
  • Wait one week, then delete or remove anybody who did not open or engage with the campaign. You do need specifically to tell them, “Click here to get back on the list” but make it clear that if they don’t click they’d be removed—you really want to get people that are actually going to take action on your emails.

Need a little more help with cleaning up your list? You may be interested in this: 6 Steps to Clean Up Your Email List Subscribers

Email Sequence No. 3 | Your welcome sequence

Just like a toy that you open up and it’s bright and shiny on Christmas day and you’re most into it those first few days, it’s the same way with your email list. Your subscribers are going to be most jazzed and pumped to be there within the first 48 hours. They need to hear from you right after they’ve signed up because this is going to be when they’re most excited and most likely to be engaged.

When you’re crafting this welcome sequence, eventually the idea is that it goes out to everybody automatically at some point.

When it goes out, it’s up to you and the strategy that you have in your business. You may want it to go out to people after they go through some sales sequence first. You may want it to go out to them after they have gotten an email separately that delivers whatever free opt-in that you wanted to give them, or this may be the delivery campaign where you are delivering that opt-in. Maybe if you only had one signature freebie, this could be a good way to do that.

Personally, I have a ton of different freebies, so I have those separately and then the welcome sequence stands on its own. After the welcome sequence, I like to push people into what I call my bottomless broadcast series. Some people call this, “Your newsletter sequence.” 

The big goals of your welcome sequence are to nurture, to share your story, to overcome objections, and really put your stake in the ground and take a stand for something you believe in.

You also want to help your clients or your customers make some mindset shifts that they may need to make in order to work with you in the future. This is your opportunity to pull out your very best, your choice, sparkling bubbles and give them a toast and welcome them inside.

Here are a few action steps to get you started on your welcome sequence:

  • Create your freebie, download, opt-in, or whatever you wanna call it. Remember that this is something that’s in total alignment with the offer at the end of the map … don’t give me 12 Inexpensive Trader Joe’s Floral Hacks for Your DIY Wedding if you’re going to try to sell me on your $5,000 wedding planning service, get it? Your freebie should be a no-strings attached offer that builds trust!
  • Write 3-4 emails just giving more FREE value on the topic. Sprinkle in social-proof along the way, and make it actionable. Keep giving them great, free wins! Tease what’s coming next, if ya can.
  • Build out a small <$20 budget-friendly offer. This is called a tripwire, but it’s a great stair-step to a higher-priced offer! I’d recommend you ONLY offer it in your funnel … don’t put it in a shop or anything. It’ll lose its luster.
  • Make your landing pages for the freebie and tripwire. Again, I’m a LeadPages fan, because they make it so easy.
  • Write your main offer email and make sure you put that call to action button in the email so they can hop through to your sales page or contact form.
  • Then, write out the steps to your project — ’cause you’ll be doing this again one day! — in a systems management software like Asana or Trello.

Need more help with your welcome sequence? I talk more in depth about it here and I also have a welcome sequence template in my copywriting template shop. 🙂

Email Sequence No. 4 | The “oops” sequence or the ghosted series

You can use this sequence when you haven’t emailed your list in a while or if you’re more like me, you sometimes find this entire segment of your email list that, oh my gosh, something went wrong in tech land and they didn’t get connected and they haven’t been introduced, how do you pull them back in?  😳 😳

You know Cousin Eddie in Christmas Vacation? The goal is not to be like him here. I feel like the family is always like, “How are we related to this guy or where did he come from?” That’s what you DON’T want to do. This is a two-part email strategy that should get you back on track with your list.

You don’t want to come zooming back into your subscriber’s inbox after it’s been awhile, after they’ve forgotten about you and moved on with their lives and then come in all splashy and be like, “Hey guys, I’m back. I know you’ve been wondering why you haven’t heard from me,” or just anything weird like that. Don’t do it. 

My solution: play it cool. 

Quick example of how to implement the “oops” sequence:

Recently, I found this entire list that wasn’t getting the bottomless broadcast. I apologized and I tried to make it funny. After that I just put them back into a big piece of content, a pillar piece of content that had gone out that week.

It happened to be the week that I moved into my home office above the garage. It was a nice little lifestyle piece to go there. At the end, I have one more “happy” to send you as an apology.  Then, a few days later we sent them a coupon, like a “happy” that they could use.

You can do that with anything! In this case, it has been a good three-ish months before this list received any communications from me. Soooo, we definitely had some unsubscribes on that, but I wanted you to see how to slide in without being all weird uncle, instead, surprise and delight them along the way by offering collateral that you have and gifts.

About 28% of consumers said that they would like to receive more than just one email a week, when it comes to hearing from their favorite companies. If these are your ride or dies and they really want to hear from you, don’t freak out about sending them an email.

Still looking for a few more tips on sending those emails to your list?? Make sure to grab your seat at my upcoming workshop, “The Top Five Email Sequences Your Audience Needs” , I’m hosting it with my friend Angel at ConvertKit. Click here or look down below to grab that link and hop inside.

Now that you know the 4 email sequences you need to have in play, you’re going to push them into your bottomless broadcasts or your weekly newsletter—you may need a formula for that. 🙂 Check out this video where I’m taking you through an email newsletter template that you can use as a framework over and over again. 

Reading Time: 10 Minutes

So you bought ConvertKit, started a free Mailchimp account, or are just DIYing a launch. And now, you’re ready to do something beyond just send out a monthly newsletter.

First things first: I always recommend serving your audience for upwards of 5 months before kickin’ in gear with a BIG launch, but you can absolutely start off with something smaller!

Here’s how to write a little email funnel to your service, package, or product!


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comments +

  1. Alexandrea Jarvis says:

    So thankful for your sweet heart and all your amazing content – so helpful!

  2. […] Associated: FOUR Forms of Electronic mail Sequences You Want […]

  3. Erica Schmitz says:

    So helpful, thank you! Just one clarification question: Where does the Sequence #1 (basic sales or product announcement) fit in relation to Sequence #3 (welcome sequence)? Thanks!!

    • Erica! Great question, friend! Ok, so, your welcome sequence is the first “nurture” of a new signup … so really a welcome sequence is *ideally* always first … however, sometimes a person may join your list during a sales push (launch) and they might get the sales sequence at the same time as welcome, or you might pause your welcome sequence during your launch. I hope this helps!

  4. Niecey says:

    This was so helpful!

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