I think it’s a natural human condition to be curious. As a blogger, I’m sure you have often been curious about methods and processes that other bloggers use to accomplish their goals and build their blogs. This natural curiosity is exactly what led me to create an awesome new monthly feature here on the blog called #HowSheEmails.
Each month, I’ll take you inside the mind of a successful blogger who is using email marketing to do amazing things for their brand. One thing I’ve realized in my years of blogging is that the more we learn, the more we realize is still to be learned. Even if your email game is strong, I truly believe we can always learn new tips and get new ideas from the way other people do things.
To kick off this awesome monthly feature, I’ve invited my friend Kayse Pratt from The Only Hope I’ve Got to tell us about her email marketing strategy, and she did not disappoint!
I have been an email subscriber to Kayse’s newsletter for a long time, and I can honestly say that I open every single one because there is always something useful or inspiring inside. In this interview, Kayse shares her email style, how she uses her newsletter to sell without being sleazy, and how she has created a community through her newsletters.
I hope you’ll be inspired and gain some insights that you can apply to your own email marketing strategy, and be sure to sign up for Kayse’s newsletter using the links at the bottom of this post!
Tell us about your blog, and how long you have used email to communicate with your readers.
I write at The Only Hope I’ve Got, sharing encouragement and practical resources for motherhood. We’ve got a fun community of moms (and some grandmas!) who aren’t afraid to be honest, pray for each other, and share the crazy stories. I love my readers!! I’ve been using email to communicate with them for about two years. I launched my email list at the end of 2012.
You have a knack for writing your emails in such a way that it feels as if you are writing just to me, which I love. Is this intentional? And has it always been that way, or did you develop a “style” over time?
Thank you! This is definitely intentional, but that’s just because it’s me. My writing style is very conversational – I write like I speak. And I write & speak like I’d want someone to talk to me – inclusive, welcoming, relaxed, and (hopefully) a little bit funny. I don’t sugarcoat things, and I tend to overshare, but just like in real life, I try to keep my perspective in check with what the Bible says is true, and pay attention to how God is working through the situations in my life (which is mainly what I write about).
I would say that YES, my writing has grown and developed over time, and I’ve honed in on my own writing voice, but I’ve always written in this style – it’s just the way I naturally write.
How much time would you say you spend, on average, putting each newsletter together? Can you walk us through your process?
A newsletter probably takes me about an hour. I always start with the note to my readers, which is usually some story from my personal life. (And usually longer than a note!) My goal with my newsletters is to share a little more of myself with my readers, and also get to know them a little better. I end almost every newsletter with a question, and an invitation to respond, so I get a lot of emails with answers and conversations. (Which I love!!!)
After the note, I have a section where I share deals & discounts. I focus on 1-2 affiliate products that are on sale or holding some kind of special – something of significant value that I already love, and can offer my readers at a discounted rate. I don’t promote things just to make money; I’m focused on providing my readers with something valuable. If it doesn’t apply to their lives, it’s not worth sharing.
In my last section, I include either a few of my latest posts, or a few posts that apply to that season (Christmas, Valentines Day, etc.). I have started only sharing the photos to these posts, and linking them through. So far, this is working well to help drive traffic from the newsletter to the blog.
After everything is written and proofed, I schedule the newsletter. Honestly, I’ve been pretty sporadic about it in the past year, but this year I’m sending one a week, on Saturdays. I almost always let MailChimp optimize the send time, because they know when is the best time to secure the most opens. I love that about MailChimp!
You’re a MailChimp girl like me. Do you feel MailChimp is easy to navigate and understand? What made you decide to go with MailChimp, and do you plan to stick with them for now?
I love MailChimp! They are pricey (for my size list), but worth it. So far, I’ve been VERY happy with them. I tried MadMimi for about five minutes, but the MailChimp interface and options just made way more sense to me. I do feel like it’s easy to navigate and understand, and they have a lot of videos you can watch if you need help with something. I am definitely sticking with them for now, but ConvertKit is on my radar.
I’ve heard so many good things about ConvertKit lately, and I like the fact that it seamlessly integrates with LeadPages*. I am not sure on pricing there, but what I’ve heard from other blogging friends is that it’s pretty comparable in price, but with even more options and analytics. Once I get a few more things organized for this year, I’m going to seriously look into it. For now, MailChimp is my buddy.
*Editor’s note: MailChimp also integrates seamlessly with LeadPages. Learn how HERE.
What advice would you give to someone on the fence about starting a newsletter for their blog?
DO IT!!! My email list is the heartbeat of my online ministry. Those are the people who are dedicated readers, with like minds and similar life-stages. For that reason, I can best encourage them and provide resources that simplify their lives, BECAUSE I KNOW THEM. With affiliate programs and through developing my own products, sharing these resources provides an income for my family as well. There is no downside to cultivating an email list. It’s a no-brainer.
You have several frequency options for your readers to choose from. Tell us about them and how you determined this frequency.
Oh, I just wanted a little something for everyone. I offer daily blog posts (which is actually 2-3 times a week, because that’s how often I write), a weekly digest, and a monthly newsletter. This is actually changing though.
I think I may do away with the weekly digest, since I’m moving to a weekly newsletter. It would offer the same things. And with the weekly digest, people aren’t getting time-sensitive posts in time. For example, last week I posted on Monday about it being the last day to enroll in my course at the discounted price, and the “weekly digest only” people didn’t get that email till Friday. By then it was too late, so they missed out. So, this year I think I will just simplify to either daily posts, or weekly newsletter, or both.
You do a great job of selling without being sleazy through your newsletters, whether it’s affiliate links, essential oils, or your own books. What tips can you share to help other bloggers do the same?
Thank you! I’m so glad to hear you say that! There’s always that one person who says “you sell too much!”, but I honestly only share things I’m super passionate about, and that I think others will love as much as I do. These are things I’d definitely tell my real-life friends about (and I do!), so I share them through my newsletter, too.
That would be the best tip I have for anyone who is looking to draw an income through their newsletter, be it through sharing affiliate links, original products, or direct sales. Don’t treat it like something you’re selling – think of it (and write about it!) as something awesome that you’re sharing with your friends. If you were talking to a friend in real life, you’d tell them why you needed it, what you love about it, and how it’s changed your life. And you’d be EXCITED!! Especially if there’s a sale or discount involved. (I’d also remind you to keep using your own voice when you’re writing about a product. So many people switch over to sales-y language when they share a product, and that’s not going to fool anybody. I don’t like being “sold” to, and I know my readers don’t either. So I don’t sell, I share in my own voice.) If you’re excited, they will be excited. Remember – these aren’t customers at a used car lot, they are loyal readers and real people. Treat them with the respect they deserve!
Thank you so much Kayse for sharing so much valuable information with us about your email marketing strategy!
- Write & speak like you want to be spoken to. Use your natural voice, and allow your writing style to naturally improve over time.
- Have a goal & a general outline for your newsletters & spend time putting it all together.
- Use the email platform that works best for you, regardless of what anyone else is using. Don’t be afraid to try out different platforms.
- “There is no downside to cultivating an email list. It’s a no-brainer.” If you are on the fence about starting an email list, in the words of Kayse, “DO IT!!!”
- Have a consistent frequency, but be willing to review & make changes as necessary.
- When selling through email, only share products, services & deals that you believe in and would share with your close friends. If you’re excited, your readers will be excited.
Connect With Kayse
Kayse is the wife of a music teacher, and the mom of two wild and crazy kids, ages 5 & 2. She writes to share life and encourage women, crafting authentic blog posts, books & courses to accomplish just that. Kayse is passionate about honesty, Jesus, and practical resources that help make life just a little bit easier.
When she’s not escaping to a local coffee shop to write (and catch up on Facebook), you can find Kayse reading to her kids, stalking Target aisles for the latest clearance markdowns, or talking her husband’s ear off about planners, homeschooling, mom stuff, and a bunch of other topics he’s totally interested in.
Sign up for Kayse’s newsletter HERE.
YOUR TURN: What inspires you most about Kayse’s email marketing strategy, and how will you apply it to your own?
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