Engagement and deliverability are inextricably linked. If one of them is poor, so will the other be, and if one of them is good… you get the picture. The trick is to lift them both up so that they continue to lift each other in a lovely little circular way.
How do we do this?
As a general rule, if you only send an email when you have a new release, you create for yourself a threefold problem:
- Frequency: you’ll have been forgotten by the time you email them again (an Engagement problem)
- Sender reputation: you’re not emailing often enough to cement your reputation as a good sender (a Deliverability problem)
- Give-to-ask ratio: every time your readers hear from you, you’re asking them to do something to benefit you (an Engagement problem)
(But remember: Engagement problems lead to lower open rates, which lead to poor reputation, which lead to deliverability problems, which means your emails are more likely to go to Spam or Promotions, which leads to engagement problems.)
We solve for Item 1 by sending frequently enough that people won’t forget you. How often that is will depend on varying factors, and may be different for each of you, but we can pin that down in our calls. For now, know that it may very well be more frequently than you will at first be comfortable with. Suck it up.
But I don’t want to bother people.
You’re building a list of superfans, remember? And you cannot, by definition, bother a superfan.
We solve for Item 2 by sending frequently enough that your reputation continues to build rather than reset. As I’ve mentioned, no one is 100% sure what duration that is—and for all we know, it may be different for different receivers—but one month seems to be pretty safe all around.
I know it sometimes feels like you don’t have anything to say every single month, but you do! The suggestions in Ninja for both topics and good conversation starters are a great resource, but the templating we’ll start in the last lesson should help a lot too, by making sure you’re not sitting down at a blank page.
We solve for Item 3 by sending frequently enough that by the time your ask comes around, you will have had several gives, which makes your list love you and be more likely to run out and buy your new book. (Plus you’ve been hyping it up in the preceding emails.) How often you send will therefore be affected by how often you’re releasing; if you release very frequently you will need to send some emails in between, even if that means more than once a month. We’ll talk about that in your one-on-ones as well.
Since we can’t directly affect deliverability, we have to increase engagement to get deliverability up. (We also purge the non-openers, but that’s at the end of this week’s lessons.) So how do we increase engagement? By building relationships and delivering value, of course! That’s the next lesson.
By now, you should know the dealio:
- How often are you currently emailing?
- What sorts of things are you doing to increase engagement?