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  • Annand Sharma

Tech Recipe: Setting Up an Email Marketing Sequence


White keys from a keyboard, arranged artisitically spelling out the word  "email"

Background:

Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to engage with potential and existing customers. An email marketing sequence, also known as an email drip campaign, sends a series of emails to individuals over a set period of time. This recipe will guide you through the process of setting up an effective email marketing sequence.


Let’s return to our fictional Banana Stand. Our business is successful so it’s time to expand the reach of our Frozen Banana Stand. We can use these tools to reach out to customers who signed up on our mailing list. Additionally we want to find supermarket managers, frozen food storage, and suppliers to help grow our business.


Shopping List:

  • Contact search tools: ZoomInfo, Grata

  • Email marketing tools:

    • For one to one consider Reply.io

    • For a full contact management platform consider HubSpot

    • For larger distribution lists consider, Mailchimp

Cooking Instructions:

  • Build your contact lists. Thanks to our Banana Stand landing page , we have email addresses for potential customers already.

  • In order to find email addresses for supermarket managers and food suppliers we need to leverage tools like Grata or ZoomInfo.

    • ZoomInfo is great if you at least know the names of the companies or the industry and location they are in. ZoomInfo likely has the largest database of contact information as well as organizational hierarchy allowing you to find the best possible contact.

A screen shot of the contact search results page from ZoomInfo

  • Grata’s search allows for more powerful filtering as well as search expansion. Once you find a company that fits your target profile, Grata can help you refine the search to find more companies like that one.

  • Once you’ve identified the contacts and built the list in the contact search tool, export these contacts.

    • Both Grata and ZoomInfo allow you to define the data you want to export. In order to make the most personalized email you will want to pull the name, office location, company name, company location, job title, and of course all the available contact info.

    • A best practice is to keep each export limited to a certain “type” as in the industry or vertical the contacts are in. You can of course choose to export all the contacts in one file, in which case be sure to include the “industry” column so that you can sort these contacts in your marketing tool later.

  • Import contacts to your chosen email marketing tool.

    • You want to make sure that you send contacts into the right audience. Our message to supermarket managers is different from the message to frozen food storage executives. We need to keep these contacts separate so that we can more efficiently track and manage our messaging.

    • If you’re using HubSpot, or another CRM, this is where you can sort and tag the marketing contacts. Keeping our contact list curated allows us to rotate contact lists in and out of email marketing campaigns. We’re creating one list for our suppliers, one list for our corporate buyers, and we have a separate list for our end customers who signed up from our landing page.

  • In your email marketing tool, create a new email sequence.

    • You’ll specify the text of each message, the audience, and the frequency and timing of the emails in the sequence.

A screen shot of the reply.io sequence builder that allows many options for reaching out to a contact including SMS and phone

  • The content in each email should be tailored to your audience's needs and interests.

    • Use short, engaging subject lines.

    • Avoid long email bodies. Be direct and to the point. Ask for an action or follow up so the recipient knows how to respond, if they choose to respond.

  • Instead of only relying on time, you can set triggers or conditions for sending additional emails in the sequence. This could be based on the recipient's actions (like opening a previous email or clicking on a link), or it could be simply based on a set schedule.

  • Test the sequence with a small group of contacts before rolling it out to your full list.

    • You can even test it with folks within your company to make sure it’s working as intended

  • Once you're satisfied with the performance of the sequence, launch it to a full contact list.

  • Regularly review and adjust the sequence based on the response rates and feedback from the recipients.

    • The email marketing tools will give data such as open rates and reply rates. Additional metrics are emails deliverability to the inbox and/or marked as spam rate. Due to various privacy and technical considerations, these metrics are approximations. Use them as directional signals and develop a process to monitor and improve your sequences

A screen shot of some sample data from Reply.io showing the number of people contacted, the email delivery rate and email open rate

  • Don’t assume learnings from one audience will automatically translate to another audience. After all, different messages will resonate with different audiences.

  • Copy sequences and make changes to subject lines or the message. This practice is referred to as A/B testing. The idea is to split a similar audience and see if any modification produces a measurable change in the data. You could modify the timing of your message, various subject lines, etc. It's best practice to have at least 100 contacts and no fewer than 50 in a test to get meaningful results.

  • Upon completion we’ll write the email data back into our CRM so that we can track who opened or even replied to our emails.

Remember, the most effective email marketing sequences are those that deliver value to the recipient, whether that's useful information, a special offer, or something else entirely. Always aim to understand your audience and tailor your content to their needs and interests.


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