Years ago, I put together 52 weeks of automated nurture emails for the company I was working for. The information in the emails was solid. It included marketing principles that have been true for decades. And we figured it would be fine to “set it and forget it.”
1 ½ years later, we went back to look at the stats.
It wasn’t great.
In fact, of the 200,000+ people who had entered the sequence that first year, only 1 person was still in the sequence when the very last email was delivered. And we could see that similar numbers were happening to those added along the way.
People were opting out FAST!
Now, it’s true that these same people were receiving sales emails, event notifications, and other emails from us. And those “other” emails did cause some people to opt out of our list. But when we dug deeper, we could accurately attribute over 80% of our attrition rate to our long term nurture sequence.
I can’t answer that. We never did any market research. We didn’t call our lost prospects to find out why the nurture sequence drove them away.
But I have some theories.
Theory #1: People know when they’ve been dumped in an automated marketing sequence.
I hate being a statistic. Don’t you? I don’t want you to send me a bunch of irrelevant information week after week, hoping that somewhere down the road I’ll buy from you. I want to be included in your community, not just thrown bread crumbs once in a while.
Theory #2: Your content needs to evolve with your community.
This goes along with theory #1, but if you’re keeping a pulse on your community, your content will always be evolving. For example, most of my emails reference COVID in some way. Because that is a driving factor in our lives. Any emails written pre-2020, while they may still contain relevant content, it won’t be as meaningful to someone today.
Theory #3: No one can successfully write 52 emails.
I know a few people, besides myself, who have written 52 weeks of emails. And more often than not, they tried to crank out the content within 2 weeks to a month. Because they had other things to do. Well, without fail, the power and effectiveness of your emails diminish when you’re trying to write that many. So maybe your emails can keep your prospects engaged for the first 5, 10, even 20 emails. But after a while, those prospects are going to notice that the quality of your content isn’t as great as it once was.
Theory #4: People don’t actually need nurturing…they need engagement.
I am a firm believer that your community needs to hear from you a minimum of once a week. But what if they don’t need more tips about how to keep the mosquitos away in the summer or which wines work best with certain meals? (I can Google both of those topics.) What if they need someone who is looking out for them? Steering them in the best direction? And offering opportunities to engage with and benefit from their expertise?
I love automation! My business would not work without automation. And next week I think I’ll share some thoughts about how to improve your automated copy.
But when the relationship building matters, or you want your contacts to engage with you directly, I like email broadcasts. A single email, written from a place of concern or caring. Not something that was written weeks ago and is supposed to keep prospects on the line.
Now, having said all that…I am open to differing opinions. And maybe you do have the ultimate nurture sequence. 52 weeks of sheer brilliance. If so, I’d love to see it.
Please feel free to connect with me (or post in the comments) and we can hash through this topic together.