This post was contributed by Rachel Klaver, an ActiveCampaign Certified Consultant.

If you want to…

  • Build a community of people who know you
  • Get referrals
  • Build an effective email list…

You are going to have to give some stuff away for free.
Giving free information builds trust in you and helps people to make the choice to work with you, or discover if we are not quite the person they are looking for.
You want them to make that decision before they sign up and start initiating a sales process with you. Once they’ve decided you’re their sort of business, it makes it much easier for them to choose you later on so you don’t have to do as much selling and converting in that process.

4 things you need to consider before sending an email nurture sequence

There are a few things you need to consider before you create an email nurture sequence.

  1. What are you selling?
  2. Who are you selling to?
  3. What is your destination?
  4. How will you begin the relationship?

1. What are you selling?

The first thing you absolutely have to know is what you are selling. You need to sit down and answer these questions:

  1. What it is we have in our business that are our core messages and our core deliverables?
  2. What are the things that we are going to be able to sell again and again effectively to whoever comes to see us?

That’s really important, especially for small businesses which commonly have a lot of things you can do. However, if you are marketing a broad range of things, it makes it really hard for you to effectively communicate that to your target market.
Some people call this niching.
You don’t have to niche and sell in just in one area for your whole business, but when you give free advice, you need to make sure whatever ‘free advice funnel’ people are coming through matches a particular niche. They need to feel secure and safe when they are working with you, and it’s answering a specific pain point they need help with.
ACTION: Define what solution you will sell them.

2. Who are you selling to?

You need to know exactly who your target persona is. Ask yourself:

  1. Are you working with start-ups when you are working through this process? Are you working with established businesses?
  2. Are you working with solopreneurs, people who work in B to B, or manufacturers?
  3. What type of people are you talking to?
  4. Are you talking to someone who is an administrative person in these businesses or the decision maker?
  5. Are they male or female, what age are they, what else do they like doing?

You need to find out as much information as possible to really clearly work out who your target persona is.
When you write the free information, you want to write it for that person so they feel heard and connected with.
That doesn’t mean that’s the only person who will read that material, it just means you have identified that target persona of the person you want to work with. So you really want to know who that is.
ACTION: Define your Target Persona

3. What is your destination?

The third thing you need to understand and work through is, “where are you taking these people?”
Yes, right now they are signing up for free information, and you are going to follow through with them, but where are they going to next?

  1. Are they going to pay a small amount of money to do an initial thing with you to build more trust?
  2. Are you signing them up for an ongoing coaching program?
  3. Are you going to sign them up for a big strategy session?
  4. Where is it that you are taking them to?

You need to map that out. Map out the journey from that very first free gift, to maybe a low-cost thing, to something a bit more intensive, to the big and powerful final result that you have.

If you don’t have that mapped out, it’s going to be really hard to sell to them in an organic and natural way because you are just going to want to POW them with this big offering a bit too early in the process and the relationship.
ACTION: Determine the journey you are taking them on.

4. How will you begin the relationship?

There is a lot of rubbish on the Internet – and you don’t want anyone who comes across you and what you do to think this more of the same!
So before you create your lead gen, and then your subsequent email sequences, really think about the value.
At Identify, we give people a marketing strategy workbook to download. Now, that workbook as a standalone can be used for people to write their own strategy if they are not quite our target market.

If people have the ability to work through it themselves, they aren’t necessarily the people we want to work with but we want to support them and help them so they still walk away feeling good about it.
Those people who look at and think “I don’t know how to do this” or “I don’t want to do this by myself” tend to come to us. So, you give them something that is good and valuable that they are going to appreciate.
Don’t just give them something that took you 30 seconds to set up and it’s a one-page info sheet because people feel ripped off by that.
Give them something of value as a lead generation or something to start off with to get them to sign up for this free advice to help them feel more confident.
ACTION: Create a valuable offer for the initial lead generation.

Trust is the currency of the internet.

To build trust and to build a community of people that trust you, because you are the expert in that area, then using email and an email delivery service makes sense.
You have a contact point with them. You’re going directly into their inbox and they feel connected with you on a more individual level. they can reply back to you and have a conversation.
You know you’re successful when your target market starts replying to your emails! Even though they know it’s automated, there’s a part of their brain that knows it’s automated, they answer back because they feel you’ve spoken to them.
This is what you want to do.
When you’re doing your emails, it’s really important to think about giving them value. Make sure that whatever you write is about giving them value.

The basics of email layout

We normally recommend to not add too much design and detail into it your email template.
It depends on the need, obviously. If you have given them signing up to an email series or something like that, but if you are creating a nurture sequence, a plain text email often works best. This makes it easier for people to open up, it’s got less fuss and it feels more like an individual letter to you. Plus, this helps with deliverability as well.
Make sure you’ve always got a soft call to action on every email. So even if you are going to hit them hard at some point with a big offer, always have an option to hit reply to you or book in a time. Something soft that isn’t sales-y but instead takes them to the next level of building trust.

Email marketing brings huge benefits to your business

The benefits or creating this free advice platform with email is huge.
You create immense trust, and these people tend to start engaging with you more on social media as well. They also tend to refer. I have people who I have never worked with before who will refer others to work with us.
The community you are building with an email list is not just your ideal customers. There will be bunches of people in there who will never use you but they will like what you are saying and what you are putting out, and so they will refer other people to you. That’s one of the huge benefits to it.
Obviously, people worry about competitors coming in and stealing your information. We find that about 10% of any of our email subscribers are a competitor.
The way I like to see it is as an honor. It means that they think what we have to offer is quality and they want to see what it is. The other way to think about it is that we have to back ourselves, and you have to really believe in what you are doing, in your way of doing it and know that nobody else could do it the same.
While it is a risk that competitors may find out what you do, if you can completely identify what you do, how you do it, and who you do it for, with a secure knowledge of your target market, they are not going to be able to do it your way. It will be very individualized. Don’t stress too much about competitors reading your emails and following what you’re doing.
The benefits of it are that you can build this amazing community of loyal fans and people that want to work with you. The risks are that people may come and steal your stuff. The benefits far outway the risks.

Send emails more often than you think you should

People often wonder how often you should be sending emails to people.
The way I see it is that people want you to share your information with them. They have chosen to be with you, and if they have chosen not to be with you, they can unsubscribe.
If you are wondering how often to email…it’s as often as you like.

Probably NOT three or four times a day but you should email anywhere from every couple of days, potentially every day, to a couple of times a week, to once a week.
I wouldn’t suggest trying to build a community on a monthly email, it’s quite hard to do that. So these are for building a nurtured group of people who are building trust in you.
Some will come and work with you in the short term, some will in the long term and some never will but you are still creating this loyal group of followers who love hearing from you and want to hear from you and is a positive experience.
Rachel Klaver of Identify is the chief strategist and trainer for anyone wanting to grow their business through improved sales, marketing, automation or team training. Identify listens to your needs as a business and creates an effective, streamlined and targeted solution to help your business grow.