What Is A Nurture Sequence?

05 May, 2021 By Bobby Klinck
What is a nurture sequence? Learn what an email nurture sequence is, what to put in yours, and how to use them to grow your online business.

Have you heard people talk about an email nurture sequence and you’re over here thinking, “I don’t even know what the hell a nurture sequence is!” No worries. By the end of this post, you’ll know what nurture sequence is, the two kinds of nurture sequences, and how to write your own.

Even if you’re not exactly sure what a nurture sequence is, chances are, if you’ve been in the online marketing space for more than two seconds, you’ve probably got lots of them in your inbox… you just didn’t know that’s what they were called.

A nurture sequence is simply the bridge sequence between the email that delivers your freebie, called the CATCH email, and your welcome sequence. It’s designed to establish you as an authority and let your personality shine.

There are two main types of nurture sequences: freebie-style and product-style. The one you use depends on what step you want your subscriber to take. If you don’t have an immediate next step, use freebie-style. If you want subscribers to take an action (make a small purchase or sign up for a webinar), use product-style.

Freebie-style nurture sequences are focused on helping the new subscriber get as much value from the resource you shared as possible. You want them to get a quick win from using your awesome freebie so they’re more likely to trust you as a guide.

If you’re focused on getting your new subscriber to make a small purchase or register for something, then your nurture sequence will be focused on getting them to take action. You’ll need to explain the value of your offer and answer objections that people might have.

Freebie-Style Nurture Sequence

When you don’t have an immediate next step for your subscribers, your best bet is to use your nurture sequence to help them get the most out of the freebie they just signed up to get.

If you can help them get a solid win, you’re setting yourself up as the go-to person in your miche.

But maybe you’re wondering how to help them get a win. Well, there are a couple of ways you can do this. The first is to go deeper into their problem and share with them how you’ve solved the problem they’re having for yourself or others. The second is to give them a little tough love and a kick in the ass to get going.

Now before you ask how many emails should be in your nurture sequence, let me go ahead and say: it depends. 

Is your freebie something simple? Then your nurture sequence should be too. There’s no benefit to creating a long, complicated sequence for a simple freebie, so keep your focus on building authority and rapport and getting them to take action.

It’s perfectly fine for your “sequence” to be a single email that gives them a swift kick in the ass to do the work. The purpose of the email is to check in with them and encourage and inspire them to do the work on the checklist or guide you shared. 

For a more involved freebie, your sequence will be more involved. I know… shocking. One way to approach this is to think in terms of the steps your subscribers need to take to get a win and send one email per step.

If you’re using a free video series, you’ll generally send one email per video (or topic) so you can really help them break down and use the content.

Freebie-Style Nurture Sequence Tips

Most freebies will have their own nurture sequence. You can’t easily help people get value out of multiple freebies in just one sequence. Even product based sequences will usually be specific to the specific action you are asking them to take.

Now there are times when you can use a single nurture sequence for multiple freebies, like during a promotion period. For example, if you’re launching something, you can use a single nurture series whether they’re coming in from a webinar, a challenge, or video series.

Since your subscribers are new to your list, don’t test their patience. Keep your emails short, sweet, and to-the-point. Keep in mind that a story-based email structure, HOOK → STORY → CALL-TO-ACTION,  is a good model to follow for your nurture sequence.

Because a freebie-style nurture sequence is based on quick wins, you don’t want to drag it out. Generally sending an email each day is a good pattern unless you have a clear reason to skip days (e.g., if they need more than a day to complete a step).

Product-Style Nurture Sequence

If you have a “next step” that you want your subscribers to take after downloading your freebie, your nurture sequence will be focused on getting them to take that step. In that sense, a product-style nurture sequence is like a miniature promo sequence where you sell the next step in your funnel.

Because the goal of a product-style nurture sequence is conversion, this sequence will use conversion copy. But I want to mention that since many of the people going through this sequence will be new to your business, your conversion rates will likely be lower than your promo sequences that go to a warm audience.

Remember that for a product-style nurture sequence, you’re generally inviting your subscribers to either purchase a low-priced product or register for an event, like a webinar. 

A “tripwire” is just online marketing speak for a low-priced offer that’s related to your freebie. Since it’s a low price offer, the goal isn’t so much to make money as to help cover the ad costs from getting leads.

Tripwire products are usually priced at $47 or less because you want them to be a no-brainer offer. But even at this low price, most people still won’t buy.

The other common next step is to have subscribers sign up for a launch or an evergreen sales event, like a webinar, sales video, or challenge. Often rather than inviting people to a sales event directly, you’ll have them sign up for a freebie and then invite them to the event.

The Four Email Types For A Product-Based Sequence

There are four main types of emails you’ll use during a product-style nurture sequence. Of course, you don’t have to use every email type in each sequence, but you’ll want to mix up the types of emails you send.

Email 1: Value Load

This first kind of email is one of the most important that you’ll use in any sales-style sequence. The purpose is to show your subscribers the amazing value they’ll get by saying yes to whatever you’re offering (whether it’s a paid product or a sales event).

The value load is the first and most important email you’ll send in your product-style nurture sequence because it sets the stage for what is to come. This email also includes all the details of your offer, including the transformation and what people will actually get if they say yes.

The value load email is still story-based, but it also includes a section that lays out the value (well, what else did you expect…). Here’s the basic format:

  • Hook 
  • Personal story or analogy
  • Section that lays out the value
  • Call to action

Email 2: Objection Buster

This second type of email directly addresses the biggest reasons subscribers have for not taking action. You’ll want to address one objection per email, so that means you might have two objection buster emails per product-style nurture sequence.

The format of this email is also story-based but you’ll add in an objection busting section.

  • Hook 
  • Personal story or analogy
  • Objection busting
  • Call to action

In the objection busting section, you’ll deconstruct the objection and show why it’s wrong. You can do this in different ways like using logical arguments and testimonials. You can pick the right technique based on your audience’s objection.

Email 3: Case Study

Case studies are just story-based testimonial emails. But instead of telling your story, you’ll share a student’s success story. You want to honestly talk about what they were able to do, how they did it, how quickly they did it, and anything else that’s relevant to their success.

If you’ve been relying on testimonials for your business, now is a good time to get into the practice of creating case studies instead because they’re much more effective than testimonials.

The basic format of a case study is a little different than some of the other emails because the case study is the bulk of the email. 

  • Hook
  • Student’s case study
  • Call to action

You don’t need to include a personal story in this email because the story of your student does the heavy lifting. Even though these emails are simple and straightforward, they’re powerful, so be sure you use them appropriately.

Email 4: Can I Help?

This fourth type of email is a soft-sell where you offer to answer questions or help the subscriber. There’s not a formal structure to this type of email—you just drop a link and let them know you’re available to answer questions. Also, if there is a real deadline (i.e., not fake urgency), then you can add urgency in this type of email.

The Order Of Promo-Style Nurture Emails

There isn’t a specific email order that you have to follow in your promo-style nurture sequence because it depends on which emails you include. If you have time, I’d suggest a five-email sequence:

  • Email 1: Value load
  • Email 2: Objection buster
  • Email 3: Case study
  • Email 4: Objection buster
  • Email 5: Can I help?

If you don’t have enough time for all of these, don’t have two objections to bust, or have more than one case study, you can adjust the suggested sequence. But I’d strongly recommend you stick to the following rules:

RULE #1: Use a value load and put it first

RULE #2: Unless you have two objection buster emails, put the case study email second. If you have multiple objection busters, sandwich the case study between them.

RULE #3: If you use multiple objection buster or case study emails, put the most powerful one first.

RULE #4: Generally, you want this sequence to be between three and five emails.

RULE #5: If you send a “Can I help?” email, send it as the last in the sequence. 

Since you’re building momentum with your product-style nurture sequence, you’ll want to send the emails on back-to-back days.

Putting It Together

I know this is a lot to take in all at once. But getting your nurture sequence up and running is important. If you want to learn more about how your nurture sequence fits into your overall marketing plan, you should join my FREE program BADA$$ Online Marketing University. If you sign up, you’ll get to see my nurture sequence at work AND get access to all the awesome courses I’ve created to teach entrepreneurs how to build and market their online businesses. What are you waiting for?

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Bobby Klinck

Harvard Lawyer and Online Entrepreneur