Your community is your strongest asset.
No matter what business you are in, your audience, prospects, and customers hold the power to uplift your brand loyalty and bring repeat business.
Email marketing is your best bet for building and nurturing your community. Unlike social media platforms, it provides complete access to your email list. So, if, by any means, your business account gets suspended or your country bans a social media platform, you won’t lose the community you’ve built through email marketing.
However, building a community isn’t just enough—you need to constantly nurture them to move them down your sales funnel and convert them into paying customers.
This article explores the different ways to engage and nurture your online community by following the best email marketing practices.
1. Build a rock-solid email marketing sales funnel
A buyer’s journey isn’t as straightforward as discovering your product and purchasing it right away. Sure, impulse buying may happen once in a blue moon, but it’s not something you can count on to get more sales.
A potential buyer will first discover your product, subscribe to your email list in exchange for information or an incentive, see what you offer, analyze their needs, and decide if they need your product. This is rather a zig-zag journey where a lot of consideration, introspection, and decision-making is involved from the prospect’s end—and this is where your email marketing sales funnel comes into the picture.
You need a well-planned series of email sequences to help them cover this journey from beginning to end. For that, you need a sales funnel builder to create resources for each stage of your buyer’s journey and integrate them with third-party solutions for payments, automation, landing pages, and so on.
The first name that most marketers think of when discussing sales funnel is ClickFunnels—after all, it’s been around for a long time now. But the platform is much more expensive than many alternatives and restricts users on the number of funnels and visitors they can accommodate. Fortunately, there are many affordable ClickFunnels alternatives out there that are focused on helping you build your email marketing community and drive sales with it.
To choose the best sales funnel builder that caters to your needs perfectly, consider these factors:
- Ease of use
- Integration capability
- Variety of email templates
- Intuitive dashboard and functions
2. Create an onboarding process to welcome new subscribers
Onboarding new subscribers is an important step one must not take lightly—after all, it sets the tone for all the future communication you’ll send their way.
New prospects like to feel welcomed and be informed about the next steps. More importantly, when you send a strategic welcome email sequence to your new subscribers, they register your brand in their minds and remember you in your next email.
Here are some tips for creating an impeccable welcome email sequence:
- Decide on a goal—pitching a product or service or nurturing them to become loyal subscribers
- Consider the number of emails to include in your welcome sequence and the frequency
- Stick to one topic per email and make sure each email is setting up the lede for the next email
- Map out a strategic plan to take them to their onboarding journey, starting with an introduction, brand story, useful resources, and so on
- Set a tone of voice that’s conversational enough to engage your audience
- Keep revising these strategies based on your open rates, engagement, and bounce rates
Case study: Canva’s welcome email sequence
Canva has a simple yet an engaging way of welcoming their new subscribers. First, they set expectations for their new subscribers’ experience with their design tool, followed by a simple guide to get started. Then, in the same email, they walk the new users through the platform and provide links to their tutorials as CTAs.
The best part about their welcome email is the beautiful blend of text and design, which makes the reading experience more interactive.
Next, they send a personalized email every time a new user creates their first design, motivating them to create more and sharing more advanced tutorials to help them.
3. Leverage storytelling to pique your subscribers’ interest
Sending out email sequences to accomplish specific targets is a great strategy to convert your prospects into paying customers. However, when they do convert, your aim should be to make them your loyal customers. Storytelling helps you build strong relationships with your customers so they see you as their go-to brand for their needs and help you spread the word by bringing in referrals.
Storytelling helps in invoking an emotional response from the subscribers, urging them to take a specific action. It allows marketers to create content that hits the right chord with their subscribers and holds their attention for a long time. Compelling stories can change a prospect’s mind about purchasing a product.
Here’s how to implement storytelling in your email marketing strategy:
- Make your emails as humane as possible. Reading emails with first-person narratives makes readers feel as if they’re having a one-on-one conversation with a person.
- Share relatable examples relevant to the audience’s age group and interests. If your audience is women above 55, they probably won’t get a pop culture reference in your email.
- Talk about origin stories and success stories that motivate them to overcome a similar problem as you once tackled.
- Even when launching a product or pitching a service, share your story about why you created that offering and how the idea came to your mind.
- Share case studies and customer reviews engagingly by talking about their pain points, how they came across your product and how it helped them.
- Implement storytelling in as many email formats as possible—a welcome sequence, promotional email, or a nurture sequence.
Case study: SEMrush’s newsletter
As an example, see how SEMrush uses storytelling with their promotional emails. They share to-the-point valuable tips and resources around their audience’s pain points and naturally place their CTA, urging readers to opt for their free trial.
While they do that, they share relevant screenshots and interactive GIFs from their platform, showcasing how it’s used for that purpose and offering a glimpse into the application. Notice how they’ve maintained their branding in their emails, which helps the audience easily identify their brand’s newsletters, among other emails.
4. Try out different formats to break the monotony
Simple text-based emails with minimal formatting are fine to begin with, but for a growing brand that has a considerable number of subscribers, it’s not enough. Your subscribers, especially the loyal readers of your newsletters, expect to receive high-quality content from you in exchange for their time.
You see, most email subscribers are skimmers and hardly spend a few minutes going through a newsletter. Reason—they’re also subscribed to many other newsletters, and then there’s an ample amount of content in other forms available to consume. A person can only consume and retain a limited amount of information in a day.
This is where you can make their lives easy by giving your newsletters a better structure and format and presenting them in a pleasing way. It helps the readers with skimming and offers them a nice reading experience.
Here are a few design factors to remember:
- Always make your brand colors the most prominent color of the newsletter. Use only your brand colors or the ones that complement your brand colors well.
- Do not clog up a large chunk of text in one place. Keep the newsletter airy, spacious, and properly aligned with ample whitespaces to make it readable.
- Use headers, images, and CTAs to make each section stand out.
- Use interactive images to show your products in action.
- Integrated the payment links to the newsletter to provide a seamless checkout experience for the reader.
- Highlight the special offers, discounts, or the key message of the email—and don’t forget to mention it in the subject line.
Case study: Blendjet’s newsletter
Blendjet sends the most colorful marketing newsletters ever. They showcase their products through very high-quality GIFs, videos, and images, sharing recipes for the most amazing cocktails, smoothies, and juices.
Even if a subscriber is not ready to buy from them yet, we bet no one can skip watching their blenders blend whatever new recipe their sharing in their inboxes.
Level up your email marketing game
Investing in email marketing is no longer an option today—if you want to build a new customer base and engage your existing ones, you got to start adding your community to your email list.
Moreover, sending a promotional email every once in a while won’t suffice. You need an email marketing strategy that works for you even in your sleep. Analyze how email marketing fits into your sales funnel, automate emails to avoid redundancies, build long-term relationships with your audience and offer them an amazing reading experience.