8 Emails You Need to Wow Your New Subscribers

Build Your Audience Monetize Your List

Imagine you’re walking into a restaurant for a blind date. You spot your dinner companion holding an identical copy of “Love in the Time of Cholera” as you had discussed for identification purposes and you’re immediately interested.

There’s an instant attraction from the moment you lock eyes. Over the course of the night you’re both having a great time as you talk about siblings, favorite music, your shared affinity for tacos  – you know, typical first date fodder. It seems to be going so well when suddenly – they ask for your hand in marriage.

Pump the brakes! You’re a bit freaked out, right? That’s just not the way normal humans interact within our cultural norms.

I think most us can agree how strange that situation would be. 

So with that awkward blind date as our foundation, let me suggest that many of us, as online business professionals (bloggers), are doing the same thing with our email marketing.

Make you cringe a little? This could be you right now and you might not even realize it.

Imagine being on the receiving end of your email list. You opt-in to this newsletter for the first time and without notice, you’re being pitched a product.

You might think, “I don’t know this person. I don’t trust this person. I’m not even totally sure if I know what the product does. This relationship just began! I’m not ready for this kind of commitment!”

Yeah, you’ve just gone from blind date to marriage proposal in an instant. Creepy! But like I said, it happens all the time. However, I do believe it can be fixed with just a little self-awareness work and understanding how to set up a proper introduction sequence to build real trust with your readers.

Are you ready to take a step back from your sequences to make sure you’re not that overly confident goon?

The importance of a relationshippy introduction sequence

Forgetting to build a solid relationship with your email subscribers is one of the biggest mistakes I see in email marketing these days. Email marketing is so similar to building a relationship in real life, but we often forget that when we’re sitting behind our screens looking at a bunch of avatars.

I think that’s because email marketing was born out of the idea of the direct mail newsletter. In fact, many bloggers still call their email marketing list a “newsletter” list.

Sounds harmless, but there’s actually a pretty big problem with that. You see, with a “newsletter” everyone on your mailing list is getting the exact same communication from you no matter the context of relationship they have with you and your brand. Email marketing is so much more than that.

With segmentation, link triggers, and sequences, we’re able to fine tune each message to target a very specific audience. It makes communication between business owner and reader much more personal, which can mean increased authority which then leads to increased revenue.

But to get to all that, the first thing you must do as a blogger meeting a new reader is develop trust. Just like anyone else, trust is the key to a strong long-term relationship.

To make sure we treat our readers with the common courtesy deserved by actual humans, let’s think of an introductory sequence in the same way we think about first impressions with a new friend.

You don’t want to come on too strong, but you also want them to have enough information to get a good read of you and know if they want to keep getting to you. It’s a delicate line to walk, but a there’s a formula that works.

We use it at ConvertKit everyday, it’s what we teach our subscribers, and I know it can work for you too.

The 8 emails to help you gain trust in your introductory sequence

Caitlin Bacher's introduction sequence
Caitlin Bacher’s incredible intro sequence using an invite to a webinar to do the selling!

Email 1: Introduction content

You reader has obviously stumbled upon you in some way whether it’s from a guest post, a retweet, or Google (thanks SEO) to get to this point. But once they’ve opted-in with their email address, this first email in your intro sequence is really your time to put on a good face.

So tell them who are and show your personality. Remind them how they got on your list (because we’re all a little guilty of clicking and forgetting) and then deliver something valuable. This will usually be some kind of freebie you’ve offered in exchange for their email address.

Thank them for their interest in you and your product and let them know they’ll be hearing from you again soon.

Email 2: Educational message

This might be hard to understand, but don’t talk about your product yet!

Remember how I said trust is the base of strong relationship? Well, you haven’t earned your new reader’s trust quite yet. You’re still new, so just keep popping up in their inbox and delivering value.

This second email is an Educational Message because this is where you start talking to your reader about their pain point – why it's a pain point, statistics about the problems it causes, and so on.

Now, you know this pain point can be be solved by your product -but again, don’t talk about that yet. Just talk about your core topic like the authority that you are and just focus on being incredibly useful here.

Email 3: Educational + Introduce your product

In the third email, keep up with the valuable information about your core topic. Since you’ve done all your segmenting and tagging, the people getting this sequence are super interested in what you’ve got to say. No need to worry about boring them or talking their ear off. Just remember to keep it concise and interesting. Really wow them with your knowledge on the subject.

After a little more valuable info, you’re now ready to talk about your product – but just little introduction of it. You don’t want to sound really salesy, so just mention it at the end of this email.

Email 4: Soft sell

Here’s another chance for you to give them a little more information about your core topic. Keep it simple, keep it valuable.

After a little education, it’s time for your first pitch. A soft pitch, but a pitch nonetheless. Don’t go all out – that’s for later. Just work in a soft sell at the end of this email. A “P.S.” is actually a great way to  casually mention it.

Email 5: Educational

Ok, you got to sell them a little in the last email, so in this one – take a small step back. Again, no one likes to feel like they’re constantly being sold on something. Here’s your chance to stand out in a crowd of all-caps typing marketers and simply provide them with some more education information. Make it fun with a video, colorful screenshots, or interesting graphics.

Just keep on providing valuable wisdom and before you know it, your new reader will begin to see you as the authority you are. Next stop – Trusttown!

Email 6: Hard sell

The hard sell. Finally, here is your time to put on your little salesmen vest and tell your reader all about your product. If they haven’t unsubscribed by now, you can bet they’re extremely interested in what you’re selling so don’t hold back. This should be your most epic content.

Remind them of their pain point and how awful it is and then show them how your product fixes that. Fill them in on the why’s, what’s, and how’s of your product so they can make the most informed decision about their potential purchase. No need to have anything educational in this email – focus on your product.

And then make it as easy as possible for them to purchase. Give them a single link that takes them straight to your desired sales page.

Email 7: Educational

Your job’s not done quite yet. After you give your reader the hard sell, now you can give them another education message about why your product helps relieve their pain points. Case studies are great for the point in the messaging. Now that your new reader trusts you, show them why other readers trust you. Pile on that credibility whenever you can.

Email 8: Soft sell

Finally, after educational messages, hard sells, and more educational messages, you should end your intro sequence with a soft sell. Keep the message on the educational side, but work a sales pitch back in. At this point you’ve given them enough reasons why they should trust you and purchase your product, so you don’t need to be loud. Just state the facts and give them a link to your sales page.

Your turn to build some trust

Do you or someone you know jump into new reader relationships too quickly? Are you quick to say “Buy my product!” before you even say your name?

If so, share this blog with a friend and hold each other accountable to write brand new introduction sequences full of valuable, education messaging and gentle trust-building content.

Once you’ve put your new sequence into action, let me know how it’s going. I’d love to get your feedback!

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Dani Stewart

As a daughter of an entrepreneur, the wife of an entrepreneur, and an entrepreneur herself, Dani has lived and learned all sides of creating and growing businesses. She is excited to bring all that life experience as well as a decade of crafting content to the ConvertKit community. She is a part-time baker, dinner-party planner, and lover of good bourbon living the simple life in Nashville with her husband, Sean.

  • Great tips, Dani! Love the analogy of a blind date 😀 I’m wondering, how would you tweak this for a non-educational or entertainment product?

    • Dominik All-in Harman

      hey Alyssa – what is it you are selling exactly?

      I for example sell fiction books.

      I do a lot of “behind the scenes” info, personal notes from authors (their inspiration, hidden info, relations etc).

      for content upgrades and bonuses I do maps, graphics, free chapters, more behind the scenes stuff

      for selling bonuses I do signed copies, hardcover+ebook bundle, book+poster and personal meetup with the author.

      Hope that inspires you!

      Dominik

      • Dani Stewart (ConvertKit)

        Love these ideas, @dominikharman:disqus!

    • Dani Stewart (ConvertKit)

      Great question, @alyssacarlier:disqus! Think of all the “educational” messages as more of “building your authority” messages. So even with an entertainment product, you’re trying to fill a void in your audience’s life whether it’s with humor or drama or music. Whatever that void is- talk about that. I also like what @dominikharman:disqus mentions about bonuses and behind the scenes stuff. These intro sequences are mostly about getting your audience to know you better and trust that you’ve got the right product for them. So whatever content you can create to make you more trustworthy is great for these emails.

  • Gwen Gayhart

    The content is solid, so thanks for that. Because the big idea of the article is “building trust & credibility,” I hope you aren’t offended if I suggest improving on the editing side of things? While reading this article, I tripped upon (and was distracted by) at least 7 omission, grammatical, or punctuation mistakes. Hardly a crime, I know, but for many potential readers like myself, such obvious mistakes signify either carelessness or stupidity (in the interest of safety, I hope your car has “brakes,” not “breaks” to pump ?). Neiither of which, I’m sure, is true, but either can damage credibility as much (and probably more quickly & consistently) than being sold to before it’s time….just thought readers should be aware of it.

    p.s. None of this is meant to be hurtful or attacking. I’m not a hater, I’m a member with love for ConvertKit ?!

    • Hey, @gwengayhart:disqus! We don’t intend to be careless or stupid. There’s always style differences that come into play when writing anything anywhere but we’ll be sure to stay on top of those edits that are more universal.

  • A very good summary of an effective intro sequence Val, thanks for sharing.

    • Dani Stewart (ConvertKit)

      Glad you enjoyed the read, @rocky_tapscott:disqus!

  • Awesome post. I love how ConvertKit already has this basic sequence set up.

    • Dani Stewart (ConvertKit)

      When it works, it just works, right?

      • Yes, it just works and is incredibly easy to set up. The toughest part is coming up with content.

  • Corrie Ann Gray

    I’m curious – what is the timing you suggest for this sequence? Every day from day one? Skip days? Weekly? Depends on your audience? I’m working on this right now – thanks!

    • Dani Stewart (ConvertKit)

      Hey @corrieanngray:disqus! Great question. It definitely just depends on your audience and your desired outcomes. There’s no wrong way to do it.

  • Your email sequence is interesting, Dani.
    I agree that a lot of commerce businesses mention sales offers way too soon and too often via their emails. The other extreme are people who almost never sell via email. ConvertKit has considered their sales email ratio to be helpful while progressing their business relationship.
    We share caring about our relationship with email recipients similar to developing in-person business relationships. I’m contemplating adding in themes related to specific sales offers. Then intriguing emails could be continued… ~Keri

    • Dani Stewart (ConvertKit)

      Sounds like you’ve got it, @kerilv:disqus

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