How to Perform Email Marketing Follow-Up Campaign

Email follow-up campaigns are an essential part of maintaining a healthy relationship with your customers. They ensure you never miss an opportunity to connect with and provide value for your customers. This article will walk you through the process to, plan and create a follow-up campaign to help you win back customers, and increase overall engagement.

How to Perform Email Marketing Follow-Up Campaign
How to Perform Email Marketing Follow-Up Campaign.

What You’ll Learn:

  • a customer-centric thought process to help you develop a successful follow-up campaign
  • tips on how to sequence your follow-up, and what triggers you could use to launch the sequence

Table of contents

Understand the Purpose of Follow-Up Emails
What are Follow-Up Emails
Set Up Your Follow-Up Series
Know The Trigger
Determine Your Reason for Following Up
Decide on Your Follow-Up Sequence
Write your Email Copy
Set Up Your Series Inside Your ESP And Track The Results
List Hygiene
Keep Your Email List Clean

Understand the Purpose of Follow-Up Emails

What are Follow-Up Emails

Follow-up emails are exactly what they sound like—an email series that follows up with people based on a specific action they’ve taken (or not taken). These actions can be anything from opening emails, clicking on links, opening but not clicking on anything, and a ton of other actions.

You can think of follow-up emails as retargeting campaigns inside your customer’s inbox.

If somebody doesn’t respond well to your first offer, that doesn’t mean they don’t want another product or service you offer. That’s why follow-up email series is so essential in marketing; They ensure you don’t miss an opportunity to connect with and sell to a customer.

In this article, we will walk you through the basic process to set up a follow-up campaign. You’ll see examples of a few different campaigns and learn all the things you should take into consideration when setting up your own.

Since there is a wide variety of ESP’s, we won’t cover the set-up process inside your ESP (your provider should have demo info on that). Instead, we will focus on all the thought processes and consideration that goes on before you actually go in a set everything up.

Buckle up and let’s get started!

Set Up Your Follow-Up Series

Know The Trigger

Every email follow-up campaign starts with a trigger. The trigger is the action your customer takes that triggers your follow-up series to start. Here are some examples of triggers:

  • Opening an email
  • Clicking through to a page
  • Cart abandonment
  • Making a purchase, and more

You can usually set up tracking parameters that trigger different follow-up series based on actions you’ve dictated.

As you can see in this example taken from DigitalMarketer’s ESP, we set up a follow-up series for anyone who was tagged as interested in the “Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing” Lead Magnet. This is the trigger that leads to a series of pre-scheduled, automated emails.

This is the trigger that leads to a series of pre-scheduled, automated emails.
This is the trigger that leads to a series of pre-scheduled, automated emails.

You can set up triggers for a ton of different actions. Any trigger you set up should be based on an action that could have an impact on your business goals. It can be something that affects your churn rate, take rate for a product, helps your customers ascend, or just increase engagement with products/content you create.

ACTION ITEM: Decide what triggers you want to set up for your follow-up campaign.

Next, let’s look at what you want your follow-up sequence to accomplish.

Determine Your Reason for Following Up

You picked a trigger because the action your customer took had some kind of effect on your business, good or bad.

If it had a positive impact, like purchasing a product, requesting info, or signing up for something, you most likely want to:

  • reward or encourage that action with a link to related (ideally un-gated) content
  • provide an opportunity to upsell the logical next product/service
  • show appreciation with a freebie
  • request feedback on the product

In the case of a positive outcome, the key is to figure out how you can keep your customer happy and engaged with your products, services, and content.

If the action had a negative impact, say they don’t engage with a few email campaigns or have decided not to purchase last minute, you will most likely want to:

  • down-sell to another product/service that is more in line with what they want
  • get some more information to see if they should be moved to a different list
  • remind them of the product/service they left in their cart
  • offer up a freebie that you believe will re-engage them

In this case, the key is to think about what your customer’s action was, what your desired outcome would have been, and why it might have differed from the actual outcome. Something missed the mark with that customer, and you need to try and figure out what it was.

Understanding the why behind your follow-up will help keep your sequencing and copy in line with your desired outcome, and your customer’s wants/needs.

ACTION ITEM: Determine why and how you want to follow-up with your customer based on the trigger you determined in the last module.

Next, you need to set up your follow-up sequence…

Decide on Your Follow-Up Sequence

Generally, email follow-up campaigns are usually 2-5 mails depending on the series. For example, somebody who didn’t purchase may need 5 emails to showcase the value of the product and the scarcity of the time to buy it. On the other hand, if you are following up with a happy customer, you might just send one or two emails with a link to related content and a request for feedback.

How you time you’re follow up sequence is really up to you. We recommend you don’t hound your email list with a never-ending stream of follow-ups, but make sure that you are delivering value.

Here’s an example of a follow-up sequence we use at DM. As you can see, we send a few emails over the course of a couple of days and then wait to see if they convert.

As you can see, we send a few emails over the course of a couple days and then wait to see if they convert.
As you can see, we send a few emails over the course of a couple of days and then wait to see if they convert.

Here’s another example of a series from wpbeginner that was triggered by signing up for access to a Lead Magnet…

The first follow-up was an intro email, offering up some info on the company, what to expect from the emails, and a request to whitelist and prioritize their emails (to prevent them from going to spam).

The first follow up was an intro email, offering up some info on the company, what to expect from the emails, and a request to whitelist and prioritize their emails (to prevent them from going to spam).
The first follow-up was an intro email, offering up some info on the company, what to expect from the emails, and a request to whitelist and prioritize their emails (to prevent them from going to spam).

The next day, they sent out a follow-up email with the Lead Magnet and a few other helpful links.

The next day, they sent out a follow up email with the Lead Magnet, and a few other helpful links.
The next day, they sent out a follow-up email with the Lead Magnet and a few other helpful links.

Now it’s your turn.

ACTION ITEM: Take some time to plan out and write down your follow-up sequence.

Write your Email Copy

The tone and copy of your follow-up emails need to be based on your brand voice. You want to create a sense of continuity across every stage of the Customer Value Journey so make sure your transitions, offers, and sales copy are conversational and deliver value.

Make sure you double-check any links inside your copy and set up link tracking before you set the sequence live.

ACTION ITEM: Write your email copy.

Set Up Your Series Inside Your ESP And Track The Results

Your final step is to transfer all your planning into your ESP and set up your follow-up campaign.

Each system is set up a bit differently, so refer to your SEP’s site for help completing this section.

ACTION ITEM: Set up your series inside your ESP.

Congrats! You have a follow-up Campaign!

You’ll want to make sure you have tracking in place so you can optimize your follow-up series. A 30% average open rate is a great benchmark to aim for, but having tracking set up helps enable you to continuously improve.

List Hygiene

Keep Your Email List Clean

Once you’ve built a great email following, you want to start practicing list hygiene. This is when you remove inactive and non-engaging email addresses from your list. Deliverability is vital and you don’t want your score to drop because you are not practicing list hygiene.