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I’m not great at following recipes, but here’s why it helps my business

I love to cook. Okay, the one-year-old and lockdown juggle might be holding me back a little right now, but mostly I enjoy the creativity of preparing meals.

And that’s just it for me: the creativity. Like a lot of things, I’m in it for the creative flair, and sometimes that doesn’t necessarily work out in my (husband’s) favour.

I want to be able to just throw in a dash of this and a dollop of that. I want to be able to sense when the souffles are done. (I’ve never actually made souffles, but you know what I mean.) And I want to be able to play around and produce something yummy that everyone enjoys.

Sometimes it works. There are dishes I can vary depending on my mood, like a risotto with a select combination from the fridge and cupboard, or a slow cooked casserole. Usually, I can play around with these meals because I’ve learned the recipes by heart and made them many times.

Because guess what I resist, literally and metaphorically, in the kitchen and in life? Recipes.

Friends, I do not like being told what to do.

Partly, hello, I’m a rebel. Partly, I want to be able to intuit the best formula for a dish.

But you know what helps me to learn how to cook and discover the best formula for a dish? Recipes.

So what do recipes have to do with business?

You might have guessed that – just like this recent post about cake – there’s a food-based metaphor going on here. (I just love a metaphor, especially a food one.)

Just like in cooking, there are recipes in business, too. Not in exactly the same way, but pretty close. Processes, structures, templates, tips, and step-by-step instructions. Using things is art and science, formula and instinct, logical and creative.

Just like in cooking, you can discover a process in business and once you’ve got the hang of it, you can play around and make it your own. (Or even write it from scratch in the first place.)

Let’s say you want to be able to create a delicious marketing offering. You can learn about how to create different types of content – photos, videos, written pieces – and schedule them. You can follow some suggested recipes and guides. And as you practice, you’ll learn your favourite flavours, and the ones your family (customers) love the best.

Maybe you’ll find some crowd pleasers. Maybe the first time you make a souffle, it won’t rise. (Chances are.) But maybe on the third attempt, it’s just right: perfectly light, gooey in the middle and a little crispy on top.

I love reading about marketing and business. It’s a bit like browsing Pinterest or a good cook book for foodie inspiration.

There are also times when I find a recipe I want to learn by heart, like a basis for making my own granola (that was a pre-baby obsession) that I can mix and match when I like.

My game-changing recipe realisation

Realising and accepting that recipes are in fact helpful and not something I need to rebel against has been GAME CHANGING for me. The structure they give me allows me to be at my creative best. (And yes, I’m kind of talking about business here, not just oat to raisin ratios…)

If you, like me, have realised the value of having a structure and a recipe, I think you’re going to like The Better Business Collective. It has a whole load of templates for sending email newsletters to your subscribers (a VERY worthwhile marketing endeavour), as well as a stunning, magical, easy-but-doesn’t-mean-we-do-it Game-Changing Success Ritual that has the power to level UP your business and your mindset.

You’re oh so welcome in The Better Business Collective if you:

  • Want to raise your business savvy up a level
  • Know that you want to work ON your business rather than IN it but struggle to actually make that happen on the regular
  • Love learning and implementing business and marketing strategy live and in community with other humans in business
  • Are a rebel, like yours truly, and want to get out of your own way 
  • Aren’t a rebel, but would love to unlock your potential and create your own version of success

Let’s get cooking, shall we?

How To Re-Engage An Old Email List

If you’ve got an email list that’s looking a little dusty and unappreciated, you’re not alone. Plenty of my clients have been in the same position: busy firefighting, working on their social media, and putting off getting their thoughts together enough to send out an engaging email.

And the longer you put it off, the harder it is, right?

Because what if no one remembers you? What if they all unsubscribe? What if no one opens your email?

These are all very real possibilities. Which is why I’ve put together some key actions on re-engaging your list thoughtfully, as well as preparing you for getting it going again (because getting your head and heart in the right place is always a good idea).

Why bother re-engaging an old email list?

Before you write off your email list because it’s too old, or thinking they’ve probably forgotten who you are, it’s worth giving these wonderful humans a chance to reconnect with your brand.

  • You’ve already done the work. Whether you had a thriving list a few years ago or have just been collecting emails at checkout, you’ve already put effort into collecting email addresses. Time for it to pay off!
  • It’s about who stays. You’ll get some unsubscribes, and we’re going to clean your list in a few weeks, too. That’s okay. It’s about who stays – they’re your people.
  • It’s great practice. If your aim is to cultivate a thriving email list, this is a great place to practice emailing your audience, and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
  • What’s the BEST that could happen? You might make some sales, or get some valuable feedback. You might make such a great impression that your customers start sharing your brand. There’s so much potential…

Getting in the right mindset

Before we get into the nitty gritty of content and what to send, I want you to take a moment to connect with why you’re interested in having an engaged email list.

The energy you bring to your emails – the tone, the content, the imagery, the style – is what cultivates connection between you and your audience members.

Your email list is one of the greatest assets your business can have. Unlike many other marketing channels, you have unique and sole ownership over the email addresses you collect. These are real humans who have actively chosen to hear more from you!

They’re saying YES to receiving updates about your wonderful products and services. Which is basically business gold.

When you send out an email to your list, it’s an opportunity to start or continue a conversation with them. You can talk to them on an individual basis, showing them that you know them, and helping to make their lives better. Your emails are a window into your brand. Imagine them like the doors on an advent calendar, each revealing something exciting and beautiful, something that enriches your customers’ days.

So it’s not just about chucking some products together once in a blue moon. It’s about cultivating relationships, creating narratives and stories you can share together. It’s about inviting real humans into your world (they’ve already RSVP’d after all).

How to re-engage your old email list

  1. Write your emails. Yep, there’s an s on the end of emails. You’re going to write three emails to your old list. (More on that in a minute.)
  2. Schedule your emails. Schedule your emails a week or two apart (but no more). We want your audience to remember you!
  3. Clean your list. If, at the end of this short email sequence, they’re not opening your emails, we’re going to say farewell, even if they haven’t unsubscribed themselves.
  4. Keep going. Once you’ve gone through this step-by-step, keep sending weekly or fortnightly emails. Build your narrative, share your stories, and feature your products.

Email 1:

  • SUBJECT LINE: It’s been a while…
  • Include a recognisable image of you or your brand – use bestselling products and strong brand features.
  • Remind them that they signed up, but it was probably a while ago.
  • Share a bit about who you are and what you do. What are the must-knows about your brand?
  • Call to action: Follow us / Discover more / Your turn to share!

Email 2: (a week later)

  • SUBJECT LINE: What’s been going on lately…
  • Share a brief story about what’s been going on for you and your business lately.
  • Include a very similar image as your first email for consistency.
  • Remind them about the ways you help to improve your customers’ lives.
  • Call to action: Shop now / See the full collection
  • Share a recent review or testimonial.

Email 3: (a week later)

  • SUBJECT LINE: It started with a {product / story}
  • Share your origin story: how did it all begin? What was the moment you knew you wanted to run your own business?
  • Include then and now images.
  • Feature two or three key products: a long-term customer favourite and a newer piece.
  • Call to action: Shop now / See the collection / Join the {product} club
  • Include a testimonial or review.

You might also like to check out the 30 Email Subject Lines free download for more inspiration, too!

Now clean your list

A few days after your last email has gone out, log in to your Email Service Provider and find all the people on your list who haven’t opened a single email. You’re going to unsubscribe those people.

This helps to keep your email list healthy, and also prevents your emails looking like spam to other subscribers.

(And you can feel free to do this every three months or so from now on. Go on, pop a reminder in your calendar.)

Then keep going!

Now that you’ve re-engaged your list and hopefully seen a few opens, click throughs, and maybe even some sales, KEEP GOING! Email them every week or fortnight (monthly isn’t often enough), and keep telling your story.

Want more inspiration and support?

If you liked this, you’re going to love the email support in The Better Business Collective, which opens for registration next week.

Want the re-engagement emails pretty much written for you? They’re in there. Plus you’ll get weekly emails ready to plug and play from September to January – yep, all through Christmas. Be the first to know when it opens up.

The marketing strategy I’ve been recommending lately

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve recommended the following focus for marketing lately:

Email newsletters + one social channel = your key marketing focus

Once you’ve got one key social channel nailed, you can add more. This gives you the opportunity to get into the rhythm of creating content for that one space. You’ll have time and energy to respond to comments, engage with other people on the platform, and – this is the most crucial part – learn what works for you and your audience on that platform.

If you’re trying to do Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and TikTok all at once and without any strategy for any of them, chances are you won’t see any progress on any of them.

So start with one, and add more once you’ve found your groove. The most important thing is to be learning and developing as you go.

Oh yeah – email

Look, I’ll be frank: I’m going to be talking about email marketing quite a lot over the coming weeks.

Why? Because I feel pretty passionate about it, and its ability to create a strong, sustainable, long-term foundation for your business.

Email is the only marketing channel that you own. On Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and any other app that comes along, the app or site controls your content and owns your audience.

With email, you own the contact details of anyone who has chosen to receive your emails. Yes, you’ll use a third party to store the data and send the emails, but they’re helping you out. That list of humans is yours.

Long-term, mostly hidden, yet highly effective

I have a theory that most creative business owners don’t get excited about email is because they don’t see other people’s email success.

On Instagram, you can see how many followers someone has, how many likes their posts get, and how many people are chatting away to them. It looks successful. It looks like something that’s working well for them.

When someone sends an email to their list of 500 or 5,000 or 50,000 subscribers, you can’t see the numbers on that. You don’t see the open rate or the click through rate or the open rate.

You can’t see how many first time customers are becoming loyal, repeat customers. You can’t see the replies or the shares.

Which is keeping successful email campaigns a secret.

And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe we need an area of business, especially marketing, where we aren’t comparing ourselves to others. (If you looked at the numbers above and thought, “500 subscribers? More like 50!”, I see you.)

But I don’t want you to miss out

The best time to start building an email list was five years ago. The second best time is today.

Because in five years’ time, with regular emails and clear strategy, you could be growing a beautiful, loyal, engaged customer base in a space online that is entirely yours. Where you set the tone and capture attention and cultivate a relationship that makes your customers’ lives better.

Even in six months’ time, you could be looking at a more engaged audience who are captivated by your brand and enjoy sitting down with a cuppa to read your emails and browse your latest.

Emails help to keep you top of mind when it comes to gifting occasions, as well as being an opportunity to tell your story through consistent and regular content.

I hope you’ll stay tuned

Next week, I’ll be sharing more about how to re-engage an old email list, because I know that lots of creative businesses have gathered email addresses at some point, but haven’t kept up the emails, and now aren’t sure what to do.

In the meantime, you can start getting creative and inspired with my free download of 30 email subject lines. This download will get you thinking about content for email, as well as your social media channels. Because who doesn’t love coordinated marketing content?! Grab the download here.

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