Does the thought of coming up with a year’s worth of email marketing ideas seem completely overwhelming?
I remember right where I was when I decided to QUIT focusing so much as an email copywriter on building other people (i.e. clients’) email strategies and focus on my own.
But the thought of emailing 52+ times—and having enough to say each week—made my eyebrows hit my hairline.
For this post, I dug into my arsenal of rainy-day ideas for email marketing content to blast out to your subscribers during a non-launch period, when you’re focused on serving your head off.
‘Cause if you’re like me, ya look up and ~alllll~ of a sudden 6 days have passed since the last time you sent out that email newsletter to your list … anddd it’s time again. 🙂 Maybe you’re between big launches, or you’re getting through a huge week of batching and creating content, or you’re just completely covered up in client work.
I think we’ve all learned that we’ve got to algorithm proof our businesses and we can’t just build our businesses on borrowed land, on social media outlets that we don’t own.
If that’s you, I’m going to go ahead and guarantee this post will give you at LEAST 10 weeks of content ideas you can send to your email list: I’m talking through 45 email newsletter content ideas with you and 3 different categories of email marketing ideas to shore up that know/like/trust factor with your email list. Couple these 45 ideas with even *just* ONE launch, where you’re sending about 6-8 weeks worth of pre-launch content before you move into that launch, and voila, there you have it— an entire year’s worth of content ready to go.
Email marketing is *absolutely* worth us doubling down on as creative small business owners and going ALL in. If not, we are missing out. Email is 40 times as effective as social media platforms combined at acquiring new customers (source).
This strategy works best for businesses playing the long game, building a relationship or more newsletter style, this is for you.
Alright, let’s hit it!
Email Marketing Ideas: Batch No. 1 | Serving Focused Emails
Like I said above, I remember exactly where I was—almost 1 full year into my copywriting business—at a peer-led mastermind in Savannah, Georgia with some girlfriends. Criss-cross-apple-sauce style on the floor, I burst into tears realizing I’d spent 11 months in business cranking out email content and sending emails out to other people’s lists … and while 150% neglecting to build or work on serving my small list of subscribers.
I committed right then in January of 2017 to send out 52 emails that year to my list—I’m proud to say I’ve done just that or more every year.
Since then, email’s only CONTINUED to be a lightning fast-medium.
And trust is the biggest currency that you have with your email list.
Every time you send out an email, you’re delivering on that promise that you made to them when they first signed up to hear from you.
I’m reminding you of the speed of emails + the trust factor because about 42% of emails are opened on our phones acording to Kinsta research. And if you’re able to really serve up quick content and get it right to people when they need it, that’s something that can be so impactful as they are getting hundreds of emails a day.
Yes. I chatter ad naseum about funnels, email sequences, and auto-responders oh-my. and email sequences. But fam meeting—hear me on this: do not let the complexity of not having all of those funnels and automation sequences built out hold you back from sending weekly broadcasts.
(p.s. Check out my Perfect Welcome Sequence Template download in The Copy Bar Shop IF that speeds things up for your email marketing canon build-out!)
I’ve seen far too many AW students and clients sometimes struggle with the analysis paralysis of not having everything spinning like a top. << And I’ve struggled with this, too!
One more time for the people in the back: don’t let not having a full autoresponder series built out hold you back from communicating with the people that are already gathered and want to hear from you.
If that’s you, simply remember that there’s SOMEONE out there that doesn’t have everything all perfect, but they’re going ahead and they’re showing up and they’re doing it imperfectly. They’re sending those emails and they’re making more impact (and maybs more moolah, because that Anthro candle for your desk isn’t gonna buy itself) because they’re not afraid to do it scared or imperfectly.
Don’t let that fear of not having everything all perfectly ironed out and smooth hold you back from even sending some of these.
14 Serving-Focused Email Marketing Ideas
- Contest or giveaway
- Weekly hero pieces of content << this is the system I talk about inside Primed to Launch™, putting out your weekly hero piece of content & sending along a newsletter that drives to it
- Tutorial or hack << INSIDE the email (not after the click), give me a tip I can immediately do—use screenshots & steps to tell me how
- Embedded Loom or quick over-my-shoulder << Love this for a casual “hey, I thought you’d want to see this if you were sitting beside me” type email
- Q&A response << Answer a few questions you’ve gotten, like how we all do the ask-me-anything on Instagram
- Freebie round-up << LOVE—here’s an example below of a blog I wrote, that started out as an email. Can you tell your people 5 free things that shouldn’t be free?
- Quick vote (click link A or link B) << Similar to a survey, but just ask them to vote in the email body itself.
- Share an article << What made you think recently? You can shout out a business partner or a friend, but sometimes it’s nice to get an email that isn’t so my business-my business-my business focused.
- Challenge them to do something << Give me a weekend warrior project I can do in under 15 minutes.
- Give a paradigm shift << Give me a new way to look at things.
- Tip the sacred cow—”why I disagree” << Similar to a paradigm shift, I love getting emails like that blow my mind and make me think, oh my gosh, I had never thought of it that way before but they’re right. Take a misconception that I swear is gospel truth, that has to be this way, and come in as the expert and say, “Actually, that’s not true. You’re believing something that is completely wrong, let me show you I have the proof“.
- Round-up remix of your recent or most popular posts
Start serving your list now by sending out these service-focused emails even BEFORE all your automations are in place. I can’t tell you enough how important it is for you to commit to sending out regular broadcasts. Even some of the very best brightest direct response copywriters that I learned from swear by sending out broadcasts EVEN THOUGH you could have automations up and going. That’s my hot take on it. Even if you have a long-term nurture funnel going, sprinkle in your broadcasts.
Email Marketing Ideas: Batch No. 2 | Story-Driven Emails
As I’m writing this, I’m halfway through pregnancy, which means that I wake up every. single. night. around 3:00 a.m. jonseing for a snack.;) What do I peruse as I nom on my Clif bar between my dogs on the couch? My personal inbox.
I’m not alone: According to McKinsey survey, about 91% of people check their email every day. Like I said earlier, almost half of us are looking at it on our phones.
Why am I saying all this???
Because I want you to write to ME, the person up at 3:00 a.m., sitting on the couch, eating a snack, and can’t go back to bed. Just sitting with her dogs and scrolling through email … write to THAT person.
Every email that you send out, whether it is broadcast or automation, is an emotional deposit or a withdrawal in somebody’s life.
Use STORY as a vehicle to tell them why you give a darn.
14 Story-Driven Email Marketing Ideas
- Motivational story << Kick me in the pants with a good anecdote you’ve heard lately, or a life lesson you’ve learned
- What you’re reading or listening to << We’re naturally nosey, tell me some of your picks
- 1 idea or sentence from a book << ONE line from a book can be the hook for an entire email
- A takeaway from a movie or show << Same with your favorite show or a movie … a good movie could give you 3 different hook ideas for an email message if you’re paying attention.
- Tool or resource you love << How are you using this? When did you last use it? What made it helpful?
- Curated content << I’m looking to YOU as the expert, so tell me about some content you’re reading and learning from, or experts YOU trust
- Sneak peek/BTS << Make me feel special and part of your inner circle … what can you show me that you’re NOT posting on Instagram or social media?
- Anniversary or birthday email << Ex. 5 things I learned after 5 years in business
- Your “why” << Your mission statement, etc. Copywriting for Creatives™ students, you’re crafting these, might as well share them at some point!
- Report (income, launch, etc.)
- Mythbusting or stake in the ground type email << Similar to the serving-focused version, but this time, tell me how YOU figured this out … how did you learn this the hard way? Lemme see you’re not perfect.
- Business goals, monthly goals, etc.
- Where you give and why << What giving or philanthropy does your business do (doesn’t have to be your personal giving), and how by supporting you am I in turn helping give back?
- Your core values << I got an email from a business with their core values last year and totally popped it in my swipe file … this is a great one to send around the holidays.
- A mistake + takeaway << Bonus points if you can relate it to what you do—what was a misconception YOU held about your industry, and how have you shifted gears?
- Best advice you’ve gotten lately << OR, best advice you got growing up, starting your business, about your industry, etc.
- Pic from growing up << LOVE this one—lemme feel like I’m seeing a peek of your childhood, then tie it into a takeaway for me or a story
A lot of times I’m either reading a book/watching a show/listening to a sermon and a line will strike me as a killer hook or a story that I can repurpose in an email. SO, at the end of every day, I try to do what I call story banking: unpack 1 story, anecdote, quote, etc. Pop it into a swipe file, and build a record or database of random ideas.
THEN, when you sit down to write that email newsletter, you can nix writer’s block by pulling from your database.
Sometimes stories are hard to come up with on the spot, so you might as well start collecting them.
Take those stories back to my P.A.S.C.A.L. email newsletter copywriting formula to structure your email newsletters.
Two troubleshooting questions that may come up as we get into these ideas:
1️⃣ What frequency should I send emails? Should I send monthly? Should I send weekly? Should I send daily? Typically the people that want to hear from you monthly WANT to hear from you weekly, and maybe a couple of times a week. Offer them a choice: send at a regular pace, but give an opt-out link to only hear from you monthly, too.
2️⃣How long should my emails be? For every person that says, “Can you keep your emails shorter?” there’s gonna be 10 people that say, “I LOVE how I feel like you’re writing to me as a friend”. My advice? Alternate. Send short emails, send long ones, and test them.
(Psst— I have a video, where I talk about how to never run out of things to say in all of your content. So that may help you out as well—you can watch that here.)
Email Marketing Ideas: Batch No. 3 | Soft Sale Emails
I’m a spring chicken at the whole financial investing game, but here’s what I DO know: If I can invest a dollar into something and get $42 back, I’m gonna do that.
Email is absolutely worth spending on. “With the ROI of up to 4400% and $44 for every $1 spent, email marketing magnetizes potential customers,” according to Accetrix.
These aren’t launch emails—or even pre-launch emails—but email broadcasts that gently nudge and remind subscribers that you’re an expert and provide a product or service … aaaand people pay you cash-money for it.
Be top of mind by reminding them what you do WITHOUT asking for the sale in the same breath.
14 Soft Sale Email Marketing Ideas
- Reviews or testimonials << Show me some recent fridge art and let me get excited that by sticking around you, I could have this same experience
- Full on, deep-dive case studies << Beef it up, give me a juicy case study that’s so good I want to write down 3 takeaways that I can DIY or implement
- Current projects & learnings/takeaways << What’s on your desk or project list right now? What are you learning from it?
- Discount code or flash sale
- Other platforms you’re on << Push me to follow you somewhere else on the internet.
- Press piece + ask to share
- News from inside your business
- “Newsjacking” << Correlate something going on in the world with your business (ex. 5 copywriting takeaways from Super Bowl commercials)
- Product or offer update << What did you fix under the hood lately, and how will it benefit me … segment out for purchasers and non-purchasers, duh
- A recap of your past year in business
- A recap of a recent launch<< LOVED this email I got from Cultivate What Matters last year!
- Push to a waitlist/early bird announcement << Breadcrumb in what you’ve got coming down the pipeline
- Request a review + give something to say thank you
- Behind-the-scenes of your process << Again, we’re naturally nosey … this can soft-sell/seed in the idea that MAYBE I could purchase from you one day
Okay, that’s it, I hope you screenshotted your way through that. 😉
Now you have an entire year’s worth of email newsletter content ideas to send out to your list when you’re not in launch—do you at least have 10 ideas??? Comment below if you do—that was my hope!
Need support figuring out how to structure the copy of those emails? Read up on my go-to email newsletter copywriting template in this post.
And don’t forget, look down below. I have a swipe file of 42 different email subject line templates that you can use, mix and match with these, and then hopefully crank out those email broadcasts a lot faster.
Here’s to working from a place of more rest, let’s hustle. 🥂
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