Ep 213 | My New Newsletter Strategy

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Recently, I made a big change when it comes to my email newsletter. A complete 180 to be fair. It's in its testing phase but I still wanted to share it with you. The reason being, things are fluid in the marketing space. If you truly know your audience then you can take best practices and ensure that you are connecting with them in a way that is authentic to you and engages with them.

There was more I wanted to say each week to my readers. Yes, this podcast, but also other things that are going on in my life and that I'm learning. This episode shares the reason why I made the switch and what you should consider before making a change to yours.

What you'll learn:

→ what my newsletter looks like now
→ how I write my emails
→ what my emails used to be vs what they are now

Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:

[4:17] My emails sound more personal by writing them to your best donor. Think about how you talk to your best donors – that personal friendship level! That will help you be more conversational and personal in writing your email. It will also help you remove jargon or speak about your impact in an overly formal way.
[5:50] Email is great for sharing your regular content. My emails used to be focused on sharing that new piece of content only. It was a great way stay top of mind and get more visibility for the podcast episodes I was creating. 
[10:31] Now I'm sharing more about my whole business in my emails. There was more I wanted to share and talk about and didn't want to send emails more than once a week. This way I can share some of my inspirations and collaborations as well as my content.


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Full Transcript

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So I have been sending regular emails out to my audience since March of 2018. And I looked it up because I wanted to make sure I had the right number for you. Sending emails out to your list on a regular basis is so important to keeping your audience engaged, keeping you top of mind and being able to share information with your audience. Now, these newsletters do sometimes include some sales pieces to them, but most of it is really just about how do I connect with my audience? How do I share? And how do I keep them engaged with work that I'm doing so that I can continue to further support them a way for them to know I'm still around if they want to start to work with me in the future. So this is my email newsletter that I send weekly and have for the most part sent every single week since March of 2018. are not on my email list. What are you waiting for, head on over to https://thefirstclick.net and make sure you sign up to get all of our amazing newsletters that we send out.

Now, this has changed over time in what we put in our emails. And so that's what I want to talk about today, some of the different evolutions of my newsletter and what I'm doing now and what I'm testing now, and ways that you can think about how to put together your weekly newsletter. So you don't run out of things to say, and you always have something to talk to your audience about. I love sending a weekly newsletter because then when I am in a promotional period, or I do need to ask for donations, or I need to sell a product or service, they've been getting value for me regularly week over week over a week that they're ready either to take action to purchase or they're ready to donate, or they don't feel like all I'm doing is asking for them to give me something every single time I reach out to them. As on profits, you have so many amazing ways that you can get people on your list. We're going to be talking more about that in next week's episode. But having that list is really important to continue to talk to them, nurture them, engage with them, so that they see all the amazing impact that you're doing in your community, and how their contribution in whatever fashion is going to support and crease that impact alongside you. You're looking for partners, you're looking for community. And more and more, you're looking for people that are passionate about what you do that they'll give, but they'll also share and bring alongside other people that can help build a stronger community for you. So today, I'm going to share kind of the evolution of my newsletter, things to consider to put inside of your newsletters, and why it's great to just get out there on a regular basis.

Before we get into it, this episode is brought to you by our digital marketing therapy sessions. These are 30 minute one on one sessions that you can book with me, we can talk through your email marketing strategy, come up with lots of great ways for you to engage and participate via email. And just or have me help you with some of your existing strategies, your automations review your newsletter, whatever you need, can also support you in anything in the digital marketing space doesn't have to be email. So to book your time, head on over to https://thefirstclick.net/officehours. Look your time, and we'll have a great conversation. Can't wait to chat with you. Let's get into the episode.

[Intro] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. Each month we dive deep into a digital marketing or fundraising strategy that you can implement in your organization. Each week, you'll hear from guest experts, nonprofits, and myself on best practices, tips and resources to help you raise more money online and reach your organizational goals.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern]  Okay, so first things first, when I say an email newsletter, what do I mean? Well, what I'm talking about here is the weekly or monthly, hopefully, email that you send out that is kind of more general. So it's not necessarily specific to a campaign, or specific to an event that you have going on. It is really just the regular communication that you're putting out there with your audience to share impact and to share updates in just to connect on a personal level. Now I know you might be thinking, how are we connecting on a personal level, if we're sending it out to everybody, or you know, we're not, you know, sending it one on one. It's all in how you talk to them and how you share your information. So we're gonna get a little bit more into that. But I like to write my emails as if I am talking to my best customer. That way, I feel like I'm writing to a friend, I feel like I'm sharing it in a more personal way and I'm engaging with them. And my best customer is who I want more of. So if I can address their pain points, and if I can connect with them, then I'm going to bring in more of the right people that are going to be more engaged in my community. So I like to write to them as if it's my best customer or my best friend or my best donor. You get The idea. So this newsletter is, first you want to figure out how often you're going to be sending them. Because consistency is key, we want to show up regularly for our audience. I send mine weekly and have pretty much done that since the beginning of time. But think about what it is that you can do, can you send it twice a month? Can you send it every month, quarterly if that's all you can really do, but I promise you, you might be surprised, especially after listening to this episode, you have more to talk about than you think. And breaking it down is going to really help you spread out the content that you have over a period of time. Now, when my emails first started, they were really geared towards pushing out content, whether it's a blog post, or a podcast episode. And that's pretty much been the way it's been for the bulk of time. So my email newsletters were typically just sharing a new piece of content that I had pushed out. And this is important, because when you think about content you're creating, if you don't tell people exists, they're not going to magically find it. And sharing content on your website on social media is great. But algorithms don't favor posts with links, they don't encourage people to leave the platform. So you can share it, but not as many people are going to see it. So sharing it in your email list ensures that you've got a warm audience of people who already like and know you and care about you. You're saying, Hey, here's some new resources, here's some new content, here's some new ways we think we can help you here's some more impact stories, here's some more elements about our organization, maybe you don't even know that we do. It gives you an opportunity to really connect with people on a regular basis. So again, like I said, mine were typically podcast episodes. So like I said, I'm recording this podcast, podcast goes out, and I'm letting my audience know that it exists, and enticing them to come and take a listen, maybe they listened in the past, maybe they've heard a few episodes, but maybe some of them for a while haven't been relevant to them, we want them to come back. So we're always sharing what's going on. So it started off a little bit like this, I would tell a little story about something that's kind of related to the topic, but not specifically the topic, something a little bit more personal, something that's a story. So let's say it's me talking about the automation. So we talked about email automation, in the first episode of this month, Episode 211. Go back and check it out. But so maybe I start the email for this podcast episode saying something along the lines of

two years ago, I remember spending four hours every day, just going through all of the data that was coming in all the people that were coming in and making sure that I was connecting them to the right thing, putting them here, registering them there, you know, making sure that they were saying they were in the right email list, making sure that they got the right thing, you know, making sure that they got the right tax receipt, right, it was a very manual process. And it took a lot of time. But then, right, I started to realize that I can start to put some simple automations together, and yet you get the point, right? So I'm not just saying, Hey, here's something that is valuable for you, you should understand this strategy. I'm attaching it to a personal experience of mine, or maybe a personal experience of a client of mine. I'm attaching it to a pain point or a problem that people have with peeking your interest with that information. Oh, yeah, I had that problem, too. I struggled with that, too. That's something that I could use support with. So then they're more enticed to read on. So then I'm gonna say, well, here's how I got through this problem. I give them solution. Here's how you can learn how to do the same. This podcast episode, tell them what they're going to learn in the episode. You don't have to give them everything. Just tell them what they're going to learn, and then make it super easy for them to connect, here's how you can find it. Links to the show notes page links to where people can listen all of the things right, make it easy for them to find that information and carry on and go forward with you. And that was it. These were plaintext emails. rarely did I use images, if I did, it was maybe a GIF. Or if I had a personal photo, I could stick that in there if it was relevant to the cause. And then the subject line was something that related to the story so that it was a personal connection. So you can see that it really comes from a place of connection. And here's something that I'm providing that's of value to you, as opposed to hey, here's all of the things that we're doing that are amazing and you need to engage with us. It's a different mindset. It's a different shift, but storytelling and really engaging and connecting with people is critical. Also people understanding that I've been there. I've walked in their shoes and this is how I've worked through it up you Pull up stories like that. So that is really the bulk of how my email has been for a long time. Now this year, things shifted for me a little bit, because I found myself having so many things to share. And this is a conversation I've had with so many different organizations. And I still 100% don't know how I feel about it. But this is a test that I am in the process of doing right now in a brand new way of pushing up my newsletter.

So I pause because this is a complete 180 From what I used to teach, and how I used to encourage people to do emails, I used to do one topic, one email. As I've connected with nonprofits, as I've connected with my clients, as I have grown as a business person, and really kind of built by bass. As I've connected with other consultants, there's, I've noticed a lot more people really sharing more of themselves in their emails. And that's what feels good and natural to me. So what I'm doing now is more of a traditional newsletter style that has multiple elements in it. So I'm still well, I'll just break down all the elements that are in it. And then we'll talk about how it might relate to you and your organization. So the beginning starts with a more personal story. So something that's happened to me and my personal life and how I'm relating that back to my business. So for example, as I'm recording this, I am down in Iowa, not at my house. But we're here for quite some time. So one of my emails was talking about how I am packing up organizing and getting myself set up to be able to still work and be productive and effective when I'm not at home and in my office space, shared some of my tips and things. But it really talked about kind of at the beginning the blessing that I have to be able to do this, that my family can travel that we can still work and operate even when we're not at home that we can still give these my kids these experiences, and still build and grow a business. So it started with that feeling of, you know, joy in what I've created, and then turned into Okay, well now here's how I'm working in making sure that my productivity is still here and gave some quick tips. So that's the personal part. And then the rest is very consistent. So I share my new newest podcast episode from the first click, I share the newest blog post from my sister company hnd marketing solutions, I share either a quote or somewhere where I'm finding inspiration. Sometimes that's personal thing, sometimes it's professional, like podcast episodes or books that I've been reading. And then I share either something from a consultant friend of mine, if I've got something relevant another workshop, then I list all of the free trainings that I have coming up that I'm a part of. And then at the bottom is ways that you can work with me if you need more support. So it's a lot, it's a lot of different things. And it is, you know, structured very well. So it's easy to scan, but it's the same every time. So as you're getting my newsletters, you can really just pick the parts out that make the most sense for you, and that you're most interested in. But what I found was that I had so many things going on, and I wasn't able to really share them in a concise way with my audience. And so we revamped the newsletter, and we're testing it now. So far, it's been great. We'll see how it goes. its ups and downs, but you just got to kind of figure out what's going to work for you test it and track the data. So you can see the trends over time. So that's what we're in the middle of, I'll have to do another episode, maybe later in the year to recap what we've learned. But you may be noticing this with some other consultants that you might be working with, that they're doing something similar. And I just love the mix of being able to pull through my personality with the great resources, quick tips and wins that I can provide to my nonprofit subscribers and help you but also let you get to know me a little bit better. Because we know that people like to do business with people, and I might not be the right fit for you personally, personality wise, maybe I'm gonna be a great fit. But now you have a better gauge because you've connected with me in this in this email. Same reason why I like to do more podcasts, because you hear my voice. And either I drive you crazy and you find me to be super annoying, or you're like you know what? I like her style. I like the way that she works. Either way, totally great. It's a way to self select and help people really pick the right people that are partners for them. So how does this relate to you and the newsletter that you have that you're creating? I want you to think about the core categories that your organization needs and wants to talk about. So maybe you have a lot of things as well. So maybe it's you have events that happen regularly, maybe you have in kind donations that you're needing regularly. Or, you know, maybe your CEO is really dynamic and has lots of fun things that they want to say and share about what the organization is doing. Maybe you have an incredible group of volunteers and, and board members who are constantly sharing stories, you know, or donors that you want to share stories of think about the core things that you have in your organization that you can talk about on a regular basis, and then frame it out in that way, talk about the most important things near the top. And at the very, very bottom, what's in the middle is probably going to get past scrolled over more likely. But the key is consistency. So people can really be like, Okay, I know, this is what's coming in this email every single week, I know where to go to find the information that I care about. And I can drop down to that. And I'm good to go. So that is the power in that. The other downside is that a lot of times, if you have something that's critically important, or that's the most important, people might miss it, because there's so many other things that are going on. So you might marry this newsletter, with a once a month specific email that goes out about something that's super important. So maybe that is signing up for your events, or maybe that is joining you for an Advocacy Day at the Capitol, whatever it might be. If you do have those critically important things, I still definitely recommend sending that out in a separate email at some point, you want to make sure that people are getting those pieces, just that that if you need them to take action, they're just getting that critical piece of information. And it's not getting buried in with everything else. It's the beauty of the one email one topic strategy. And I think it still very much has a place. So really thinking about how these email newsletters work in your business, figuring out what's going to make the biggest impact and then testing the variety, one email, plain text, one topic, or kind of a more newsletter approach that has multiple pieces of information in it that you can share with your audience, everything but the kitchen sink kind of a situation. So I used to be very heavily on one side, I'm kind of swinging over to the other. It feels really good. To me, it feels like it's me. And we're testing to see what happens. I'd love to know which newsletter strategy you have. But remember, regardless of what you do, be consistent. So really figure out what you can do well, what you can do regularly, and how you can continue to stay in touch with your audience so that they know you're around, you can build that trust with them. And you can engage with them on a personal level. The point of email is to get them to click through to your website to engage more to have them reply to the email. So you can start a conversation to have them share the email with somebody who might not know about your organization, but that the impact is shown really well so that they want to share it with their friends and family. Those are the goals that we're trying to achieve, right to get them to click on the links that are most important and to hit that reply button. Getting Personal telling stories, and making sure that it's sharing the most important things about who you are. And what you do is how you're going to get there. So again, I almost hesitated in making this episode because it's such a complete change in how I have always coached on email marketing, and it's not going to work for everyone. It's not going to make sense for every audience. But if it's intriguing you and peeking your interest and you think you can get a little bit more personal by doing it this way, give it a shot and see what happens. If you want to let me know I'd love to hear and see your email. So forward me your latest newsletter hello@thefirstclick.net. I'd love to check it out and give you my thoughts and feedback. That's all I have for today in sharing my new email newsletter strategy. I hope you found it helpful. If you did, I would so appreciate you rating it and leaving a review wherever you stream, subscribing, or subscribe on YouTube as well. We have the video versions of these episodes on YouTube, but I'd love for you to join me there. Thank you so much for listening. You can find the show notes and additional resources for this episode at https://thefirstclick.net/213 I'm having a blast this month talking to you all about email marketing, and I can't wait to wrap up the month with next week's episode. For now, I'll see you in the next one.

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