I’m updating my email sequences at the moment. Every 12 months or so I take a retrospective glance over the automated email sequences that go when a new contact opts-in.

It’s the type of task I’d ideally take to a hotel on an overnight retreat to complete. But in reality, it’s slow progress working through each email in the cracks in the day. A bit like fixing the engine while the car is running.

You should review your email sequences every 12 months for a few reasons:

1. Check results

If (like me) you have a creative rather than analytical disposition, it’s easy to create without ever actually viewing results. (See my previous article on the Creator’s Curse)

Each automated email sequence should have a singular call to action. If you have multiple actions you’re best sending people to a survey or quiz, then presenting the correct call to action as the output of the survey. (You can do this inexpensively using tools like Thrive Quiz Builder.)

In reviewing your automated sequences you can ask: how many contacts have been through the sequence in the last year? How many clicked through to the offer? How many converted?

Based on these numbers you can ask: are you making the right offer in this particular sequence? Or are you asking for too much commitment too soon? If you’re getting clicks but not conversions the offer may not be right.

Other times you might review a sequence and realise you have undersold the offer. Maybe you can keep the same offer but do a more complete selling job in the emails. If your click through stats look healthy, then interrogate your landing page performance. In particular, as well as overall content checks, test how it appears on mobile.

In reviewing each sequence you also want to check engagement stats for each email. In doing this you’re looking for outliers: especially high or low performers. The key stats to monitor are open rate and click through rate.

You may be surprised at which emails produce the best engagement stats. Often it is the emails you almost didn’t write (or wrote but almost didn’t send). You’re possibly the worst person to judge your own writing because you’re far too close to it.

2. Check how the sequence fits into your current customer journey

My ‘core story’ sequence started life as the first thing new contacts received after after opting in. These days it goes a little later because I realised I needed to deliver more immediate value up front, and tell my story later.

It is perfectly natural for the placement of a sequence to change. It is also appropriate to switch one sequence in for another if the engagement stats have trailed off. Which means a year on year comparison for each sequence is useful.

3. Check for changes in voice and wording

I recently re-edited the first email to my core story sequence. (You can read this story on page 142 of Simple Story Selling.) At first glance the email may read the same, but I’ve made a load of minor edits. Large parts are now written in present tense, for instance.

Your written voice is an evolving thing, because you are always evolving, changing, and I hope – growing. You’ll have written certain things a few years ago that maybe you wouldn’t write today, or would perhaps phrase differently.

4. Make sure you have mapped and documented everything

I’m broadly a fan of automation. I do think that some of the emails people receive when they first enter your world should be automated. But there is a danger of over-automation. If you send a lot of emails you’ll quickly lose track of what is being sent where, and to what purpose.

In reviewing my emails I also make sure each one is documented correctly in Google Drive. I don’t ever want ActiveCampaign to be the only place my emails live. Call me crazy, but weirder things have happened in recent years than a well established email service provider suffering a severe outage, or going bust.

My documentation exists on two levels. I use Google Drive to document the email content itself, but I use a Lucidchart diagram to map how each email sequence fits together (including the call to action, relevant sales pages and upsells made by any sales pages).

Your documentation acts as a mental map of everything that exists in your follow-up systems. You can include any media in this documentation (remarketing ads, direct mail pieces, SMS reminders etc).

Preparing this document is not only mentally liberating, but also essential if you ever want to hire a contractor to work on your follow-up systems. Otherwise how will they know what on earth is going on?


P.S. If this email has given you a headache just thinking about it, then this is the type of work I do for clients. Fill in the form here to talk about it.

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About the author 

Rob Drummond

Rob is the founder of StorySelling.biz.

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