As an Online Business Manager for busy CEOs, my time (and their time) is extremely valuable. I am always looking for better and quicker ways to do just about everything, and monthly content planning is always at the top of my list. One of my favorite ways of doing this is blocking off an entire day (or half of a day) to focus on one thing that will move the needle forward in a really big way.
Experts are always saying “the money is in the list”, meaning your email list. Treat it like gold, they say, and you can make money in your sleep. While that idea sounds nice, money isn’t going to just start flowing in if you throw out some random emails and hope for the best.
Successful email marketing requires careful planning and an honest desire to help your audience solve their problems. Instead of viewing your subscribers as dollar signs, it’s super important to add some humanity into your writing and help them out. Make thoughtful recommendations, guide them to your free resources, and introduce them to other experts who can offer different strategies or viewpoints.
When you put your audience first, you’ll notice that crafting your email series becomes easier. Everything you want to say flows easily because you’ve taken the time to learn about their pain points and you know just what products and programs will help them.
I’ve created a planning workbook that will help you get organized with your email content from start to finish. In it, you’ll learn how to:
Have you ever been so caught up in the daily work that you’ve suddenly just realized that you haven’t emailed your list in a month or even two months?
Or have you ever had the thought that you really need to email your list, but you’re stuck on what to say or promote?
Neither scenario is ideal, especially if you’re using email marketing as a way to nurture your list into paying clients using the know, like, trust relationship. These are the people who will buy from you, but they will never get to know, like, or trust you if they never hear from you. With sporadic email marketing, you’ll spend more time refreshing their memories of who you are rather than making sales.
So, instead of running on a treadmill that leads to nowhere, let’s create an email planning calendar. This will allow you to get clear on exactly when and how many emails you’ll be sending this month. The beauty of this type of calendar is that you can use it as a template for future months by making just a few small changes each time you use it.
The first step is to look at a blank calendar and decide how many times each week you’d like to email your list. Keep in mind how often they want to hear from you. Depending on what you’re offering, some people will want to hear from you daily (notes from the universe), while others will want to hear from you weekly or even monthly. Almost all of my clients fall into the weekly category which builds consistency but leaves plenty of space to send out more emails during a launch. Combining your own frequency with what your audience expects is something only you can determine as you know your ideal client best.
While looking at the calendar, take note of any holidays or days of religious observation. You may be either be able to tie your offer into the holiday, or you may need to hold off and send your email out on another day. Common sense says that you’ll get low open rates and responses if you send an email on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, so adjust as necessary.
Bare minimum, plan to email once a week as I mentioned earlier. That’s enough to keep your name and what you do fresh in their minds without becoming annoying. You’re in complete control of how often you email, so even if you schedule them out but are struck with creative inspiration, you can send out an impromptu email if you’d like. If they unsubscribe, it’s likely that they were never going to wind up as a client anyway.
Important: Don’t commit to an email schedule that instinctively feels like too much. Do you have enough content to email multiple days a week without repeating yourself? Do you enjoy writing enough to create that many emails? Do you feel like you’re forcing the ideas or are they coming to you naturally?
Your readers will know if you’re forcing the content. They’ll know if you’re not being authentic about what you’re sharing or if it feels like you’re writing simply to meet a deadline. Combine your readers’ needs with your own comfort level and start nurturing that relationship. As sending marketing emails becomes more of a habit, you can change your frequency later on.
Email marketing is the easiest way to reach your customers, clients, and prospects. They’ve already given you permission to contact them, which is equivalent to unlocking the front door of their house for you and inviting you in.
While providing value should always be an important consideration in all your emails, feel free to turn your emails into money-makers. You have your reader’s undivided attention (mostly!), so now is the time to include links to your latest offering, your next VIP retreat (hello, 2021?), or your latest podcast episode.
However, rather than just spitting out products they should buy, let’s put some thought into this stage so your emails don’t sound disjointed and sporadic. Take out your calendar and plan a theme for each month of the year. With one major theme each month, you can plan your email sequences so each message flows together seamlessly. Sticking with a theme also makes choosing your promotions easier.
In addition to choosing your monthly theme, take a look at your own production dates, and launch deadlines. In the weeks building up to a launch, consider writing emails to build buzz about your new offering. Your call-to-action could be to pre-order your new book or course, or to register for a pre-sale webinar.
If you’re an affiliate for products or programs that are aligned with your audience, don’t forget to add those to your email marketing calendar. It’s perfectly acceptable to monetize your emails without apologizing for it! You’re running a business and while giving away free advice and information is generous, it’s okay to make some money. People like buying stuff and expect businesses to sell to them! Prove to your readers that you have their best interests at heart and they will become loyal customers.
Pro Tip: Don’t confuse your readers with multiple offers in a single email. Stick to one offer per email so you’re not distracting your readers. Distracted readers don’t relate to your copy and don’t take action.
Think about each promotion you want to send this month and think about these questions:
In addition to providing value, your promotions need to make sense, both in the context of the email body copy and to your readers.
As amazing as your paid products may be, if a brand new follower stumbles upon your website or sales page, chances are high they won’t make a purchase right away. They don’t know who are you or what you do, or if you can even help them. You need to build your credibility with your audience first by providing value. Only after you’ve proven yourself can you expect them to spend money with you, bringing us back to the KLT Factor (know, like, trust).
Do you know what a “value ladder” is? It’s like a sales funnel but it’s focused strictly on how you can attract and keep clients. This process is a fine art because you’re not just hocking your products; you’re speaking to these people, giving them valuable content, and showing them that you know what you’re doing. Your products are an added bonus; your knowledge, experience, and authenticity are what will draw your audience to you.
This not about sales or making money at this point. A value ladder is all about earning the trust of your new customer or client. It’s nurturing that relationship so they rely on you as their go-to person. It’s not about making a quick buck.
You’ve heard the phrase “you need to spend money to make money”, right? This is the same. You need to give away free content to make money, but it’s also helping to build your credibility. The first step in your value ladder is offering free content to your ideal audience.
Use all these formats or experiment and track which formats give you the most engagement. So long as you’re providing value to your followers, the format doesn’t really matter.
Use your free content to serve a dual purpose: Build that credibility AND buzz for your new product launch. Your fans already love you and are waiting for your launch. But you can win over those new followers more quickly by showcasing your expertise at the same time you’re talking about your newest product and how it can help them.
The trick is to not give away all your secrets! Learn to work backward on your calendar by choosing a launch date and then marking off promotional weeks. Get creative with those promos and really think about what you can provide your audience that will build your trust while getting them excited about your product launch.
Do you have a library of great content just sitting on your website or social media profiles? It’s time to make your content work for you by repurposing it! Repurposing simply means taking older content and turning it into another format, such as using a blog post as part of your email newsletter or taking important quotes from a blog post and using them as social media images. Even updating an older blog post and republishing it counts as repurposing.
Repurposing content is the easiest way to multiply your efforts. Take your existing content, pair it with your promos, and presto! You’ve got brand new content with strong calls-to-action that will bring in sales.
Instead of jumping straight into the repurposing pool, let’s think about this process systematically. You’ve already mapped out your promos in step two, so take that list and pair it with content you’ve already created. Keep in mind, there needs to be a relevant link between the two. Nothing makes sense about pairing an article about “5 Ways to Implement Technology in Your Business” with a promo for the greatest health shakes you’ve ever tried. Pair your content subject matter carefully with the promo.
Your promo should be the logical next step for your followers to take. So, if you’re a business coach, take that same “5 Ways to Implement Technology in Your Business” article and pair it instead with an offer for a Setting Up Systems and Processes coaching package. Some business owners are stymied by technology, so encourage those people to take part in your specialized coaching where you can lead them through the systems process.
Or, if you’re a health coach and want to sell delicious shakes, create content that talks about gut health, speeding up metabolism, or how sugar causes diseases. Once people see the healthy content, they’ll want to buy your shakes. See the connection?
But your job doesn’t end there with the repurposing. You need to leverage your other platforms to promote, promote, promote. Content is a wonderful tool, but it only works when you promote it. Don’t be shy…you need to tell people about your business and what you do before you can expect a great return on your time investment.
If this sounds like an overwhelming idea, think of it this way: You’ve already taken a shortcut with repurposing your content. Having a content calendar for both email AND social media is another shortcut so you always know what you’re going to post and when. Utilize a Virtual Assistant or a social media scheduler to save even more time. Use the exercise below to envision how to break down this content into small, weekly tasks. Once this process becomes a habit, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can fill up your content calendar.
If you’re not a natural-born writer, thinking about writing multiple emails a month can seem daunting. I get it. But instead of letting these writing tasks pile up, take your email content calendar and break down each email into small bullet points. Just like it helps to see major goals broken down into smaller steps, breaking down your emails (and other content) lightens the load.
Divide your high-level ideas into tantalizing tidbits that instantly make your ideal clients hit the buy button. These selling points are where you hit the nail on the head, and you make the reader say “Duh! I need this now”.
This process is easiest to complete after you pair your content with your promotion. Before you start writing the emails, take a moment to dissect exactly what you’ll say to your audience. Use bullet points to stay organized. Reword these important points with strong language so they compel your reader to click that link or buy button.
What are you promoting?
What content are you sharing with this promotion?
Can you offer social proof to boost your trust factor?
Don’t worry… this seems like a lot of information, but it won’t cause your email to drag on for miles. These are just questions to ask yourself to pare down the information you want to include. Pick out the relevant points and leave the rest. Once you get into the habit, you’ll start pulling out your bullet points faster.
Even if your free content is simply meant to be educational, you can still earn money from a single email by utilizing the P.S. section with a strong call-to-action.
You know that P.S. part of every email; it’s directly under your signature and it’s considered your last chance to reach your readers with an offer.
Do you know why this space is important? Because a reader’s brain doesn’t remember every little thing you write. Most often the brain remembers the first thing it sees (your headline), something unusual (your story or body copy), and the last thing it sees (your P.S.). The headline draws in readers; the story entertains or educates them, and the P.S. leads them to the next step.
Even if your reader scans the entire email, chances are high they will scan to the very end and notice your P.S. Crafting your P.S. with strong words and a sense of urgency (don’t use fake urgency!) can actually get your scanner to slow down and really take in that last bit of info.
Not every email needs to be promotional in nature BUT every email can include an offer. That’s the beauty of this P.S. section. Deliver your educational or inspirational message in the body of your email and ave the call-to-action for the very end.
Of course, that call-to-action can lead to a paid offer or it can lead to a lively discussion on social media. Direct your subscriber to a new opt-in freebie or lead them to your newest mastermind group. The choice is yours. Consider this just another route to train your readers to take action with your emails while also building your credibility.
Do you make an offer in every email that you send? Or do you have the mindset that making offers is rude? Or insensitive? Or that you’ll come across like the stereotypical used car salesman by being too pushy?
That’s B.S. If you’re running a business, you need to ask for the sale, every single time. Don’t leave subtle hints. Don’t assume that if someone visits your website, they’ll buy something without a little coaxing. If you aren’t asking, you aren’t making money. It’s as simple as that.
You’ve worked hard creating this business, your products, and all your content; it should be working to get you sales. However, if you’re stuck with thinking, “Oh, I don’t want to bother people; I’ll wait until they come to me,” that’s being too passive. Guaranteed, one of your competitors is being pushier and getting their name in the spotlight more frequently than you…and they’re asking for that sale.
Sometimes business owners stress over what type of content to create. Or they know that an email should go out on Tuesday but when Tuesday rolls around, their mind draws a blank. Let’s make it super easy to generate revenue every day and easily multiply your revenue this year by creating a content bank.
A content bank is a listing of all your current content, when it was published, where it was published, and divided into content categories or buckets. An easy way to track this content is in Asana, Trello, or ClickUp using boards, or in a database like AirTable.
Your content bank is where you keep brainstorm ideas of topics you want to share with your audience or notes about how to repurpose one blog post into 10 different social media posts. Both of these banks make it easy to stay organized and always have a working list of ideas to pull from.
Do a quick brain dump and jot down simple topics to start with and then take the time later to develop them into content or products. The idea is to not be saddled with writer’s block or to be caught unprepared when an awesome affiliate opportunity comes your way and you don’t have content ready.
While you’re creating your content bank is a great time to analyze if you’re hitting all the right topics (buckets) that will serve your list. What topics have gotten the most engagement on social media? Which blog posts have the most comments? Are there any topics that you keep including in your emails but don’t get any reactions, either with open rates or click rates?
Discard any topics that don’t work and introduce topics that are proven to be popular. When you’re creating new content, keep these buckets in mind so you can craft a more cohesive and logical message.
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