Are you struggling to get happy, engaged subscribers onto your email list? Maggie Frank-Hsu has the perfect solution — an email mini course! Learn how to keep your brand new subscribers engaged, excited to open your next email, and encouraged to learn even more from you because of the quick win you’ve given them.
You’re going to LOVE hearing Maggie’s email marketing tips. Take it away, Maggie!
Press Play on the Podcast Player below to listen to this podcast episode.
Hi friend! I'm Maggie Frank-Hsu. I'm an email marketing strategist and copywriter specifically for moms who want to build online businesses.
I've worked with Beth Anne in the past, and she asked me to come on the podcast and share some tips and tricks about email marketing. Thanks so much for having me!
Beth Anne's Email Mini Course Was a Success and Here’s Why
I created an email mini course for Beth Anne in the Fall of 2018, and she's gotten a great response back from subscribers!
Typically, when an online business creates an opt-in or a freebie, they offer a file (like a PDF or a video) when people sign up. However, for Beth Anne's project, we bypassed all that and created a mini course that was delivered as an email series.
It was totally free, and subscribers got a series of emails from Beth Anne that taught them how to take the stress out of social media.
I think one of the reasons it's working so well for Beth Anne is because she pinpointed her audience's burning problem: time and consistency devoted to social media. You all were just so overwhelmed and not having fun!
Beth Anne wanted to help you take action and see some quick wins with social media, and you responded! You had a need, and she met it with her email mini course.
Put Valuable Content in Your Freebie to Build Trust with Your Audience
There are so many people running online businesses because there's no overhead. All you need to start an online business is a laptop, smartphone, and the Internet. So there's no reason for potential customers to trust you, right? You're just a 2-dimensional face trying to sell them something.
By offering valuable content as a freebie, you build a relationship with your audience before you start asking for their money. The right client for you will feel like their life or business improved as a result of knowing you.
It's totally okay to promote the things you sell in your business. But find out what your audience needs first! Get on the phone with your customers (even if you don't want to, you should do it!), do surveys, hang out in Facebook groups, and really get to know them. Once you've formed a relationship, they will think of you when they need your product.
I hang out in Facebook groups because I want people to know who I am. I want them to think of me when they think about email or when they have trouble with email.
I also want to listen without taking any action. I notice the topics that come up repeatedly and start to identify pain points. Once I've done that, I can decide which format would be best for providing a solution.
Offer a Freebie that’s User-Friendly for Your Customers
A lot of people use videos as their freebies. That's cool, but what if you have an audience that can't ever turn the volume up on their phone? It's going to be hard to connect with them, even if you use captions. That's why an email course can be helpful, because you can consume it on your own time and it's safe in your inbox.
Another popular freebie option is delivering a PDF or a printable. However, if Beth Anne did a PDF freebie and then delivered that PDF in her first email, her drop-off rate would be off a cliff!
She would have lost at least 75 percent of her subscribers, because they got what they wanted, so there’s no reason for them to open any emails after that first one. A free mini course was a great way to keep people opening her emails.
That's what I'm all about — really simple ways to get people excited about your next email. It's really freeing to write an email and not have to worry about selling anything!
Just sit in your zone of genius and show us what you can do.
Valuable Content Offers a Specific, Clear, and Attainable Goal
Another thing I like about mini courses is that you can pick a really narrow topic — get as specific as you can — and teach the heck out of it! If you can do one thing really well, that is way more compelling than just being OK at a bunch of things.
In each email subject line of Beth Anne’s series, we specified which lesson it was (Mini Lesson 1, Mini Lesson 2), so subscribers would know at a glance that it was a part of a series.
At the end of each lesson, Beth Anne assigned homework. That broke the lesson down into attainable steps, was a natural transition into the next day's lesson, and provided some accountability to apply the lesson!
Beth Anne asked her students to check in and tell her when they completed the homework, and she's received so much good feedback from it!
She said she was amazed at how many people wrote back and told her about their social media successes. They were so excited and proud, because they'd overcome something (with her help!) that had previously been overwhelming.
This worked because Beth Anne genuinely wanted to know how her students were doing. She wasn't asking them to reply just to get stronger open rates or manipulate an algorithm. She made her connection authentic by celebrating her students' successes with them!
(And here's a win for you: When your students see results from your mini course, they will be ready to hear about your offer!)
Both Positive and Negative Feedback Will Improve Your Email Course
Feedback improves your mini course. The worst thing that can happen is that your subscribers hit a stopping point because there's something wrong with it. If they're stuck, they'll quit! So if you open yourself up to feedback, you'll get responses that will flesh out your course and make it better over time.
A lot of students in my program get negative feedback when they start emailing regularly. But that's OK! If you're getting feedback, positive or negative, that means people are paying attention! And that's what you want, because no one will take action if they're not paying attention first.
If you're so blah that you don't get any response, then that's way worse than negative feedback.
Process Your Thoughts Offline First
There's a difference between being authentic and oversharing on the Internet. A lot of people pour their hearts out and are really vulnerable in ways that they probably shouldn't be.
I think sometimes we feel this pressure to put it all out there because we think that's what “authentic” means.
Yes, you want to be authentic and say things that are real, true, meaningful, and will attract people to you. But you don't want to be throwing up your emotions all over the place!
I call this processed vs. unprocessed. If there is something that you don't understand the full meaning of, then you should work it out privately before posting about it on the Internet.
Get some distance from the situation and ask yourself, “Why do people need to hear this?”
I always try to share things that I think will help somebody else. If I have a little bit of distance and I share what I'm working through, I get a lot of feedback.
Give Your Customers Something to Believe In
Michelle Warner, a business strategist, has three questions that you can ask yourself when it comes to your freebie.
- What do your subscribers have to believe about you?
- What do they have to believe about the product?
- What do they have to believe about themselves?
You need to show your customers that you have the solution to their problem. Once they believe you (sign up for your course), believe your product (take the course and see results), then they are ready to believe that they can succeed.
Keep Your Freebie Simple and Engaging
When I first showed Beth Anne the mini course I put together for her, she said it was a lot simpler than she'd expected. She admits that she tends to put way too much into her freebies. But the beauty of the freebie is that you don't have to!
I think it's really easy to overwhelm potential customers. That flicker of curiosity when they see your landing page is like a tiny spark from a campfire. They have their hands cupped around it, desperately trying to keep it away from the wind, the kids, and anything else that might extinguish it.
Information overload can be the enemy of that spark. It's too much to sift through, people will just give up and leave. They have no reason to stay because they don't trust you yet!
What people really want is a DIY version of what you're offering. They want to think, “I can do this, I can follow along with this, and I can get to the end.”
Pare your content down to the bare bones so you don't lose people in the middle of your freebie.
Write Emails That Subscribers Are Excited to Read
I developed my business as a response to the idea that you're supposed to obsess about building your list. I noticed a lot of solo entrepreneurs doing this, but then they didn't know how to follow up.
Here's the scenario: Susie Q signs up for ConvertKit, comes up with a cool opt-in, and people start to sign up. She writes an automation where her subscribers get a drip, but then what?
Does she send a weekly newsletter?
Does she send a newsletter because she wants to do a launch?
Does she write a weekly newsletter and then send a launch newsletter and then drop dead from exhaustion?!
I finally ate my own dog food (figuratively) and started listening to what people were struggling with in terms of email. I heard over and over, “I don't know what to say,” “I don't want to bother my audience,” or “I don't want to be just another newsletter in a pile of emails.”
I get that! I don't want you to feel those things, either! But here's the thing I've discovered:
Email is the best way to reach the people who care about you the most.
You might be wondering, “Why can't I just use social media?”
You can be on Instagram all day, but that's still an algorithm-controlled newsfeed that Facebook built. And we all saw what happened to Facebook, right? The pages had good reach at first, but then they just took it away. We have no control over the algorithms.
But, if you're doing a good job writing emails and someone subscribes, you'll end up in their inbox EVERY SINGLE TIME.
When you show up consistently, build name recognition, and nourish that relationship with your subscribers, your open rate will increase.
This Freebie Will Help You Revive Your List
I created a free opt-in called Revive Your Dead List that teaches you how to reconnect with your list.
If you haven't emailed them for a long time because you don't know what to say, or you think you're not supposed to email them because you'll bother them, this freebie is for you.
If you're one of those people that is saying, “No, thank you. I tried email, it doesn't work for me,” you're exactly who I'm looking for! You are going to feel refreshed and ready to reconnect with your list after you get this freebie.
Go grab my freebie at bit.ly/revive-your-list. You'll be empowered to email your list, have cool things to say, and not feel awkward anymore!
Connect Online with Maggie
If you follow me because you heard this podcast or read this blog post, please DM me! I'll definitely DM you back!