When I was younger, I was taught to write letters to those who lived far from us. Long distance phone calls rare and for emergencies only because they were incredibly expensive. And so, staying in touch meant handwriting a letter, waiting for the mail to be delivered, wondering if there was anything for you in the mailbox.
When I was in grade 9, I wrote to a fan club of a band* I was ‘in love’ with asking if I could get a backstage pass when they were in town. I didn’t think I had a hope. Until that day. That afternoon when I heard my best friend check the mail in our mailbox and race up the stairs and into the bathroom where I was brushing my teeth. In her hand was a letter. A handwritten envelope. A letter from the fan club. I almost quit breathing. She grinned and gave me the letter.
Mom was at work and Dad was sleeping because he was working a night shift, so she and I scurried downstairs to the front porch. Still holding my breath, I opened the letter. And almost died (as only a teen could). Inside was the backstage pass. It was unbelievable to me. (It also showed me that sometimes when you ask, you receive.) What a day.
And other cool things you waited for were letters from pen-pals with photos, catalogues, newsletters, invitations, subscriptions and of course ‘junk mail.’ When I lived and worked in small rural towns, I grew to understand the hidden value of ‘going to check for mail’ at the local post office. It was more than an errand. It was a chance to say hello to the staff. And to run into others and have a quick chat. It was community.
Today, we’ve lost some of that human touch. Sure, there are wonderful applications letting you facetime and connect quickly and cheaply with folks around most of the world. That’s fabulous and there’s much to be grateful for. But, it’s different.
In today’s confusing times, how are you being human with your clients?
In the self-improvement and self-development industries, caring for your client’s wellbeing is at the top of your list. And, right now it might feel uncomfortable to try to ‘sell’ yourself when so many people are either suddenly struggling, confused, scared and even in denial.
The best advice? Stay in touch with your clients by becoming your most authentic self – ever. At this time, most of your clients are looking for answers, reassurance, or fresh coping ideas. How you respond and act today may shape your relationship more than you know.
Now is the time to let your light as a helpful and caring professional burn as bright as it possibly can.
So, ask yourself, what do your clients need from you today?
First idea – a newsletter? Who – you? Yup.
Contrary to what you might think, email newsletters are still popular with one condition. The newsletter needs to be valuable to your client. Its information needs to be relevant and easy to understand.
“In your email newsletters, get rid of the self-promotion (most of the time) and focus on sending your subscribers educational, relevant, timely information.” Hubspot, 2019
While there are guidelines for newsletters from the copywriting and marketing viewpoints, these are general ideas for you to consider.
1, What information can you offer?
If you’re stuck, start with a look at your older blog posts and you may discover you can easily rework a few of them. If you’re a life coach you can discuss the benefits of laughter yoga or of being outside to help with stress.
If you’re a music teacher you could write about the wonderfully calming effects of music, different kinds music and different cultural approaches. You can write about the meditative effects playing music offers.
Other ideas for a newsletter can include a book review, or a reading list of three books you’re currently reading. Just talk about them and why you are reading or enjoying them.
If you’re a health or nutrition coach, there are oodles of ideas for your email newsletter. You can include 3-ingredient recipes to help people who need easy shopping lists these days. You can discuss simple things like walking as a way of managing stress.
Regardless of what you include in your newsletters, think first about what information you client can use – today. This is a weird time in history.
“What I love about content is it has the power to change people’s lives for a second or for a day or forever. Great content creates space for people to pause and reflect, and that space is where transformation happens.” – Jolie Miller (from Content Marketing Institute, 2017)
2, Include visuals
Pictures are amazing tools as well as being art. A picture can trigger an immediate emotional response or show in one quick second what you cannot capture with words.
And, we all like looking at pictures so add a few to your newsletter.
Social media loves photos that you take. I pulled this one from my jumpstick of some time in a tiny village in France a couple of years ago when La Loire was flooding. The flooding river was a few steps away form this tiny florist. I used my phone. For this you don’t need to have a high-end camera, most smart phones take good pix.
Why not wander around and take some photos of things you find interesting and can be relevant to your newsletter
Or, if you’re confined to your home. you can Include an informal picture of yourself or your silly pet (even if it’s a fish!) Or perhaps you’ve baked something or are trying something new.
3, Self-promotion & CTA
This is the smallest part of your newsletter and as part of it, you need to include a call-to-action (CTA). It can be very simple, if your reader refers a friend to your newsletter they could receive a small gift in return. That ‘gift’ could be a free session or a bonus you already have.
What’s in it for you?
Show your clients you care and keep your reputation as a caring professional growing. When times are difficult it’s important to show leadership and compassion.
Your newsletter can do both those things.
Second idea – do a webinar or interview
While using webinars isn’t a flash of brilliance, you can easily create them. Personally, I use Zoom as the platform because it’s free and easy to use. Best of all, it can be instantly interactive. If you want to buy a professional version, you can and it’s inexpensive.
The suggestion I offer you during this unpredictable time it to aim for a feeling of intimacy.
Let people engage with discussions. This isn’t necessarily a training session, but a chance to communicate directly with your clients. So, to encourage real conversations small groups are easier to manage. Lose the formal (often fake background because, yes, we can all tell when it’s fake) and go for something more authentic.
However, when doing a live webinar still check your surroundings before you shoot. Look for weird lighting or odd shadows, and don’t have a pile of laundry in the background. Be sure your speakers are working properly so the sound is crystal clear.
If you’re not sure what to discuss, you could find someone to interview about a topic that is relevant to your clients. It might need to be remote but that’s manageable. Put on your creative cap and make a list of folks your clients would like to hear from or about.
People are looking for ways to communicate and build community. You can lead the way with some of your clients.
Third idea – nurturing email series
In copywriting land, we talk about different kinds of emails. Each series of emails has a purpose and format. The nurturing series is about leading people into your world, gently. These emails are usually information rather than self-promotion. They offer some education about the industry or topic.
How could you use these? You could create a series of nurturing emails offering hope, inspiration, compassion and ideas to get through these days when people are afraid, confused or bored by being confined at home.
As with anything, you need headlines (subject lines) to invite people to open the email, you can include a call to action which reflects your spirit. What do I mean? It could be a ‘play-it-forward’ idea your readers click on. Or, it could be:
- a link to a relevant piece of music (music teachers)
- a meditation (yoga instructors)
- a life-hack tip (life coaches)
What will you choose to do?
“You manage things; you lead people.” –Grace Murray Hopper
These tips are simple ideas for you spin for yourself.
At the end of the day show your clients you are a leader, reaffirm your place as a caring professional while showing you’re human (and vulnerable, too) during these strange days.
P.S. *Maybe you’re wondering who the band was? Well, it was the guitarist in Kenny Rogers & the First Edition named Terry Williams. I’ll confess, I’m kind of grinning as I write and remember that day.
Ms Charron is a certified copywriter with more than 35 years experience in a variety of industries. She’s a copywriter who is focused on remembering the human heart in advertising and enjoys working in self-improvement and personal growth. If you’d like to connect here’s how www.copywritermarketer.com/cheryl-charron