Can I tell you a secret? I actually really love email. No seriously, I write emails to real people. I’ve emailed my friends before like I’m Kathleen Kelly and it’s 1998. I get a lil’ boost every time a new email pops up, all shiny and unread, in my inbox. More importantly for my expertise in drafting this article, I create and send all of the emails that go out from The Everygirl — from our weekly roundups to our giveaways to our editor favorites.
Now that I’ve proved I’m a little obsessed with email (I am so relatable), I want to share all my best tips with you.
1. Start with a plan or objective
Before you send out your email or even start drafting it, you should have an idea of what you want your email to achieve. Are you looking to drive traffic to your blog? Are you trying to sell your products or services? Are you trying to grow your initial email list (in preparation for future traffic driving or sales)?
Take a minute to write out three current goals for your email list. How does this particular email you’re sending fit into your overall goals? Remember, you want your audience to actually open and click through your emails (the dream, amiright?). So give them a useful and coherent email that they will actually look forward to receiving (instead of deleting immediately — you know you do it too).
2. Make sure the design is cohesive
Remember that snafu at the Oscars a few years ago, when they announced La La Land as the Best Picture winner, when it was really Moonlight? The reason everyone was confused was because of design hierarchy. NO REALLY, I’m serious. All of the text on the Oscar winner cards was the same size, so Warren Beatty looked down at the card (which was really the Best Actress card for Emma Stone), saw the words “La La Land” and the rest was history.
The point of this story is that hierarchy can really make or break how your message is communicated to your audience. Pay attention to the hierarchy in your emails. Make sure heading text — things like “sale now through Friday!” or “welcome! I’m so glad you’re here” — is larger than the paragraph text. You want it to catch the eye immediately, so your audience knows where to start reading. And, even if they don’t read all of the paragraph text (it’s a skimming world out there and we’re just living in it), they still understand the gist of your email.
Squarespace makes this easy with templates that have a built-in text hierarchy. You can easily add headings, subheadings, and paragraph text that is automatically perfectly sized to grab reader attention.
Make sure that your logo or the name of your business is also prominently displayed at the top of your newsletter. You don’t want anyone to be opening your email and have no idea where or who it came from. Squarespace has logo integration in their email platform, so you can automatically pull your website logo to the top of your newsletter. Bing, bang, boom, done.
3. Write to your ideal customer
Once you have your objective in place and the layout is looking good, make sure that any text you’ve added is directed at your ideal customer. Not sure who your ideal customer is? Take a minute to brainstorm. Who do you image buying your products or reading your content? What do they like? What do they dislike?
Now go back through your text and tailor it specifically to your ideal customer profile. Is a personal touch better? Would they enjoy slang or puns or should you go more serious? Would they read through a personal anecdote or just want the information delivered concisely?
4. Add several call-to-action points
Perhaps the most important parts of your email (besides your subject line), are the call-to-actions. You want to give your audience a clear next step after opening your email. The idea is to move the click from their own inbox to the destination you need — i.e., your website, your Instagram, your blog, your Etsy shop, etc.
I recommend adding several call-to-action points throughout your email. The first should be “above the fold” which means that the reader won’t have to scroll at one (or very much) to reach it. Make your call to action bold and give it a clear message. Try something like “Shop now,” “Click here to purchase,” “Read the full post,” etc.
I’m a fan of Squarespace’s email campaigns (that’s a screenshot of my latest email above!) because you can easily elements, like buttons, with a few clicks. Because the last thing I want to do is spend eight hours fiddling with my email when I have orders to ship out (and OK, Netflix to watch too).
5. Consider a free resource
A further way to entice your readers or customers to open and actually read your emails is to offer a freebie. Providing something of value in your emails builds trust with your audience and helps to associate your emails (and your brand!) with support, advice, and collaboration. I’m always more excited to click through in emails that have content I know I’ll be interested in. Think discount codes, free downloads, worksheets, printables, resource lists, mini online courses… the sky is the limit.
Remember, you don’t have to include a freebie in every single email you send. That would blow your time investment wayyyy out of proportion. But including one every so often will ensure your audience is excited to receive and open your emails and will be more inclined to look at all of them. Win, win.
6. Link up with previous content
Once you have your main objective content and call-to-actions ready to go, add previous content in an “in case you missed it” section. Chances are, if your audience is enjoying your current newsletter, they might also enjoy content you’ve previously posted. And, chances are, they might have missed that previous content. Because Instagram algorithms and scrolling habits change basically every minute, amiright.
I usually add product blocks into my Squarespace template, so that I can easily add a few additional products from my shop directly into the newsletter. This honestly saves so much time, because I’m not searching around on my computer for the styled shot I took of that product (lol that image is looooong gone) or having to go and copy/paste the product link. It’s all just pulled directly from my shop and ready to go. Bliss.
7. Tailor your subject line
Now that your email is looking spiffy, you’re ready to decide on your subject line. I always wait until all my content is in before I write the subject line, because once, I wrote the subject line first and then completely changed my mind about the content of the email. I bet you can guess where this is going, right… ? Then I accidentally sent the email with the completely wrong subject line. WOMP WOMP. Don’t be me, write the subject line last.
There are a few key things to keep in mind when writing your subject line:
8. Do a final grammar and link check
The final thing you should ALWAYS do before hitting send is a final grammar check. Make sure there are no glaring misspellings or weird extra spaces. Check every link to make sure it works correctly. Believe me, you don’t want to have spent all that time creating your beautiful and functional email only for none of your product links to actually go anywhere.
Read through the flow of the email and make sure it makes sense — as a new or returning customer or reader. If everything checks out, you’re ready to send!
This post was in partnership with Squarespace, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.