Today we’re going to be diving into the topic of… emails! And I have invited a guest on, who is just the perfect person to teach us a thing or two about using email to boost your brand!
Eman Ismail is the person to call when you want to make money from your emails. As an email conversion strategist and copywriter, she helps 6-figure (and above!) online business owners and ecommerce brands fire up their conversions, evergreen their sales and turn fans into Superfans.
She’s worked with powerhouses like Emily Thompson from Being Boss, Joanna Wiebe from CopyHackers, Belinda Weaver from the Hot Copy Podcast, Interact (the quiz platform), and she also holds regular copywriting workshops in partnership with Lloyds Business Bank.
When Eman is not writing high-converting emails for clients, delivering workshops or teaching business owners how to write copy that converts, she’s bingeing either podcasts or pizza (but she’d rather you didn’t tell her PT that).
I reached out to Eman about… six months ago I think it was. I first came across her when she was a guest on The Get Paid Podcast by Claire Pelletreau, where she spoke about how she went from tiny profits to steady 10k months. I was inspired by her story, and started following her, and there was something about her relationship-building approach to emails that just really resonated with me. I knew pretty soon that I wanted to invite her on for a chat.
Ah, I’m eager to dive in, so let’s get to it!
Disclaimer: The following transcript has been auto-generated and then cleaned up – and while the general flow of the conversation is there, it’s probably not 100% accurate.
P: Eman, welcome to the Brand it! podcast. I’m so excited to be having this conversation with you today.
E: Hey, thank you so much for having me. I am so excited to be here!
P: So, emails. That’s your jam, right? Tell us a bit more about what you help your clients with? Like who are you? What do you do?
E: Yes, well, I am an email strategist and copywriter. So that is a really fancy way of saying that I help my clients make more money through email and also build stronger relationships with their subscribers through email, because that’s really what email is all about. It’s about connecting, nurturing, and building relationships.
Those relationships eventually end up in sales, ideally, so I work with online business owners and e-commerce brands. So when I say online business owners, I mean things like coaches, podcasters, authors, course creators, membership makers, basically anyone who has a business online and they use email, and they kind of need my help and product business owners. So I’ve worked with all types of different e-commerce businesses, and I really enjoy that. So when I decided to specialise in email, I decided not to specialise in an industry. Also, because I wanted the variety of being able to just work with a bunch of different people and a bunch of different products and digital products and physical products. And so I get to have a lot of fun, kind of diving into new things every other week when I’m working with clients. And yeah, what I do is, well, there are two different things, actually.
So I have my VIP Week where a client, a business owner, can hire me to work on their email. So I research, plan, strategise and then write an entire email sequence. And that sequence is usually based on whatever their most pressing need is. So if, for example, um, they want to, you know, capture more customers who are kind of getting away, then for a product business, then I would do an abandoned cart sequence, you know, or if they want to nurture their audience a little bit more and introduce their products, whether digital or not, I might do a welcome sequence.
So the kind of sequence I do really depends on their needs, but I have that one service, the VIP week, where I basically do it all for the client. And then I have another service that is a bit less hands on for me. And it’s for business owners who are happy to write their own emails and maybe have already written their own emails and just need a bit of support with the strategy side of things. So that is my email conversion audit, where I’m auditing and evaluating and analysing, um, email sequences that business owners have already written to help them improve the sequence and to get more conversions and get more sales. And really tell them kind of what’s working, what’s not and what they really need to change so that they can improve it.
So those are two ways that I work with clients. It’s either done for you – or done with you with the audit route.
P: I love what you said about you not limiting yourself to just one industry. I am the same. I am so the same. I would die, I would curl up in a corner and die, if I had to work with the same specific type of client in one industry all over and over again.
E: Me too.
P: I know it’s going against the grain, the Holy Grail of “You need to niche down, niche down, niche down.” But, you know, it’s about what makes us happy as well.
E: Yeah, absolutely. And I found that I get bored really easily. So if I was doing the same thing over and over again, I wouldn’t be able to handle it. But I think now that I have specialised in email, I get to focus on that one thing, which is great, because it means that I’ve been able to get really good at it. I don’t have to worry about… I mean, there’s just so many different types of copy that I could be writing. I used to be a journalist, and that means you have to be good at writing websites, sales pages, landing pages. You know, blog posts. There’s just so much! But by specialising in what I enjoy doing most, I love my job a whole lot more, and I get to just deep dive into that one topic and get really good at it. And then my clients get an expert, which is great for them. I get to do what I love. But then I also get that variety of… I never kind of know what’s gonna drop into my inbox. You know, a recent inquiry that I had was from someone who had created this artificial grass that you can use to train your dogs and puppies inside your house. When stuff like that pops into my inbox, I will never, never let it go. I need as much variety as possible.
P: Ah, you’re a woman after my own heart. Another thing that I really liked about what you just said was that you like to focus on the relationship that you can build with email – and I’ll be honest: This conversation could not have come at a better time for me personally as well, because I’m at a stage now where I’m just so sick of social media, you know, it’s just it’s doing my head in. I’m seriously considering burning down my entire Instagram feed and replacing it with just a static grid because I’m just so tired of it all.
And I mean, Instagram has always been my favourite platform, so that says quite a lot. So I’m actually starting to lean more towards nurturing the people who are on my email list and really deepening those connections. And yeah, I have what you would probably call a tiny tiny email list. However, I have a feeling that in this case, small could possibly also be mighty.
P: I would love to hear your take on that. Do you have to have thousands and thousands of subscribers to make email marketing work?
E: Absolutely not. And my email list is one of my most profitable assets. I kind of hate that word. But you know what I mean? Kind of like marketing schools, right? Um and I don’t have that many subscribers either. I think I have under 2000, but my take on this is that how engaged your audience is is much more important than how big your audience is. So, even when I had a much smaller audience, they would always engage. They always open my emails, reply to my emails still do. Like, I cannot keep up with the replies to my email newsletters. Um, it gets a little bit overwhelming. So, yeah, I’ve had to put on an auto responder and say, “You know, I can’t reply to all emails” as much as it pains me because I love reading them. And it reminds you as well that there’s someone else on the other side of these emails that you send in and you’re building these connections and this is what email is all about. But yeah, I mean, you know, an audience that is engaged, that is replying to you, that is opening your emails, that is clicking on your link, that is buying from you. Having a small audience that does that is so much more valuable than having a huge audience that does none of that. And that exists, that really does exist. There are people that have, you know, hundreds and hundreds or thousands of thousands of subscribers and cannot sell a thing, or cannot build an authentic relationship with their audience to save their life, and that is completely useless to them. And it’s also completely useless to the subscribers as well who have signed up – and so small but mighty is definitely definitely a good way to go.
And I think that if we focus more on the value of our email list and the value that would provide in the value that we can give, we will find that our email list will work a lot harder for us.
P: Phew! That puts my mind at ease.
E: I’m really interested in you wanting to just burn down your Instagram, because I’ll be honest. I love Instagram, but it’s only the stories I love. I despise the grid and despise this whole hashtag thing. The other day I actually tested it. I posted a post on the grid and I just can’t be bothered with hashtags. I just thought, “I cannot be bothered with it. So let me see what happens if I post this with no hashtags” – and I got, like, 10 likes versus maybe the 100 that I might usually get. And I just thought, This is all just a scam. All just a big scam. They’re trying to force me into their rules into their way of doing things so that I get the results that I need… and I am completely with you: It’s exhausting. I used to have a social media manager that used to help me with this stuff, but I just came out of maternity leave, as you know, so I kind of really scaled back my team, and don’t have that social media manager right now. And, yeah, email is where my energy needs to go, because that’s where that’s where people are. That’s where they’re kind of waiting for me. And they enjoy hearing from me. They want to buy from me, work with me.
And I think my focus this year is really list building to just make sure that I’m getting a steady flow of kind of new subscribers coming in as well, because what I tend to do and I think what a lot of us tend to do is, um, once we have an email us that works to kind of just focus on that email list, and then we forget the growth side where we need to continue to bring in kind of like fresh blood If we want our, you know, launches to keep selling and all that good stuff.
S: Ah, this is so interesting. You know, I saw a couple of people actually have burned their Instagram feeds down and replaced them with a static grid. So they still have the information there, and then they kind of live in stories and DMs. And I’m thinking “That sounds like me. I want to do that.” So that’s why I thoughtI’d try and shift towards using my email list as more of a way of connecting on a deeper level with people, because I’m sick of superficial relationships, and I think that’s what you get when you just like mindlessly scrolling on the ‘gram.
There’s no substance, or very little, and I find that the conversations I have on Instagram – the ones that really matter – are the ones I have in the DMs and with people who respond to my stories. So this was a side note, but a very interesting side note.
E: Absolutely, and I think that relationship between social media and email is always one that’s happening. We’re always kind of talking about it because I think a lot of us feel like it has to be one or the other. They can work very well with each other. And I actually use both when I’m launching and that kind of thing. But if I had to choose one, it would be my email list every time. Because those contacts are mine. They’re not. You know, they don’t belong to Instagram or Mailchimp. The data is mine. People have chosen to opt in to hear from me, and I can communicate with them whenever I want to. I don’t have to rely on an algorithm or follow silly hashtag rules to be able to speak to my audience.
And so I would choose email every time. And I think one of the biggest things that you’ve said quite a few times is connection. Most of us tend to think of email as being this one-to-many marketing tool, but I really like to think of it as a 1-to-1 marketing tool because for every person that opens your email it is only that person that is opening that email. So as far as that one person who’s opening your email is concerned, they’re the only person who’s getting it. They are the one reader you’re thinking of as someone who’s sending the email. You’re thinking about the hundreds of people or the thousands of people that are about to read this when, actually, when you write an email and you send an email, you should really be thinking of it as if you’re only writing to one person. Because every single person that opens it is just that one person who is opening it, alone, having this 1-to-1 conversation with you. It really is a very strong way to connect with people that you don’t know, and you’ll find that if you do it well, they’ll feel like they really know you. And you are able to create this community through email and also what I like to call superfans, where these people are actually rooting for you. They’re rooting for you and they want to hear about how you can help them. It doesn’t feel like selling so much when you know that the person on the other side is excited about how you can help them and all the different ways that you can help them. So that feeling that we have around selling, where we feel uncomfortable about talking about our offers and that kind of thing. That kind of goes away when you’ve created this community within your email of people who want to work with you and want to hear from you.
P: I like that reframe. I like it a lot. Because for a lot of business owners, myself included, email is kind of intimidating somehow – because first you’ve got to figure out, like what email system or provider is right for you, and then you’ve got to build your list, and then you’ve got to figure out the tech, and that’s before you start writing to people! And when you get to that stage is like, “What do I write about? And how do I actually use my emails to sell my stuff whilst also making sure I don’t come across as sleazy, pushy, this kind of scumbag who floods people’s inboxes…” you know, all that kind of stuff. But at the same time, we’re running businesses. You know, we’re not just writing to our pen pals that we met on holiday. (I’m a child of the eighties and nineties if you can’t tell!) So how do we strike that balance? How do we make sure our email isn’t just superficial letters on that kind of scented floral stationary, but that we use it as an actual tool to build businesses and strengthen our brands?
Because I see that as being like, it’s not just a sales channel but also an opportunity to strengthen people’s knowledge of our brands.
E: Absolutely. And that’s a really good question, because people tend to either go one way or the other. So the issue is usually that business owners either just sell, sell, sell on their email list, and then you don’t ever want to hear from them again because you know that this person is just trying to sell me another thing. And so you unsubscribe and you might even, you know, mark it as spam and all that stuff.
So there’s that extreme, and then the other extreme is what you just said of never selling because you feel so uncomfortable and icky around it and you don’t know how to sell. So you just end up like you said; writing letters to pen pals, hundreds of thousands of pen pals. So it’s about balance. You said it yourself. It’s about striking a balance and a great way to strike that balance is to follow this rule of value, value, value, sell. So if you use a 3-to-1 ratio where for every three emails in which you’re providing value and you’re not selling the fourth one can be a sell.
So a reminder of “Hey, this is what I do. This is what I’m selling. Buy!”, right? So, like a really direct buy. So that’s one really nice way to do it. Value, value, value, sell – value, value, value, sell. And you can just kind of go on like that or another way to do it is, I’m kind of experimenting with now, is I like to provide emails that are full of value. That value might not necessarily be educational, just so you know, because sometimes just sending like education and tips and tips upon tips upon tips can be a little overwhelming for your subscribers.
It can be like, “Oh, God, I’ve got to do all these things. These are all these things that I’m not doing that I now have to do. And I’m really overwhelmed by all these tips and tips and more tips. And there’s more tips coming next week!”, you know. So value can also be making your subscribers laugh, making them reflect, making them think, making them smile, making them remember something or some kind of reflection point like it doesn’t always have to be tips and tips and tips and more tips. My emails are very much story based, and so that’s what I like to do right now. What I’m experimenting with is following this kind of storytelling structure. And then there’s usually a point that brings it back to there’s usually like a segue back into business or email that I’m trying to get across. And then at the bottom of every email, I’ve now started saying something like, by the way, when you’re ready, here’s how I can help you.
And then kind of three points of different ways that they can work with me or buy from me. And so that feels a lot less pushy. But it’s there every week to remind them, “Hey, this is what I do and this is how I can help you.” But the email itself isn’t selling anything, but they read the email, they enjoy the email, they hopefully get something from the email, and then they get to the bottom and see this kind of “PS, by the way…” and then they can decide from there whether they want to go and buy something.
And I don’t sell something with every email. But you know, every so often a sale comes through, and I know that it’s because someone’s read the email and seen the bottom of it and gone “Okay. Actually, I could do with that workshop” or “I could do with that master class.”
P: Yeah, so it’s like a footer, keeping you top of mind. Love that!
So if someone’s like brand new or newish to email marketing, or maybe they have a tiny list already (not mentioning any names here!) but maybe they’re not emailing it regularly yet, or even if, like someone is actively growing and emailing their list.
Maybe they’re not seeing the conversion rates that they were hoping for. What would you say is the best place to start if they want to really master the art of email?
E: Well, firstly, my 55 minute free email class, the email rules. But I will share that a little later on because that really just goes into more detail about what I will just touch on now, which is: the first thing is usually just like rethinking your goal. So, often your emails don’t work because you’re trying to do too much. So if you just kind of take a step back and you think, “Well, what is it that I’m trying to do, what is it that I’m trying to achieve?” If you’re sending an email, you should only ever have one goal in that email. So maybe your goal is to get a person to join your Facebook group for example. Or maybe the goal of the email is to get people to buy your new workshop. What you don’t want to do is write one email that invites your subscribers to do both those things.
Every email that you send should have just one focus, one message, one idea. And so really, just bring that focus back because the more focus you have, the more focus your subscribers will have. If you’re telling them to do a whole bunch of different things, if you’re driving them to your Facebook group and then to your Instagram page, “Connect with me on Instagram, join my Facebook group. Oh, I did this work. I’ve done this workshop.” It’s very difficult for them to know what to do, and they’ll usually end up doing nothing.
So you really want to just focus your emails, make sure they have one goal. Make sure you know what that goal is, because only when you know what the goal is will your subscribers know what the goal is. So I think that’s the main thing. Reevaluate your goals. Are you communicating those goals? Are you focused in your email? Will you subscribe or understand the one thing that you want them to do in this email? And you know, sometimes your emails won’t have a call to action. Sometimes you won’t be calling your audience to do anything.
Sometimes you just want them to enjoy the email, and that’s fine. But make that the intention when you sit down to write the email. And then I think another thing is, how regularly are you emailing? This is a big one. So are you emailing your email list every week? Are they remembering kind of who you are? And when they signed up to this, why did they sign up to your list? Because often what can happen is, you know, people sign up to our list, and then we don’t email for a while, and then we get back into it or we try to get back into emailing.
And it’s kind of a little bit difficult because people have forgotten who you are or why they signed up to the list in the first place. So by creating that sense of consistency with emailing every week, you are showing that you’re consistent, reliable, trustworthy… that you always show up, and most of all: people just remember who you are. You are top of mind. And at the end of the day, if people don’t remember who you are they won’t open your emails. So something as simple as that can be the issue.
P: Yeah, that makes sense. That makes so much sense. So that’s the kind of emails that you send on a weekly or regular basis. But what about the kind of automations that you can set up? So let’s talk about welcome sequences and sales sequences and those kinds of things because, you know we’ve all probably been on the receiving end of a celebrity entrepreneur’s sales sequence. And often there are a lot of emails involved. You know, a lot of bells and whistles, and setting up something like that feels like a huge undertaking.
But is there a sweet spot for how many emails you should have, or can you start small and build as you go? Or like, how do you start setting up those kinds of automations that happen in the background that you can kind of be hands off with?
E: So automations are actually my specialty. This is what I work on the most with clients – and welcome sequences and onboarding sequences in particular. And well, I guess the answers to those are different. So let’s talk about sales sequences first because you mentioned sales sequences, especially since we get a lot of them from celebrity entrepreneurs.
They are a huge undertaking, and I think the reason that they are is because a sales sequence usually is happening under a launch, right? And with the launch is usually quite fast paced, you have only a certain limited amount of time to sell the thing, and so generally you’re receiving daily emails. And I really think daily emails are important for launches, because for those people who are interested in your thing, those people want to receive daily emails, they want to hear about your thing, they want to know more information about it.
It’s the people that don’t want to hear about it that will get annoyed, understandably, because they’ll be thinking “Why are you sending me emails. I’m not interested in this!” So I think the reason we struggle as business owners to send those kinds of launch sales sequences is because we’re worried about annoying people and coming across as spammy. And so one way to help us not feel bad about that is to just talk about consent around emails. So, yes, the person has opted into receiving your regular emails.
Did they opt in to receive daily emails about your launch? Maybe not. Probably not. Some of them probably didn’t want that and don’t want it. So how can you get around that? Just ask them. So if you are about to do a launch, that’s quite email heavy. We’re about to send an email every day, send a courtesy email to your list and let them know. “Hey, I’m about to launch X Y Z. I’ll be sending daily emails for a week. If you don’t want to get these emails, you can opt out here. If you click here, you’ll only be opted out of these launch emails. You’ll still receive my regular newsletter.” And so just putting that out there firstly makes you look like a responsible business owner who actually cares about their subscribers and the audience that you serve. And it’s just manners! It’s just nice to ask people if that’s what they want. And I can hear in my head someone saying, “Oh, but what if I don’t want them to know about the launch yet? I just want them to receive the emails and then fall in love with the emails and buy the thing!” Well, you should already have a pre launch strategy set up. So your first day of your launch shouldn’t be the first time that people are hearing about your launch. There should be, ideally, a pre launch period where you’re already warming people up to the idea of a launch.
So a launch should never be a surprise to your audience. Anyway, a successful launch will never be a surprise to your audience. And so, by taking the opportunity to just ask them, “hey, do you want to opt out?” they’ll be really grateful for that. The people that do want to opt out and are never going to buy your thing will opt out, and then the people who stay and choose to stay – you’ll feel really good about emailing them because you gave them the choice to leave and they chose to stay.
And I do this every launch. It works really well, and I would say for every launch around 50-60 people opt out and don’t want to receive emails about my launch, which is totally fine. And then I continue emailing those people who do want to hear it and then halfway through the sequence. So maybe halfway through the week. So I’ve sent an email on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday… on Thursday I’ll add a little line at the top of the email that gives them another opt-out. So it says, “Hey, if you’ve already decided that Be your own copywriter isn’t for you, then you can opt out here. Don’t worry. You’ll still get my regular emails.” I’ll say something like, “I won’t be offended, I promise.” So something like that kind of eases any awkwardness or tension, and then people will choose to opt out and again, they feel really good about it because it’s like, “Oh, Eman is not forcing these daily emails on me. I can opt out if I want to. She’s totally fine with that. I feel good about it.” They feel good about it. And I can continue emailing everyone else for the other four days, knowing that with every email that comes next, they have the chance to opt out in every email. So I think it’s really about consent and doing this in a way that feels good for you. Because if it feels icky and weird, then there’s probably something about it that is icky and weird. So you’ve got to follow that feeling and come up with a way to send emails in a way that you feel comfortable about.
Even with my welcome sequences… So my welcome sequences are usually at least five emails, and they go out maybe daily for those five days. And in that very first email that I send, I let the audience know, I set those expectations so they know exactly what’s coming. “Hey, I’m going to send you an email every day for the next five days. They’re gonna be value packed. You’re gonna love them. Then after that, on the fifth day, you’ll start getting my weekly emails.” And so that really helps as well.
I don’t think I’ve had anyone unsubscribe from the welcome sequence because they’re expecting those emails. They know it and then, actually, some of them are almost waiting to open them because they know that they’re getting another email.
Something else I like to do is just let people know in my welcome sequence that “If you decide to stay on my email list, you’re going to get sales emails from me. I’m a business owner. I have stuff to sell. I have courses and workshops that I think will really benefit you. But my promise to you is that I’ll only ever send you things that I think that you are generally genuinely interested in. And that will genuinely help you.” And this is where segmenting and tagging comes in, so that you can make sure that you’re sending relevant emails to the right people at the right time. So if I have a workshop, a live workshop in London, I’m not going to send information about that workshop to everybody on my email list because not everybody is in London. And that’s actually really annoying for those people who would get really excited thinking, “Oh my gosh, you can start thinking about your email more strategically and you can start thinking about segmenting and tagging and how to divide your audience in a way that allows you to send the right emails to the right people. You’ll also get higher engagement rates. You’ll get more sales, more conversions, more responses and replies. People will enjoy being on your list because you’ll never send them emails that don’t matter to them.
P: I’m just sitting here soaking it all up. I’m like a sponge. I also love what you said, how it’s just about being polite, because at the end of the day, you wouldn’t just, like, run into someone’s living room without knocking. And these days, most likely, you wouldn’t go visiting a friend without texting them first.
P: I think it’s so easy to forget that online. That people are just people. We are human beings, even though we’re interacting online and virtually. Behind that email is a person, you know. Behind that email address is a human being. And yeah, I think when we start to honour that, that is going to make a difference. Because, like, there are some bad examples of how not to do it as well.
E: Absolutely for sure, absolutely.
P: That’s what’s given email a bad rep.
E: It’s funny that you mentioned the celebrity entrepreneurs and business owners and their email lists, because I know that when specific ones launch a thing, it’s like, “Oh my gosh, here we go…” And then your inbox is flooded with 10 different people, sending you a daily email about this programme that you don’t want, and it just feels like a complete nightmare.
P: And especially if that person is running an affiliate programme and you also subscribed to a lot of the people who are affiliates and then like you get the same kind of swipe copy that they’ve received from this person, and they have copied it and pasted it into their own emails, and it’s like “I’m getting the same exact message from five people now – make it stop!”
E: Can I just say I’m convinced that that is another niche in itself, that there needs to be copywriters who are solely affiliate copywriters. Because these people who put out courses and then send out you know, that swipe copy for their affiliates, the copy is always terrible. And I’m pretty sure that if a copywriter was to go in and say, “Hey, I only write affiliate launch emails” – they would make a killing.
And when I am doing summits and stuff like that, and the summit host will send over swipe copy for me to send to my subscribers, I’m always like, “Well, thank you, but no, thank you. I’m not going to use it. I’m going to write my own email” – and that usually works out better for me.
P: I can swipe the copy and then I will tweak it, because it needs to sound like it comes from me.
E: And I feel like your subscribers will know that as well. If you’ve been paying attention, your audience knows when something doesn’t sound like you – it sounds weird.
P: Yeah, yeah, people are savvy these days. They can see through these things.
E: Yes, and that’s the thing. People are much more in tune and aware of the kind of marketing tactics and strategies that we’re told to use. And so people don’t fall for them anymore, which is brilliant. And we want people to be more aware of what they’re signing up for, what they’re signing up to, and we want them to be more… I guess… I don’t know if vigilant is the right word, but just more aware.
And we want them to be more informed when they’re making decisions, and that can only be a good thing for us. And I like to think, I mean, I always say that copywriting is not about convincing a person to do what you want them to do, which I think is the traditional way of understanding copywriting. But I really think that in today’s world copywriting is really about giving people the information they need to make an informed decision. Whether that decision is a yes or no because at the end of the day, when I’m launching, even when I’m trying to get new clients, I don’t want to get the wrong type of clients.
I don’t want to get clients who, you know, we don’t work well together. We’re not on the same page. We don’t have the same understanding around email. For example, if I were to work with someone who doesn’t believe in consent based emails where we’re giving people the option to opt out, I can’t work with you. Because that is one of my values as an email copywriter. This is what I need to do, and this is actually how I think you’ll be more successful. And again with my launches, I don’t want the wrong people to join my mastermind and to join my courses. If I can’t help you. If I really can’t help you, I don’t want you to join. And so copywriting is really about providing the information that allows people to make a decision for themselves. That, “Yes, this thing is absolutely for me” or “no this thing is absolutely not for me.” What you want to avoid is getting people to a point where they’re in that kind of middle, indecisive stage where they can’t make a decision, you just want them to make a decision, whether it’s yes or no.
The copy is there to help them make the decision, not necessarily to persuade them to say yes
P: I love it. And also, I think maybe that’s a strength for us small business owners, that we can turn into something that’s an advantage for us. We can have a personal relationship with our lists because our lists aren’t maybe that huge. I don’t think any of the huge entrepreneurs can manage to have that personal connection. I have a hunch that that gets lost along the way.
Like you add subscribers. Subscribers, subscribers. At some point, you’re probably going to stop feeling that personal connection. So you gain a lot of people on your list. But you lose the personal depth. Because when you grow past a certain point, you’re gonna have to start outsourcing. Someone else will be writing your copy. So if someone hits reply to one of your emails, you’re probably not not the person who’s going to receive and respond to that email.
And I’m thinking, “Sure, It’s probably nice to have these huge lists, but there is a tradeoff.”
E: Absolutely. I totally agree. And I think that there are so many pros and benefits to us having smaller communities – because, like you said, we can do so much with that. And actually I was listening to one email copywriter who is quite big in my industry, and she was talking about the fact that she had stopped reading the replies to her emails a long time ago because she had too many subscribers.
She couldn’t possibly read every single email that came through, and she was saying that she recently just started reading responses again, and she thought, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that I’ve gone so long without reading these responses.” Because what happens is you become completely disconnected to your audience and then, I mean, how do you know who they even are or what they even want or what they enjoy hearing from you, or how they’re connecting with you when you’re not listening to them anymore, and you don’t have that relationship with them anymore?
And I think that’s what’s brilliant about us small business owners. We – and every single client that I work with, is a testament to this – know our audiences so, so well because we’re close to them and we are talking to them and we’re listening to them. And I think, exactly like you said, once you get to that stage, you hire other people to do the listening, and that disconnection is a huge disadvantage. And I don’t think you realise until maybe you’re too far gone.
P: Yeah, I think there’s something to be said for keeping things small deliberately as well. And I just think that that must be so motivating to all the people who are listening to us and this conversation. If your list is not huge, do not worry! That can be a strength. You can make it a strength. It doesn’t have to make you feel less than.
E: Absolutely. I totally agree, and I myself have made a good amount of money from my small email list. And at one point when I was selling my mastermind for copywriters, I was only sending it to the copywriters on my list. So I’m creating that segment, and it was about 400. I think there were 424 copywriters at the time. And I made a good amount of money just selling to that small segment because I really niched in and focused in on that small audience. And I really knew who they were, what they wanted from me, how I could help them. And I knew that the thing that I had could really help them. And so it did brilliantly, even though it was only selling to about 400 people. It is so possible to have a small but profitable email list.
P: I guess it kind of depends on what you’re selling as well. So if you’re selling a $49 course, you’re gonna need to sell to a lot of people. You’re gonna need a huge volume to actually make it worthwhile.
P: But if you are predominantly selling higher end products, maybe you’re working 1-to-1 with people or you have a programme that is on the higher price point. Those are two completely different games.
E: Absolutely. And then, of course, these are all things you have to consider right before you start creating those products. And before you start pricing those products and things like, “Am I going to be using paid ads, or maybe I don’t have the budget for paid ads.” So all of these things are things that you have to take into consideration because, like you said, a $27 thing that we all we all see on the Internet is usually brought in by paid ads.
So those people have, like, a whole bunch of traffic coming through. They’re gaining a whole bunch of new subscribers because they have the budget for paid ads. So if we’re not and that’s the thing about email, it doesn’t work if you don’t think about the bigger picture. It has to be part of a bigger strategy. Even just things like your website. If you go and look at your homepage now, how prevalent is your email list?
How easy is it for someone to join your email list? Have you even given anyone the option to opt in to your email list on your homepage? Because a lot of business owners don’t, and then wonder why the email list isn’t growing. So you really have to think about email as a small part of a bigger strategy.
P: That actually is a nice segue into a question that I had as well. What are some, in your opinion, common mistakes that people make with email marketing? I think you just mentioned one there.
E: Yeah, so I’ve mentioned a few, actually. So that first one is not making it easy for people to join your list and then wondering why people don’t. So, do a little audit of your website: How many touch points are there for your email list? Where can people join? Can they join? Do you have little opt-in boxes on your homepage? Do you have a pop up? I know some people hate pop ups, but I really don’t. I love exit in 10 pop-ups. So the pop up that – I feel like I say pop up one more time – the pop up that pops up when you’re about to leave a website. I love those. I think those work really well. Do you have opt-in boxes embedded into your blog post? Or maybe at the bottom of every blog post? Or in the footer of your website? Where are people able to opt in? If you’re not doing that very well, then that’s something that you really need to work on. And then again, things like on social media. If you’re on social media, are you reminding people that you have a newsletter that they can stay in touch with you through? I think one really good way is to just have one dedicated post every week where you’re reminding people to join your list because every time I mention my newsletter on Instagram, people immediately join. They just need to be reminded. And on social media you’re constantly getting new audiences who have never heard of your newsletter. So it’s really important to keep repeating the same thing when it comes to this. “Join my newsletter. Did you know I have a newsletter? This is what you’ll get when you join my newsletter.”
And then I think the other two things that I mentioned were what we were talking about before, where some people sell, sell, sell, and don’t do anything but sell on their email lists and newsletters. And on the other side of that, some people don’t sell at all. So again, it’s really about striking that balance.
P: I could stay on and chat with you for hours and pick your brains about this topic because it’s really, really interesting. But all good things must come to an end. And so I just want to round off by asking you one question that I usually ask all of my guests. And that is: if you could tell our listeners just one thing. One key takeaway, one actionable piece of advice – what would that be?
E: I would say go and have a look at the content that you have available and see how you can repurpose it into emails. So that might be your blog. Have a look at the blog posts that you have and see if you can break up blog posts into small emails. Have a look at your social media and see which posts did really well. Can you turn that into an email? Yes, you can. What about your about page? Have you remembered to tell your subscribers what you do recently?
If not, head over to your about page, copy and paste, and turn it into an email. Adapt it into an email. There are so many different places where we already have emails written. We just don’t realise that we can repurpose that content and turn them into emails. So writing emails doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be part of a bigger system, especially if, for example, you have a social media strategy. Well, there’s your email strategy. You just need to convert those posts into emails.
And so I think that’s the one piece of advice that I have that is very easy to put into action. Just remember that emails can be repurposed content. So go and have a look at the content you have available, the most popular content, the one that got the most questions, the ones that got the most engagement – and turn those into emails.
P: Brilliant. Thank you so much. Now, if my listeners want to connect with you and learn more from you, tell us quickly, where can they find you?
P: Thank you so much for being my guest today. It’s been really interesting conversation.
E: Thank you for having me, I absolutely loved talking to you.
PS! I have decided I want to connect with more awesome people in 2022. If you’d like to grab a virtual cuppa with me, find a time here.
Until next time,
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