Are you stuck, going through the motions of sending out the same-old-same-old email newsletter every month? Or worse, have you not emailed your list for some time because you just can’t think of anything interesting to say, or why anyone would be interested to hear from your business?
If you’re feeling as inspired as cold toast with congealed drippings, it’s time you started over, to make email human again.
Fall in love all over again
Strangers have found your website over the internet, liked the cut of your jib, and given over their email address so that you may send them personal missives forever after (until they unsubscribe or you die).
So are these missives of love you’re sending, or are you squandering your commitment and turning up, half-baked?
It’s time to fall in love all over again with your email subscribers and, especially as familiarity breeds contempt, it’s smart to periodically switch things up to keep you personally invigorated and your subscribers paying attention.
Ditch your time-keeping
I know it’s April 2017, so why remind me using the single most important piece of your entire email – your email subject line? Ditch the month and year and please don’t tell me I’m reading a newsletter – I know that already.
Make your email subject line memorable, quirky, or urgent
Writing killer headlines is an art (that can be learnt – we cover this in my Blogging for Business courses) – spend as much time writing possible email subject lines, or headlines, as you do writing your entire email.
Business and marketing are dry topics, but check out these email headlines from business and marketing leaders:
3 delusions of starting a business (Ramit Sethi)
How to out-think your copycats (Russ Ruffino)
Hello, possibility! Also hello, uncertainty too, I guess. Which is not at all a clickable subject line. And I just don’t even care. But I should? I don’t know. (Sarah Bray)
Important letter for <first name> (Leela Cosgrove)
Need my help? (Time sensitive) (Neil Patel)
Use your email preview plane
Your email preview plane acts like a subheading – enabling readers to see the first line in your email before they click to open it (or not). Don’t waste this by repeating your email headline and avoid using this for “unsubscribe” (do you really want to suggest that, as the first thing your readers see?)
Extend the story of your headline with a subheading that tells a little bit more – but doesn’t give the game away, so people are compelled to open your email.
Refresh your email design
Your emails need periodic redesigning – even if it’s just changing your header image. I suggest you review your email newsletter design at least once a year.
Remember, more than half of your readers are likely reading your email on their mobiles, so ensure your design isn’t too itsy and renders well on mobile.
Try this: if you don’t want to totally redesign your email newsletter, change up your header image. Ensure you’ve got your logo, tagline and/or descriptive line, phone number if you want more calls, and a memorable image that speaks to what you do.
Write to one person only
Drop the plural when addressing your email. Not only is it irrelevant to your readers, who aren’t reading your email while crowded around a screen together, but it will influence the way you write.
Instead, write your email to one person only. Each blog post I write is inspired by a single incident – and I write with that particular person in mind. It makes your writing far more directed, relatable, and personal, rather than a piece of writing that’s trying to please everybody.
Try this: who have you recently interacted with that left you talking to them in your head afterwards? Write your email (and blog post) for that person.
You don’t need to start addressing your readers as “babe”, “darling” or “chick” (in fact, please don’t) but do share a few details of who you are and what you care about. It makes you that much more relatable, relevant – and readable.
Humans buy from humans, and being “professional” doesn’t mean being cold, dull and dry as baked-on salt on a beach towel. Even when you’re a teacher, authority or expert – or perhaps especially if you’re a teacher, authority or expert – there is a way to be frank and a little vulnerable without losing credibility. It’s sometimes a fine balance to strike, but it can’t be struck if you don’t try.
Remember, we’re attempting to create rapport with strangers through screens – and this is doubly difficult if you aren’t willing to be a little open.
Try this: Write a blog post and promote this in your next email, ‘ten things you may not know about me’.
Your mantra: useful, valuable, relevant
As I teach on my courses, central to content marketing is creating content that is useful, valuable and relevant to your ideal clients. To know what this is, you need to keep up with them!
Your email newsletters aren’t just for selling your services – they’re to cultivate familiarity, build trust, enhance your credibility, keep top-of-mind, encourage referrals, drive website visitors, and be there when your prospect is ready to purchase.
Your content is what keeps people opening your emails – so long as it’s useful valuable and relevant to your audience.
Try this: what do your clients and prospects ask you about all the time? And what’s the deeper question underlying each of these? Now you’ve got a bunch of topics to start writing!
Creativity needs feeding
Creativity is like love – it doesn’t run out, so long as you use it.
Stop waiting for the creativity lightening strike to hit – you’ve got to get up and earn it by working. (Incidentally, one of my favourite sayings is “inspiration exists, but it has to find us working” by Pablo Picasso.)
Undoubtedly, there’s only one way to get better at something – it’s likely what your parents told you and what you tell your kids. So don’t expect to be awesome at something when you’re new at it (like writing marketing copy for business!)
If you’re really not in the mood, then develop a grab bag of techniques that personally work for you to quickly and easily get you in a creative headspace.
My creative triggers include:
- Noodle soup for one (thankyouverymuch)
- Handstands and being inverted (hanging upside down off a chair will do the trick)
- Jumping on the spot like a Massai warrior
- Playing loud music (ballads work best for me, like Tina Turner, Queen, Shirley Bassey, or Nick Cave)
- Taking my laptop into the bush (with no wifi)
- Using a timer
- Having a conversation with someone who thinks completely differently to how I do or has a very different life experience.
We all get stale from time-to-time. It’s normal to lose your enthusiasm for different parts of marketing. And creativity does need feeding. But that’s no excuse for sending dull, bland or generic email newsletters. Remember what a privilege it is, wholly unlike any other marketing technique for its directness and potential for intimacy. Make email human, and humanly wonderful.