How to write the best B2B follow up email sequence to drive massive growth (Fully Explained)

The follow-up email sequence is one of the most important factors to drive massive growth. After analysing the best follow up email sequences I have noticed the best have sales-led emails, marketing-led emails and special time-sensitive offers in them. If you include these three elements in your B2B follow up email sequence, you should get the best conversion rate from lead to action.

Article by Philip Ilic,
B2B Growth Specialist.

 

Design Pickle and the best follow-up email sequence…

Over the past few weeks, I have been obsessively analysing the demand generation systems of design pickle, a company that has grown rapidly over the past 6 years to a 100,000,000 dollar company.

I have been pouring through their ad accounts on LinkedIn and Facebook, diving deep into their copy and creatives, analysing their lead magnets, and in this video, I want to show you what I think is the most underrated driver of their growth – the follow-up marketing and sales sequence.

WHOA!!! This might sound crazy, but I believe this sequence is one of the most important factors to a successful demand generation system and something the majority of B2B companies treat more like second thought or deregulate as just something that needs to be there in the background.

Do not make this mistake, I am going to show you why I believe the follow up is most probably THE most important part of your growth engine, and where the majority of your conversions should happen.

In this video, I want to show you exactly why it is ridiculously important to get this right, how it can be a key driver to your growth as a company, and specifically what makes design pickles follow up email sequence hugely successful

In fact, I break down Design pickles and have found 3 key reasons why it is so good.

I am bringing out a lot more videos and articles analysing the demand generation of the most successful b2b companies so you definitely do not want to miss this. So definitely enter your email and sign up for the newsletter to get more b2b demand gen content.

Why is the follow up so important?

To understand this we need to dive a little deeper into the intent of a lead, understand their mind frame, and treat them not as a number in a spreadsheet but as a real human on a buyers journey – hopefully on a journey to buy our service or product.

With search, we can target a market segment that is both PROBLEM and SOLUTION aware. This means, for example, they know they are overweight, and they think their solution is to join the gym. So they actively actively ‘gyms near me’.

But that sounds great why don’t we just stick with search-based ad platforms such as Google right?

The reason comes down to your market segmentation and the awareness stage of your customer. Eugene M. Schwartz, the legendary advertising Practioner and writer of the book Breakthrough advertising breaks it down into 5 stages

  1. Most aware – your prospect already knows your product, they just need to know the deal.
  2. Product aware – they know what you sell, but is still considering if it is right for them
  3. Solution aware – your prospect knows the results they seek, but they yet know your service provides the solution they need.
  4. Problem aware – they know they have a problem, but they do yet know the solution
  5. Completely unaware – they may have a problem, but they are not aware of it

But for the sake of this article, at the top of this pyramid we have roughly 3-5% of the market which is problem and solution aware. This means they are actively searching for a solution on google or other search platforms.

But this is a very small part of your market segment.

This becomes more of a problem for B2B companies who have services with LOW search volume OR even harder for B2B software startups.Or B2B SaaS companies which are in entirely new market segments with low or even NO search volume.

Very few or no people even know there is a solution out there, so are not actively searching for it

This is the majority of the market, and the only way to target these people is with social media – not search. But what does this have to do with follow-ups?

So with social media advertising, we need to take them on a journey from problem aware to solution aware, and the way we do this is with the follow-ups.

The business owners who are not aware of this, and are looking for a large number of customers who are ready to buy now from Facebook ads, often leave paid social thinking it is a bad channel

But this is because they treat paid social like search – a big mistake.

we need to get the lead at an earlier stage in the buying process i.e. the person may know they are overweight, but they do not know if they should join the gym, get a personal trainer, or buy nutritional products to help them lose weight.

We need to speak to the problem in the way we communicate to them, then nurture and educate the prospect towards thinking your solution is the right one for their problem.

This is done with the follow-up and nurture sequences.

So let’s assume we are already getting high quality leads off from Linkedin, Facebook Instagram

I have a video in the pipeline on how to get leads so subscribe to my youtube channel here.

Now, these people are probably downloading or signing up for some gated content. This content is targeting the problem very specifically which when they choose to take the action to sign up to it, they are in theory putting up their hand to say they have this problem.

Great, so we now have people with the problem you have given their information to you and become leads. Now we need to FOLLOW UP with them, nurture them, educate them about the solutions and your service, then convert them into a scheduled call, a demo or free trial if you are a SaaS company.

The 3 things which make design pickles follow up so effective.

  1. Include sales led emails (from josh)
  2. Include a special offer – or a foot in-the-door offer. They give 50% off, I for example would do full LinkedIn ads set up for a discounted amount where I set up a full rapid-fire test for a reasonable price, ppl always hire me for the next 3-8 months where I make my money.
  3. Never give up – be persistent. Show how many emails they sent over the past 3 months
  4. Special one: use phone to follow up!!

So how do we create a follow up which converts leads into actions i.e. leads into free trials, demos, and scheduled phone calls on autopilot?

Since downloading Design Pickles lead magnet from a Linkedin Ad, I have received over 60 emails in 3 months. They have sent both sales led emails and marketing led emails and sprinkled special time-sensitive offers over the timeframe.

When I was researching their follow up, I was surprised with how they do it. In fact, I have come to the conclusion that the follow-up email sequence is a pillar of their marketing – something which is overlooked by most b2b markers as something they brush over.

The first thing which is key is that they not only have marketing-led emails, which is what most people only have, they also have automated sales led follow-ups

After signing up for the gated content I got the first email delivering the content and pushing nothing else. Ok, nice.

But wait, within 1 hour, 59 minutes to be exact, I was surprised to see an email directly from someone at Design Pickle – a sales led email – from Josh. He just leads with value and has pushed a call.

Next, we get 3 marketing-led emails pushing the features and benefits of Design pickle. Educating me why design pickle makes sense over hiring a full-time staff member or freelancers, how they work and what they do.

Then Boom! Something unexpected happened. We get hit by a special offer.

The offer is giving us a huge 50% discount on the first 2 months of our subscription. This is something I will talk about more in a moment, but this is a big driver in conversions. In fact over the course of the next 5 days, I get delivered 7 emails pushing this offer. More on this in a moment.

Then Josh hits us with a sales-led email. This time more focused on pushing a call. This is less branded and feels more personal – although automated. The idea here is that it is easy to ignore branded and more general marketing-led emails. But if you get an email that feels even slightly personal, you feel more obligated to reply. The email needs to feel like it is coming directly from a real person in the company, and therefore need to come from a Gmail or Outlook account and not something that is hugely branded and feels more like a newsletter.

 It is actually very surprising how few people include sales-led emails in their marketing.

These emails push value at the forefront, but the key objective here is to get me on the phone to discuss design pickle.

He follows up with 2 further sales emails one 4 days later and another 3 days later. All pushing a demo/ phone call.

Do not underestimate how important it is to follow up with sales led emails. In fact, the more sales led you are as a company, the more you should focus on the sales led follow-ups rather than the marketing-led ones. Even have someone follow up in more than one channel i.e. LinkedIn messaging and phone as well.

Include Special Time-Sensitive Offers.

The SECOND thing which took me by surprise, but seems so obvious now, is including special time-sensitive offers in the mix. Design Pickle utilises this incredibly well, and mixed with the marketing and sales led emails, the special offers push people who are on the sidelines to take action.

So if you had not already taken action from either the marketing-led emails or the sales ones from Josh, then this is designed to push you over and to sign up to a call.

What surprised me though was how aggressively they pushed the offer. Within a 3 day period they sent out 6 emails, that’s 3 emails a day.

Now I know what you are thinking, won’t that just annoy my prospect. Actually, it really doesn’t mostly.

Having an offer is an excuse to bombard your prospect with emails notifying them the offer is ending soon and which is mostly accepted by the prospect.

And trust me, this will skyrocket your conversion rates through the roof.

In fact, what is super interesting is that they rely on special offers as a tactic to get a conversion throughout the 3 months, not just initially.

Looking through my emails over the past 3 months, they sent 6 different special offers to me to get me to sign up with them. 6!!! Crazy. But it works really well.

Follow Up, Follow Up and Keep Following Up!

This brings me to the third factor that will skyrocket your conversions – they send out a ton of emails and never give up.

Between the sales, marketing and offer emails, I received over 60 emails in 3 months. They are relentless at getting a lead to converter into a phone call.

They know the more leads they convert into calls the more people they can convert into customers and the more they can grow.

This finely tuned growth engine – acquiring a plethora of leads from paid social channels, mostly Facebook and Linkedin, then converting these leads in a call from the follow-up, is a major growth system within their company.

They sent me 6 different special time-sensitive offers over the course of 3 months and 60 emails. Respect.

But I have not been totally honest with you. There is one more takeaway that I didn’t want to mention until now.

When I signed up for their gated content on Linkedin, they required me to give a telephone number, which I did when I submitted the form.

They have also rung me half a dozen times in the past 3 months, and I finally picked up one of these calls.

When I picked up the BDR business development rep on the other side seemed a little surprised when I was so enthusiastic to take her call. I had actually missed all the others unintentionally and was hoping to take this call at some point, and was happy they are relentless with their follow upas and keep on trying.

After interrogating her slightly, and owning up I am doing this as research, she kindly told me her conversion rate. She said for every 30-40 call she does during her day, she converts 2-3 prospects into customers. That’s insane. That’s a roughly 7% conversion rate.

Final Remark…

So mix the sales, marketing and special offer automated email follow with a BDR reaching out via call and converting a few each day – this becomes an incredible growth engine.

Do not underestimate the follow up in your growth marketing

If you want me to look into your growth marketing, give me a shout at the link provided.

Useful Resources & Tutorials

I hope you found this article helpful. Down below, I’ve listed some links to other articles and videos you may find useful.

LinkedIn Campaign Manager Article – this is a mega article which is everything you need to know about Linkedin Campaign Manager

Linkedin Ads Targeting Like a Pro Article – a great place to learn about LinkedIn ad targeting (beyond just job title).

How To Maximise Your Cold Email Deliverability – this is a big guide on making sure your cold emails get into your prospects inbox.

Is Cold Email Illegal? (Fully Explained) – this goes over cold email laws and explains if cold email is illegal in different regions.

Philip Ilic

Philip Ilic

B2B Growth Specialist

Phil helps B2B SaaS companies with growth marketing and is a deep specialist in Linkedin advertising and paid social more generally (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). He runs a paid social agency called Superlumen.co and is the founder of B2Bhero.co.

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