Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat
The Importance of an Email List and What You Should Send Them
Grab your dark roast + join us as we dive into why the heck anyone in the wedding industry even needs an email list, what the benefits are to having one, and the types of content you should be sending your subscribers!
Episode 19 Coffee Chat Replay
Episode 19 Podcast
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Lauren Dragon-Cook: How is everyone doing on this fine Tuesday? Today we are going to be chatting a bit about email lists and newsletters. It is something that I feel a lot of people get very disgruntled with because they feel it is one more thing they have to do and try to manage within their business. Bu the reality is, you know what you are kind of doing and you’re not creating any extra work for yourself because you are just repurposing stuff you are already doing. I’ll dive into that a little bit more.
Let’s get started! Why not!
Do I Need a Newsletter?
One question I get asked on the regular… do I need a newsletter? I only have two people… do I need a newsletter? Let’s chat about this a bit. If you have been paying attention at all to social media, Facebook, Instagram… you actually don’t own the people that follow you. You don’t own your “likes”, your followers. Especially now that the Facebook algorithm has changed drastically. Less and less of our posts are being seen by our ideal clients and audience. It makes things a little bit difficult when you are of the mindset that by posting on social media you are doing your do-diligence for people that are watching you and haven’t hired you yet. These people will tune it and see what is going on… and then they see if they want to hire us. They are in the shadows lurking! The reality is it is harder and harder to get in front of our ideal clients. The long and short answer to this? Well… yeah.
If you want to protect yourself from all the changes on social media. If you have products that you sell in addition to your services or you want to upgrade your services with somebody that has already hired you for the day of coordination package but you would love to upsell them to a more expansive package.
Having a newsletter will bring clients down a customer journey. Its almost like dating. They get to know you, you wine and dine them a bit… and then you ask them… do you want to be my boyfriend? Do you want to be my girlfriend?
Having a newsletter is almost like a VIP club. You are getting a group of “special clients” because you can give then extra value. You can tell them about deals and promotions first.
The biggest thing I find with a newsletter is you are truly building credibility. You are building it not just for you as a business owner, but also because it is putting you in a position of authority within your industry. The power of what a newsletter does! Wow!
People start to look forward to receiving emails from you. They will immediately open it up and be like “yay!”. It is something people begin to look forward to. The difference I want to talk about between a newsletter and a blog post is a blog post should be an in depth description of whatever you’re talking about. You might talk about “3 tips on how to survive planning your wedding” or “how to choose your color theme”… You are writing for SEO. You are writing a post because you want to get the content out there. But a newsletter can do a lot of different things! One thing I enjoy doing is I’ll write a blogpost but them give a little snippet of it in my newsletter. It can be talking about even more in YOUR own voice. Someone that has signed up for your newsletter wants to know more about you. They want to know the inside scoop. They want to know who you really are.
Our website can be superficial. But the beautiful thing about a newsletter is you can really be yourself. You are attracting your ideal client. So if you are not yourself… if you are scared to be speaking in a way that reflects who you are… then that is who you are going to attract. Instead, you want to be yourself in your newsletter! You can utilize it to send time sensitive information. I sent a reminder (when I remember) to my newsletter list when I want to mention a coffee chat or I’ll mention I launched a new SEO course. This gave me the opportunity to offer them a discount before anyone else and it was a thank you.
It is a quick snippet. When you start to think about “do I really want to get into a newsletter?”… just keep it short. Think about YOURSELF when you get an email. When you get an email that is about 75,000 words long… do you read it? Do you read the whole thing? I know myself and I am looking for the bold or the numbers. You want to make sure you are writing things that will captivate your email list and not repel them.
You Own Your Email List
Another key element of a newsletter is you own that list. You own your email list! You might be thinking “well what is the point? Why do I want this email list? They are a one and done”. That is where you are wrong. What ends up happening (from my experience) when somebody signs up for your email newsletter, regardless of whether or not they are getting married themselves, they will send out that information to other people. One of my most shared newsletters was when I did a break down of all the wedding shows, bridal expos in the area for the upcoming two months. That was my number one shared newsletter. It’s a get out. The people who it was shared with… then joined my newsletter and email list. Don’t think that just because you may be an officiant or wedding planner or florist you can’t benefit from having an email list.
How Do I Start?
With all of that being said, another question I get asked is “Well this is all great grand and wonderful, but how do I get people to sign up for a newsletter? How do I even start that process?” Please, if nothing else from today, please do not just say “join my email list, subscribe!” Don’t just say that, please. You can do that, within your blog on the side bar. But make it more fun than that! People view their email addresses as a commodity. Some people make fake email addresses because they sign up for so much crap and they don’t want to get spammed. But a lot of people view their email address as a commodity, so they are exchanging that with you for valuable information. What are you going to provide to them that is valuable? They want to know that they are going to get something out of this “relationship”. Everybody wants something for free. Everybody thinks that by signing up for this checklist or this guide… it may be the secret missing piece. The reality… probably not. BUT this is helping you as a business owner. We are using this principle in that regard.
Where Do They Sign Up?
Easy ways you can have people sign up is maybe you don’t have an opt in yet. Maybe you haven’t created a checklist or a guide… that is okay! You can say “if you want to be kept in the loop with all the bridal happenings… sign up!” There are different ways to go about it. I would definitely suggest putting a place for people to enter into your email list on your about page. On your blog on the side bar within each blog post! If you go onto my website and look at my blog posts, there is a spot for people to join at almost every single post. Think about it… where is the bulk of your traffic going on your website? Are they looking at your pricing? Probably. Would that be a good place to put something? YES! That is where you are getting a lot of traffic. People want to be kept in the loop with information and advice and tips for the expert. They may not necessarily hire you, but they will share that with their friends. I promise you! Don’t feel you have nothing to provide. If you are someone who has already written a lot of blog post… REUSE THOSE! They can be a part of your newsletter. It is really easy to just take the first two sentences, stick it into a newsletter and say something like “find out the other three tips HERE”… create a button, click on it, and now you have someone who trusts you now and looking forward to your emails BUT you also just sent somebody to your website and bumped up your SEO.
The main source of traffic for my website is from Pinterest. But guess where I am sending them> YES! I’m sending them to opt-ins and blog posts where I know there is a place for them to sign up for my email list. That is how between October and now… 6 months I have grown my email list to almost 2,000 people. That is just from having valuable content and pins.
Another place a lot of people don’t realize that they can have a location for people to sign up… is within your email signature! I just think that is so brilliant! I have it on my signature. I am sending anybody that wants to join to THIS group. What do they do when they click on this link? I ask people a set of three questions… one of them is “would you like to receive my 10 free templates? If so leave your email”. That has worked so well! I would say 85% of those people leave their email address. Do the math on that! Super simple!
If you are a bride and you email me at my LDC email, and they click on the link “bridal resources” I am sending them to my blog. But you could have that opt-in already on your website and you can send them to that specific place so they can sign up. Again, having it in your email signature is a great place to do it. Create a graphic that when they click on it, it brings them where you want them to be… and they can sign up!
If you are a portrait photographer… trying to figure out what to pack and what to bring and the outfit for a boudoir shoot… that was harder than trying to find my wedding dress! What I would suggest is creating something people can use as a checklist. Anytime you are doing a reveal as a blog post… create an opt in (the checklist) of all the stuff they should pack prior to your shoot. Then on your website you ask for their email address and in return they will get that PDF you created. It is something you create one time… but for any boudoir shoot you can use that as your opt-in. One and done! It is so much easier when someone can break it down for you. We see these leaders in the wedding industry and they have opt-ins upon opt-ins constantly! Well they’ve either been in this for a long time! Its not that they sat down one day and created ALL of them. No, they started out with one. Create one that can be super universal!
If you are trying to create an idea of an opt in… put it into the community! You will get some feedback as to whether or not people will actually want it! Ask me! I’ll tell you the honest truth! Get advice. Or if you are lacking creativity, go back to the questions you get all the time. And then create something off of that! Then when someone emails you asking that question… you send them along the PDF. Which then brings them to your website and then getting them on your email list!
The majority of my newsletters… start to pay attention. There is a method to my madness. I will typically send reminders for coffee chats, but I will also send you out a newsletter. I try to minimize that… I hate getting tons of spam email from people. But you can expect two regular newsletters from me a month. See what I talk about. Use it as a guide. If I have a new download or guide to something…I’m going to talk about that!
Use Your Existing Content
Don’t send a newsletter out to your email list, just saying “hey I wrote a new blog post”. Don’t do that. INSTEAD take the first few sentences or paragraphs, repurpose it… make that your newsletter and say “if you want to read more, check it out here”… then they may not even know it is a blog post. That is part of using your content!
You are creating a pathway for your client and audience. They sign up for your email list to get a free resource, but then you are building trust with them and it s a journey. You can share things like your favorite tools and resources. This is one of my favorite emails to send… I do it probably every 4-5 months. I will quite literally say “how can I help you?”. Those that know me well enough know that I genuinely care. Its not a sales pitch. You can very easily do the same thing with people on your email list.
How can I help you right now?
What are you struggling the most with?
What is giving you the most grief?
What is holding you back from doing a boudoir shoot?
You are having a conversation with people. Its almost profound, but at the same time it is so simple it seems stupid! Answering common questions is also super helpful. Maybe you’re getting the same questions a lot of the time… write an email out answering some of those questions!
What Do Newsletters Look Like?
I want to go over some newsletters I have used for my LDC newsletters. I use Active Campaign. I tried InfusionSoft, MailChimp, MailerLight… for me Active Campaign is the best fit for my business. It is very easy.
I created a template for my emails, and that way I never have to go back and re-create it again. I introduced myself, the wedding experience… basic information. For one newsletter I sent people a list of my favorite resources to use. At the bottom of that newsletter I said “To see the full list of resources and their descriptions head to my website…” and then it sent them to the complete blog post. BOOM! DONE!
Another newsletter I sent out “Why a DIY wedding isn’t always less expensive”. I also did one tipping and feeding their vendors. Right there you are providing the solution to the problem. There are multiple ways you can go about solving industry problems, but people don’t take the time to be proactive. They are only reactive.
I hope this has given you a little insight into the value of having an email list. A lot of people say this feels like just another thing they have to do. But once you’ve set it up… it is so easy to tap into! Initially it can be difficult to start, but if you want help with that I am more than happy to talk with you.
Next week I am so excited! Monday is our “LIVE”, not Tuesday. It will be the SEO workshop. Exclusive! I am leaving for Florida on Tuesday, that is why we moved it to Monday. But it is not something that will be available to watch like all the rest of the “LIVES”.
I will be chatting with you all next week so please have a fantastic rest of your week!
Q + A
Q: With bio make up could you offer make up tips or list tips and tricks in a newsletter?
A: Absolutely! I would suggest including a video tutorial. If you have already recorded something, you can have that video be embedded in the newsletter. Also, if you are an affiliate of anything… you would include a link to your “shop” as the back end. If you are talking about a new lipstick, where can they find it? Well put a link to it. But instead of just linking to the normal place… use your affiliate link. Then they make a purchase and you get a partial commission. But make sure that any time you have an affiliate link to anything you have to state “this email/newsletter contain affiliate links”. If you don’t… BAD. You can then say, “But I wouldn’t recommend anything I didn’t fully stand behind or support.
Q: Is it okay to use an opt-in as a “bit-ly” address for them to click on? Or would it be better to use a “sign up here”?
A: You can always use a “bit-ly” link as the hyperlink, but I always recommend highlighting the text and making that into a hyperlink. Statistically speaking people are more likely to click something highlighted. This will also help to track it. However, will a provider like Active Campaign, I will see who actually clicked on that link. You can also insert a button! People love them!
Q: For people who respond to your newsletter asking for help, how do you respond?
A: I will typically email them back and offer them a free 30 minute coffee and clarity chat. I can always insert that into the initial email I’ve sent out as well. You can try it without sending the link and then if you get a reply doing it that way and seeing which way has a better response? But honestly it is whatever you decide in the moment.
Q: Regarding make up, asking something like “what are your concerns for the wedding” could be helpful?
A: Yes you absolutely can. Or you can always ask what look they are going for and provide them some examples. Show a couple different looks and then say “for the full list of beauty looks go here”… and link it to your blog post. You will find that until you have built up a significant email list, you may not get a lot of dialogue back and forth. It took a while for that to happen for me. If your list is growing, I would absolutely suggest doing a blog post and then taking the first part of it and including that in your newsletter. I’ve seen people create a grouping of their favorite things. They include graphics and descriptions and those always seem to have a great response rate.
Q: As a calligrapher I am losing business to graphic designers and savvy brides, any advice on how to stand out?
A: That just sucks, it hurts my heart. Show them why they should hire you over doing it themselves. Whether that means that your product will last a life time, versus their work. I’ve seen a lot of calligraphers sell their work online. You could sell your products as digital downloads. A lot of people are willing to pay when it comes to doing the work for them, but they may not want all the bells and whistles. Unfortunately the problem of having brides use digital calligraphy, is not going to go away… unfortunately. But the people that are doing it themselves probably aren’t your ideal client anyways. But that isn’t to say you can’t sell them your service. It just may not be wedding calligraphy.
Q: What platform do you use for email?
A: I personally use Active Campaign now. If you want I can show you a bit of the backend, just let me know! I use Squarespace for my website. I use the app Zapier as a middle man. So when people go onto my website and sign up using their email address, it sends it to Zapier, which then transfers their email address to Active Campaign.