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Email marketing for consultants

Social Media might be all the rage but email marketing can deliver 12 times the Return On Investment for engaged consultants and services looking to win more clients.

You’re doing it wrong, probably.

Chances are you are already using email marketing to some extent. On your website, you probably have a little text input field buried in the footer with a subscribe now label on it. You don’t give it much though and probably rarely send your newsletter.  When you do send it, you probably shouldn’t have. It probably contains news about your company, what projects you’ve won and who you’ve hired. Blah blah blah.

As with everything to do with marketing on the internet your success with email marketing will come down to how focused you can get with your audience and how much value you can provide them with.

You currently aren’t doing that.  You are currently boring them to death while they delete your email like every other newsletter they receive.

“People Just Delete My Emails. Email Marketing doesn’t work”

That’s because you’re not providing value. People are busy and they get a lot of emails – if you keep emailing them stuff they don’t care about then yes, they will delete your email.

Imagine the alternative, though – imagine if someone opened and devoured every email you send them?  What would that do for your message and your marketing – do you think that would help you win those elusive new clients?

Email Marketing That Works

Email marketing starts and ends with our favourite “s” word. Strategy. Email marketing must fit within a larger marketing strategy as a tactic, you won’t be able to capture emails to market too without some other form of engagement whether that’s Social Media or Search Engine Optimisation. There are plenty of other articles out there that deal with how to grow an email list so we won’t cover that here.

The biggest mistake people make with email marketing is sending all their content to everyone and only sending new content they produce. This kind of “email blast” marketing has limited effect because it’s not super targeted towards anyone. It also causes those that sign up later in your cycle to miss the best content that you’ve already produced. It shouldn’t be your primary focus.

Good email marketing provides value by targeting specific groups with information that helps them solve their problems. Every major email platform has access to some kind of segmenting and grouping tools. “But!” I hear you say, “Does this mean you need to produce multiple email newsletters every week?”. Nope. What we want to do is create a sequence of emails that provide great value to the subscriber and then send them on a schedule so they always get everything we want to send them. For example if you are an accounting firm you would start by identifying the value you can provide to your customers (I assume you already know this) and a concern they may have in their business that you cancel help them with. For an accounting firm, this is likely to be around making sure that the business stay on the right side of the tax man while being as tax efficient as possible.

Now you’ve identified what problem you’re solving for the group and who that group is. You are helping small to medium businesses be more tax efficient in a legal way. You probably need to be more specific here as a small design agency will have different requirements to a legal firm.

Now you can work out what content they would love to read on the subject, i.e. emails they will actually open.

That sequence might go something like

  • Did you know how much tax is wasted every year by small businesses? (create demand)
  • Three things you can do now to save tax this year (build trust)
  • Five things you must never claim in your tax return (scare them a little)
  • Is your company structured correctly? (Make them question their setup)
  • How a good accountant can keep you out of trouble (lets them know you are the solution to their problems)
  • Call to Action (Offer them a consolation)

On your website put together an enticing option for the email course that promises value for the customer and demonstrates how much they can learn by joining your course.

Through this sequence of emails we have crafted a message targeted at a very specific group of people that helps them solve a very specific and very pressing problem – Are My Taxes being done properly and am I wasting money.

You’ll notice that this isn’t a sequence of – “look how good we are” emails. These emails provide value in real terms for the subscriber. They are then followed by a Call To action that starts a conversation between you and them.

The beautiful thing about this is that whenever somebody signs up you to email list, they get the full effect of what you’ve written – not just where they happen to sign up in your blogging/email blast. They get a targeted, lead nurturing email sequence that asks them to become a client with no extra work from your team once you’ve set up the sequence. I would recommend adding them to your email blasts as well once they have reached the end of the drip sequence.

This style of email marketing is invaluable for building trust with your prospects and turning them into clients. Pairing it with a foot-in-the-door style offer can get you that all important first sale in your relationship, moving the prospect from an opportunity to a customer.

To reiterate – email marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing you can engage in, but, you have to do it well.  You have to have a distinct target for each campaign, provide value for the prospect and then capitalise on it. You should absolutely target your messaging towards your specific market.

Stewart Ritchie Lead developer and founder of Powered By Coffee. Stewart has been building websites for 15 years and focusing on WordPress for 5. He founded Powered By Coffee in 2011 after finishing is masters degree. He lives in Guildford Surrey with his wife Sydney and their two cats.

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