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How To Write Killer Weekly Emails (And Why You Should Stop Sending a Weekly Newsletter)

Truth: email marketing done right can be a huge driver in your online business. Unfortunately, most business owners don’t do email marketing right. In fact, the #1 email marketing mistake most entrepreneurs make is sending a weekly newsletter.

Wait, what? You might be saying, “Hold up! I thought I was supposed to send a weekly newsletter. And now you’re telling me that my weekly newsletter is the problem?” That’s right. There’s nothing that kills your email marketing faster than the dreaded weekly newsletter.

Now, let’s be clear. I’m not going to let you off the hook that easily. Just because you shouldn’t send a weekly newsletter doesn’t mean you don’t need to email your list weekly. What I am saying is that you need to send a weekly story-based email instead of an “email newsletter.”

If you’re ready to learn how to write awesome weekly emails, you can get FREE access to my email marketing course inside my FREE program BADA$$ Online Marketing University. This course will walk you step by step through creating the 5 essential email sequences you need in your online business.

What’s In Your Inbox

Let’s unpack this. Think about the emails you get in your inbox. Which ones do you open? Probably not the ones that give boring business updates or that have no personality. You open the ones that are interesting, fun, and engaging, right?

Similarly, the emails you’re sending are either training your subscribers to ignore you or become a fan. 

Cause here’s the truth: boring emails don’t get opened, while awesome emails grow your brand. 

So the question becomes: how do I write emails that turn my subscribers into raving fans? Now we’re getting to the fun part.

The One Email to Rule Them All

Most people think that promo emails are the most important emails, but I disagree. Instead, I teach that weekly emails are the most important emails you can send. But this isn’t just theory.

It’s not a stretch to say that weekly emails have built my business. For example, in the first few months of 2019 alone, I made over $200K from email only launches. But the irony is I didn’t even have a big list. 

So how did I pull this off when I only had a list of 5000-6000 subscribers? The answer is maddeningly simple: weekly emails. 

I believe weekly emails are the best tool to turn people from cold subscribers into raving fans. It’s where you get to show your personality and help your subscribers get to know, like, and trust you.

So, how do you create an addictive weekly email that people are excited to read? Fortunately, there’s an easy format to follow. However, there are a few important things we need to discuss before we break down the anatomy of these weekly emails.

Replacing the Dreaded “Email Newsletter” with Weekly Emails

I’ve said it already, but if you only take away one thing from this post, it should be this: Stop sending newsletters to your email list and start sending weekly story-based emails.

You might be wondering, “What’s the difference? Isn’t this just semantics?” Fair question. The difference is story. 

Weekly emails are centered around an engaging story with a call to action. Newsletters are focused on content, and in case you haven’t noticed, there’s no shortage of content on the internet.

People want to read something that will draw them in. That’s what a good story does. It helps you connect to your readers.

The content you create each week is an excuse to reach out to your subscribers. But your email shouldn’t be a rehash of your content. Instead, it should be a story that hooks them and draws them in. It should make them cry, laugh, or feel seen. Content alone can’t accomplish this.

Metrics That Keep You Stuck

If you’re ready to bury your email newsletter, you might as well bury a few other metrics that get a lot of attention. And while that might feel scary at first, it’s actually very freeing. When you start sending weekly emails, you can stop obsessing about open rates, unsubscribes, and spam complaints. Let’s break down these three.

  1. Don’t worry about people who don’t open your email. If you’re averaging around a 25% open rate, you’re actually above industry averages. Instead of stressing over the people who aren’t opening your email, put your attention on serving the people who are.
  1. Don’t worry about unsubscribes. I know this might sound crazy, but I actually get a little excited when people unsubscribe. If I’m not the right fit for someone, I want them to move on to find their people. As online business owners, we won’t attract everyone, and that’s ok. When you stop stressing about those who unsubscribe, you create space to focus on those who want to be there.
  1. Don’t worry about spam complaints. You will get spam complaints. In fact, I get a bit nervous if I go several weeks without one. Spam complaints aren’t about you or your email; they’re about the subscriber.

What You Must Remember When Creating Your Weekly Emails

Now let’s turn to the constructive section. How should you create your weekly emails? Think of your email as a way for people to get to know you. You want to share stories that are going to help them know, like, and trust you. People want to do business with people they know, like, and trust.

This means you’ve got to be willing to open up to your audience. Vulnerability is huge. It will go a long way toward building a real connection with your people. 

I’m NOT suggesting that email is a place to air all your problems. But don’t be afraid to share things you did wrong and lessons you’ve learned along the way.

How To Structure Your Weekly Emails

When it comes to the structure of weekly emails, simple is better. About 90% of my emails follow just one structure: hook, story, call-to-action. Let’s look at each of these parts.

  1. Hook

The hook is something that will pique the interest of your audience and draw them in to open and read your email. Sometimes your headline is your hook; sometimes it’s not.

One great way to create a hook is to start your email at a point of high drama. Another good way is to share how you learned something significant, especially if it goes against convention. Basically, the hook should make people want to know the whole story.

Here are some examples:

  • How I found myself holding my 3-month-old baby without a job
  • How I learned that sending a weekly newsletter is the worst thing I could do for my business
  • December 31, 2017, was the day that changed everything for my business
  • The best piece of advice I ever received
  1. Story

The main section of the email is the actual story. These are simply personal vignette stories. Most of them aren’t even about your business. Instead, you take a lesson you’ve learned and relate it to your business. 

A lot of people get hung up because they don’t have “impressive” stories. But your stories don’t have to be epic. They’re just a way for your audience to get to know you. For example:

  • I shared about my dad’s plane crash when I was about to start my third year of law school and how I had to make a big decision about whether to go back for a competition. (It got the most replies from my list, and I wasn’t promoting anything!)
  • I’ve told the story about my wife and my brother surprising me on my 40th birthday. My brother lives 1500 miles away and showed up for my birthday in the middle of a busy launch. I used that story to relate to the subject of my email.
  • I’ve also told the story about how my law firm got really busy and was screwing with my online business plans. I used this to talk about how I love planning.

Basically, you tell these stories to engage your subscribers so they get to know you and know that your emails are worth reading. You make their day, put a smile on their face, and give them something interesting to think about.

The trick to the story section is to keep it brief. Stories are great, but you don’t want to give too many unnecessary details. Cut out the fluff and get to the heart of the story as soon as possible.

  1. Call-to-Action

As you wrap up your story, it’s time to pivot to the point of the story and tell your readers what you want them to do now that they’ve read your email. That means you should include a specific call-to-action. It could be something like read a blog post or listen to a podcast episode. The key is to tell them what’s in it for them.

If you’re not producing regular content yet, your CTA could ask them to reply and tell you their biggest challenge, join your Facebook group, or follow you on Instagram.

Just be sure to think about what the call-to-action will be before you write your weekly email. Once you know your CTA, you can figure out what story to use and then pick the hook that will work best for it.

Don’t Forget the Subject Line

I know some of you were worried that I was going to forget to talk about the most important part of a weekly email: subject lines. The subject line has one purpose: to get people to open and read the email. 

That means it’s actually the most important part of your email. A good subject line will compel people to open. If it’s bad, they’re likely to move on. 

While there are tools that can help you improve your subject lines, you shouldn’t blindly depend on them. And because every list is different, you still need to do the work of getting to know your people and discovering what catches their attention and gets them to open.

When it comes to subject lines in my weekly emails, I generally use one of two main types: curiosity or shock. This allows me to have some fun and help my subscribers get to know me better.

What is something that you can hint or tease in your subject line, something that will make your subscribers curious to hear more? One of my popular curiosity subject lines was a question my wife asked me: “Why are you sending me pictures of you with random women?!?” It was a fun way to tell the story about being photobombed by Amy Porterfield.

Or is there a movie line or pop culture reference you use regularly that would make people want to click? This is a great way to add some personality and fun to your emails.

Another type of subject line you could try is shock factor. For example, around Easter, I used the subject line, “I don’t like Sweet Baby Jesus.” Obviously, this was an edgy one, so I clarified in my opening line that I was referring to a beer called Sweet Baby Jesus, and not the Jesus of the Bible.

Writing good subject lines is a skill. One of the best ways to get better at it is to create several versions and pick the best one. I suggest writing 10 (or even 20, if you’re feeling ambitious). That way you have some options. And as you get to know your audience over time, you’ll learn what resonates with them.

The Bottom Line for Email Marketing

There are a lot of ways to grow an online business. And everyone has their own opinion on the best way to do it. But as someone who has tied a lot of different approaches, I’ve seen email marketing outperform all the other social media platforms by huge margins.

But you can’t get this kind of traction if you just send email newsletters and promo emails. They just won’t get opened. It’s time to stop thinking of your emails as newsletters and start thinking of them as personal storytime. This one shift will help you begin to grow a list of true fans who buy from you and share your products with their friends.

If you’re ready to learn how to write awesome weekly emails, you can get FREE access to my email marketing course inside my FREE program BADA$$ Online Marketing University. This course will walk you step by step through creating the 5 essential email sequences you need in your online business.