5 Key Strategies For Your Opening Email Series

Nick Grimshawe here, from Nicholas Grimshawe.Com . This week I’m talking to you about creating an opening series of emails to use as your followup to a lead magnet you use to capture names which takes us right to the reason I wrote this post.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they start to build a list is not communicating to their new subscribes in a timely. logical manner with a goal of building that critical relationship.

If you think about your own friendships, you realize they came about through a series of interactions that built a rapport base on shared experiences and interests. That’s why your opening email series is so important.

I wish I could say I understood this concept from the beginning of my marketing career. However,  like many people I floundered around. I often used prewritten emails composed by people who also didn’t understand the purpose of an opening sequence.

So, lets look at this sequence now:

This email is simple but hugely important. In your lead magnet, (whether a report, video, or free course)  you promised, in exchange for an email address, that you would  deliver that lead magnet immediately to their inbox.

This first email  should include a brief note from you telling them what they are getting and any instructions about downloading your gift.

It’s important to test the sequence to make sure that everything works correctly. This is a first impression, and you want your new subscriber to know you understand what you are doing.

Plus, it’s your first step in this dance of building a relationship. You’ve delivered what you’ve promised.


One key strategy here is to deliver more than your new customer was expecting.

Make this mantra a strategy you strive for in every point of contact with your customer.

Remember that you are going to build a sequence for each lead magnet. You first email will vary slightly. Depending on the type of offer you might be faced with unique challenges.

As an example:

I experienced this with a lead magnet offering a free inspirational video each Wednesday. So if someone subscribed on a Thursday they wouldn’t see their first video for seven days. I solved this in that first email by offering them another piece of free material , an info graphic  which they could download right away. I also reminded them to watch for their first video.


  Wallace D Wattles put it this way “Give every person more in use value than you take from him in cash value.”


You’ve begun the process of know, like and trust.



For me, this is the most important email in the series. It’s that awkward getting to know you stage that happens before a real friendship blooms.

I’m sure you remember a situation when things fell apart at this stage, when possibility failed to become reality. You may have been left scratching your head and wondering if you did something wrong.

Chances are there wasn’t enough chemistry there in the first place to move beyond just being an acquaintance.

It’s important to keep a perspective here. Not everyone who subscribes to your list will stay, not everyone will like what you offer, not everyone will want to dance with you.

Before you do anything else with this email ask them about the content you sent them in the previous email. Did they like it? I do this before I talk about myself.

The next step is to tell your new subscriber a bit about yourself in a concise but interesting way then turn  the table around an asked something about them.

Giving your customer a face

You need to ask and you need to ask often, especially in the beginning if you want to create an idea of who this customer is.

I then ask a big question and   three short questions asking the customer to select specific criteria they fit into.

Obviously, this needs to be directed to the niche you are working in. Create 3 simple A B or C questions to help you target your customer.

I adopted this idea from Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income who uses the info to segment his list, which I won’t get into here. I’ve put a link to his full 6 video series below in the resources section.

For me, the idea is to get my new subscriber to respond to me. Then I  can start to build a picture of my  subscriber, and a more general idea of my readers.  This helps me formulate content relevant to their needs.
“Okay that’s me. What about you?

What is your biggest challenge in growing a business online?

That’s the big question, but I have three short follow-up questions and I would like you to tell me which one best represents you.

A. I’m interested in starting an online business but I’m not sure where or how to get started.

B. I have an internet marketing business but I’m struggling to make money online.

C. I’m making money with my business but I’m looking for ways to grow my business.”


Extra Tip

For my Wednesday Inspiration Video Series, I don’t want my subscribers to get two email on the same day.

I don’t want to overload their inbox and I want them to look at the video and not the email. Get Response has a feature that allows you to prevent the opening sequence from running on Wednesdays. I think most Autoresponders can do this, but if you are not sure check with their support desk.

You might run into something like this, and it is good to know there are solutions.


You want to do a general thank you to those who answered your questions in the previous email and offer a link back to those questions for any on  who hasn’t replied yet.

Then you want to move forward by offering your subscriber a piece of content written by someone else in your field.

Finding a piece of content that generally addresses the questions you asked in the previous email would be a good, but any informative piece of content from your niche would work.

Prove to your customer you are inclusive not exclusive. Collaborative not competitive

You want to demonstrate to your reader that you aren’t just going to share you own content but any content that would help them master some aspect of the niche they are working in.


This shows you have a broad understanding of the field, that you are willing to share other people’s content, and that you believe the niche is big enough not just for you and your peers, but for your subscriber to succeed in as well.





If you are trying to build a business without social media, you are facing an uphill battle. At the very least you should have a Facebook account and a Twitter account.

Action Step

If you don’t have them a very good action step for  tomorrow would be to go and get signed up. Then you can  write your third email asking people to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.


This gives you more points of contact with your subscriber. It’s your chance to show them you are a human being, not some faceless electronic persona.

Ideally having a Facebook page or group would enhance this strategy even more. (Go to my Recommended Social Media Resources on my blog for more about this.)

The most important point to remember with this email is: While your goal is to get your subscriber to recognize you as a human being, your job is to remember that your subscriber is also more than a name on a list, or one more statistic to analyze.

They are human beings too. If you can solve just one of their “problems” you are both on the way to a winning relationship.

Create more points of engagement


This email is your jumping off point for engagement after the subscriber makes it through your opening series.

By posting content to your social media platforms that are of interest to your subscriber (and you know what interests them  from email two) you are being of service and of value to your subscriber.



This is where having a blog makes critical sense in your marketing efforts. It’s a whole other topic of conversation which I will talk about in a future post.

For now, find a piece of content of your own to share with your subscriber. If you have a blog use one of your most popular articles. If you don’t have a blog a piece of content you posted elsewhere would work.

If you have no content of your own, select a post from some one you know well in your niche and frame it as material from a friend or mentor. Thus, you borrow authority from an “expert” in the field.

The idea  is showcase your knowledge and build your authority in a niche or in an area of Internet marketing that you cover.

You’re in the process of building that trust factor with your subscriber. When they see that you’ve written about the subject then their trust factor goes up and your relationship continues to build.

Also, remember to ask them what they thought of your Facebook profile or your Twitter feed, or other social media you sent them to in your previous email.

In each email, you should ask questions to encourage a response from your subscriber. This pushes up engagement, cements your relationship and opens them to a buying proposition from you.

Over these five emails you continuously build a relationship with your new subscriber who is now ready to make that important transition from a lead to a customer.

The house where your content lives.

You next step depends a great deal on how you’ve set up your autoresponder.

Most programs allow you to move these subscribers to your main email list where they begin to receive your regular email messages.

You might also move them into segmented lists where you can source specific content and programs to meet their needs based on the information you gathered in the original opening  email series.

Everything won’t flow perfectly for each subscriber. Along the way you might lose a few to unsubscribe, others might not respond to you at all. Never the less you’ve laid the ground work with your subscriber.

The schedule I suggested for sending out each email can vary depending on what you want to accomplish.

A key point is not to be afraid to tinker with your sequence and its schedule until you feel it flows nicely to your customer.

You goal now is to continue to ask questions to drive helpful content to them but also to begin to ask for the sale on programs you’ve found to help them move to the next level.

Having a good opening sequence of emails is essential to your success.

What would you include in an opening sequence and how would you schedule the delivery of the emails?


To help me manage my list I use Get Response.

Recommended Tools: Social Media

Everything I talked about in writing your opening email series including segmenting of your list can be accomplish easily at a very reasonable cost. If you’d like to take a look please use my affiliate link.  I receive an affiliate commission if you sign up.

Just do you know that. I wanted to make sure you were aware of that upfront. And I’m here to offer you help in getting set up

For a more in-depth  angle on this post I suggest Pat Flynn’s 6 video series



Nick Grimshawe.



Leave a comment
  • Very interesting article Nick, thank you for that. Gave me a lot to think about. I suppose based on the answer to the question about the biggest challenge in growing an online business, the email series should follow a different path in each case. That’s besides segmenting the list for more engagement to future emails, not part of the series. That’s a great one, but will need some work to be properly implemented.

    On a 2-step opt-in autoresponder (I know the trend is for 1-step, for good reason perhaps), the gift can be offered after the subscriber confirmed his email, and the self presentation in the first email, going out immediately after. If the email series is associated with a program/site, the gift can be offered at login or when the member becomes active.

    I will return to have a look at your article in the future. Perhaps when I’ll start building a new list, apart from the one for my site, most likely using a different autoresponder, and possibly on a different niche.
    Adrian Gurgui recently posted…Adrian’s Interviews: Dream Big, Live Inspired with Nick GrimshaweMy Profile

  • Hi Adrian. The idea of the question to your “targeted audience” should be in a similar area so you can pull or write material to address those situations or concerns or challenges. That’s the beauty of working with a targeted audience. They signed up for your lead magnet about…say writing an email series, so your answers should give you a general area to work. The 3 additional sentences who help you segment your list, if you are that advanced. I send the link for the gift right away. If it’s for a site then you need to adjust how that goes out.

    Thanks for commenting. Very much appreciated.


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