…and how you can make the tears stop
As an indie creator I’ve got to be in charge of promoting my work or no one will know it exists. One of the best ways to ensure my readers return is to provide them a frequent diet of valuable content.
The key word is valuable.
In a minute I’ll explain more, but first let’s talk about your story. Maybe you know you need an email list. Maybe you’ve got an email list, but it’s got as much activity as a cinder block. Maybe you’re hesitant to start an email list, because it feels too pushy.
I love email.
I’m on a lot of lists. To learn. To earn. To cry. There are a few things that separate the email ‘haves’ from the have-nots. And these adjustments can make the difference between creating lifetime fans and selling your work, versus working your pants off to develop a list that doesn’t like you.
Email marketing doesn’t have to be hard.
But if you want email to work for you, you’ve got to put yourself more in your reader’s in-box and less in your bank account. When we serve the needs of our reader’s first we develop lasting relationships over time.
Email is all about time.
Most creatives do email backwards. We don’t want to sell, so we talk about ourselves. We are not the reason our readers join our lists. Our readers subscribe, because they want a transformation of some kind — be it escape, physical, to learn, or psychological.
This relationship is not sell-them-in-five-minutes.
You may need to court your readers over weeks or months. Email is the long game. The long game is where you’ll make your money as a creator. It’s much easier to sell repeatedly to a loyal fan, instead of trying to earn the trust of a new subscriber.
Let’s fix your list.
Why your emails make me cry
- You talk about you — I read your emails to help me. I’ve got problems that need fixing. I want to learn something. I want a state change. I could really use an escape from my current situation. But what I don’t need is for you to give me work to do, or to watch you brag about your work. I want to know what’s in it for me.
- You don’t contact me often enough — Maybe you email me once a month, if that. I’ve got a lot of people competing for space in my in-box. If you don’t email me at least once a week I’ll forget I even signed-up for your list. When you don’t email me frequently all you can send me is pitch emails. I feel used when all you do is pitch me offers. I want more than just pitches.
- You don’t give me a good reason to open your emails — If your subject lines aren’t compelling enough for me to spend my valuable time reading, I won’t bother opening your email. Most of what you send goes straight to the trash. I don’t want your newsletter. I don’t want your discount code. I want solutions to my problems. I want to be entertained. I want curiosity. I need you to grab my attention now, because you only have a half-second before I open the email that does grab my attention.
- You don’t send me anything valuable — I gave you the opportunity to contact me on a personal level. I’ve kept the same email address for fifteen years and I rarely give it out anymore. You send me updates about your products, but there’s nothing in your emails for me. I want some information of real worth, something I can use today to make my life better tomorrow.
- You forget I’m a person — You have this idea of an ideal customer, but you forget what it’s like to scroll through your email at stop lights, or in line at the grocery store. You forget that I might not have opened your last five emails, so I may have no idea what you’re talking about. You forget that I’m not here to as a vehicle to send you money. I’ve seen all the little tricks. I’ve been duped so many times I can’t count anymore. I just want what I signed-up for in the first place.
We focus on what the reader wants and put what we want on the back-burner.
What we want is a customer for life. Not a one-time, quick sale. You can get the one-shots with email too, but that’s not the long game. No matter what you create, if you focus on the person reading the email, versus what you want, you’ll get higher open rates and long-term loyalty.
It’s time to send better email
Email isn’t as hard as some creative make it. We send personal messages, like speaking to a friend over coffee. We don’t fill our emails with glossy photos and hypey subject lines.
We send emails that benefit the reader. Every. Single. Time.
We spend a lot of time writing these pieces of content. But they don’t exist if subscribers don’t open them. We create value in every bite. The next time a readers sees something from us they’ll know it’ll be good.
We want our email to be a welcomed guest in the in-box, not an unwanted pest.
Your email list can change your life if you’ll let it. It’s time to start thinking more like your customers and less like you. The sales will come in time. Don’t ask someone you just met to marry you on the first date. We need to get to know you first.
Create curiosity. Dump the corporate imagery. Provide so much value it hurts.
I say this a lot, but it’s true more than ever. Give freely until it hurts, then give a little more. Your readers will recognize this. If they find help an value in your free content they’ll expect your paid work is even better.
We’ll buy your work if you can show us the transformation.
We’ll stick around if you give us so much value we can’t imagine leaving.
We’re waiting for you.