Access to the inbox.
It’s not how big your list is that matters. What matters is how you use it. And with that, I apologize for the referenced pun. But size doesn’t matter in the service industry.
After running a solo design firm for over twenty-four years, I’ll say with definitive experience: I’d rather have a handful of good clients than constantly running after new ones. And I have taken that same view when it came to my email list.
As a solo business, I can only serve so many clients at once, so the size of my client and prospect email list doesn’t need to be massive. In the end, whether you have 10, 100, or a whopping 1000+ on your list, the size isn’t what matters. It really is more about how you connect with your readers.
I have learned a few key lessons over the years that I keep in mind each time connect with my list.
1. What you write should never be about you.
Seriously. Your readers don’t really care about you, your portfolio, your designer hangups, or how your business is doing. I’m not saying you can’t talk about this stuff, just make sure that what you are sharing has to do with the reader.
What is the benefit you are providing in your email? Maybe you want to talk about your latest design project, and yes you should. But make sure that you write in the context of the value you can share with others about it. Perhaps lessons learned, tips, and tricks on what to and not to do with a specific project.
2. Be dependable.
Show up when you say you will show up. Whether that is daily, weekly, monthly, or whenever your muse hits. This way you will find you’ll get fewer unsubscribes because people will sign up knowing what to expect. When you begin to flake out or get overzealous, no matter how small you make the unsubscribe link – they will find it.
3. Design for both the big screen and the small one.
Make sure that your email service offers decent options for both desktop and mobile devices. More often than not, emails get read on smartphones more than on the computer. Check your mobile design to make sure it’s reader-friendly. This means a decent-sized font and the images are slotted into separate boxes so you don’t get the side scroll of death.
4. Invest in learning your email app inside and out.
Whether you use MailChimp, Constant Contact, Emma, Hubspot, or so many others out there, learn how the tool works. There is a lot more to an email app than copying and pasting in some text and hitting send. Make sure you set up a sign-up link that is easy. Format the automatic emails, and create a consistent template that matches your own company brand.
Have you heard of A/B testing? It’s a thing! Do you know how to review and test your emails before then head out into the world? See how The Daily Egg explains it.
5. There is no undo after you hit send.
Unlike your website, you can’t go back in and correct a mistake. So when I work on my letter, I work in stages that can take 1-5 days. I start by writing up the first draft. Leave it for a day. Then go back and read it again. Then I’m ready to set up my Mailchimp campaign and flush it all in. I make sure to view it in desktop and mobile view and then send a test email to make sure my links are working and the images look good. Then I hit send.
So as you can see there is a lot of work associated with sending out an email. So don’t ever trick yourself into thinking it’s quick as clicking a couple of buttons. If you are going to do it, do it well. What you share represents what you offer your clients.
If you are interested to see how Nancy sets up her emails, now is a great time to sign up for the Creatives Roundtable newsletter! Just scroll to the bottom of this page!
Written by Crystal Reynolds