I’ve built a six-figure consulting business without doing any outreach to get clients.
That’s because I get a stream of clients coming to me through my For The Interested newsletter.
If you want to use a newsletter to attract clients, here’s how I recommend you approach it…
Size doesn’t matter.
You don’t need thousands of subscribers to get clients from your newsletter.
Unlike most other newsletter goals — product sales, sponsorship revenue, etc. — you can get a lot of money and clients from a small email list.
The key is to attract the right subscribers.
The following suggestions are designed to help you do that.
Your newsletter isn’t about you — it’s about your potential clients.
Your newsletter exists to attract and deliver value to your target audience — not to promote yourself.
A newsletter is a powerful marketing vehicle, but not if you only use it to talk about yourself and your services.
If your newsletter is solely about you and your work, no one who doesn’t already know you will care about it and it won’t attract new potential clients.
And the people who do already know you won’t keep opening it if each issue is a glorified advertisement or sales pitch for them to hire you.
Potential clients don’t care about you — they care about themselves and their own challenges.
If you want to attract clients, don’t write a company or personal newsletter.
This should be reflected in the name you choose for your newsletter. Pick a name that represents the interests of your potential clients and is about them, not you.
For example, if you build websites for restaurants, don’t name your newsletter “The ACME Web Design Company Newsletter.”
Instead, name it something like “The Restaurant Growth Newsletter.”
When you choose a name that speaks to something your potential clients want, it makes it clear who it’s for and how it can help them.
And that makes them more likely to subscribe.
Align your newsletter content with what potential clients want — not just what you do.
Most people base their newsletter content on their expertise.
Sharing what you know, learn, and are interested in, seems like an obvious approach.
In many cases, your potential clients don’t care about the intricacies of what you do and have no interest in learning how to do it themselves — that’s why they would hire you!
Let’s go back to our example and pretend you’re a person who designs websites for restaurants.
The “obvious” newsletter for you to write would be focused on web design and the tactics you use to build great sites.
But your target audience — restaurant owners who would hire you to build their site — don’t care about how web design works!
They’re not going to subscribe to a web design newsletter which means your newsletter won’t attract your potential clients.
A web design newsletter will attract other web designers.
You may get subscribers and feel like your newsletter is successful, but it’s fool’s gold if you’re not attracting potential clients.
The key to writing a newsletter that attracts clients is to share content that speaks to the result they want and what they want to learn.
For example, a newsletter about restaurant business growth will attract more restaurant owners than a newsletter about web design will.
This leads to an obvious question:
How do you write a newsletter about a topic you’re not necessarily an expert in?
You’re about to find out.
You don’t have to create all the newsletter content yourself (and probably shouldn’t).
Just because a newsletter can showcase your expertise doesn’t mean all the content needs to be created by you.
Most valuable newsletters include a mix of original and curated content — articles, videos, etc. created by others that are relevant and valuable to your target audience.
Curation makes your newsletter more credible and allows you to cover topics you may not be an expert on by featuring the expertise of others.
And it’s often simpler to produce than relying solely on your own original content.
(Check out my Content Compass Skill Session for a system you can use to find share-worthy content.)
Incorporating curated content into your newsletter also serves as a forcing function to help you better understand the needs of your target client.
For example, if you were a restaurant website designer imagine how much you’d learn about restaurant industry marketing if each week you had to find articles about the subject to share in your newsletter?
And imagine how that knowledge would improve your ability to design websites that serve your customers?
And how much easier it would be for you to pitch your services to them using reference points that resonate with them?
And how potential clients would view your web design services if they knew you as the person who runs the Restaurant Growth newsletter?
It would make it WAY easier to get clients.
Write a newsletter, not a novel.
Your newsletter is too long.
I know this without even reading it because just about every newsletter is too long.
Keep your newsletter short.
As long as it’s valuable, people will appreciate the brevity and the shorter it is, the more likely they are to open and read it.
My one-paragraph daily newsletter is sometimes only a single sentence with a link, but readers love it because that sentence is valuable.
A short newsletter is also easier for you to create and stick with it.
Your potential clients are busy and the more you make them “work” to get value from your newsletter, the less likely they are to hire you.
You want them to see you as a person who provides maximum value with minimum effort on their part and a concise newsletter is a great way to establish that perception.
Use your welcome email to start conversations with clients.
The automated welcome email you send to new subscribers is an incredible opportunity.
But most “welcome” emails are either generic or ask new subscribers to do a bunch of stuff — to follow your social channels, tell others about your newsletter, buy your products, hire you, etc.
A better approach is to use your welcome email to initiate a relationship with your subscriber (and potential future client), to learn more about them, and to help them.
Read how I use my welcome email and feel free to “borrow” the format for your own newsletter — it works.
About 40% of my new subscribers reply to me welcome email and tell me about their situation, needs, and goals.
I then reply with helpful suggestions, refer them to other relevant resources I’ve created, and often include a mention of my consulting services in that reply if they want more one-on-one help.
I’m not pitching or selling them — I’m helping and offering them a chance to get more if they want.
As a result, I often have people hire me directly after our welcome email exchange before they even get a single issue of my newsletter!
Leverage your link click data.
Pay attention to WHO clicks which links in your newsletter.
Those clicks reveal what individual subscribers are interested in, what problems they want to solve, and how you can tailor your pitch to them in a way that makes them likely to hire you.
Let’s pretend you’re that restaurant web designer again who now has a thriving Restaurant Growth newsletter thanks to following my advice.
And let’s say you include a link in your newsletter about what to do when you open a second location of your restaurant.
You can look to see which of your subscribers clicked that link and know anyone who did so likely plans to open a second location or has recently done so.
Those people probably need a new website for the new location or need to figure out how to update their website to incorporate multiple locations.
Either way, they’re great potential leads for your web design services!
With this information, you can reach out to each person who clicked that link with a message tailored to that scenario and an explanation of how you can help them.
When you do something like this, you don’t need to — and probably shouldn’t — reference that you’re reaching out because they clicked a link.
They won’t know why you’re pitching them something so relevant, but they don’t need to know why — they’ll just assume it’s coincidental perfect timing (and that maybe you’re the perfect person to help them).
This type of strategic content placement can be used to surface all sorts of targeted leads.
For example, if you shared a blog post about how to know when you need a new website, you’d know anyone who clicked it was at least considering if they need a new site.
You could then email those people with a special offer of a free site assessment and that would likely lead to some new clients.
There’s gold in your link click data…if you use it strategically.
Share success stories in a way readers can use.
Don’t just share stories about amazing results anonymous clients got from working with you.
No one will care because they can’t do anything that information.
If you give readers a specific thing they can do to get a quick win on their own based on what you did with a previous client, you’ll drastically increase their desire to hire you.
For example, the link I shared above to my welcome email gives you something you can implement on your own without hiring me and get immediate results.
Giving you that makes you more likely to want to hire me than if I just told you I have a welcome email that gets great results without showing it to you.
Share your secrets.
That makes people want more.
Publish frequently and consistently.
A once-a-month newsletter won’t get you clients.
Clients come from relationships and relationships require consistency and frequency to build.
I recommend publishing weekly if possible, or at least twice a month at a minimum.
If you only publish once a month you’re only taking 12 shots a year at getting clients and building relationships — that’s not enough.
With each helpful edition of your newsletter you build credibility and prospects get closer to hiring you…even if you don’t realize it yet.
I’ve had subscribers who I had never heard from previously hire me after more than two years of reading my newsletter every week.
It takes time.
Offer to help readers in every issue.
I’m often asked what’s the best way to promote and sell your services in a newsletter.
I don’t think about it that way.
Rather than think of it as promotion, think of it as making an offer to help people…
And make that offer in every issue.
There are different ways to do so, but here’s a simple one you can try:
At the end of each newsletter issue invite subscribers to reply if they’d like some extra help.
For our hypothetical restaurant web designer, it might look something like this:
“Trying to figure out how to improve your restaurant’s website? Reply to this email and I’ll help you sort it out.”
The goal of your offer isn’t to sell your service — it’s to start a conversation.
People are more likely to reply if they don’t feel like you’re ramming a sales pitch down their throat.
Your offer should have a low barrier to entry — notice how I don’t mention a price or ask people to hire me, I simply offer to help them out.
People will be less likely to reach out if they assume doing so will automatically cost them money.
Once someone replies and starts a conversation, they’re a huge step closer to hiring you.
When someone reaches out, ask them about their situation, reply back with a quick suggestion or links to relevant resources, and include a more specific paid service offer there.
For example, here’s a reply I sent to a subscriber who asked me some questions.
Notice how in items 4 and 5 I pitch a paid product and a consulting call, without it feeling too salesy.
In a nutshell, this sums up my whole approach to getting clients from a newsletter.
The way to get clients is to provide them relevant value and then give them the opportunity to hire you to get more.
If you do it right, you’ll be shocked how many people jump at the offer.
If you found this helpful, there are three ways to get more:
1. Subscribe to my free newsletter for creative entrepreneurs.
2. Check out my Skill Sessions.
3. Follow me on Twitter where I share tips every day.