Turn Your Email Copy Into Inbox Magic
Hey friends! Are you ready to transform your everyday stories into inbox magic? Lucky for you, my good friend Brenna McGowan is back! Brenna is the QUEEN of copywriting and an Instagram expert.
Brenda is going to share the best type of emails that will help you connect with your audience and give you her brilliant Segue Guide, the ultimate guide that will transition any story to a KILLER call to action! Here we go!
Hey Ladies! Today, I have a repeat guest back in the house. Her name is Brenna McGowan! Brenna, before we dive in, could you give us an overview of your business and what your mission is?
Hi! I’m Brenna and I am a copywriter who specializes in email and Instagram where I mostly focus on Instagram caption writing. I was a stay at home mom for years and I started a business of my own. My mission is to help women be able to find their voice and be able to share their message but to also help them understand how to talk about what they are offering in their writing.
Brenna, I love your writing! Please tell us how you got into copywriting.
I wish my journey to copywriting was this perfect, straight line! However, the reality is that it’s just a real compilation of everything I’ve done in my life. I worked as a sales manager at one point, then at a bank, I’ve done tons of sales, and then I was a stay at home mom for years! During my time as a stay at home mom, my husband and I also owned a publication.
Once my kids went back to school, I started doing some blogging and social media work from home and long story short, in 2018 I had this crazy idea that I should start my own business! Actually, in the beginning, I was going to do social media management and blogging. I realized very quickly that as much as I loved the fun sales aspect of writing, I didn’t love managing other people’s social media. I kind of hated it!
I then pivoted into thinking about the aspects of my business. You know, we all start these businesses and sometimes we end up thinking, “I don’t love what I’m doing! What’s the point? Why am I doing all of this when I could go work for someone else and things could be a lot easier?!” I started to think about the aspects of what I liked in my business and pivoted pretty hard over into email and Instagram. Honestly, email and Instagram are very similar in terms of the way I write and that’s kind of how I ended up here!
Brenna, I think a lot of listeners can relate to you because we know life and business do not go in a straight line! I think everyone is going to have that point in their life where they’re going to realize that they really dislike the things they thought they would love and they are going to pivot!
When it comes to clients, what is their biggest frustration?
Most client’s biggest frustration is they know what they want to say but they don’t know how to say it! Clients don’t know how to say the same thing again and again without having it sound redundant. One of my big focuses with clients is doing a lot of listening and teaching them how to listen to what’s going on around them so that they can find ways to talk about their business in a way that is fun, interesting, and compelling all at the same time!
I fall into that too! There are so many times where I have an amazing idea and it sounds great in my head but when I sit behind that computer and I’m ready to type it out, I often just stare at the computer because I have no idea what to write! Now Brenna, the last time you were here with me, you talked about a nurture or welcome series and how to set one up. We know we don’t own our social media platforms, but we do own our email list!
When it comes to writing emails what type of emails work the best to connect with our audience?
I think this is a great question! It all goes back to storytelling and using our stories in our emails! The beauty of the way that I teach emails is that I encourage clients to NOT write overly designed newsletters. Your emails should simply be something you would send to a friend!
The first element to a great email campaign is we want to send emails that look like they’re coming from a friend, not from a business! The second element if storytelling. I know in this online world we hear “storytelling” a lot, but I think we need to take it a step deeper. We’re not telling stories just to tell stories. We’re telling stories with our reader in mind! When you’re thinking about stories that you can share with your audience, you want them to either be applicable, interesting, motivating, or inspirational. When thinking about how we could tell those stories and talk about our business at the same time is by using metaphors, analogies, parallels, or parables. When we tell stories in this way, the stories do the heavy lifting! The stories do the selling for business!
Think about it, we all love stories! This is why, as humans, we want to watch TV or movies because we’re all naturally attracted to stories. Stories also help us grasp these concepts that we might not be able to easily grasp if we’re just throwing information at someone. The story actually helps our brain interpret what our message is and makes it easier to understand and remember! Another thing I love about personal stories within our emails is that it actually helps us with our personal branding as well! A lot of times the emphasis is not put on our copy of how much of our copy defines who we are as a business and our stories directly relate to what type of person we are, what type of person we’re going to attract and what type of person we’re going to repel! When we’re very clear on our messages and type of stories that we want to tell, we will attract or repel appropriately. I believe that in general, stories really ignite the imagination! They pull in the people that are meant to be.
Another great part about stories is that our stories really help not only set us apart from the competition but eliminate competition as well! When we’re confident in the stories that we’re telling and who we are in our copy for our businesses, we stand out naturally! We attract the right people for our message. Someone else might have the same business but will attract a whole different kind of group based on what type of stories and what type of messaging they’re putting out there.
Would you say when it comes to email copy, personal is like the new professional?
Oh Definitely! I do have a couple of things to say on this though. Personal does not mean overly personal. When you think about it, if you meet someone at a network meeting you’re not going to tell them your deepest stories about your life or tell about your biggest hardships right off the bat! Sometimes there’s a place for that but in general, these personal elements are funny things you’d say if we’re getting to know each other. You don’t have to be overly personal and you definitely don’t want to end up in the “oversharing” category. Personal does not mean you’re not being professional. When we keep that in mind, sure, personal definitely becomes the new professional.
Brenna, you hit on a key point earlier when you said that voice plays a huge role in your personal brand so sharing your voice and sharing your stories in your emails helps build your personal brand. Would you agree with that?
Definitely! The more you write, the more it becomes really apparent what your voice is. Sometimes I’ll go to write something and I’ll be like, “yeah this seems a little off. This isn’t who I am or really what my brand stands for”. Your voice becomes your messaging which becomes your branding… so it all ties in together!
Some people out there might think they are boring! What do you say to that?
Right! We might be sitting at home in our Lululemon leggings, behind a computer but even in that scenario right there, you’re illustrating a connection point. People are going to be totally OK with the fact that I have my hair in a ponytail and that I’ve been wearing the same black lululemon leggings all week long. I’m being very personal with my story about what I’m doing and I’m also being specific with the type of leggings I’m wearing.
Your regular stories are not boring! What is boring to people is if we are telling stories that don’t have any meaning to the reader. Keep in mind when we’re actually writing these stories, we’re always thinking about the endpoint, our unique point of view, our call to action at the end, making sure that it always has the reader’s interest in mind. The way that you do this is through what I call, “the power of a stellar segue” When we’re telling our stories, we’re thinking about ways that we can take our story and actually find the unique characteristics of the point of our story, and then tie it back to the call to action.
How do we transform or segue our everyday stories into inbox magic?
There are a few ways, actually! I’ll give you 3 examples and then I will give you a resource. The 1st way is to find people who do this well! …So, shout out to myself (haha!) or you can look for someone like Laura Belgray from Talking Shrimp. She is the master at this! Go ahead and read other people’s emails who are using storytelling in their emails because one of the best ways we can learn is by example.
Another way to do this is you just have to write! You don’t become a master storyteller or great storyteller or even a decent storyteller unless you’re doing it and practicing! Don’t be afraid to put your stuff out in the world, especially on something like Instagram where after tomorrow, no one is even thinking about your post if it’s something that’s not that great.
Now, if you really feel stuck, bringing in a copy person like myself or someone else you know can help work out the kinks.
And Lastly, I have a guide that is all about segues! I have been so blessed to be able to have examples from some of the top copywriters in the US like Laura Belgray, Chris Orzechowski, Marissa Corkren, and Linda Perry. In this guide, I take their emails and I breakdown exactly what they did in their emails. I also have examples of how this can be done in Instagram captions as well! Then, at the end of this, I actually give you 10 segues that you can start using today and apply to your own writing so you can really hit the ground running!
Brenna, I love your guide! I actually have a copy of your guide and if you are reading this, you need to get a copy! I actually use it every time I sit down and write an email! Brenna, just like you said, sometimes when we sit down to write an email or a caption or even when I’m sitting down to outline a podcast episode it gets intimidating. You feel like you have to get every single thought in some written format. You said it earlier… think of the story, think of the transition, and then the call to action. That’s how I’m personally using your guide and it’s amazing!
Honestly you guys, Brenna gives you 10 simple segues and some of these segues, you know you’ve read these before… “it’s kind of like”… or, as you said earlier,… “what is the moral of this story?”.
Brenna, thank you SO much for sharing this amazing information with all of us. Is there anything else you want to say about segues, storytelling or emails?
I want to mention really quick that you can find the guide at http://www.thesocialrescue.com/segues. Once again, it just goes back to really starting to look at your stories through a different lens. Anyone can do this! Your story really matters and I think especially for moms and starting out, you can feel very lost in this in this online world. It goes back to my mission which is wanting to show each and every person where they stand and that their voice truly has a purpose in this world and figuring out how to use it in a way that you can help others with it. That’s the beauty of this kind of writing!
If you want to connect with Brenna McGowan, her website is http://www.thesocialrescue.com and on Instagram @brennamcgowanco.