It strikes us all, especially in January when most of us want something fresh, new and different. You know your marketing message. You know your customer. You just don’t know how to say it – or rather, you are sick of saying it in the same way. We all know boring emails get banned (unless it’s a receipt), so the challenge is to excite your tribe when you don’t have a new promotion, promotion or giveaway. You want to lob that email into their inbox like a hand-grenade, ready to explode and light up their day.

Here’s a few options…

Be a penpal

I am giving away my age here (pre-smartphone), but I had a pen-pal as a child. A proper lets-exchange-letters penpal with a girl from Sweden. It was brilliant. The actual content was not earth-shattering: she would tell me about her week and I did the same, but because she was from another country, everything she said was fresh and different. 

Nobody else lives your life.   

If your brand is you, your content is about your struggles, hopes and thoughts which will spark interest in your readers. Write about the bird-fight outside your window, getting a client’s testimonial and that fantastic new app you are using for your business. You want people to think:  “that’s my struggle.” Where you do something different, they think “oh – that’s interesting.”

If your brand is your team: fantastic! You’ve got even more material. You can set up in-jokes with your co-workers (which eventually includes everyone on your email list), give people sneak peeks at the back office or ‘interview’ someone on your team who your clients have heard about, but never really got to know.

Who does this well? Tarzan Kay, Brian Kurtz and Bobby Hoyt

These writers only open their promotions a few times a year, but they write to me weekly, sharing their stories, hopes and dreams. I hear about their families, their plans and (in Brian’s case) the inner workings that go into his marketing strategies. 

Be an interviewer

This one has to be prepped in advance, but that’s what marketing calendars are for! 

Grab one of your students (or clients), pepper them with questions and let it roll. Ideally, this will showcase how you helped them, but it also helps your tribe who are probably going through the same thought processes as they did, or aspire to be where they are. In every case your interviewee will offer a fresh perspective or advice on something you may not have thought of.

The best bit about interviewing is the flexibility. With their permission, you can record it as a video, a podcast or transcribe it for your blog. Add an intro and a quotable highlight and you are good to go. Who says content has to be static?

Who does this well? Marie Forleo, Ruth Soukup, Brian Clark

All three writers are careful to add value to the interview: it’s not a sales pitch. In some cases, it’s only tangentially connected to their business and they ran the interview because they were interested in the topic: for example business meditation practices or cryptocurrencies. 

Be a researcher

Again, you can’t fly by the seat of your pants on this one, but it’s my favourite type of email to write. It’s also the one your readers are mostly likely to save and reference, if it’s done right. Thankfully, with so many tools on the internet, finding and saving information has never been easier. My go-to is Evernote but you can easily do the same with Pocket, SEMrush and a host of different AI writing software. (That’s an article for another day). 

The trick here to curate your links. Anyone can google “what is xxx,” what makes your content different is the way you screen the information. Each link should add something to the conversation, so that means you need to actually read the webpage before posting. We live in the days of digital overload, so having a trusted expert writing: “this is exactly what you need to know” is extremely helpful. You get added bonus points if you work in a technical field with complex source data and you help break it down for your audience.

Who does this well? Anne Hadley, Joanne Wiebe and everyone at FutureCrunch (a paid newsletter that puts most print newspapers to shame).

In each case, there’s only one or two links per topic and a short sentence explaining what to expect, usually in a friendly or humorous way. Your job here is to save time on the decision-making process for your readers. 

Putting it together…

The most valuable part of your writing process is the invisible part. Allow yourself time to plan, think and edit. Your content and your peace of mind will thank you for it. At the same time, don’t allow perfectionism to drag your emails down. Penpals need to think about that last post time, interviewers need to ‘press record’ and researchers have to resist the endless internet rabbit holes in order to eat and sleep. However, once you have these techniques in your toolbox, you will never write another boring email, again.

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