Over the days, weeks, months, and years in your private practice, you're bound to interact with tens, hundreds, or thousands of people who are interested in working with you, but who may not be quite ready to jump in.
These folks are often interested in a lower commitment, risk-free, value-additive way to keep in touch, or, to gain more information over a longer period of time to inform their decision of whether to pay for what you're offering.
An email newsletter is exactly that. In this post, we will walk you through the advantages of starting and maintaining a newsletter and some best practices.
But, to get all these benefits, it is important to follow some key best practices:
When you try to speak to everyone, you speak to no one. This is a common paradox in marketing; when you try to speak to everyone, you may end up speaking in such general terms that clients don't see that you understand their unique experience.
If you have not done so yet, it is worth setting aside some time to identify your niche and your ideal client. We just put together a handy guide on how to niche that you can read here for help.
Your understanding of your ideal client should guide every aspect of your newsletter. Do your clients like to read long, personalized letters or do they prefer “snackable” short videos with tips? Do they think GIFs are fun or unprofessional? Does more or less formal language resonate with them? Everything you know about your ideal client should guide how you speak and what you include in your newsletter.
Remember: we have about 10 seconds of someone's attention for them to decide whether or not they'll keep reading, or keep scrolling. Capture attention quickly by sharing your resource(s) as concisely as possible.
It can also be helpful to break up large chunks of text with photos, videos, GIFs, or even white space. Look at a few of the newsletters you really admire and see how they use other elements to make their text easier to read. You can adapt some of the strategies that work well for your favorite newsletters to your own.
Share a tool that prospective clients and colleagues can use right away to feel some relief or change.
Share a resource or a recommendation that you found interesting or helpful recently.
Offer a discount code to a partner service or product.
Something like one of the options above will provide value in and of itself, regardless of whether the person reading formally books an appointment with you.
Sharing resources that truly help your prospective clients--and this may sound familiar--builds trust (the most important) and shares your foundational value: helping people grow.
It's so tempting to share your latest training, your most recent certification, or where you were recently published. You can share these things at the footer of your newsletter, on your LinkedIn, or in a section of your website.
However, to build trust, first and foremost, you want to lead with information that hears and supports your prospective client, not information that is primarily about you.
We know this sounds counterintuitive when you are hoping to educate about who you are and what you do. Again: you can reference your credentials and encourage people to book with you at the footer of your message, but at onset, start with empathy and start with adding value.
Now, with all of this in mind, when a prospective client fills out a form on your site and they are a good fit for you and your practice based on the issue areas they'd like to work through, their identity preferences in a provider, or their style requests--they are a great person to follow up with using your newsletter.
Side note: make sure that there is a link to unsubscribe in every email you send prospective clients; you want people who aren’t interested to opt out and the CAN-SPAM act that governs commercial email compliance requires it.
You can offer an option to join your newsletter in your inquiry form as a regular way to check-in, say hello, and share value and resources. Periodically, you can also encourage the prospective clients on your newsletter list to book their first call or session to learn more about how they can apply the general tools and perspective you're sharing to their specific life and circumstances.
Match with the *right* clients for your practice while growing your professional community.
Alyssa Petersel, Co-Founder and CEO of My Wellbeing and author of Somehow I Am Different, graduated from Northwestern University in 2013 with dual BA degrees in psychology and international studies, graduated summa cum laude from New York University in May 2017 with her Master's in Social Work, and graduated from The Writer's Institute non-fiction program at CUNY Graduate Center in May 2017. A native New Yorker, Alyssa now lives in Brooklyn and enjoys running, coffee, community, and social justice.