I hate email marketing. I feel like it’s a spammy way to generate leads, it comes across as shouting to the masses and is essentially lazy marketing because you’re ‘throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks’.

But I’ve decided to start my own email newsletter.

Why?

Because when it’s used properly, email marketing is a very powerful tool. According to research from Hubspot, it is one of the most effective channels for reaching customers, because:

  • 99% of consumers check their email everyday.
  • 80% of business professionals believe email marketing increases customer retention.
  • It delivers 3,800% ROI.

My negative feelings are based on my experience of trialling email marketing in the worst possible way. They’re born from an age where email was just taking off and ‘best practice’ was about buying long lists of names that we’d then use email to try and warm them up before selling to them.

It never worked. I’ve learned from my mistake. I promise this will never happen again.

A lot of my clients invest in email marketing today and clearly it does work because they’re generating quality pipeline from the activity. But in order for it to work, it has to be done right – it can’t be another email thrown to the masses in the hope someone might be interested in what you have to say.

So it got me thinking…


What makes a good email?

I started considering the email lists I subscribe to – because I have subscribed to receive email marketing (again, clearly it must work):

  • Truffle Shuffle
  • Irregular Choice
  • Joe Browns
  • Pickle London

The thing these emails have in common is that they align to my personality and the things I love. I look forward to them coming into my inbox because the gorgeous glittery shoes, quirky 80s and 90s nostalgia and cute prints and designs all make me smile.

So I dug a little deeper to consider the elements of the emails that I liked most…

  • Truffle Shuffle: signs off every email with a sneak preview of what’s coming next so I feel like I’m in a privileged position.
  • Irregular Choice: the flash of colour and the fact it always contains something I’d love to buy.
  • Joe Browns: it’s about more than the clothes – particularly during lockdown, the focus has been on how to create several ‘looks’ with the same clothes and a ‘50% deal of the day’.
  • Pickle London: they donate to Mind for each piece of clothing sold in the ‘happy’ range.

In every instance they’re giving more than their core product, and that makes me feel good.

But I’m not selling a product. So I considered the service-based business emails that I subscribe to and look forward to reading when they hit my inbox:

  • Rock Rose Digital: there’s sooo much advice packed into each email. The tone is pitched perfectly and despite knowing I’m one name on a list, Jen has managed to speak to me personally.
  • Gold Stag Accounts: again, full to burst with useful advice that helps strengthen my business. And particularly during lockdown, it’s been very reassuring to understand the intricacies of the help available to the freelance community.
  • Work Notes: great advice, all perfectly pitched to help me build a ‘proper’ business rather than a freelancing sideline, with a wonderful warm and friendly tone.
  • Pearson Insight: so personal, so fun, so open and raw about what’s going on in his world, I genuinely feel like I’m sat having a coffee with Adam when I read his newsletter.

Like the product-based emails, all of these are giving me more than the service these individuals offer. The tone of voice is so on-point, so personal and engaging. It always feels like an email sent just to me, rather than one to the masses, which makes me regularly take action after reading – whether buying the service, sharing the content, or replying to the individual.

And it got me thinking…


Top of the funnel content really needs to include email marketing

I say that I specialise in ‘top of the funnel content’, and yet I’ve failed to build an offering, or even acknowledge the importance of email marketing. I believe you should always ‘practice what you preach’, and yet I don’t have an email newsletter…

Yet.

I’m producing regular content for my business, publishing 1-2 pieces per week and I read lots of amazing content that inspires me every day. The content I publish and share gets good traction online, being liked and shared on Twitter and LinkedIn.

It got me thinking…

If people are genuinely enjoying what I write and find it useful, perhaps I should make it easier for them to find, rather than making them search for it online. Maybe it’s time I figured out how to do email marketing properly and send them this content directly to their inbox.

So I’ve decided to start an email newsletter and I’ve made a plan…

It’s going to be a monthly roundup that’s (surprise, surprise) focuses on content. It will include:

  • Commentary on something topical around time, team, money or exit strategies.
  • Links to the content I’ve published during the month.
  • An introduction to a fellow freelancer who has complementary creative skills that may benefit your business.
  • Various tips and tricks to ensure your content is the best it can be and working hard for you.

The great thing about deciding to start an email newsletter is that I’ve given myself a fabulous opportunity. I now have an excuse to invest in a load of new books (which I’ve already done!) and some training to skill up on how to create amazing emails. And then everything I learn I can test through my own business to see how the supposed ‘best practice’ works in reality.

Once I feel confident about how I can add value to email marketing within the sales funnel, I can then start to craft an offering that benefits you and allows me to cover the whole top of the funnel piece.


So who’s in?

I promise to only ever use your email address to send you a monthly newsletter and will never sell directly to you – it even says so in my privacy policyand it should go without saying that you can unsubscribe at any time.

But I still have plenty to do before I’m ready to click send, so the first issue of ‘More than words via email’ is due on 30 September 2020.