Getting into someone's inbox is like getting into their bedroom. It's a very personal space and you really have to be someone special to make the cut.
Start with Consistency
As you start growing your email list, it's important that the email that pops into someone's inbox is consistent with the blog they signed up through. This can be as basic as using the same colors and fonts to making sure to use the same type of language. Check yourself in these areas before sending out an email (or creating a new template) to make sure that this part of your brand brings people back to everything else you're doing.
- Brand colors: Most email management systems allow you to customize your colors, so make sure you have the HEX codes on hand.
- Logo: Add your logo at the top of the email so that it's clear who the email is from.
- Fonts: This may be a little more difficult if you're using non-standard fonts, but be sure to choose something similar and keep the layout the same as on your website.
- Voice: You want to sound like yourself, even in your emails. If you chose to be a little more open in your emails, that's totally fine - just make sure the overall tone is the same. You want people to feel like you're talking directly to them, not to everyone at once.
- Message & Purpose: This is what you're business is all about and that should be true in everything you do. If you're putting something out there, whether it's a blog post, a social media update, or an email, make sure it supports your message and purpose.
Get Them to Open It
This can be tough. Many of us get hundreds of emails a week and we don't have time to open and read them all. You want your email to hold enough value that when it shows up, people want to open it. There are some emails that I always open and read and others that have to catch my attention. You want to reach both types of people through catchy subjects and consistent value.
Tips + My Personal Preferences
If you're on my VIP list and read my emails, you'll notice that I try to be very concise in my emails. Over time, through my own emails and through reading other newsletters, I've learned what works for me and is true to my brand. This may be totally different for you, but it's an important thing to pay attention to. If you're totally annoyed when a certain type of email shows up in your inbox, make sure you're steering clear of that in your own newsletter.
- Clear subject line
- List of past posts
- Important updates
I like emails that get to the point, tell me what's new, and then give me the option to keep reading. It's not that I never open the really long, jam-packed emails that are basically another blog posts. I do read those occasionally. But my favorite emails provide very consistent value and always contain exactly what I expect.
Some of my favorites?
- Nora Conrad: Nora keeps things short and simple. She starts by giving a few personal updates, talks about anything that's coming up in her business, gives list of past posts, and then closes with a weekly Bible study. I always know what to expect from Nora since it's laid out the same way each week, and I love seeing her emails pop into my inbox.
- Kayla Hollatz: Kayla has found a great way to unite her newsletter and her weekly Twitter chat, #createlounge. She gives a brief intro and then actually lists the questions she'll be asking at the chat. Her newsletter is a great reminder to set aside time for #createlounge and gives me something to think about for my day.
- Chamel Evans: I love Chamel's emails because God so often speaks to me through them. Chamel keeps it brief, but she packs a powerful punch. And she always offers a link to download her latest worksheet, so I don't have to go find it.
- Erica Midkiff: Erica's emails tend to be a little bit longer, but they always speak to my heart. She gives honest advice and is open about what she's doing in her own business. At the bottom of each email, she includes a section for any upcoming openings and a little information about everything she offers.
- The Fresh Market: Is it weird that one of my favorite emails is from the grocery store? And it's not just because that's how I find out about the best deals. I love the crisp images and how The Fresh Market gets straight to the point. This one is a little more image heavy than most, but its bright and fun.
Basic Branding Using MailChimp
I've used MailChimp as my email provider since I started Lemon and the Sea and I love how much flexibility I have. This is a brief tutorial on setting up a template and incorporating your brand into your emails.
Start by logging into your MailChimp account and creating a Campaign.
Select the type of Campaign. I usually send a Regular Campaign, but I've also use the A/B testing option.
Choose your email list.
Name the Campaign and update or write the Email Subject.
Choose a Basic Template that fits your brand and will work for everything you want to include in your newsletter.
MailChimp makes it very easy to design your emails because they use drop and drop blocks. You can rearrange or remove any of the blocks that are included in the template and add anything you need.
If you add an Image block or click on one that is already in place, you will be allowed to chose an image. You can either upload a new image or pick one that you have previously uploaded. The images you chose should match your visual brand. I use my logo at the top of all my emails.
You can click on any of the text blocks to edit the text and update the way it looks. I usually change the color of the headlines to match my website by highlighting the text, clicking on the text color button, and typing in the HEX code for Lemon and the Sea's teal.
Once you set up a template that you love, make sure to save it so it's easy to access again. You can do this by choosing Save as Template in the upper right corner and naming your new template.
Now you're ready to send! MailChimp goes through and checks to make sure that you've selected all the information you need for a successful campaign, and gives you the option to Send right away or schedule your email to send out at a later time.
And since you've saved your template, you can access it again for future Campaigns by selecting it from the Saved Templates section of the Template selector.
This is a pretty basic overview of MailChimp, but if you take a little time to explore, you can do a lot to design an email that is truly a reflection of your brand and that people love to open each week.