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How to Make Your Email Marketing Fast and Easy

How to Make Your Email Marketing Fast and Easy

Writing emails for your list. Falls somewhere near updating your blog on the priority list, huh? You know both things are super important to keeping your crowd up to date on your brand happenings and growing your audience. But email marketing is so dang time consuming. Plus, you have to dream up what to write about too.

What if I told you I could show you a way to save time on email marketing and make it feel a lot easier too? Well, sit tight because I’m about to make your day.

If you took the time to grow a list, don’t leave your followers hanging. They signed up because they want to know what you are up to, keep tabs on the latest happenings in your biz, and learn a thing or two along the way.

List kinda on the short side? There’s no better way to grow that puppy than by sending out emails people want to read. Share link included, of course.

Now, what you’ve been waiting for. The solution to your email marketing wishes.

3 Simple Steps to Easier, Faster Email Marketing

1. Come up with a plan: You probably aren’t surprised that I’m suggesting an editorial calendar for your email marketing. I believe in creating ed cals for pretty much everything you write on a regular basis, from blogging to social media posts. It helps to keep you on track and give you a longterm vision. Plus, there’s no better feeling when it comes time to write something up than a next step. Completely eliminates the guesswork and time spent staring at a blank Word doc.

So, make a list of what you want your audience to know about your biz, your products, your events, and yourself. Yep, your followers want to know more about YOU too. Emails that pop into your inbox only when it’s time for a sale or promo get boring fast. You can talk about your products, of course. But offer stuff up for free too. Like application tips, seasonal recommendations, ingredient and formulation info, and anything else you feel makes your products and brand interesting and unique.

Now that you have the list. Take a few minutes to chunk the items out into months. November is the perfect time to talk about moisturizing ingredients or warm makeup tones. Plan on giving gift ideas or ways to keep skin glowing in December. January is all about making skin feel detoxed and revived. You get the drift.

I like to put my ed cals in a Google doc. This makes them easy to share with your collaborators or team, add notes, make edits, etc. And don’t forget to mark them off after you’ve written about them.

2. Take a day or two to write for the month: Do you send emails out weekly? Twice weekly? More? Schedule a day or two each month to devote to writing your emails. Not only will this knock the task out and get your email marketing ready to go, but sticking with one task will set you on a roll and you’ll have those guys finished up in no time. You can even add them to your email editor and schedule them in advance.

3. Make your writing even easier by using email templates: Like ed cals, templates are one of my favorite writing tools. Why come up with a brand new format every single time you write an email? This is a huge time waster and totally unnecessary. When I create templates for my clients, I usually do two or three different types. For example, I may make one template for informational emails that link back to a blog post, and another that is shorter and features scannable tips.

Not sure where to begin with creating these templates? To get your creative juices flowing, I have come up with one for you. Download my email template by clicking the link below, add your own info, and off you go.

By taking a bit of time to come up with an ed cal and a template or two, your email marketing will feel like a snap. Keeping customers happy couldn’t be easier.

If you have questions on creating templates for your email marketing plan, get in touch!

How to Make Your Email Marketing Fast and Easy

 

Best Places to Find (and Ways to Use) Stock Photos for Your Beauty Site

Does the phrase “stock photos” turn you off? Not all that long ago, stock phots were basically those Shutterstock-y, unnatural, fake poses of overly perfect looking people doing ordinary things with a much too happy disposition.

Not only is it hard to keep things real when using those types of photos, but who wants their blog to look like the next person’s? Not me and not you!

Good thing for us, stock photos are not what they used to be. You can get beautiful images that match your brand aesthetic, and that are totally customizable too.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Well, not so much a secret if you scroll back through to some of my older posts, but … I used to try to take my own pics. Not gonna lie, it was cringey then and still is.

See, I once thought that in order to be good at running a website, you had to know how to do it all. And this included creating graphics and making your own images. Thankfully, today we solopreneurs are embracing our best attributes and hiring out the rest.

You wouldn’t fix your own car if you knew nothing about mechanics, right? Well, why wouldn’t that same level of professionalism go for the images you use with your business? There are people who are beyond great at creating gorgeous photos. Let them do what they do best. It not only makes your site, blog, social media, and emails look hella better, but keep things simple so you can do what you do.

My 4 Favorite Stock Photos Sites for Beauty and Lifestyle Brands

As you may have guessed, I like images that fit in with the beauty theme. Of course, they also have to match my site design and brand aesthetic. Most often I like images that speak for themselves, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to add text too.

There are three sites that are my go-tos for choosing images. They can be found here on the pages of OBS, at the top of most of my blog posts, in my emails, and even on my Instagram account. These gals make it super easy and their skills are over-the-top awesome.

1.Social Squares: Created by Shay Cochrane of The SC Stockshop, this vast (and growing all the time) collection of easily searchable images are tailor made for your social media, but can be used anywhere you like. They are simple and versatile. When I hop over to SS, I usually search by color or item, like “gold”, “glasses”, or “green leaves”. And you can’t go wrong at $6 an image.

2. TwigyPosts: These classic, natural images are soft and neutral with a bit of warmth. Also totally modern and a bit romantic. Shop by individual image or super affordable photo bundles.

3. Haute Stock: Clean, crisp images that are perfect for modern biz woman office vibe. This membership site offers a YouTube tutorial library that shows you how to do pretty much anything you can think of with stock images, from creating a pop-up graphic to customizing photos in Canva.

4. Styled Stock Society: Beautiful and bright images that work for beauty, lifestyle, wedding, and female business owner brands. I discovered this brand through the creators of my website theme Bluchic, also a fabulous resource for solopreneurs who love gorgeous stuff. Shop bundles and great sale prices, or grab yourself a membership.

No matter where you get your stock images, be sure to read the company license agreement to ensure you stay within the boundaries of proper use. The four I’ve listed above can be used pretty much however you see fit, other than on items you intend to sell or give your customers, like in a digital download or something. ALSO, all three offer free images monthly and they are always gooood!

Now go get yourself some pretty new pics!

Image :: Styled Stock Society

What You Need to Know About Getting Started With Natural Beauty

What You Need to Know About Getting Started With Natural Beauty

When I first started out in the natural beauty biz over a decade ago, I wrote about greening your routine and how to get started with clean beauty a lot. Back then high quality natural brands and products were slimmer pickin’s, research and knowledge on ingredients and practices was skimpier, and there weren’t as many experts around to share their good stuff.

Even though there are loads of clean products today, and the market is continuing to grow at lightning speed, many are still wondering … how do I get started with natural beauty?

I love this question! It’s like a reality check. Whenever a reader posts this in a comment or email, it reminds me that people want to know more and they want to use healthier products.

It also reminds me of how difficult it was when I tried to clean up my own beauty cabinet. All of those ingredients to avoid, where to buy new products, how to buy new products.

So, I’ve compiled many of those posts I wrote on getting started into one handy guide. Whether you are looking to get started with natural beauty and personal care, want a refresher, or even if you would simply love a great list of places and products to shop, this guide has it.

Your Guide to Getting Started With Natural Beauty

What’s Your Type?

We All Have Issues

Choosing Skincare: A Worksheet

Choosing Skincare: Some Real Life Examples

How to Make the Switch to Natural Products

Dealing With Cheats

Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid

Ingredient Listings Decoded: A Handy Cheat Sheet

Ingredient Navigation: How to Tell If a Product Is Truly Safe

Favorite Places to Shop Natural Beauty

Now that you are armed with the tools to ID safe products, know what you and your skin want, and have a plan for getting started, it’s time for the fun stuff. Where to shop! My two favorite online shops are Beauteabar and The Detox Market. As for products and brands? There are so many, but here are some of my top picks.

A Handful of My Favorite Brands

The brands and products I love are too many to list in one blog post. But here are a sampling of some of my top picks, must-haves, and daily use items.

Lavera

La Bella Figura

Soapwalla

Kjaer Weis

RMS Beauty

In Fiore

May Lindstrom

One Love Organics

W3LL People

Vapour Organic Beauty

Kypris Beauty

Vintner’s Daughter

Rare El’Ements

Acure Organics

Benecos

Amala Beauty

Image: freestocks.org at Unsplash

 

The whole affiliate disclaimer thing: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I make a percentage of purchases from them. It’s one of the ways I support my business. The two things you need to know about that … I only recommend products I 100% believe in and only support shops I care about.

The 2 Chemicals in Cosmetics You Should Avoid First

The 2 Chemicals in Cosmetics You Should Avoid First

I was recently asked which ingredients are most important to avoid in cosmetics. Since there is a pretty extensive list of toxic ingredients that commonly make an appearance in beauty products, plus the many names they go by, this isn’t exactly a short question to answer.

My response was, while it’s best to learn to spot all nasty ingredients or look at a list of those to avoid while shopping, it may help to ease into this whole label reading thing. At first, anyway.

The ingredients I would recommend nixing from your beauty repertoire immediately are petroleum ingredients and synthetic fragrance ingredients. These are both very toxic and the use of them is widespread.

Petroleum Ingredients

Yes, these come from crude oil. Sounds icky, right? And they are! Petrolatum, petroleum jelly, and mineral oil are commonly found on ingredient listings. Of course, they are refined for use in cosmetics (versus what you put in your car), but petro-chems are usually contaminated with carcinogens. The European Union (who sets higher standards for cosmetic safety than we do in the US) deems petrolatum carcinogenic and restricts its use.

The cancer risk associated with these ingredients is enough to make you steer clear, but there’s more. Petroleum jelly is viewed as a winter skin fix all. It is supposed to moisturize, soothe, repair, and protect dry, chapped, irritated skin. The problem with this gloppy ingredient is that it sits on top of skin, forming a barrier so skin cannot properly release toxins or absorb moisture from the air. Your skin may feel better when you first start using it, but will most likely end up dry, irritated, and congested. No good.

There are several healthy products you can purchase as an alternative to petroleum jelly. Cocoa and shea butter are super rich and great for hydrating and healing skin. Try The Beauty Chef Beauty Fix Balm. One Love Organics Skin Savior is made with coconut and jojoba oils, plus other soothing ingredients. Both are healthy choices that get the job done.

Synthetic Fragrance Ingredients

When synthetic fragrance is used in a beauty product it is actually a combination of several ingredients. If you think that makes it more difficult to identify these nasties on a product label, wait until you find out about the trade secret loophole. While manufacturers are required to list all ingredients used to make a cosmetic product, the FDA says it’s ok to exclude fragrance ingredients from the ingredient listing to protect the brand’s secret fragrance recipe from competitors. Manufacturers can simply use the terms “fragrance” or “parfum” instead.

Making things even more difficult is that many nontoxic brands also use these two terms to protect their secret fragrance blends. Usually a reputable natural cosmetics creator will note on an ingredient listing if their fragrance issues came from natural sources, like essential oils.

What’s the big deal with synthetic fragrance? These ingredients are what cause that headache-y, nauseated feeling you get when a scent doesn’t agree with you. But it doesn’t stop there. Synthetic fragrance is also linked to skin irritation, rash, dizziness, and asthma. They’ve also been found to carry an accumulation risk, meaning they build up in the body, and are linked to hormonal disruption and cancer.

Bottom Line

While you get familiar with harmful ingredients you want to avoid in cosmetics, start by checking for these two. Look for petro-ingredients like petrolatum, petroleum jelly, and mineral oil. When you see the terms “fragrance” and “parfum” on an ingredient listing, see if there is a notation as to the source of these ingredients. A brand’s website may also have information on their ingredient commitments.

Image :: McKinley Law at Unsplash

Your Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid Page…Free

Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid Downloadable

Hey, it’s hump day. How about some free stuff for your site, blog, or online shop?

The most requested item I get when starting a copywriting project with a new client is a new or refreshed ingredients to avoid page. A comprehensive list of harmful cosmetic ingredients is not only a great source of info for your readers and customers, but totally spells out your commitment to safety.

Yes, I know. These lists can be tedious to come up with. That’s why I am giving you mine. Yep, grab it today and copy/paste that sucker into your site, blog, or online store. Easy and oh so worth it.

Get your free Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid downloadable

Want a customized page? I can get you one of those too. Contact me for deets on creating just-for-you copy.

Now that that sticky little item is checked off your list, go have yourself a great day!

Ingredient Listings Decoded (A Handy Cheat Sheet)

Ingredient Listings Decoded (A Handy Cheat Sheet)

A couple weeks ago in Shop Talk we covered why complete ingredient listings are the most important words on any decent organic beauty shop’s site. Finding out exactly what is in a product is the only way to truly know if it is safe before you buy.

You know how you’ll go to an online shop who is doing a great job of making themselves and the products they carry look green? No this, no that, all natural … Then you go to the page of an interesting looking product. Sounds good, looks good, let’s take a peek at what’s in this pretty little beauty.

And there it is. Or shall we say, there it isn’t. No ingredient listing to be found. Or maybe it has one of those key ingredient listings. You know, where they list all of the natural-ish ingredients in the product but don’t give up a full ingredient listing.

Guess why they may be doing this? It usually is not in the name of being more concise. Both of these scenarios are red flags. Even the one that lists those wholesome sounding key ingredients.

You’ve been around the block enough times now to know that just because a product contains a few natural ingredients, doesn’t mean it is free from toxic ingredients. And the good old none-of-this-or-that-disclosure you see on sites? Forget those and get straight to the nitty gritty, the ever important ingredient listing.

Ok, so you shop places that list everything in every product they carry. Yay! Dazed and confused once you are faced with deciphering this mess of words? Even some natural ingredients sound not so natural?

I’m going to arm you with a powerful tool. An ingredient decoding cheat sheet. This will help you to differentiate healthy ingredients from nasty ones on the fly.

Ingredient List Decoder

1 :: Check the first 5 ingredients. These ingredients make up the majority of the product. Like food, cosmetic product ingredients are listed in order of concentration, from greatest to least. So if a product is comprised mostly of water, it will be the first ingredient on the list, and so on. Synthetic emollients and harsh foaming agents hang out here. Use my Ingredients to Avoid list for help.

2 :: Check the last 5 ingredients. These may be used in lesser amounts but the end of an ingredient listing is where you will usually find fragrance and preservatives.

3 :: If you’ve made it this far, fairly safe to say you have a safe product. Now scan those ingredients in the middle of the listing, if there are any, to see if anything comes up dirty.

4 :: Not sure on an ingredient name? Many brands follow the European INCI ingredient listings, using Latin names for ingredients. Check the INCI listing here.

5 :: Wondering whether or not the ingredients are organic? Organic ingredients are often marked with an asterisk. “100% Organic” means a product contains only organically produced ingredients, “Certified Organic” means the product is made of at least 95% organically produced ingredients, “Made with Organic Ingredients” means the product contains at least 70% organically produced ingredients.

So there’s some help in decoding those pesky ingredient listings. Have more questions? Ask away!