Sandeep Das
Sandeep Das 19 February 2019
Categories Email & eCRM

How to write an outstanding email sequence that sells

A great sales email sequence will make your sales process smoother and more streamlined. In this article, I'll share a few tips to write an outstanding email sequence that sells.

We all want to write great email sequences to connect with your audiences and to sell our stuff. But with shortening attention spans and increasing competition, modern marketers have a limited window to influence and convince leads to buy from them.

Email marketing is the Knight in the Shining Armor for your digital marketing toolkit. It helps you to not only sell, but to ignite the brand influence, and drive valuable traffic to evergreen content.

This article is about strategically the most important type of email sequence - The Conversion Sequence.

Revisiting the basic principles of selling

To write great copy, you must know how to sell your stuff.

Without a solid foundation of selling principles, your emails can’t help you draw your potential customers on to your landing page. So, here is what you should know before writing a  conversion email sequence.

Build a relationship with the customer

Your relationship with the customer is often the key differentiator between you and your competitors. To build a successful relationship with the client, you need to build a rapport, identify their needs with granular details, and work on building trust and offering value.

Use different types of email sequences to help build a relationship with your leads, before exposing them to your conversion email sequence.

Sell to solve customers’ problems

It’s an age-old adage taught in all sales courses - “Customers will buy for emotional reasons and use logic to justify their purchase”.

To help them do so, your emails and other kinds of copy must be centered around the BENEFITS of your product and not just its features. Use the psychological anchors to activate the right emotions through your copy.

Create value when your product is expensive

If your product is expensive, the lead will reject it and move on to your competitors’ products. So, you have to create value for them and convince them that your product is worth the price.

To help create value, sync your conversion emails with your landing pages and use them together. In this context, your email conversation starts with relationship-building email sequences, then moves to conversion email sequences which redirect the lead to the landing pages.

Listen to your leads and customers

If you can listen successfully, you can ask the right questions to help dig out the emotional pains they need to be solved. In an online marketing context, successful listening involves gathering data using marketing automation tools.

Use these tools to keep a tab on the kind of media and content is being consumed by what segment of your customers. Also, take regular feedback from your current customers and use that to strengthen the relationship.

Focus on closing the sale

As crude as it may sound, sales (for a salesman) is ultimately about the money!

Closing the sale in the context of conversion email sequences means the customers clicking the call-to-action and moving to the landing page.

A funnel for a successful conversion email sequence


A good conversion email sequence (also called as Autoresponder) is like an automatic secondary sales person - it works alongside you and attempts to make a sale on your behalf.

The two main reasons why autoresponders work are:

  • By adding multiple emails in a series and sharing high-value content in them, you can curate a full-fledged experience for them.
  • By gradually nurturing them, you give them an opportunity to build trust with you. This trust comes in handy when you send them a product to purchase.
  • They are great to build anticipation or apply scarcity marketing.

There are hundreds of different ways to write a high-selling autoresponder sequence. In this article, we are covering the 6 most important steps you need to follow to build an optimal relationship.

Step #1: Decide what’s your Autoresponder’s goal

Your goal will vary depending on what your campaign is. Generally, autoresponders are created for any of the following purposes.

  • Welcome series - For value addition through a series of informational emails
  • Training or Challenge series - For delivering mini-courses or to conduct challenges. These emails will contain materials about the product. You could send them weekly updates or make it a challenge for them to achieve.
  • Full-fledged sales funnel - Combine the few educational emails at the start with sales emails in the end. The sales emails could be sent at a higher frequency to help you implement scarcity marketing. Send the sales emails only to those who have interacted with all your educational emails.
  • Cross-sell or Upsell funnel - The cross-sell emails are for related products to an existing customer. Upsell emails are for the higher version of a purchased product.

Step #2: Customize your messaging by segmenting your list

Many would ask here - why do you need to segment your list? For many, they say it’s time-consuming and it doesn’t seem to add benefits.

Well, to tell you the truth, the power of email marketing lies in segmentation.

For example, would you send the same messaging to an entrepreneur and a housewife?

There will be many more such classifications. They all are totally different types of customer personas and you have to talk to them differently.

After segmenting your list, you will change the content, style, and layout also based on what segment you are talking to. Without doing this, segmenting is an empty exercise.

There are plenty of smart ways to segment your email list. Your customer personas capture a good deal of information to help ease the process.

Step #3: Find your email marketing software

Finding an email marketing software that is a fit for your operations and for your budget is a very confusing process.

Here some popular and budget providers with a brief review.

  • MailChimp: It’s one of the oldest and the most popular software because it’s cheap and easy to use. The free plan has 2,000 subscribers beyond which, it’s a paid plan. Priority support and email sequences are add-ons charged at a high price.
  • HubSpot: This is the most advanced all-in-one marketing software and also the costliest one. But it is much easier to use. Being the most expensive one, the cost goes above $800 / month. They also have a $3000 on-boarding fee. HubSpot may not be suitable for small and medium businesses.
  • EngageBay: EngageBay is a fairly new player in the market. Apart from its state-of-the-art fluid email designer, you get tools like triggers, email sequences, broadcasts, and many other features. You pay for the number of emails you send and not the number of contacts in your list. EngageBay’s lowest plan starts at $10/month and most expensive plan caps out at less than $200/month. There are annual plans which reduce the costs even further.

You can also look at tools like Aweber, Drip, ActiveCampaign, InfusionSoft, etc.

You would want to send your emails with a tool having a high guarantee of deliverability and good sender spam score. Do talk to the support team about these stats before purchasing the tool.

Another important thing to consider is ease of use. Because some tools might be complex, they may require some paid training.

Most of the tools in the market charge based on the size of your contacts list (except EngageBay). Expect your marketing budget to get disrupted in the initial days.

At EngageBay, we decided to go for smarter email-based pricing to make it easy for early-stage small businesses.

Step #4: Design your email sequence

Here are some important factors to consider while planning and creating your email sequence:

  • Total number of emails – It can be anywhere from 3 to 7 or more based on the goal you chose in step 1. You can also send some lead nurturing emails followed by well-timed sales emails.
  • Frequency of emails - Again, there is no fixed interval here. Without the right balance, you risk either annoying the audience or losing their attention. Start with a 3-day interval for your initial “value” emails. Then increase the frequency when you inject scarcity marketing to remind people that the deadline is closer. For a more thorough approach, CoSchedule has compiled 20 different studies on the ideal email frequency.

If 20% of your emails in a sequence are trying to make a sale, the remaining 80% should be educational. This 80:20 ratio is crucial because, if this ratio is changed, you risk annoying your leads with too much sales content and not enough value.

Once these factors are decided, start by creating an outline of the sequence. The outline includes the content, date, time, and the call-to-action (CTA) of each email.

CTA is basically like a punctuation point from one email to another - it could be a video, a blog post, a social media post, etc.  For sales emails, the CTA is usually a landing page driving nurtured leads towards the actual sale. 

For a detailed outline of your conversion email sequence, refer to this awesome guide from Sumo.

Note that you may or may not get perfect subject lines in this step; all the heavy-duty copywriting is done in Step 5.

Step #5: Write copy for your conversion email sequence

Many companies only talk about how great your product/service is, in their emails. These emails won’t convert well simply because there’s nothing for the customer in them. A high-converting email sequence always keeps the focus on the audience.

That means no more boring self-talk; your copy will not be just about the features. Instead, use customer-focused benefits to tell the customers how your product/service will change their lives.

To write customer-focused benefits, think about goals, motivations, problems, and interests of your customers. Focus on what are they getting out of each email and write your content around helping them drive towards the CTA.

Your copywriter can help you write emails and headlines. Also, make sure you create two different versions of headlines and content for at least the sales emails. Testing helps you fine-tune and understand what works best for your audience.

To help customers relate to what your emails, you can use deep personalization elements like their first name, their buying stage, their intent, and other details that your marketing tool’s database captures.

Both headlines and content should be personalized. Advanced techniques like emoticons can be used in email subject lines for higher open rates. You can include the CTA link more than once (in different ways) to increase your CTR.

Step #6: Execute and measure the campaign

After your conversion email sequence starts, in the first pass, you will test the initial variations you created. Regular monitoring of this sequence helps you uncover the opportunities for improvement. Use these inputs to further tweak your A/B variations and find the most profitable variant.

Once the campaign starts, measure the following stats:

  • Open rate – To improve poor open rates, try to tweak your segmentation, change the delivery times, or change the subject line.
  • Click-through rate - If you have a low CTR, your content and subject line may not match each other or maybe the content doesn’t provide enough value. The CTA copy, its placement or layout of the email may also be flawed.
  • Unsubscribe rate - Higher unsubscribing rate could be because people thought you were giving something in a specific way but those expectations did not match so they unsubscribed. It could be an error in segmentation or the whole email sequence may appear overtly salesy.

Final points about a high-selling email sequence

Master your core selling skills before writing a conversion email sequence. Start by deciding your autoresponder’s goal, then segment your list. Focus on the 80/20 principle for deciding the content of your email sequence. Don’t forget to personalize your email copy and keep it focused on customer benefits. Finally, you must regularly monitor and improve your email campaign by measuring key performance stats.

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