Email makreting can be such a scary thing.
Nobody wants to be that sleazy promo spammer in people’s inboxes every other day.
And that’s usually why they’re so queasy around the thought of using email to effectively grow their coaching business.
But here’s a truth for you: email marketing is, and should be, your online secret weapon.
Email marketing in 2020? But why?
Take it from a goldfish-brained millennial:
Email marketing is not dead. Far from it.
I’ll let you in on a secret: I’m subscribed to a LOT of email lists, and actually love reading them!
Everyone checks their inbox. You probably do yourself.
“Hm, yeah, I guess, but like, isn’t that just you, though?”
Ouch. Alright, fair.
But 35% of business professionals check their email on mobile (Convince and Convert).
68% of millennials have had their buying decisions influenced by marketing emails (Fluent).
For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you get a return of $42 (DMA). That’s more than 40x the money you invested!
78% of marketers have seen email engagement go up in the last year alone (Hubspot). And that number’s only going up.
How do you start? With your email marketing software.
Yay! The first thing you want to do is to get an email service provider (ESP), or email marketing software.
So you can actually send emails and build a list.
Here’re my top picks for email marketing software:
- MailChimp – great for beginners thanks to having an unlimited free plan for up to 2,000 subscribers, and a simple drag-and-drop email editor. But if you go free, you lose out on a lot of important features like automation, segmentation, and you have to keep their branding in your emails.
- Convertkit – Like MailChimp, has an unlimited free plan (up to 500 subscribers), but missing key features like automation. It does have a 14-day free trial for its basic plan, though, which starts at $29 per month. It’s great for creators and blog-heavy businesses that have a very specific, targeted audience.
- ActiveCampaign – ActiveCampaign is a powerful ESP (there are no free plans, and it starts at $15 per month, but it’s well worth the investment). It’s got great automation (trust me, this is important if you don’t want lost time and hair), thorough data reports, and integrated funnel functionality. Use this only if you’re serious about email.
- And a special mention to Kajabi’s in-built email service provider (because as a coach, there’s a pretty good chance you use Kajabi), which is pretty decent. Although, it does come with its own learning curve, as it doesn’t offer the same level of user-friendliness as the other ESP’s, when it comes to data analysis and automation tools.
Create a focused content strategy
Now that you’ve picked an ESP, it’s time to plot out a content strategy.
Because your content strategy can make or break your email marketing efforts. It’s pretty much the sole reason why so many people quit email and complain that it’s dead.
Here’s the thing: email, at the end of the day, is just another platform.
It’s another way to build a relationship with your audience.
And you can’t build a relationship with them if you’re only sending them emails every once in a blue moon – even worse if they’re all promotional.
You have to be consistent.
You need to be relevant.
You should bring value.
Let them get to know you, before pitching them an offer they can’t refuse.
That means sending an email to your list at least once a week (although most people send them a lot more frequently than that).
That means creating email content that helps your audience solve their problems, entertains them, or inspires them in ways that align with your brand.
If you’re a mindset coach, that might mean motivational emails and wellness tips on the regular.
If you’re a business coach, perhaps stories about your past experiences and key takeaways so your readers don’t make the same mistakes.
Of course, you can intersperse these with emails that sell your new offers. Ideally, you’ll want to aim for an 80-20 ratio between value-focused emails and sales emails. That way you’re striking the right balance between spamming, and making a well-timed offer to people who know, like, and trust you.
If you’re really stuck on thinking of content ideas for your emails, try thinking of it like blogging. If you were to create blog content that’s a little shorter, and a little more exclusive, what would that look like?
And this brings me to the next step of the process.
Create an irresistible lead magnet
I like to think of email marketing like dating. All your regular content is like texting, where you’re making yourself known, and you’re having a little conversation with your partner-to-be.
Now you want to take it a step further. You want to be inbox official.
But before that, you need to take them out on a date. You need to thoroughly wow them in exchange for their small commitment.
That’s what your lead magnet is. Your thoroughly wow-worthy experience in exchange for a small commitment: your audience’s email addresses.
In this day and age, it’s not enough for someone to just subscribe to your email list just because you’re providing “exclusive content and offers.”
Nah, that’s like applying for a job and saying “I’ll do well at my job.”
It’s not a reason to subscribe. It’s the bare minimum.
Your lead magnet provides that incentive to get them opting into your emails.
How do you create a juicy lead magnet or freebie?
An example of a lead magnet could be:
- An eBook (super common and probably the first thing you thought of!)
- A PDF guide or checklist
- Templates, scripts, or prompts
- A mini-course or free training
- A quiz
- And so much more!
Now before you head off to create one, there are a few things you should make sure of when you’re creating an irresistible lead magnet:
- It should help your ideal client make a quick win. It should show your expertise and provide huge value immediately, by helping them solve a key problem they’ve been having.
- It should be digestible for them. It wouldn’t make sense to provide a 100-page eBook for busy mothers, would it? They’d be too busy to read it all!
- It should be relevant to your paid offerings. You’re still in the business of selling in your emails, so if what you sell has nothing to do with the value you provide, people won’t be buying your stuff.
Always remember to tie it all back to your target audience, and what they want from you.
Sure, if your content is already bonkers amazing, and your brand is pretty recognizable, not too many people would need an extra incentive to opt in.
But if you’re a small business, the chances of that being the case are close to none.
So, create that lead magnet, tie it to your overall content strategy, and promote the hell out of it.
Create welcome emails that stand out
Yeah, now we’re finally getting into emails (you’d think we’d start with that in a guide about email marketing, right?).
And this is the most important kind: welcome emails (or if you’d prefer, a single welcome email).
With 4x the open rates as regular emails, these are prime real estate for you to make a lasting first impression and kick off your relationship on a high note.
The first email should set expectations.
Here are a few guidelines for what you should include in it:
- Give them that lead magnet you promised.
- Introduce yourself, and tell them what they can expect from you in terms of email content.
- Ask them to whitelist your emails (super important if you don’t want your emails sent straight to spam!).
- Ask a question to get to know them (optional, but great for learning more about your audience)!
Welcome sequences are pretty much just an automated series of 5-7 emails that warm up your new subscriber before they get all your regular emails.
This is a whole topic of its own, which I’ll get into later on.
Then set up multiple opt-in forms
Now that you’ve got all of that in place, it’s time to start growing your list.
And to do that, you need to set up an opt-in (or sign-up) form.
The best place to start with this is to pop one onto your website’s pages, like so:
You’ll also want to set it up on a dedicated landing page, so that when you promote it on social media, you’ll have a specific place to send people to.
An example of that might look like this:
Obviously, people won’t subscribe to your email list just because there’s a sign-up form, or a lead magnet on your site. You’ve got to drive traffic to it.
And that’s its own separate post, but the key is to consistently promote it on your socials, in your blog or video content, and even when you’re prospecting (as a little gift to your new lead).
Write consistently amazing emails
Email marketing is a long game.
And the key to making email work for you is being consistent.
Most people try out a couple email blasts every once in a while, don’t get the results they want, and then complain email doesn’t work.
You’re not going to get a thousand purchase-ready followers on Instagram, nor are your connections on LinkedIn going to buy from you as soon as you connect.
It takes time, it takes consistent effort, and it takes strategy.
You want to build that Know-Like-Trust factor.
So stay consistent, deliver great, value-filled emails to your subscribers (even if you only have a few to start!).
Trust me (ha, see what I did there?). It’ll be worth it.
Have some fun with email marketing!
At the end of the day, it doesn’t do you any good if you’re not enjoying the process of building your community and audience.
Don’t worry about things not working out in the beginning, either! Email marketing is all about trial, error, testing, and refining.
Don’t be afraid to fail forward. Don’t be afraid of people unsubscribing – if they do, they were never going to be a paying client anyway, so good riddance.
And don’t be afraid to own the hell out of email marketing.
So go forth, send out some rockin’ emails, and be your audience’s inbox hero!