Email Marketing Checklist

By Cindy Zuelsdorf, Kokoro Marketing

Does it take you a whole morning to write one marketing email? Use this checklist and write your next email in under 10 minutes.

Most of us write emails every day. But it can take way too long! And, it can be hard to know what the most important part of the email is, if there are words that should be avoided, and what to put in the first line… Read on to find out how to write a great email in just minutes.

1. What

There are three W’s I like to think of when working on a really great email. The first is what. What is the purpose of this email? Take 60 seconds and decide what do you want your customer to do after they read your email? What do we want them to do after this? There’s really going to be a call to action, something that you would like them to do Here are a few examples you can use:  read more on my website, call to make an appointment, watch this video, click to download the brochure…

Download the Complete Email Checklist here for free. (Bonus video included.)


The second W is “What’s in it for me?” When someone sees your email, they’re going to think, “Hey. What’s in it for me? Why should I read this?” My tip to you is to actually choose a particular person and write to them. Think of Chris at a particular business. Literally, write the email to just one person. The very first line of your email needs to be interesting to your reader. Then of course, we want to write in the first person. Write how you would talk to the person. Make it like a conversation. As you look at your email, ask yourself, is this email giving something to the reader or am I taking? We want to give.

 3. Wording

The third and final W is wording. A thing I like to do with wording is count the number of you and your versus I, we, and us. This sounds too easy, maybe too simple but it’s really powerful. If you only do one thing differently, this might be the one to choose. Doing this will completely change the tone of your emails, which in turn will change how it feels to the reader and make your communication really effective.

Next, with wording, it’s nice to personalize. Go ahead and put hello and then the person’s first name. I heard recently that most people, a lot of people scroll to the bottom of the email to see who it’s from. Be sure to include a from signature. There are three learning styles to consider in your email copy, visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. While we usually have all three, one is generally dominant for a particular person. Include words for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic in your email. You might already be familiar with this through neurolinguistic programming, and this idea of NLP.

For example, you could communicate an idea in three ways. You might say, “How does this look to you?” where look is the visual word. You might say, “How does that sound to you?” Where sound is the auditory word or you might say, “Does this seem like a fit to you?” where fit is that kinesthetic word. The idea is to use a mix of words in order to appeal to all of your readers.

Now, for the subject line, the most important part of your email. I love this quote from David Ogilvy, “Five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.” When you’ve written your headline, you’ve spent 80 cents out of your dollar. His wisdom applies to our quest for the perfect email subject line

Now, how did all that of that sound to you? If you use even one of these best practices for your next email, you’ll see a change in your business. Let me know how it works for you and if you have any questions.

Download your free email checklist here. (Bonus video included.)

Google Announces Crack Down on Intrusive Mobile Pop-Ups

Last week Google announced a crack down on intrusive mobile pop-ups starting in January.

I heard about this through the HubSpot Marketing blog in this article about Google’s algorithm change.

They wrote “pages with mobile pop-ups — or what Google is calling “interstitials” — probably won’t be ranking as highly when these algorithmic changes take effect on January 10, 2017.”

What do this mean to you? We have a number of clients using Sumo Me’s List Builder, and we use it on our website (see example).

sumo me pop up

If you use this plugin you will want to login to Sumo Me, and in the List Builder settings go to Display Rules, and make sure there is a rule for “Don’t Show on Mobile Devices” (see below).

sumo me mobile devices

On our website, I am thinking of switching to Sumo Me’s Smart Bar or Scroll Box instead (see below).

sumo me grown your list

Google’s main reason for the algorithm change is user experience, and let’s face it, pop ups that cover the page content are annoying. They are good tools for growing your list, but I think it’s time to switch to less obtrusive methods.

The Best Times to Post on Social Media

I just viewed a great slideshare created by TrackMaven on the best times to post on social media.

My favorite takeaway from the slideshare was the best time to schedule blog posts, which can be summed up with “when everyone else isn’t posting them,” or weekends, early in the morning, and late at night.

This makes sense to me because during the work day I get so many blog post notifications in my email that I often save them to read later (and often never get to them). But then there’s the single post that shows up outside of the work hours that I often read on the spot.

Here’s the summary of what they learned about their own blog posts.

They discovered that their blog posts were more effective on Weekends.  The 13% of posts published on weekends rake in the most social shares. Blogs posted on Saturdays have the greatest share of social interactions (18%). TrackMaven Posts are most effective at night from 9PM-midnight EST. Blogs posted between 10-11PM see the most interactions. Secondary Peaks: 4-6AM, 7-8PM, and 1-2AM.

View slideshare here, or go to

What is RSS-to-email?

With RSS-to-email, you can publish your content to your blog and then send it to your email subscribers without even thinking about it.

There are two pieces to an rss-to-email campaign:


Every blog has an associated rss feed. This feed contains the content of all your posts including: the title, text, and images.


The other piece is your email news service, for example both MailChimp or AWeber both offer rss-to-email. MailChimp has a free version for lists under 2,000 and we use it for most of our clients. People who like setting up auto-responders often prefer AWeber. The last time I checked, both Vertical Response and Constant Contact don’t offer rss-to-email which still surprises me.

How it works

There are a number of different options to schedule your campaign, but we usually set up a daily campaign, where each morning at a specified time, MailChimp will look to see if anything new has been posted to your blog. If there is a new post, MailChimp pulls in the title, text and photos from that blog post and drops them in a styled template (we set these up to match the site). The email newsletter is automatically sent out to your list.

When you create your RSS template, and you can set which posts go out and how frequently you send—daily, weekly, or monthly. Don’t worry: A campaign will only go out when you post something new.

Why it will save you time

The major advantage is that you only have to post your news to your blog, and then the email is triggered automatically. It’s much faster than building a newsletter using MailChimp (or any other newsletter program), and the news is published on your website as well.

Free services

There are free services that do this, like Feedburner, but they have disadvantages. In Feedburner you can’t enter any of your own email addresses, even if these people gave you permission. The other drawback, is that you can’t customize the look of your newsletter, you are stuck with the basic format, and can’t add your own branding. The major advantage is it’s easier to set up, so if you are going to do-it-yourself, you might want to consider Feedburner.

Using Google’s Keyword Tool to Help you Choose a Domain Name

Before starting any website, I always suggest going to Google’s keyword tool and looking at what keywords in your industry are most searched for in Google. For example, say you are a floral designer who primarily does weddings and special events.

Before you register a domain name, go to Google’s keyword tool, and search for keywords related to your business.

  1. You’ll need to answer the security check first, by typing in the word you see in the box.
  2. In the main screen, in the “word or phrase” box, enter a single keyword for your business.  In this case, “floral” and then click search.  Once you see the results, customize them by deselecting any categories in the left column that don’t apply to your business.  In this example, “delivery”, “flower delivery”, and “flowers online”.
  3. Then, in the left column, select “exact” for the Match Types.  And, click on Global Monthly Searches to arrange the results in order of greatest to least searches.
  4. What you have now is a great list of keyword ideas for your website.  Follow the same steps for other words related to your business, such as:  flowers, weddings, etc.

Now that you know what phrases have the most traffic, consider choosing a domain name that includes some of those phrases.  In this example, our floral designer, Ann, could choose the domain name:

Once you get ready to build your website, go through the lists of keywords you’ve found, and highlight the ones that seem most appropriate for your business.  Then, give this list to your web designer, so they can set up your new website making conscious use of the keywords in your page names, headings, and titles (all very important in your google search rankings).

If you set up your website with a blog, you will also want to use this list of keywords when you write new blog posts.   Using keywords effectively in your blog, can definitely boost your rankings in Google.

Search is a huge part of any web design project, and discovering what keywords your customers might be using to find you, is a great place to start.

The best time and day of the week to send your email campaign

I just watched a great webinar on about The Science of Email Marketing.  There were a lot of great tips there, and many of them surprised me.  These are some of the takeaways:

  1. Try sending emails on weekends.
  2. Send very early in the morning.
  3. 80% of users report reading email on mobile devices.
  4. Use lots of links in your emails.
  5. Give your subscribers special access.
  6. Don’t be afraid to send too much email.
  7. Ask people to follow you, not share your emails.

Definitely worth watching if you send email campaigns.

Claiming your Google Map Listing

If you haven’t done it yet, search for your business in Google Maps, and then follow the steps to “claim your business.”

1). Go to and click on “Maps” in the top left.

2). Search for your business, for example, Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, Nevada City, Ca.  Then, click on your listings.

3). In your listing, you’ll see a link for “Edit.”  Click “Edit”, and then you’ll see a link for “Are you the owner?  Claim your business.”  Click this link.

4). When you click “Edit” you will be prompted to sign in to your Google Local Business Center Account.  If you don’t already have a Google account, set one up now (not to be confused with a gmail account, your Google account can be set up using your existing email address).

5). Once you’ve logged in you’ll have the option to “Edit my business information.”  Then click “Continue” below “Validating your listing.”  To validate your listing, Google will call the listed phone number for your business (right away) with an authorization code.  Write down the code, and then enter it into the box in the Google Local Business Center screen.  If you aren’t able to answer the phone right away, select the mail option, and the code will be mailed to you instead.

6).  Once you’ve claimed your listing you can add photos, hours of operation, your web address, and services.

7). Finally, embed your Google maps listing on the Contact page of your website by clicking the “Link” option in the top right of your Google map listing.  Then, below that, select “Customize and preview embedded map.”

6). Select the size map you want (I usually choose medium), choose map or satellite view, and then zoom in or out until you like the look of your map.

7).  Copy the code and either paste it into the code on your website, or send it in a text document (not word, or it will add extra characters, choose Notepad or TextEdit) to your web designer.