Your website is up and running. Your lead magnet is enticing visitors who want your free offer to subscribe, which means your email list is growing. So what now?? What do you send AFTER the freebie? What will make readers want to open your next email? Will they actually read it or just skim to the bottom? How do you keep them hooked and looking for future emails instead of unsubscribing?
Your email marketing must offer real value to your readers or your emails will end up in spam, your open rates will be non-existent, and the number of people clicking that unsubscribe link at the bottom will be sky-high. These email marketing tips will help you provide value to your readers in a way that’s easy to manage for you.
What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is a way for your audience to connect with you and your brand on a more personal level, to understand what your business has to offer, and to continue growing the important ‘know, like, trust’ foundation. For best results, email marketing should be aimed at educating rather than selling, although selling is an important part of doing businesses! The key is to always provide a next step for the reader to take with your brand with a call to action.
You can do this through welcome emails, consistent newsletters/broadcasts, recap emails, sales sequences/funnels, seasonal updates, new releases, limited time offers, and more. Let’s look closer at three types of marketing emails most new businesses need when they get started.
When I design websites, I always encourage my clients to include an email opt-in. Many years ago, you could simply ask readers to “subscribe for updates” and collect their email addresses for RSS feeds (blog posts) In fact many of relied on free RSS feeds (like the original Blogger Roll or Bloglovin’) to send our blog posts directly to readers instead of capturing those leads ourselves. Now, readers are inundated with requests for their email addresses and are much more selective about subscribing. This is where having a valuable lead magnet/free offer comes into play.
It’s also incredibly important to control your own email list. This is your go-to lists where you don’t have to rely on social media, search engines, or algorithms to reach your readers!
The best place to start on your email marketing journey is to create a welcome email or a welcome email sequence. This is the best approach to take with new lead captures and should be set up automatically, so as soon as you’ve captured their address, a welcome email is on its way to them (in addition to the lead magnet/freebie you promised).
Single Email or Sequence?
This is the first question to ask yourself as you start planning your welcome email. Will it be a single email or a sequence of emails over the course of several days/weeks?
Choosing between a single email or a series of emails will depend on how much information you want to share with your target audience. Keep in mind that most emails are not meant to be long form, but rather short and actionable tips. The goal of a welcome email should be to provide a quick introduction to you and your brand, as well as a next step or two. If you have a lot of background information or basics to cover, opt for an email series to break it down into bite-sized pieces.
What to Include in Your welcome Email
- Deliver the lead magnet your promised. This can be something small to meet a pain point of your audience. A printable, a checklist, a short video, or an ebook. Figure out what your audience needs that aligns with your larger offers and make that your freebie. You might even be able to pull a sample out of a larger product to share as your lead magnet.
- Share information about you as the business owner. How will your readers relate to you and what can you share to build more of the know, like, trust factor? This can include info on everything about you from where you grew up, to hobbies, to former jobs, to what you like to watch on TV. Whatever you think will help your audience connect with you and also make sense for the vibe of your brand.
- Show appreciation. Make sure your audience knows you appreciate them and their trust that you’re not going to spam their inboxes. Show excitement at their joining your list.
- Invite them to join your social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok. Include links to wherever you post your content, so your audience can connect with you on the platform they utilize most.
- Lastly, invite your readers to reply back to you. This evokes a feeling of community and provides trust in your brand. Ask how they found you, one way you can help, what they’re hoping to learn from your list, etc. Anything to encourage them to reply and also inform your future marketing decisions. When you get them to reply, it not only makes them feel like a valued part of your email list but also ensures the likelihood future emails end up in their inbox and not the spam folder or elsewhere.
If this seems a bit overwhelming, consider my Newsletter Start Up service. I help entrepreneurs just like you with these beginning email marketing steps, so you can learn the basics with my knowledge and experience to guide your way.
Consistent Newsletters / Broadcasts
After your welcome email(s) broke the ice, it’s time to keep the conversation going. Email is all about keeping your audience informed and your consistent emails should feel like sitting down with your best friend over coffee and talking about your week or sharing something new.
Remember, your newsletter should focus on giving your readers value through engaging, educational content. I can’t emphasize this enough! Your readers want value. They will not spend time opening your email if they know it’s not going to be worth their time. Instead, they’ll delete it, send it to spam, or even worse unsubscribe.
First and foremost, be consistent. Send your newsletter on the same day and time every week. Follow the same format. Your readers should look forward to hearing from you. Here are a few ideas for what to include:
Highlight One of Your Content Pillars
If you haven’t established your content pillars yet or aren’t sure what they are, check out this content pillars post for help. You can choose four or five pillars and rotate through them in each weekly email.
Your readers likely don’t see everything you post to social media, so include links to posts and stories that did well. You can also pull the best pieces from multiple older blog posts on the same topic to create “round up” emails with link lists.
We focus a lot on providing value, but that doesn’t mean everything should be free. Your email list is designed to bring income, traffic, etc. to your brand’s offer, not just lead magnets and freebies. Your paid services and resources can also provide value! Story selling is a popular way to do this and shows you not only relate to your readers’ pain points, but also offer solutions. You can absolutely give sneak previews, include a link to a new product, offer a CTA to sign up for a new course, or highlight a promotion. Just remember that every email shouldn’t read like a commercial.
What Should Your weekly Newsletter Look Like?
You can call your regular newsletter anything you like and there isn’t a one size fits all approach. Newsletters are as unique as the brands sending them, but here are a few tips.
Be consistent and set a consistent schedule. I recommend weekly emails, but do what feels manageable to you. Send on the same day and time.
Keep emails short– we are all busy! Provide a quick win or offer a few quick tips. You aren’t writing blog post length. If you have that much to say, consider writing it as a blog post and then repurposing highlights in an email with a link to the post. Don’t have a blog? You can break your longer ideas up into an email series instead of one giant email.
Put the most important step you want your readers to take at the top. Provide a short into and then get right to it!
However, a lot of people simply skim through emails (TLDR, anyone??). I know I’m guilty sometimes, so use the PS at the bottom to highlight whatever you want your readers to know most again.
Lastly, recap emails are an excellent way to summarize your most popular content from a specific time period. Biweekly “recap” or “trending” emails are popular in my niche. This is a super simple email with links to popular social media posts, new blog posts, popular items from your shop, etc.
To send a recap email, you’ll create an email consisting of only links to the social media posts, new blog posts, or new products that you have seen receive the most attention over the last two weeks. Then, choose a day/time to send it. For example, the second and fourth Sundays at 1 pm.
Remember, it’s highly unlikely your target audience has seen every single piece of content you’ve put out. These emails summarize the highlights and put them all in one place for your readers to browse easily.
Is Your Email Marketing Working?
Finally, track your data to fine-tune your email marketing strategy. Check your open rates, your click rates, and your number of unsubscribes. Many popular email marketing providers gather this data for you. Your job is to analyze it, see what kind of responses you’re getting from your readers, and make adjustments as needed.
Data is especially relevant when determining a day and time to send your emails. The general rule of thumb is to send Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between 9-11am or 1-3pm. However, this is going to be audience and location dependent. This is why tracking your data and experimenting with different send times matters. If your audience is made up of teachers, the likelihood of them checking their email during the school day is pretty nonexistent so you’d aim for before or after school.
Once you’ve chosen a day and time that you think will work, be consistent for the first month and then review your open rates. The average open rate varies by industry and email marketing provider, but is around 25% on average. If your results are less than this, change the send time and reevaluate again after a month. This can also vary based on your email marketing provider and sender reputation. ConvertKit often boasts the highest open rates on average (44% last month!) with a click rate of 4.7%. Anything above 20% with ConvertKit signals a high sender reputation.
Email marketing done right will grow your active reader lists, which in turn increases your brand awareness (hello, more sales for you!). Welcome emails, newsletters, and recaps are the foundation of your email marketing strategy. Once you’ve mastered the basics of these email marketing tips, you can begin adding to your repertoire with sales sequences/funnels, seasonal updates, new releases, limited time offers, and more. You can also dive into segments and more targeted emails.