October 1, 2014

Let your email take care of itself.

I’m going to be honest with you.

Writing an interesting email newsletter, week on week, when you have a whole bunch of other work to do is difficult. You either end up writing it at the end of the working day, when everyone else has gone home, delegate it to someone who’s not as busy (never a good sign) or not write it at all.

It would be much easier if you could get all the writing done in one go, when the opportunity presents itself and before you get bored with the whole idea. The good news is that you can.

The Email Autoresponder Sequence

Email marketing companies such as MailChimp and Aweber allow you to set up a sequence of emails that either:

a) are sent out at a given date in the future. Or

b) are sent out in order at set intervals.

Both are useful for getting all your writing out of the way in a single hit and forgetting about it for a while, but option b has further benefits. Rather than send your subscribers the latest newsletter, you can set up a series of emails that they receive one after the other from when they first subscribe. All your subscribers see the same content and you can use this to introduce your company or services and provide basic useful information that introduces them to your industry. This ensures all your subscribers are ‘up to speed’ and your later newsletters will make more sense (and be more effective).

Email Frequency

How often should you email your subscribers?

If you look at statistics on this (usually circulated by email automation companies and content marketers) the suggestion is that simply the more often the better. You can expect more sales if you email your list every day.

WHAT?   Every day?     Every day?!

Hmm, that might work if you’re Amazon, but for technical products and services that cost hundreds to thousands of pounds, I would suggest once a week MAXIMUM. In fact once a month or fortnight is totally acceptable. Although, a word of caution: leave it too long and your subscribers may have forgotten that they signed up and report you for spamming them. They can do this with a single click on a link – it does happen.

OK, so we’re agreed on frequency and that we’re going to write the next few emails in advance. That just leaves:

“What on Earth am I going to write about?”

A general rule of thumb is that 20% of your emails should be promotional, with the remaining 80% providing useful, non-salesy, information. But it’s the 80% of ‘useful information’ that many people find the most difficult. Which is why many businesses send out purely promotional emails that no-one reads.

Let’s say, for the sake of illustration, that your company makes and sells industrial marking lasers. Here are some suggestions for email topics:

  • How to improve scribing accuracy.
  • How to increase wall plug efficiency.
  • The best way to cool the workpiece.
  • How does laser power differ with processing material?
  • The benefits of a predictive maintenance plan.

Another place to get ideas is to think of the common questions that your customers ask, or problems you know they have.

Once you start, you’ll find that more ideas present themselves and you’ll soon have an impressive editorial calendar set up.