In this Q&A episode of the podcast, I’m going to be answering a question about how to structure your weekly emails so they get plenty of reads AND do their job.
Here for the links referenced in the show notes?
Ask a Question: tashcorbin.com/question
Grow Your Audience free training: tashcorbin.com/audience
Take Off program: tashcorbin.com/takeoff
Let’s dive in!
Jennie asked an amazing question:
“How do I design and structure that weekly email so it’s full of value, but not so full that it’s hard work to get through?”
Not only am I going to help you answer that question, Jennie, but I’m also going to make sure that your weekly email is doing its job.
Our weekly email isn’t just about giving value, helping people, or moving them forward.
Its job is also to generate leads in your business.
We want to make sure it’s also doing that job as well.
In today’s episode, I am not only going to answer Jennie’s question about what to include and what to exclude, but I’m also going to make sure it’s doing its job.
Let’s dive into my top tips on how to structure your weekly emails…
1. Different audiences have different likes
Here are three examples of different audiences that would have different email preferences:
- Busy mums who have their own business and are wanting to be more productive and efficient (they won’t want to read super long emails super often)
- Business owners with no kids and lots of time who want to experiment with a bunch of different strategies (they will be more inclined to read emails more often)
- People in a job who read their emails at work when they’ve got breaks and things are quiet (they are more likely to love having lots of regular email content to keep them engaged)
As you can see, just with those three different examples, different audiences are going to have different likes.
The two things I would say to you are:
1. Make sure you ask your audience what their preferences are.
Do they like short, snappy emails? Do they like video content? Would they like to have questions to answer? Do they like having conversations on email?
There are lots of different things you can ask your audience.
2. Make sure you measure how your audience behaves and engages with certain types of emails.
Sometimes people will tell you that they want something short and sharp because they don’t want to use email as a procrastination tool… yet they’re way more likely to open and read a longer-form email.
Have a look at the measures of your emails and how effective they’ve been.
But also make sure to ask your audience straight up questions about what it is that they like.
I love doing surveys of my audience – whether on social media or via email.
Don’t be afraid to ask your audience what they’re after.
Give them some specificity to those questions.
Ask your audience things like:
- Do you prefer short and sharp? Or do you love a good story?
- Do you love emails with visuals? Or would you prefer it to be plain text?
- What type of help do you want with X, Y, and Z?
- I’m putting together some emails for the next few months, and I’d love to know from you, what are you working on right now?
Even questions like that can really help you get the insight that you need.
Not all advice is going to work for all audiences.
The numbers don’t lie. I do love making sure that I keep track of exactly what’s working for my audience and what isn’t.
That’s my first piece of advice on how to structure your weekly emails AND get them doing their job.
2. Email structure
What do you actually put in the structure of that email?
I love to have a very simple structure with three key elements:
Element 1: The love note/personal touch
You will notice with my weekly emails, there’s a short piece of copy that’s a little update from me about what’s going on in my life.
It also might be something that’s happening that’s pretty urgent that I want people to see.
I don’t go on too long in that part of the email. It’s usually four or five sentences long.
It may be slightly longer if there’s something I don’t want my list to miss.
For example, in a recent email that I did, I had three free events coming up within the next three or four weeks, and so I wanted to make sure everyone saw the three big things they could come to.
I put that in my love note to make sure it’s front of mind.
It was also most likely to get read by people so I added that towards the end of that love note.
I call it the love note because it’s the part where I’m telling people what’s going on with me. Sometimes I’ll share a little personal update or insight. It really feels like it’s the connecting, chatty part of my email.
I put that first.
I have found over the years that those types of links in my emails are the ones that get far and away the most clicks.
I can make pretty shiny buttons and I can have clickable banner ads, but when I hyperlink to a program in that love note, that’s where I get the most clicks from.
That love note doesn’t have to be promo-free.
You don’t have to NOT talk about your business and pretend that you’re not in business.
You are a business owner. This is a business email. If you’re talking about a part of your business (a product, service, program or free event), hyperlink to it.
Element 2: Core content
The email that I send out every week includes this week’s podcast.
It’s one of the most powerful ways to remind my audience to go and listen to my podcast.
A good reason for people to be on my mailing list is getting the link to the new podcast every single week and being reminded to check it out.
It also allows them the flexibility of choosing whether to check it out this week or not…
I give a good description of my podcast so people can decide whether they want to listen to that one or not.
I’m not upset if people don’t listen to every single podcast episode.
Not every single podcast episode is particularly interesting to every single person.
Rather than try and force it and make the podcast something that everyone wants to listen to, instead, I’m really clear on what’s included in this week’s podcast so people can choose whether they want to go see it or not.
That’s the core content.. My big juicy piece of content for the week.
Element 3: Offer
I will have an offer in every newsletter (the weekly email that I send out).
Sometimes that offer is to come to a free webinar or check out one of my free resources. Sometimes that offer is a paid thing.
You’ll see more and more promos about the Take Off program over the next few weeks because I’m in the midst of launching it.
I have one key offer in written form, and then I have a banner ad for it.
I have experimented and played with my email format over and over in the years and I keep coming back to this very simple structure.
The three key elements are:
1. Love note/personal touch
2. Core piece of content
That’s the order that I structure my weekly emails in.
3. Have a range of link options
As I said, I have a range of different ways for people to click on things in my weekly newsletter.
Try hyperlinking in the text, having a button, having a banner ad, or some sort of image that’s clickable.
Sometimes having a combination of all three at all times is what your audience wants and needs.
Different people like links in different places.
You might have it hyperlinked in the text, there’s a button here and there, AND there are some ad images.
The thing I would say is that if you’re a service-based business (ie. you’re selling VIP services, courses, digital products, etc.), then in most cases, you want your weekly email to look like it’s more conversational and not look so much like an ad.
Hold off on the ads until such time as your audience are really comfortable and confident that your newsletter is going to have lots of value for them.
The great thing about your weekly newsletter is that it’s your opportunity to really get to know your audience. You can get to know what they like and what they don’t like, and experiment with different options.
I used to have [H2H] at the start of my newsletter subject line (because my newsletter is called Heart-to-Heart).
At first, it increased the open rate because my hottest audience recognised that it was my newsletter and they wanted to hear what I had to say each week.
But as my list got bigger and my audience got a little fresher from bringing in more and more people onto my mailing list each month, then the open rate of that started to drop down.
Once I took that [H2H] away, the open rate bumped up again.
Sometimes the strategy that works at one point in time in your business growth doesn’t work a little bit later.
Having [H2H] at the start of the subject line worked for me most when my audience was the warmest and I didn’t have a lot of cold audience members joining my list each month.
I was really focused on nurturing my existing audience rather than investing a lot of money in growing my mailing list.
That worked really well because the audience was so warm, they wanted to have a quick identifier to see that it was my newsletter.
When the audience is a little colder, the subject line needs to be a little more enticing and a little less obvious that it’s a newsletter. This is because they haven’t yet developed that trust with me to know that my newsletters are way more valuable than some of the other ones that they get into their inbox.
One thing I will say if you have a product-based business is that you’ll probably send your emails out less often, AND they can actually look like salesy emails.
I follow that product’s newsletter because I want to buy the products and I love the products.
Seeing the product of the month and having different offers in that email is the reason that I’ve signed up for it.
I want to know when you’ve got stuff on sale, and I want to know what new stuff you’ve got in stock.
That’s why I’m subscribed to that newsletter.
If you have a product-based business, then you will get away with your regular email being a little bit more salesy, a little bit more image-based, and highlighting your products far more consistently.
I find once every two weeks or even once a month is a better time period between emails when it’s a product-based business.
It just really depends.
I once signed up for the mailing list of a product-based business that sold doggie coats and accessories for my little Munchkin.
They were sending me emails every three or four days!
I ended up unsubscribing. Yeah, I love little doggy jackets and jumpers, but I’m not looking for product updates every three or four days!
Once a month would have been fine. Maybe twice a month depending on how many sales they were having.
It was just far too many and I completely unsubscribed.
Something that Hamish and Andy (two comedian dudes who have a podcast) do on their podcast is they have a segment on their podcast every now and then called ‘Please, for the love of God unsubscribe me!’.
One of them had purchased chicken wire for fencing off chickens, and they were receiving DAILY emails from this chicken wire company after they purchased.
How often do people purchase chicken wire that they need an email every single day?!
Just be mindful of what level of frequency of emails will work for your audience.
You might even like to have two different types of emails.
I’ve got quite a few clients at the moment where we’re making some changes to their regular emails.
One week, they’ll send a newsletter-type email, then the next week they’ll send a check-in or catch-up email.
One has images and links and stuff, and the other one is unformatted. It’s just black text without any images where they’re just telling their audience about something.
We are doing that for this client because she sends out her regular newsletter just once a month (because that’s really what works for her), but she wants to send another email mid-month that isn’t a full-blown newsletter.
We crafted up this really beautiful, unformatted email where she can let her audience know about a Facebook live she’s done or something cool that she’s found.
It’s an email where she can just be of service in a completely unformatted way.
She will toggle between the two.
You might also find that that works really well for your audience too.
There are some really fun ways that you can play with structure.
It doesn’t always have to be exactly the same.
That’s my third tip on how to structure your weekly emails – have different link options.
4. Use a selfie
For me, taking away the banner image and instead having an up-to-date selfie of me in my regular weekly email has done wonders for my open rate and my click-through rate.
It’s something that I loved about someone else’s email that I used to receive regularly. She has since taken the selfie out of her email, but I saw that that’s what she did, and for some reason I really loved it.
I realised I loved it so much because it felt like it was real and up to date – here’s my face right now.
As someone who is a visual people person, I really love having a person come along with that email.
When I incorporated that into my regular email, it really did help me improve my open rate and my click-through rate.
That is tip number four for how to structure your weekly emails so that it’s got lots of great value, and it’s not totally overwhelming and super long.
This also helps that email to do its job.
You’ll notice here that I’m not suggesting you take all the links and images out of your emails. I’m not suggesting that you make your subject lines really weird and curious so that you trick people into opening them.
We want to ensure is that:
1. We make it easy for people to make a decision to open our emails, and
2. We’re clear on what this email’s job is. We’re not trying to sneak our way into people’s inbox and force them to read three paragraphs before they realise that it’s just our regular newsletter.
For me, that doesn’t stand strong in what its job actually is.
We want to train your audience that your newsletter is helpful and that it’s simple for them to find what they need.
We also want to train your audience to check your emails for any upcoming events, any launches that you’re doing, and any special offers.
It’s keeping them up to date.
They signed up to your mailing list because they’re interested in hearing from you.
Don’t assume that everyone only wants the free stuff.
People do actually want to work with you. People do actually want to pay you money.
Make it easy for us to do that.
The more consistent you get with sending out that email every week, the less urgent it will feel that you need to tell everyone about every single offer that you have on the table right now.
Keep it to one focal point as much as possible with what your offer is.
Then it just feels like this beautiful sense of calm, assuredness that if I check your email each week, I’m going to be up to speed with whatever’s going on.
One of the big reasons why I see people have overwhelming emails that their audience doesn’t read is because there’s just too much in them. You’re not sending them consistently enough, so then when you do send them, you’ve got six things to tell people about and that becomes overwhelming.
Stick to that nice, simple structure for your weekly emails. Make sure you send that email regularly! You’ll find less and less you urgently need to tell people about multiple things at once.
Hopefully you found that really helpful, Jennie, and it’s answered your question about how to structure your weekly emails.
If you’ve got any follow up questions, please do get in touch. You can ALWAYS email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, come into the Heart-Centred, Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook group, use #podcastaha, let me know you’ve been reading episode number 312, and we can continue the conversation over there.
If you’ve been reading this and have realised that you need to get more people on your mailing list, then I have a free training that will be perfect for you.
It’s called Grow your Audience.
It particularly focuses on growing your mailing list.
It’s a 40-minute long punchy, practical training with four stages for where you’re up to in your business and in your audience growth.
Make sure you go and check that one out: CLICK ME
Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast.
I hope it’s given you clarity on how to structure your weekly emails.
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.