I’ve been an independent content writer and strategist for more than 15 years, but I didn’t start building an email list until about two years ago. For more than 12 years, I went without a list and without a reliable way to reach my target audience. That’s not to say I didn’t post to LinkedIn and Twitter because I did (and still do), but when I do that, I’m relying on a third party channel to get my message out. By collecting email addresses and building a list, I I don't have to depend on anyone else's algorithm and can end up in my audience's inbox when I want to. That’s powerful.
So I send a weekly email every Tuesday. Here are 5 reasons why:
I’ve debated with clients, colleagues and friends about the preferred frequency rate of emailing your list. Some think once a quarter is sufficient, while others think once a month. That’s fine if that frequency falls in line with their goals.
For me, I want people to remember me. Showing up in their inbox once per week is a great way to subtly say, “Hi, I’m here.” By sending my email every Tuesday morning, my audience sees my name, and when they need the services I offer, the hope is they'll think of me because I'll be top of mind.
I know people’s inboxes are inundated with emails. According to research, the average office worker receives around 121 emails per day, which means in an eight-hour day, they’re receiving a little more than 15 emails per hour. That’s a lot.
But that’s also motivation to keep what I share in my emails short, scannable and valuable. Each week, a large percentage of my list opens my email (THANK YOU), and I plan to keep it that way by providing information they can use.
Each email address on my list is more than that; they are a person who chose to hear from me on a regular basis and for that I am grateful.
And I don’t take it for granted. Anyone can opt out at any time for any reason very easily. So I strive to create a relationship with every one of my readers.
First, when someone subscribes to my list, they receive an email asking them to share any challenges they have with creating content, or to send me any questions they have. This is a great way to start a conversation.
Then, because I know time is valuable, every weekly email is sent in the same format at the same time (11:15 am CT), so my readers know what to expect and when; it's familiar to them. And finally, at the end of every email, I ask for questions or ideas for future emails. The point is, I want to know what’s on my readers’ minds when it comes to their content.
Each week, my email discusses 3…3 tips, reasons, benefits, questions, ideas, problems, solutions, challenges…related to content creation. Often, the topic comes from readers who reach out to me or answer the question I ask them in the welcome email they receive after subscribing (see above).
My goal is for my audience to be able to relate to what the weekly topic is and provide insight and value they can use right away.
I’m not going to lie; I’m always interested in growing my list. Creating content consistently for my current audience is one way to grow it; and if my audience finds the content valuable, they’re more likely to share it and encourage others to subscribe.
So what about you? Do you have a regular email that you send your list, and if so, how frequent do you email them? And if you don't, there's no shame but I suggest you start thinking about building a list so you can reach your audience in your way and on your terms instead of depending on an algorithm.