54 ideas for email content

Email marketing is a fabulous way for your customers or potential customers to find out more about you and your business…the brand, products, or services they care about. The great thing about email is that people have to opt-in to receive your emails in their inbox, so they are choosing to have communication from you on a regular basis.

Over half of the entire population of the world uses email, according to The Radicati Group, a technology market research firm, and they expect email users to grow to over 4.2 billion by the end of 2022. Just think about that for a moment – 4.2 BILLION! It’s a bit mind-blowing.

They say,

“Email remains the most pervasive form of communication, while other technologies such as social networking, instant messaging, chat, mobile instant messaging are also taking hold, email is still the more ubiquitous form of business communication. In addition, email is integral to the overall Internet experience as an email account is required to sign up to any online activity, including social networking sites…”

The Radicati Group

How do I produce new ideas every month?

This is the big question that I’ve been asked several times over the past month, so after a bit of research and hard thinking, I’ve produced a list that I think will help you tailor your email to your audience, to keep them engaged and to keep them coming back for more, month on month.

But, before I give you the ideas, think about these three questions first. You shouldn’t just throw any old content out there – it must fit your brand and your target audience.

  1. Will your email hit the spot with your target audience?
    You know your customers, so you need to make sure that any content you publish is right for them and will add value to them and their lives.
  2. What are your goals for your email?
    You need to know why you’re setting up an email list. It could simply be that you want to have more engagement with your business or to help you increase sales. Once you know what your goal is, think about how you want your audience to respond. It’s important to pick content ideas that will help you achieve your goals.
  3. Does your content fit with your brand?
    In the same way that you pick the content to target your audience and help you achieve your goals, you also need it to fit with your brand. Does the content align with the core values of your business?

I always bang on about the 80/20 rule when I talk about content for social media posts. That is, all content should consist of 80% engaging, entertaining, educating and inspiring your target audience, and only 20% sales.

The same applies to content for your email marketing. So, with this in mind, I’ve created a list for you, under those separate headings.

What content can I put out there?

Engaging ideas

This is where you can share things that help your audience to get to know you and your brand. Be authentic and show your personality. This helps your audience relate to you, feel cared about and valued, and to find out what your brand stands for.

  • Share things that you love – this could be images, music, articles, or stories that you come across.
  • Introduce yourself and tell your audience about your business. What is your ‘why?’ Why did you start your business and why do you do what you do?
  • What inspires you? This could be individual inspiration for particular products or services that you offer.
  • Show behind the scenes videos or photos of your business. You could video you making a product, packing an order to a customer, or unpacking an order and showing each individual item to camera.
  • Share a ‘day in the life’ and take your audience through a typical day for you.
  • Tell your story and share a list of things you wish you’d known before starting your business.
  • Share something that didn’t work for you, (we’re all human), and how you rectified it. Or share an obstacle you’ve come across and how you resolved it.
  • Write about your children or your pets and how they make you happy or mad (!) and tell a funny story about them.
  • Share a charity you support and why it’s so important to you.
  • Share your most popular posts from social media.
  • Talk about any courses you’ve done or any certification you have. You might have done something to upskill – share it!
  • Ask your audience questions – if you’re thinking of a new product or service, ask their opinion.

Entertainment ideas

These things help show your fun side. Make your audience laugh, think, or test them in some way. Content that you share to entertain doesn’t have to link directly to your business or your products/services. It’s about showing the authentic you. Although it doesn’t have to link to your products/services, it is important that it will appeal to your target audience.

  • Holidays, such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas. Share funny stories or facts.
  • Memes and jokes – share something that makes you laugh – just be aware of things that could offend your audience.
  • Contests – share a contest through your email list, set out what it is and what they must do – and tell them the winner will be announced in your next email. This will ensure they open and read the next email you send!
  • Quizzes – set up a quiz with a set of questions and offer a small prize for the winner…to be drawn at random. You can publish the results in your next email.
  • Share a case study of one of your products from the perspective of a customer. Ask a customer if you can interview them and feature them in your email as a case study.
  • Host a poll – ask a question and have multi-choice answers.
  • Share the link to an article or post you’ve read that you have found interesting/entertaining.

Educating ideas

There will always be something that you can teach your audience. Whether you’ve been in business for years, or just a few months, you will know how to do something that others don’t. Your business will be unique, even if you do a similar thing to other businesses, because you are unique and have your own set of values, interests, and ways of doing things!

  • Provide hints and tips to help your audience
  • Create a video showing your audience how to do something
  • Create a series of videos or photo shots, showing the creation of a product or service, from start to finish, with an explanation for each stage.
  • Give tips on what NOT to do, related to your business.
  • Create a template or checklist that your readers can download for free.
  • Create a beginner’s guide to something you know all about. It can be in PDF format and doesn’t have to be a book!
  • Share an infographic.
  • Share trends in your industry or interesting articles about your niche.
  • If you see a new legal thing that impacts your type of business, share it for others to see.
  • Share any blog posts you’ve written that month, or any articles that your business is featured in.
  • Share facts.
  • Share an actionable idea that will make your audience’s life easier.
  • Tell your audience how your products or services can make their lives better – what problems do you solve for them?
  • Share a book you’ve read and why you like it, especially if it’s something that teaches your audience how to do something.

Inspirational ideas

There are lots of different definitions of inspiration and what that means. Here’s just a few from some of the bigger dictionaries.

Another way to describe inspirational content is motivational. This is the way I tend to thing of it. If something motivates me, it inspires me to do something different or something new – or just makes me think!

So, with all of these in mind (wow!), here are a few ideas:

  • Share inspirational or motivational quotes.
  • Share a case study that you feel is inspirational.
  • Do you have testimonials about your products or services? Share them!
  • Tell a story about how you overcame something. It could be an illness, a sports injury (and your journey back to health), an obstacle in your business or something from your childhood.
  • Show what inspires you. It could be a photo of your favourite place…it could be something or somewhere that makes you feel safe.
  • Talk about the things that help you stay inspired and why. It could be that you do daily meditation or yoga. You might enjoy getting out in the fresh air and hiking or the kind of exercise you’re into.
  • Talk about your hobbies – for example, if you love taking photos, share the ones that inspire you and say why. Share your passion with your audience.
  • Share your bucket list – you could have serious or silly aspirations on your bucket list!

Sales ideas

Finally, you can talk about your products or services from a sales perspective.

  • Share an offer or discount
  • Talk about new products and how/why you created them.
  • Link to your website, price list, online shop, or blog.
  • Give the link to your subscription page and ask them to share it with their friends and family – or anyone they think would be interested in your products or services.
  • Give an incentive to buy your products – do you have a loyalty card like they give in coffee shops? E.G. Buy 10 coffees, get one free.
  • Give a freebie as part of a competition – or just give a freebie because your readers are loyal customers/followers.
  • Focus on one product and tell your readers all about it. What are it’s features and more importantly, what are its benefits? How will your product make their lives better or easier?
  • Share images of your products, maybe share a best seller, with price.
  • Create a video of some of your best-selling products and share it in your newsletter.
  • Share any media coverage or articles written about your business.
  • If you attend an event, write about it and how well your products sold.
  • If you have a stall at a local market, share photos and experiences.
  • Ask customers to send you photos or short videos holding or using your products.

I really hope that this blog post has helped you think of new and innovative ways to get content into your email. Thank you for reading and I hope you are inspired to get started with email or give yours a good re-vamp.

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Why an email list is important for small businesses

When you first start your small business, probably the last thing on your mind is setting up an email subscription list. You’re more about getting your business set up, selling, and getting to grips with basic marketing and social media. But setting up your own email list is crucial to a small business and can seriously help you grow your business.

Social media is great and is a growing medium for small businesses. But, as lots of us have realised over the past year, the algorithm can make it difficult to keep consistency and, at the end of the day, you don’t own your social media account, and it can be closed at any point without any consultation with you.

If you have your own email subscription list of customers, it belongs to you. You own it, you run it and it isn’t going to suddenly disappear overnight, or a new algorithm suddenly do something you weren’t expecting.

Some stats

Email marketing is totally worth your time and investment because, as well as being cost-effective, it gives you the power to reach your customers in a place that most of them visit every day – their email inbox.

Let’s look at a few stats…

According to MarketingSherpa, 91% of adults like to receive promotional emails from the companies they buy from. And, according to McKinsey, email is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your business get new customers.

Why use email marketing?

If you’re a small business, you probably have social media accounts. You post daily, targeting your ideal client. But your posts will be aimed at a large number of people. Email marketing is aimed at a specific group of people – those that choose to opt-in to your email, so you can make your emails much more personal and targeted. You know you’re talking to an audience that are already on board with what you offer.

You can also further segment that audience and send more targeted information based on their personal preferences. And email is more personal, you can write to your audience in a more friendly and personal way, so they really feel valued. It makes for excellent customer service!

We all get email spam every day, but if a person has opted into your email, they’ve given you permission to email them. This makes it legal, and they know what they’re signing up for. Now, I’ve signed up to email lists before and within a few months, have unsubscribed. The reason? Because they bombard me with constant emails, trying to sell me their latest ‘whatever.’ And not just one or two emails along the same subject line but loads – every day – for weeks! I hate this, so it’s not something I advise! I have a subscription for my business, but I only send a couple of emails when someone signs up – then I do a monthly email newsletter. To me, that’s enough…you may or may not agree!

Brand Recognition

Email marketing is great for your brand. Each email can be branded with your colours or images. But not just that, you can give your subscribers valuable content, helping them solve their problems – be it around marketing (like I do) or around a product or service you offer. If you are consistent with your content, your subscribers will begin to recognise your emails and even start to look forward to receiving them.

You can also use your email to get feedback on your products or services. You can ask them if they like the content you send, or if there is something else they’d like to see – or would they like to learn something different from you?

This will not only make your subscribers feel important and make them feel that you care, but also will give you new ideas for content and possibly even ideas for new products or services.

Budget-friendly

Email marketing is budget friendly. You can start your email using a site such as MailChimp or Mailerlite. Both have free versions for up to 1000 or so subscribers, which is a perfect start for your business, with no financial outlay.

The bigger businesses can afford to spend time and money on advertising space, but when you first start out with your small business, you won’t have that luxury. Email marketing is the perfect choice to get you in front of a genuinely interested audience.

The other good thing is that once you have set up your initial subscription email and follow up emails, it can be automated, so you just need to have the link on your social media pages or website with the sign up and your hosting site does everything else for you. It does require a bit of time commitment to set it up, but it is worth it. Then you can write your monthly, weekly, or whatever email when you have time and schedule it to go out when you want it to.

The other good thing about a hosting site is that you have the relevant stats to help you. You can see who opens your emails, and whether they click on any links.

Traffic to your website

As well as being a great way to connect to your customers, email marketing is also great for getting increased traffic to your website. You can include links to your blog posts, and of course to your website, where you sell your products or services.

Be seen as an expert in your field

Email marketing can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field. Your customers have subscribed because they want to hear from you. They like the content you send them. For example, if your audience love what you do on social media, they will sign up for your email because they’ll want to hear more.

You can use your email content to establish yourself as an expert. You can ask questions and use the email to answer them, giving solutions to all your subscribers, who may have the same problem or question.

You can talk in more detail about what you do and offer and show more clearly the solutions that you provide.

Perks

Everyone likes something for nothing! And we all like to belong to a group and feel that we are valued or special. I belong to quite a few groups on social media, but there are only a few I feel really connected to. Your customers want to feel that connection too, so you can use your email to build relationships and build excitement around what you do.

You can offer exclusive deals to your subscribers – perks of belonging to your ‘group.’ We all love a freebie or a special deal, so make sure that you thank you subscribers by offering them something unique that they won’t get from other areas – such as your social media pages.

For example, when people sign up to my email list, I give them a free guide to help with their marketing. Once they sign up, they are then given a special code, which gives them access to a hidden part of my website, where they can get lots of freebie downloads, checklists, workbooks – all aimed to help them with their marketing.

If you are a product-based business, you could offer your subscribers a 20% off voucher or a free gift in return for signing up.

This kind of offer is called a lead magnet – it attracts customers to sign up and could then be potential regular customers.

Test the water

Another benefit is that you can test the water for new products, services or even just ideas for new products or services. You can ask for an opinion or ask what really interests your audience.

It could be that you are going to have a stall at a big event, or you are running an online event. You can ask your email subscribers what they think…and you can use your email to advertise these events so that your audience know where you will be and can come along and meet you in person…be it via Zoom or face to face.

Conclusion

Email marketing reaches your audience no matter where they are in the world – it goes to their personal devices. So, no matter what time zone they’re in, your email will reach your audience 24/7.

It’s easy to set up and manage, and you will be reaching your ideal audience because they WANT to be contacted.

You own your email list, and it won’t be affected by algorithms.

It’s personal, so you can segment your audience, and send them more detailed information. It’s much more personal than social media.

And it helps you sell your products or services and encourage traffic to your website, blog, or online shop.

What are you waiting for? Make this year, the year you set up yours and start reaching your ideal clients on a more personal basis.