How to Write a Lead-Nurturing Email

Presented live on Tuesday, January 26, 2021

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In this episode of Tutorial Tuesdays, you’re going to learn how to write a lead-nurturing email…

And you’re going to actually write it T’DAY.

But don’t worry, because Jo’s gonna walk you through the entire process…

And she’ll provide you with a super-flexible template that you can use again and again.

So, all you’ll need to write this lead-nurturing email is:

  • A “feature” or product you want to sell your leads on
  • A value prop for that feature or product
  • The problem that that feature solves for your customers / clients
  • A sense for the solutions your prospect has tried that have failed them

Well, let’s get to writing this thing, shall we?


Introduction [00:00]

Joanna Wiebe: We’re talking about emails today, and in fact, we’re teaching a template today. Okay, let me share my screen. We’re going to dig into this template today. You are seeing my screen or my slack, so hopefully you’re seeing my PowerPoint.

What to Expect in This Tutorial [00:48]

Joanna Wiebe: Okay cool, so we’re talking about how to write a lead nurturing email, but this can also be used to nurture trial users, because we’re going to try to get your prospect to early product awareness, before the end of the email.

So this is meant for a lead, who maybe doesn’t understand the value of your product, yet they want to, because they’ve signed up, they’re interested in your category, they want something to do with your solution.

But they haven’t yet purchased, given you money for the solution. In some cases, this could be used, if this was for a brand new user, to try to get them to activate in your software or in whatever it is that you’re selling. I don’t know about ecommerce, unless it’s beyond clothing ecommerce.

Nonetheless we’re going to focus on lead and trial nurturing here. I’m going to talk about leads throughout, but just know that you can also use this for trials, alright? So here’s the finished email.

You don’t have to be able to read it don’t worry, we’re going to move through this and I’ll share it with you as we go. So you’ll see the template and then you’ll see how that looks in the actual email itself, the finished one that is like the example of this email in use.

So this was originally designed and written for a SaaS business called GitPrime, which I love.

GitPrime was one of my favorite clients of all time, if not my very favorite client of all time. And then they sold to Pluralsite, so they did great stuff they grew really fast. I like to think that these emails and something to do with that.

But here the idea was for leads, we wanted to move them from problem aware to early product aware, so that we could keep building up that product awareness. Because, as we know, and if you don’t know, watch other Tutorial Tuesdays or go through Copy School.

But stages of awareness, not going to get into them, but it is a spectrum and we want people to get to the far end of the spectrum where they can then buy competently and be less likely to churn out.

Okay, so we want to move problem aware leads to early product aware before the end of the email, that means going over problem, solution and then into product. Which is a doable thing, but that’s why the email is going to be a little longer than you might be used to, especially if you’re in SaaS or ecommerce as well.

Service businesses programs, masterminds, they’re used to longer emails and, in fact, an email like this would kind of weird for service businesses. But give it a shot, you can format it in different ways that makes sense for you.

What You’ll Need to Write a Lead-Nurturing Email [03:26]

  • A “feature” or product you want to sell your leads on
  • A value prop for that feature or product
  • The problem that that feature solves for your customers / clients
  • A sense for the solutions your prospect has tried that have failed them

Joanna Wiebe: So we’re going to reference this email, as we go through to give you an example of what it should look like now what you’re going to need for this to work.

If you’re watching this live, then you might not have all of these things in place and that’s cool you can go back and watch the replay and do your best to work through the template today. And this is a working session, so I do want you. to jump on in there.

What you’re going to need is a feature or product, you want to sell your leads on. When I have “feature” in quotation marks, that means if you are a service, you’re probably not thinking in terms of features.

But there are features, what your service actually provides, and those features might be Team members, unique processes, things like that. So you want to sell your leads on this thing. It’s typically a thing that will move them to say yes to you.

But don’t overthink it, just grab a feature or a product you want to sell your leads on. And if you’re a SaaS, you should have features, so that should be pretty easy.

You want to value prop for that feature or product. Don’t overthink a value prop. Really it’s just a statement of the value that they can expect to get from it. We can get deeper into what the value prop is and there’s more.

There’s nuance there to make it better and better, but you’re really just saying, what does this feature do? What’s the value? What’s the outcome that you can expect to get from it?

Then the problem which we’re going to call the hard thing. This was originally made for SaaS companies, software as a service companies, to write their trial-nurture emails. A great book is The Hard Thing About Hard Things, so the hard thing is a known thing inside the SaaS world, which is why we’re calling the problem, the hard thing here. So this problem that the feature product solves for your customers or clients.

And then you also want a sense for the solutions your prospects have tried, that have failed them. So we’re going to dig into all of this. Use this really directly on the page you shouldn’t need anything much outside of these things.

Lead-Nurturing Email Template [05:25]

Joanna Wiebe: And then you need the template, so hit this up. It’s going to invite you to make a copy of it.

Say yes to it, just make a copy. Nothing bad will happen. It’s Google, pretty safe and we didn’t do anything to it, so all you have to do is click make a copy.

You’ll get your own copy of this that you can then immediately go forward and Edit you don’t have to worry about requesting permissions or anything like that. But if you don’t click this button, you won’t get it, so you have to click that button. Let me know if you have any problems, Ange has just chatted it out to everyone.

We’re digging right in because it’s Tutorial Tuesdays and once we get the chit chat out of the way, we dive right in. So how do we fill this in? It’s called The Hard Thing Template. It is for problem aware leads.

Lead-Nurturing Email Subject Line [06:10]

Joanna Wiebe: We’re going to start with the subject line. We do not always start with the subject line, but in this case, we’re starting with the subject line.

The subject line that you’re going to fill in is how do you and then this is the question, so there will be a question mark at the end of it. How do you and then, whatever your features or your product’s value prop is.

It’s in very short form so they’re about your value prop is also a thing that they want to do, and I’ll show you an example of this right away, so that you can fill it in. But keep in mind that this is intentionally an open ended question. We want them to be curious about the answer to it.

And this question should make them go hmm, I don’t really know how I do X, that’s exactly what i’m struggling with. So that’s what you’re going to want to fill in, here’s what it looks like in the email. Again, you don’t have to overthink this, you don’t have to get crazy with this.

This is draft one, you can always change the language later to make it more powerful and work better in an inbox. But this is something that leads, for this particular solution, would be thinking about. So it’s you want to sub in something that your leads would be thinking about, and it should be your value prop.

GitPrime measures engineers that’s what the tool itself, the solution, the platform did now it’s called Flow by Pluralsight, and it does the same thing over there. So how do you, and then the value prop.

The value prop here, measure an engineer, that’s it. So you want to take a second, I’m going to take a sip of water, I really want you to go start filling in that template for whatever that thing is that you’re trying to sell. If it’s nurturing your own leads, maybe you’re a freelance copywriter and you don’t have a lead-nurturing sequence in place. Go ahead and fill this in now.

Two Headlines in Your Lead-Nurturing Email [08:30]

Joanna Wiebe: Next up on this we’re going to do these two headlines. You’ll see in there, there’s H1 and an H2. They’re really simple. Again, don’t overthink this, that’s the thing about templates that are really straightforward, just do that thing it tells you to do. You can always optimize later.

Write the H1, it will build on the subject line. So if your question is, how do you measure an engineer? Then H1, for that would be, still, and then a bad way of measuring an engineer, so you want to sub that in there. Still blank.

And that’s still a question mark as well the H2 actually answers the H1, so our story actually answers the subject line. The subject line is how do you blank? Then, your H2 answers it. Let me show you what that means, and then you’re going to go forward and do it.

The subject line is how do you measure an engineer, you can see that up at the top here. The H2 is down below, start by measuring churn. How do you measure an engineer? Start by measuring churn.

Make sure if you’ve done this subject line correctly, then you should be able to say, start by blank, or whatever this thing is. How do you blank? Start by blank. Then you go and you do the H1 as well, to make sure it’s building on how do you measure an engineer?

So how do you measure an engineer is because it’s a value prop. And it’s in the subject line it’s not very specific it’s going to get them like I don’t know, how do you measure an engineer? And then you want to give them a specific example of the wrong way to do that thing.

So how do you blank? Then your H1 is the wrong way to do that thing, that’s it. And then make sure your H2 answers the subject line. Go ahead do it again for your own business, for your client’s business, whatever else, and while that happens.

Nicholas said you mentioned, this is a weird email for a services company, do you suggest an entirely different template or just a different type of ending for this template? No, I don’t remember saying it’s a weird email for a services company.

But services companies don’t typically think of having features and because this is trying to get you to a form of early product awareness, where you’re now aware of a feature, unless the product is very small, then you might just be more aware of the product itself by the end of this.

So I recommend that you try this. Always try the thing until you find that it doesn’t work for you. And know that that’s it probably still will work for you. We’ve used this template many times. We reverse engineered it, reused it across different things and we haven’t broken it yet. So just focus on just doing it and then modify if you need to.

Alright so you’ve now done the subject line, you’ve done the H1 and H2. They don’t have to be formatted as H1 H2 in your version, but they are good for filling this template in to tell where the breaks are, so when do we actually get into the answer to the question that these people have?

The Solution / Product Section for Your Lead-Nurturing Email [11:55]

Joanna Wiebe: Cool so let’s move on now. We’re going to not write the top of it. I almost never recommend you start at the top, we want to know where we’re going right, so we want to go and write the part that we’re trying to get them to. That is early product awareness.

So, go below that H2 you just completed, and fill in those parts, the explain the H2 and expand on it. Show how your solution does the H2 and then give me more specificity there to prove what you’re saying. So any facts, any features, any details if there’s a gif that shows actual evidence of what you just said, then put that in there.

All we want to do at that point is remove ambiguity, right? So if you’ve said, How do you do this? Here’s how you do this. Get into explaining how you do this and then prove that this is how your solution does it well. That’s what you want to do and do it rapid fire, do it pretty quickly.

And the reason that we want to start at the bottom, rather than starting with, what’s my hook, what’s my hook? Instead of worrying about that we want to start at the place where we’re trying to get to. So anytime you want to make something, if you want to make a cake, you need to know what the final cake is going to look like.

That’s typically going to help you get there. When you’re putting a puzzle together, having a picture of the puzzle and how it’s supposed to look will typically help you figure out how to put the pieces together to get there.

When you want to go somewhere, it helps to have a destination, so you can figure out the right route to get there. That’s why we want to start at the end when we’re writing emails, not a lot of people teach this.

But when you actually practice writing emails, when it’s your job, this will help you keep from meandering through all the different ways to try to get to the bottom. So fill that part in. Now let me show you what it looks like in the finished version, so the H2 was start by measuring churn.

Great now we’ve answered the question that got them to open in the first place, good so that’s also good for ensuring that they’re more likely to click through. Because you haven’t messed with them in any way. You haven’t just been click-baity, you haven’t said one thing and done something else inside. You’re actually giving them what they’re looking for.

If they open an email that says, how do you blank that’s an indication to you that they want an answer to that and if your product can answer that great, here’s the part where you talk about how your product can answer that. So in this case, the H2 was start by measuring churn.

Then we define what churn is now different people might not agree with this, but this is the definition of churn. And then we expand on that, so you’re measuring churn, here’s what churn is so, whatever your answer is expand on that in the next line.

And then help the prospect understand more about it. So in this case, we say, hey some churn is normal, that’s why you can start by measuring churning but if churn goes up dramatically for a particular team or engineer, that can indicate a problem.

Then we switch over to introducing them to the product, you can identify this easily in GitPrime using the Dev snapshot report, then we put in a gif of the dev snapshot report. Below that we’re now moving them more into that feature awareness, so that they’re becoming more product aware.

That’s all we want to do. Everything below the gif is just proof of what we’ve said already. Here’s what’s going on, here’s how we solve that, let me prove to you that we solve it, that’s the part that you are completing.

Okay, I didn’t give you enough time. There’s no question about it, the idea, ideally, is to finish a new email now. But more likely, you’re just going to start putting things on the page that’s all we want to do to show up ready to do things.

Understanding that you’ll probably have your own solutions right for, and if you don’t then you’re just going to sit here learning, and that’s cool just then go forward and do it.

Problem & Agitation Area of Your Email [16:32]

Joanna Wiebe: Now we want to go back up to the top, and this is basically where we’re finishing the first draft. You write the problem and agitation area, so all those things I told you, you’ll need specific examples of how people are going about doing things.

That’s what you want to do now, so let me walk you through it, so that you can go do it. They have just said at the top okay so here’s my problem here’s the way that it came to life, that’s your H1, this is an example of how this works now.

Given that they’ve signaled by opening this and by reading this email at all, they’re currently doing the hard thing wrong. You want to hook them with empathy, like, gotcha, I understand. You don’t want to say, I understand, but you’re going to prove that and, once you say, then the line that follows is you’ve tried everything.

And then you list the things that they’ve tried, so this is where the more you know about your prospect, the more VOC you’ve done, the more you’ve listened to what they do, the faster you can fill that in.

Then you want to swiftly summarize the difficulty of that hard thing and then move them toward a place where they’re understanding, like, hey they’re not alone. Now importantly here, we’re going to move on quickly because it’s a 20 minute tutorial.

Importantly, you want to get specific. In your first draft, you’re probably not going to be specific enough so put things down here that you know you will go back to and improve the specificity of. You’re going to need to keep building on that, so here’s what that’s going to look like when you do this so.

Still talking about lines of code in meetings, that’s the wrong way to do the thing that the subject line was telling them about. Then we build on that so outside of the engineering department it’s generally difficult for non technical stakeholders to calculate your engineering teams velocity or productivity.

So we’re speaking to, our lead is thinking, I need to measure engineers, because when i’m in these meetings my CEO is talking about lines of code, as if that’s a way to measure my team.

My CEO wants to measure my team, the way that she or he can measure other people like the sales team and things like that.

So all we’re really going to do here is build on explaining what their life is like. Just holding a mirror up to them that’s where the problem and agitation part lives. Just hold that up and say, does your life look like this? And tell them that.

So, the more you know about your prospect, the more this will look like their life and the more they’ll keep reading, going yeah that’s exactly right, this is hard, it sucks. So, that doesn’t mean they don’t try, is the equivalent of you’ve tried everything. Again, that’s the thing with templates, you can use what’s there and then make it your own.

So, that doesn’t mean they don’t try, you’ve had discussions with non engineers, but time tracking is never fun. You’ve narrowly avoided arguments about whether counting lines of code is a measure of productivity, it’s not etc, etc.

So this is us talking about real life, how people are trying to measure engineers and how that sucks. Then we move into helping them get toward this point all we’re trying to do now is get them to a place where they will agree with us that they need to measure engineers and here’s a way that we suggest that they do it.

And that’s all these next lines are doing, so given that we have many questions and we’re getting to the end of our time. the next thing you’ll do when you go off and do this and if you’re watching the replay awesome. Pause these things, pause every time and then go in and do that.

But at this point, we want to go back and the template explicitly calls not for you to enter something, but to do something here. And sure you’ve answered the how that you set up in the subject line SL means subject line.

So whatever you said in that subject line at this point, you go back over and read your whole email over to make sure that, how do you measure an engineer is actually answered in here, which is what we have done.

How do you, whatever you said here, is actually answered here, which is why again, we want to use that “how” question out of the gate. Because the whole email is there to answer that “how.” So we go back if it’s not clear. if you haven’t explained that, in a clear way it probably means you don’t have enough proof down here, so go ahead and add more in.

You could possibly take a little more out of the top, but we’re just trying to get to a place where we clearly answer that question, so that we can then have a cta in there, that makes sense for the early product stage awareness. Which does mean that if they’re not early product aware by this point, you need to work harder on the second half, the part that follows the H2.

They should, at this point, know about at least one feature inside your product. They need to know that if you haven’t said a feature name at this point, it’s not specific enough. No one’s going to believe it so you have to go in and make this about that feature.

And again, featuring the service might be very different, it might be a process, might be something else, like that they need to learn about it in order to believe in your service that is where we finish.

CTAs For Early Product Stage of Awareness [21:38]

In this case, for GitPrime, we had two CTAs at the bottom. One is the primary CTA The second is the secondary CTA. So here’s why churn is a metric to monitor. Great, we just sold them on how churn is supposed to be the thing, but we know our audience is very skeptical.

So we’re going to send them off to more content to help them understand why churn is a metric to monitor it’s good for continuing to nurture that lead. Or we’re going to get them to book a Demo to talk more about KPIs like this. That is all for the template, then you want to let it sit. Always, always always let it sit and then you go back in and edit in the awesome. That’s the whole job, that’s the whole template. That is all for today’s Tutorial Tuesday. Thank you, everybody for showing up hanging on.

And, hopefully, you can use that template as many times as you need to, across different nurturing sequences for yourself, for your clients, for your company, whatever. We will see you in our next Tutorial Tuesday next week. In the meantime, have a good rest of your week everybody thanks thanks y’all stay safe. Wear a mask. Bye.

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