Not emailed your list for a while? Like a reeeeeeally long while? Wondering how to ever show your (written) face again?
It’s ok, we’ve all been there. I ghosted my list for five years. FIVE WHOLE YEARS!
Here’s my advice for you if you’re wondering how on earth to press send ever again:
People might have forgotten who you are (shock, sorry, but yes, they might), so it’ll do you good to just remind your readers of who you are in the world, and why you’re useful to them.
My first email after my hiatus had the subject line of “It’s been a long time, stranger!” so I could acknowledge my slightly sheepish return.
The first sentence was “Gosh, it’s been a long time! I haven’t been sending my tips to help you with your social media for sooooo long now and I’m so sorry about that.” Reminding people why they are on your list and what it is you actually do, is a good way to restart the conversation.
Say where you’ve been
Just randomly emailing out of the blue warrants a bit of an explanation, don’t you think? My first email in five years (that’s so shocking to admit, and I am a bit ashamed!) gave a bit of a rundown of where on earth I’d been.
Doing corporate social media consultancy for a couple of years, meeting a lovely new partner, and getting married, in case you’re curious…
Explaining your absence with a mix of business and personal reassures people you’ve still be “in the game”, and also lets them into your life a little bit.
Include a link to something
Links are great measures of interest in emails as they’re tracked separately to opens, so you can get the feel of the email room in a deeper way than by just looking at opens (which don’t always even mean someone has actually read the message).
You could include a link to whatever you’ve been working on or doing during your ghosting, but if there isn’t a book you’ve written or it’s not appropriate to share your wedding photos, link to one of your social media accounts.
I included a link to my Instagram profile and invited DMs, if people preferred that to replying to my email.
Make it about them
You wouldn’t have an email list if it wasn’t for the wonderful people on the receiving end, so make the email more about them than you.
Ask them what they’ve been up to. Ask how their business is going. Ask if they’re struggling. Ask ask ask!
Get ready for loads of replies
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be over the moon at all the replies you receive. Not necessarily from people gagging to work with you, but from people who care, and have missed you, and are answering the questions you asked them.
It’s those people who really make your business in the long run. They’re the ones who’ll recommend you, or book onto your events when you have them, and just generally make your business a really nice place to be.
I was quite teary at some of the emails I got. The well-wishes for my new marriage were wonderful, and the virtual coffee meetings that sprung up afterwards gave me lots of clarity on the direction my business should take next.
Welcome all unsubscribes
It can feel like a personal affront sometimes when someone unsubscribes to your emails, but it really is something to embrace. It means they aren’t interested. Pure and simple. And if they’re not interested then they are unlikely to be an avid fan, a raving advocate, or customer. Wave them a fond farewell, and focus on the people who do want to continue receiving your emails.
I got 51 unsubscribes to my email. Some of the people I had known for years. Some were previous clients or students. And some I had no clue who they were. Whichever they were, it was great they made the right choice for them.
Keep your sign off vague
There’s no need to introduce the promise of a weekly email just yet. You’ve left it for six months / 12 months / five years so what’s to say you will suddenly have the time, enthusiasm and discipline to send out weekly messages?
Signing off with a friendly but non-committal “see you next time!” won’t set expectations above the fact that you will be in touch again. Far less pressure for you.
I did start emailing my list pretty much weekly almost straight away, but only you will know whether that’s likely to happen in your business or not…
Until next time… (vagueness works for frequency of blogs too!)