Category: Uncategorized

How to Create Three Months of Email Content in an Afternoon

Most small-business owners know the value of an email list. Email can be a great way to communicate with your audience on an ongoing basis.

But this is where a lot of entrepreneurs get stuck: Once you start an email list, how do you know what to send them?

No one wants to be spammy—we don’t want to send advertisement after advertisement. If we only email our clients when we’re selling something, they’ll never want to open our emails.

But when you deliver value in your emails, you build a relationship with your audience—you build trust. Sending weekly emails with quick deliverables keeps you and your company top of mind for your prospects and helps move them along their customer journey until they are ready to buy.

Here’s how to generate three months of email content in a single afternoon—without hiring a copywriter.

Step 1: What are the top 5-10 questions your potential customer will ask?

List out some of the questions your prospects and customers are asking. These questions don’t need to be broad—they should be questions you could answer in just a few minutes.

For example, if I’m selling custom window treatments, my customers might ask questions like:

  • What is the best window treatment for living rooms?
  • Does the material of the blinds make a difference?
  • How long does it take to install a custom window treatment?

If I’m a fitness coach, my customers might ask:

  • What should I eat before and after my workout?
  • How do I choose what exercise program is right for me?
  • What are the best exercises for back pain?

Take a moment right now to brainstorm 5-10 questions you hear from customers and potential clients.

Step 2: What are the top 5-10 objections you hear from prospects?

List out the most common objections raised by your potential customers. Cost objections come up in every industry, but there are also probably other objections specific to your product or service.

Once you have a healthy list of objections, jot down what information the prospect needs in order to overcome that objection.

A window treatment prospect might think their old blinds and drapes are fine. The information they need is how faulty window treatments can lead to floor discoloration and damage from the sun.

If someone is considering a fitness coach, they might have tried a weight loss program before without success. The information they need is why fad diets don’t work, or how the right program will be focused on their specific needs in order to help them reach their goals.

Just like you did in Step 1, take a moment to jot down 5-10 common objections relevant to your industry.

Step 3: Choose 12 of these topics

You can probably see where I’m going with this.

You’ve likely generated more than 12 ideas, but you only have to choose 12—one for each week of the three-month time frame. (If one of those months is five weeks, of course, you may need to choose 13 topics.)

Select the topics you believe your audience would be most excited to learn about. This might be your most frequently asked questions, or topics that are especially interesting.

If you know your ideal customer well, it should be pretty easy to narrow down your topics. But if you have doubts, reach out to one or two great current clients and ask them which topics they’d be most interested in.

Hold onto any extra topic ideas—you can use these to jumpstart your content next quarter.

Step 4: Record a short video for each topic

Once you’ve selected your topics, record a short video answering each question or providing information around each objection.

Why videos?

First of all, videos are easy for anyone to create.

There are many free or low-cost video recording software options. One app that many people already have is Zoom: you can start a meeting, hit record, talk for a few minutes, and save your video without any complicated tech. If you hit “stop recording” at the end of each video response, Zoom will generate separate video files without any extra editing on your part.

And for a lot of us, making a video can also be faster than writing out email copy. With video, you can rely more on the inflection of your voice, rather than having to carefully edit the text to sound like “you.” Seeing your face encourages prospective clients to trust you and can nurture a friendly, personable relationship.

But perhaps most importantly, prospects are more likely to actually open emails that include video.

One analysis found that merely including the word “video” in a subject line can increase an email’s open rate by 6%. Another found that videos can increase click-through rates—how many readers clicked on a link after opening an email—by a whopping 65%.

These videos don’t need to be long. In fact, keeping the video under five minutes can help ensure the value is quick and digestible for your viewers. Even if you need to re-record a couple of the videos, this whole process shouldn’t take more than an hour or two.

Step 5: Send one video a week to your email list

Congratulations, you’ve created all of next quarter’s email content in a single afternoon!

Now all that’s left is sending the videos to your email list. Most CRM software has an option for scheduling your videos ahead of time. You can do this yourself or give this task to a VA.

In the subject line, preview the topic of the video—and be sure to include the word “video” to get that open-rate boost.

Here are a couple of subject lines from our examples:

  • [Video] How to tell if your window treatments are damaging your floors
  • Why fad diets don’t work [30 second video]

The magic of quick-value content

The goal of all this is to offer bite-sized content that your subscribers can easily digest.

Offering short videos teaches your list that when they (1) open your emails and (2) click on your links, they get immediate value. As a result, when you do have something to sell them, they’re already primed to open the email and click on what it is you have to offer.

This is just one method of client nurture. If you want to learn more, visit and download a copy of my e-book, Mind your Profits.

Black Lives Matter. PERIOD.

Black Lives Matter. PERIOD.

Ready to march in Pleasanton’s Black Lives Matter protest

Children are an amazing gift. You bring home this little blob from the hospital, turn around a few times, and discover an amazing person. That’s what’s happened to me recently. My amazing daughter, an adjunct professor of writing at Columbia University, challenged me: “Are you going to do something, Dad?”, “Do you have any plans for showing up on LinkedIn as an anti-racist?”

This is a hard thing: I am a small-business owner and have tried to keep politics out of my business even though I have very strong theological roots and care deeply about the plight of all humanity. Today, I serve on the board of The Gratitude Network and give that work the highest priority as I set my schedule for the day and the week.

Given today’s environment, it will be impossible for me to say what I believe to be important without appearing to be taking sides politically. But I can no longer stay silent.

My daughter knows my heart.

From the very beginning of our relationship, my wife and I have worked to improve the lives of the under-resourced locally, across the US, and around the world – investments of both time and money. Although never wealthy, we knew we came from privileged backgrounds as we never had to worry about where our next meal would come from – even if it might be waffles at the end of the month as the food money ran short.

We were both raised in white, suburban surroundings, attended fine schools, and were afforded excellent college and graduate educations. We have worked hard to provide for our family and I do not apologize for what we have been able to achieve.

But the events of the past two weeks have shown that I must do more. The senseless killing of George Floyd has re-awakened the nation to respond to this issue at a level that I don’t recall since the height of the civil rights movement in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

This is not just about standing on the right side of history but about standing up for what is right, period: I must stand with them.

My daughter asked me the following questions: What don’t I know? What do I know? Where do I have influence? What am I going to do?

What don’t I know?

I am a heterosexual, white male. I clearly do not know what it is like to be a person of color. Or a woman or gay or bi or trans or anything other than what I am. I do not know what it is like to be denied fair treatment just because of who I am or what I look like.

I do not know what it is like to grow up in a system that is biased against me.

What do I know?

I know that I was born into white privilege. I would say “solidly, middle class.” Dad worked, as an engineer, Mom didn’t (well not for pay, anyhow). While there were clearly limits to what we could afford, we never wanted for anything growing up. That was not a choice I made, I just got lucky.

I also know that all people are God’s children and we are all equal in God’s sight. I know that I hope for a world in which every child can grow up free from fear and want and able to live out their own dream, and any system which perpetuates inequality is wrong and should be abolished.

I also must acknowledge my participation in the systems here in this country which perpetuate that inequality. I have not done so intentionally, but nonetheless, I am part of the system.

I even have to admit that deep down, I am a racist. My brain is wired to prefer those who are similar to me – this was a survival mechanism as we evolved as a species, so it’s there and I need to acknowledge it.

The question is, do I act out of that racism? Do I let my “reptilian brain” control how I act? I work very hard to be able to say “No!” to that instinct. I think I’m doing okay, but it’s still there.

Where do I have influence?

I have influence in my community, with my friends, in my church, and even a bit on-line. Over my lifetime, I’ve noticed that I’m a natural leader, so in most settings where I participate, I wind up in some sort of leadership position.

As Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben said, “with great power comes great responsibility.” So I need to acknowledge that I have that responsibility and speak out against all systems that continue to, in the words of Al Sharpton (from Mr. Floyd’s eulogy last week) put a knee in the neck of black people. These are our systems of education, employment, justice, and public protection (aka police) at the very least.

What am I going to do?

Well, last week, I participated in a march here in my local community with my mask and my sign “Black Lives Matter, PERIOD.” Yes, all lives matter, but when you read the parable of the lost sheep, it’s clear we need to focus on the one who is lost, not the 99 who are doing fine.

Assuming social restrictions continue to loosen, I will go to Washington for the march on August 28 to commemorate the anniversary of Dr. King’s speech, “I Have a Dream.” Between now and then, I will speak out. I will not remain silent. I will challenge the status quo. And I will begin working to change the systems that perpetuate injustice and inequality.

It’s time for this privileged, white man to state firmly and for the record: Black Lives Matter. PERIOD.