Hi! I'm Sarah Moon!

Four Years of Emails ➡️ Four Observations

published20 days ago
2 min read

Hello Reader,

Somehow, another year of consistent email writing has come and gone and it's time for me to once again share lessons learned from committing to an email marketing practice.

I know that "be consistent" is not the best advice ever and no one wants to hear that again, but an email marketing habit has truly been the best thing I've done for my business. Now my emails have effectively graduated from college and I have buckets of thoughts on this subject in my Notes app.

So, continuing my tradition of sharing observations from my own email marketing practice (it's helpful to think of at as a practice, so you have permission to be imperfect), here's this year's round of four observations that you can borrow, adapt, and reuse.

1. "How to" gets eyes on your content, but "why to" creates community.

When I first started this newsletter, I had one data point that I felt sure of: people love the idea of how to information. So I wrote a lot of emails focused on that. (Here's an example—it's fine, but just fine, if you know what I mean.)

However, what I slowly came to realize that as useful as how to content is, why to is more useful long term—it solves strategic needs, and helps people make bigger steps forward. What's also magical is that the why to content I've written in this newsletter is shared and has a much longer lifespan than the old how to stuff.

Cool, right?

2. People are more interested in sophisticated or complex ideas than we're led to believe.

If I hear "people don't read" one more time, I'm going to buy a billboard debunking this myth. Not only does data tell us that people do in fact read—and even prefer—long-form content (which it's useful), my audience and the audience of several of my clients seem to prefer for complex, nuanced, and conceptual content.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't define your terms, set context, or explain things. But if you do that, there's a decent chance your audience will appreciate that you respect their intelligence.

This is, of course, assuming you don't have an audience mismatch issue. (That's a subject for another day, though I've touched on it a bit previously.)

3. Emails are one of the best spaces for experimentation.

Because email subscribers have enough trust in you to have handed over their contact info and not unsubscribed (this is a big deal!), they are also more forgiving when you screw up, abandon an idea, or tweak your thinking a bit. Of course, this is assuming you don't mislead anyone or change gears so often it's hard to track your thinking.

Emails share this in common with other asymmetrically intimate mediums like podcasts—there's a relationship there that gives you more space and freedom to experiment and noddle on concepts—and the best ones will emerge as core themes to your marketing and messaging.

4. Just write. Even if (you think) it sucks.

Listen, we're our own worst critics. Your newsletter doesn't have to be beautiful, it doesn't have to be perfect. It can have typos (fun fact: you can unsubscribe people who "helpfully" send you line edits of your newsletter).

Think of it as artisanal newsletters.

Yes, some will suck. A lot will be pretty okay. A handful will be stellar.

It's often hard to discern which is which until after you hit send. Pay attention to the ones that get replies and questions—those are the keepers!

As I've said before, thank you so very much for going on this journey with me. I still can't believe how many people read my messages each and every week and even take the time to reply. It's truly been a privilege and I appreciate all of you.

Until next time,