Did you know that personalized emails generate six times higher sales conversion rates than generic emails?
There’s power in knowing your audience and catering to what they want—especially over email. Personalized emails have 29% higher unique open rates and 41% higher unique click rates, which means more engagement from your fans and opportunities for them to interact with your content and your products.
The email industry has come so far in its ability to personalize for your audience in your email marketing. Spam and clickbait are notions of the past (or at least, they should be!) and we now have the tools to make emails that are actually fun, interesting, and improve relationships with fans.
So, how do you create these engaging emails? We’ll go over the tips and tricks you need to know below, but the #1 rule is to treat your fans like humans. Don’t talk to them like you’re a robot, and don’t send emails you wouldn’t want to get!
Let’s dive into the basic (and not-so-obvious) guidelines for creating a great email that engages your fans, including:
- Email etiquette ground rules
- What to promote in your emails
- Your email best practices cheat sheet
Email etiquette ground rules
An all-encompassing rule of thumb for creating engaging emails is to always offer something.
To provide the most value to fans, think about how you can offer something to them in every email you send. One way to do this is to think of your email channel as a source of “exclusive” content that fans can’t get on any of your other channels—whether that is digital content, stories, or information.
Here are some tangible examples of how you could do this:
- If you want to promote a product, pair it with a meaningful story of why that product is significant to you or your brand.
- If you have an upcoming show to promote, offer email subscribers presale tickets or a chance to get backstage access
- If you’re promoting a new course, provide a sample of content or insight that users can learn from the course in an email
Another way to provide value is to think about telling a story with your emails. Your fans are subscribed because they are interested in you and your experiences. Humans are naturally story-driven as well, and personal touches go a long way. When you create a story, your fans are more likely to take action because they feel connected in an authentic way.
Here are ways you could incorporate stories or narratives into your emails:
- Provide context for tips and advice—why does that work for you? How and when did you learn that?
- Follow up on information or anecdotes that you mention in earlier emails to provide a sense of growth and continuity
- Share images and photos that add context to the information you share in emails
Above all, keep your recipient in mind. What would you want to get in an email from your favorite creator? You have full creative control here to build an exciting and meaningful two-way channel with fans.
What should creators promote in their emails?
When deciding what to promote in your emails, ask yourself what your goals are for the short-term and mid-term.
Emails can help you build your brand, drive awareness to content, create your community, get feedback, and drive sales.
Depending on where you want to drive attention, you can promote any of the following your emails:
- Digital products
- Tips and advice
- Personal stories and updates
- Exclusive content
- Upcoming events
- A personal roundup of content, articles, etc. that you’ve been enjoying
- An open call for a 1:1 conversation (ask fans to write back, give opinions, etc.)
When deciding what to promote in your emails, these are the questions to answer:
- What is relevant to my creator goals? Do I want to build stronger fan relationships? Sell more digital products? Increase engagement with my content?
- What would my email subscribers be most interested in receiving?
- What could I add that would give fans more value, surprise, or delight them, without any immediate expectation of ROI?
If you’re not sure about any of these questions, you can start with something that allows you to learn without too much additional effort, like a personal roundup of content you like, updates on your own content, or a call for feedback from fans. A really great example of this comes from Brennan Dunn of the Create & Sell newsletter for creators:
It's easy, straightforward, and will help this author learn a ton directly from his audience.
As you learn more, you can shift your strategy and start to promote different content, product, and ideas.
Best practices (or, how to not sound like a bot)
Let’s get into the nitty gritty. What are the tried and true best practices for creating emails that will make fans click, rather than unsubscribe? We’ll break this down into:
- Content best practices
- Design best practices
- Sending best practices
Content best practices
- Add clear calls to action: This hot tip comes directly from our Senior Product Designer and pro email marketer, Mica Bandog.
“CTAs (Call-to-Actions) are a crucial part of any email, as they provide a clear direction for your reader on what action to take next (ex: view a video, make a purchase, visit a link). When it comes to placing CTAs in emails, positioning them above the fold can make a significant difference in the success of your email.
The area above the fold refers to the part of the email that is visible without the need to scroll down. It is the first thing that readers see when they open your email. By placing your CTA above the fold, you make it immediately visible and accessible to your readers, increasing the chances that they will take the desired action.”
- Keep your email short: Your fans will appreciate clear, concise updates, and you’ll be able to split longer content into several emails that you can use over a longer period of time.
- The subject line matters: Avoid words like “urgent” or “free,” which can land you in the spam filter. Instead, use action words that evoke urgency and value, like “open now for… ” or “check out these top tips for…” Keep it under 50 characters, only capitalize the first one, and add an emoji if you want!
When it comes to placing CTAs in emails, positioning them above the fold can make a significant difference in the success of your email.
Design best practices
- Add spacing to look more professional: Add spacing between sections (between text, images, and buttons) to make emails look cleaner and more professional. Give your text, pictures, and buttons room to breathe!
- Send yourself a test email: Banish any anxiety about how your email will look by sending yourself a test email. Then look at it on both desktop and mobile!
Sending best practices
- Create a welcome email: Make sure to add a real-time welcome email for when fans join your email list, with a follow-up prompt that instructs subscribers to open the welcome email or save it from their spam folder.
The Beacons Email Marketing tool makes it really easy to set up an automatic welcome email, and there are crazy benefits—like 33% more long-term engagement from fans.2. Encourage replies: Encourage users to reply to your emails or share them with a friend if they enjoy them. If you get people to respond to your first email, the rest of your emails are less likely to end up in spam.
Some people put a question in their welcome email such as “What made you excited to sign up?” or even “What is your favorite food?” in their welcome email as a way to prompt responses and connect with fans3. Make it easy to unsubscribe: It sounds counterintuitive, but this is a tried and true best practice.4. Develop a schedule: Build consistency with a regular sending schedule, so fans know what kind of content they’re going to receive, and when.5. Use sending segments: Target specific, relevant groups of users (such as users who have made a purchase in the last 30 days) when you send broadcast emails. With Beacons Email Marketing, these dynamic groups are created for you automatically.
- Encourage replies: Encourage users to reply to your emails or share them with a friend if they enjoy them. If you get people to respond to your first email, the rest of your emails are less likely to end up in spam.
Some people put a question in their welcome email such as “What made you excited to sign up?” or even “What is your favorite food?” in their welcome email as a way to prompt responses and connect with fans.
- Make it easy to unsubscribe: It sounds counterintuitive, but making it easy for fans to unsubscribe if they want to is a tried and true best practice.
- Develop a schedule: Build consistency with a regular sending schedule, so fans know what kind of content they’re going to receive, and when.
- Use sending segments: Target specific, relevant groups of users (such as users who have made a purchase in the last 30 days) when you send broadcast emails. With Beacons Email Marketing and Audience Manager, these dynamic groups are created for you automatically.
A strong tool helps you be strategic and creative
Having an email tool you can rely on to do automations makes it easier to shift your focus to the creative side of your email strategy: What do you want to say, and why? Don’t overthink it—just put yourself in your fans’ shoes!