Skip to main content

Simple Email Marketing for Makers

Lesson 17 of 25

What Do I Include in My Emails?

Megan Auman

Simple Email Marketing for Makers

Megan Auman

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

17. What Do I Include in My Emails?

Lesson Info

What Do I Include in My Emails?

So let's go ahead and just really dive into this now. So first of all, the goal of almost every email, and I say almost. We're gonna explain the exceptions in a second. The goal of almost every email is to get your customers to click over to your store and buy something. Now I realize that this is different from what you might here in info marketing. But here's the thing. We're selling products and at the end of the day, most of us don't have products that need big, long sales spiels. Either you love the big earrings and you want them in your life. Maybe you have to think about it a little bit. But me sending you 10 emails about why the earrings are something blah, blah, blah, blah, blah is not going to convince you, right? We're not making a hard sale here. We're selling things that are fun. So for the most part, your emails are just going to be about getting customers to click over to your store and buy something. And people are not going to feel upset by that. When I get those email...

s from Sarah Marie Design Studios, I'm not like I can't believe she's telling about more product again. I'm like oh what shirts are new? What's back in stock? That's fun, right? If you like the brand, you want to see what they've got. You want to see what's new. So there are a couple of exceptions. So the first exception is, that you're warming them up for a future email where you want them to buy something. So occasionally I do send a warm up. The biggest one for me, there's two. There's launches and there's sales. So if you're launching something totally new, like this is where I launched my Contra Collection. And so there was nothing to buy yet but I wanted them to know it was happening. The second one is when I'm doing a big sale. So when I do my online sample sale, and my birthday sale which are my two biggest sales of the year, I give people an heads up email. Because the first time I did it, I didn't do a heads up email on my birthday sale, and people were like I wanted like a little minute to plan. So now I give them a heads up email. And then when the next email lands, a lot of people buy in that first hour because they're ready to buy. So that's the exception. But I would like to point out that even though neither one of these emails was about getting people to buy in that moment, you'll notice something that both of them have. Which is they both still have calls to action with a link that they click. So it's a good idea if you can to get people comfortable clicking even if you're not trying to sale. So in this case, I wanted them to go check out this ring size guide that I created. I was launching rings. I was like hey go here, do that. With the sample sale, I wanted them to go over and actually create an account in my online store so that they could log out faster. And this like reinforces this idea that stuff sells out. You want to be able to check out as fast as possible and if it's all saved in your account, you can add it in your cart, hit bye, be done before someone else scoops it up. So in both of these, there were still calls to action. The other exception is if you want them to attend something in person. If you want them to go shop your booth at Renegade, that's the email. Now even then, there might still be something to click, right? Here's where you can go to find out the info about the show. Hours, directions, parking. Don't make them Google that. If you're telling them to go visit you at a show, give them a link to the information so that it can make it as easy as possible. Hey guys here's the schedule to BART so you know exactly how to get there. Make it easy for them. So it doesn't mean that there's no clickable links, it just means that these are the kinds of emails where you're not necessarily trying to get them buy in that moment. But in general, most of your emails are going to be about getting them to buy. Do not over complicate your emails. I think we're starting to get this point now. I'm starting to feel a little bit of relief about this point, right? But it doesn't have to be so complicated. And one of the reasons for that is simply this idea that a confused mind always says no. If you give people four different ideas in an email with four different things that they're supposed to do, they're probably not going to do any of them. Right, they're not. If you give them one idea and one action, they are much more likely to take it. So let's look at the key components of an email. Regardless of our subject matter. You're gonna have some kind of header, probably with your logo or your brand name or some combination of those two things. You're gonna have one, I'm gonna say one to three images of your product. Truthfully what I have found, is that one is actually all you need. I used to put more in because I was like oh if I'm launching this collection I need people to see lots so that they know if they really like it before they click over. And what I found was that the more pictures I put in, the lower the click through to my website. Because they didn't feel that sense of curiosity to click through and see the rest. One image is a really good incentive to get them to head over. Occasionally you may want more than one. But one to three is I would say the most. Short texts about one idea. So it's not like, hey I released this new thing and tomorrow I'm having a sale. And next week I'm gonna be at Renegade. No, those are three separate emails. One idea, short text. And then a strong call to action. And I like to do call to actions as both a written link in my text, but then I like that big button that says go here, do this. So much more obvious. And then every email's also gonna have the footer. And that's going to be your links and legal stuff. And the nice thing is that your email service provider, that's going to be built into all of their templates. So that's going to be where our unsubscribe link happens, where your mailing address lives. And this is also a place where you can put links to your social media profiles. I do put those in my emails. So most of the email examples that I'm showing you guys that's cut off because we only have so much space. But I do at the bottom of all my emails have like my Instagram link, my Pinterest link, my Twitter link and a link to my shop. So I put those icons at the bottom in case someone's really not excited about any of the things happening, but they're like oh I wonder what Megan's doing on Instagram. It's okay because those aren't confusing because they're kind of background noise, right? So people click on them if they want. So that's it. That is your whole email. Man just to show you guys a couple of examples. Again footer's cropped out but that's basically just the legal stuff. That's the whole email. Look we restocked our tanks. Here they are. Perfect for all your summer running celebrations. Shop. Easy, so easy. Same thing. I released a couple of new necklaces, here they are. They're one of a kind. Oh look you can see my footer. See that's my footer. Pretty simple. Shop now. That's it. So simple. Now I realize that knowing the structure, you still might not know what you're supposed to be sending. So let's talk about what the focus of your email should be. And I identified a series of email types that I think make the most sense for product-based businesses. And we're gonna go through this list, but then I'm gonna show you guys examples of all of these. So the first one is a new product release. And I have to say this is one of the easiest kinds of emails to generate. Which is one of the reasons why I design new stuff a lot. 'Cause it's so easy to be like, I have to send an email today? Oh here's a new thing. So that's the first type. And then with that, you can do teaser emails letting people know that the release is coming. But there's also lots of things that you can do with existing products. You don't have to be releasing all the time to be consistently emailing your list. So some good examples. You can highlight a best seller. People like to buy things that are popular. So something selling, tell your list about it. Maybe you do a product round up. Hey here are all my earrings under $100. Or here's like all the bronze jewelry or whatever it is, right? You can do some kind of roundup. You can take a seasonal angle. And you can also show your product in use. So even though a lot of what we're doing is pretty obvious, sometimes it's nice to be like, hey let me show you how to wear this necklace. What I think you can style it with. Then of course there's the email just to attend a show or an event, right? You can tell someone this is what's happening. Come to my booth at Renegade. Booth number whatever. Here's all the show info. And then the last type is sales or discount codes. I will like to point out how many types there are that don't involve discount codes, right? You don't have to send discount codes all the time to make use of email marketing. In fact, when you only use them sparingly, when you do have a sale or do send out a discount code, it makes it even more valuable. So we want to think about using those sparingly. And then again, if you're doing something like a major sale like when I do my big birthday sale or my sample sale, I usually do one to two teaser emails beforehand to let people know what's coming. So let's look at some of these in detail. So the first one is really straightforward. And it's just our new product release. Here is something new. Here is a picture. Here is where you can buy it. And you can see in this Sarah Marie example that I showed you, and in my example. She had her image up first. I have a little bit of a text and then an image. It doesn't really make that much of a difference. As long as the image appears above the fold. So like if I'm putting text by my image, it's a sentence or two. It's short so that you can still see the text and scroll down to see it. But you can flip flop those and decide what you think works best for you and your audience. And then again, really simple shop now button. Sometimes I put a p.s. in these but sometimes it's just so, that's it that's all I have to say. Just go look. That's all you need. And then I also do those teaser emails. So here's this new collection that's coming. I believe in this one. There's a lot cut out in the middle. There were maybe like three or four emails, or three or four pictures in this one. Because I wanted to give people a sense of what was coming in the collection. But I've also found that you can, with these preview release emails, you can actually reveal too much, right? So mainly like one or two images again. Don't go crazy so that when the customer comes, you don't want them to feel like they've seen the whole thing. You want to give them a reason to click over to the site. Alright so then you can highlight a best seller. So this is an email that I did around holiday time. And I'm so terrible about promoting for holiday. And I was like what can I do. Oh this is my subject line. Best sellers make the best gifts. When you're buying a gift, you want to know that people are going to like it, right? And a best seller feels really safe. So I rounded up five best sellers that I liked, threw them in a email. In hindsight I probably wouldn't have done five. I'd maybe only do two or three. Five now feels long. You guys can learn from my experimentation. So highlighting a best seller. Then you can use something like a product roundup. So in this one I decided, I think this one also ended up being holiday. But I wanted to put together all of the products that were under $ to make it easier for people to gift. And so what I actually did here to make it really easy, is I built a collection in Shopify of things that were under $100. So what I love about Shopify is that you can create collections that never have to go in your navigation. So like when we did the auto-responder emailer earlier, that I linked to a collection of just new releases. And that collection doesn't live in my navigation, but I wanted it to fulfill the promise of my opt-in, right? So I just build collections all the time when I want to highlight something or do a roundup in my email. So I didn't put everything in the email. I did one image and I said, I rounded up all the jewelry that's under $100, click here to shop. So what roundups could you do? Could you do by color? Could you do by price? Could you do by style? A lot of different ways that you can round things up. Then you can take a seasonal angle. So this one the subject line was, earrings are big for spring. And I was obviously playing on that trend plus scale. So what I wanted to do was show off some of my favorite big earrings that I thought were perfect for spring. Simple, right? It doesn't have to be complicated. But what you're doing is you're thinking about how your product could fit into your customer's life. It's spring, you're wearing less clothing. Maybe you don't want a necklace. Maybe you want to wear some giant earrings. So you're thinking about what might be happening in your customer's life and giving it that seasonal angle. And you might want to show how you use a product if you think that's going to help sell it. So two examples that I did. So one is this one necklace four ways where I actually showed four different photographs of the same necklace because this necklace can work in a lot of different ways. You can wear it long, you can wear it short. And that's really easy to communicate in person at a show. But I wanted to show that off in the email and get people to see why they should buy it. And this is a case where I did add a p.s. With a second product. So I said if it's a little long for you, because I realize that not everyone wants to wear a 52 inch long necklace. It's long for a lot of people. You might want the best selling Alice necklace at only 36 inches. So I said if this doesn't work, here is a second option. And I use that word best seller because again, things like that people like. Right, they want to know that things sell. Another example of this was actually a time where I did send out a blog post. So I do not email out all of my blog posts because sometimes I write a lot of blog posts. And my list would probably kill me. Like Megan we don't need five emails this week, right? So what I do is I use my blog content when I need something to send to my list. So this was a roundup where I took one necklace and I had done eight different ways to style it. Made the blog post and then I decided to send it to my list. This necklace sold, I think it was like within 45 minutes of sending this email. I was like oh okay, the necklace is gone now, right? So it was probably on my blog for like three or four days. And then as soon as I sent the email, it sold. And again it's just a different way of reminding people that your products are there. So then of course we do have the option to do a sale or a discount code. And again those are still straightforward. A little bit of text, an image. Here's the code. Go to shop. I have found with these, I tend to reiterate the code like once in the body and once in the p.s. Just so people if they get to the end, they remember it. But you don't have to. You can also if you want to get all designy, you can add a little bit of text to your image, put the code on there. That's a lot of work so I just write the code. People are smart, they find it. And some of them may not be a code. So in my online sample sale, that's a group of products that I marked down that's actually stuff I'm ready to clear out of my studio. That's the beauty of a sample sale. Stuff I want to mark down and I do that as a limited time. So the stuff goes up on the site for 24 hours at a discounted price. When the 24 hours is over, if there's anything leftover, it's gone. So in this case I'm not sending them a code, I am just literally telling them go here, go here, go here. And because there's a lot happening, these tend to be a little bit lengthier because there's a lot of moving parts in my sample sale. So you'll see there's a call to action right at the start. If you know you want to start, go here. If you want a little bit more information I'll give it to you. So that's how you treat that. And then I also do the teaser emails. So here is this is coming. And this is a longer email because then it requires a little bit more explanation. It's an event, it's a thing. They need more information so it's in there. This is probably the longest email that I send all year. Right, not very long. So those are all the email types. But the other thing that we want to think about. Does anyone have any questions? I feel like I just ran through a lot and I just talked my head off. Just a question about the photos and the emails. Yeah. You said they should have links too. Should the links go to that specific product or to just that page. It depends obviously but if it's a product that might sell out, is it better just to have it just go to the website? Yeah so that's a great question. So generally my rule of thumb is, if it's made to order product or product multiples, I link the image directly to that product. If it's a one of a kind that can sell out, I link it to the collection page. So that's generally my rule of thumb. I have experimented with both but I find that works best because when something sales quickly, you don't want them landing on a sold out page. Exactly, okay great. Great question though. Any other questions about that? Alright the other thing to keep in mind is that your emails shouldn't just convey information. They should make your customers care. We want to make them really excited to buy our product. To see what we're doing. To take action. And so one of my all time favorite marketing books, it's an oldie but goodie at this point. Is the book Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. And what they look at is why messages are memorable. And so they came up with these six principles of stickiness. And what I love about these is that these can be really amazing to apply to our email marketing to get our customers to care and take action. And they are and we're going to go into these in detail. But it's simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and stories. And when you can employ these things in your email and in the way that you're writing, it can really help move people to action. So let's look at a few of these. So simple should be the benchmark of all of your emails, right? So regardless of what other principles you're using, we should always be using simple. We want to stick to one idea and one call to action per email. In fact that quote I gave you guys about a confused mind always says no, I got that from them. That was from their book. I think they were quoting someone else. But that's really key, right? We want to keep it simple. But then you can also use some of these other ideas. So what can you do that's unexpected? How can you show your products in a new light? So in this case, it's eight ways to wear a statement necklace everyday. So we're not thinking of statement necklace as special occasion. We're thinking about it as every day. And I want to be clear here about something. In these examples I am not advocating these as a subject line, it's more of the thematic scope of your email. Some of these are a little long for subject lines. So I'm just giving you guys an idea about what the email might be about. Does that make sense? So think about how you can show your products in a new light. Maybe you decided, okay I'm not doing a launch today. I want to highlight a best seller in this week's email. Is there a way you can show that best seller in a new light? Is there a way you can look at it in an unexpected way? So there's concreteness. So for concrete you want to use really tangible, memorable ways to name and describe your products. I am all about giving my things names that my customers and my audience will remember. When I launch the Contra collection, I just kept calling it that. It's the Contra collection, it's the contra collection. Partly that's because Dendritic opal which is the kind of the stone, is a super mouthful to say, right? No one's going to remember that. So I was like okay I'm gonna give it a name. It's the Contra collection. And now even when you're like, what do you have on from the Contra collection, right? So how can you be concrete? How can you give people something tangible to refer to? Then there's credible. And one of the easiest ways to be credible is to share a customer testimonial. You don't have to do this a lot, but if you get a glowing testimonial from a customer, why not share it, right? If you're stuck for a product idea. So why Natasha chose the iris necklace for her speaking debut. Again, not the subject line. Terrible subject line. Just the idea that this woman Natasha who never wears jewelry, decided to wear the big iris necklace to speak at a conference. Why not share that? Why not talk about that. So then beyond sharing that customer testimonial, you can also think about the emotion behind your products. So in this case, maybe it's not just that she wore it, but it's that this necklace made her a more confident speaker. So how can you add emotion, right? People buy because of emotion. Let's be real for a second. No one needs anything that we're selling. Nobody needs giant statement earrings in their life. That's not why they buy. And if we're trying to convince them of a need, we're actually missing a huge opportunity. It's like what is the emotion behind it. And it doesn't have to be serious. Maybe the emotion is that they're freaking fun to wear, right? Maybe that's what it is. But what is the emotion behind it? And you don't always have to say these things. Sometimes you can show these things, right? So maybe you're showing it on a model that's really confident. Or having a lot of fun. Or expressing joy. So sometimes you don't even have to say, this will make you happy. The picture tells them everything they need to know. So that's something to think about as well. And then the last thing is stories. So you can tell a short, short story to have your audience feel more connected to your products. So maybe I can talk about how my trip to India inspired the Contra Collection. People like to know a little bit about where the inspiration came from. Those sorts of things. But be really careful with stories. Edit, edit, and then edit some more. And if I have learned anything, it is that people write way too long. And especially for those of us who are more visually oriented, we usually tend to write too long and it's kind of nonsensical nothingness. So if you're going to tell a story, write it, edit it, have a friend who's a really good writer cut it in half. And then edit it again. So stories I use the most sparingly. Because again truthfully, most of the time we don't have to write an email that's that long. A great picture, here's the thing. Here's where you can buy it. Simple. Now you do not need to incorporate every principle of stickiness in every email. Don't be like it's not a checklist okay. So don't stress about that. But think about, simple is always, simple is non-negotiable, right? Keep it simple but beyond that, is there another one that you can add in? And you can also just use them as jumping off points to generate ideas. And think about how you can combine them. So okay right. Today I'm going to do a product roundup. Maybe I want to add unexpectedness. What's an unexpected pairing? What are two things that I can put together that people wouldn't think about? So you can just use these ideas to make your emails more powerful. And really if you take that list of ideas that we talked about, the different types of product post. And then you would take the different ideas of how to make things sticky, you would just keep matching that up forever. Here's a product, here's an idea. Put it together, boom. You can get a year's worth of emails out of that easily. So then I want you to start to develop a file of future email ideas. Because there are sometimes we're gonna have like six ideas and then there's going to be a week where you're like I have no idea what I'm supposed to be saying. So keep this. I am a huge fan of Evernote. Evernote is basically my brain at this point. I have no idea what's happening until I go into my Evernote and it tells me. But whatever works for you. Google Docs, your notebook, your sketchbook, the workbook from this class. You guys can print that out and start writing all of your ideas in here. This is great bonus that we have. Whatever it is, start to keep that file. Now in the next segment, we are going to talk more about how to then organize these idea into an email editorial calendar that aligns with your business. Because the other thing is, it's really hard to come up with an email about X if your business and your brain are over here thinking about Y. So we're going to talk about aligning these together. But for now, I just want you to start generating ideas.

Class Description

Email can be one of the most powerful tools to market your business, connect with your customers and—most importantly—make sales!
You have your email list, but what do you do now?
Simple Email Marketing for Makers will give you the confidence to write, design and build an effective email that will drive people to your online store to purchase products.

Megan will take you step-by-step through her process of creating compelling and product-focused emails that will get more click-throughs and steer interested customers to your website.

In this class you will learn to do the following:

  • Get your email marketing set up the right way, using the right software
  • Turn social media followers into email subscribers
  • Develop the ideal email frequency for your specific business
  • Use email to cultivate customer loyalty

If you feel stressed about how to reach your customers via email, or it’s taking you too long to write and create an email, then Simple Email Marketing for Makers will solve all your email marketing woes.

Don’t Fear the Send!



What a great class. It's easy to watch thanks to the bite-size classes (in some of your other courses, segments are too long) and Megan's almost every sentence is packed with easily actionable, immediately implementable tips. She knows what she's talking about and delivers it with super likeable confidence. And I learnt SO MUCH invaluable stuff. Super recommend this class to all creative makers that desire to connect with their audience and sell sell sell


This class is amazing! Megan is fantastic! She really relates information in such a way to give you a real understanding of the subject and breaks down each step. I took pages of notes to implement right away. She really motivates and gets you excited about growing and building your business! Thanks so much Megan!

a Creativelive Student

I've been emailing my list weekly consistently for more than a year, and I still took away a ton of great information! I learned so much that will help me plan more quickly, get the emails written faster, and - best of all - make them more effective at converting into sales. Thanks so much, Megan!