Why email marketing is still relevant and EFFECTIVE in 2023 and Beyond
Be sure to read part one of this blog, which explains why email isn’t anywhere NEAR the point of taking its last dying breath.
Email may still be old school, but that’s no reason why you have to use it in an old school way, such as boring, corporate newsletters and “in-your-face” promotions.
Today, email marketing is essential for holistic healers, coaches, and small businesses.
If you at all interested in growing a holistic practice or creating a time and location independent business based on your holistic practice, don’t ignore email!
In this blog, I’m going to go into more detail about the purpose and a little bit into the mechanics of email marketing. This is intended to be an overview, not a step-by-step how to from start to finish. For even more detail, see the big black box below about more resources that will help you take the next logical step.
Let’s start exploring the different types and purposes of your email campaigns:
This is exactly what it sounds like: a way to generate leads, or prospective paying clients, patients, customers, or guests.
By leads in this context I mean people who voluntarily subscribed to your newsletter, “inner circle,” or whatever you want to call it. How does this happen? Via something called an “opt-in form.” You may have seen these before. In order to download a free gift, you provide an email address.
Note: This is a screenshot of one of my lead magnets. For the real functioning form, click here.
When they subscribe (opt in), your email service takes it from there, automatically. Your email service, (I recommend MailerLite or ActiveCampaign) assigns them to something called a LIST.
If you have not already done so, you can see how this works on your end. If you do, you will be on one of my lists, unless you wish to unsubscribe, which is a matter of clicking a button.
Lists are not what they used to be.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, lists were a commodity that was bought and sold so that corporations could inundate you with emails you didn’t want or ask for. The targeting for these types of lists tends to be terrible, which makes the experience even MORE irritating for the recipient.
Today, things are different.
Email lists are carefully created, attended to, and pruned. It’s more of a human, organic process than it used to be back in the days when people bought and sold lists like candy. It’s done respectfully by any smart business owner.
But just in case, there are data privacy laws in the EU and in CA that make SURE that this is what is happening, and that leads are treated with respect, like real human beings, not just as “data” or “revenue sources.”
First, I think that many are still unaware that opting OUT is an option, via UN subscribing. This is something that is a “built in” feature with every email marketing service I can think of.
Every email sent will have an “unsubscribe” option that is easy to access.
Second, there is more transparency now than ever when it comes to “opting in.”
Let’s see what that looks like.
Here is an example of one of my lead generation tools. First, a “landing page.”
Landing pages are simply the page people land on and see a CTA (call to action) button. So the “landing page” could be a standalone page, but also a blog or your home page.
If it has a button that takes them to another page to perform an action (such as an opt in, purchase, signing up for a webinar, etc) it’s a landing page!
They click on the button (no boring “subscribe or submit” buttons here!) and it takes them to an “opt in” form:
This opt-in form has a checkbox indicating, basically.. that “hey it’s cool.. I enjoy your stuff so go ahead and send me your best. I’m in.. lets have fun with it! Many email services provide an easy way to add these checkboxes for easy GDPR compliance.
Update 2020: Upon further research, I discovered that checkboxes are not mandatory. In fact, overdoing it can create a less-than-ideal user experience. Who wants to have to make all those decisions and check all those boxes?
As long as you explain CLEARLY what people are opting in for, you may not even need a checkbox. Click here to see how I worded one of my opt-ins, what a lead magnet might look like, and to see how the whole process works on the front end.
Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer nor do I claim to be, so if you are unsure of the law in your area, please consult a lawyer who specializes in data privacy laws.
Raise Your Vibe With Email
Sharing your “Free stuff” (content) is a great way to build trust and rapport with your new leads.
Anyone with a service based business.. which is about being an expert in your specific niche.. will probably be happy to share with the world the important and transformational work they do.
If you love your work, it should be easy to come up with things to talk about in your emails. In some ways, I think email is one of the easier channels of communication because:
• They don’t need to be long.
• You don’t have to worry about optimizing anything for SEO: word count, keywords, etc. Just write from the heart.
However, you DO want to take the time to write a good subject line. I love this tool, which makes it easier to come up with a subject line that will get opened.
• You can make your message short and sweet, and let your other content do the work for you. Include links to your blog, video replays, latest podcast.. whatever reinforces your message. It’s about sharing.
• You can re-cycle your content! This is NOT cheating. I keep a spreadsheet of all the content I can share. (I’ve got 100s!) which means that I can cycle through monthly themes. I do update, (my industry is constantly changing) but I never had to start from scratch.
Your audience will appreciate this.. it’s too easy to miss something these days. “Have you ever thought: Oh, damn, that sounds perfect, but I can’t right now! Will it be offered again, ever?”
Having a great offer or challenge that will come around next year seems to be the “sweet spot” of creating a sense of “urgency” so that people don’t put off taking action indefinitely AND knowing that the offering will be available again next year.
• Did I mention that unlike with social media.. you OWN and have control over your list? Ah.. I did!
Your emails are not just a weekly “love letter” to send to your inner circle.
They are also a fantastic way to share all that great content you’ve worked so hard on. Don’t let them just collect dust on your hard drive or cloud storage.. include a link to your latest blog or video.
Keep updating and sharing your content. BONUS: You’ll help your SEO and give traffic to your website a boost!
Sharing and giving like this raises the vibe for the entire transaction process.. if and when it gets to that stage. It’s really just all about relationship marketing.
NURTURING your leads
I like this word.. for some, it feels more natural than the phrase “leading someone through a sales funnel.”
I call it “Being Santa Claus” or at least a generous elf depositing goodies on a regular basis.
When your unique offerings are a good match for your ideal patient or client, and you provide exactly what people are looking for.. of course they will want to read what you have.!
You are treating your audience like real people, not just as “your list” when you look at it this way.
If not, it’s simply not a good match, and this is quite normal. That’s the foundation of permission based marketing.
Think about some of your favorite online experts.. and how they make it fun and interesting. I enjoy Marie Forleo and Amy Porterfield, for example. Even when life gets chaotic and I don’t have time to keep up, at least I know that I can count on a new email or video or podcast, like clockwork every Thursday and Tuesday. And sometimes I’ll even “binge” on their new podcast or video.
CREATING REAL VALUE
I touched on this in the last blog, but I want to really drive home that email isn’t just about putting a “50% discount on gift certificates for Mother’s Day” sort of thing, when you “get around to it” tactic.
It’s a strategy.
THE SALES FUNNEL ..and where email fits in
A funnel has a wide top an a narrow bottom, which is why it makes a great model for creating a time an location independent business.
I wrote a whole blog about marketing funnels.
Before anyone can opt in to your email list, they first have to know you even EXIST.
Ways you can be found:
• Someone Googles a question and they end up on your blog
• You regularly post on social media AND know how to leverage it
• You have a published book
• You have appeared on a podcast or TV show
• You gave a talk about acupuncture at your local health food store
• You are establishing connections with other experts and leveraging their networks
These are activities that are at the TOP of your funnel. You are casting a wide net at this point, and offering free information to help people and raise awareness about what you do.. and so that the right people know that you exist.
You can do this online or offline.
The problem is.. Do you have way of keeping in touch with those who discover you, or do any kind of online follow up?
A way that doesn’t require you to spend a ton of time on social media and be subject to its whims and rules?
Attracting subscribers to your list generally is in the middle part of the funnel. You can think of it as the online equivalent of “following up” but NOT by “bothering” anyone, but giving something of value on a consistent basis. (a subscription)
Taking care of your current clients and customers (active and inactive)
The top of the funnel is the WIDE part, for a reason: More people ENTER at the top, but at the bottom, you have a smaller number of leads that actually make a purchase.
In marketing speak, this is called a “conversion” because the lead “converts” from a lead into a customer or client.
Having an email marketing system in place is also essential for taking care of those VIP’s at the bottom of the funnel.
The email journey
After an initial welcome email, the next step is to lead them through this process, which is pretty much everything I have been talking about up to this point, but now you are making strategic and well-timed offers that happen automatically in the whole email marketing process.
And this is never, ever, “slimy,” because subscribers always have a choice.
Some will keep reading your emails but never buy.
Some will never open your emails.
Some will unsubscribe.
And some will buy from you.
This is ALL normal. The only thing you don’t really want are either TOO many unsubscribes, or inactive subscribers, so culling the list regularly is a good idea.
Funnels are more of a conceptual tool, but they don’t always reflect all the EXACT processes that are going on.
It’s easier to visualize a flow chart when it comes to the actual pieces and processes, like that opt-in form you saw above, thank you pages, automatic emails, and more. Flow charts are a great way to conceptualize all the pieces and “moving parts.” Here’s an example:
When you set up something like this, it makes the process of selling your awesome products and services online much more natural and easy. It takes the burden off having to “hustle” for every. single. new. client. Plus, we get the ones that are a PERFECT FIT for our business.
This is the OPPOSITE of making awkward pitches that feel “slimy and icky.” It doesn’t mean that you never, ever have to know anything about sales or discovery calls, but it does mean that you don’t need to do the equivalent of asking someone on your first date together to marry you.
I think that many holistic entrepreneurs are still stuck on the notion that “pitching” a product we are selling is slimy. We need to get over it. We are in business for a reason, and I think that most people understand this. I expect to see offers from the people I follow. Something feels weird if I don’t see them! (I have been “guilty” of not making offers for LONG periods of time)
Think about someone you might enjoy hearing from, say a favorite author. Is it considered “icky” to hear about their latest book?
Probably not, because you’ve already been introduced to the author via a funnel of some sort.
Promotions, Events, and Re-activation campaigns
If you have a local, brick-and-mortar business, you may be asking yourself: “I get lots of new people coming through the door, but I want them to stick around longer: How can i get inactive patients to return?”
Although considered separately from a classic sales funnel, you can still send a different kind of email for those who have already bought from you.
These are generally those “one off” emails you send to your list with time-sensitive info or incentives to get inactive patients or previous clients to come back. Tell them how much you miss them!
These also should feel as if you are giving. It’s not “slimy” to encourage people to come back to see you. You may simply have slipped off their radar, and may very much WANT to hear from you again!
Are you slow in January? Do you offer a detox or hormone balancing program? Put that in your next email broadcast.
If you sell any kind of products or services online, you can offer special promotions. (i.e. the ever-popular Black Friday deals)
People actually WANT to buy things and experiences or have a problem solved. Make it easy for them!
Building Trust Over Time
I covered this extensively in the first blog in this series. In a nutshell: Email is the perfect way to strategically build/earn trust over time. It’s also not manipulative.. because regardless of whether or not someone buys, they can still get a pretty good idea of what you do and what you are about.
STILL NOT CONVINCED THAT EMAIL MARKETING IS EFFECTIVE?
Remember, your odds of getting paid clients from leads (conversions) are much better via email, and if you don’t let your tribe know you are offering something cool.. you are cheating them out of the choice they could make for themselves. If you think about it.. THAT is kind of egotistical and maybe even slimy.
Your audience is capable of making their own decisions.. and GDPR has made the whole process much more transparent, which is a good thing. Honor and trust the way it works: unsubscribes and unopens also serve a purpose. Repeat after me: Nobody is being manipulated.
Time and Location Independence and Creative Packaging
What if you want to stop “trading time for dollars” and open up to the possibility of offering products or services globally, or offer a digital course or group coaching as part of a “bundled” program in addition to the wonderful healing work you already do?
You can’t deliver your product via your personal email, so having an email marketing account (such as MailerLite or ActiveCampaign) is no longer optional, but a requirement, so that you can deliver your products and services immediately when someone orders them.
By now, we all know how this works. If you routinely order from Amazon or purchase SasS (software as a service) subscriptions online, email is a part of the transaction process.
Say you are selling a digital course on hormone balancing for perimenopausal women. How will you deliver your course if someone buys online? One solid way is via a link in your welcome email. So if you are going to use email to deliver a product or service anyway.. why not use it to promote and market it?
One more thing.. Email is the perfect way to let your loyal patients and clients know that you love them, by giving an occasional gift. (I prefer the kind that don’t involve more of my TIME) You can also use it to encourage them to leave reviews, create surveys, or even schedule a “Starbucks” meeting so that you can do your own market research over coffee with some of your ideal patients or clients.
As you can see, email is a great way to guide someone on the journey.. from the first moment of being exposed to what you have to offer, to buying something from you, if they choose. Email is pivotal point in their journey.
Need help with your lead generation and email marketing?
Whether you are a newbie, DIYer, or even seasoned marketer.. sometimes we all need a little help so that we can focus on what really matters and get the results we want.
There are 2 ways I can help:
1. Enroll in the Future Proof Your Practice Toolkit. This course will take you from start to finish, from mindset to “tech” setup, so that you can get your first online offering out to the world QUICKLY, even if you are starting from scratch.
I’ve devoted several lessons to email.
2. I offer “done for you” solutions so that you can spend more time doing what you love, and less time setting up the “moving parts” of your email system. I can also advise which systems might work best for you, your time, your budget, your goals, and your preferences. (Generally WordPress or Kartra)