The Trouble With E-Mail “Sequence” Campaigns

I was working with a client recently to develop an e-mail campaign that they wanted to send out to a list of prospects in a particular order. We were spending quite a bit of time discussing the order and the variation—and progression—in content for these emails.

And then it dawned on me!

How can we be sure what order these prospects will receive these emails in, if they ever see any of them, and if they actually open and read all of them?

How Your Audience Interacts With Your Emails

Think about how you interact with the myriad of email missives you likely get every day. Do you read them all? Do you read them in order? Do you ever pull up your emails from a specific brand and read them sequentially?

Chances are the answers to those questions is “no”!

Yet, when marketers sit down to create a campaign they often approach it as a sequential process, breaking out the emails into some kind of logical order as they imagine their target audience reading them (and remembering them) one by one.

A Better Approach?

Instead of planning to send emails to an audience in a particular order, call upon the power of your email software to send these messages more strategically.

Suppose we have a series of 5 messages to send out. We send out the first one to everybody on our list. And then:

  • We send the second only only to people who have opened the first.
  • We send a new and different message to the people who didn’t open the first.
  • We send the third to the people who opened the second.
  • We try one or two times to continue to engage the people who never opened a single message.
  • We send the fourth and fifth only to those who opened up previous messages.

And, in addition…we might also have a series of additional messages that go out to people who engage with our messages in specific ways—they click certain links, they visit a landing page, they ask for more information, etc.

Think Logically!

Email software makes it relatively easy to set up these kinds of logical sequences that are based on actual behaviors (or inaction). The main challenge is thinking logically about how consumers actually behave.

They’re not sitting idly at their desks (or at home) eagerly waiting for your messages and reading them one by one, in order.

They are receiving dozens—even hundreds—of emails from other companies, friends, colleagues, relatives, etc.

What will you do to help ensure that yours not only stand out, but actually get opened?


About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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Recommended Reading:

21st Century Secrets to Effective PR

Managing Remote Staff

Direct Mail in the Digital Age

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Strategic Planning

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

Best Practices in Influencer Marketing

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