You’ve heard having an e-mail list is important, and you’ve started collecting e-mail addresses, but now you’re unsure what to send them.
(If you still need to set-up your e-mail list, don’t worry, I’ve got you! Check out my article, How to Set-up Your E-mail List)
Sometimes the execution is much harder than the theory.
I’m gonna keep it completely real with you.
THIS IS MY ETERNAL STRUGGLE.
But we’re gonna kick ourselves into gear and master the e-mail beast.
I’ll share a few ideas on the types of things you should send to the people you’re serving, what to send and how often you should send e-mails. We’ll explore some basic ideas as well as some more advanced ideas.
Let’s start off with the types of e-mails you can send.
Types of E-mails to Send
- Send them your latest blog post, podcast or video – Naturally if you’re creating new content, you want your audience to engage with it. What good is content if no one is engaging with it?
- Send them your offers – Ultimately, you’re online because of your offers. Whether you want to make money, get people to take a course to adopt your ideas, philosophy or way of thinking or raise money for a cause, you have an end game. Send e-mails that have calls to action that invite people to act on your offer.
- Build your relationship with them – One of the biggest reason people send out e-mails is to build relationships. You want to build the know-like-and-trust factor. By sending out regular e-mails, you’re giving people the chance to know who you are, learn your “voice” as they read your writing and trust you as you follow through on the things you say you’ll do
- Start a conversation – One of my favourite types of e-mails are those that start conversations. Because the online space can sometimes feel so one sided, asking questions in your e-mails and getting responses just makes you as a writer feel good. Also, it lets you have a more natural type of conversation instead of just talking “at” someone.
- Survey them to find out what they need – Similar to the option above, which is about starting a conversation, this option prompts you to survey your audience. Use a service like Survey Monkey to set-up some questions and send them out.
Basic E-mail Ideas
- Schedule weekly e-mails – The most basic thing you can do is to send out weekly e-mails. At minimum, you can decide the day before or at the beginning of the week what you’d like to e-mail out. Use one of the content types I mentioned above to decide what to send. Understand why you’re sending out the e-mail. Answer the question, what’s the purpose of communicating with them.
Medium Difficulty E-mail Ideas
- Schedule e-mails a month in advance – You can set up a content calendar and decide a month in advance what messages you would like to communicate. Use the same concept mentioned above. Decide what type of e-mail you will send and understand its purpose. If you’d like to save time, you can set aside some time to write all the e-mails at once and schedule them. Just make sure to check before each one goes out that it still aligns with what’s happening in the world.
- Set-up an e-mail autoresponder – An idea that moves a bit beyond basic is setting up an autoresponder. This can be a series of e-mails your e-mail subscribers receive to help them get to know you and get familiar with some of your content. When you’re setting up an autoresponder series, you want to make sure you understand the purpose. What action do you want people to take after they finish your autoresponder? Make sure you create the autoresponder series with this in mind.
Advanced E-mail Ideas
- Set-up e-mail segments – Depending on how complex your business is or how many different product lines you have, you can set-up different e-mail segments or groups of people who might be interested in your products. This way, you can craft messages for each group of people.
- Set-up triggering events in your e-mails – With a more advanced e-mail management system, you can trigger certain e-mails to go out if people complete certain actions, like clicking on a link or opening an e-mail. If this some important to you, make sure your e-mail service provider offers this feature.
- A/B Testing – A/B testing lets you send an e-mail with two different subject lines to a small portion of your e-mail list to see which one performs better. When the e-mail management service decides which subject line performs better, it sends the e-mails to the best performing subject line.
How Often to E-mail Your List
Conventional wisdom will say to e-mail your list at least once a week. Some people will say if you do it more often than that you’ll annoy your audience, but one day, I stopped and looked in my email and I have some marketers — not just businesses — who e-mail me almost every day if not three or four times a week.
So, my answer is, don’t think about the number as much as the purpose. Don’t just e-mail your list five times a week just to show up in their inbox if you don’t have anything to say. But, if you’re killing it and adding value every day and your open rate is good and people are listening to what you have to say, then pay attention to that.
Learning how often to mail your list will be a dance of you sending, learning, listening and adjusting. Please be open to this process as you embark on this journey.
Open Rate, Bounce Rate and Click Through Rate
One of the best ways to understand what to send your audience is to look at the data. Three statistics you need to become familiar with are open rate, bounce rate and click-through rate.
Open Rate – This number will tell you how many people are opening your e-mails. If you use a service like MailChimp, they will tell you if your open rate is on par with your industry. Your open rate will likely be highest on the first few e-mails you send out to your audience and it may taper off over time.
Just remember to really bring the goods so you can keep your audience engaged. Looking at your open rate will sometimes also reveal how interested your audience is in particular topics. Some topics will have higher open rates and this may indicate to you to send more e-mails like that. You want your open rate to be as high as possible.
Bounce Rate – The bounce rate refers to e-mails that weren’t delivered. There are many reasons e-mails aren’t delivered like if a user has blocked you, has an inbox that is full or is no longer being used. You want this number to be as low as possible.
Click Through Rate – The click through rate measures how many times people click on the links in your email. This rate is usually much lower than your open rate because sometimes people just can’t be bothered to click through and go to your website. You want this number to be as high as possible.
Knowing what to send to your e-mail list is really about understanding the reason for your organisation’s existence. The more you understand this, the more you will understand the purpose of your communication and then you can filter out what you should send in your e-mail communication.
If you need help understanding the purpose of your communication you can review my article, “Understanding the Purpose of Your Communication.”