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The ONE thing to do to boost your marketing before Christmas

I don’t know if you knew this, but Christmas is coming up pretty soon. 

(Ha! If you’re a product-based business, you’re probably not thinking about much else, amiright?)

And, having worked with small creatives for 11 years, I know that mid-October is when things start to feel kind of… intense.

So I’m not here to give you a whole new marketing plan to implement, or loads more to do.

Yes, I’m obsessed with email marketing. Yes, I really hope you’ll join The Better Business Collective when it opens in January, where I teach email marketing for product businesses.

In the meantime, I have one teeny tiny request…

The ONE thing I want you to do to boost your email marketing for next year: make sure you’re enabling customers to opt in to marketing emails when they order with you this Christmas.

You don’t have to email them now. You don’t have to have a fancy welcome sequence.

All you need to do is have a checkbox that they can tick if they’re happy to receive offers and inspiration when they’re buying their Christmas gifts, decorations, treats and more.

Why is this step so important?

One of the things email marketing is great at is cultivating that loyal repeat customer base that’s just so valuable for small businesses. It’s easier and cheaper to retain a customer than acquire a new one, and having them on your email list makes it happen.

You’re focused on sales right now, sharing your Christmas products. I don’t want to distract you from that. This little step means you can keep generating sales, sharing your social media posts, but also know that you’re building an email list that you can use and enjoy next year. You’re welcome, future self.

And? It’s not going to take you very long. The majority of retail website providers make this really easy, and I’ve linked to a couple of tutorials below to help you get it done.

(If you’re feeling positive and motivated, there are a couple of bonus actions you can take, too.)

How to collect email addresses at checkout

Here are links to tutorials on some of the main ecommerce platforms my clients use. (Have I missed yours? Let me know and I’ll add it in!)

Don’t get overwhelmed with Email Service Providers

Because I don’t want you to get overwhelmed, at this stage, you don’t need to put your subscribers into Mailchimp or figure out your email service provider. (That’s the app or service you’ll use to actually send out your marketing emails.)

You just need to have permission to send emails in the future. This is the big opportunity at Christmas: you’re simply capturing the increased number of people buying from you.

Extra Credit

If you’ve got that fresh feeling and really want to go to town on building your email list, and getting sales through it this Christmas, here are a few ways you can jump on board the email marketing success train:

  • Choose an Email Service Provider (Mailchimp, Shopify marketing, Klaviyo and Convertkit are all good options) and make sure the subscribers are importing automatically
  • Create a “welcome sequence” – two or three emails that are sent out to your new subscribers after they join your list to tell them a bit more about who you are and how you make their lives better
  • Add a pop-up sign up box that appears when customers have been browsing for a little while
  • Send 4-6 email newsletters between now and Christmas, sharing your products, promoting your last order dates, and wishing your customers a merry Christmas
  • Encourage your social media followers to sign up to your newsletter list too

You might find my free cheat sheet handy – it includes 30 inspiring email subject lines to help you get that next email ready to go. Download it now.

So, without wanting to add loads to your to-do list (I usually like taking things OFF your to-do list!), I hope you’ll get permission to email your customers next year. You’ll thank me later.

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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