Anyone who’s trying to reach an audience online or within their community has probably heard the advice, “you need to build an email list.” Even with these wise words, many coaches put off starting their newsletter thinking that it’s something that they can get to later. They mistakenly feel that they need to build their social media presence first, or they need to get business cards, a professional website, or other things in place before they can start an email marketing campaign. This line of thinking couldn’t be more false.
Email marketing is not something to hold off on until your list starts to grow. It’s a strategy to start implementing right now.
Most health coaches who put off starting their newsletter campaign will tell you they wish they had started building their list sooner. And the experts will tell you that email marketing is by far one of the most effective ways to stay consistently engaged with your subscribers, drive traffic to your website, and make yourself and your offers visible. Statistics show that email marketing has a 4300% return on investment. Yes, you read that figure correctly.
And it’s easy to see why this is the case. Anyone who has entrusted you enough to share their email address and let you enter their inbox is likely to become your fan and loyal reader. When they become a loyal reader, chances are high they will eventually become a client or customer, or at the very least someone who refers other clients to you.
I hope you’re at least seeing how developing a continuous newsletter plan can help you build your business and strategically position you for more consistent clients in your coaching practice. But you might still be wondering how to go about setting it all up. Or maybe you’ve already started building a list but you’d like to be more consistent in supporting your subscribers through a regular email campaign. No problem. I’m going to show you 4 steps to getting started or take your newsletter marketing to the next level.
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4 Simple Steps to Launch a Health Coach Email Newsletter
1. Choose an Email Marketing Provider
We use Infusionsoft here at Content Solutions for Health Coaches, but the most used services by Health Coaches we surveyed are MailChimp and Aweber. Either of these is a great place to start if you’re new to email marketing. But just know that any business tool you choose will have its pros and cons.
Many coaches gravitate towards MailChimp because of their free plan that allows up to 2000 subscribers. But while free plans may be very enticing if you’re just getting started, free plans are not usually the best solution long term. That’s a story for another post. But I have tested out Mailchimp in the past and overall their interface is fairly straightforward and easy to use even for the tech-averse health coach. So, if you’re just getting started and not quite ready to invest in a paid tool, Mailchimp might be a good place to start. Just keep in mind that with the limited automation features, you may eventually want to upgrade, which means migrating all of your contacts and emails which is not necessarily a fun process unless you’re a tech ninja or have a savvy VA.
Next in line is Aweber, which is touted as one of the most affordable and cost-efficient tools for email marketers. With plans starting around just $20 per month, Aweber for me is a no-brainer for the new coach and business person. This is why I used Aweber for a few years when I first started my business.
If you plan to send emails consistently and are really looking for features that will help you to automate most of your campaigns, then ConvertKit is the right fit. Try a month for free by signing up through my affiliate link.
2. Determine What List(s) to Set Up
Okay, I know you think I should probably jump straight into building your list right now (logical next step, right?). But first, you must think about what lists you will need to build in the first place. Each of your different subscriber lists (or segments) will receive different emails from you. Most of the time, your first list will be your “Sign Up for My Newsletter” list, or your General Subscribers list. These are the folks who will get your newsletters. So, if you’re planning to send a weekly newsletter or support series out to your subscribers, these are the ones who will get that. Some of your subscribers may also be on other lists or be on more than one of your lists. These might be people who signed up to get a Freebie from you, or who attended one of your workshops. One way to think about it is you segment your list based on where a person signed up and what they signed up for. Understanding lists is important so that when you’re setting up your email marketing plan, you keep all your lists and campaigns nicely segmented.
So I’ve outlined how to segment your list based on what a subscriber is signing up for. But you can also segment and set up lists based on other factors like subscribers’ location, age, purchase behavior, and other factors. Keep in mind that as your business grows, you’ll likely end up with several different lists providing various streams of content to your subscribers. Starting out with just one list is perfectly fine and highly recommended. As you get accustomed to sending emails to that one list regularly, you can add another down the road.
3. Capture Email Addresses
During this step, you’re going to set up a streamlined system to capture email addresses from your website visitors or workshop attendees. After all, you can’t have an effective newsletter marketing plan without a way to collect email addresses.
The most effective way to capture emails is to offer something of pure value to your subscribers with no strings attached – except that they have to provide a way for you to send it to them. And that would mean entering their information (usually name and email address) into your sign up form.
Giving a Freebie, Freemium, Lead Magnet, or Irresistible Free Offer (it’s called many different things but they’re all the same) is the most effective way to get people to opt into your list. This could be a free e-book or e-guide, access to a webinar, video, a recipe book, or something else that gives a ton of value to the people within your target audience.
Once they opt-in, it is extremely important to continue to provide value and not just fade away from their inbox or only make sporadic appearances. Follow up is the key. A great way to keep the conversation going is to show up regularly (best practice is weekly) by delivering a weekly newsletter in their inbox to build the relationship and keep the conversation going.
When you provide regular, high-value, supportive content to your subscriber you’re more likely to ensure they:
a. open your emails when they show up in their inbox and
b. click on your call-to-action links or buttons.
And this is what you want to achieve. A well-engaged, highly responsive group of subscribers who know, like, and trust you and look forward to your messages.
A great way to ensure you’re always on track with sharing valuable information is to pre-write your newsletters rather than waiting until it’s time to publish. This helps you to remain consistent with marketing and lets your readers know you’ll show up consistently.
Of course, you could be providing a great deal of value in your newsletter but it’s no good if people aren’t aware of it. So, your next step is promoting your sign-up form or lead magnet. How do you do this? You include a call to action in your blog posts, on your social media, or anywhere else that you’re interacting with your target audience.
4. Decide on Your Content
Okay, now it’s time to map out your content strategy. What will you write about?
There are a few ways to do this. If developing content is a challenge for you, I recommend that you have a theme for your newsletter to help guide your writing. For example, you might center your weekly newsletters on a different topic each month that serves a particular need of your ideal client. Or you could have a series of How To’s, Wellness Tips or other high-value information that keeps readers coming back to check and read your messages.
You might even get a little personal and share your culinary experiments or other stories of your holistic journey. You can even curate and share links from other interesting content you find around the web that your readers might find interesting.
I often get the question, should I include a full article in my newsletter? It’s really a matter of personal preference. You can either include the full “article” in your newsletter, write a summary style email and link to a blog post, or curate and share content created by others with proper credit. Choose the option that is best and easiest for you and will resonate the most with your readers.
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Once you’ve built up value, you’ll be able to “sell” to your list by sprinkling in offers of your coaching programs and services. The key here is being consistent and providing value first. Build your trust and reliability with your audience by setting up a regular newsletter campaign that demonstrates value and you’re sure to have your subscribers eager to hear from you and increase the chance that they’ll eventually become a client. If you lead with offers, you’re likely to see a ton of unsubscribes and that’s not what you want. So keep your content supportive and be consistent in your newsletter marketing. Building a relationship with your subscribers should be bumped up on the list as one of your top marketing priorities, and for good reason. After all, “the money is in the list.”
Whether you’re a seasoned or beginner coach, having a regular newsletter or email marketing strategy is critical to the success of your business. If you are still in a full-time career and haven’t made the transition to coaching full-time yet, starting your newsletter (with or without a website) is a solid investment of your time and resources. If you don’t have time to dedicate to researching a writing every week, start out with a bi-weekly or monthly schedule.
The key here is to overcome any hurdle that is stopping you from connecting with your clients. So if the thought of writing a newsletter series from scratch is too much for you, consider licensed content from Whole Family Coaching.
Tell us about your experience with email marketing and newsletters. We’d love to hear your thoughts and insights.