The Anatomy Of A Successful Weekly Email

26 May, 2021 By Bobby Klinck
Wondering what a good format is for your weekly email? I've got you covered. Check out this post: The Anatomy of a Successful Weekly Email

If you’re sending a newsletter to your email list every week, you’re sabotaging your online business. Sending a newsletter is probably what everybody tells you to do, but it’s not the right approach. Why? And what should you do instead?

Before we dive into that, let’s step back a little and clarify what a newsletter is. Chances are that you’re thinking that your email should focus on the content that you put out this week.

If you have a blog, a podcast, or social media, you’re probably summarizing the content you’ve published on those platforms. That’s what most newsletters do. And let’s be honest… that’s kinda boring.

Where Newsletters Fall Short

Newsletters are about sharing the news of what’s happening in your world, and there’s a place for that, but it’s secondary.

That means it’s time to rethink your weekly emails. They shouldn’t be about getting a click, converting, or selling. Instead, they should be about connecting with your audience, and that’s where newsletters fall short.

Newsletters aren’t something that help you connect with your people. If they want to consume your content, they’ll consume it through your blog, podcast, or social media. They no longer need an email that summarizes that content for them.

Your bunch of links won’t help you connect with your people because building connections means getting them to the point that they feel like they know, like, and trust you.

The Email Structure To Rule Them All

Sending a weekly email shouldn’t be complicated. There’s a simple structure that you can use every single week, which I call the email structure to rule them all. You should send at least one email a week, but depending on your content, you might send more.

The primary format for these weekly emails has three parts: hook, story, call to action.

The way it works is that we conceptualize it backward. You need to figure out your call to action first. What is it that you want your people to do after reading your email? When you’ve written that part, you can figure out a story that leads up to this. Then you write a hook that teases the story.

Call To Action

In a typical weekly email, your CTA is going to be related to your weekly content. In my case, I have a podcast that has been my anchor content since 2017. So the call to action to my weekly email is, “Go check out my podcast.” Generally, you want this section to be relatively short if you’re putting out content.

Now if you’re not putting out content, you’re gonna make your CTA a little bit longer because you need to provide some value or lesson. What I recommend though is that you should be creating content.

When it comes to the basic structure of the CTA  in an email, mine tends to look like this: “In this week’s episode of the Certified Bada$$ Online Marketing Podcast.” That sentence will be hyperlinked to the episode on my website.

Then I will have two to three paragraphs that provide a curiosity hook about whatever the episode is. These paragraphs are one to two sentences only. Keep them short, sweet, and straight to the point. The idea is to provide them a bit of information that will help them decide if they want to go check it out.

Then I have a second round of call to action that says, “So pour yourself a cup of coffee or a pint of beer, and go listen to this week’s episode of the podcast.” That’s hyperlinked to the podcast episode again. Then I close with “Talk later! Bobby”

Story

Once you’ve created the call to action, you need to go back and create the story. The story is really what the email is about. What I mean is that you’re using your weekly email to build a bridge with your audience by highlighting various things that they have in common with you.

When they hear your story, they’re gonna say, “Oh, me too. I’ve had that same experience.” And you never know what it might be.

Sometimes it’s about your business, but the more that it’s about your life, the better. Now, these aren’t big, long, epic tales. You can use those once in a while, but most of the time, it’s the little things that happen in your daily life that you can share and pull out some little tidbit that relates to your core theme for the week.

One example I can give you is that I was sending an email where the CTA was about going to check out a training that was about how to get out of constantly having to trade hours for dollars.

I told the story about the time we got an email from my daughter’s teacher with the subject line “lice.” Yup, there was a confirmed case of lice in her class. I told how this email sent me down to the depths of the internet to make sure that my daughter did not bring lice home.

I described how I was so focused on what I needed to do and what I needed to get from the store that I literally spent like four hours researching this. Then I said I could only do that because I have a business that doesn’t have a bunch of urgent tasks, where today I have to do X, Y, and Z to make money.

That’s how I made the bridge. I told the story and then connected it to the lesson. This email connected with people who have kids in school and have also gotten a lice email. People who have dealt with lice were able to relate to me.

I also know it worked because I got a bunch of replies from people saying, “Oh hey, you need to try this.” They felt like a friend who could offer help with what you’re going through.

Think about it. If I had simply sent a boring newsletter, none of that would have come through.

Hook

The hook is just a fancy way of saying what’s something from the story that creates a curiosity point. It’s something that’s going to make people feel they gotta find out what it is.

Normally the hook is going to be the subject line for your email. There are three main ways to craft one:

The hook is just a fancy way of saying what’s something from the story that creates a curiosity point. It’s something that’s going to make people feel they gotta find out what it is.

Normally the hook is going to be the subject line for your email. There are three main ways to craft one:

  1. Curiosity – Induce curiosity by using all caps and question marks. Example, “HOW DID THAT GET ME IN TROUBLE?!” People will be curious about what got you in trouble and will want to find out.
  1. Dramatic – It’s kind of the most dramatic and climactic point in the story. My most popular example is: “Why are you sending me pictures of you with random women?” This was a story I told where I was at an event and I sent a text to my wife and woke up the next morning to a text from her that said that. It’s the climactic moment of the story, so people want to see that.
  1. Shock value – This one you should use sparingly. It’s attention-grabbing and shocking. For example, one time right around Easter I used the subject line, “I don’t like sweet baby Jesus.” That’s a pretty shocking one, especially because I’m a person of faith, and a lot of people in my audience are people of faith too. So they would have been wondering what’s going on here. But what happened was I was talking about a beer that’s called sweet baby Jesus that I don’t personally like. When you use that kind of shock hook, you need to defuse it right away in the very first line of the email body.

Beyond The Summary

Instead of a boring newsletter that just summarizes your content, a better structure for your weekly email is: call to action that will send them to your content for that week, a story that you can tie into the central message of that CTA, and then a hook that will get people to want to read the email.

I realize that all this online marketing stuff can feel overwhelming. If you’re looking for help with email marketing or building an online business, head over and join BADA$$ Online Marketing University. It’s my totally free training program to help online entrepreneurs learn how to market their business the right way.

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Bobby Klinck

Harvard Lawyer and Online Entrepreneur