I feel your pain… it can be tough to maintain a consistent email messaging campaign. I’ve fallen off the email wagon more times than I can count, but I’ve found that having a consistent process and a toolbox of helpful resources can make all the difference in keeping your publishing on-schedule.
Here’s my top-5 pro-tips for saving time and staying on track with email marketing:
1. Use a service that makes it easy… for you. There’s a LOT of options for sending newsletters, and they all work differently. Take some time and try a few out and see what system resonates with you. I love MailChimp. I also love AWeber… some still love ConstantContact…but they are all very different under the hood. Simply ask… which service is easiest for me to use? There’s no sense in using a tool that you’re struggling with every time you prepare a mailing.
2. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Many moons ago, it was helpful to know HTML so you could code your own branded templates. While you can still do this with most services, don’t (even if you have the skills). Why? Email is displayed on so many devices and formats, to outwit it all with ninja coding is simply wasted time. Use a template provided by the service and edit it to match your branding and message. You will save time and the email will format properly across devices. Also, using the service’s provided templates allows you to use their editing tools, which speeds things up and ensures display quality.
3. Keep it short! Email marketing is not the place for long-form articles. If you have a long article prepared, maximize its impact by breaking it up into multiple mailings. Even your biggest fans aren’t likely to read through a long-winded message.
4. Replicate and replace. Decide what format you like, then repeat it. In almost every email system, you can replicate a past mailing, then edit it for your new issue. You don’t want to be fussing with fonts and colors every time you send a message.
5. Repurpose and automate! Already blogging every week or two? Use your service’s RSS mail feature to automatically send your new blog posts via email. With a bit of up-front formatting, double your impact in the same amount of time by simply publishing your blog.. and the rest is automatic. Or, if you prep your e-newsletters the “old-fashioned way” and you’re looking for content ideas, include links to interesting items you’ve recently discovered in your industry. You’ll save time while providing even more helpful information to your readers.
Here’s some of my favorite email marketing tools and resources…
- Great email services to try: MailChimp, a top pick for techie types & developers like me an AWeber which offers awesome editing and form tools and outstanding customer service.
- List scrubber: NeverBounce – you need this if you haven’t emailed your list in a few months. You don’t want lots of bounces and spam reports if you haven’t kept in touch for awhile.
- Saving content ideas: Evernote! Save ideas easily, whether online or IRL. Best note app ever, IMHO.
- Graphics tool: Canva, beautiful email and social media graphics, no Adobe Suite needed!
- Free stock photos: My go-to’s are Pexels, Unsplash and Picjumbo. Nice quality and easy to find what you’re looking for.
- Those funny animated clips from your favorite TV shows that you see all over? Giphy – (these can be tricky to use in email marketing, but it’s easy with MailChimp):