How to optimize your newsletter

My friend Cyrielle and I worked together in the past and we recently did an Instagram Live together where we talked about how to optimize your newsletter (you can check it out here in French).

Because 9 times out of 10 when the topic of newsletters comes up we get a reaction along the lines of – it takes so much time, I’m already so busy, I’m not sure it’s worth it.

Now there are a few reasons why we generally recommend newsletters

  • you aren’t dependent on social media platforms to reach your clients
  • you get to create content that belongs to you (as opposed to the social media platform!)
  • emails are a great way to create great relationships with your clients! Your content isn’t flooded in hundreds of thousands of other accounts (if the algorithm decides to show your content at all 🙃)
  • you get to personalize the emails to deliver even more valuable content to your subscribers

That said, we do have a few tips for you to make the most of your emails + the time you have to create said emails (make sure you don’t miss the last one!).

Choose the right platform for you

There are so many platforms out there where you can have your emails. I personally use and recommend Mailerlite but Cyrielle usually recommends Convertkit. Each platform is different, they all have their pros and cons and we recommend these platforms for different reasons.

Mailerlite

I love Mailerlite because it offers a ton of value for free. Even features that other programs (Convertkit included) charge for. My personal favourite is the ability to create automations. Whether that’s to automatically deliver your freebie to your client or to send them a nice email sequence so your new subscribers get to know you. It could also be for events or new offers you can schedule ahead of time or even have your onboarding/offboarding sequences on there. I personally don’t do the ladder because it doesn’t make sense for me but it’s a great option for others. More on this below.

Click here to check out Mailerlite – this is an affiliate link, I will get a small kickback if you ever sign up for the paid subscription.

Convertkit

Cyrielle recommends Convertkit because of how easy and intuitive to use, especially when it comes to building emails. The layout is amazing and it looks great to add headers, create paragraphs, add videos or pictures, etc. Regardless of the program you choose, you’ll have to get used to each but Converkit definitely makes this super easy.

Click here to check out Convertkit – this is an affiliate link, Cyrielle will get a small kickback if you ever sign up for the paid subscription.

Organizing your subscribers

We mentioned this in the section above – how email is great because you can personalize it. Sure you can personalize it with the variables you can insert (things like inputting the first name of the subscriber for instance) but you can also group your subscribers or give them a tag (the exact word changes based on the program you use).In both cases, you’re able to have a bit more information regarding where this subscriber came from, what they purchased from you or the service you provided for them, the freebie they signed up for, etc. This is amazing information when it comes to future offers, events, and freebies you might want to create and who might be interested!

For instance, say you are a nutritionist that offers a freebie – a checklist of healthy items to buy at the grocery store. If you ever give a masterclass on how to resist the urge to buy things you didn’t want to get when you’re doing your groceries, chances are the people who got this freebie might be interested (this is just an example).

You could then send an email to these people telling them you’re planning on creating this new offer and you’d like to have their feedback OR that it’s ready, they can sign up and spots are limited. A good rule of thumb Cyrielle likes to use is you should have a group for each offer you have in your business – even the free ones! While it might be annoying to do at first, trust me, you’ll thank yourself later when you’re ready to launch this new thing and it’s super easy and clear to who you might want to send this!

Using the power of automations

As we mentioned above, Mailerlite definitely wins this one as automations are available from the get-go. While this isn’t the case with Convertkit, Cyrielle had a pretty neat workaround for the free plan. It’s important to mention that it is included in their lowest-paid tier which comes to $9/month when paid yearly.

What should you use automations for?

Automations are a great tool to save time and energy. Even very simple actions like sending an email with the freebie you offer are nice as it’s one thing less on your plate, one less thing to look out for (new subscribers), one less thing to worry about (someone not getting their freebie), potentially more money in your business (client is impressed by your customer service and thrilled to get your freebie so fast).

Automations are great when the action they perform is done the same exact way every time. The moment you need to modify something, it’s probably not worth automating simply because you’d spend more time monitoring the automation, pausing it or modifying it and at that point, it defies the purpose of having an automation.

This is a non-exhaustive list of things you might consider automating

  • welcome sequence (this can be anywhere from 1 to 10 emails, up to you and what you prefer but it’s nice to have this sent when someone subscribes so you can introduce yourself, what you do and deliver value right away!)
  • onboarding sequence (this will not apply to highly customizable services as this email would most likely change from client to client – more on what your other options are below)
  • offboarding sequence – when you’re done working with your client and wish them luck in their new endeavours or have some tips for them for the long run
  • freebie delivery – your new subscriber is probably super excited about getting their hands on your freebie so the sooner the better!
  • event information say for a masterclass or anything of the sort

Not sure what you could automate? Go through your Sent folder in your emails and see what you generally send! Another option is to look at the automation section of your email program, odds are they’ll give you some suggestions and cases where you could use an automation.

What if you can’t automate

Depending on how you work, you might not be able to automate everything I outlined above – that’s totally fine! That’s actually my case as every project I take on with a new client is different therefore I wouldn’t automate an onboarding or offboarding email sequence.

That said, there are some similarities! In this case, I recommend creating a template or a checklist of the items you need to mention. Templates can now be created directly in Gmail (good if 75% of the email is the same every time) or having a simple checklist (I save mine in ClickUp) I can review to make sure I mentioned all I had to. This last option is best when you really personalize each email but still want to make sure you hit all the points you wanted.

If you are using the free Convertkit then you might want to write out your email sequence, save it in the program, Google Drive or anywhere that’s easy to find. Every few days you can then check if you got new subscribers and send them this email manually using the template you already made.

Expanding your email power

Email program aside there are a few other programs I generally recommend to support your activities.

CRM – customer relationship management

As we mentioned, grouping or tagging your subscribers is a great way to save some information about them, their preferences, and their past purchases. An email program will usually save the email (duh), the name of your subscriber (if they provided it upon sign up), location (again, if they provided it), other random information, which emails were sent to this person, which were opened and clicked and so on.

This is a great place to start but there’s a lot more we could save that might be important in this client relationship. For instance, if you exchanged other emails (through your regular email inbox for instance) or through messaging. You could also save other types of activities such as calls and meetings and unfortunately, that can’t be saved in your email program unless you use ActiveCampaign or other, often more expensive programs. If this information isn’t part of your email program, I generally recommend using a CRM program. I usually recommend Hubspot as it offers a lot for free and has all the features one would want. It’s also really easy to integrate with other programs and tools! One such automation would be to automatically add new subscribers to the CRM when they sign up for your freebie or your newsletter. It’s also super easy to connect your inbox or messaging program to Hubspot so any communication would automatically be sent to your CRM.

Scheduling program

I realize this isn’t email per se but this is going to save you so much time! Done are the days of emailing back and forth 15 times only to realize your schedules don’t match or having to reschedule and starting the 15 emails back and forth process again!

If you offer a service, odds are you might need to schedule meetings and calls. This is where programs like Calendly (my fav) or Acuity are really nice as they allow you to do this easily, they even integrate with your calendar so you don’t get double-booked and you can easily see new meetings!

You can even integrate these tools with your CRM so all meetings are logged (along with if they happened, got rescheduled or whatever the outcome was). It’s also great if you use it as part of your sales process and want to track who you met with, who to follow up with and so on.

Tailoring your emails to you

Cyrielle and I agree this is THE most important thing when it comes to email. Because trying to do something that doesn’t work for you will ultimately be the biggest killer of your productivity – it’ll make the entire process take that much more time, require that much more energy and it isn’t of service to anyone (you, your community or your clients).

This can look like having a format that works for you! There aren’t any rules regarding what should be in your newsletter! Some go for a really informative type email, others talk about their daily life and struggles, you can even just link to content and resources you’ve created on other platforms, whatever floats your boat!

Cyrielle likes to go for a mix of educational but in a very close, we’re just having a chat between friends type!

My email is similar but I love to touch on personal struggles and experiences I’ve gone through and how they relate to my business. I’ve also been experimenting over the last few weeks by having a section at the bottom with 5 new things I discovered – personal and business things alike.

This will truly be a game-changer when it comes to how much you enjoy having a newsletter, how much time it takes you, and how much energy it takes (or if it fuels you even!). The best way to do this is to

  • look at who you are and what you enjoy!
  • Look at your strengths and hone in one that
  • Try things! I know – boring. But the only way to find your voice and what works for you is to experiment with different styles! Your subscribers won’t mind, if anything they’ll love seeing your evolution and seeing your true, authentic self come through in your content!
  • Look at the different types of help you can get – from help getting started, coming up with topics, co-creating with a pro or delegating this task to someone else.

Additional Resources

Check out Cyrielle’s page (in French) for help with your emails, copywriting and all her services!

If you want to increase your productivity and save time in your business, check out my Time Leak Quiz to find out where you should start or apply to work with me!

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