You’re launching a new product. Naturally, you want to shout about it to your existing and potential customers.
There are lots of ways you can do that. You could advertise it on social media. You could push it out to your affiliate network. And you could build a high-performing launch email sequence to engage potential users in your marketing list.
In this article, we’ll be focusing on the final of those three options: promoting your new product by crafting the perfect email sequence.
Why? Because email marketing works. It delivers an average return on investment of more than $40 for every $1 spent, which is staggeringly high.
If you want the most possible bang for your buck, email is hard to beat.
But building an effective email sequence to support your product launch isn’t just a case of writing some emails and hitting “send”. There are a bunch of factors that affect performance, and it pays to know about them before you start planning your email campaign.
So to make your life easier, here’s a five-step guide to creating the ultimate product launch email sequence.
1. Get the Subject Line Right
Our inboxes are busier than ever. Every single day, the average person receives more than 120 business emails, and that figure is growing every year.
With all that competition, it’s hard to cut through the noise. If your subject lines don’t stand out, no one’s ever going to open your emails, so you might as well not have sent them in the first place.
So what makes a “good” subject line?
At Authority Hacker, we send a lot of emails, so we’re pretty well-placed to offer guidance on this.
What we’re not going to do is tell you exactly how many words to include in your subject line, or how long those words should be. We can tell you what works for us, but your audience is likely different to ours, so you need to run your own tests to see what works.
However, we can definitely give you some general subject line best practices that can apply across multiple audiences.
In one recent product launch campaign, we built an eight-step email sequence and sent more than 560,000 individual emails. Throughout the campaign, we A/B tested our subject lines to learn what works best. We ended up with a couple of key learnings:
- Our existing customers typically preferred the opposite subject lines to our prospects, which highlights the importance of segmenting your audience (more on this later).
- People like subject lines that are direct and to-the-point. For instance, one of our top-performing subject lines was: “😏 A Trick I Use To Find High Paying Affiliate Offers.” It achieved an open rate of 30.1% from our existing customers, because it’s unambiguous and offers a clear value add.
What else works? Well, we tend to use a lot of emojis in our subject lines. We’re far from the only ones; from this random selection of the last 10 emails I’ve received, you can see four of them use emojis in the subject line:
It’s clear why they (and we) are doing it: brands that use emojis see a 56% increase in unique open rates. In a cluttered inbox, emojis can help your subject line stand out.
Of course, emojis aren’t for everyone. If you have an ultra-formal tone of voice and a highly professional audience, they might not be a good fit. I’d always recommend carrying out your own A/B tests to see what’s right for your brand.
At this point, it’s also worth discussing some of the words that tend to work well in subject lines. Take a look at this research from Campaign Monitor (taken from the same study as that last link):
We can clearly see a lot of those words are very promotional and action-oriented – things like “24-hour giveaway”, “great deals”, and “today only”. They give the reader an immediate incentive to open that email.
A good rule to bear in mind when writing a subject line is to assume that everyone’s busy. They’re not just hanging around in their inbox waiting for your email. So if you don’t give them an obvious reason to open it, they likely won’t bother.
This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re building an email sequence to promote a product launch, because your whole campaign will be geared toward driving one action – getting people to learn about and purchase your new product.
2. Freshen up Your Sequence With an Offer
However high-quality your copy and compelling your subject lines, you should expect a drop-off in performance after the first day or two of your product launch email sequence.
It’s inevitable. If you start emailing people about the same topic, every couple days, some will be inspired to buy your product. But others will naturally dial out.
What’s more, once you’re a few emails into your sequence, some of your audience will (hopefully) already have bought or subscribed to your product. You’ve picked all the low-hanging fruit; gathering the rest will be harder work.
We can see this effect in action through the results of the Authority Hacker product launch email sequence I mentioned in the previous point. In this chart, each column represents the results of the next email in the sequence, moving from left to right:
We can see open rates started high, at about 40% for the first email, and climbed even higher – to just under 50% – for the second email. Then we saw a big drop-off for email three.
At that point, we freshened things up by switching up our messaging. As you can see, it worked, with email six delivering our third-best open rate of the whole campaign.
This is standard procedure for us. After the first day or two of the campaign, we’ll introduce a bonus of some kind – in this case, we offered preview access to our latest course, so users could see the sort of value they’d get by signing up.
You should do exactly the same. About a third of the way through your email sequence, bring in a special offer of some kind – it could be a trial period, or a preview, or a free download – to combat that natural dip in engagement.
3. Add Pure Value Emails Alongside Sales Messaging
You’re not just building an email sequence for fun – you’re doing it to promote and sell your new product.
But that doesn’t mean every email in your sequence should be 100% geared toward selling.
To keep people engaged, we aim for a combination of pure value emails alongside specifically sales-focused emails.
In the example email marketing campaign I’ve referenced throughout this article, only 50% of the emails were sales-oriented, with the other 50% made up of testimonials, community engagement, and value-add messaging.
To give you a better idea of what that “value” should look like, here’s a selection of value-add subject lines from that same email sequence:
- 💣 Here’s Our Exact Link Building Strategy
- 😭 The Solution To Your Link Building Problems
- 😏 A Trick I Use To Find High Paying Affiliate Offers
- 🤓 I’ve never seen this trick shared anywhere else
As you can see, these emails are geared toward offering the reader something tangible that they won’t find elsewhere.
Additionally, the positioning is very undemanding; this is about giving something of value to the user, rather than asking for something from them.
There’s a fine balance to be struck here. When you’re adding value, you want to give away something that’s useful to your audience and compels them to open more of your emails (and ultimately buy your product).
But you don’t want to give away too much. At the end of the day, you’re trying to sell a product, so if you let people access all the best bits for free, there’s no incentive for them to sign up.
4. Segment Your Audience
Unless you have a tiny, super specific audience, you’ll almost certainly need to segment your marketing list to drive results from your product launch campaign.
Sure, that means writing more emails, which naturally means more work. However, it’s worth the investment in time. In fact, marketers who use segmented campaigns see their revenue increase by up to 760%.
Why? Because different people want very different things. If you take a universal approach to your email campaign, attempting to be “all things to all people”, you risk not resonating with anyone.
Segmentation holds the key to effective personalization.
A lot of people think personalization just means using the reader’s name in the subject line or introduction, but there’s a lot more to it than that.
To do it well, you need to craft entire emails that sound like they’re speaking to one specific person – your reader. You need to communicate their pain points, use the sort of language they use, and provide a solution that works for them.
You simply can’t do that without segmentation, because the less you “niche down” on your target audience, the less specific you can get.
Think about it. It’d be hard to write an email that appeals to “business owners”, but much easier to appeal to “owners of small digital marketing agencies based in the UK”.
For our product launch campaign, we used two audiences – existing customers and prospects – and built dedicated eight-email sequences for each.
Naturally, there was some overlap. We used the same subject lines and copy for our value-add emails.
But we switched things up for our sales messaging, because selling to an existing customer – who already understands our expertise and the value we provide – is completely different to selling to a prospect who might know little or nothing about us.
5. Pick a Unique Angle for Each Email
You have a clear goal for your product launch email sequence – to promote and sell your new product.
But you need to get more granular than that.
As well as that top-level goal, each email within your sequence should have a specific angle. If an email doesn’t have a unique angle, there’s no real reason to send it. You’re basically just spamming your audience.
Take a look at the unique angles we picked out for our product launch:
- Email 1: Registration is open (we only accept new subscribers during specific periods)
- Email 2: Announcing the launch of our new product
- Email 3: Testimonials from existing customers
- Email 4: Adding value by sharing our link-building strategy
- Email 5: Sharing information about the Authority Hacker community
- Email 6: More unique value, this time about finding high-paying affiliate sites
- Email 7: Warning that readers are running out of time to sign up
- Email 8: Last chance to sign up
Plan out your angles before you start writing copy and crafting compelling subject lines, remembering to blend sales-specific emails with value-add content to drive engagement.
Struggling to come up with new angles? Don’t worry. Eight emails isn’t a benchmark for your sequence; it was just the right number for this specific campaign.
As a general rule, you’ll see better results from a smaller number of super focused, highly engaging emails than you will from a longer but less targeted sequence.
We didn’t just stumble across all of these insights, pluck them out of thin air, or make a bunch of guesses.
They’re the result of extensive testing and analysis across all our email marketing campaigns, dating back several years.
You should definitely be A/B testing your campaigns, too. It’s the only way to understand what delivers results for your brand and audience.
You might find that certain words or phrases tend to drive open rates, or that emojis are a big turn-off for your audience, or that you generate more sales from testimonials than from purely sales-focused emails.
Find what works for you, do more of it, and keep experimenting with new approaches to ensure you’re constantly improving rather than relying on tactics that are no longer effective.