professional-services-marketing

The 3 Part Formula for an Email Newsletter that Gets Clients

On yesterday’s member’s only Roundtable call (for subscribers to The Unstoppable CEO™ CONFIDENTIAL) we had a couple of questions on email newsletters for professional services—consulting, professional practices, marketing agencies, etc.—so I thought I’d share the formula for an email newsletter that gets clients…

There are three critical pieces:

  1. The goal.
  2. The conversation.
  3. The content.

What’s the goal of your email marketing?

In professional services, we’re publishing an email newsletter to get clients, so getting clients is the “big goal.”

But to get IDEAL Client, your email marketing needs to achieve three other goals…

Email Goal #1: Pull and Push

All clients aren’t equal. The first goal of email marketing for your firm is to pull and push…

Pull your IDEAL Clients closer to you. And push the nightmare clients away…far away.

This is the exact opposite of what most professionals do. The truth is, most fret when people unsubscribe from their newsletter.

As long as you’re not seeing huge percentages leaving all at once, unsubscribes are healthy, and those people are doing you a huge favor…

They’re showing you reality: They’re not a fit.

The way you make the pull and push happen is by publishing your “worldview.” You have opinions about how what you do should be done…don’t be shy about sharing.

Your IDEAL Clients will be attracted to it, and to be honest, most will find your candor a refreshing change to the carefully scrubbed, politically correct blah, blah that most firms call marketing.

Email Goal #2: Repetition

I’ve personally written over 700 email newsletters for my own businesses and I’m often asked how I come up with what to say after that’s new.

The truth is, you’ve probably only got main 5 topics (or principles) in your business.

We teach our clients to plug these into a “content wheel” and rotate through them.

You need to repeat because…

…a world-class newsletter might get 1 in 3 subscribers to read any given issue. But 60–70% should see one of the issues you send this month.

…prospects and clients benefit from hearing the same idea presented in different ways and from different angles.

…you’ll improve the clarity and effectiveness of your messaging with repetition (which benefits the readers).

You’ll know you’re succeeding when you’re sitting in a sales meeting or initial consultation with a prospect and they’re explaining your worldview to you, using your language.

Want to get clients, without having to hard sell…? You need to use your email newsletter to setup the sale.

Email Goal #3: Leading into The Next Step

Contrary to what you see from the Internet marketing crowd, it’s really hard to sell direct to a high-ticket service using email.

Usually, you need some personal interaction—a sales meeting / strategy session / initial consultation—to close the client.

Email works really well to push prospects into that meeting.

The key is to offer it in different ways—sometimes very direct, sometimes subtle. Offer it in EVERY issue.

How “The Conversation” Gets Clients

Most of the newsletters I get from firms sounds like a robot drafted the thing. Ever have an interesting conversation with a robot…?

I didn’t think so.

The key to getting your newsletter read is to make it easy to read. There are three easy ways to do that.

1. The tone.

2. The pace.

3. The brain dialog.

What’s the Right Tone for Your Email Newsletter?

Let’s make this simple: Drop the formal business writing tone you learned in school (I know…it’s hard to do).

Your email marketing is more like a conversation with a friend, than a business letter. Make it read like you talk.

A bit informal. It also makes writing easier, ‘cause nobody ever got stumped by “talker’s block.”

How to Pace Your Newsletter for Consumption

My wife and our oldest daughter are huge Game of Thrones fans—they’ve read all of the books. And they kept proding me to read them too.

So, sitting on the beach, with Book 1 in hand I tried.

The first chapter was like trying to sprint through quicksand—tough slogging.

So, I gave up. All I can tell you is “winter is coming.”

Don’t do that to your newsletter readers. Keep them moving…

Short paragraphs. Short sentences.

Dull, dry, hard to read newsletters won’t get you any clients (‘cause nobody’s reading it)

Keep it punchy…

It helps the pace.

Engage in “Brain Dialog”

Your prospect is experiencing your email marketing in their head.

Understand that, and give them an interactive experience in there.

Leave room for your prospect to enter the conversation with you, mentally, as they read, by asking them questions in the copy.

Know what I mean?

It keeps them engaged and helps prevent the “eyes glazing over syndrome” that happens just before they delete you.

How to Come Up with Endless Topic Ideas for Your Email Newsletter

I’ve already talked about the “content wheel” approach—identify the four or five main topics realted to your business and rotate through.

That gives you the framework, but not the specifics.

Here’s how I’ve come up with topics for over 700 email newsletters…

  1. The Q & A.
  2. The Contrarian.
  3. The Mistake.

Turn Client Questions into Gold

One of the reasons I find working with our clients so valuable (aside from the obvious) is that they’ve got an endless supply of questions.

But, not just any questions…

Highly relevant questions (like the ones that inspired this aricle)…

Questions that our prospects have, too.

They ask them. You answer them, and…

Whamo! You’ve got content.

The Great Value of a Difference of Opinion

Most of the really great consultants, profesisonals, and advisors I know have “their way.”

A unique approach to the practice of their profession that’s more effective than the average approach.

I’ll bet you’re in that group, so stand up and tell your prospects why the “standard practice” isn’t good enough for them…

…and why, your approach is better.

Have an opinion, and don’t be afraid to use it.

Capitalizing on Mistakes

Prospects make mistakes. If they could do what you do perfectly, they wouldn’t need you.

So, point out the common mistakes.

You’ll help them identify what they’re doing that may not be working for them.

You’ll demonstrate your expertise.

And, you’ll drive home the realization that maybe, just maybe, Mr. Prospect, shouldn’t be writing his own contracts, or doing his own taxes, or… (you get the idea).

So, what have we covered?

We started with three things to focus on in your firm’s newsletter if you want it to produce clients:

  1. The goal.
  2. The conversation.
  3. The content.

And, we covered three parts to the goal—the pull and push, repetition, and the next step.

Then we covered the importance of “the conversation” in your email marketing. There are three essential pieces to the conversation—the tone, the pace, and the brian dialog. And we talked about how to optimize each one.

Finally, we covered the content of your newsletter, and the three sources of endless topic ideas—the Q & A, the contrarian, and the mistakes.

I’ve put together a simple spreadsheet to make organizing your email newsletter really simple. Use it to plan your goals, the conversation, and your content.

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Steve Gordon

Steve Gordon is the bestselling author of Unstoppable Referrals: 10x Referrals, Half the Effort his new approach to attracting referrals and exponentially expanding your network has been called the best new thinking on referrals.