Email can be the lead generation lifeblood for your consulting practice.
Use it wisely and profit like a king.
As a consultant, using email the right way can be powerful. It can be the backbone to your entire consulting practice, nurturing potential clients and getting repeat engagements.
If you had to choose between a website or email marketing, your answer absolutely has to be email marketing.
Your emails list, and the campaigns you have, are the driving forces of growth.
They can nurture potential clients, turn them into sales and engagements and put referral-generation on autopilot.
Your best use will be to create campaigns for each client phase and function (nurture, close, referrals).
Do you know why there are so many different campaigns to build?
They all add up, piece by piece, with incremental improvements across your whole business.
Without these lead generation systems set in place, it’s not really possible to grow. It makes everything much harder and you’ll never push past a low-level plateau.
So, unless you want to hire a team and have all of them on-call 24/7 to nurture in new subscribers in real-time, you need to have email marketing in place (you’ll want it in place even when and if you have a hired team).
Master Your Email Marketing Campaigns & Put Your Lead Generation On Autopilot
Consultants mainly use email marketing for lead generation and nurturing, but using it for making sales is equally critical.
According to marketing website, Benchmark Email:
“Statistics are derived from responding consultants currently engaged in email marketing campaigns. This group constitutes the majority percentage of 81 percent, one of the highest engagement rates of any industry.”
81% of consultants utilize email marketing campaigns. Out of all the industries that rely on them, it’s clear that consultants are at the top of the list.
In fact, you are often using it as the sole engine to grow your business. This same Benchmark piece has a statistic that seals the deal:
“Only 11 percent stated they are not engaged in email marketing at all; eight percent state they plan to engage in email campaigns in the future.”
Even the few who don’t currently utilize email campaigns say they plan to.
But, if you’re only relying on good ol’ broadcasts to blast emails, or perhaps have a simple autoresponder setup, you’re missing the boat on this one.
You need to upgrade how you handle email marketing, by using behavioral triggers, tags, segmentation, different lists.
(A tool like Drip makes all of that real simple.)
Let’s look at how you can master your email marketing campaigns.
First let’s go over how to format your emails, then we will touch on multiple campaigns and how best to do them.
Lastly, we’ll list out some tips to help you chisel your lead nurturing and close deals using email.
How To Structure Your Lead Generation Emails
All of your emails should be catered towards leading your prospects into further nurturing or a sales funnel.
For the most part, people who’ve signed up for your email list (newsletter, free ebook, mini-course) aren’t actually leads – they’re at best cold leads, or prospects.
So, you still have ways to go before they whip out a credit card and sign up for your consulting.
That starts with the emails themselves.
You can start anywhere, but let’s tackle these in order.
1. Your Subject Lines (Still Matter A Lot)
The sole purpose of the subject line is to get them to open the email.
You can use an attractive hook. Use something shocking, even. But whatever you use, it must relate to the email copy. It must somehow transition into the main point of your email.
Here’s a good headline formula for you to use:
Hook + Benefit (overcome fear or intensify benefit)
Here’s that headline in a quick example with overcoming fear in the parenthesis:
[hook] → A Proven Method [benefit] → To Gain 5 New Clients Per Week [overcome fear] → (never run out of clients again)
2. Your Actual Email Content (Needs To Pack A Punch)
As a rule of thumb, it’s good to always have one action you are directing readers per email.
This trains them to click or to take an action after reading your content.
Secondly, having one action is clear and concise. Any more than that will muddle everything and ruin conversions.
And on this note, do make sure to keep your emails short and sweet. Write short sentences.
Have enough space between most sentences.
Also, repeat the main call to action in a P.S. as people are known to skip entire emails to go straight for the P.S. The P.S. line is PRIME real estate in your emails. Use it wisely.
3. The Endless Debate: HTML or Text-Based?
As a consultant, you just need text-based emails. If ecommerce businesses can get away with successful email campaigns using text-only, so can consultants.
Human brains process images much faster than text, so on top of well-written email copy that makes people want to read, having an image that is relevant could help prove a point.
Your answers lie in testing your subscribers.
Based on a data-rich report from HubSpot and Litmus based on over 800 million sent emails, one conclusive result that came from this study was that less is more when it comes to email.
In people’s heads they say they like HTML emails more. Of course they do. Who doesn’t love engaging photos to zone out on at a moment’s notice?
But based on this report, the fact of the matter is this: HTML emails pale in comparison to good old-fashioned text based emails.
If you must include images, an image every 100 words is overdoing it. Try one per 400 words minimum. Images can be troublesome for email, but for some industries they’re needed. If you do choose to use images, always link the image to your site.
4. The Almighty CTA (Make It or Break It for You
All along this journey for your subscribers you will be guiding them down further into your funnel.
You do this by giving them incentives to download, things to read, places to click to and go see, etc.
The entire time you nurture your leads, you do it with calls to action (CTAs).
It’s smart to infuse your CTA copy with action words like “attend, download now, register, activate, try now” and more.
Equally important is to always provide a direction for your readers to take after reading your email. Always have a CTA.
Once you have the email structure down, throw in some personable copy with a clear CTA and you’re good to go.
Once built, these campaigns will let you sit back and smile as you watch all your initial hard work pay off in more ways than you ever had imagined.
Master Your Consulting Lead Nurture Campaigns
When creating a lead nurturing campaign, it is a smart idea to take a step back and look at the big picture.
There are multiple instances where you will have to cater your intro email differently in order to speak to this sect of your audience.
Salesforce marketing automation blog Pardot lists 11 different lead nurturing campaigns consultants have in their email marketing arsenal:
“Welcome campaign, Top of mind campaign, reengagement campaign, product-focused campaign, competitive drips, industry expertise drips, promotional drips, onboarding campaign, upsell drip, renewal campaign, sales enablement drip campaigns…”
Now that’s a lot of campaigns!
It’s worth noting WHY lead nurturing is so important.
Each of these serves as a lead nurturing tool catered towards a distinct person.
Whether that person just signed on, and you have to remind them why they did sign on, say hello, introduce yourself and say what’s to come (and then place them into a time or action activated drip sequence),
…or whether that person has shown enough interest for you to start force feeding him all your social proof and educational information you have…
…just as a good salesman does in person, you as a consultant need to talk to people differently based on their buying stage.
“Recent research has found that 50% of leads are qualified, but not ready to buy.
This reliable data about leads should tell you that it’s not all about generating leads, because anyone can do that. Rather, the real success lies in getting the best results out of them.”
So, half your subscribers are on the fence even though they’ve just signed up to your optin somewhere.
The question now becomes how to get the best results out of these new subscribers.
The 4 Stages Your Consulting Prospects Are In (Learn These To Bulletproof Your Campaigns)
When interviewed on the McMethod podcast, serial entrepreneur Damian Thompson describes how to close clients by creating empathy and targeting subscribers based on the following 4 buying stages.
We include for you ways to handle your prospects at each stage:
- Unaware: these people are unaware they have a problem or that there’s a solution to a problem they’re aware of. Create content that hit their pain. Poke them in the eye. Hit their emotions and let them know they have a problem.
- Information Gathering: these people know their problem and are investigating a possible solution. Make your content about what you do and how you do it.
- Comparison: these people are comparing you to your competitors. Use case studies and success stories in your content. Help them imagine themselves using your product. This content is usually more in depth and lengthier.
- Sale/Post-Sale Management: Remind them that they’ve made a good decision. Make sure they’re getting the most value out of their purchase, then help them help you get more customers.
Master These Campaigns To Scale Your Consulting Practice
Lead Nurture Campaigns
The Lead Nurture Campaign is your traditional drip style autoresponder (what most people use with their opt-ins). It builds relationship and trust.
When people first sign on, they’re more than likely not ready to buy, but you need to convert them as they’re potential buyers of your services.
At this point you do not want to close them. Instead, you want to demonstrate your expertise.
One way to nurture leads is with a 7 Day Mini-Course.
Following a new subscriber opt-in, a 5-7 day mini course email sequence will begin. This mini-course educates and provides valuable information about your company.
It’s used to position your authority in your profession.
Social Media Campaigns
Social media is a strong outlet for consultants to attract promising prospects. If your target market hangs out on Facebook, you can bet your house that you can land clients from Facebook.
And consultants do land clients on Facebook, every day, in droves.
There are so many ways to place a CTA in your social media pages, that it is wise to create separate funnels for each of these channels.
The more personal and specific you can be the better, and so creating separate lists according to how they opt in is essential.
With marketing automation, you can simply use tags instead of lists, which makes for a cleaner database and less “siloing” if your contacts.
Yes, that should also lead you to tailor emails according to social channel, if need be.
This is where Drip’s automatic tagging feature comes in handy…
LinkedIn offers a level of business connection more sophisticated than Facebook and the rest of the social media crew.
For this reason, LinkedIn needs to be capitalized on as a marketing consultant.
In order to generate loads of high quality leads on LinkedIn, take a look at Crazy Egg’s 6 steps to successful LinkedIn lead gen:
- Be present and active.
- Make sure that your company has a robust LinkedIn account.
- Join groups.
- Join conversations.
- Look for help.
- Pay for lead collection.
Your best salesmen are your happy clients.
Let them help you sell.
Ask them for a referral, but don’t ask poorly. Compliment them, and then give them 3 blank spaces asking, “Could you think of three companies that you would reach out and introduce me to?”
A simple Referral Campaign should consist of 3 steps:
- Towards the end of your engagement (or at any point; it’s up to you), send an email with a short survey (maximum 3 questions), asking about their experience with your consulting.
- If they fill it out, send an email thanking them and asking for referrals.
- If they don’t fill it out, send a reminder 4 days later, then 7 days and if still nothing, consider picking up the phone and calling them.
This might be controversial: Instead of asking for a referral, snag a testimonial.
The best testimonials are the ones you help your customers write.
Ask them probing questions, ask for specifics about certain parts of your delivery. Ask for results they’ve seen.
After they’ve answered your Q’s, put them together into a testimonial and ask them if you can use it on your site (free publicity for them; they’ll say yes).
Consultants: Profit From Your Email Marketing Now
Lead nurturing is not so much a science as it is a process.
There are things that work. Do them, and you will profit.
From different drip-style lead nurturing sequences, to lacing your social media pages with CTAs leading to enticing offers downloaded off landing pages, email marketing helps make these lead generation funnels possible.
Neil Patel writes:
“Companies who properly nurture their leads see a 450% increase in qualified prospects. And those who take the time to nurture and grow those customer relationships, see 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost.”
Imagine how much more each one of those won-over customers buys from you.
Not only are you getting far more clients and customers, but they’re better quality because of the time and effort you took to nurture them up to this point.
Let your leads know you care in each and every email marketing campaign you build, and you will have the option to pick only the best clients to work with if you want.