Email marketing can be so frustrating.
Everywhere you go you hear about its potential and how you should use it to gain more business. But somehow it just doesn’t work for you.
And I am sure you tried (or at least heard) all the advice.
- “Make the subject lines snappy”
- “Keep it simple”
- “Segment your audience”
- “Give your audience what it wants”
Well, let me tell you a secret – all this advice sucks.
Most of what you read about email newsletters is either too generic or too B2C focused. And even if you find some good information, it still rarely works for a consulting business.
That’s because the role of consultant’s email is different
B2C companies send their emails to sell. You should do so to confirm your authority, build trust and nurture your subscribers until they are ready to hire you.
Of course that doesn’t mean that consultant’s email doesn’t make money. Quite the contrary in fact. But it doesn’t happen in the same way as for B2C companies.
One of my favourite sales writers, Jeffrey Gitomer once said that
only if they know you, believe you and trust you… then they MIGHT buy from you.
Even though this quote wasn’t uttered about email, the advice here relates to it as well. The role of your newsletter isn’t to push prospects for that new offer you coined or advertise your latest successes.
It’s to build trust and convince prospects that it’s you they should hire.
And there are few things you should remember when trying to do that.
Your best subscribers are offline
Given what you do, it comes as no surprise that you spend so much time focusing on bringing online leads. But all those signup incentives, e-books or other rewards combined will not generate a better prospect than the one who’s there right beside you.
Many SEO consultants, especially when starting out, win most of their clients from their local area. Later in time you might get other clients than local businesses, agencies or even friends and family. At the start though these are often your best prospects.
And what are the chances that they will sign up to your newsletter on your site? Slim.
But if you ask to add them to it, most will agree without hesitation.
We had an unwritten rule in a web development studio I managed a couple of years ago. We would ask every person we’d come in touch with, be it at an industry event or anywhere else if we could add them to our list.
Most would say yes and thus our list was growing fast. Moreover, many of those people would later become clients through the weekly email tip we were sending.
There was another benefit of building a list this way. Before even receiving a single email from us, these people would know us already. They’d know the face behind the email and thus our job of building connection with them was easier.
This rarely happens with online leads.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against building a list through your site. At the start though, I believe that focusing on offline contacts can yield a much better result and do so faster.
Design doesn’t matter
People might be buying with their eyes, true. But even if you send a text only version of your email and pack it with good advice, your email is still going to make a better impression than the best looking one.
B2B audience seeks information. They not only want to be educated but also seek content that will make them look good in front of their boss, managers, colleagues, business partners and so on.
Therefore, instead of investing too much time on the design of your email, think about your audience and what advice to offer them.
Then send it.
Your email is your blog on steroids
Few weeks ago I posted two articles here on Ahrefs about using content to stand out and build your authority.
This advice relates to your newsletter too.
In fact, to make your newsletter more powerful, treat it like your blog on steroids.
Whatever topics you write for on your blog, be even more laser focused on them in your emails. Go deeper with your advice, extend it and make it even more practical. Don’t be afraid to share some tips of the trade. The majority of your subscribers will have no expertise to do it themselves.
But by reading your stuff they will know that you do.
Here’s the thing with building authority – most of your prospects don’t understand your advice. It’s unfortunate but after all, that’s why they need you. So how do they figure out if you are an authority in your field? By two factors:
- Topics you cover – are you laser focused on your content sweet spot or jump from topic to topic?
- Your effort. Send your subscriber a tip once a week and they will quickly figure out that you know what you’re talking about and are putting the effort to gain their business.
In other words, it’s your effort that’s going to sell you, not your advice.
Keep that in mind when working on your newsletter.
The best way to measure your newsletter success
Some people set up KPIs to track the success of their campaigns. And they are right in doing so. Delivery or open rates tell a lot about whether your emails work or not.
But there is a much better metric to find out if your email works:
The amount of quote requests you receive as a reply to your newsletter.
When prospects dig one of your emails from their archives and hit reply to send a request for help, you can be sure that your efforts weren’t in vain.
Or if you have prospects contacting you and complimenting your newsletter when asking for quote, you know you do things right.