#96: Starting Your Email List

Starting an email list is one of the first things every health coach needs to do – before a website, before a logo and certainly before trying to launch a program. In this episode, Michelle answers questions about where those first mailing list members come from, the right way to add new people to your list and what on earth to send them once they are there.

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Hello there, health coaches. I hope you're having a fabulous day. I am just back from Walt Disney world with my two boys. Oh my God, that was a very intense week. So I'm delighted to be back and finally get some sleep and I'm delighted at the relatively warm weather back home in New York. Yay! But the really, really exciting thing that's happening right now is that all of my new Healthy Profit University Fast Track members are getting started with the program. And can you guess what they're all working on? One of the most important things that you have to do when you're getting your business off the ground. Hint, hint, hint. Yeah. Most of them are starting their email list. Meanwhile, I'm noticing the inside of our health coach power community Facebook group, everybody's been asking about email lists and email newsletters and this, that, and the other thing as it relates to building an email list.

So we're going to talk today about how to get started because it just seems timely and important and relevant for everybody. But before we dive in, I'm going to give a shout out to Mama's Pearl. So Mama's Pearl. If you're out there, please accept a great big bear hug from me because I saw your review on iTunes and I appreciate it so very much. I'm going to read it for everyone. Mama's Pearl said, "This is real. This is a great podcast. It's so real and informative. I love it. Thank you so much. It gives me straight answers without all the fluff. You get right to the point and give insightful and honest answers. This is great. So glad I found you."

Mama's Pearl. So glad that you found us and yes, this is a fluff free zone. I appreciate you for being here and for taking a couple of minutes to write a review. That is so, so very awesome of you and we want to say thanks. So, could you do me a favor, send your mailing address to support@healthcoachpower.com and just reference episode number 96 and we have a little thank you gift to send your way and for everybody listening.

Hey, I put out free content every single week here on the show and I'm so insanely grateful that over 100 of you have taken the time to leave a rating and or written review. The easiest way to do this is if you go to your Apple podcast app on your phone, scroll down to ratings and reviews and go to see all because from there you will see the option to write a review and I just want to say thank you in advance. I also wanted to let you know just quickly before we get into the meat of today's episode that this episode is brought to you by my free on demand training.

It's called how to plan your health coaching business so you can earn a full time salary. Sound pretty good, right? It's all about the plan and you can register for that for free at healthcoachpower.com/earn E. A. R. N. all right, so let's get into today's questions. I have some already in the can. I always do, but if you're here with me live and I know some of you are, go ahead and ask anything that you'd like me to address today and I will try to answer all of our questions before the half hour is up.

So, this first one comes from Anastasia. Anastasia said, "Question regarding mailing list etiquette. Let's say I've met someone in person, we've chatted and they're interested in health and I sent them my favorite recipes and their doctor told them to eat organ meats. Is it appropriate to add them to my mailing list or is this still over assuming and they should explicitly take action to be on my mailing list?"

Bingo Anastasia, they need to explicitly take action for you to put them on your mailing list. Even though you've had a conversation, even though you've shared a resource with them, they could think you are the best thing since sliced bread, but until they actually put themselves on your mailing list, that's not a kosher thing to do. What I will say, just like a little caveat to that is when we are starting our mailing lists, like from scratch, we all start with who we already know. So like your mom, your sister, your best friend, you know, people who are in your very close circle. I feel it's appropriate to begin a mailing list with these people, people who are already somebody that you would email and you have a relationship with of that, of that sort, if that makes sense. Still a person that you have a conversation with, even if you shared a recipe with them, would not make the cut even for your very first shot at building your email list.

So we all kind of start with just who we know and who we have. But from there on out, anybody who joins your list has to take explicit action. So Anastasia, what I would probably do with this person is just ask, ask, would you like me to put you on my mailing list and you will receive and let them know what they're going to receive. And we'll talk more about that as we move along. In today's episode, but thank you for asking that question. I think that comes up a lot and now more than ever, the rules have become tighter and tighter around how and when it is appropriate to add somebody to your mailing list. So always make sure that you get their explicit permission.

Okay, next comes from TJ and TJ said, "First of all, "he said, "I am so grateful to have found the podcast and now this group, I've listened to every single episode in the past month that I'm now on withdrawal, but he says, I'm still super foggy on where the clientele reach is to begin a mailing list."

So TJ, I hope I'm interpreting this question correctly. What I think you're probably saying is, okay, great, I'm ready to start my mailing list. How do I find people to put on my mailing list? Right? That's a good question. It seems so obvious, right? Like, well, where are these people going to come from? We can't just pluck them off the trees, they got to come from somewhere. So and foremost, we have to know who we are targeting, right? Who is your target market? What kind of people do you want to find in the first place? And so then you kind of have two options. The first and what I think your first step should be is to go where these people are. You need to go find them. You need to figure out where they hang out, what they're already doing, and then you need to show up there in various ways.

So, one example we have going where they are would be hosting a workshop or hosting an event or participating in an event where your target market is already hanging out. And I'll give you some examples. Let's say that your targeting men who do CrossFit, great. You're going to connect with CrossFit gems and hold workshops in their space. You are going to go to them. Makes sense. Let's say you're going to be targeting moms of toddlers. Okay, great. So moms of toddlers often have these like mommy group meetings. So you're going to want to find those meetings or those events where these moms are already participating and you're going to want to be there. You're going to want to be a presenter at the event, you're going to have a table at that event or you're going to be somehow involved in that event.

You're going where they are. Okay? So that's sort of the first way to do it in person workshops, in person events. The other way to go where these people already are. When you're talking about online spaces. So instead of like an in person workshop at the CrossFit gym, you might find the Facebook group for you know, CrossFitters in your area or CrossFitters, wherever, and participate in these Facebook groups in such a way that again, you're going where they are. You're going and finding them. Another way to do that would be using Instagram hashtags. This is a little tricky, but if follow me here, let's say again, you're targeting men who do CrossFit. Maybe they're hash tagging themselves as, I don't know what the hashtag would be, whatever CrossFit workout or something like that. Or maybe they are also when they go on Instagram, they're following those hashtags, right?

You would want to be following those hashtags and looking for your men there. So these are ways that you can go online and find your people. You could also bear with me, TJ, there are just so many ideas here, but another way that you could do it is find a publication and this could be a print publication or it could be an online publication and get yourself in there as a contributor. It's not that hard. You'd be surprised to write a column for the local paper or you know, find finding a blog and being a guest contributor or something like that. You can be writing articles where your target market is already going, where they're already consuming content. Another way to do that different medium is to get yourself booked as a podcast guest. Look for shows again at your market is already listening to, those are the shows that you would want to be on.

So, those all fall into the category of go to them, go where they are. First of all, who are they? Second of all, go there. Okay. And then the other way to do it, and this is a little bit of a longer path, it's not usually my first recommendation, but it's something to think about because it's definitely works, is to get them to come to you. This is where you build a platform around a particular type of person who's trying to solve a particular type of problem, right? So, you want to create a platform, create a community, create content that's going to start bringing the right people to you.

So I'll give you an example of one of our healthy profit university members created a Facebook group recently all around her target market and it's so specific, it's so niche and it's, it's something that she knows very, very well that within like days, weeks, you know she's getting members joining spontaneously and you can't do that if you start a Facebook group that's just like healthy living too broad. But if you really narrow in on a specific target market, this can work. Now she's got this booming Facebook group and from there they are applying to work with her. So you can create the platform and have people kind of come your way. I suggest doing a bit of both going where they are and having them come to you. But if I was going to start somewhere, I'd start with those workshops. Hope that's helpful.

Here's a question from Danielle. She said, "I'm starting Hashimoto's program but only have a few friends with Hashimoto's. So, I don't know how to start my list. I don't want to add folks who don't have Hashimoto's, do I?"

Okay. So this is kind of the same question that I just answered. Sorry, I'm just reading this on the fly. So I don't know. I don't have these always prepared in advance, but it's the same idea, Danielle. You're going to want to go where people go when they have Hashimoto's. So it could be the endocrinologist, it could be Facebook groups aimed at this sort of woman. It could be events, related events, online events. I mean there's a lot going on in the thyroid space right now. So I would definitely look for those Instagram hashtags. I would definitely look for those Facebook groups.

I would definitely go also where you think people with Hashimoto's might go kind of intuitively right there. They're not feeling great. Maybe they're not going to CrossFit, but maybe they are going to yoga, right? So you could potentially hold workshops and find these people in a yoga space. It's just an example, but you can sort of broaden your thinking to think, okay, a woman like this, what is she probably doing? Where is she probably hanging out? And if you go there and offer something, likelihood is that you're going to find her. Okay. That that is a little less targeted than going like to the Hashimoto's like Facebook groups, but absolutely can work. So all of those are, I'm available to you as well as what I already talked about, articles, podcasts, et cetera, et cetera. Good question though. Okay. Let's see. What do I have next here?

Aha, this is a very good one. This one came from Anna and Anna said, "All right, coaches are newsletters dead? I hear conflicting info and I want to know your best ideas for bringing monthly value to your email list if not a newsletter. What?"

So, Anna, first of all I want to refer you and anyone else who's wondering about this to episode number 14 of the podcast. That one is called the myth of the email newsletter because I would say yes, the email newsletter is dead. The newsletter began as the online version of like that dumb thing that your dentist would send in the mail that kind of looked like a fake newspaper. I don't know. My dentist did this. I always think about that example, but we used to get these in the mailbox, right? It would be like, I don't know you know, double sided piece of paper tri-fold, you know, you open it up, has some sort of header that kind of pretended to be a newspaper and then it kind of gave you information about the business.

Oh look, we got a new office space. Oh look the, about the bird in our office or we have appointments available. Like that's a newsletter and that is so old school. It's so funny cause then when everything moved online, people took that format and tried to just put it online. Okay, but who is sitting there and like reading lengthy stuff in their inbox? They're really not. They're usually thumbing through their inbox like when they're standing in line at Starbucks, so we want our emails to be concise. We want them to have one main call to action, one main topic and not like 14 different pieces of news within one email because then what happens is people just go, Ugh, this is too much delete. Instead I'm a big fan of having an email that's very direct. It's has, like I said, one call to action one topic and give somebody a way to take action that they are not confused about and they can consume it again in a very, in a very quick read.

I keep doing this with my thumb because this is just somebody scrolling on their phone kind of half looking at it, kind of half doing something else. So we have to write emails differently based on how the content is being consumed. It's very different than when something was coming in the mail and maybe someone is opening up all their mail and going through it and maybe 20 years ago someone was actually reading a newsletter. Okay, so the email newsletter is dead, but email marketing is not dead at all. Email marketing is very, very effective. And if you're suggesting here, here, Anna, that you would be sending your email to your list monthly, which is fine. You might also send every other week, or I send mine every week. The way to bring value is to bring value, content, something that is useful, something that is applicable to their lives.

It doesn't even have to be content or like a recipe, that kind of thing. It could just be that you write something that is hilarious. I get emails from people who I have no intention maybe I've ever buying anything from, but then they send me the funniest emails and they make me laugh and then I want to hear from them again. And then I have eventually bought something from them. Personality goes a long, long way when you think of value. So, there's so many different ways to deliver that value, but this really for me comes back to creating regular content. And the way that I structure this in my business is that every week I create content. I'm creating content right now. Okay, we are creating content once a week and then I use that content as the basis for what I'm going to send to my email list for what I'm going to post a social media for, what I'm going to post to YouTube or wherever we distribute that piece of content across all mediums.

So rather than just thinking about like, Oh, you know, I have to write an email from scratch, I need a topic for my email. I would encourage you to think about creating regular content on whatever platform feels best for you, whether it's a blog or it's a video or it's a Facebook video or a Facebook post or Instagram thing, whatever it is, some piece of original content monthly or weekly or whatever your schedule is going to be. And then just have your email reflect that, tell your list about it, share something personal with your list. And why you created this content, whatever it is, and share it with them. And that is for me the most effective way to use my email list without creating like so much extra work for myself. I hope that's helpful. And that kind of relates to the question that I have here from Esther.

Esther says, “Would you mind sharing how often you post your content? Like what's your schedule blog once a week, email every month, et cetera?”

So, like I just mentioned, when you're first starting out, it's hard. I like it. It just feels really, everything feels hard when it's new. So I usually recommend once a month for anybody who's new to the scene. Right. And then you can work your way up. Like I said, now I do once a week for all of my communications. So I would, if I'm, if I'm going to be in a once a month schedule, what that would mean is that once a month, Esther, there's a new blog, new blog post, just one. And once a month there's an email to the list that spawns from that blog post. Right? So you're not creating two different things. You don't have two different schedules going on.

It's just like there's content that I create on a regular basis and then I sort of blast it out to my audience in every way possible, every way known to man. And if you're only sending an email once a month, what I would probably do is send it out to my list. You know, right away the contents fresh, it's new, it's on the blog or whatever. If you have a podcast, it's a new podcast episode, send that out to the list, your list and then two weeks later, because you know there's a whole month in between that and your next email I would resend it to unopens and that's a function that you can use inside of any of the email services out there. Resend to unopens cause you know how it goes. People get busy, they just delete, delete, delete, delete. That didn't even open the emails cause they're just trying to clear out their inbox. You know, we all do it. That doesn't mean anything personal doesn't mean they didn't want to look at it. They just some time that day. So that's one way to just get more out of your content is put it in front of them again. A few days or a few weeks later. Okay. So I hope that is helpful for you. Let's see what other questions I have here.

I have one that I picked up out of our Facebook group that came from Anne and Anne says, "Has anyone had a client who is on so many supplements that at times, I'm not sure where to start with her? The supplements are adding too many variables to the mix."

I thought this was an interesting question and because first of all it speaks to a client who's already in some fashion at least trying, like involved with their health. They're obviously know about supplements, they're interested in the supplements and yeah, it's usually the other way around, right? Where their clients don't know anything. And then we were trying to like educate them on, on how to take care of themselves. So this is sort of the opposite problem. It could be something else too. It could be like a client who thinks they know everything about exercise.

But what you see from where you sit is like that might not be the right exercise for you. It's really, really important that we let the clients lead the dance. So my question would be is she asking you for help with the supplements? Or she asks, is she even like putting this on the table or are you putting this on the table? Cause you may be right in the grand scheme of things, but it's really not our place as coaches to tell someone to start or stop. There are supplements. It's kind of like a no fly zone. So if I were to, I'm actually, this happens all the time. Clients will like write this like list of all these different supplements that they're taking. And sometimes I'm like, what the heck is that? So, the best thing you could do is just have this conversation with her.

This is what I do. My clients, I'll say, Oh well you know, tell me about such and such supplement that you're taking or tell me about this probiotic. How was that working for you? Well, what have you noticed since you started taking it? And they'll usually say something like, I don't know, which I think is so funny and it's, it's true. A lot of times we start taking a supplement. We have no idea what it's doing for us. So occasionally they will be able to tell me, Oh yes, I felt much better once I started this. Cool. But usually they say, I don't know. And then I don't have to say anything. They usually start thinking all on their own. I wonder if I need to be taking this. Hmm. And they might initiate that conversation. Does that make sense? I think that's a much safer way to go about it then for you to just go, Hmm, I think you're taking too many supplements and I would stop X, Y, Z.

Most of my clients are smart enough, they put the pieces together, especially if then working together, we're making other changes. Sometimes I might like casually add like it's a lot of variables, you know, it'll be, it'll be hard to know what's working when there are so many variables. And almost always they will say, well gosh, I'm taking these five things, these supplements costs a million dollars. Maybe I will nix X, Y, and Z and then see how it goes. Or I will say, that's a great idea. Talk to your doctor. It's always about talk to your doctor whenever it comes to people starting, stopping, changing doses, anything like that. But please for the love of God, let your client lead the dance. Do not start prescribing or taking things away on your own. That's not what we want to be doing as coaches.

Okay. Question, question here. This one comes from; I hope I'm pronouncing your name correctly. Is it Katya? Katya. Okay. Hopefully I got that right and now we're going on a bit of a tangent. Talking about something slightly different. I love these Q and A's because the questions just kind of come in and out of left field and I'm just like bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. It's a guy says, "Do you have your pricing on your website or not and what are your reasons?"

This is funny because this question comes up a lot and it usually comes with a lot of really strong opinions. Like I can almost guarantee you that you know, someone is going to answer this question going like, well I would never work with a practitioner who didn't put their prices on their website or someone else going gonna you know all these really strong opinions and really your opinion about what you think is the right thing to do doesn't matter that much.

The only thing that matters is are you closing the deal with your clients? Are you signing clients? So if you have your price is listed on your website and you have all the clients you need, great. Keep those prices there. It is working for you. And at the opposite is true. And you know, like myself, I have about a 90% I don't know, closing rate. Whenever I'm in a consultation with a new client who has not heard my prices or seeing my prices before, that's a really great closing, right? I'm not going to change a thing. So I'm going to ask you to step outside yourself. And it's not really about like what you perceive to be the right thing to do or what you think you would or pay for cause you don't know. It has a lot to do with what the service is and who the person is and what your problem is.

Hey, if I have like a really horrible problem that I'm trying to solve and you're willing to get on the phone and talk to me about it, I might not be sure I can afford your services or even know what you offer, but I'm going to be so grateful to like have that Avenue and somebody who's going to listen and talk it out with me. I'm going to take you up on the phone call. Right? And like yes, it might mean at the end of the day that I can't afford that person services. But again, if it is a big enough problem and I find somebody who can solve that problem for me, really think about that. Think about your own life doesn't have to be health-related. What is like a big problem that you are dealing with right now? And if someone could just fix it for you, most people will come up with the money.

People who say, I can't afford it. People who say I would never pay that. They're just, they're not, it's not a big enough problem for them. And that's what it really is. It comes down to, so personally, Katya, I do not prefer put pricing on my website, mostly because I am setting the stage for this sort of idea. The idea being it is a privilege to work with me. Not everybody does. I do not work with any, you know, Tom, Dick or Harry that walks through the door, only work with certain people who I feel connected to, who I know I can help and I only make offers to those people. Somebody else comes in, they're not a good fit, whatever, they're just a tire kicker. I'm not even going to make them the offer. I'm not like Walmart, I'm not selling chotchkies to anybody who walks through the door.

Right. Working one on one is sort of an exclusive VIP situation and that, so that's how I sort of frame, I don't necessarily use those words, but anyone who wants to work with me has to jump through a few hoops. They have to complete an application, they have to schedule a phone call. If they're willing to do those things, it's very likely they're going to be interested in paying whatever I'm asking for. And for, they're not willing to go through those hoops. We don't even have to get on the phone. It doesn't matter, cause it's probably just not a good fit. They don't need my help that badly. So anyway, long way of saying, do what's working for you. But no, I do not put pricing on my website.

Bruce is saying, "Hi Michelle. I'm finally getting started with HPU. I enrolled, but I don't know what to do first. Where do I begin?"
Oh my goodness. So for those of you listening who don't know what HPU is, it's Healthy Profit University. That's what I've mentioned earlier in the episode. We have a whole group that is getting started right now. And Bruce, you are going to want to log into the member portal and go to the thing that says start here or do this first. But thanks for showing up for the Q and a today.

And Diana saying, "Michelle, your longer hair is gorgeous." Thank you Diana. I know it just keeps growing and growing. That's what happens when you eat healthy food guys. And she says, thank you for this encouragement. You are so very welcome everybody, and thank you for joining me today. I will be back next week. So keep asking great questions inside our Facebook group and I will keep answering them. I'll see you then. Take care.