Marketing top tips by Jordan Vickery

3 email sequences that will help you to turn more subscribers into leads, and more leads into clients

Jordan Vickery Co-Founder & Head of Marketing at Pixie

It’s not true…

Email marketing isn’t dead. In fact, I’d argue it’s alive and kicking like never before.

Within Business to Business (B2B) marketing, email still remains one of the most popular means of communication, and therefore one of the most effective ways of reaching your target market.

It’s also one of the safest and least risky ways to market your accounting firm. Let me explain why…

Whilst platforms such as Linkedin and Facebook might seem great for building followings and generating enquiries, you don’t own them.

These platforms can change the way their algorithm works overnight, meaning your posts go from thousands of views each time, to tens of views.

Don’t believe me? Just ask anybody who had a thriving Facebook page pre-2016 how their organic posts are doing now...

The point here is, don’t build your mansion on rented ground.

You want to build a following in a place that you own. Somewhere that you keep complete control over. And that place is your email list.

Your email list is one of the most important marketing assets you can own, and yet many accounting firms either don’t have one, or have one with contacts gathering cyber-dust.

All of that being said, I’m sorry to inform you that this article isn’t about building an email list.

If that’s what you need, then check out this 20-minute episode I recorded with Amanda C. Watts about generating leads online.

Everything you need to know about building an email list is in that episode.

What this article is about however, is how to make the most of the emails that you get on your email list.

Having an email list is a bit like having a gym membership - it’s only worth having if you’re going to use it regularly and keep active.

Which is why in this article, I wanted to share with you 3 email sequences I think that all accounting firms (and all small businesses) should have built into their email marketing platform (more on that later…)

Don’t rest on your laurels

I can sense a few hesitations already...

What if I annoy people by sending them too many emails too soon?

Won’t people get tired and just opt-out?

The chances are both of the above will happen, but the people that get annoyed or tired and opt-out, would unlikely convert to clients in any case.

People unsubscribing from emails is a natural part of the email subscriber life-cycle. Don’t get scared by it. You’ll be surprised by how many come back in down the line.

The fact is that you’ve worked hard to get the email subscriber. Just sitting on your laurels and expecting one email a month (or less) to turn them into a client is naive at best.

You need to help them to know, like, trust you, AND to take action.

The last part is key. ACTION. Without them taking action, what’s the point in email marketing? You’re not sending emails for email's sake. You’re doing it to help guide them towards taking action.

Email sequences are just the vehicle you use to help them to do that. So let’s get into it...

1. New subscriber sequence

A new subscriber has just signed up to your mailing list.

Firstly, congrats. Secondly, DO NOT TAKE THIS LIGHTLY!

Think to yourself how guarded you are with your own email address these days and how reluctant you can sometimes be to subscribe to things. People don’t just give their email address to anybody. It means that they’ve seen something they like, and they want to find out more.

Your new subscriber email sequence is how you do that.

It’s your chance to make the most of their newly-earned attention and build trust, add value and showcase some credibility over the course of a few emails.

So when it comes to welcoming new subscribers, I’ve broken it down into 2 different examples:

A) General indoctrination sequence

B) Content specific nurture sequence

A) General indoctrination sequence

Indoctrination might sound like a strong word, but it’s exactly what you’re looking to do with this first email sequence…

Indoctrination - the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically.

Ask yourself, what does your prospect need to believe to be true in order to work with you?

Here are a few ideas…

  • Their current accountant isn’t as proactive as they could be
  • They’re paying more tax than they need to
  • The service they’re currently receiving isn’t as good as it could be
  • You are an expert in a particular niche or discipline
  • Changing accountants is straightforward

The list could go on - but hopefully you get my point. The way that you start to help them to accept a new set of beliefs is by emailing them strategic pieces of content over a period of weeks. These pieces of content need to help guide them towards hopefully taking some action i.e. booking a call with you.

Here’s an example of what an indoctrination email sequence might look like running over 2-3 weeks:

  • Email 1 - Welcome & thanks - Here’s what to expect from us...
  • Email 2 - Content piece 1
  • Email 3 - Content piece 2
  • Email 4 - Content piece 3
  • Email 5 - Personal - How we work with our clients at XYZ firm (help them to see how you’re different to others…)
  • Email 6 - CTA - Arrange your cash growth and tax saving session

This type of sequence is best used on a general email sign-up e.g. they click subscribe to your mailing list via your website or somewhere else.

If people come into your mailing list for the first time from downloading a specific piece of content e.g a guide to tax saving strategies for landlords, then you can use this style of sequence, however I prefer to use the next email sequence instead...

B) Content specific nurture sequence

I’ll use my previous example…

If I’ve just downloaded a guide about “tax saving strategies for landlords” then I’m giving you 2 very important pieces of information:

1. I think I’m paying too much tax

2. I’m a landlord

And what this means is that you are in a unique position to create a content-specific nurture sequence based on those 2 things. You know what my industry is, and you know one of my biggest challenges, so, use it wisely.

The goals and structure are largely the same as the indoctrination sequence. You’re looking to add value and build trust & credibility with me over a period of weeks. Here’s an example of what it might look like:

  • Email 1 - Welcome & thanks - Here’s your guide.
  • Email 2 - Content-specific piece 1
  • Email 3 - Content-specific piece 2
  • Email 4 - Content-specific piece 3
  • Email 5 - Personal - Case study - How we helped X landlord to reduce their tax bill by £100,000
  • Email 6 - CTA - Arrange your property tax planning session

Once prospects have completed either of the 2 sequences above, you don’t just stop emailing.

These relationships can take time to build, so if they don’t convert immediately, you move them into the next email sequence...long-term nurture.

2. Long-term nurturing sequence

The ronseal of email nurture sequences…

It does exactly what it says on the tin.

Your long-term nurture sequence is how you maintain and build relationships with prospects over a long period of time. It’s how you stay top of mind so when the time comes that their current accountant messes up, or the piece of content you share hits them at the right time, they know exactly who to speak to.

When it comes to long-term nurture sequences, there are a few ways to do it:

1. Automated sequence - you plan out a sequence of automated emails (aim for one every 1-2 weeks). Each one should aim to get engagement i.e. click to read article, respond with answer to question, watch video, register for event etc

2. Manual newsletter-style sequence - every week (or couple of weeks) you send out a newsletter-style email with links to different pieces of content or events that you’re organising. Again, the goal here is to get engagement.

Both of the sequences above rely on people engaging with your emails. If people aren’t engaging then ideally you want them off your email-list (unengaged contacts that consistently don’t open emails can harm your email deliverability). But before you boot them off, it’s time for one last trick…

The re-engagement sequence...

3. Re-engagement sequence

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try (and how many emails you send), subscribers lose interest and stop engaging.

Continuing to email these people over a long period of time isn’t a great idea for 2 reasons:

  1. If they’re not engaging then they’re not interested - why continue to reach out if they’re not indicating a response
  2. It can damage your email deliverability - many email providers and CRMs now have the option to exclude unengaged subscribers from email blasts - this is why

So if you have a group of unengaged subscribers - what can you do? Here are a few different options…

  • Do you still want to be here campaign - send a series of 1-2 emails to these unengaged subscribers and ask a simple question - do you still want to be here? People that click yes to continuing to receive your emails stay, and the people that don’t you remove from your email marketing tool
  • Do you still want to be here + segmentation campaign - a slightly more detailed version of the above where you not only ask if they want to stay, but use it as an opportunity to ask what categories of content they’re most interested in. This is great if you have a few different email sequences with different content themes
  • The re-optin campaign - send an email with a link to a landing page where they can download a new piece of content. If they download, then they’ll probably go back into a content specific nurture sequence as an engaged subscriber. If they don’t, remove them.

How do you automate these?

I know what you’re thinking, this all sounds like A LOT of work.

I’ll be honest, setting them up isn’t a 10-minute task. But once you’ve spent some time creating these marketing assets, they’ll stand to generate you an ROI from your email marketing efforts for months, even years to come.

Automating these email sequences will ultimately come down to the apps that you use.

In my last article in the magazine, I shared the 5 essential apps that you should have in your marketing tech-stack. #2 and #3 are what you’re looking for to help with this.

In a nutshell, a decent CRM system (Hubspot) or email marketing system (ConverKit) will do the job nicely. Both are fairly intuitive to use and can do everything I’ve referenced above (and more) with ease.

Are you making the most of email marketing?

Email marketing remains one of the best channels for B2B marketing to date - and building an active email list of prospects and leads is must-have for accounting firms serious about growth via marketing.

Start building your audience, implement some of the sequences above, and watch as your email marketing machine slowly starts to turn subscribers into leads, and leads into clients.

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