Your newsletter is, presuming you are to be successful with your online marketing, going to be the cornerstone of your coaching practice.
Even in an age where the average working person gets upwards of 100 emails per day and is looking to delete first and ask questions later.
And there is a very specific reason why marketing to your newsletter is more effective than more traditional forms of direct marketing and advertising.
The banks who mail me literally hundreds of letters every year with credit card and refinancing offers are interrupting me.
The TV network who stop a program I’m enjoying to run adverts are interrupting me.
And the pop-up that blocks my screen just as I am reading something useful is interrupting me.
Not that I’m saying those things don’t work – of course they can, and do – just that they don’t work as well as they once did.
And even though email marketing may not work as effectively as it once did it still outperforms the above methods by, according to the reputable Copyblogger, an estimated 4,000%.
And it does so for one simple reason.
When somebody signs up for your newsletter they are giving you permission to contact them again, and again, and again.
I’m not against advertising in conjunction with list building – in fact, advertising can be a useful tool in building a list – but the list is paramount.
You cannot build up rapport and authority sending letters out to random people.
You cannot effectively build trust and authority with an advert.
And a pop-up won’t have people emailing you to thank you for some valuable advice.
Is Social Media Enough?
I have been asked many times if it’s possible to be successful as an online coach with a strong social media presence and without having a list.
The answer is, of course it’s possible.
Similarly, it’s possible to run the London marathon wearing an eight-foot-tall mock-up of Big Ben (yes, it’s been done), but it’s a lot harder.
Social media is important, but it is only one aspect of online marketing and it’s seldom enough on its own.
Imagine this scenario.
You start your coaching business and dive headlong into learning Facebook.
You work diligently and strategically and start to build a loyal Facebook following of people who are interested and engaged in what it is you have to offer.
Maybe you start a group as well as a page and that too gets traction. Consequently, your followers rise from hundreds to thousands and then into the tens of thousands.
All is great, right?
The problem is that you have just built your entire business on somebody else’s platform.
If Facebook radically changes its algorithm – you could be in trouble.
If Facebook starts charging – you could be in trouble.
If Facebook gets broken up by a new progressive President – you could be in trouble.
And of course, there are way more permutations than that.
It could be simply that people start leaving the platform in droves.
Think it can’t happen?
Ask Friends Reunited (if you’re old enough to remember them), MySpace, or Tumblr.
The history books are littered with companies that dominated a niche in the market and now are no more than fond memories.
Building A List
When you build a newsletter list it is you who dictates how successful, or otherwise, it is – you’re not a hostage to fortune and Facebook collapsing won’t have you heading off to Monster looking for a new job.
A newsletter takes time to build and it can be slow going to begin with – especially if you don’t expedite matters by implementing a guest posting strategy.
However, when you take the time and the trouble to send out high-quality useful information that benefits your readers you will be rewarded by their loyalty.
It’s not in the least bit unusual to have people contact me who have been on the Coach The Life Coach list three or four years.
With A Daring Adventure that can be a decade or more on occasions.
Thus, a newsletter list gives you the longevity that you can rarely achieve with social media, blogging or direct advertising.
Because of spammers and hard sales tactics employed by online marketers, people are more protective of their primary email address than ever before.
As such, when somebody signs up for your list they are effectively saying, ‘I trust you’.
The emphasis is then on you to not abuse that trust.
And you do that by going out of your way to help solve your subscribers problems.
You may be thinking, ‘But wait a minute Tim – if I solve their problems they won’t hire me’
That is a definite possibility – but the flip side is if it’s obvious you’re holding information back to use as an upsell then they won’t trust you and want to hire you.
I’m pretty sure that everything Seth Godin knows is in his blog posts and/or books, but I’d still hire him if I had the final resources.
Similarly, Tony Robbins puts all his material ‘out there’, but if you want to work with him it’s going to still cost you $1,000,000 – presuming he wants to work with you that is – so he hasn’t written himself out of business.
Don’t concern yourself with helping people too much and not getting paid.
The more people you help, the more people there are who will see you as an expert who they can trust.
And guess what?
People like to hire experts who they can trust.