• Hayley Cherrett

The nature of nurture. Emails that turn prospects into customers and browsers into bookings.

Updated: Jul 14



“I need another email!”


The New Business director is screaming down the phone. The company sales pipeline has all the flow of a London sewer choking on a fatberg. If they don’t get some persuasive messaging out now, the trickle will dry up.


Or maybe it’s your events coordinator. Bookings have stalled (perhaps not so surprising at the mo’!). How can they keep prospective attendees warm until the conference is rescheduled?


But you’ve already written six, or is it seven, emails? Inspiration is running low. And they’re going to need more. Sales journeys, event timelines, campaigns to keep prospects warm - they devour emails.


If your challenge is to keep feeding the beast, here are a few ideas to stop you stressing and get that demanding sales/events/marketing director off your back.


Those emails aren't going to write themselves


Most business and organisations need some sort of nurture email journey. B2B service or retail brand, event organiser or education provider, they all have journeys to help secure sales, fill places, or boost registrations.


So, despite endless predictions about the death of email, emails are still a crucial part of marketing. Your job as the writer is to make sure they’re interesting, useful and persuasive.


Whatever stage of the journey you’re at, your emails need to hit these 3Ps:


1. Personal. It may depend how well-segmented your database is, but find out everything you can that helps you target your reader. Can you use their name? Are they a hot prospect or an unqualified lead? Did they attend your event last year or are they a first-timer?

2. Purposeful. Be clear in your own mind what the aim of this email is. To encourage a registration or just get them to visit your website for a first look? Is the value proposition coming through loud and clear?

3. Persuasive. You know what you want them to do, but how are you encouraging them to make that click? What’s in it for them to stay interested in your business or organisation? How are you nudging them to that sale?

Here’s a list of 10 ways to keep that journey interesting. In no particular order:

1. Be a tease

2. Share the pain

3. Mine the website

4. Keep it short

5. Go for broke

6. Revisit the past

7. Break it down

8. Ask for feedback

9. Delegate the work

10. Say it again

1. Be a tease

You’re marketing an event so, naturally, you’re going to tease the thing. Save the date, unmissable event, yadda yadda. And so you should. It’s an easy shot across your prospect’s bows that this event is on its way.

SEO experts MOZ build the suspense with a dot dot dot in the header:


It’s intrigue. Save the date is whetting your reader’s appetite to find out more. And, though your readers will in all likelihood delete the email, their interest has been piqued.

So, harness the power of intrigue for later emails in the journey. Copyhackers, online copywriting tutors, use it relentlessly to sell their packages:

How can I not want to find out why they’re pushing one-star reviews?

The easiest subject line with built in intrigue is this:


Saw this and thought you might be interested.

Simply find something topical or funny to attach and you've got a guaranteed open.

2. Share the pain

At any point in the cycle, empathy is going to be a winner. Sales journeys are best started with an insight into the challenges the client or the sector faces.

For example, we work with universities a lot and recent issues around student mental health are an interesting topic to discuss because there’s a knock on effect in terms of clear communications. By sharing the client's concern for their students, we can make a valid point about our writing services.

3. Mine the website

Your website is an underexploited resource of easy stuff to share in emails.

We’re constantly amazed by the great tools we find on our clients’ websites: profiling tools, calculators, readability checkers, videos.

We’re even more amazed when they fail to exploit them in their email journeys.

4. Keep it short

The best practice advice for sales emails – certainly at the start of the journey – is to keep them short. Six lines say HubSpot, the doyens of inbound marketing. Here’s an early in the journey email from them, moving swiftly to the opportunity to chat:

Short and sweet work as reminder emails for events. When you know people have shown an interest, a quick follow up might be all you need to nudge them in the right direction. And, at this point in the event email trail, you should be linking them to the agenda online and a more exciting web experience that encourages them to book

5. Go for broke

While short is always good, it’s not mandatory. We hear from teams who are worried that their event or sales email is too long. But long can be good too. If you’re struggling to keep it short, think about whether the longer story might be more engaging.

We like these workshop promoting emails from David Hieatt at the Do Lectures. They tell a story that draws you in and promises a great return. It’s a far more emotional approach but a great start to an event promoting journey:



6. Revisit the past

You might feel pressure to send something new, to say something different, to have an opinion on something topical. But don’t make it hard for yourself. Flaunt what you have.


Recycling old content isn’t a bad thing as long as it’s still relevant to your reader. It’s unlikely your prospects remember what you posted this time last year, so send an old blog post and see what response it gets.


Or, maybe there’s an opportunity to give a new twist to an old blog? See what’s going on in the news and give your take on something topical. Whether it’s a virus taking over the world, relentless storms or unexpected trend.


Copyblogger sent us an email the other day linking to a three-year-old blog post. We still read it. The fact that it was old wasn't an issue:


7. Break it down

You don’t have to tell everyone everything all the time. It’s overwhelming for your reader – and they’re likely to switch off. Instead, pick one thing to focus on. Details can be very persuasive.


Why not focus on a specific feature of your service and explain how it saves time?

Or, introduce your keynote speaker and discuss their expertise? One speaker with an engaging background story will be more memorable than a panel of four, just name-checked.


Breaking down your offer is not only helpful to your prospect, but it also gives you fuel for future emails.


As the writer, you can get two or three more emails where there was only one.

8. Ask for feedback

Prospects opening your emails? Fantastic. But here’s a test to see how engaged they are. Try sending out a poll or a short survey. It’s a chance for them to express their opinion and invaluable opportunity for you to learn more about your audience.


You could ask them what speaker they’re most excited about. Or perhaps ask them to rate the usefulness of your blogs. It’ll help you improve and give you inspiration for what to talk about too.


Here’s an email from Greenpeace asking me to voice what is important to me:

9. Delegate the work

Get someone else to do the work for you. Well, not quite. You’re not completely off the hook, but you can use someone else’s story or words to persuade.


Human interest is powerful so it’s a great way to attract attention. Base your email around a glowing testimonial from a past event attendee. Or tell a success story with an existing case study.

10. Say it again

Resend the email you sent last week. No, really. Try it and see what happens. Worried people will get annoyed? People receive so many emails that they probably won’t even notice.

Prospects might have missed your email the first time around for a number of reasons. From being busy when it landed in their inbox to being struck down with an illness. We heard something about a bad virus going around?

But while you can keep the email the same, you do need to put in a bit of work. A simple change could be trying out a different subject line. If you only included the date and time of your event last time, try to build intrigue instead.


Mailchimp reports that resent emails to people who hadn't opened the first send, got 8.7% more opens. And as the writer, you hardly had to do anything.

Summary


Hopefully we’ve given you enough fuel to keep your email journey moving. There’s a lot of advice out there – and there’s no right answer. So try different things, see what works and repeat.

While you’re here, you might also enjoy: How to ignore marketing tips and write emails people actually read.

Get in touch

  • Black Twitter Icon
  • LinkedIn

© 2020 A Thousand Monkeys | Privacy policy