How to create an email sequence in ConvertKit.

How to create an email sequence in ConvertKit.

What is an email sequence?

An email sequence is a series of emails that are sent to your subscriber list (or subset of your list) at predefined intervals or trigger-points, and can be dependent upon certain events being triggered.

These events can be many things, like a date occuring, an amount of time having passed, a subscriber taking a particular action (e.g. clicking on a link) or any other similar type of condition-based event. 

The emails contained in a sequence normally have content that does not date and will last a long time without any need for significant updates.

When to use an email sequence.

Email sequences’ superpower is the ability for you to create something once and then reuse it hundreds or thousands of times without any further effort. Let’s take a simple example, and probably the most common use – a “welcome” sequence.

This is normally set up to be triggered whenever a new subscriber joins your list. By taking the action they took (e.g. request your free PDF guide, book an appointment with you etc.), they are added (with their permission) to your list which triggers the welcome sequence to fire and begin sending them a series of pre-written emails at intervals that have been predetermined by you.

This means that every time you get another new email subscriber, you don’t need to do anything – it all happens automatically and is managed by your email marketing platform (in this case, ConvertKit).


Different types of email sequences.

You’ll hear (or read) about various different types of email sequences, like ‘Nurture’, ‘Sales’, ‘Abandoned Cart’, and ‘Re-engagement’, which all have self-explanatory roles to play in your overall email marketing system, but I believe you can have any type of sequence you want to have, and you don’t need a particular category or title in which it needs to fit.

Just do whatever makes sense for your business and your values. Don’t set sequences up that you don’t believe in, and always make sure they fit with your overall objectives. I guess what I’m really saying here is just be ‘you’; if you want a sequence in your system – create one and refer to as you wish.

Here are the 5 of the email sequence types I use in my business;

  1. Lead magnet sequence: these support the experience of a particular engagement with a subscriber (often it’s their first engagement); e.g. if someone downloads my ‘Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing‘ then this will trigger a sequence that provides even more information about the topic, so it complements the original download.
  2. Welcome sequence: when new subscribers join me. For any subscriber entering via a ‘Complementary’ sequence, they’ll automatically join my welcome sequence when they exit that one.
  3. Nurture sequence: for all my subscribers, and relevant to where they are in their journey with me.
  4. Sales sequence: a targeted and specific sequence aimed at promoting something special for my subscribers (I only ever have 3 or 4 of these per year – that’s just appropriate for me, you may have a different opinion, which of course is perfectly fine.).
  5. Post-Sales sequence: a sequence that signposts someone through a journey that may be associated with a purchase they made; e.g. if someone buys my ‘Email Marketing Made Really Simple‘ digital course, they are automatically placed into a sequence that guides them through every step of the process.
*Note: Please don’t confuse email sequences with the fresh, regular content that you also send out to provide value to your subscribers – these emails are referred to as ‘Broadcasts’ and have a separate role to play.

How to create an email sequence using ConvertKit.

Creating the actual email sequence is a pretty simple process, and takes little time to do. The bulk of the effort goes in to the design and content creation of the sequence, which you might expect.

The way I create my own email sequences is a process like this;

  1. I start by thinking about what the desired outcome is; for example, it could be to teach someone how to do a specific task – let’s say we want to teach our subscribers how to produce closed captions (subtitles) for their video. That’s the desired outcome – to know how to create your own closed captions for every video you make.
  2. Okay, next step… I map out the different areas or sub-tasks that I want to share with my subscribers. The example above could include these; (each one of these would become a separate email in the sequence)…
    1.  What captions are, and what’s the different types you can create, i.e. closed or open captions – explaining the pros and cons of each option.
    2. The range of software tools available to create the captions.
    3. Editing captions.
    4. Download format options.
    5. How to apply the captions to the videos.
    6. Tips to make the process easier and more efficient.
  3. Write the emails, and include relevant images and videos.
  4. Define the ordering of the emails within the sequence.
  5. Schedule the sequence.
  6. Filter the sequence.
  7. Publish the sequence.
  8. Create appropriate triggers for the sequence.
Step 1

Within ConvertKit, you can create a new sequence by selecting the ‘Sequences‘ tab from the ‘Send‘ menu option.

Create an email sequence using ConvertKit step 1
Step 2

Once you’ve clicked the ‘Sequences‘ tab, you’ll be taken to this page where you’ll find a ‘New Sequence‘ button that allows you to create a new sequence.

Create an email sequence in ConvertKit step 2
Step 3

Clicking the ‘New Sequence‘ button will bring you to this screen where you can give your sequence a name.

Create an email sequence in ConvertKit step 3
Step 4

When created, the sequence will contain just one email which will have a block of default templated text. This text can simply be deleted and replaced with your own crafted message.

Create an email sequence step 5
Step 5

You can add any number of elements to your email, including images, videos, dividers, buttons, links, and formatted text. With each email you add to your sequence, the list down the right-hand side grows.

Create an email sequence step 6

Reorder your email sequence.

Once you have written your emails, you may find that you want to reorder your list to optimise the delivery experience for your subscribers. To do so is very easy, simply drag the email you want to move and drop it into the slot where you want it reside. See the clip below;

Reorder email sequence in ConvertKit

Schedule your email sequence.

Decide on when you want each email to be sent out, relative to when the sequence is triggered by a new subscriber. You can choose certain days to include/exclude and choose how long after the previous email, to send the next one.

Schedule your sequence emails in ConvertKit

Filter your email sequence.

You can filter subscribers out of your email delivery, either for the entire sequence or for individual emails. For example, you may wish to exclude anyone who has already purchased a product from you, if you are pitching the same product in your email.

Filter your sequence emails in ConvertKit

Your email sequence settings in ConvertKit.

There are a number of sequence-level settings that you can apply to match your specific requirements. You can select templates to use, edit the delivery schedule, and determine the sequence’s behaviour under certain subscriber conditions; e.g. should a subscriber be able to restart a sequence they have previously completed.

Below you can see a screenshot of the settings provided for sequences by ConvertKit;

Email sequence settings in ConvertKit

Your email sequence report in ConvertKit.

The image below shows the report that ConvertKit provides for sequences, showing the metrics for each sequence. It provides a drill-down report for each email in the sequence, including open rates, click-through rates, and the number of emails sent (FYI, the screenshot is taken from a demo instance of ConvertKit).

Email sequence report in ConvertKit

Things to watch out for with sequences.

Once you begin to create more and more sequences in your ConvertKit instance, and combine the sequenced email traffic with your fresh broadcasts, things can potentially get quite busy for your subscribers with multiple emails arriving in a single day (ConvertKit allows you to control this using tags and custom fields).

There are options to configure your times for when sequence emails are sent; be sure to select the time zone that works best for you and your business. All times are listed in relative terms to GMT (Greenwich Meridian Meantime); e.g “(GMT -06:00 hrs) Central America“.

Sequence emails are sent “around” the scheduled time, so there’s no guarantee that they will be sent on the very minute it’s scheduled to be sent. If you have a large email list (with thousands) then it can take a few minutes to have all your emails delivered.


I hope you found value in this article, and if you did, please share it with others who you think could benefit from reading it.

John Bellingham Email marketing strategist for freelancers

John Bellingham
Email marketing strategist for freelancers.

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