Skip to main contentA logo with &quat;the muse&quat; in dark blue text.
Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

How to Use Email Marketing to Boost Your Side Hustle

person on laptop
Westend61/Getty Images

Want to boost your side hustle? Head to Squarespace and use code "THEMUSE18" to get 10% off your first domain or website purchase.
And read on for more tips!

If you’re an entrepreneur who spends their mornings consulting, nights writing, or weekends designing, I hope you’ve also been collecting email addresses via a personal website.

If not, start now because there are tons of benefits to email marketing—you can drive engagement, promote business offers, connect with your customer base, and promote brand consistency (to name just a few).

But, once you have that growing list of addresses, it’s time to start crafting emails—and a big question mark may be looming over your head. What’s the best way to use them?

Here are some pointers on kick-starting your own email marketing campaign and how to make the most of your efforts.

1. Devise a Catchy Campaign

Figuring out how to market your products or services via email can seem daunting, especially if you’re just starting out. To figure out what to say and how to say it, pencil in a brainstorming session, and ask yourself: What do you hope to achieve with email?

For instance, do you want to encourage newsletter signups, or to ramp up sales in your new online course? “The beauty of an email marketing list is that you can find out who’s interested in receiving further communication,” says Tonya Rapley, founder of My Fab Finance, who boasts an email subscriber base of 25,000. “It shows they’re deeply interested in your content, and it allows you to build a deeper relationship with someone.”

Next, do a bit of homework to drum up a strategy. If you’ve just launched your side hustle, put out a simple survey to gauge what resonates most with your potential customers. Tonya, who has used email campaigns to inform her audience of speaking engagements, events, workshops, and products, put out a survey to ask her readers what content they would like to see. “Some people might like conversational letters from the editor,” says Tonya, “while others might like newsletters with a graphic and a link to a sales item.”

Analyze the results and formulate a plan. Would it be best to send this particular email sequence out to a segmented audience? With Squarespace's new email campaign tools, you can send out targeted messages to a particular group of subscribers.

When Tonya launched her book, The Money Manual: A Practical Money Guide to Help You Succeed on Your Financial Journey, earlier this year, she and her team devised a four-part email marketing campaign. It helped propel her book to Amazon Best Seller status within 48 hours of the release.

2. Be Consistent in Your Branding

We’ve all received millions of emails, so you probably already intuitively know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to email marketing.

Obvious mistakes: A welcome email that looks like it’s circa the '90s—chunky copy in Comic Sans, or worse, that it was generated from a bot, void of any personality. To avoid these branding fails, make sure your email marketing campaign, whether it’s a standard newsletter, product update, or launch, is consistent with your business's brand, core values, and overall message.

Unification is key here, and the words, images, and overall look need to be in sync with your branding. Squarespace makes it simple to match the imagery, color palette, and font with your products, social presence, and content.

3. Perfect the Timing

Whether it’s a welcome email, marketing campaign to launch a new product, or triggered emails based on your would-be customers’ behaviors, plot out the series of emails and schedule them out.

But when is the perfect time to send them? Studies reveal that the best time to send emails is typically Tuesdays and Saturdays between 8PM and 12AM.

But, timing certainly isn’t a perfect science. As much as we’d like a cut-and-dry answer, the results may vary depending on the type of campaign, industry, audience, and your location. To see what will yield the best results for your audience, do a few A/B tests. Send out emails at different times and see which nets the best response. That way, you can work out the kinks and hone in on the nuances that will better your results.

4. Use Metrics to Gauge Effectiveness

Monitor metrics of the email campaign to gauge whether your efforts were a success or a flop. We know, looking at analytics can be a bit overwhelming (there is so much, after all.) But if you focus on the right metrics, it’ll make the task of measuring results much easier.

With Squarespace's integrated analytics feature, you can easily measure key metrics such as open and click-through rate. If something’s not working, you’ll have a less stressful time pinpointing the “why” and making tweaks accordingly. Tonya looked at open rates and at which links her subscribers were clicking on to gauge what they were responding to. It led to retooling her content strategy, and creating an easily digestible newsletter for her audience.

5. Make the Most of Your Subscribers' Attention

When someone opts in to your email list, they are giving you the green light to communicate a message directly to their inbox. So, take full advantage of that opportunity and update your audience on new offerings and promotions.

Plus, there’s a strong chance it could lead to sales. In fact, studies reveal that 68% of teens and 73% of millennials prefer to receive communication from a business via email. And more than half rely on email to make purchases. Case in point: while Tonya has 75,000 followers on Instagram, most of her sales come from her email subscribers.

So, even if you don’t have any launches in the works, it’s an impactful means to keep your audience interested in what you do and what you offer. Then the next time you launch a new product or service, they’re already engaged.

Email marketing campaigns can pack a powerful one-two punch to boost your side hustle. After all, it can serve as an impactful, effective tool to spread the word about what you have to offer, keep your audience engaged, and in turn, grow your business.

“My only regret is that I didn’t start sooner,” says Tonya, who realized the importance of gathering emails two years into her business. So what are you waiting for?