By Adi Jagan
TL;DR? Indoctrination email sequences present an amazing opportunity to serve before you sell.
“Indoctrination email sequence” is the somewhat dramatic name for the first round of emails that a brand sends new subscribers. These subscribers have signed up for your newsletter, email list, or blog. The overarching goal of this sequence is not selling (not yet!). In this sequence, you’re establishing a rapport with the subscriber and demonstrating why it was worth their while to sign up.
Remember: when a subscriber gives you their email, they are sharing valuable information with you. Just signing up is an act of trust. We advise all of our clients to respond to that trust with welcoming, engaging and informative messages. Respect their time and their intelligence, and that respect will be returned. Email marketing best practices should always include good manners.
Your Welcome Email is a Key First Impression
The first message in an indoctrination email sequence is the welcome email, which is sent to new subscribers after they first sign up. Welcome emails are your best shot at connecting with new signups: Data shows that introductory welcome emails have an astonishing open rate: 46 percent, or nearly half of the recipients. That first welcome email is your chance to make a good impression on a new subscriber, and encourage them to read future messages from you—which is why none of our welcome emails include sales pitches.
Think of it this way: How would you react if you followed a new acquaintance on social media, and the first message they sent you was a sales pitch? Yeah, I’d mute or block as well—too thirsty, too soon.
Overt sales pitches in indoctrination sequences aren’t just poor manners: They’re counterproductive. Trying to sell to your new subscribers right out of the gate can come across as insulting. Immediately their barriers go up, and it’s unlikely they will read any of your future messages.
So instead of coming on strong with the hard sell, treat new followers as if you’re having a party and they’re a guest you were just introduced to: Welcome them and thank them for coming. Take a moment to inform your listeners about who you are and what they can expect from you.
In an Indoctrination Email Sequence, Less is Always More
When we’re creating indoctrination series for clients, we keep them short and sweet. Respect the reader’s time and attention. You can use the sequence to tell or reiterate to subscribers what your brand is, what problems you solve, how they can reach you or offer feedback—just don’t be that person at the party who’s lecturing strangers about yourself while the annoyed audience tunes out.
Show your new guests around. As a party host, you’d likely show a guest where to put their coats and maybe fix them a drink. The same principle goes for an indoctrination series: You’re letting new subscribers know what to expect (an email once a week, exclusive access to sales and specials, etc).
Instead of offering them a cocktail, it’s excellent etiquette to offer a new subscriber a discount code of some kind. A reward of some sort not only drives traffic to your site, it lets the subscriber know your emails are actually worth opening.
Be sure you’re open to conversation in these messages, and not just monologuing. Encourage your readers to ask questions or submit feedback, and share your social links as that’s where a lot of customer Q&A happens these days. Solicit their feedback and actually listen to what they have to say.
Give Before You Ask, Serve Before You Sell
At the end of this sequence, we like to send what we call a how-to email: News your subscribers can use. Whether that’s a three-step guide to finding quality supplements, tips on how to calm pets during fireworks season, or a beginner’s guide to rolling a joint, share strong, original content that’s interesting and valuable. Solve a problem for them. Offer insight that can help them out, teach them something or make them laugh. Again: no sales. Your how-to guide may be sales-adjacent, but there should be no overt product pushes.
Indoctrination email sequences aren’t about selling: they’re creating the foundation of a relationship. Build a strong foundation, treat your subscribers as you’d want to be treated and the conversions, leads and sales will follow.
Want to learn more about how email marketing basics can build your brand and boost your revenue? Let’s talk!