You pour blood, sweat, and tears into building your email list. Every new subscriber brings a little happy dance. Inevitably, though, you lose a subscriber. Two steps forward, one step back. Don’t panic – all that’s needed is a bit of lead nurturing!
Before we dive into lead nurturing strategies, I want to address a couple of things about dealing with losing subscribers.
First of all, never, ever take it personally. There are lots of freebie grabbers out there who never intended to stick around to begin with.
Secondly, if what you’re saying (or how you’re saying it) doesn’t resonate with someone on your list, that’s okay – they probably don’t truly belong to your tribe.
Finally, sometimes people simply get overwhelmed by the amount of newsletters they’ve signed up for and clean up their inboxes…and you might just be part of that purge.
In the first two cases, you should celebrate these unsubscribes! Why would you want to pay your email marketing provider for a bunch of “dead weight”?
As for the latter scenario, kicking up your lead nurturing efforts could help curb your losses. After all, if your tribe is head over heels for you, there’s a much better chance they’ll make sure you make the cut.
Now that we’ve covered why you shouldn’t shed tears over lost subscribers, let’s talk about what you should be doing: nurturing email leads.
What the heck is lead nurturing, anyway, and why does it matter?
In simple terms, lead nurturing means building and maintaining relationships with leads in your sales funnel. In today’s post, we’re talking about nurturing brand new email subscribers, so in this context, lead nurturing essentially means welcoming and “initiating” new subscribers (aka leads) into your tribe.
The last thing you want to do is ghost your new subscribers. I know you’re probably scared to over-email your list—after all, you don’t want to risk annoying them. Here comes a huge “but”…
BUT the very worst thing you can do is not welcome them, never provide them with any value, and let them totally forget about you.
Doesn’t sound so great, does it?
Stop, story time (u can’t touch this)
Once upon a time, I saw an intriguing incentive download via a Facebook ad. I took a chance and shared my email address (knowing full well I was opting into a funnel). I figured since the freebie looked promising, I’d probably continue getting value from the emails that would follow.
Well, I received the download (I think—I don’t even remember now…more on this momentarily) and went on my merry way. Several weeks passed and I received an email from an unfamiliar name. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out who this person was.
I searched my inbox and lo and behold, it was the guy with the intriguing incentive. Holy smokes, I forgot all about him…and his freebie!
Wow. He sure doesn’t email much, does he?
Barely reading the email, I closed my inbox and went on with my day.
Another several weeks pass and it happened again. This time my memory was jogged a little more quickly, but still, it wasn’t instant recognition.
Right now, I can’t tell you his name to save my life. And the freebie? Not a clue what it was. I never did anything with it.
Okay, this story sucks, right? So does this guy’s lead nurturing skills! Ba dum tss.
Moral of the story
While I’m sure you gathered, the point of my story is that if you don’t welcome, initiate, and engage with your subscribers on a regular basis, they’re going to forget all about you, never learn to trust you, and therefore never become a loyal fan or paying customer.
Just like I’ll never buy anything from ol’ what’s-his-name.
Can I be real? Like really real? When you don’t stay in touch with your list, it comes across as though you don’t really give a shit about them one way or another. As if they’re not worth your time.
Tell me: do you want to be seen as just a number on an email list? Would you buy from someone who randomly reaches out for a sale but hasn’t given you any prior evidence that their product is valuable?
Didn’t think so.
Building relationships with people who opt into your list is non-negotiable. They entrusted you with their email address. Now you need to nurture that relationship, provide mega value, and earn their full, unfaltering trust.
You owe them that much. If not, you risk total apathy, or worse…the dreaded unsubscribe.
This is where lead nurturing comes in.
Step 1: The Autoresponder
What happens when people opt into your email list? Like, as soon as they pop their address into your form.
If your answer is “nothing,” we need to have a little chat.
Our first order of business is setting up an autoresponder. This is simple enough to set up yourself through any email marketing service.
Basically, the point of the autoresponder is to:
- Confirm to the subscriber that their submission went through
- Welcome and thank them for signing up
- Deliver whatever you promised you would (e.g., a freebie download, video, challenge, etc.)
- Set expectations – that way they know how often they’ll hear from you and what kind of content they can expect
For example, my autoresponder is a short message welcoming new subscribers to what I call my V.I.P. list. They receive this immediately after sharing their email address with me, and it includes a link to my Resource Library (or other incentive).
The email also sets the tone for what they can expect from me, in terms of voice, content, and mailing frequency. In my post script, I mention a 3-part email series new subscribers will receive over the course of a few days.
My post script does a couple of things. First, it creates further exclusivity for my list. And second, it informs new V.I.P.s that the emails are part of a series—I don’t want people to think I’m a daily mailer (everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I find daily emails to be overwhelming).
Whew! That’s a lot to cover in a brief email, hey?
Step 2: The Exclusive Content
There’s no hard and fast rule saying you must have a 3-part email series; this is simply what I choose to do at this point in time. You can set up a 5-day challenge, a 4-part video series, one in-depth email, or any combination of exclusive content—it’s entirely up to you and what you feel fits your audience’s wants and needs.
Whatever you choose to do, the purpose is more or less the same: to “initiate” new subscribers into your brand.
This is the time to stand out above the email noise and establish a relationship.
Usually called a “welcome sequence,” my 3-part series serves to inspire and educate aspiring entrepreneurs about starting a business and fleeing the 9-to-5 grind. It also helps new V.I.P.s get to know me on a deeper level—that way I’ll stick in their hearts and brains!
Each part of the series packs value, too. I cover one sub-topic per email and link to one relevant blog post within the content. Should new subscribers choose to follow the link to my blog, they’ll begin familiarizing themselves with my brand (win!) and find yet more value (double win!!).
Everything you send your list needs to have VALUE. No ifs, ands, or buts. No value = mucho unsubscribes.
The first message in my series also reiterates to subscribers that they’re receiving an “exclusive series” and afterward, they can expect to hear from me about once a week when I send my newsletter.
Again, during lead nurturing, we’re setting expectations and building trust.
Step 3: The Newsletter
Once new subscribers complete my lead nurturing welcome sequence, they begin receiving my weekly newsletter (and any other offers that pop up on occasion).
Depending on which email marketing service you use, you may not be able to control whether new subscribers receive your regular mailing in the middle of their welcome sequence.
I use ConvertKit and take advantage of the tagging feature, which enables me to skip sending any emails to new V.I.P.s until “initiation” is complete (yes, I realize that sound cultish). That way, I avoid overwhelming or confusing newbies.
Quick note: If you use ConvertKit, or are interested in using it, I highly recommend Elizabeth Goddard’s blog to learn the ins-and-outs! This post is a super helpful place to start setting up automations and tagging.
With newsletters, I stick to the schedule I set forth in my lead nurturing series (for me, once a week). Don’t worry – you’re not locked into this cadence forever! You can always change things up later based on what works best for you and your tribe.
However, it’s important to stay consistent with the expectations you set. This is part of trust-building.
Remember, above all else, everything you send your list should provide value. But don’t get stuck on the idea that value only comes in the form of “how to” information. Sometimes a dose of inspiration is just what your list needs. Other times, they might benefit from a reassuring, relatable story. Value can be delivered in many ways—get to know your audience and give them what they want and need.
Consistency + Value = Loyalty
By now, I hope you see that you’re not bugging your list when you email them. On the contrary, you’re serving them. And that’s what business is all about, right?
Lead nurturing is essential to building a loyal tribe.
Being consistent establishes trust. Providing value builds credibility and respect. And sharing your unique views, stories, and insights makes you more likable and relatable.
All of these things help you stay in the forefront of your tribe members’ minds. When they’re in need of the services you provide, do you think they’ll go elsewhere in search of support?
Hell to the no.
They’re going to reach out to you. Because they like you. Because they already trust you. And because they know you’re going to massively deliver on your promises.
In fact, you’ll probably have people asking “How can I work with you?!” and saying “Please create a program on THAT!”
That’s loyalty in action. You can have it with your list, too. It all starts with deliberate, thoughtful lead nurturing.
Do you have an autoresponder set up? What about a welcome sequence? How often do you email your list? Let’s chat in the comments!
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Hi, I'm Erin!
I help creatives flee the 9-5, build businesses they love, and live life on their terms.
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