My business began as a weekly email. It was Valentine’s Day 2016. I had been working as a marketing consultant for a few years -- ever since I had gotten pregnant with my second daughter and decided to leave my agency job to test out solopreneur life. I loved the freedom it afforded me; the ability to do great work, but do it around my young daughters’ schedules. I felt like I had discovered the magic mix of work and play that so many mothers were seeking -- and I wanted to share the wealth. So I started my second business, MotherHustle.com, to help the other creative working mothers that I knew from the agency world make the leap from stressed-out and unappreciated employee to empowered creative mompreneur. Every Sunday night, I began sending out my MotherHustle emails, filled with tips and stories about starting and growing a family-focused business. And as I shared, my list began to grow. I saw the magic of email marketing happening right in front of me: when you share great content, people want you to show up in their inbox. After a year of being a strictly email-only business, I expanded MotherHustle into an online community and publication and brought in more mom bosses to share their stories and ideas. But I kept up with my weekly email, and it has helped my little idea continue to grow with strength and resilience. My email list grew me a business. It also grew me fantastic connections, a community of other creative mompreneurs to lean on, and a private outlet for content that doesn’t necessarily belong on the public MotherHustle channels. Joe Pulizzi, author of Content, Inc., got it right when he said: “When all your focus is on an audience you know deeply, instead of a product, good things usually happen. When we listen intently to our audience, we are automatically led to new product opportunities.” Email marketing allows you to focus on getting to know your audience deeply. By testing which content resonates most with your list, and by actually getting subscribers to open your emails and interact with your content on a consistent basis, you’re able to create a deep connection with your audience before you even have a product to sell. That’s how I built MotherHustle -- and that’s how many of the other mom bosses, or mompreneurs, I know were able to build their successful businesses. As email marketing continues to grow and change, it’s important to keep up with how audiences are receiving those emails. So I decided to ask some of the mom bosses I know to share their best email marketing tips with me. As moms, what do they appreciate about the good emails they receive? What makes an email cut through the clutter? And as business owners, what email marketing tactics have been effective in their practices? Here’s what they had to say: “Personalization. I believe great emails come from great segmentation and really understanding your audience. [Pregnancy and parenting website] WhatToExpect is awesome at this. Their emails and the content they send are always hyper-relevant to the stage I’m in with my kiddo.” -- Latoya James Torrance, founder of EndearContent.com “I really don’t like hidden sponsorships. I don’t mind sponsored emails, but I really don’t like feeling tricked when I reach the end of an interesting email and find it’s only leading me to a purchase. I will likely unsubscribe. If it’s upfront, I don’t mind!” -- Maggie Murdy, founder of NativeCM “I like emails that give me free value, honestly. Anyone who is going to teach me something that makes my life easier. I read a lot of Holly Homer’s emails from Kids Activities Blog -- they are sales-y, but they also have a ton of good info before she tries to sell you anything. I also like an email that tries to teach me one thing. Just one.” -- Maggie Frank-Hsu, founder of Blogs To Riches consulting program “[For the emails I receive:] get to the point. Skip formalities, and keep things bullet-point style. [For my business,] split-testing my headlines and resending to unopens a day or two later has increased my opens by about 8 percent.” -- Shawna May, sales and marketing consultant, owner of HeyHeyShawnaMay.com \"Your audience is busy. And no one wants junk cluttering up their inboxes. Focus on building a relationship with your audience and providing them the value that they want and need. In your welcome sequence, ask them what they want from you. Then, as you\'re creating your regular nurturing emails, include that value. Emails are so much more personal than social media, blog posts, and videos because they happen in real time and require a buy-in from your subscribers. Give them something special!\" -- Abby Herman, content marketing strategist If email marketing is on your business’ to-do list this Mother’s Day, take it from these mompreneurs: get right to it, give us value and gain our trust with honesty. If you do, email marketing can help you grow your business (just like it did for this mompreneur!).
Emily Cretella is the founder of MotherHustle.com, an online publication + community featuring unpolished personal essays, inspiration-fueling advice and no-nonsense resources for creative mompreneurs, from creative mompreneurs. When she's not helping other moms find + follow their fulfillment, she runs the copywriting and content marketing firm CursiveContent.com, where she helps clients create + share stories their audiences love. She adores being mom to her two little ladies and drinking obscene amounts of coffee from mugs with pithy sayings. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.