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Consultants: No One Reads Your Emails – Here’s How To Fix That

Comic about reading email

Your email newsletter is (probably) boring and deleted by most people.

Sorry, but as the professor of harsh reality, I’m obligated to tell you this.

As a consultant (or, really, anyone), you’re trying to use an email newsletter to communicate authority, expertise, and “giving value” to people.

But “giving value” is not the same as blasting irrelevant, dull, and trivial emails to a bunch of people.

The moment you write: “Sign up to receive our newsletter!” as your Call to Action (CTA) on your email forms, you’ve already lost. It’s game over.

No one, ever, in the history of the internet has ever wanted to “signup” to receive someone’s “newsletter”.

It’s never about you, but always about your subscribers.

And, boring emails aren’t a problem for your readers, because they click “delete” or “spam” and move on with their lives.

But, boring emails are a disaster for you.

Instead of sending emails that very few even open, and hardly anyone takes action from, how would you like transforming useless “email newsletters” into emails that people open, read, forward, and takes action on?

Yeah, I thoughts so – let’s get into it

The Key To Transforming Emails From Boring To Engaging

According to research by Smarter Tools, the average email account receives around 65 emails every day.

Much of this is unwanted and irrelevant, so you’ll need to stand out from the crowd if you don’t want your marketing messages to end up in the trash can.

Boring newsletters just won’t cut it if you want to establish expertise and authority in your niche, and convince anyone to do anything.

As a consultant, the last thing you want is to send content that does not build up your expertise, authority, and getting your subscribers to know, like, and trust you.

This is, of course, true for any business that sends emails, but consultants (of any kind) are perhaps more susceptible to just sending “email newsletters” without much value ancoring.

So, what’s the key that unlocks clicks? That convinces people to read instead of scan? That gets them to click the link that links to more info, scheduling a session, or buying your services?

Email with the help of marketing automation is all about providing your clients with highly targeted email campaigns at the right point in time.

But you’ll need to capture the attention of your clients quickly if you want to increase conversion rates and drive sales forward.

To make all that happen, you need to deploy strategies and tactics for:

  • Getting your emails opened.
  • Content that hooks and engages readers.
  • Turn interest into action (clicking, forwarding, etc).
  • Continuous improvement with testing.

So, consultants (and everyone else), here is your guide to writing emails that people read, to selling successfully, to measuring your success and to handling all this efficiently.

Increase Email Open Rates With Your Subject Line

Yes, yes, I know; everyone talks about the subject line, all the time.

And that’s because there’s only 1 job for your subject line: get someone to open your email.

You’re not trying to sell a service, dump information, or trying to be cute.

You only want someone to click to open your email, and entice them enough to read the first 1-2 sentences.

Did you know? According to HubSpot, ‘secrets’ is the most clicked-on word for lead nurturing when used in a subject line, while ‘jobs’ and ‘posts’ are also valuable terms for increasing open-rates.

It’s an old “trick”, but a teaser of a subject line can go a long way.

Readers are constantly filtering emails with the running thought, “What’s in it for me?”

Give them a short, catchy answer that promises them something of value and makes them curious.

What do your subscribers consider useful, interesting, relevant?

To find that out, you need to do your keyword research. The words you use on your website, based on research into the keywords that your visitors are likely to use to find your product or service, are the same ones you need to use in your emails, starting with the subject line if possible.

Keep your subject lines simple. What seems clever, cute and funny to you may not appeal to other. According to Marketing Sherpa, clarity wins out over creativity every time.

Don’t reinvent the perfect subject line. Check out what has worked for others. Subscribe to winning email lists, collect them in a swipe file. Then analyze why they work.

Remember when formatting your subject line:

  • Don’t worry too much about subject line length. You’ve probably heard 65 characters, or 75, or some other character length is the optimal number. Not so.
  • Find a list of power words, like this one at BoostBlogTraffic. And use them.
  • Use numbers in your subject line. They visually stop your reader’s eye, giving you a better chance of getting them focus on your email.

Once they’ve opened, it’s time for your content to step up.

Hooking And Engaging Readers With Your Email Content

If the job of the subject line is to get an open, then the job of the first sentence or image of your email is to get people to read the next one.

Your readers are not strange, mysterious creatures that require deep analysis to figure out.

They are like you, people with busy lives and far too many emails in their inbox.

You encourage them to keep reading that by giving them useful, relevant, interesting content.

How can you put that together?

You make use of AIDA:

  • Attention: Get their attention in the introduction, just a few words or at most two sentences. Ideally this happens in the subject line. But it’s easier to do a short introduction in the body of your email. As an example, you’re trying to get someone to buy an exercise and diet plan.
  • Interest: Make it interesting, intriguing and valuable as you get into your story. Talk about an overweight woman who needed to lose 30 lbs. before attending a wedding with all her gossipy relatives present.
  • Desire: This is where you make clear the point of your email. For example, tell readers that the woman lost the weight and got toned in time to dazzle her gossiping relatives at the wedding. What readers hear is that they too can be successful in the diet wars using this product.
  • Action: The Call To Action, or CTA, asking them to click through, sign up or buy. This leads directly from the desire part of your email.

Tell your subscribers a story. Make it personal, something that happened to you or to someone they can identify with.

Here is an excellent explanation of selling with stories from Copyblogger.com.

Remember, you are trying to build a relationship with your email list. So don’t be afraid to sound a personal note.

Develop a so-called “Persona” of your average reader. This includes age, gender, where she lives, how much she makes, what the pressing concerns of her daily life are. Then write directly to her.

If you direct emails to several segments of your list—and you should—then develop a persona for each segment. Write directly to her as a living, breathing person.

Write short emails. Even devoted followers will simply give up if it’s too long.

All of this takes practice, especially keeping it short. For ideas, read your swipe file and analyze the body of successful ones. Be sure to subscribe to emails that deal with your type of product to see what works in your field.

Remember this when formatting your email:

  • Use short paragraphs.
  • Use bold, italic, underline—but not too much.
  • Use bullet points.
  • Make your buttons and images big and clear.

Here are some other ideas for content for your emails:

Sending event-driven emails

Sending an email to your clients after an event has taken place can keep your marketing messages relevant, and are likely to increase conversion rates and open rates if you do it properly.

For consultants, this could be when someone has downloaded a whitepaper, signed up for and attended a webinar, booked a discovery session, completed a discovery session, and so on.

Event-driven transactional emails can also be automated when a client has completed their purchase and paid for their item. This gives your clients another reason to open your emails, and can increase brand loyalty.

You should send a follow-up email in the days after the sale, including information about other products that the client might be interested in (based on behavioral data generated from marketing automation software).

Reflect real-life events

Depending on your niche, you can also send emails that reflect real-world current events. For example, sending out special offers to coincide with big sporting events (the World Cup, Super Bowl etc.) can give your company a sales boost.

Marketing automation can then give you real-time insights into how the behavior of your clients change after a particular event.

For example, does client engagement increase after a positive outcome? These types of emails can be a good way to encourage your clients to spend more money with your business.

You’re looking to build rapport, so look to build on commonalities and also

Another tip is to shine the light on your own brand when sending out messages. Include a “behind the scenes” email, or introduce members of staff to your readers in a non intrusive, funny way in order to increase brand loyalty and client engagement.

Create share-worthy email content and signatures

Encourage your readers to share your emails with family, friends, or colleagues (including industry leaders in your niche) by creating email content that is share-worthy and incorporating a ‘share’ button in your messages.

Marketing automation software will allow you to include a unique URL (by inserting it dynamically into the body of the message) so that these clients can share content with others.

Find out what your potential and existing clients want to read about

Content will need to be geared to that particular market segment, so it’s no use sending out the same marketing to all of your clients. Find out what people want to read about, and then act accordingly.

For example, a certain section of your audience might only want to receive advice and tips about a topic in your niche. Others might want to receive special offers about the product you are offering.

Both of these emails can be beneficial in generating leads and increasing conversions, but they target two very different audiences. Lists are also a great way to keep your readers interested (for example, “The 10 Best…” or “7 Ways To…), and will allow you to present information in a fun and innovative way.

Invitational emails

Providing an individual with an opportunity to sign-up for a free or low-cost consulting session with you can be a win-win for you and the clients.

Signing up to a crash course, webinar, or special event will give your clients a preview of your product or service free of charge. For you, it’s a great way to convert these potential leads into paying clients.

According to Clickz, 70% of webinar attendance is driven by email marketing, and there are a number of techniques you can use in order to attract the public to an event or trial (with the end goal of gaining more paying clients).

Marketing automation software will let you track those who opened your email but showed no action; those who opened the email, registered for an event, but didn’t take any further action; and those who opened the email and continued to engage with further emails from your company (for example, different parts of your crash course or webinar).

It’s also important to time your invitational emails correctly in order to get the best possible response. Statistics from Experian suggest that sending an email during the hours of 8 PM to 12 AM saw higher open rates, transaction rates, and click rates.

Turning Interest Into Action And Engagement

The whole point of the email is to get your readers to do something. You’re a salesman with something to sell. Your readers understand this, but the sales dance must be done properly to succeed.

Sell when they are at the proper point in the sales cycle, not before.

If you try too early, they will trash your email and unsubscribe. You can keep track of where each person on your list is in the cycle by using email automation software.

If they are ready, then give them a reason to buy. Put the emphasis on solving a problem for them, on how your product benefits them.

Remember, it’s about your potential cliet, it’s not about you, your company, or the service.

Tell them what they will miss if they don’t buy your product. Present them with a deadline to get them to take action.

Remember to include these specifics in your CTA:

  • Give them a deadline.
  • Put multiple links throughout the email.
  • Work the call to action as clearly as possible. Don’t imply anything. Spell out exactly what you want them to do next.
  • Use a PS at the bottom to remind them of the deadline or what they will miss out on if they don’t do what you ask.

But, we all know that to really get to the juicy world of increasing conversions, you need to test.

Continuous Improvement And Increase Through Testing

The honest answer to any marketing question is always: test it.

You’ve gone to all this work crafting your subject lines, writing a compelling story and call to action, and formatting the email for readability.

Now you need to track how effective your efforts have been.

Analytics are as essential as writing great content and assembling the email for easy reading.

There’s no point to simply sending them out into the wide world web and hoping for the best.

You need to put in place a system that provides you with open rates, click rates and efficient A/B testing.

Test emails just like you do website copy, looking at:

  • Subject lines.
  • Design.
  • Structure.
  • Visual elements: their look and their placement.
  • Organization.
  • Bold headlines.
  • Buttons.

This takes work and organization, but the results are worth it.

Once you discover what is getting response, you can keep doing it. But you still need to keep testing.

Your subscribers and potential clients are an ever-changing group. You need to keep on top of the change to stay effective.

Consultants, Stop Sending Boring Emails And Send Quality, Engaging, And Action-Driven Emails

With email marketing, you usually only get one shot to attract a client and convince them to read through your message.

That’s why sending out relevant topics about a subject your readers are interested in can pay off in the long run.

In order to increase open rates and conversions, you’ll need to think outside the box and refrain from sending out boring newsletters.

Marketing automation can help you do this.

Inviting a client to attend a very special event, reflecting real-world events, including a strong subject line, and delivering event-driven emails can pay off in the long run, but it’s marketing automation software that completely automates this process, with little input from yourself.

The result? More effective email marketing that’s less of a chore.

The most efficient way to accomplish the ongoing analysis and testing is by using email automation software.

It allows you to quickly and repeatedly segment your list according to a wide range of customizable filters, to A/B test emails to each segment and then to analyze the data to monitor the rates for opens and click-throughs.

Automation also makes it incredibly easy to send a series of emails at pre-set times.

Depending on where your client is in the sales cycle, you can send a welcoming email, and then a set of follow-up’s.

This is what develops a personal relationship. It allows you to email relevant, useful content on a regular basis, depending on the persona of your client, if they have already bought from you or if are they still considering it.

Email marketing takes work. It means writing well, formatting so it’s easily read and analyzing the results. And then to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

It’s worth it. The personal relationship that emails let you develop with your subscribers results in loyalty and ongoing consulting engagements.

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