Show email marketing some love

No online business — including mine — succeeds without an email marketing strategy.

4.3 billion people around the world use email. And the majority of those people have more than one email address. People check their email in the bathroom (42%), while driving (18%), while in bed (50%).

And if that’s not enough to persuade you to take email seriously, consider this: for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you earn $44.

Despite these convincing numbers, most leaders, entrepreneurs and decision-makers ignore the power and possibility of email marketing. And according to the data, those that do dabble in email suck at it:

  • 24% of email marketers don’t manage their email lists

  • 42% of email marketers don’t target their email campaigns

  • 58% of email marketers don’t personalize their emails

I consider my business an “email business” — even though I don’t sell email software.

Here’s why: Email is a channel that touches every single aspect of my business. My most engaged and profitable customers and clients come from my email list, all contact information for my audience is stored in a within my email provider Convertkit, and no big-picture marketing decision is made without considering the impact email will have on it.

In fact, email is the only channel I invest in to promote my business (besides this website, of course). I no longer maintain a social media presence. And I rarely rely on paid advertising to drive traffic to my website. Email done well is how businesses and brands scale. (See what I did there?!)

Creativity by design

We’re all born with an ability to create. But pure creativity isn’t enough to generate the money, access and influence required to work and live on our own terms.

Instead, high-powered professionals design their surroundings to consistently and vigorously perform produce creative output that people are willing to pay attention to and pay for.

Benjamin Hardy offers up a deep dive into environmental design in his book Willpower Doesn’t Work: Discover the Hidden Keys to Success:

“Thus, it’s not free will or determination. It’s not choice or environments. Instead, it is choice and environment. More directly, it is the choice of environment. You are responsible for shaping and choosing the environments that will ultimately shape the person you become and the destiny you have. Environmental design is your greatest responsibility. Choosing and shaping your environment is at the center of what “free will” really means, because your choice of environment and external influences will directly reflect the person you become.”

Choose to create at times and in places that allow you to express the full range of your creativity so it attracts the highest caliber of people who you want to serve.

My very first fashion week, according to my journal

I had no idea how I was getting to New York City. Or if my professor would even let me make up the exam I’d miss while I was gone. I especially didn’t know what I to wear.

What I did know though is that these 32 words changed the course of my career forever:

“I am sending you this letter to let it be known that I have assigned you to cover Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week Fall 2008 in the capacity of a journalist.”

My 21-year-old undergraduate self could barely believe it. I spent the past month cold-emailing editors all over the country never thinking that my feeble writing clips and obvious inexperience would coax someone into giving me a chance.

But here it was. My chance. And I wasn’t going to screw it up.

I walked from the on-campus newsroom to my professor Fred’s office to share the news (and ask for a raincheck on that exam). Then I headed home to figure out how I was going to get to New York City in 24 hours.

I’m blessed to say it obviously all turned out. Not only did I make it to New York Fashion Week then. But I’ve attended several times since, both as a freelance reporter and magazine editor.

And in honor of the Spring 2019 NYFW season currently in high gear, I thought it’d be fun to flash back to my very first Fashion Week experience

Below is an actual journal entry from 10 years ago. It’s a refreshing alternative to the over-curated (and oversaturated) social media posts you’ve probably seen on your feeds. And it’s a significant reminder that you get anywhere you have to start somewhere.

Oh, and by the way: My parents bought my ticket (after I submitted a PowerPoint presentation to my dad explaining why they should), Fred excused me from the exam (#ThanksFred) and I found something to wear (lots of thrifted coats and my mom’s vintage).

Keep reading for my hilariously honest record of Day Two of New York Fashion Week Fall 2008. It's been lightly edited for clarity.

Friday, February 8, 2008
Bryant Park, New York City

8:30 AM I just got off the bus and Brandon (my unofficial tour guide who attends St. John's University in the city) was right—Bryant Park isn’t that far of a walk from where I got off the train.

I still can’t believe I’m here!

I wanted to arrive at the tents early so I could get registered and make it to the first show of the day at 9 AM but sadly the doors aren’t open yet.

It’s kind of cold—well, very cold—an understatement since I’m coming from Texas, but I don’t mind standing outside.

9:02 AM I’m finally inside—and I’m smiling from ear-to-ear. My smile quickly turns into a frown as I am met with hostility at the registration booth. Luckily, it was a simple miscommunication and I have my credentials around my neck. I’m off to stand in line for my first show!

9:24 AM I’m still in line for Malan Breton’s show. It’s crazy. I remember seeing him on Project Runway this past season and now I’m models are wearing his clothes on the New York Fashion Week runway. I’m a living witness: dreams do come true!

9:47 AM I’m finally in the show. It hasn’t started yet. I wonder if I look out of place. Is my outfit fashionable enough? Am I sitting in someone’s seat? What am I supposed to be looking for anyway? Why is the music so loud? At least I got a goodie bag!

9:52 AM I think the show is about to start. Everyone has finally sat down. According to [the show notes], “The captivating dichotomies of the characters played by Catherine Denevue in her early career in The Umbrellas of Cherebourg and Belle De Jour” inspired his fall collection. OK, whatever that means.

9:57 AM What in heaven’s names are these editors writing down? Every time a model glides down the runway, editors start pointing and jotting who knows what. I thought I was ready for this, but I’m having second thoughts.

10:15 AM The show is over and I’m standing outside … trying to take all of this in. Everything is so fast here! I just got a compliment. Someone said my jacket fit nicely. Whew!

My next show isn’t for another hour or so—hopefully I can get a few quotes for my story!

12:21 PM My next show just ended. It was Milly by Michelle Smith. I really liked the collection. My mom would love it too. I can’t to show her some of the looks.

I took really good notes from this show. I’m starting to see the trends, which will help me shape my stories. I’m so glad I got the first-show jitters out the way. It’s time to get to work now!

5:32 PM I’m exhausted. My feet are killing me. I don’t even want to imagine what the chic fashionistas in stilettos are going through. I just want to rest.

After just one day of being at Fashion Week, I see this isn’t child’s play. This industry is definitely much more than I thought—but I love it!

I saw two more shows this afternoon. And my editor sent me an invitation to an event this evening, but I’m on my way to catch the bus. I hope I can remember how to get back to Jersey!

8:00 PM I just got out the shower. I can barely keep my eyes open. I need to call Mom and let her know I’m OK. I probably should write too. But I’m pooped. And in a few short hours it’ll be time to do it all over again!

😂

The work can wait

I got the airport hella early on Sunday to fly back to New York City after spending the week in Dallas.

But I was the last one to board my flight. And if you’ve fly Southwest, then you know they don’t do assigned seating.

So of course, I had to sit in a middle seat. It was as wiggedy-wack as you could imagine it to be.

How did I miss the boarding call for my group?

I was writing an email to send to my community. An email that I didn’t have to write at that moment. An email that could have waited until I got back to New York City.

I’ve worked hard to enforce clear boundaries for my work — shutting down at a responsible hour each evening, no calls before 1 PM, no work on the weekend.

But over the past few weeks I’ve been slipping at all of the above. That uncomfortable three-hour flight home was just the reminder I needed to get back on my game.

The rule of one

If you use your email and website to promote your online business or personal brand (you should if you aren’t!), then here’s a quick tip to maximize the performance of those channels:

Give them only one job.

Every email or landing page should focus on one specific reader, feature one specific message, make one specific promise and offer one specific signature program.

The moment you ask potential customers to make a decision between choices that don’t lead to the same destination is the moment they’ll stand pat and do nothing at all.

To get noticed and get paid with your online business or personal brand, make it easy for people to say yes by clearly and creatively communicating a single call to action.

Want your reader to do more than thing? Then create an email or landing page for every action.

As my copywriting living legend Joanna Wiebe says: One reader, one big idea, one promise, one offer.

Yes, you are creative

To be human is to be creative. We were born with an ability to literally make things that bring joy, fulfillment and breakthrough to our lives and the people around us.

But so many folks think creativity is reserved for a select few who have the title — writers, artists, designers, etc. — of a “creative.”

That’s a danger belief if you ask me. It’s also irresponsible. And lazy. Because if we believe we’re not creative, then that abdicates us of the responsibility to use our energy on creating the change we want to see.

The reality is this: Creativity inherent to who we are. From adolescence into adulthood, we use our imaginations to solve problems, add meaning to our life experiences and express our point of view to the world.

If all your work is mostly tasks that can be performed faster and cheaper by machines, chances are you’ll be displaced and forced to rely on outside forces to support the work and lifestyle that matters to you.

But if you want to win in the new economy — where technology, creativity and human expertise drive growth and sustainability instead of natural resources or manual labor — then you have to use your craft to translate your creative thoughts into value that people are willing to pay attention to and pay for.

So you see, this isn’t just a feel-good sentiment. Creativity is one of the tools you can use to “tech-proof” your future. And I’ve partnered with my friends at Spacious to host a workshop on 9/13 on this very topic.

It’s free to attend so if you’re in New York City and you want to work and live on your own terms, you seriously don’t wanna miss this.

Reserve your spot at How To Tech-Proof Your Future presented by Spacious and yours truly. :)

Family first

One of the toughest parts of working and living in New York City is spending most of the year away from my family. And while I’m grateful for the business and life I’ve created in NYC, I look forward to any chance I get to hang with my peeps.

Yesterday was one of those occasions. My sister threw my nephew Micah a surprise party at her new beautiful home to celebrate his 13th birthday. I landed in Dallas about 90 minutes before the party started to surprise Micah. And his face when he saw me was priceless — it’s a moment we’ll cherish for a while.

My parents, brother-in-law, favorite cousins and aunts and a few friends came together to laugh, eat, reminisce and celebrate Micah. No deadlines, writing, emails — just lots of much-needed love from my family.

I made sure to take in every moment of the experience.

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SHINE

Last night, I joined several creators and artists at Bar Thalia on the Upper West Side. My friend Yuko hosts a monthly series designed to use art and heart to connect and heal. And she invited me to speak at the August installment of the series.

The theme was SHINE. And I shared with the audience how I’m fascinated by the sun because it never asks for permission to shine — it just does it’s thing and people adjust to its presence.

That’s how I strive to work and live: Not asking for permission to create the change I want to see on the planet. Just showing up and shining so brightly.

Check out a few snapshots captured by my friend Azizi:

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And support Yuko’s Kickstarter campaign so she can take her I AM series to the next level.

Redesign your environment, redesign your life

Willpower Doesn’t Work by Benjamin Hardy is one of the most impactful books I’ve read this year.

Benjamin’s thesis: To achieve our goals, we should adjust our surroundings instead of relying on “white-knuckling” our way to long-term fulfillment.

When I bought the book, I was at my wit’s end. I spent most of Q1 feeling distracted, exhausted and disappointed I wasn’t performing at a level that would generate the work and life I wanted to sustain.

So following Benjamin’s advice, I joined Spacious — a company that turns unused space in New York City and San Francisco into stylish workspaces. And it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made for my business and sanity.

Once I became a Spacious member, I started to connect with their on-site hosts and corporate staff. And after a few chats, we both realized we shared a commitment to empowering professionals to create work that supports the life they want to live.

So you can imagine how excited I am to officially partner with Spacious to deliver “How To Tech-Proof Your Future” — a workshop on how to win in our new economy — in a couple of weeks.

It’s free and I’ll be presenting at Spacious’s gorgeous Flagship location. If you’re in the New York City area, reserve your spot — I hope wait to see you there!