#41: Email Newsletters & How To Create ‘Em

Email newsletters can be DAUNTING! In this episode, Michelle shares:

– Her formula for effective, interesting and simple emails.
– Explains why the word “newsletter” should be tossed to the curb.
– What name to use on Facebook.
– How to make sure your group programs get lots of engagement.
…and more!

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This episode is sponsored by:
Master Class: How To Double Your Mailing List In the Next 90 Days

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Hey, there health coaches! Today I’m going to help you create and write your email newsletters because I hear coaches asking again and again, how do I write these darn things? They can freak you out, right? and guess what? It’s really not rocket science. You got this.

My name is Michelle Pfennighaus. I am a certified health coach, a graduate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and I have my own private practice as well as acting as a mentor for my fellow health coaches and I have been doing this for 10 years. If you’re watching as we live stream, go ahead and give a like if you know you need help with your email newsletters and tell me in the comments. I want to know what is the hardest part like where do you get hung up on this whole idea of sending out your monthly or your weekly email newsletter.

Now today’s topic comes from Lana. She asked the question, I want to add the opt in on my website for people who sign up or to sign up for a monthly newsletter. I’m just looking for some ideas of what platform you use to create your newsletter, what kind of info you put in it. Really just the basics of how to create it.

Lana I’m really glad that you asked this question because I don’t think I have addressed it enough and I’m really happy to do so today. So first and foremost, let’s talk about this. It’s not a newsletter. Oh, do I hate that term, ‘Newsletter.’ I want to take it and crumple it up and throw it out the window. I talk about this at length inside my course. Healthy profit university. So any of my students from age for you. You know what I’m about to say.

I’m going to summarize for you here. Basically, remember back in the day when like your dentist would send you a little newsletter in the mail. Yeah. It would arrive in your mailbox and it was like a miniature newspaper. It would say like the dental times, volume one, something like that. And there would be an article about dental health, maybe a picture of their new office or the new puppy that they just got. Who knows, and then a reminder to book your appointment and uh, I don’t know a word search, you know, this is how people were marketing small businesses back in the day and it’s cute, right? It was like their own little miniature newspaper, but these days that has moved into the virtual space, of course, just like everything else. And that idea of sending a newsletter has remained even though when people are checking their emails, think not only are they checking their email, but they’re probably checking it on their phone, you know, at a red light real quick.

They do not want to read article after article and talk about your new office and all this other jazz that would go inside of a newsletter. So in essence, the idea of a newsletter is like the exact opposite of what we want to do with our email marketing. A newsletter is basically saying, here’s news about me, here’s news about my business, and your reader does not care. No events for your reader does not really care about news about your business, your reader cares about themselves. That’s just how it goes. So when we send an email to our savvy, modern readers, first of all, we want it to be quick. Second of all, we want to provide value, we want to be useful, we want to be actionable. And thirdly, we want this person to feel like they got something from us. We want to add something to their life, right?

We’re not just spewing news at them about our business, so I’m going to take that word newsletter and just throw it to the curb. If you’re with me, go ahead and give it thumbs up. We are going to call it email marketing and the kind of emails that you send either a weekly or monthly, your regularly scheduled emails to your list. If I ever used the word newsletter, it’s just sort of as a nickname for that idea of sending a regular email with the intention of nurturing your current audience. Okay? So that’s really what the newsletter is all about. It’s about nurturing your list, building on that know, like and trust factor so that when you do have something to sell, you have this group of people who are just prime. They love hearing from you because you’re so useful. They can’t wait to buy something from you because Gosh, look at all the stuff you’ve given them for free.

Can’t even imagine how great you would be if they were actually hiring you. Okay, so when I sit down to write one of my emails to my list and I do send out my emails on a weekly basis, I recommend that you pick a schedule to send your emails. If it’s monthly, that’s great, but really pick a day. Maybe it goes out on the 15th of every month or maybe it’s kind of go out on, you know, the second Tuesday of the month at 10:00 in the morning, pick a day, pick a time and put it on your calendar. In fact, I recommend, if you’re like me, everything is in my google calendar, so I have the day and time that the email goes out, but then a day or two before that, I block off time for one, I’m actually going to write it and schedule it before I do anything.

I sit down to write my email. The first thing to consider is what is the business goal? So sometimes in my weekly emails, I am in fact selling something. Maybe I’m sending an email with an affiliate link or maybe I’m selling a, a free webinar. I want my audience to sign up for something. In other words, it’s an ask. I’m asking them to do something. Okay. Those should be rare compared to the second kind of a business goal that we’ll talk about next. But first my business goal might be something like that. I’m selling something. I’m asking them to sign up. Um, yeah, it’s an ask. The other kind of business goal could be all right, I’m writing this email not because I want them to do anything but because I want to build my… and this is often called the know, like, and trust factor.

So I want my audience to know me better. I want my audience to a like me more, maybe a tie. I feel like we’re disconnected. I want to connect more with them. I need them to trust me and see me as an expert in the health and wellness space. Right? So you have to know what the goal is. Don’t just send an email because somebody told you to send an email. You have to think, what do I need in my business right now? What am I trying to accomplish? And this is a piece of email marketing is going to help me accomplish that goal. It all starts to make sense, especially as we keep going along. So first, consider the goal, and we’re going to do some examples in just a moment. Secondly, once you know the business goal and what you’re trying to achieve, what is going to be your call to action?

Every email you send, with some rare exceptions, I will say just about every email you send should have a single call to action. It could be click here to read my blog post a click here to check out the interview that I did on such and such podcast last week. It could be hit, reply and answer this question. It could be go to my Facebook page and take this poll. It could be whatever you want. One time I sent an email out. What did I ask? Oh, I was talking about, well, we’ll get to this in a second, why I was talking about my new handbag, but it was talking about my new handbag and I said, if you want to see a picture of it, hit reply. My goal for that email was to build that like factor and my call to action was to have them just hit reply and ask for a picture and then I sent them a picture of the bag that I had just bought.

It all starts to make sense when you get, when you hear the full context of the email, but for example, hitting reply is just as good of a call to action as click here to read a blog post. So if you don’t have a blog, if you don’t have a recent podcast interview, you know there’s other ways to get engagement, but it’s really, really good practice to not just send an email and be like, here’s a recipe by. But to say, here’s a recipe and one of the ingredients in this recipe is coconut flour. And if you don’t know where to buy coconut flour, click here to see where I buy mine and that could be an affiliate link by the way you want your users, your readers, to get used to taking action in your emails, not just passively reading them, but taking action because that way when you are asking them to sign up for something or you’re asking them to buy something or whatever, they are more likely to do that because they are used to engaging with you.

So really super important that you know what the call to action is again, sometimes it’s going to be really obvious. Click here to sign up for my webinar and sometimes you’re going to have to dig a little bit. How can I get engagement with this email? Okay, so now you know your goal and then you know your call to action. Now you get to the writing part and I think that this is the hardest part for most people because you’re sitting down at this blank screen like, what the heck am I supposed to write about? And if you did, from your knowledge base, your emails could come out sounding like this: Dear so and so, did you know that whole grains are much preferable to refined grains. You should shop for whole grains in the bulk section. Beh, beh, beh, beh boring, right? So we don’t want to lay out a whole textbook inside of an email that can get really, really boring.

The other thing that you don’t want to do is sound, you know, marketing. You don’t want to be like, Hey, I just want to let you know, but this great event that I have coming up and it’s going to solve all your problems and click here and find out more because it sounds generic. You could be selling soap, so it’s really important to use your emails to communicate in your voice. It’s a great practice space actually. If you’ve ever thought about writing a book or maybe you want to write a blog, but you don’t know that you’re comfortable enough to be writing blog posts or articles or anything like that. Emails are a nice sandbox to test things out in. It’s your writing. It’s your voice. And you get to practice with that and then you send it and then people delete it and that’s the end of it.

It’s not like you published a whole book so you can really hone your voice by sending those emails on a regular basis. Anyway, all of this is to say, I start my emails nine times out of 10 with some sort of story or anecdote from my real life. Now listen, I do not have a particularly exciting life. I worked from home. I got two little kids. You know what I’m doing? I’m cooking dinner, I’m wiping butts. I don’t have these amazing stories to tell. So if you feel like you don’t have amazing stories to tell either, that’s okay. We’re not looking for like the time that you climbed Mount Everest. We’re just looking for like those everyday little stories. For example, I just wrote an email and some of you may actually get it, uh, in a couple of days. The email starts with my husband telling me that I look greasy.

So that’s kind of intriguing, right? Like, what do you mean greasy? That’s gross. That’s weird. Why would she be greasy? But it goes on to talk about natural skincare. Anyway, the point is that you want to think about something that’s going on in your life. Something interesting, slightly interesting, something unusual, and you want to start your email with that because people like to hear your voice. I’d like to hear about you. And they like to be entertained. So funny stories or all the better. They don’t want the same old, same old marketing, blah, blah, blah. Okay. So what are some things if I was going to write an email right now and you don’t even have to think about what the call to action is, you just have to think about the story and then I’ll tell you how we connect them. Maybe I would talk about how my husband consistently steals my iPhone earbuds. Then ones I have are from like nine years ago because he keeps stealing the new ones.

Maybe that’s how I started off my email. Something like that. Um, I usually just look around me or I just think about what’s going on in my life or um, you know, I got this Turkey sitting over here that I thought was defrosted, but it’s not actually defrosted two days before thanksgiving. So like that could do the side. These are relatable topics. So you can start your email with like one line, two lines, maybe a paragraph talking about this little anecdote in your life. That’s the top of your email. Then at the bottom is your call to action. I’m going to do this on the fly for you. I did not prepare this ahead of time. So let’s say I started with the, uh, the little anecdote behind my husband’s always stealing my headphones. And then my call to action is going to be click here to get my thanksgiving pumpkin pie recipe. My pumpkin pie recipe and it’s Paleo and it’s very healthy and all the rest. So then you have a middle section, you have a gap. So it starts off like, dear. So, and so I’ve been using the same iPhone earbuds for nine years. They’re afraid they’re torn, thank goodness they still work because my husband’s steals the new ones every time. Then down at the bottom, it’s click here for my pumpkin pie recipe. A last step is to figure out how you’re going to connect those two things. You got the reader’s interest. You are now relatable to them. You wrote something interesting and different than everything else they’re reading in their inbox. How do you get them to your call to action and you need to do it pretty quickly. I might say something like, but you know, what he is really good for is really good for building a fire.

So that’s going to be his job on thanksgiving. My job is making the Pumpkin Pie. Click here for the recipe. Boom. I just did that off the top of my head, which is just so much more interesting than getting the email that just says, hey, I’ve got a great pumpkin pie recipe for you, blah, blah blah. It’s healthy. You know what I’m saying? This is how you really build that, um, that know, like, and trust factor. People feel like they know you like a human being. Because you’re sharing something about yourself, so let’s go through it. First, your business goal, write it down. What do you want to achieve with this email? Second, your call to action. What are you going to ask the reader to do as a result of reading your email? Third, what story are you going to tell and about two lines, three lines at the top, and then finally, how will you connect the dots between your story and your call to action?

You get to be pretty creative here. It’s kind of fun. So I thought I would tell you about some of the other emails that I have sent recently because I want to drive home the point that you want to provide value to your audience. So I’m one email that I sent recently quite recently was about my thanksgiving recipes and any of you can do this. It was the most, you know, zero technology, nothing fancy email I think I’ve ever set. I literally just talked about how I have these recipes that I make every year and they’re winners and I’ve made them 100 times and if you want my go to recipes for Thanksgiving, I like, I wrote out my whole menu plan and um, you know, I’m like, if you want the recipes, just hit reply. And then my computer, I had all the recipes with the links.

They weren’t all mine. Some of them are mine from my website, some are from other places, but people had to reply to me. So they’re engaging with me. And then I sent them all the recipes. Tons of people replied to that email. Maybe you did. Here’s one. Um, what’s that other one I sent recently? Oh yes. It was a similar situation. I ask people to reply to me if they wanted to get a recipe for a tea that would help with a winter cough. Lots of responses to that one. And then before that I sent one out about bread or bread recipe you could click to get the bread recipe. Again, I’m sending people value. I’m offering them something that they can use in their life. Now I have one on my mind, a funny story, and I haven’t put all the pieces together yet, so if you have any ideas for me, story goes like this.

I ordered some like organic all natural pillows from that Avocado Company and they came and they smell like a barnyard, especially with my husband. My husband’s hot. You know men are always hot. I don’t know. I’m always freezing cold when my husband’s always very hot and something between his hot body and that pillow smelled or whole room up like a barn. Do you have any ideas of how I could turn that into an email? You just let me know. All right. I hope that’s helpful. That’s my mini tutorial on how to write your email marketing, so let’s move on. Oh, by the way, if you need to send, if you’re going to be sending emails, you obviously need a list, right? We kind of skipped over that part. You obviously need a list. Ideally it’s a list that’s full of your perfect perspective. Clients you are in luck because I have a free training that you can access right now.

It’s called how to double your mailing list in the next 90 days. If you need help cultivating this type of mailing list full of your target market, this really is your business’s greatest asset, so you can sign up for that free training at healthcoachpower.com/double. Alright, and finally, Lana, I wanted to let you know in terms of a platform to use, a lot of coaches are using Mailchimp because it is free. However, they don’t have a lot of support. You can’t call and talk to someone. You can’t chat with someone because you’re not paying for the service. So if you’re the type of person who really likes to have support or if you’re the person who knows, you’re going to be using email a lot and then you’re going to be doing a lot of online marketing. You may want something that has more features and for that I recommend Convertkit. And if you follow the link that I’m going to drop in the comments right here, you can get your first month of Convertkit for free. Okay, now we’re going to move on. I got a couple of other questions to cover.

Susan said, do you all have your own business pages also on Facebook? Also, some business owner friends do their names and the name of their business or what they do, I assume to promote their business every time they post. So for example, Jane Smith, parentheses, health coach, thoughts?

At one point I recall there were rules against this, Susan. Yes, I have my own business page and I would suggest that everybody has their own business page. Whether you use it a lot or you use it a little. Sometimes you need a business page. For example, if you were ever going to do a Facebook live, I would always recommend doing it from your business page where it will be public and available to anyone and everyone.

And the other thing is that if you’re ever going to run Facebook ads, maybe it’s in the future, maybe not right now, but you would need a Facebook fan page or business page in order to run the ads. So there’s good reasons to have one. I post to mine like once a day it actually happens automatically. It’s not something I put a whole lot of effort and time into because Facebook has pulled back on how much reach they give these pages unless you’re paying for ads. So yes, have one. As for what to call yourself on Facebook, you know, I’ve seen this too. It’s just a person who’s posting as an individual, you know, they’re not even doing anything business related, but their name comes up as that like Jane Smith, parentheses health coach. And I think it’s a little bit obnoxious. It’s kind of like walking into a party, you know, just in your neighborhood and wearing a shirt that says, I’m a health coach.

Like who would do that? I understand you’re trying to strike up a conversation. That’s the way you’re going to do it. There’s no real need to do it. It comes across a little bit desperate and if you look at really successful people in various fields, they’re not doing it, so it’s not super common and to me it has a tinge of amateur hour, so I would just use your name as your name. As for your business page, I use my name for that as well. You can use your name, you could use your name, comma, LLC, if that’s the name of your business or if you have a separate business name. Of course you could use that. Just my two cents.

Okay. Here’s a question from Jordan and she said I need some advice. I’m going to do some sort of challenge in January, but I have so many ideas that I need help focusing other than having paying one on one clients, this will be my first time charging for a challenge. I was thinking about having an opt in for a one month detox challenge, a group program or one on one. Am I thinking too big? What have some have you done in the past? I should also say that I’m pregnant and due at the end of March, so I’m a bit weary about offering bigger programs at the moment.

Yeah, Jordan, I would say you need to just take it down a few notches and keep it simple. I don’t know if this is your first baby or second baby or third baby, but what I do know about having babies and running a business is that it can be quite hard and you never know what’s going to happen towards the end of a pregnancy or as you near your due date. So, I like to leave things really loosey goosey. If I were you, I would tie up any one on one clients as soon as possible so you’re not dealing with any of those as you get closer to your due date and then anything that we offer in January I would keep it super, super simple so I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking here.

You’re mentioning a challenge and you’re mentioning charging for a challenge. People use words different ways, but typically when we are referring to a challenge, we’re talking about like a free five day challenge or a free three day or seven day challenge that we do as a list builder, so if you’re charging for it, then I would call it a group program, just a an online group program that people are going to sign up and pay for and then you mentioned the detox. I just think you need to decide what you’re trying to achieve. Are you trying to grow your list? Are you trying to make some money before the baby comes and then choose what you’re going to do accordingly, but just keep it really simple for yourself. You don’t want this to. You don’t want this to take over your life. You’ve got enough going on in the last trimester of your pregnancy. So good luck and thanks for asking and good luck again.

Okay, I’ve one more here and if anybody who’s here with me live has any questions, I may have time to take one or two right at the end. So go ahead and put those in the comment area.

Now Carly said I need some advice. My group program was great, but people really stopped engaging about three quarters of the way through and no one answered my last homework assignment post. How do I keep people more engaged throughout the month of Group coaching? I have them in a Facebook group and I was in there every day answering questions, prompting questions. I had live calls every week. My initial thought is that there wasn’t enough skin in the game, meaning price of the program. I’m not sure how I personally could show up more. What do you think? There is one word in what Carly said that sort of jumped off the screen and hit me in the face.

Can anybody guess what that word was? Alright, I’m going to tell you month. Carly, you ran a month long program. This is my experience. Anything over two weeks people cannot stay engaged. People really just fall off. Now there’s different kinds of group programs. You can run a group program that meets like once every other week for six months and I’m not really talking about those. I think what you were doing and the type of programs that I typically run is where like every day you’re communicating with the group, maybe it’s like a detox or there’s some, there’s following some protocol or whatever, and you’re wanting participation every day you’re sending out an email every day and the problem is that day, seven, day eight, day nine comes along and their interest starts to wane. Their initial enthusiasm just kind of dips a little bit and I always see drop off around that point.

You said about three quarters of the way through. I bet that there was a drop-off even about halfway through, or at least that’s been my experience. So what I would want to suggest to you, Carly, is make it shorter. Just make it shorter. I used to run a three week program and there was always a lot of drop-off at the end, like every single time, and yet I insisted on running this three week program. It was dumb because that if you are running a three week program and you lose half of your participants because they get distracted or whatever happens, that means you’re only going to get great testimonials from the people who made it to the end. The people who really lived the whole experience, the people who didn’t forget about you know you’re not going to hear from the other ones or they are going to feel like they failed.

It’s not their fault. Maybe something came up. I mean three weeks. There’s a lot of times something had happened with their kids. Somebody could get sick for whatever reason, they’re going to feel like they failed and you’re never going to hear from them again. Well, you might, but the point is, it’s the ones who finished that are going to give you those great testimonials and have the best experience and refer you to others. So if you can, if you’re doing it in four weeks, see if you can do it in two weeks. If you can do it in two weeks, see if you can do it in one week. I know it sounds crazy. I never thought that I could run my three week program at anything less than three weeks, but last year I tried doing it in one week and it was great. It was amazing. Everybody had the same experience, same types of testimonials, same great energy and the difference was that we ended on a high note instead of petering out and ending on kind of a kind of note, so I can’t stress to you enough how much shorter program might be the answer that you’re looking for.

Alright you guys, thank you so much for being here. Whether you’re watching live, catching the replay later or listening via podcast, you’re the best. I appreciate you and by the way, the podcast thing is smart because when you subscribe, you know that you’re never going to miss an episode. I do one of these every week and if you’ve been getting any value from the show or a lot of value from the show, please leave a written review on iTunes. That’ll show me some love for all of the free content that I put out there and it’s what I need to reach more coaches and keep doing this work, so I would appreciate that so very much. I want to wish you all a happy thanksgiving. If you’re here in the United States and I’ll be back next week.