In this introductory lesson, we discuss email’s continued dominance when it comes to acquiring new clients, review how things have both evolved and remained the same over the last 20 years, and identify the “6A” framework for effective email marketing.
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Lesson 1: Get More Clients with Smarter Email Marketing
Voiceover: Welcome to Get More Clients With Smarter Email Marketing. A free audio course presented by Unemployable, with Brian Clark. For the full experience, head over to Unemployable.com, and sign up for the Unemployable email newsletter, the week’s top resources for independent business people, personally handcrafted by serial entrepreneur and content marketing pioneer, Brian Clark. That’s Unemployable.com.
Brian Clark: Hey there everyone, and welcome to Lesson One of Get More Clients With Smarter Email Marketing, an audio course that is brought to you by Unemployable.com. I’m your host, Brian Clark. I’m the Founder and CEO or Rainmaker Digital. Many of you know me as the Founder of Copyblogger. We’re also the company behind the Rainmaker Platform, StudioPress, Digital Commerce Institute , and lots of other great stuff.
I do need to tell you, real quick, that this special audio course is brought to you by the Rainmaker Platform. If you’re looking for a way to build a powerful website, do sophisticated email marketing that we’re covering in this course, and tying it all together with marketing automation, then you really need to head over to RainmakerPlatform.com. Check it out, take the free trial, and see if it works for you.
Now, I do want to make clear that this course is no way dependent on you using the Rainmaker Platform. We just think you’ll find that it is the easiest, most powerful, most cost effective way to employ an integrated and complete online marketing solution and strategy with email at the center. Again, if you want to check it out, RainmakerPlatform.com.
The Prehistoric Days of the Internet
Let me give you a little bit of background, because I have been doing email marketing for a long time. In fact, let’s go back to the prehistoric days of the internet, 1998. That’s when I first got started, founded my first company, published my first website.
That website, of course, was really a mechanism for getting people on an email list. Back at that time, before blogs broke out, people published content in ezines, which are really just email newsletters, and naturally, those are still around to this day. In fact, there are several venture capital backed email businesses that are sprouting up everywhere. Email is still that relevant and still that powerful, as we’ll explore a little bit in this introductory lesson.
That first business that I founded was completely built around ezines, around content published in email newsletter format. You may be thinking, if you’re familiar with my story, “Brian, isn’t that the one business out of the nine you’ve started, that failed?” Indeed it was.
Primarily, that’s because I was under the misconception, like a lot of people at the time, that the only way to make money from content was to sell advertising. It turned out that that’s a very offline concept that hasn’t worked as well as people would like in the online space. We all know the struggles that publishers have with banner ads and other forms of advertising, such as that, but it’s okay, because in 1999, I read a book called, Permission Marketing, by Seth Godin, and I really came to understand how the internet was different than offline, but also how it was the same. What was more analogous, it was more of a direct marketing medium. Not in the junk mail sense, but in the sense that you could establish a direct relationship without any third-party, any intermediary with your prospects, and then turn them into customers and clients.
At that point, I figured out that the only thing I really had to sell was my services. I was a licensed attorney, I was not incredibly fond of practicing law, but I was fond of eating. At that point, with the first business not really bringing in any money, I published another email newsletter, this one about legal issues related to the internet. Now, I was only a fourth year attorney, but a lot of the more senior attorneys, the ones who developed the business, the rainmakers, they didn’t know anything about the internet, and I was neck deep in it. Learning by trial and error, at that point, because there weren’t blogs, and conferences, and courses, and all of that kind of thing to tell you what to do. You had to figure it out on your own.
Anyway, I started sharing what I knew by email, and it was amazing. I started getting people wanting to hire me and pay me lots of money. In fact, I got so many potential legal clients that I was able to turn away the business that didn’t seem as enticing, or as lucrative, or interesting, frankly, and only focus on the best clients. I ended up working with a couple of lucrative clients on retainer. Now, this is an important lesson, in itself. For me, it was easy to work that exclusivity magic, because I honestly did not want to build a law firm. I did not want to practice law any more than I had to. I accidentally learned part of what makes for a service provider that has a great business and a great roster of clients, and that is turning away the least desirable clients and working with the best.
Now, you have that luxury when you’re like me, and you’re not trying to take too many clients or when you have so many prospects coming in the door, that you’re able to be selective. That’s the goal we’re trying to achieve here. After that initial success, I think that’s when I knew I was an entrepreneur. The fact that I could develop business by simply writing and publishing it in email form, on the internet, it was revolutionary to me. I set my sights, at that point, on doing something that involved not law, and not just selling my time. A more entrepreneurial endeavor, where I was able to leverage my marketing expertise and get other people, form an organization, and go from there.
I decided that the real estate industry was the way to go. In 2001, I set up my first real estate brokerage and it was, essentially, nothing more than websites. There was no real, physical location. There were no ads on bus benches. There was none of the typical realtor marketing stuff, because, frankly, that was distasteful to me, number one.
Number two, what I knew about online marketing and what I knew that the competition didn’t know, made it like shooting fish in a barrel from a marketing standpoint. I set this up and it was amazing because I was so motivated to succeed, you might say that I over-delivered with what I did and from a content marketing standpoint, years before we called it content marketing, but that’s the theme that I think is important for you to understand.
I was told by people, “Oh, you’re going to try to be a broker. Wow, it’s going to take you four years to make a living.” I was making six figure, ten grand a month, in four months. It’s the marketing, it literally is. That’s the key to everything. The point being that, over-delivering is your goal. Back when I did real estate, I shifted from a simple newsletter concept to automated dripped out courses, based on what type of home buyer that you were. This is an early form of what we call segmentation. We’ll get into more sophisticated instances of that, but that’s, in essence, the heart of it. It’s, “Who are you talking to? What are their unique concerns?” And give them only that information, so it’s a more personal experience than a one size fits all blast model, if you will.
I do want to stress this over-delivering thing, because the things I did in 2001 to 2005, are still fundamentally viable today, and yet it’s all about how you execute on this strategy that I’m going to share with you. The good news is, compared to the duck tape approach I had to take back then, the technology is amazing and you can do incredible things. Just keep that in mind. Even when I started Copyblogger, I took the same approach of over-delivering before I ever asked anyone for any money. That allowed Copyblogger to grow very quickly, relative to other people in the field at that time. I think it’s one of the secrets to my success, which is, “Give more than people are expecting in a unique way.” We’ll get into that in more detail.
Marketing Doesn’t Need to be a Struggle
What I’m trying to do here is solve your marketing problem. For a lot of people, marketing is the struggle. You’re always worried if you’re going to have enough business in the next month. You’re hunting and gathering, instead of having a steady flow of prospects coming in. To the point where, as I said, you get to pick and choose whom you want to work with and on what financial terms. That really is the amazing thing about a good service business. What you’re going to do is create a lead machine that keeps you busy at all times. You’re never worried about where the clients are coming from. The only thing I would warn, at this point, from my experience is, make sure you’ve got your processes down, your onboarding, your client management, all of that stuff.
I was incredibly good at marketing with the real estate business, but I was bad at processes and management. Now, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t take care of my clients, I did. I just worked 18-hour days to handle it all, and I didn’t delegate, and I just did a lot of things wrong. I learned from those mistakes, and a lot of people make the same mistakes, but I’m telling you, if we can succeed here in getting you this lead machine, just make sure you can handle it or make sure you’re brave enough to turn away business.
Why Email is Still Relevant
We kind of alluded to the fact that email is as relevant today as it was 18 years ago when I started, but let me just share some stats with you to make sure that you’re on board with me, because it’s phenomenal how many times email has been predicted to be dead, as far back as 2005, 2006 and how wrong people have been.
Originally, RSS was supposed to kill email. Social media was supposed to kill email. Not the case, not at all. Here’s some data for you to chew on. “People are six times more likely to get a click-through from email than a Tweet.” That’s from Campaign Monitor. Email … This is one of my favorite stats here, “Email is forty times more effective at acquiring a new client than Facebook or Twitter. Email has the highest conversion rate for purchases at 66%, when compared to social and even the former holy grail, direct mail.” That’s from the Direct Marketing Association. Then, finally, I want to share this with you, because this goes to the heart of what we’re going to focus on in this course.
“Over 75% of email revenue is generated by triggered campaigns rather than one size fits all email blasts.” That’s also from the Direct Marketing Association. What do we mean by triggered? This means that you are sending a certain message, certain content at certain times, based on people’s interests, actions, perhaps demographics, world views, et cetera. This is the ability to tailor your communication with a prospect, based on who they are and what they do.
Again, what I alluded to earlier about segmentation, I had content for a certain type of person, but it couldn’t change. There was one sequence and until they clicked to contact me, to hire me, they basically got that sequence no matter what they did.
Today, we can do much better than that and we’ll cover that, in detail.
Identifying the “6A” Framework
Finally, I want to go, really quickly, over the framework, the strategic framework that we will be examining in this course, in order for you to implement this on your own. Really, what we’re looking at here, I suppose, is the marriage of content strategy and technology. Now, from the content strategy end I can tell you that what I’m going to present to you in this course, is the exact same strategy that we teach our certified content marketing professionals over at Copyblogger. We have a certification program where we teach people, we test them, and then we certify them if they are acceptable.
Another benefit here is that you need to understand, as the business owner or as the principal, how this strategy works. If you need help with actual content, we’ve got a whole roster of people that we can point you to. I’ll make sure and link that up later on in the course.
This framework that I’m talking about, I call it the “6A” framework. The six elements are Attraction, Access, Authority, Affinity, Adaptive, and Action. I’m going to go into more detail on each of those elements as we progress in the course. I think this is a good point to wrap up this introduction and hope you will stay tuned with me through the next nine lessons, because we’re going to take a really deep dive into how to make this work for your business.
Thanks so much for tuning in and, as always, keep going.