Since I’ve been working with people to create stellar email lists for their brands, one of the main things I’ve noticed people struggle with is their content. In fact, it’s often so hard to get past figuring out what sort of content to send that it leaves most people giving up on their list altogether. We’re already writing content regularly for our blogs, coming up with posts for various social media platforms, and when you add something like an email list into the mix we find ourselves up against a wall when it comes to our email list for some reason.
The truth of the matter is that the content you send can make or break your email list. If you’re phoning it in and sending blog posts, most people aren’t going to want to stick around since they can find that content on your blog instead. On the other hand, if you’re investing time in getting to know your subscribers and sending exclusive content that relates to them, you’re likely going to find that more people are not only excited to read and respond to your emails, but they’re happy to share your emails with their peers as well.
The key here is exclusive content because, aside from discount codes or awesome freebies, it’s the most valuable thing you can send to your email list. Since I want you to find success with your email list, I’ve got a few great tips for you today on how to come up with that exclusive, valuable content that you can start sending to your list right away.
Start by asking your subscribers what they want / need help with
The biggest place I see people go wrong with all of their content, especially for their email list, is that they forget who they’re writing for. It’s very easy to get caught up in what you think your audience wants or needs help with versus what they actually want to get from you. Instead of spending a lot of time guessing what you should be writing for your list, a great place to start creating valuable content is to have a virtual coffee date and literally ask them what they need / want from you.
This does not have to be super complicated or take a lot of time. You don’t have to create a whole survey or even plan several questions to bombard your audience with. Instead, just sit down and pick one question that will help you get a better idea of what your subscribers need help with. In the welcome email for my own list, I like to ask: “What is one thing that you’re struggling with in your blog or business?” If you want to ask that same question, go for it! It might not be that simple for you, though. Maybe you can ask what’s holding them back from killing it with their social media? Or what’s keeping them from taking the leap from a traditional job to working for themselves? Make sure you’re asking something that can be related back to how you can help them.
Take a look at questions you get on your blog + social media
If you’re feeling a little shy when it comes to asking your audience what they need from you, you might find it easier to take a look at what they are asking you instead! A great place to start would be in the comments section on your post. Don’t stop there, though. Take a look at what questions you receive from subscribers, peers, and clients alike. Regardless of what you do or what your niche is, chances are people are asking you all sorts of questions and probably a lot of the same questions. You could always respond to just that one person with those questions, or you could start creating content for your email list based on those questions so that your responses are reaching everyone in your audience!
You can also look at what people are asking you (and just asking in general) on Twitter and in your Facebook groups as well. If you’re in groups anything like the ones I’m in, you probably see that lots of people ask questions in those groups and the questions relate to all sorts of niches. If something relates to your niche and what your audience is struggling with, don’t hesitate to create content based on that! No, that specific person asking the question might not see your email about the topic, but if one person is struggling with that issue, then there’s a chance several others are as well.
Write as if you’re preparing potential clients to work with you
Let’s say you run a service based business, though. In those cases, it can be hard to imagine what type of content that people on your list could possibly want to see. For example, senior portrait photographers might have mom’s on their list that have no interest in learning “5 Ways to Take Better Photos with Your iPhone”. So instead of trying to teach them how to do what you do, take a second to consider how you can prepare them to work with you in one way or another.
In my case, the majority of my income comes in through my design business. If I were to approach my email list as a place to collect potential clients, I could send out content that would help my subscribers get a better understanding of what goes into working with a designer, how to organize your business / blog before starting a design project, or how to get to know their brand in a more serious way. While the people on your email list may never turn into actual clients, but it’s a great way to show your expertise and make them more prepared to get started if they do decide to hire you.
Look around at what’s going on in your life
If you’re on my email list, you probably already know this, but my favorite thing about my own email list is that I’m regularly sharing little tidbits on what I’m going through or how I’m feeling about something. I love doing this because it’s those emails that I get the best (and most) responses to. Those emails built around more personal yet actionable content allow me to create stronger connections to those on my list, which in turn helps me help them more through blog posts like this or through other emails.
The key thing when you’re sharing in a more personal way, though, is to make sure that what you’re sharing include actionable content that is actually helpful to your audience. I’ve gotten emails from some people and it feels like you’re just reading their diary. You get to the end of the email, and you’re like, “Wait, why did I get this? What does this have to do with me?!” You don’t want to leave your subscribers feeling this way. So if you’re writing about something you’ve experienced, consider how you can tie that into what you do to help your audience and give them a takeaway that they can act on.
What sort of content are you sending your email list?
If you have your own email list, I want to know how you feel about the content you’re sending. Are you sending valuable emails with exclusive content? Maybe you send actionable tips related to your niche once a week? If you’ve found yourself not feeling great about what you’re sending, don’t fret! Click that button below to grab a free worksheet with a year’s worth of content ideas that you can steal for your own list!