Email marketing has changed dramatically over the past few years. Gone are the years of ‘hit send and keep your fingers crossed’: today’s marketing email subscribers expect content tailored to them, and they expect to be taken on a coherent journey when they sign up for a new product or service.
Email courses are rapidly gaining traction as a way of delivering this sought after experience, particularly for B2B audiences that need to educate their prospects before making a sale. These courses engage people over a long period of time, feeding them information in a certain sequence to paint a more nuanced picture of your company.
In the old days, this would be a highly complicated task, but there are a growing number of email marketing automation tools that really simplify matters. Here are some top tips for building an automated email series perfect for your business.
Picking Your Subject
The first, and most important, step of developing your automated email course is selecting a subject that will resonate with your readers. You probably have more factors than you think to help you decide what topics your readers will find interesting: do some keyword research, or take a look at your blog and isolate the highest performing posts. It’s perfectly normal to repurpose your blog content for an automated email course.
You don’t have to look far to find businesses doing this right: Buffer, the social media management platform, curates a series called ‘become a social media expert’, a ten-day email course to help marketers learn about social media. The title directly addresses the desires of their target demographic and is well targeted to their readers, who will already be subscribed to more content on the topic of social media.
It’s A Product, Not Just An Email Course
Simply creating an email course isn’t enough: you’ve got to promote your email course as if it’s one of your products.
What does this mean? You need to design and build an effective landing page where people can sign up, and consider paying for advertising on social media. Better yet, add a call to action at the end of your relevant blog posts highlighting to readers that if they want more, they know where to find it.
Use Classic Copywriting Principles
Copywriting is copywriting, regardless of whether it’s on a billboard, a website or an automated email. If you’re planning an automated email course, make sure the emails are a pleasure to read: your subscribers should be helped through each email with well crafted and easy to read language.
To achieve this, employ universal copywriting principles and don’t skimp on time spent writing the emails themselves. A handy formula for writing excellent marketing copy is the PAS formula:
Start your readers off by describing a problem in the abstract. Then agitate that problem by linking it to a more specific situation that the reader can relate to. Finally offer a solution to the problem you’ve outlined. While following this structure, employ sensory words, evoke a reader’s imagination, formulate snappy soundbites and make sure you explain your argument clearly.
Don’t Overwhelm Your Readers
It can be tempting when planning an email course to throw as much content as you can at your readers: they’ve signed up to learn stuff, right?
You need to be careful – overwhelm your readers with too much content, and they’re likely to simply switch off and unsubscribe. Be respectful and give your subscribers what they want, and nothing more. You might find that creating a short and targeted email is actually more challenging than creating a long, wordy one.
Keep your emails short, and be transparent with your subscribers about how many emails they can expect to receive from you.
Once It’s Over, Give Them The Next Steps
Readers who finish your email course and are still engaged at the end of it are a very valuable segment – they’ve stuck with you throughout. It’s, therefore, imperative that you try to convert those readers, so you’ve got to provide a meaningful next step.
Invite them to share the course on social, or direct them to another course or service. If appropriate, suggest they call your sales team. The important thing is not to leave them hanging.
An automated email series can be the secret sauce to creating an educated and qualified prospect list, but only when done correctly. It’s not enough to just push out blog content via email in a haphazard manner: you’ll need to carefully plan a structure, and throw your best copywriters at the task. Done well, educational email series are an extremely valuable weapon in a digital marketer’s arsenal.