Audience Building ยท ยท 3 min read

Two underutilized email strategies

Most creators I talk to know they should be using email โ€“ but they don't want to commit to publishing a newsletter every week for, well, forever. ๐Ÿ˜…

I get that โ€“ but that's rooted in a limited understanding of email.

That perspective has two key assumptions:

  1. Utilizing email means writing a newsletter
  2. Writing a newsletter requires an ongoing commitment

Neither of those assumptions is necessarily true.

Two email strategies require a smaller commitment:

  1. Email-based courses
  2. Evergreen newsletters

Let's examine both and myth-bust those assumptions...

Email-based courses

Email doesn't mean "newsletter."

Remember when you learned that all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares?

Newsletters are similar. Newsletters are written in email, but not all email is a newsletter.

So when I tell you that you should have an email strategy, I'm not telling you that you need to commit to writing a newsletter every week.

A newsletter is one of the most common and legible forms that email can take. We're living in a moment where newsletters are popular, in part because newsletter platforms like Substack and Beehiiv popularized them.

But email takes several other forms too โ€“ and those can be equally powerful.

Take, for example, my recent essay about email-based courses. My Professional Creator Crash Course is a high-quality, email-based asset that I wrote in a couple of days and have barely touched since.

Email-based courses teach the reader something by sending one email at a time over days or weeks.

These are great because they:

  1. Position you as an authority
  2. Demonstrate your teaching ability
  3. Build a relationship with the reader
  4. Build a relationship with their inbox

Even though I haven't touched that course recently, it's being delivered to new subscribers every single day. Thousands of creators have received it, and every day I'm building a relationship with readers without any new writing.

Evergreen newsletters

Consistently delivering emails doesn't mean you need to consistently create emails.

That's why I love the evergreen newsletter.

The bummer with your typical newsletter is that if you write a banger essay this week, next week's new subscribers completely miss it.

You're starting the relationship from scratch โ€“ they're oblivious to both your best previous writing and any context that may be relevant to your upcoming pieces.

That's just the reality of writing newsletters as one-off broadcast emails.

Evergreen newsletters feel like newsletters to the reader but aren't written as one-off broadcasts.

Instead, you take your BEST pieces of writing, intentionally order them, and send them one at a time via an automated sequence.

Or, if you haven't written much yet, start from scratch. Outline a few ideas that you can send one after another โ€“ basically a long email-based course that's just framed as a newsletter.

Every reader gets the same series of emails in the same order regardless of when they subscribe. Write a new piece that would fit somewhere in the sequence? Just add it in later.

This transforms your writing from an ephemeral broadcast into an enduring asset. And it frees you up to focus your ongoing creative effort on some other discovery platform where you can attract new audience members and direct them to your evergreen newsletter.

Complications

As great as these strategies both sound, there are a couple of complications.

Selling ads to sponsors

If you want to sell ads in your newsletter, you typically promise a certain number of impressions and opens. This is harder to measure when you aren't sending one-off broadcasts.

Not impossible, but harder.

Content timeliness

If your newsletter is truly sharing news, then timeliness is important. Sharing current events is important.

That's harder to automate.

You could essentially create a "current events" section of the evergreen newsletter that references a content snippet that you update regularly (this is also how I'd handle the ad delivery problem).

Conclusion

I know how depressing it is to commit to writing an ongoing newsletter when you have a small number of subscribers. But I also know that you won't gain subscribers if you aren't delivering a good experience via email!

These are two email strategies I wish I had known about much sooner.

Everything you write can be added to the sequence later and make it longer and longer. You can update these sequences over time to optimize for open rates and click rates.

And instead of an ongoing commitment, these are more like projects with an upfront commitment and some ongoing maintenance.

They provide a fantastic experience for the consumer and once they're written, they allow YOU to focus on some other discovery platform (social media, YouTube, etc).

And when it comes to my overall preferred email platform, I recommend ConvertKit.

Give it a shot! And let me know how it goes.

Need some more guidance? Consider my Newsletter Masterclass.

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