What kinds of emails should I write?

Q: I want a mailing list, but I have no idea what I should write in them. HALP!

A: One of the most important tools in your marketing toolkit is the mailing list, but it’s hard to come up with something to write EVERY week. It’s hard for me, too, but there are several TYPES of emails I write, and whenever I am bereft of ideas, I fall back on one of these topics. They are my secret weapons in the email game, so use them well.

  1. Sales – There are two types of sales emails. The first is the type that you write during your launch campaigns. Those should be scheduled out before your year starts, and if you block them right, then you should have a 2-4 week chunk of time where you know EXACTLY what you are going to write. The OTHER type is when you are running a sale on existing inventory, and while you should plan those out, it’s never a bad idea to run a sale when you don’t have any idea what else to do.
  2. Presale – I spend a month before my big launches talking about the launch that’s coming up, which mean if I have a four-week launch, I have those emails PLUS the emails leading up to the campaign planned out. I run four launches a year, which means I have four months of sales emails and four months of presale emails already scheduled.
  3. Freebies – This is just a list of freebies that I found on the internet. Since I’m an author, they are all books, but you can do recipes, or art prints, or just about anything. These get HUGE engagement, but mostly from people who really like free things.
  4. Five cool things – These are five cool things I found on the internet. I spent the first two years of my mailing list doing this and it’s a GREAT way to start because you are always finding cool things around, and when you share them people start to learn your taste, and you get a sense of what your audience likes to click on.
  5. My faves – These are lists usually of my favorite books or comics of the year, or in the past month, etc. This is meant to get people to bond with your taste. Plus, hopefully people on your list have ALSO had a positive experience with those things and you can bond about your love of them. One of the best things you can be is a curator, because if you can curate well, and people like your taste, they will be more likely to buy your work when you launch.
  6. What am I doing now – These are usually about my depression or anxiety, but they are the “real” ones that prove I am not a robot. Your email list is all about developing a deeper connection with you and your work, and it’s important sometimes to talk about the things in your life that are important to you, like your pets, or your travel, or whatever you like to do outside of your work.
  7. Backstory – Tell the backstory of a book, or a project, or something like that. You can even tell stories of your own past as long as it relates to your current project. This is meant to get people to have a deeper connection with your projects.
  8. Ray of hope – This is when I take something from my life, and tell a story about how it relates to their lives, and deliver a message of hope for people. A good email strategy runs on a continuum from “ALL about me and getting you to like me” on one end through “Here is my work please go buy it” on the other. You need to play with it and end up somewhere in the middle, but sometimes you want to add something poignant and humanizing that will bond you and the reader.
  9. Lesson – Like a ray of hope, but this one is some sort of lesson I learned that I know will resonate with the people on my list. Usually about how to get through a world that is cruel and unkind.

You’ll also have your own spark of genius moments, but when you don’t have anything and you need a topic, these are great ways to prime your brain.

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