When I was interviewing the speakers on my Client Attraction Video Symposium last week, a theme emerged. Some of the Guru Stars had to adopt new methods to attract their clients because they had created what we call “list exhaustion.” When you’ve exhausted your list, that means that very few of your followers actually open your emails, let alone read them or click through. As an example, I had a speaker on my first summit back in 2012 who had 50,000 people on their list, and although she promoted as much as all my other speakers, only 75 people from her list signed up. I had some promotional partners with 700 people on their list that had more sign ups. At the end of the day, it isn’t the size of the list that matters, but the engagement level.
What people tend to do when their list begins to exhaust, is to send out more emails about the same event or promotion (typically 3-7), hoping their followers read at least one. This means some entrepreneurs are sending emails daily and in some cases, multiple times a day. They’ve also over-committed to promotional partners and send too many promotions for other people’s projects. All of these actions create noise to your followers and they start to tune out.
The best way to avoid list exhaustion is to adopt an engagement strategy for your followers that inspires your followers to read your emails and stay engaged with you. This strategy should first and foremost honor your followers. They are the reason you have a business, and if you continue to honor them, they will in turn be engaged and loyal.
I’d like to share my own strategy, as it has allowed me to continually have an open rate and click-through rate that is 3-4x the industry average, even when I send out promotions. Here is my personal engagement strategy and commitment to my followers.
- Deliver meaningful content that would benefit your followers – this may seem like a no-brainer, but it is my primary goal in my engagement strategy. I create a lot of my own content because I really enjoy that creative process. It also allows my followers to get to know my philosophy and really get an authentic experience of me. Since people hire you when they know, like, and trust you AND think you can make a significant difference for them, sharing your own content is one of the best ways to do that. But if you don’t have any “compelling creative” energy, you can source articles and content from other people that your ideal client would find valuable (I do this too) and become a go-to resource for great content.
- Always provide value, even in promotional emails – one of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is continually pitching an offer to their list. You earn the right to make an offer. In a promotional email, you can give value to your followers even if they don’t want to attend your event or buy your product. Promotional emails do not need to be salesy to be effective.
- Provide four content-focused ezines/articles/emails for every promotion focused email you send (4:1 ratio) – Sometimes my ratio is much higher because I only do 1-2 events or launches a year, but 4:1 is my minimum. Because the ratio is so high, my open rate on my promotional emails is almost as high as my ezines/articles/content focused emails.
- Mail no more than 2x a week – I usually aim to mail once a week, unless I am sponsoring a major event. In this day and age, people get way too many emails. I want my emails to stand out to my followers and be a special treat in their inbox.
- Only speak at an event 1x a month (that requires solo email promotion) – I am more and more selective in choosing events. They must be truly aligned with my mission, allow me to make a big contribution, be interesting to my followers and hopefully will add new followers to my list. To stay in alignment with my 1:4 ratio, however, I minimize my promotional commitments to others. When I’ve run events and I see speakers promoting other tele-summits the same week of my event, I know I won’t get many sign ups from that speaker (going forward I will make it a requirement that they don’t promote another event during our promotional window). Therefore, in turn, I want to honor the events I say “yes” to by not promoting multiple events at a time. This makes me a more desirable speaker for events by limiting my exposure and having better sign ups from my list when I do.
- Don’t send solo emails for other people’s products or programs – This is a personal choice I have made mostly because of my business model (95% of my revenue comes from my private mastermind group – The Entrepreneurial Edge Coaching Program, and 1:1 clients). I freely add events, programs and even sometimes products (if I think they are super rad) to my ezine because I know my followers will get value from the content in my ezine even if they aren’t interested in the events. The name of the game is creating value.
- Send no more than 3 solo promotional emails about an event or program launch – I had a Guru Star coach who once told me that I should send out 5-7 emails to my followers for any launch that I was doing. Although I try to provide solid content in my promotional emails, I told her that I would never do that. Why? Because when I got 7 emails from her about the same event, I was annoyed and I deleted them right away. I decided to create an engagement strategy that would engage me if I were on the receiving side.
- Never cut and paste “Swipe Copy” – if you are asking someone to promote for you, it is standard to send “swipe copy” that you have created to make it easier for people to promote you. This is also why you may get 10 emails with the identical title from 10 different people. I always customize my subject lines and re-write at least part of the promotional copy so that it’s in my voice and will be interesting to my followers, even if they aren’t interested in the event at which I’m speaking. I made the mistake when I first started my business of doing “the cut/paste approach” and I had an unprecedented number of people unsubscribe from my list. In hindsight, it’s because the email was way too salesy and didn’t fit my audience.
There you have it! This isn’t necessarily the right engagement strategy for everyone, but if you are a conscious entrepreneur that has mostly a 1:1 client model, it may be an effective strategy for you. I encourage you to think about your Ideal Client and what they would want to get from you. Create your own engagement strategy with them in mind. Good luck and let me know, as always, your thoughts on the strategy I shared!
In grateful appreciation,