I’ve been using email marketing to communicate with my audience for over 20 years. In the beginning I had no idea what I was doing, my emails broke all the design and marketing rules (not in a good way).
Eventually after a lot of trial and error and education, I feel like I’ve cracked the code on using email marketing for my business. Of course, you have to create great content that your audience wants but you also need to have a system in place.
I’ve sent nearly 200 emails to my subscribers over the past year. There’s no way I could have created and delivered all of that content without some time-saving tools that help me and our team stay organized, keep track of everything and maximize our creative efforts.
P.S. – If you’re looking for a deeper dive into marketing your business, join us for Marketing for Makers, a free online digital marketing summit for creatives that we’re hosting with Constant Contact July 11 & 12, 2023 And, if you’re looking for an email marketing platform, you can click here to get 30% off your first 3 months with Constant Contact!
Here are my top four time-saving tools I use in our email marketing:
This is where it all starts. In Google Calendar (Gcal) I lay out our schedule for 6-12 months at a time. I love Gcal because I can see it from any device, share the events with collaborators and have the events repeat. This last one is great if you send out a regular monthly newsletter. You just create one event for it and customize the setting to have it repeat every month.
Here’s how to create your newsletter calendar in Gcal:
- Create a calendar just for your newsletters. This makes it easy to share if you have a team and if you don’t, it organizes and color codes things so your emails don’t get mixed up with personal appointments etc.
- Look at your upcoming events, product releases, holidays, vacations and anything that you have on the books and add calendar events for your emails.
Next, there’s Airtable. I actually can’t believe I ever ran my business with Airtable. It’s such an integral part of what we do and I have KatieMac, our COO & Director of Digital to thank for that. She not only got on board to use Airtable for project management but set up tons of cool integrations, including one between our Google Calendar and Airtable that automatically imports our newsletters into our editorial calendar in Airtable.
If you’re not familiar with Airtable, it’s like a spreadsheet but with way more capability. In Airtable we keep track of what needs to be done for the newsletter as well as store the content. Keep in mind that I’m working with a team and we often have more than one person doing something for each email so we need a system like Airtable. If you’re a one person team, you may just use Google calendar which I used for years when I did things on my own. But, it’s good to create systems that can grow with your business.
Canva is where we design and layout our newsletters. Like Airtable, I have no idea how I got by without Canva. They have newsletter templates so you don’t have to worry about your design skills or dealing with creative blocks looking at a blank screen. You can also invite people to your Canva documents since they live on the Canva website so you can collaborate with people or your team. I create a Canva document for my newsletter and then add a page for each upcoming newsletter with the send date and notes about content in the Canva notes.
(BTW if you need help coming up with what to put in your emails, I got you! Here are 8 content ideas that are perfect for makers.)
Once the layout and content are done, it is time to create the actual email. Constant Contact was my first email service provider back in the day when I sent all those emails that weren’t pretty but got the job done when I first started my business. I’m back with Constant Contact after a short break to explore other platforms and I’m so happy I’m back!
I love their customer service and it’s not because we’re one of their partners. Here’s the proof: my husband set up an account for his hot sauce business and someone from Constant Contact actually called him to see if he had questions or needed help. I was shocked and impressed.
If you’re using Canva, they integrate with Constant Contact so you can actually upload images from your Canva account to Constant Contact. If you’re not using Canva and you’re not design savvy, Constant Contact has hundreds of awesome templates.
If you have a template that you use for a certain type of email you can easily copy it and then swap out text and images. For example, we copy our emails to our Patchwork Show vendors helping them prepare for the show and just edit the cities and links. This is a huge time saver!
The other feature I’ve just started utilizing is their landing page maker. You can make a landing page to share with people to sign up for your list in just minutes. I always seem to struggle with coming up with a subject so I love AI generated subject and preheader suggestions.