Here’s a bit of truth talk for you: 30-50% of your leads aren’t ready to buy when they first learn about your business.
I know, bummer. Sorry to be the bad news bear, but here’s the good news: around three-quarters of those leads will be ready to buy down the line. For some, it will be in just a few short months, and for some more like 12-18 months.
It can take time for leads to develop into sales, often more time than we’re willing to allow.
We’re all so impatient. We start a new marketing tactic, and if it doesn’t immediately get people lining up and sleeping outside (the way they do when a new iPhone goes on sale), we give up, thinking it’s not working.
Digital marketing is incredibly powerful, but it may not be instant. To generate long-term success in your creative, coaching, or online business, you need to build a relationship with your audience, and cultivate the know, like, and trust factor s before they will be ready to buy.
It’s like dating. You don’t propose on the first date. You take the time to get to know each other and fall in love. You nurture the relationship.
You need to nurture your leads.
You don’t just need to entice people to sign up to your list. Once they’re on your list, you want to transform them into Super Fans who can’t get enough of you or your products and services.
For that, you need an A-MAAAZING nurture sequence.
Now you may be wondering exactly how to nurture those leads, and ensure as many as possible convert into sales.
What Is A Nurture Sequence?
A nurture sequence is also known as an indoctrination series, welcome series, warm up series, or email funnel.
It’s your chance to connect with your audience, right after they have chosen to become a part of your world. At this time, they are the most interested and excited about what you have to offer. You can take advantage of this time by introducing them more fully to your world and what you have to offer.
If you’re doing it properly, it will take time to put it all together. But that’s essential time to invest, and once done, your new nurture sequence should last six months to a year.
A nurture sequence is a vital element of your marketing strategy. It’s the first direct contact you have with a lead after they have expressed an interest in your business. They may have inquired through your website or signed up to a free opt-in.
By signing up to your list, they have essentially raised their hand and waved, “Hello.”
Your nurture sequence is how you wave back, and totally WOW them in the process.
Prospects all want the same thing: a solution to their problem. What that problem is will vary, but they have a problem (possibly more than one), and they’re looking at you for the answers.
A nurture sequence is a series of automated emails that are sent out after a new lead signs up to your list. These emails are packed with valuable content, along with information about you and your services, which ‘nurtures’ the budding relationship between you and your prospect, ensuring it eventually blossoms into a sale.
The Process of Transforming New Subscribers Into Super Fans
Creating an effective nurture sequence takes some thought and effort, and several different elements that all need to work harmoniously to create a complete system. Although the core of the nurture sequence is a series of emails, you need more than just the emails themselves.
You also need:
- Content to fill and complement those emails.
- More content to draw people in and entice them to sign up in the first place.
- A lead capture and email delivery infrastructure.
- And a clear path to steer your prospects down, which makes your desired outcome (generally a sale) a really easy choice for them.
If all this sounds like a lot to deal with, don’t worry. Taken together it can feel slightly overwhelming, but when you break it down into the different elements and handle one at a time, it gets a lot easier.
The hardest part is nailing your emails. I’ve created a free Nurture Sequence Bundle, which breaks it down for you step-by-step.
Download it now and work your way through each of the following elements...
Step 3: Capture Your Leads with Lead Magnets
After your lead has been introduced to your world, you want to capture their information so that you can continue building a relationship with them. On your site, there are two main types of lead magnets. One is a larger free offer that can stand on its own. I’m going to refer to that as your Freebie. The other type is adding more value to the content you’ve created — a content upgrade.
If you don’t already have a Freebie, it’s time to get creating!
You need one really good freebie that the majority of your ideal clients will jump on immediately. Common forms include eBooks, audio or video trainings, webinars, and mini-courses; your main lead magnet should offer a TON of value.
I like to think of it as a potential moneymaker - it’s SO super valuable that I could easily sell it and make money with it. It just happens to be that I’m making it available for free for a limited time.
If you already have a free opt-in offer available on your site, woohoo, you’re doing great!
But, if I’m being real with you, you’re not quite done.
The more lead magnets you have, the more easily your content will convert into leads.
And the more leads you have, the more valuable your nurture sequence becomes. If you already have one amazing Freebie, fabulous! You’re well ahead of the curve. But you can add new Freebies every few months, or as they correspond with your current offers.
In addition to your Freebies, you’re also going to want to start creating content upgrades.
The easiest way to add additional lead magnets to your overall system is through content upgrades. When you’re creating your core content (be it blogs, vlogs, podcasts, etc.) you should be thinking of ways to add extra value to the post.
How can you help your readers act on the information you’re giving them? What additional tips and info can you add that make it even more valuable?
Rather than putting that extra value right there in the post, pop it in an easily downloaded file, and include it in your post as an ‘upgrade’.
For example, this post is all about crafting the perfect nurture sequence. To help you act on the advice I’m giving, I’ve created a Nurture Sequence Bundle including a breakdown of all the emails in your nurture sequence, all the elements of the emails, a step-by-step worksheet to craft stories and outline the emails, AND my full nurture sequence so you can see a clear example of how it all works together.
It’s super valuable and I could easily sell it.
But I’m giving it to you for free — this means you can ‘upgrade’ the information you learn on this blog post for free, in exchange for joining my list.
The more posts with content upgrades, the more opportunities and incentives readers have to opt-in. This makes them far more likely to do so and more likely to remain on your list.
And it’s essential they stay on your list because it could take twelve to eighteen months before they’re ready to buy from you.
Step 4: Lead Capturing Capabilities
Once you have a great lead magnet (and eventually magnets) that your audience is clamoring for, you will need to connect your list to your website through signup forms that allow people to opt into your list. You can either do this through the forms and plugins provided by your email service or using a plugin like ThriveLeads or LeadPages.
Step 5: Mailing List
From the sign-up form, the lead’s email needs a home. Without an email list, your nurture sequence has nowhere to go. You can set up an email list with any number of services, like ActiveCampaign, MadMimi, or MailChimp. They will enable you to easily collect email addresses from people interested in your business and place them on an email list.
If you don’t have a list already, it’s time to start one.
If you do have a list, check you are with an email service provider that allows you to easily create and send an autoresponder sequence.
3 Important Things To Remember When Creating a Nurture Sequence
1. Value Before Pitch
Before you jump right into a sales pitch on your first email, pause.
This is a nurture sequence.
You’re not proposing on the first date. You are nurturing your relationship with your prospects, and the last thing they want immediately after signing up is a barrage of emails asking them to buy something.
You need to give them something of value first.
If you’ve set this up properly they will already have claimed something of value when they signed up, in the form of a lead magnet — either a content upgrade or freebie. Make sure you give them what they asked for immediately.
Once they have it, focus initially on providing them with even more value.
A large part of content marketing is educating your audience on the value of your products or services. Use this as an opportunity to do just that. Before you try to pitch anything, send them value-packed content that is really useful for them, and simultaneously explains exactly why the thing you’re eventually going to offer them is invaluable.
Don’t be brazen about it, be subtle.
If, for example, you eventually want to offer them a course on how to find clients on Instagram, you would ensure all your initial content was focused on the purpose and nature of Instagram marketing. You would educate your audience on how vital and potentially profitable it is, so that when you finally do pitch them that service, they’re at a point where they are desperate for exactly what you’re offering.
2. Goals, Planning, And Timing
There’s a reason we call it a nurture sequence. Your emails need to go out in a particular order. You also have to time them right. Send too many, too fast, and it’s like the guy calling you 11,073 times right after your first date.
You don’t like it.
Your leads won’t like it either. They’ll say, “No, thank you!” and hit unsubscribe.
Send your emails too far apart, and your prospects will have forgotten who you are, the connection will be lost, and they’ll think your messages are spam, say, “No, thank you!” and hit unsubscribe.
It’s also important to have a clear intention for every email in your sequence.
They will all contain different content, but you need a coherent message running throughout, and they all need to serve a function. The primary function of your nurture sequence is the introduction to you and your brand — you want to develop the know, like, and trust factor in order to turn cold leads into warm ones.
Download the Nurture Sequence Bundle for examples of each email you should send, and details of how to space them out.
3. Segment Your List
It’s unusual for businesses to have no variation in their customer base. Even if everyone on your list is your ideal client, you very likely have people who need and want slightly different things. Segmenting your list allows you to create bespoke nurture sequences for the particular variations of ideal clients on your list.
If you have several core services, for example, the problems those services solve may be slightly different. You may have a low-cost option and a premium option. If your clients are separated by budget, pain points, location, age, gender, or any other factor, segment your list and create a nurture sequence tailored to the exact requirements of each group in your client base.
It’s more time consuming to set up, but well worth it!
Writing Your Emails
Now it’s time for the fun part! You need everything on this list in place to make sure your sequence runs smoothly and works as well as possible. But, if you don’t absolutely nail your emails, everything else will all have been for nothing.
The Nurture Sequence Bundle will give you a jump start. Don’t forget you need to be crystal clear on the objective and function of each email before you write it.
Make sure you’re open, friendly, personable, and genuine. The voice you use to communicate your business message should be consistent in all areas of your marketing. That includes your emails.
If you’re usually very informal and witty, make sure you pack your emails with that ready charm.
And if you tend to keep things super-professional and a little formal, echo that tone throughout.
This is perhaps the most important things about your emails: they need to tell stories! It’s an underappreciated fact that stories are far more effective at selling than cold pitches and depersonalized arguments. When it comes to explaining value, it’s important to frame your information in a form that’s as easily digested and understood as possible. Stories are the perfect way to do this. You can explain your points in the form of an analogy, using examples from your own life and business to draw your prospect in. This is how you’re truly going to engage your audience.
This has the benefit of making your point both relatable and personable. It will go a long way towards building that crucial know, like and trust factor.
More importantly, it will make it as easy as possible for your prospect to say, “Yes, please!” when you finally ask them to buy.
Download the Nurture Sequence Bundle to get your hands on my exclusive formula to storify your nurture sequence.
Watch Your Metrics
Once you have your nurture sequence in place, don’t take it for granted. Decide ahead of time what benchmarks you will use to gauge your success and track them all carefully.
- What are your conversion rates like at each stage in your sequence?
- Which blog posts are generating the most signups, and how can you create more content that will have a similar effect?
- Are your lead magnets and content upgrades as efficient as you’d like them to be?
- What can you create that might prove even more effective?
- Do you need to improve the quality of your copy and content?
- What about your open and click-through rates on the emails themselves?
Your metrics are a goldmine of information on the performance of your nurture sequence. They give you all the information you need to tweak and perfect every element - use them!
Why Is It Called A Sales Funnel?
There are a lot of terms used to describe this process, but one of the most common ones is ‘sales funnel’. I prefer to think of them as ‘nurture sequences' because that is exactly what they do - nurture - but the term funnel exists for a reason, and can be helpful in visualizing the process.
Imagine your audience passing through a giant funnel, or filtration system, starting as readers, becoming new subscribers, and finally converting into super fans.
Like a caterpillar entering a cocoon and emerging as a beautiful butterfly.
You begin with a pool of ideal clients that’s relatively large. You create exceptional content which attracts some of them, shrinking the pool slightly.
Of those interested in your content some will opt-in to one of your content upgrades, and some will opt-in to your freebie, shrinking the pool further. From there, they will enter your nurture sequence. Some will unsubscribe (totally normal!), and narrow the pool even more.
Those remaining will stay on your list and do one of two things: immediately convert into a new client (wooo!), or continue to read the amazing content you sell them (potentially converting in the future).
Start Growing Your Tribe Of Super Fans…
Now you know everything there is to know about creating a nurture sequence it’s time to get creating. Grab your copy of the Nurture Sequence Bundle and start building your own legion of dedicated super fans!