Email Newsletters

So, you’ve heard us mention these “email newsletters” a few different times, and they sound great. But, what on earth are they? Here’s what you need to know about these broadcasts.

What exactly are email newsletters?

For each blog post we create for you, we’ll also draft a corresponding email newsletter to drive your email subscribers to view your new post. These newsletters are sent out on the publish day of your post, approximately an hour after the post publishes.

Who do you send email newsletters to?

In the “Getting Started” form you filled out following your kickoff call, you indicated what email list you’d like these weekly newsletters distributed to. We’ll send these weekly or bi-weekly broadcasts to that list as instructed, unless you tell us otherwise.

We recommend sending your email newsletters to anyone who has opted-in to receive content from you.  We can help you configure your email tool (we recommend Drip) to tag and classify subscribers who should receive your newsletters.

What if I want my newsletters to be more branded?

This is a question we get about our email newsletters pretty frequently. The newsletters we create for your blog posts are mainly text-based. But, for good reason.

We don’t recommend a heavily designed and branded email, as we’ve found that a plain text email is more personable, making it that much more likely to get opened and read.

We will sign off your emails with “YOUR NAME and the team at YOUR COMPANY NAME”. However, if you have a simple template created that includes your preferred signature, we can utilize that pre-set template when creating your newsletter. Just let us know!

Are email newsletters different from an email course?

Great question! Yes, if you signed up to have us create your email course, these weekly newsletters are a totally separate initiative. While email newsletters are sent out regularly to promote specific blog posts, your email course is a standalone email series (consisting of seven total emails) that people can sign up for on your website.

FAQ For Infusionsoft Users

Although Infusionsoft is not our recommended email marketing platform ( Drip is the tool we highly recommend if you’re starting up with email marketing or thinking about moving to a new one), if you’re already using Infusionsoft, then here’s some info about how Audience Ops can “plug in” into your workflow.

Why we don’t recommend Infusionsoft (but we can still work with it!)

We don’t recommend Infusionsoft for a few reasons.  Primarily, we think it is over-complicated and too confusing to use.  In fact, it often requires hiring a 3rd party consultant just to help you operate your Infusionsoft!  Not to mention, Infusionsoft itself is quite expensive compared to other tools on the market today—and frankly, it’s not necessarily better than lower-priced alternatives.
Alternatives like  Drip offer a similar set of “email automation” features, with a far simpler interface.  It’s also easier to integrate in your website.
That said, we know that Infusionsoft users have already paid a substantial setup fee to use that platform, and oftentimes are entrenched in their system with no plans to move.  So if you find yourself in this boat, then we’re still happy to work together!

How to enable Audience Ops to input content in your Infusionsoft account

Since every Infusionsoft account is a little different, each with it’s own intricate system of automations, workflows, and lists, and integrations, we (Audience Ops) will need a little guidance from you in regards to where we should input the content we produce for you.
Typically, Infusionsoft users are fairly familiar with the system and can point us in the right direction.  But if you need help with operating or setting up your Infusionsoft account, then it might make sense to work with a dedicated Infusionsoft consultant—and put that person in contact with us.  The company we highly recommend for this  System.ly.  They can help you (and us) organize your subscriber funnels, campaigns, tagging strategy, and broadcast emails.

What we’ll need from you:

There are two things that Audience Ops will produce for you, which will need to be inputted in your Infusionsoft account.  We’ll need guidance from you (or your consultant) as to where we should place these items in your Infusionsoft account:

Your Email Course Campaign

(If you opted for our Email Course package) We will write a 7-part educational email sequence to serve as your primary “lead magnet”.
Here’s what we’ll need from you:
  • Point us to a “Campaign” that is configured to send to people who subscribe to your course from your website.  This campaign’s content can be blank.  We’ll fill it in with our 7-email sequence.
  • You/your team can then “launch” this course to your subscribers and/or integrate your website signup forms to subscribe visitors to it.

Your Weekly Broadcast Newsletters

In addition to your automated email course, we’ll also send weekly (or bi-weekly) “live” email newsletters to promote your latest article that we’ve published on your blog.

Here’s what we’ll need from you:

  • Provide us with a simple set of guidelines as to who we should define as your recipients (or “contacts” who should receive your weekly newsletter.  The more detail you can provide, the better.  Specific tips as to the specific settings you want us to define in your weekly broadcast newsletters will be helpful.
  • Alternatively, you may choose to manage the sending your email blasts yourself.  In this case, we will provide you with the finished text for each weekly newsletter, which you or your team can then input and schedule to send in Infusionsoft.

Mailchimp Email Automation

If you’re using Mailchimp, then we can set up our recommended automation workflows for you, and help you set up your new or existing Mailchimp account.

If you’re using a tool other than Mailchimp, then you can implement similar automations, if possible.

These are the email automations we recommend, which we can set up for you in your Mailchimp account:

Email Newsletters

We’ll group all subscribers who should be receiving your newsletter with the tag, “Newsletter”.

When we set up and schedule your weekly broadcast newsletter, we’ll set up the recipients to be all subscribers who are in the group “Newsletter”.

Email Course

If we created an email course for you, we will set it up so that anyone who subscribes to this course will be entered in the Group “[Course] Name of Course”.

We will also set up an automation to temporarily remove the “Newsletter” grouping while a person is actively going through your email course.  This ensures they won’t be overwhelmed with too many emails during the week they are going through your course. Once they complete your email course sequence, the “Newsletter” group will be re-applied and they’ll receive your weekly email newsletters going forward.

Content Upgrades

Whenever someone opts-in for a Content Upgrade on your blog, our WordPress plugin will automatically send that subscriber’s info (name & email) into your Mailchimp account.

We’ll automatically group those people with “Content Upgrade” making it easy to filter by people who’ve opted for a Content Upgrade.

We’ll also set up an automated, conditional*, email that is sent to someone approximately 1 week after receiving a Content Upgrade.  This email will “pitch” your email course and allow them to subscribe to it by clicking a link in that email.  *This email will only be sent if the person has not yet gone through your course.

Email Course: What is it?

What is an email course?

If you signed up for this as part of your package, we’ll be creating an email course for you to offer to your subscribers.

An email course is a series of seven emails to educate and engage your audience. Emails 1-5 are educational lessons to teach your audience something valuable. Email 6 shares your business as the next logical step to take to address all of the problems and challenges that were shared throughout the course. Finally, Email 7 answers approximately five common questions about your product or service, and acts as that final nudge for subscribers who may not have taken action after Email 6.

What does the process for creating an email course look like?

STEP ONE: At approximately the same time you receive your initial editorial calendar document from us (3-4 business days after your kickoff call), you’ll also receive a Google Doc outline for your email course. You’re welcome to provide feedback here using the “Comment” feature in Google Docs, so that we can nail down an outline that you’re really happy with.

STEP TWO: Once we have your approval on the outline, we’ll move forward with drafting all seven emails. We typically give our writers two weeks to draft all of these emails.

STEP THREE: The entire course will go through our internal editing process to make these drafts the best they can be.

STEP FOUR: Once those drafts are edited, you’ll receive the drafts in a Google Doc for your review (approximately two and a half weeks after you received the outline). Again, use the “Comment” feature to offer your feedback and suggestions.

STEP FIVE: We’ll address and finalize any revisions to ensure you’re happy with the email drafts.

STEP SIX: When the drafts are finalized and approved, we’ll set them up in your email marketing platform and get them ready to launch. You’ll receive a link to the entire course once it’s ready for you to launch.

STEP SEVEN: You’ll need to set up a call-to-action on your website encouraging your readers to sign up for the course. We can help with the wording for this. Just ask us!

STEP EIGHT: Activate the email course, and watch your list continue to grow!

All in all, the total production time for an email course (from outline creation to ready to launch) lasts between 4 and 5 weeks, depending on approval times and what revisions are required.

Content Upgrades: What are they & how do they work?

Content upgrades are a key part of our service here at Audience Ops—and a key tool for constantly growing your email list. So, what exactly are these content upgrades, and how do they work? Here’s what you need to know:

What are content upgrades?

Content upgrades are a piece of bonus content that complements your blog post (think a checklist, worksheet, or list of additional tools and resources). Readers need to subscribe to receive that bonus—which will be delivered directly to their inbox. This bonus content incentivizes your readers to join your email list, as they receive a helpful and relevant freebie if they do.

How do we setup Content Upgrades (in WordPress)?

We use our a WordPress plugin called, appropriately, “Content Upgrades”.  It is designed specifically for the purpose of delivering content upgrades to your subscribers. As an Audience Ops client, we issue you a complimentary lifetime license and we’ll install the Content Upgrades plugin in your WordPress site for you.

If you’re not using WordPress, then  see this guide on how we setup Content Upgrades in non-WordPress sites.

How do Content Upgrades work?

A Content Upgrade consists of the following elements:

  • The bonus downloadable piece of content (PDF)
  • The call-to-action box/button, which we place midway through the blog article content, which looks like this:
  • The popup form, specific to the Content Upgrade associated with this particular blog article, which looks like this:
  • The delivery of the bonus download PDF, after the user has filled in their email address form.  They’ll see their download link immediately and receive an immediate response email containing that download link.  They’ll see this:
  • The passing of the user’s name/email address into your email marketing tool (Drip, Mailchimp, etc.), and automatically tagged accordingly.  Here’s how it looks in Drip:

We create a unique Content Upgrade with a unique call-to-action / form / response for each individual blog article that we produce for you.  The Content Upgrades WordPress plugin streamlines the process of setting up all the pieces that go into each Content Upgrade.

What email platforms does our plugin integrate with?

As of this writing, the Content Upgrades WordPress plugin integrates directly with Mailchimp, Drip, ConvertKit as well as Zapier.  If you don’t use Mailchimp, Drip or ConvertKit, then you can use the Zapier.com integration to connect  seamlessly with just about any other email platform, such as ActiveCampaign, Infusionsoft, HubSpot, and many others.  We can handle this setup for you.

Setting up Content Upgrades if you’re not using WordPress

To learn about what a Content Upgrade is and how it works,  read our guide here.

If you use WordPress, then we’ll the Content Upgrades WordPress plugin, which is specifically designed for the purpose of setting up unique Content Upgrades on each and every blog article.

But what if you’re not using WordPress? For example, what if you’re using SquareSpace, HubSpot, Ghost, or some other CMS?

No problem!  We’ll still do Content Upgrades for you.  However, setting them up will require a different workflow and toolset (since we can’t use our WordPress plugin).

We ask that you purchase an  OptinMonster account on their Starter Plan (as of this writing: $19/month or $108/year). We found that this tool enables us to set up all of the pieces necessary to execute Content Upgrades on each individual blog article.

Why is OptinMonster required?

It’s only required if you do not use WordPress for your blog, and if you want us to set up Content Upgrades for you.

The reason we use OptinMonster is that it provides the most seamless workflow for setting up call-to-actions, popup forms, delivery of unique bonus content for each popup form, and integration to your email list.  Our team has been trained on using OptinMonster for Content Upgrades in cases where WordPress isn’t being used.

How will it integrate with my email marketing tool?

OptinMonster has built-in integrations with all of the most popular email marketing tools, such as Mailchimp, HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, Infusionsoft and many more.  See their integrations page here.

In the rare cases, if you’re using a lesser-known email tool that OptinMonster doesn’t integrate directly with, then there’s a good chance your tool is connect-able using Zapier.com.  In this case, we’ll ask you to set up a Zapier account, which we’ll then use to connect OptinMonster to your email tool.

Can I setup Content Upgrades myself instead?

Of course!

If you prefer to handle the setup of each individual Content Upgrade yourself (using whatever tool you prefer), that’s totally fine too! We’ll provide you with the bonus content PDF that we create for each article. You’ll just need to set up the Content Upgrade.

This entails:

  • Creating a call-to-action box midway through the article content
  • Creating a popup form, triggered when the call-to-action is clicked.
  • Configuring the auto-response after the form is filled out, to deliver the unique bonus content (PDF) attached to this form / this article.
  • Integrating with your email marketing tool to pass along the subscriber’s info and tag them accordingly.

Keep in mind—You’ll need to do this separately for each individual blog article, and on schedule with your publishing calendar. This is why we recommend letting us handle this recurring setup process for you 🙂

Can’t we just use Drip or Mailchimp to create the Content Upgrades?

Not really. These are great at creating global email opt-in forms.  For example, Drip’s slide-up form is typically seen across many pages on your site, and is set up to respond with a single, global piece of content (like an Email Course).

Content Upgrades, on the other hand, are unique to each and every blog article.

It’s true, that you can create many unique forms in a tool like Drip or Mailchimp. But that only covers one piece of the Content Upgrade. You’ll still need:

  • An embeddable call-to-action box to visually call attention to the Content Upgrade midway through the blog article article content.  Drip/Mailchimp don’t provide this, so this would need to be designed custom.
  • The auto-response with a link to download the unique bonus content (PDF). You’ll need to set up a unique automation workflow for each and every Content Upgrade form in Drip or Mailchimp to accomplish this.  This becomes unmanageable and very time consuming to setup.

Can we opt to not have Content Upgrades at all?

Sure, that’s no problem. If you prefer, we can omit Content Upgrades from our process for you.

However, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to capture visitor’s email addresses when they read your articles. You can still attract subscribers using your global lead magnet, such as an Email Course (which would be seen across many pages on your site).

But what makes Content Upgrades convert so well is that they’re unique and highly relevant to the particular topic of the article they came with. This is why we recommend doing them in addition to having your global lead magnet in place, and it’s why we include this as part of our service.

Lead Magnets: Email Course vs. eBook and other FAQs

Your Audience Ops plan may include having us create a Lead Magnet.  This page will help answer some common questions.

Does my Audience Ops Plan include a Lead Magnet?

It may or it may not.  If you’re unsure, you can always reach out to Brian to ask him to clarify which plan you’re on.

At the time of this writing, Audience Ops offers 3 plans.  2 of them include a Lead Magnet:

  • Standard:  Includes a Lead Magnet
  • Light+:  Includes a Lead Magnet
  • Light:  Does not include a Lead Magnet

Can I purchase a Lead Magnet later on?

Yes — If your initial plan with us did not include a Lead Magnet and you would like to have us create one for you later on, we can do that.  Or, perhaps we did do one Lead Magnet for you early on, and you’d like to have us create another one, perhaps one that targets a different customer segment.  We can do that too.

Reach out to Brian to discuss purchasing a Lead Magnet as a one-off project.

Why would I need a Lead Magnet (instead of just blog content)?

Your Lead Magnet is a content asset that serves a few different purposes for your business:

  • It’s a high-value, useful resource that educates your customers about the core problem that your business solves
  • It helps attract email subscribers to your list, and serves as an asset you can promote in exchange for email addresses.  Some clients run ads pointing to their lead magnet, others rely on purely organic traffic to their lead magnet.
  • It delivers highly valuable content to your new subscribers’ email inbox, which “sets the tone” for what’s to come and makes them more likely to open future emails from you.

OK… But what is a Lead Magnet, exactly?

Lead Magnets can come in many different forms.  At Audience Ops, we create your Lead Magnet in one of 2 common formats:

  • Email Course — Our most popular and typically most recommended option.  This is a multi-day email drip campaign (a.k.a. “autoresponder” campaign), positioned as a “crash course”.  We set this up in your email marketing tool so that subscribers automically receive the series of educational emails that we write.  For more information about Email Courses, click here.
  • eBook — Alternatively, we can create your Lead Magnet as an eBook (a.k.a. “white paper”) instead of an Email Course.  An eBook is a single, downloadable PDF document, with all of the content that would normally go into your multi-day email course packed into a single, digestible, eBook.  We use a simple, clean design template for the eBook PDF and we’ll set up the delivery of the ebook to email subscribers who opt-in for it.

Our most typical recommendation is the Email Course format, since it keeps your new subscribers engaged over several days, and “drips” out your content in bite-sized pieces.  However, an eBook might make more sense for your business if you feel your customers aren’t likely to tune into a multi-day email campaign, and perhaps they’re more inclined to get the content all at once.  This is common if you’re selling to enterprise / larger clients, who are more familiar with the idea of a white paper.

You can discuss your preferred format and our recommendations during your kickoff call with your manager and writer.

Regardless of which format you choose (Email Course or eBook), it will always include the following:

  • Approximately 5,000 words of content
  • We’ll research and propose the topic for you
  • We’ll present the topic and outline to you for your review and approval
  • It will go through our standard writing and editing process
  • You will be invited to review and add comments to our draft before finalizing
  • We will set up the delivery of your Lead Magnet to subscribers in your email marketing tool
  • If you’re using Drip, then we’ll set up and activate Drip’s popup form on your website, where visitors can opt-in for your Lead Magnet.  If you’re using something other than Drip, we can work together to find the form or popup solution for your visitors.
  • We will write and create a simple, focused landing page, which you can use as the “destination” to point traffic to when you want to promote this Lead Magnet directly.  This is useful when running ads to it, linking to it from your guest appearances, linking to it from your email signature, etc.

Is the Lead Magnet the same as “Content Upgrades”?

No — Your Lead Magnet is not the same as Content Upgrades.

Content Upgrades are smaller, 1-page, pieces of bonus content, which we package with each individual blog article.  You might think of Content Upgrades as “mini” Lead Magnets.  Content Upgrades are always included in all of our service plans at Audience Ops.  They’re a standard part of our blog article production process.  For more information about Content Upgrades, click here.

Your Lead Magnet (Email Course or Ebook), is a separate, larger piece of content.  Unlike Content Upgrades, which are promoted only a specific blog article, your Lead Magnet is intended to be promoted throughout your website, your blog, on social media, and anywhere else you want to link to it.

How long does it take to launch a Lead Magnet?

Typically, it takes about 6 weeks from start to finish and launch of your Lead Magnet.  But this can depend on how quickly we receive feedback and approval on various stages of our Lead Magnet creation process.

What is the process for creating a Lead Magnet?

Our production process for your Lead Magnet looks like this:

  • Week 1:  Phone call to interview you and discuss potential topics
  • Week 2:  Present a topic and outline for your Lead Magnet and get your feedback and approval.
  • Weeks 3-4:  We write and do copyediting and internal review of the draft.
  • Weeks 4-5:  We invite you to review and give comments and edits on the draft.
  • Week 6:  With the draft finalized, we will package and set up your lead magnet in your email marketing software, and launch it on your website.

Is the Lead Magnet intended to promote my business?

Ultimately, yes.  However, the strategy is to teach and provide value up-front, and then pitch your business.

First, we decide on a topic that is highly relevant to the problem that your business solves for customers.  Then we plan an educational Email Course or eBook all about that topic.  Why it’s important.  How your target customers deal with this problem.  The best practices surrounding it, and so on.

After we’ve taught the best practices, we then introduce your business as the logical next step to implementing those best practices.

Then we follow up with answers to common questions.

What happens after a person receives my Lead Magnet?

Sometimes, a lead magnet can “lead” a person to immediately become a lead or a customer for your product or service.

A more common outcome is subscribers receive your lead magnet, build up lots of trust with you initially, then stay tuned into your content over the coming weeks and months after receiving your lead magnet.  Once they eventually have a need for your solution (or when they know someone who does), your name will be at the top of their mind, since you’ve been returning to their inbox on a regular basis these past few months.

Have more questions about lead magnets?

Contact your manager anytime at hello@audienceops.com.

Drip Email Automation

If you’re using  Drip, then we will set up our recommended automation workflows for you, and help you set up your new or existing Drip account.

If you’re using a tool other than Drip, then you can implement similar automations, if possible.

These are the email automations we recommend, which we can set up for you in your Drip account:

Email Newsletters

We’ll tag all subscribers who should be receiving your newsletter with the tag, “Newsletter”.

When we set up and schedule your weekly broadcast newsletter, we’ll set up the recipients to be all subscribers who have the tag “Newsletter”.

Email Course (or eBook)

If we created an email course (or eBook) for you, we will set it up so that anyone who subscribes to this course will be tagged “[Course] Name of Course”.

We will also set up an automation to temporarily remove the “Newsletter” tag while a person is actively going through your email course.  This ensures they won’t be overwhelmed with too many emails during the week they are going through your course. Once they complete your email course sequence, the “Newsletter” tag will be re-applied and they’ll receive your weekly email newsletters going forward.

Content Upgrades

Whenever someone opts-in for a Content Upgrade on your blog, our WordPress plugin will automatically send that subscriber’s info (name & email) into your Drip account.

We’ll automatically tag those people with two tags, making it easy to filter by people who received any Content Upgrade or those who received a specific Content Upgrade.  Those 2 tags are:

  • “Content Upgrade”
  • “[Content Upgrade] Name of the Content Upgrade”

We’ll also set up an automated, conditional*, email that is sent to someone approximately 1 week after receiving a Content Upgrade.  This email will “pitch” your email course and allow them to subscribe to it by clicking a link in that email.  *This email will only be sent if the person has not yet gone through your course.