<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=658263587654409&ev=PageView&noscript=1" /> Blog | Page 2 of 35 | Blog from Ashlyn Carter | Launch Expert & Copywriter for Creatives
5 email metrics to track-ashlyn writes blog

True life: I’m an email marketing copywriter, which means I love digital marketing, but I also am obsessed with my privacy and my data online—it’s a weird life. 😉 Apple and iOS have some privacy updates that are coming down the pipeline, which, yay, when we have our consumer hat on, but *cringe* for our email metrics. These changes will directly affect the email metrics that you’re measuring in your creative small business, as you use email marketing. Soooo let’s talk about it.

5 Email Metrics You NEED to Track- Ashlyn Writes Blog

Now when you first hop in and look at your email marketing analytics, you may get a *little* bit overwhelmed with all of the geeky vocab flying around in there, but I wanna break it down and make it as simple as possible for you to track and figure out what to look at. I want to set you up so that your email marketing is on track for success.

By the end of this post, you’ll learn what email marketing metrics actually matter and the ones that I don’t really care about. Plus, since we are on the cusp of that new iOS update, I’m gonna give you my opinion on what things to actually change up and how you can prep best for it.

So today we are talking through these 5 email metrics:

  1. Open rate (explain what open rate means)
  2. Click through rate
  3. Unsubscribe rate
  4. Conversion rate
  5. List growth rate

If you’re working through this and  you want to grab some email subject line swipe files, don’t forget to click here or down below for a link to my 42 Plug-And-Play Email Subject Line Templates!⬇️⬇️

Email Metric No. 1| Open Rate

Come out of the gate here and give me the big secret. I’ve talked about this in some other videos, you want to make your subject line, which is what your open rate is kind of dependent on— you want to make that obsolete. Instead, I am far more concerned about how I and how my copywriting clients can build that know, like, trust factor so much that when a reader sees your name in the inbox, it’s no question, they absolutely click open—they want to hear from YOU.

Now, here’s why that matters more than ever. Apple has recently unveiled some of the features that the iOS 15 update will have. For many of us working here in the digital marketing and email marketing space, some of these features are a little bit, *shall we say* not so fabulous. Like I said, I love privacy as a consumer, but it’s gonna hurt the way we track email metrics and that’s okay, we just have to prep for it.

As it is, open rate is a super inaccurate email metric. Think about things like unroll.me. If you use a tool like that, that screws things up because essentially to track an open rate, here’s what happens. An email service provider embeds an invisible pixel in each email. And that email goes out if the email is opened and the image is displayed, tracking information to sit back and recorded as an open, sounds great in theory, but it’s simply not reliable.

5 Email Metrics You NEED to Track-ashlyn writes blog

From far away, it’s okay. But up close, it’s a big, old mess.

I’m telling you all this because I don’t want you to freak out so much about your open rate. We’re gonna get into what you actually should worry so much about later on. If email open rates were that imperative for us to look at in the future.

<< Related:45 Swipeable Email Marketing Ideas Your Subscribers Will LOVE >>

Now with this update, according to tactical.co, with this feature, you are not gonna be able to tell what recipients are using iOS 15 devices when they open the emails and open rates are important for tracking the success in most email marketing campaigns, at least a lot of us look at it that way. Furthermore, this is my favorite part of the article, it’s the metric that most marketers use when cleaning your lists. I mean, if you’ve cleaned your list before, this is probably something you’ve looked at, who’s actually opening your emails?

How can you prep best for this update? Well, today, go ahead and put it on your calendar for this week or next. I want you to go ahead and clean your list. We’ve talked about how to do that in some of my other videos—this is paramount for you to go ahead and do— you should be cleaning your list regularly anyway.

Email Metric No. 2| Click-through Rate

This is surprise, surprise,  the number of people that after that email is open, click the hyperlink that you have inside your email, where you want people to go.

For example, when I send out my weekly dog-ear newsletter, I include the main link that I want them to go to three different times—that’s the same hyperlink, three times.

I’m gonna put it once above the fold. So for people on mobile devices, it’s there at the ready. I’m usually going to link some sort of either an image or a button. And then I’ll also probably hyperlink an entire sentence.

<< Related:How to Write Better Emails: My PROVEN Email Newsletter Formula >>

That percentage of people who click the link, that forms the click through rate, that is always the metric that I’m way more concerned about than the open rate. While industry standard varies from industry to industry, a whopping 2% is kind of the overall average—that’s something to think about as you’re looking at your metrics.

I harp on it with my team when we’re going through and crafting different campaigns for our copywriting clients. One thing you could always do is remember that each email has one goal, essentially one CTA. Now there’s variance there. I’m gonna change it up sometimes, but overall, I have one goal and one big call to action or a link that I’m driving to in every single email.  Sometimes you’ll send out roundups, but by and large, go with that rule.

5 Email Metrics You NEED to Track-ashlyn writes blog

Another tip, and I talked about this when I did a video all about your subject line, you would think that your subject line has more of an effect on your open rate, but weirdly enough, it actually has more of an effect on your click through rate. 

Another way to say that is your click-through rate can change depending on how powerful and strong your subject line is.

Think about it as when they see your subject line, that is priming them for what they’re gonna see as whatever they should click on in the body of your email—that priming is very important.

A little mathlete note to mention here for you to remember—your open rate and your click through rate are going to naturally decrease as your email list grows. That’s just how math works. That can be helpful to keep in mind as you’re hearing maybe how peers are doing in the industry or those metrics can be different depending on somebody who has 100,000 person list and somebody who has 100 people or 1000 people on their email list.

Go ahead and let me know in the comments below, does that 2% industry standard click-through rate number surprise you or does it make you feel good? Is that a little bit more on track to what you are seeing in your email marketing platform? I’d love to know. 🙂

<< Related A How-To Guide For Tracking Metrics That Matter >>

Email Metric No. 3| Unsubscribe Rate

Hot take here, but I don’t care about this from that much. I’ll tell you in just a sec what I’m more concerned about, but I would always rather, whether it’s social media metrics or email marketing metrics, I would rather have a smaller list of more loyal people who are tuned into what I wanna say and wanna be there and don’t mind me pitching and selling from time to time, than a broad list of people.

<< Related: Write Better Newsletters: 5 Ways to Get People to Read Your Emails >>

I have a friend who logs into her email marketing platform and puts her hand over the unsubscribe number until she gets to where she wants to. I personally look at it, but I don’t worry about it that much, because I’m more concerned about what I’ll tell you in #5.

Bird Box Horror GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY

Okay we’ve talked through these email metrics so far: open rate, click through rate, and unsubscribe rate. The next email metric we’re concerned about is the conversion rate—you knew I was gonna say this one. 😉

Email Metric No. 4| Conversion Rate

This is what happens when they get on the other side of that link that they clicked in your email. Do they actually convert? Do they do what you wanted them to do? Did they go to the shop page and buy the template? Did they click through to the sales page and actually purchase your offer? Did they click through to the reg page and sign up for whatever challenge or webinar hype piece you have going for your launch?

If you follow my Quarterly Champagne Campaign system that I teach inside Prime to Launch, which essentially, is setting up your business to do FOUR big launches a year. Then when you’re in one of those launch seasons, this is when you start to measure for that metric. Your typical weekly newsletter probably isn’t gonna be as concerned about converting because we’re starting to, in those weekly newsletters tackle those objections and start to prime for your offer. We’re not concerned yet about converting to the sale, but when I’m in pre-launch for that hype piece phase, then I’m worried about this.

5 Email Metrics You NEED to Track-ashlyn writes blog

Now in a recent video I walked through and basically gave you a screenshot-able example of what your email funnel could look like for a say, evergreen webinar launch, that may help you. I’ve also talked about conversion rates, borderline ad nauseum in this video, I will link that in the description box.

Here’s my final little soap box moment—watching is a numbers game. I know I’ve said that before here. I’m gonna say it again. I tend to see students in clients be a little surprised that conversion rates are just by and large, lower than maybe what they were expecting. And that’s like most math, most numbers. That’s not for us to judge. It’s just something for us to keep in mind as we build our lists. As we grow for our traffic, leading into a pre-launch for a launch phase, you got to do that backwards math and figure out if this is the goal that you wanna sell, how much traffic do we need to go into that funnel?

Email Metric No. 5| List Growth Rate

All right, and the last email metric is number five, list growth rate. Okay, I told you I’m not as concerned about the unsubscribes. What I am concerned about is this though, this is essentially the over-under of how much our email list grew in a single week, new subscribers minus the unsubscribers or the balances. What you wanna track here is your email list growth and attrition, either a week over week or a month over month, quarter over quarter, basically, are you adding more email addresses every single month than you lose through your unsubscribes and your hard bounces.

You want to make sure you’re tracking all of these email metrics when it comes to your email list.

I want you to get ready for that iOS update. And I want you to just map these things at least quarterly in your business. Again, that’s open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribes conversion rate and the overall list growth rate. These provides such valuable information, and they’re gonna help guide you in the direction that you need to go for your email marketing fabulousness in your business.

If you’ve got any questions about the emal metrics I covered today, as always, make sure that you leave them in the comments below and be sure to check out the video —I’m showing you all about how to craft a sales and a launch sequence for the upcoming, big marketing campaign you’ve got in your creative business. Here’s to working from a place of more rest, less hustle, and I’ll see you in the next one.

⬇️ Don’t forget to click here or down below to grab your FREEBIE:  my 42 Plug-And-Play Email Subject Line Templates! ⬇️



5 Email Metrics You NEED to Track- Ashlyn Writes Blog

Reading Time: 9 Minutes True life: I’m an email marketing copywriter, which means I love digital marketing, but I also am obsessed with my privacy and my data online—it’s a weird life. 😉 Apple and iOS have some privacy updates that are coming down the pipeline, which, yay, when we have our consumer hat on, but *cringe* for our […]

Let’s talk about how to write emails for your next big launch. If you’ve ever cracked your knuckles and prepped to write a launch email sequence for your business’ next offer, be that a group coaching program, a new collection, a brand new course you just dreamed up, a workshop, a flash sale, whatever it is, and you’ve thought, okay, exactly how does this email copywriting thing go for my launch???

Well then, you’re in the right place, get your Lisa Frank school supplies ready, that’s exactly what I’m covering today.

By the end of this post you’ll learn:

  1. How to quickly and easily get started writing your launch email sequence.
  2. Exactly WHAT content ideas to cover in that launch email sequence.
  3. The Anatomy of a Launch

With that, let’s dive into your launch email copywriting strategy.

⬇️ Don’t forget to click here or down below to grab my FREE 42 Email Subject Lines Swipe File download! ⬇️

Email Subject Line Freebie Download

No. 1| How to Quickly & Easily Start Writing Your Launch Email Sequence.

Ok, I want to show you what landed in our email inbox recently—girlfriend had a 70K+ launch of her first launch of a product using our templates.We are going to walk through some of the things that we talked through on our coaching calls because this is what I want for you as well!

First up, how to get started writing your launch email sequence.

Okay, so this is something that I didn’t realize I do as a conversion copywriter until I had done multiple day rates and realized I was starting here every single time. I realized to expedite the whole process of a launch copywriting strategy, I would actually start the entire launch messaging process on the sales page, and on the sales page, I would start about a half to one third down on the page where I’m introducing the offer.

(By the way, I did a recent video where I talk through day rates, how I structure them, how I conduct a VIP day rate. Whether you’re a copywriter or whatever you do in your business, you may find that helpful. )

If you are familiar with my Sweet 16 method which, again, I’ve discussed in multiple videos, boom, there you go, I want you to start at that point in the page.

I tell anybody who’s writing their own messaging for a launch campaign or a promo period to start with actually writing ABOUT the offer because it forces you to do a few things—>

  • You have to get ultra-specific on what the product is, how it’s packaged, what those features and benefits are, etc
  • Then when you zoom back to write all the persuasive copy, think all of the copy that’s at the top of that services page or that sales page or maybe even on the home page of your website. I promise you that those desires, the pain points, the thing that you’re reminding them that they really want is so much easier to write when you have an ultra firm grasp of the thing itself, you’ve been living and breathing what the product is. 

So how do you kick off writing your launch emails? You start by writing the offer page first. 

Also, listen, grifters gonna grift. This helps you get back to basics and rework through why—especially if you’re the one that created this—why you created it, what it is, the results it’s gotten people.

I promise you, once you steep in the testimonials and the proof points of people that have been through this experience, or they have very kind words to say about whatever it is you’re offering, it’s a lot easier to turn around and sell that when you know that the product and the proof behind it is honest.

how to write launch emails—ashlyn writes

Here’s another pro copywriting tip: I spend about an hour to an hour and a half on every launch email that I’m writing, when I’m writing from scratch for a new launch campaign. That customer from earlier said that that was really helpful for her to hear that’s about how long I spend on emails, so I’m telling that to you as well. She actually used some templates from our shop and then she set a timer, told herself she could only spend an hour to an hour and a half zhuzhing each launch email and kind of writing it with her style and her brand voice.

Now, this is not an infomercial, but I do always wanna make things easier for you. I feel very firmly and strongly in the fact that you should not hire out all of the messaging components of a launch your first time out of the gate because you’re still trying to test proof of product. So if that’s you, be sure to check out the shop, I’ve got a sales page template in there, I’ve got some launch email templates for you to grab and go with because it is very paramount that you spend some time digging in and making sure that you understand this product like the back of your hand. You’re trying to get some lift off here, and then from there, once you’ve got the funds to invest back in the funnel because you’ve seen the proof of the product, you can do that. You can hire out copywriting if that makes it easier for you—that’s just my hot take.;)

<< Related: How to Build Your Email List BEFORE You Launch >>

Here’s your takeaway tip—make sure BEFORE you write any emails for this promo period in your business that you’re spending time really making sure you understand what I call the onlyness factor, the UVP, the USP of this offer. Again, maybe it’s a new collection. Maybe it’s a new course, a mastermind, or a workshop. I want you to drill down and make sure that you’re able to tell me WHY you’re offering this and WHY it’s different from anything else out there.

Okay, now I’ve covered how to quickly and easily get started writing the entire launch email sequence. Let’s talk about what you actually say in those launch emails—the content ideas!

No. 2| How long should it be? Let’s talk through the Anatomy of a Launch Campaign.

I get asked a lot—”how many emails do you have after the webinar or the challenge or whatever it is??”—that’s what we’re gonna cover here in this point. I’m introducing to you the Anatomy of a Launch Email Sequence. 

Okay, if you’ve been around here for a second you’ve heard me say this before, but “launch” is just a sexy word for a marketing promo period, a campaign, a vehicle that you’re using to make some noise, make a big stink about something that you have in your business.

The way I see it, you should have about four big ones of these every year—past that, it gets exhausting.

These big ones, you’re going to choose a hype piece to be the vehicle to get that message out into the world.

Maybe it’s a webinar, a challenge, a flash sale, an in-person launch party. It’s some sort of communications thing that you can use to call people to that, and at the actual hype piece, you get to explain your offer, explain who it’s a fit for and who it’s not, and then let people decide.

<< Related: My Pre-Launch Strategy: What You Need to Have a Successful Launch  >>

After that precipice comes the falling action.  Here in the architecture or the choreography of a launch is that falling action, and this is gonna be the sales sequence. The way that I think about it, if you have to rewrite your sales sequence for every single time you launch this same thing, you’re doing it wrong because this needs to be a sustainable piece of messaging that you can reuse over time. (I’m getting into that more later.)

I wanna show you the basic anatomy of a launch campaign because I know I just threw a word salad at you. If you’re visual like me, hopefully, looking at it like this will help. We draft an email map for every launch client that we have, it’s just helpful for me to see the visuals of it.

You can take the girl out of ballet, you can’t take the ballet out of the girl, and the choreography of an entire launch is just so cool to me. So I wanna share this with you, so hopefully, you can see it.

how to write launch emails—ashlyn writes anatomy of a launch

Here’s how this breaks down:

  • Pre-launch emails that are generating and building buzz.
  • You’ve got your hype piece invitation sequence.
  • Hype piece fulfillment, delivery emails. Again, it kind of depends on what you’re using as that noisemaker for this launch.
  • Then you have the sales sequence and then you have the cart close sequence. Maybe you’re getting fancy and adding on a downsell, but that is the basic choreography of a launch funnel.

Here’s a little mockup that you could use if you’re using this for, say, an evergreen, or I think the easier word to say these days is like an on-demand webinar, I don’t have to wait for it, I can just watch it right away. Here is how I would structure that.

how to write launch emails—ashlyn writes anatomy of a launch

Okay, and again, my hot take here— I will believe this until convinced otherwise— I’ve written a whole dang lot of launches in my day, but that pre-launch sequence and then the sales sequence after that, those messages don’t need to change all that much.

The hype piece may change because, again, you may be doing something live, you may be changing that up each time, but that falling action, the sales sequence doesn’t change all that much from launch to launch. That is why I talk about it soooooo much—I *really* believe in sustainable marketing. The funnel should be able to expand and contract depending on the energy that you have to put into this offer, into this promo campaign. Maybe you’re in a period of business or life where you can’t throw everything into it, and so you’re backing off a little bit, but that bottom part of the sequence doesn’t need to be able to change all that much.

<< Related: 96 Copywriting Power Words To Increase Conversions on Your Sales Page >>

Let me throw you some examples of these so you can see it. Dustin and Nicole Hill are some fantastic clients of ours. I have love that they were able to take the email launch sequence that we wrote for their brand new course that they launched, they got it out the door once, used the same copy, reworked it very ever so slightly, used it again for a second launch. And finally, this third launch, we’re going in and updating that and writing some of the things from scratch because they’re tired, we’ve used them over and over, but they got two good launches out of that one fantastic sequence. That’s what I’m talking about.👏👏

launch email example

We have another client, her name is Emily, and she’s getting one big launch out. She knows the proof of product is there, she’s beta tested it, she gets great results from it. So now she’s taking the launch copy that we write for her and she’s turing it into an evergreen funnel after that. Again, sustainable marketing is what I wanted to pinpoint there.

Finally, we have a client named Suzy, her business is How to Handletter. What she’s doing is taking an email sequence that we’ve plugged in for her and she’s going to live launch it sometimes and she’s also gonna pull it off and evergreen it, but she’s gonna take the same bones of that email map and that structure, the anatomy of a launch I showed you.

I hope that makes sense, I just want you to kind of wrap your head around every single time you launch something and put it out there, you shouldn’t have to write brand new emails from scratch every single time. Screenshot this, I want you to see that anatomy one more time and about how many emails would go into each portion of the whole email map.

No. 3 | Launch Email Copywriting Strategy

Okay, we covered how to quickly and easily get started and where you even need to start to write your launch emails. Next up, we talked about what content should go into the launch emails—you saw some examples of those. Now it’s time to talk about your *actual* launch email copywriting strategy.

Okay, like anything in our small businesses, you wanna think about how realistic it is for you, the CEO, to actually outsource this. Or if this is something you need to marinate in and understand so you’re good enough to be dangerous before you hand it off to someone else. As a copywriter, I am definitely 150 million %% of the bent that you need to be able to make back your investment in me before you invest in me—I don’t feel comfortable taking your money otherwise.

So maybe for your first few launches, you’re using some of the tips I’m giving you, some templates, like the ones we have in our shop, whatever. You’re trying to piece together and get this off the ground so you have enough to invest back into the launch AFTER you have that proof of product and you understand that things are firing as it should be.

Think back to that testimonial I showed you of Abby at the beginning of this post, that’s what I want for you as well.

One last pro tip for you here: Don’t forget an abandoned cart sequence! We actually just added this to the shop because I think that it’s not your mama’s cart abandoned sequence anymore out there. Anybody else used to add something to their cart because you knew in like an hour, two hours, you would get a 10% or 15% off email coupon code—just me?? That’s still a thing, but I also want you to think about a cart abandoned sequence in your launch campaign—it’s something to add in, it can add a little something special.

<< Related: Planning to Launch Soon? Here&#8217;s What You NEED to Know >>

Okay, now you know exactly how to get started crafting your email launch campaign sequence. But what about the long-form work with me or services page that that promo period may be driving to? I’ve got a how-to video all about writing copy for that page teed up for you next so you can watch that. The Copy Bar is there for you if you need some of these templates plug and play to get your next launch off the ground. I’m so excited to see what you put out there.

Here’s to working from a place of more rest, less hustle, and I’ll see you in the next one!

⬇️ Don’t forget to click here or down below to grab my FREE 42 Email Subject Lines Swipe File download! ⬇️

Email Subject Line Freebie Download



how to write launch emails—ashlyn writes anatomy of a launch

Reading Time: 10 Minutes Let’s talk about how to write emails for your next big launch. If you’ve ever cracked your knuckles and prepped to write a launch email sequence for your business’ next offer, be that a group coaching program, a new collection, a brand new course you just dreamed up, a workshop, a flash sale, whatever it […]

All the words to describe your “why” that can’t just live tucked on a shelf somewhere in your brain—they need to go on paper, as part of the “mood board” for your words.

^^ That’s your brand positioning messaging, and a big part of that? Your core values.

Let’s better articulate ~your why~ into words by defining core values, sound good?

How to write your core values | Ashlyn Writes

You focus a lot on your “branding” on the visuals—logo, color palette, mood board …

… all important, as visuals are the medium that relay up to 90% of messages to our brain.

BUT, do you have a mood board for the WORDS you’re using to market your business?

I work with thousands of creative small business owners. And out of the gate, I notice that most of us haven’t defined this on paper, for many different reasons … but chiefly because we start out as a team of one and it feel like we don’t need to … by the time hiring a VA, a this-and-that manager, a this-and-that strategist starts … we’re too busy doing the work of the freak show (I say that with so much love) that entrepreneurship is, that writing brand messaging & core values is—meh—at the bottom of the lsit.

In this post, I’m unpacking this part of the brand message you need to have in place before you write conversion copy for your website.

You’ll learn:

  • What exactly the whole “brand positioning” thing IS
  • 6 examples of core values from other businesses
  • 5 steps to writing your own core values
  • 7 things to make sure your core values are *not*


As you inch closer to writing your own website words, you may need today’s freebie to help you out a bit. Click below to grab your Google Docs Website Copywriting mini-template!


What are core values?

Like I said above, core values are part of a bigger piece of messaging—your brand positioning.

And when you have core values that align and drive your business (whether it’s just you or a tiny team), things are CLEAR.

But when you don’t?

Well … that’ll become clear, too. 😜

Your core values are a small set of timeless guiding principles you’ll use to be the north star as you grow, make decisions, build a culture (even if you’re just a solopreneur) and hire/choose which contractors to outsource to.


You cannot just Harry Potter-wand ~conjure~ your core values—you can only discover the ones that are already there.

In Traction, Gino Wickman says “core values already exist within your organization—they’ve just been lost in the day to day chaos.”

“Core Values already exist within your organization-they've just been lost in the day to day chaos.” -Gino Wickman Click To Tweet

Another way to say it?

Core values are simply “the way we do things around here.”

To pull another quote, Jim Collins says “Executives often ask me, ‘How do we get people to share our core values?’ You don’t. Instead, the task is to find people who are already predisposed to sharing your core values. You must attract and then retain these people and let those who aren’t predisposed to sharing your core values go elsewhere.”

So that’s a relief, yeah? You already have them floating around!

It’s now your job to catch them … and put them on paper.

Examples of Core Values

I pulled a round-up from some other businesses to give you a start of how your core values may look.

For the record, I like memorizeable things. Thus, 5 core values is what *my* opinion is should be your max. <<< Maybe I just suck at memorization (TBH, I kinda do), but if you’re not able to spout them out quickly, woof. That’s the point.

Don’t have more core values than you can memorize.

Atlanta Tech Village’s core values:

 Atlanta Tech Village

Jackson Spalding’s core values (note: this is the full-service communications firm I worked for and adored—we each had a framed copy of the values on our desk, which I LOVED!)

Jackson Spalding

Barnes & Noble Booksellers core values:

Customer Service

American Express’s core values:

Basecamp’s core values:

Whole Food’s core values:

Selling the highest quality natural and organic products available
Satisfying and delighting our customers
Supporting team member excellence and happiness
Creating wealth through profits and growth
Caring about our communities and our environment
Creating ongoing win-win partnerships with our suppliers
Promoting the health of our stakeholders through healthy eating education

4 Steps to Writing Your Own Core Values

Step  01: Start with “why,” as they say.

First, be dedicated to the concept of starting with ~why~ … it’s  concept I mentioned early: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Watch Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” TEDTalk. I know it’s in the creativepreneur starter kit, but watch it once again.

How to write your core values for your small business | Ashlyn Writes

Just like we said at the beginning, the important thing to realize is that YOUR CORE VALUES ARE ALREADY THERE, we just have to name them.

Step 02: Have a “values storm” session.

Next, pull out a blank sheet of paper and have a “values storm” brainstorm session so to speak. Set a timer for 5 minutes, and pull out a piece of paper. Until the timer dings, WRITE & answer these questions (psst—if you have a team, make everyone do this separately. You’ll have different answers, but that’s the point):

  • What values do you personally cling to? Believe in firmly?
  • Why did you decide to go into business—what did you want to change?
  • What’s ONE value you want every team hire (or contractor you look to for outsourcing) to share?
  • What’s something your business would NEVER do?
  • What ticks you the heck off?
  • ^^^ And related to that, what’s the deeper meaning behind why that makes you angry?

Didya fill up that blank page?

Side note: If you’ve already served clients and customers for a while, when you start to think about how to write core values for your business, it may be helpful to first think about what comes out MOST boldly during dire straights or sticky client situations. i.e. When you hit bumpy waters serving clients and customers, WHY did that get bumpy? What values were at stake??

“The brand’s values should be so strong and so clear … that behavior on social media that doesn’t reflect the brand would be completely out of character,” one of my favorite digital media experts Kevin Sandlin says.

So, what are the guns you stick to?

Step 03: Vet other sources.

Ok, we ransacked your brain for values nuggets.

And your team, if you have one.

Now, let’s flesh out your own ideas with supporting evidence that rings true for you.

Here’s how you can do that:

First, look through your Pinterest feed. Are there quotes that hit ya hard stuck on a Pinterest board of quotes? Jot those down.


Next, what about your saved Instagram posts? Your screenshot folder in your iPhone (or wherever you corral memorable quips)?

Third, Gino Wickman recommends naming 3 people you admire & jotting down characteristics they embody.

I freaking love this.



If you have a team, think about 3 members of your team. But if you’re riding solo, think about those you emulate: What leadership traits do your mentors or coaches have? They’re psuedo extended team members, paid or not, and you can use them as a reference point.

Finally, let’s look at personality tests. Beyond Buzzfeed, have you ever had one you were like, FRICK YES, THAT IS SO ME? I definitely have. 😉 So, let’s vet those for ideas: Be it Strengths Finder (my favorite!), Myers-Briggs, or even the Ashlyn Writes “What’s Your Selling Style” quiz (was that shameless enough for you?), if there’s a test that’s been particularly helpful for your personal development, grab your results and see what some of your leadership traits are. Phrases there can make great core values.

Step 04: Sore into buckets, and trim down to as many as you can memorize.

When we’re working with students inside Copywriting for Creatives, the next step I recommend is we sort into buckets. Your core values are SOMEWHERE in this long list you created in steps 1-3.

So, start to piece bits and pieces together. String phrases into words. Combine things that are alike. Strike through stuff that’s good, but not great

Which values are similar-ish enough that you can group them together?

Pull the BEST way to say that out as the bucket name (which will likely become the core value).

Then, trim your ideas down to a list you can memorize. There’s no set number … but like I said above, 5 is a good place to park. 

Gut check this final list you have: are they clear, bite-size, and easily understood? Memorable? Like, literally, can you memorize them (if not, REWORK them)?

Sleep on this initial draft for a week or so, tweak, and put them on a sticky note near your laptop. Something may come up you’ve forgotten, or a certain work situation will remind you of a value so deep down in your being you forgot to list it.

Taking a page from Einstein’s “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” quote, mine are fairly close to how I operate with personal core values—that may be helpful too, if you’re a creative entrepreneur.

Finally, remember this: if your values only live on paper, it’s just an out-of-touch wish list.

“Executives spend too much time drafting, wordsmithing, and redrafting vision statements, mission statements, values statements, purpose statements, aspiration statements, and so on.

They spend nowhere near enough time trying to align their organizations with the values and visions already in place.”

– Jim Collins

Now you can use your core values to

  • Attract the right customers/clients, contractors, & teammates
  • Train anyone you’re outsourcing to or hiring
  • Review (and or hire/let go) anyone on your team

What is one core value YOU would have in your creative small business? Tell me in the comments below!

How to write your core values for your small business | Ashlyn Writes

Reading Time: 7 Minutes

Core values may be my very favorite part of the branding process! They’re the canvas for all the brand painting you’ll do. But how do you pull them together, and what do they look like? Taking a page from Einstein’s “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” quote, mine are easy-peasy, and I’d love to teach you five steps to write your own.

Get a front-row seat to sales copy tips & hacks I’m applying to write first-rate/top-shelf funnels for clients, what’s on my desk (and in my earbuds), and what lessons I’ve learned … sometimes the hard way. Hope you’re ok that I’m a little more personal here than I am in social media land. 😜

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