Email Marketing through Professional Content

Sarah understands that to be credible as a business person, she needs a marketing strategy.  She needs to build a list to market her business online and she has made a start.  Today she was to write her first marketing email.  This is how she demonstrates her professionalism.

Now she encounters another problem.  She has so much to say, where should she start?  Should she tell her readers about her business and how much she charges?  But her list was mainly family and friends – sending them an advert seemed a bit pushy – she’d never hear the last of it!  So, should she tell them about nutrition so they would understand more – but it seems an awful lot to put in one email …

Exclusive Content

The first thing Sarah needs to consider is the difference between the people on her list and those who drop in through social media.  People on her list have expressed interest in her business.  They may be more or less committed – the least committed are likely to unsubscribe – so she can assume they have some interest in her business.

How can she reward them for being subscribers, persuade them to stay subscribed and eventually to buy her services?

Sarah meets some of these goals by being interesting, mysterious, humourous or suspenseful.  Any of these encourages the reader to open her emails and read them.  But this is not enough.

The key is something sometimes called FOMO – “fear of missing out”.  If Sarah’s email content is exclusive, her subscribers will believe it is worthwhile being on her list.  They open and at least scan all her emails. 

How much should she give away?  Some business people worry if they give away too much, there will be no incentive to buy.  Understand a couple of things about information online:

  1. Any information you share is likely to be present online in hundreds of places.  It is unlikely you will come up with something unique.  Even if you do, it will be copied and adapted by hundreds of other people.  You take time to find out about what you write about and combine it in various ways.  By all means hold back material for your coaching, but don’t worry if it leaks out because …
  2. Coaching is not an information dump.  The coach helps their client understand, make choices, practice, try new things.  Working out the best solution for them is always a unique problem.  They need help to think things through and find a solution that works for them. 

Bringing Two Strands Together

Your email series covers ground midway between elementary material you share on social media and complex struggles with reality many people engage in as business people and are the real purpose of coaching.

There are many ways to organise this material.  How a particular business works out their content strategy is a topic suitable for coaching.  However, we can illustrate the type of thing a successful content strategy could use. 

Genius is often found in combining two topics.  Find the right two topics that resonate together, producing new and valuable insights. 

I’m a marketing coach who specialises in one small part of marketing.  I do this because deep expertise in one area enhances practice in many others.  My specialism is business storytelling.  Without a business narrative, everything else is immensely difficult.   Going deeper into storytelling, brings meaning to other aspects of marketing and indeed business as a whole.

It soon became obvious to me that storytelling alone was not enough.  I needed another strand.  Strategy is something I have specialised in for decades.  Many business people are great tacticians with poor strategic skills.   

Strategy is why storytelling appeals to me.  Good stories are well plotted and plotting is similar to strategy.   Plotting is how we organise the raw content of a story to make sense of its direction, purpose and audience.  Strategy is what makes sense of a marketing campaign.

Your Signature Content and How to Deliver it!

Many people think of signature content as a one-off story, distinctive to your business.  Some business owners have a signature story.  But not everyone.  Everyone must however have signature content.

So, what is it?  Think of a piece of content you have produced.  You show you prepared it by appending your signature.  But what if someone reading your content thought it must be by you before they reach the end and see your signature? 

The content itself contains your signature style.  Only you could have written that article.  Now you can say, if you want more, if you want to see the insights I have from years of work, mountains of reading, hours of reflection, then join my list.

Of course it’s not as simple as that!  The point of creating a list is to build relationships with those who are on it.  Building such relationships is a long-term project but equally it can be faster.  Using the phone is a valuable marketing tool, alongside your email list. 

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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