Every week you groan when the day comes for you to send an email to your list. You sit in front of your computer and think hard.
You know an email list is important but if only it wasn’t so difficult to actually send them something. You’re already pressed for time with the hundred and one things you have to do for your blog. How do you manage email as well?
In this post, we’ll discuss a simple 5-step plan that will help you overcome email overwhelm.
Step 1: Determine what types of emails you want to send
Think about what you’d like for your subscribers to experience from your emails. How do you want them to feel? Like a friend who has their back, like they’ve found a mentor and leader, that you made their life easy with hacks and tips or that you’ve given them a new way of thinking about things?
What do you hope to get out of it for yourself? Do you want to be seen as an expert? Do you want to spread your love about a particular subject? Do you want to inspire a community?
The answer to this question will determine the type of email content you send out. It sets the tone for your entire list.
Step 2: Have a specific plan to sort your email marketing calendar
Now that you know the types of emails you want to send, how do you plan out your email marketing calendar? Here some ways you can do so.
Monthly Themes: If your blog content follows themes, your email content can complement these themes as well. For instance, if you write about a particular topic for the whole of the February, your emails can do the same so that they lead to your posts. You could summarize the points of your post with a personal takeaway that you didn’t include.
Launches: If you’re launching courses, services or products during certain periods of the year, block your email calendar so that your audience receives launch specific content.
Weekly themes: You could also plan to send out different email content for each week of the month. You could have weekly themes that rotate through the month and start over.
Here are some ideas:
- Quick action emails are filled with easy to implement and digestible tips
- Audience highlight is when you showcase one of your readers
- Email Takeovers are where you get a blogging buddy to share her wisdom to your list
- Coffee chat emails are when you share a personal story or personal takeaway.
Decide now on how you plan to sort your emails. Then, lock in a day and time that you will send these emails out. A weekly email is a good email frequency to start with.
Step 3: Get stuff out of your head
Once you’ve ticked off on these two steps, you’re going to start getting ideas to include in your emails. These could be points you didn’t use in a blog post. Or a post that didn’t get fleshed out fully.
You could also be inspired by an email you received from someone or a post you saw on Facebook.
This is where a swipe file comes in handy. Start to flag or move emails that you like into a folder. Study these emails and determine what about them do you like? What is it about their style that draws you?
Keep a Google doc or folder with snapshots and content pieces that you’d like to keep for inspiration. Consider using Evernote or Trello for your email planning if you use it for other areas of your blog and business.
As you start to fill these up, you will never run out of email ideas because you always have a well-stocked content library to dip into.
Why not start with my swipe file of email content ideas?
Step 4: Block out time to write your emails
This is where you have to actually write your emails.
I usually send emails on Tuesday so I block out an hour every Monday morning or afternoon to write my email. I make this task non-negotiable. I don’t move it around my schedule so that it gets done.
Here are some pointers that make writing emails easy:
-Determine your call to action.
And in email, that call to action is usually to click a link back to your blog, head over to a sales or landing page, or to engage and respond to your question.
Decide what that call to action is and craft your content around it.
One email. One call to action. You give too many choices and your readers don't take any.
-Keep your emails distraction free
Remove unnecessary distractions such as sidebars, fancy fonts, and huge graphics. You want the focus to be on your message or call to action.
-Tell a great story
You’re not writing a tech manual. Be vulnerable. If you have a great story, share it. People retain stories better.
You don’t need to have a ‘rags to riches’ story. You had a horrible client...Or you moved to a new city...you quit your job...all these are stories. Provide a take-away from each of these and link them up with your call to action.
-Check your tone
Your emails should be a natural extension of your blog. If your tone is invigorating and bossy in your blog posts but warm and mellow in your emails you're going to confuse your readers. Make sure that your voice is consistent across.
Step 5: Keep track and review
What metric will you use to track your progress?
Opens? Clicks? Testimonials? Feedback?
Determine what’s more important to you.
If you’ve been sending emails for some time, have a look at your open and engagement rates to gauge what type of email content your audience likes. If you’re just starting out and haven’t sent a whole lot of emails, give it time before reviewing your stats.
But what if your list is dragging beneath its own weight? It’s stale, bloated and unresponsive. You have inactive subscribers who haven’t responded, opened, clicked or interacted with your emails in any way in 6-12 months. You hardly get any engagement, click-throughs or opens.
If that’s you, it’s best to clean your list and delete inactive subscribers so that they don’t affect your email engagement rates. You also don’t want to be paying unnecessarily for inactive subscribers.
The truth about emails
I hate to use the term ‘train your subscribers’ to open your emails. But if your subscribers come to view your emails as ones that provide value, you will get steady click-through and open rates. Give them a reason to open your emails.
Be consistent about sending your emails too. Give unexpected value and respect your list.
Make these 5 steps a part of your email routine so that you start to enjoy email and reap the benefits of having an engaged list that loves hearing from you.
Meera is a certified email marketing specialist, and contributor at Addicted 2 Success, Marketing Profs and several other sites. She helps ambitious bloggers and solopreneurs find focus, build authority and stand out online.
Wondering what to send your email list? Steal her Swipe File of 2 years worth of email content ideas.