1 / Make your emails valuable to your readers
Inboxes are bulging with emails these days! If you want people to love your emails and find value in the content, find out what it is they really want and deliver this to them through your blog and it will naturally spill over into your emails. If you only send sporadically and just send out promotional emails asking readers to buy something or join something they will likely unsubscribe. Your readers will naturally ask themselves “what’s in this for me?”, so keep that in mind when you are putting your emails together, it’s about your readers not yourself.
2 / Ask people a question on your signup form
When you set up your email signup form you have the option in Mailchimp to add in a field where you can ask your subscribers a question. For my new subscribers I have been asking them what their main struggle and issue is with blogging. I get a large percentage of subscribers answering this question and it gives me fantastic insight into the main needs they have and how I can tailor my blogging content to help them. I also try to respond to as many subscribers as I can, sending them links to a helpful post or external links where they can find some answers. Doing this is a great way to survey my audience and engage with them directly.
What’s something you would love to know about your readers? Answers to this question will provide you with a great foundation for creating useful emails that your readers love and see value in.
3 / Choose a day and time to send out your emails and stick with it
Get to know where your audience are located and choose a time that works for them. In Mailchimp you can view your List Statistics and see what country your readers are from. You don’t want your emails being sent out in the middle of the night if large portions of your readers don’t actually live in your time zone, as they may not get read.
In Mailchimp you can set up segments based on location. If you have subscribers in very different time zones (such as Australia and the US) this is a great feature to use. Check out this Mailchimp tutorial on setting up segments.
When you have worked out a good time, choose a set day and time and stick with it each week / bi-weekly. We are creatures of habit so showing up regularly in your reader’s inboxes is actually better than showing up every now and then. People are more likely to stick around and stay subscribed if they receive regular, valuable content from you that is not spammy.
4 / Keep things personal by using your real name and email
My favourite emails that land in my inbox feel like they are being sent from a friend, they feel relational and conversational. To build up this kind of relationship with your readers use your own name and email details in the email setup and write in a conversational manner. If you detach yourself and just use your company name and leave out any kind of personal details, the email will feel more detached and people will find it harder to relate.
In my own emails, I do this by using my own name in the ‘From’ field, using conversational text, having a photo of myself in the footer and a personal email address people can respond to (email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org).
5 / Address your readers personally in your emails
You can personalise your emails by adding in a field code so that your readers name is pulled into the text. This is great used in the introduction of your email and can also be weaved a few times throughout your email if it feels natural. In Mailchimp the default code for adding in a persons first name is *|FNAME|*. A quick tip – When you set up your Mailchimp signup forms, make the first name a required field so that you will always have a first name to address your readers by. If you have imported lists into Mailchimp from other sources and you don’t have some of your readers first names, here is a trick you can use so that the name field won’t ever appear blank.
6 / Make sure you have permission to add people to your list
Adding people to your list because you got their business card or they purchased something from you is not good practice. Offer an easy way for people to opt-in to your email database on your blog and at the end of posts or when you sell a product you can simply ask your readers if they would like to sign up. If you have met some people at a networking event, send them a follow up email to say hi and let them know about your email list if they would like to join and stay in touch. If you add a heap of people and they never actually opted in to your list, you will likely get some complaints and some unsubscribes.
7 / Write an engaging subject line but keep it simple
People are flooded with spam and pressed for time so it’s important to craft a headline that will cut through the inbox clutter. The best email subject lines are short and descriptive and give readers a reason to explore your message further. Using salesy or cheesy phrases can more often than not, result in your emails being ignored and deleted. Research has shown that simple headlines that state what’s inside have higher open rates.
There are a number of powerful words that you can use to entice your readers in a more engaging way. Throw in some words like discover, proven, imagine, unleash and you to create a more engaging headline. If you are sending a regular email, mix up your headlines from time to time as people may get a little bored if it’s the same headline popping up in their inbox every time you send an email. Here are some best practice tips for writing headlines and 30 great headline formulas that work.
8 / Keep an inspiration file
I’m sure that you get emails from bloggers and businesses that you love. It might be the design, the content or the subject line that draws you in. Keep an email folder of your favourite newsletters and write up a list of ideas you have gleaned from these emails. You could come up with a writing style guide, a list of engaging subject lines and design elements that you have loved. Weave these elements into your own emails and test out what works, there is a good reason they have resonated with you and your readers will feel the same if you use the same tactics.[line]
Weekly Challenge – extra tasks
- If you already have an email list set up, review your subscribers location statistics and work out the best time to send your emails to them. Set up some segments if you have subscribers from a variety of locations. See point 3.
- Set up a question in your sign up form asking your subscribers something that is relevant to your blog niche. See point 2.
- Create an inspiration file of emails you love and start jotting down headlines that grab you so you can use these at a later date in your own emails. See point 8.
Have a question – jump into the comments below and ask away.
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