Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie teaches consultants, coaches and other professionals to attract and win their ideal clients by becoming seen as authorities in their field.

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Email Marketing for Coaches and Consultants

Posted on 20th April 2012.

As I wrote in The Truth About Email recently, email marketing is still one of the most powerful tools any business can have in its arsenal.

But what about email marketing for coaches, consultants and other professionals?

Will it work for us?

After all, most of the email marketing you see focuses on promoting products. Yes, there's an element of giving value and relationship building. But by and large it's about offers.

And that style of email marketing won't work for professionals.

Our long term goal is to sell our high value services – not low value products. And before a client's going to be ready to hire us for those high value services, we need to have built up a high degree of credibility and trust.

That doesn't happen overnight. And it doesn't happen if most of your emails are promotions.

The best way for a professional to use email marketing is to use it to nurture a relationship with high potential clients. To give value and so build credibility.

The way I like to look at it is “what would an email from a trusted advisor look like?”

So imagine getting an email from one of your trusted business advisors. Maybe it's your accountant, or a consultant you worked with once before. Maybe it's an ex-colleague whose advice you value.

When they email you, what's in it? What does it look like?

Trusted Advisor Emails

Well, chances are it will often contain valuable insight a lot of the time, of course. And it won't be generic advice you could hear parroted anywhere like “work on the business, not in the business”. It'll be specific to your situation and your goals.

It'll be written personally too. Your trusted advisor won't write to you like they don't know you or you're some kind of anonymous prospect on a list. They'll write as a friend writing to a friend and using language that reflects that.

It won't be formal and stiff. It won't feel like they spent hours carefully constructing it to get the wording exactly right.

(Even though they might need to spend hours to get it to feel like that!)

And it won't feel like they're selling to you all the time.

If they suggest a course of action, they'll give you the reasons. But they won't turn it into a sales pitch.

And they won't be serious all the time either. The people I value advice from have become friends. Every now and then they send me something lighter too. A link to a joke or a video that amused them.

Now I'm not saying your email marketing should consist of a string of jokes. But I am saying “lighten up”. You want people looking forward to your emails, not thinking it'll be a burden to read them all the time.

The Secret of Effective Email Marketing for Coaches and Consultants

And that's really the secret: write like a trusted advisor.

Use the content a trusted advisor would use. Valuable, insightful business advice that builds credibility and trust.

Use the format a trusted advisor would use. A simple, plain email with no fancy graphics that looks like a human being sent it, rather than a pretty template that looks like a big company with a graphics department sent it.

And use the style a trusted advisor would use. Write like a business friend. Short sentences. Short paragraphs.

Contractions (e.g. “it's” not “is is”), slang and abbreviations where appropriate.

Exactly how you'd speak to a business friend if you were advising them over a coffee.

All the data says email marketing can be incredibly effective. But you need to do it right. You need to focus on building to win a long term client relationship, not a short term sale.

So, what's your experience of email marketing been? Has it worked for you? What are your secrets of success?