Why Your Side Hustle Needs an Email Marketing Strategy (and How to Create One)
Who doesn't love a good side hustle? If you're serious about turning that side hustle into a real money-maker, either as an additional income stream or as an initial step in starting a full-time business, you're going to need an email list and an effective email marketing strategy.
If you're ready to take your side hustle to the next level, read on to learn about why an email marketing strategy for your side hustle might be your best investment yet, plus see our top tips on how to get started with building your list.
Why should you create an email marketing strategy?
Any side hustle has the potential for becoming a real sustainable means of income, but it's not without its challenges.
Difficulty reaching the right prospects and establishing your credibility and unique offer are all things that even side-hustlers have to think about if they wish to be successful at their craft.
So how does email marketing help you with all these things?
For one thing, if you're relying on social media to reach new customers, consider this: you don't always reach your audience even if they're following you. Plus, if Facebook or Instagram were to suddenly shut down your account, you'd have no way of reaching out to your followers or finding them again.
An email list, on the other hand, is your own asset. You own the emails you collected in your list. And when you send emails, you land in a valuable spot to reach your audience: right in their inbox.
Secondly, email marketing is easily automatable – after setting up the right sequences, your email list becomes your 24/7 salesperson, giving value and offers to your audience all on autopilot.
Also, because email marketing is a consistent way to get in front of your audience, you're always delivering value and establishing your credibility and expertise.
With these factors in mind, it's no wonder that email continues to be the preferred way businesses communicate with their audiences. For your own side hustle, it should be no different.
How to create an email marketing strategy for your side hustle
Convinced that you should build an email list for your side hustle? Here are the steps you can take to get started.
Know your target audience
Your side hustle is a small business, and businesses of every size have an ideal customer.
Create a detailed avatar of whom you believe is your target client or customer, and be sure to include these things as you're doing it:
- Their goals
- The pain points keeping them from their goals
- Where to find them online
You can even compile all your ideas and findings in a buyer persona (see below) that you keep on referring to.
Identify your email marketing strategy goals
Your ultimate goal for your email marketing strategy is to make sales, so there are supporting goals you ought to set to hit that goal.
Think about how many subscribers you want to be getting each day or week. Also, consider how many times you want to send an email to your list in a month.
You'll also want to think about goals like:
- Increasing open rates
- Increasing click-through rates
- Increasing return on investment (ROI)
Get your email marketing tools in order
You can't start an email list without the right tools. You can refer to this list of the best email marketing tools out there and see which best fits your needs, goals, and budget.
A few important things you'll want to look for in your side hustle's email marketing provider are:
- how easy it is to build automations;
- how well you can track behaviors and engagements on your email campaigns, and;
- the provider's documentation and knowledge base
Create an opt-in offer
Once you've already decided on your marketing tool, now you can start to think about how to build your list and get subscribers.
The best way to do this is with what's called an opt-in offer – or a free resource or tool you give out to your audience in exchange for their email address.
To create an irresistible opt-in offer, you'll want to refer to your buyer persona or the pain points that your ideal customer has.
Think about what kind of quick win you can offer them that will get them closer to meeting their goal. If this opt-in is also related to your main side hustle offer, all the better.
As an example, let's imagine your side hustle is being a content manager.
You've determined that one of the main pain points of your ideal client is that they don't know what kind of content they should be putting out for their blog and social media.
One opt-in offer you can offer is a free list of, say, 100 blog and social media post prompts.
This resource is a quick win for them, and at some point, they might even consider outsourcing this task altogether.
And luckily for you, because they're now on your email list, you can keep sending them valuable emails about content management so that you become top of mind for when they're looking to hire.
Set up your opt-in
Create your opt-in using a tool like Google Docs, Adobe Indesign, or Canva.
You can link it up as an opt-in on your preferred email marketing provider, where if somebody signs up on a form to receive your free offer, they immediately receive it in their inbox once they give you their email address.
It's also good practice to constantly test and come out with new opt-in ideas. Also experiment with different ways of offering the opt-in – be it across your website, through social media, or others.
Example of an opt-in form. (Source: Converkit)
Write your email sequences
Getting people on your list is only step one of your email marketing strategy – step two and beyond is constantly nurturing them, so that they see you're an expert in what you do so that they can eventually hire you/contract your services.
When writing your own email sequence, test out a few of these general goals:
- Educate email. This can be a how-to or a case study you can share with your audience.
- Nurture email. You can tell a relevant and engaging story, or some behind-the-scenes of your latest projects and offers.
- Offer email. Every once in a while, you can pitch your offer to your list. Not everyone might know you have certain offers, so make it known through an email sequence.
Promote your opt-in
One of the best ways to promote your opt-in is through content marketing, such as through a blog, podcast, or video.
Because you're already giving away free content on your website, audiences will automatically assume you know a lot about the topic you're talking about. So if you offer a free resource that will level up what you explained in a blog post, for example, they'll be more inclined to opt-in to your list. (This strategy takes a bit of work. If you're busy as is with a full-time job and delivering on your actual side hustle offer, you can consider outsourcing the content writing portion for your side hustle to experienced blog writing providers.)
Whether you're starting a side hustle to make extra income or to transition out of a job, one of the best ways to grow it is through an email list. Implement the steps above to start your own email marketing strategy, build your list, and start making side hustle sales all on autopilot! And check out these tips for making a general marketing plan!
This edition of our career spotlight series features Caitlin Flint, Group Design Manager at Intuit.
Caitlin's career began at the Advancement Project, a civil rights nonprofit focused on large-scale systemic change to remedy inequity. There, she had the opportunity to work on mapping software for California's first-ever open redistricting process, which ignited her passion for improving people's lives at scale. This made her a natural fit for a role on Intuit's design team, where she has worked for the past six years. Caitlin earned her B.A. in Design from the University of California in Davis, where she specialized in Visual Communications.
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