Time management

  • How To Put Together A Highly Clickable Email In 15 Minutes

    Social media might rule the roost when it comes to getting word out about what you offer, but email and sending a newsletter is how you develop the relationship and get clients buying. In fact, there are some interesting stats on Optin Monster:

    66% of consumers state that they have made a purchase as the result of a marketing message they received by email.
    On the flip side, only 20% of them have ever made a purchase resulting from a Facebook promotion, and a mere 6% ever purchased something resulting from a Twitter promotion.

    So, newsletters are important. But it’s so easy to push it down your To Do list, and assume it will take a lot of time. It doesn’t have to though! With a little planning, creating your weekly newsletter can take just 15 minutes.

    First up: The Newsletter Format

    Freelance Lifestyle Newsletter 2

    Freelance Lifestyle Newsletter

    The basic format of my email is:

    • Logo
    • Email topic
    • Image (often used from Pixabay/Picjumbo or my latest post)
    • Introduction text – usually linking to that week’s blog post
    • Promotion section – usually one of my courses, the podcast info and info on my online school
    • The Useful and The Fun link round ups. These are two sections summarising some of my favourite links from around the web that week for freelancers and home workers. They give readers great value, increase click rates and, from a selfish point of view, are fun to research!
    • Featured Freelancers. Occasionally these are affiliates, or just freelancers who have created products and services suitable for my readers.
    • Finally, there’s the blog post archive section and the social media links

    While that might sound like quite a bit, most of it only requires occasional updating. The rest, with a little bit of forward thinking during the week, is absolutely doable in 15 minutes.

    Want to know how I do it? Here are the steps I take:

    • I use pretty much the same template every week, so I can easily edit it for that week and send it out. It also means readers know what to expect.
    • Throughout the week, I save links I’ve enjoyed to Pocket. I’ve also got a couple of IFTTT recipes set up, so that Tweets I favourite/heart end up in Pocket, save Medium articles I applaud, and some of my favourite blog RSS feeds are set up to save there too. That means that when Thursday comes round, I have a nice collection of links to use for my round up.
    • The chatty bit at the start of the email is often a repurposed introduction from that week’s blog post, linking to the rest of the post. I don’t just copy and paste – I like to tailor it to newsletter readers and give them a good idea of the kind of content they’ll get when they click through
    • The next bit is my featured freelancers bit. These tend to change every month or so, so often just need a read through to make sure they’re still suitable.
    • Finally, the section at the end of my email is a piece of MailChimp code which automatically imports my last few blog posts, so I don’t need to change it!

    What can I write a newsletter on?

    Not sure what you could offer a newsletter on? Here are a few ideas:

    • A monthly current and previous client newsletter, with useful links to their industry or yours (e.g. ‘Instagram released this feature, want to know more? Book in a session with me’)
    • A chatty behind the scenes email with what you’re up to
    • A weekly or bi-weekly update on new products. This could be as simple as an image that clicks through to your online store
    • Something a little different – perhaps an industry-specific crossword, a teaser for your latest videos, a summary of your most popular Instagram snapshots, a round up of your favourites – there’s no reason why you have to do anything the standard way.

    Do you have a newsletter?

    p.s If you’re short on time, but keen to start a podcast, I have a 15 minute hack for that too! 

  • How two routines changed my freelance life

    Want to know which two routines have changed how I work in 2013, for the better?

    The Morning Routine

    Each morning I have a checklist of five things I must do without fail before I start anything else. Each item of the list is either something I love, or do something that sets me up for a great day. This is not something you do for others (unless it makes you happy).

    Currently, my list is (in no particular order):

    • Make my bed
    • Sit down for a couple of minutes with a cup of tea or a glass of water
    • Catch up on blogs and vlogs
    • Plan my meals for the day
    • Meditate using the Calm app.

    Sometimes, I multitask some of these tasks (for example, I often catch up on vlogs and blogs while putting my make up on for work, and I check Pocket and plan meals from bed before I get up).

    The benefits of the morning routine

    • I feel more positive, having started the day with enjoyable things
    • I feel more productive – I’ve already ticked five things off the list
    • I feel more successful – starting off the day with health habits makes it easier to stick to them

    The Evening Routine

    While the morning is all about starting off the day right, the evening routine is all about relaxing and setting up for a good start the next day. Currently, my evening routine is (in no particular order)

    • Write a To Do list for the next day
    • Cleanse and tone my face, and ideally enjoy a relaxing bath
    • Go to bed with a clean kitchen
    • 15 minutes of tidying
    • Read

    The benefits of the evening routine

    • I feel more organised – my natural mode is ‘slob’, so having a tidier house and an idea of what I need to do the next day really helps
    • I feel more relaxed – all of the points above set me up for a good night’s sleep
    • Less stressed – With a tidy(ish) home and a plan for the next day, stress levels are certainly lower

    Obviously, routines vary from person to person. For example, while I have time to enjoy a bath in the evening and catch up on my blog reading in the morning, I’ve no doubt that working parents would struggle to find the time!

    Why not try creating two routines for yourself – then let me know how you get on!