121. How to Build a Nurture Sequence That Connects with Your Subscribers with Michelle Ellis

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One of the biggest mistakes I made when I first started my business was having a subpar nurture email sequence. When your audience opts in to your free download, you have an amazing opportunity to not only show off your authority by providing high-value content but to connect with and build strong relationships with your audience so they know they can trust you with their biggest health concern. That’s the power of an email nurture sequence, my friends.

In today’s episode, I’m talking with Michelle Ellis who is explaining what list building is and why email marketing is a powerful business tool for your health coaching business. Michelle is also going to help you understand step by step what emails you need in place and what content you can include in each email so you can build an impactful email nurture sequence that works for your business.

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Rachel: Hey guys, this is Rachel Feldman with the Healthy Hustle podcast. I am so excited for this episode, I have my good friend and copywriter Michelle Ellis here. 

We are going to talk about list building and email marketing. One of the biggest mistakes I know that I made, if I could go back in time and go to my original list, it would have been to have better follow ups and a nurture sequence. So if you’re brand new, and you don’t even know what the heck that is, this episode is for you. Or maybe you’re in this position where you haven’t been following up, this episode will help you understand step by step, what emails you need in place and what should be included. So Michelle, can you introduce yourself?

Michelle: Yeah, so I’ve been working with you for years. I’ve been a copywriter for like eight, I’m going into nine years now. It sounds crazy. But I started out as a health coach and then just found myself loving writing and copywriting and getting into the whole mix of marketing. And yeah, that’s where I found the best of both worlds I feel like because I was able to support a lot of health coaches who I went to school with in copywriting. 

But then also even just went more broad than that, I just love writing, marketing, anything email marketing, anything sales pages, anything funnels. I love story driven and seeing those stories, drive conversions, rather than just that flat marketing that is very lacking.

Rachel: It doesn’t even work in health and wellness world, because I think in wellness branding is so much about our origin story, our Why, our behind the scenes, and I think those stories really help our ideal client get to know us.

Michelle: Exactly, and that’s the biggest piece is connecting those dots between that behind the scenes health coach story. What made you become a health coach? What did you personally experience? And then moving that into how you chose your niche and why you

really helped somebody? 

Rachel: You have to understand that that messy story is really what people are going to identify with. And I think if we stay too much in that coach position, we get lost. 

So guys, you can already see we could have a totally different episode just on story copy. But for today, we’re gonna dive into nurture emails. Michelle, can you explain to everyone listening? What is the benefit of having a nurture email sequence?

The Benefits Of Having A Nurture Email Sequence

Michelle: Yeah, the biggest benefit of having a nurture sequence is it proves to the reader that you know what you’re talking about. Also, that there’s genuine care there. But you’re adding so much value and experience and stories as well to connect and build that relationship, so that they know that they can trust you with their biggest concern, which is either the health of them, their family, or their children. You have to have that trust factor in order to be able to tell them your deepest personal stuff. I mean when you are looking for a health coach, you’re talking about some really private things, whether it’s hormonal, gut symptoms. It’s not something that you just buy a product on the internet and you walk away. You have to buy that person first.

Rachel: Yeah, absolutely. It’s like doctor shopping but it’s really looking for that health coach that specializes in what you have that problem with and your emails can really help connect the dots and build such a strong connection that they do want to book a call with you or they do want to get your low cost offer. And they want to take that next step in that relationship because you’ve shared enough information with them.

A funny thing about when I started Rachel’s Wellness is I was so deficient in the tech that I couldn’t even figure out how to do a follow-up sequence. On the thank you page was putting the freebie download and a message to them because I couldn’t figure it out. But I made sure that I had a lot of freebies. But looking back if I would have taken that time to do those follow up sequences. But luckily I did because I ended up hiring somebody who knew how to do follow-up sequences in tech.

Michelle: Yeah, I remember you also worked within the capability of MailChimp back then. It wasn’t set up the way systems are set up today where you have a one click and then all of a sudden all the emails and everything’s populated. You just have to go in there and edit. Back then all we really had was like the thing Did you page in the welcome confirmation email? Otherwise, we had to set it up individually. 

But you always had these valuable welcome emails. It wasn’t just Oh, thanks for the download. It was Thanks for download. Here’s who I am. Here’s my blog. Here’s my social media. Here’s my YouTube channel. So it was here’s everything, but at the same time, it worked.

Rachel: I think that’s the important thing, when we’re talking about coming from a list builder, or what we call an opt in. Some people call it a list voter, some people call it an opt in. Ideally, your client is opting in to get this free gift, which is solving a problem. So the follow up sequence goes from that free gift.

Michelle: Yeah, absolutely. And we have a ton of ideas that we can share today, too, because you want different ideas, you want it to be different, you don’t want it to be such a standard sequence, although you could attach it to different options. But taking these ideas so that you can add more personality, choose which ideas actually just feel connection even just for you to do and just really help you create an interesting and engaging email sequence.

A General Overview Of How To Build A Relationship Using A Nurture Sequence

Rachel: So let’s talk about those ideas for somebody who’s brand new, or they don’t even know what a nurture sequence is. Let’s talk about how does a nurture sequence flow so that this person who’s just opted in, they’re a potential client, we’re gonna take them through relationship building?

Michelle: We’re gonna lay out a seven email sequence and share the examples for the whole big overview of what it would look more like. 

The first email would be very story driven a lot of your back history, like maybe why you became a health coach, I won’t get too detailed, because we’ll show the examples. The second email could be more value driven maybe you’re giving them some more content, you’re weaving in a client story, if you want it to. The same thing with email three, you could really pull more of like a motivational quote that has inspired you share something that you do that inspires you, how it benefits them. 

If they do this, let’s say it’s a vision boarding, or it’s journaling, or it’s keeping a food diary it could be a whole bunch of different things, it could be a blog post that you drive them to, that either you’ve written on, like the third party platform website, if you’ve gotten published or your own blog. Email five, let’s say you’re teaching something, so let’s say it is about oil pulling, and you’re doing a video, you’re actually showing the process of that. So throughout this whole experience, they’re just getting to see more of you as if they were in person with you. Email six could be maybe where you’re how you’re just gonna give them more content, recipes that they give me like a checklist. So if you had your freebie that was on five hormone hacks, then there could be a checklist for one of the hacks something like that.

Rachel: Now they’ve already opted in, so you don’t really have to make them opt in again, you could click and tag them do different things, behaviors on the back end, you could just give it to them and Dropbox, whatever is easiest. Archive your list. 

Michelle: Email seven, a really cool idea that I thought would be different would be your opinion, or your thoughts on a trending topic. So let’s say it’s winter, and everyone’s trying to boost their immune system, it’s a trending topic, people are looking that up. Weigh in on that with your expert opinion. A video would be awesome. But even in the email, just talking about it, and answering those frequently asked questions that they might be having, it just positions you and makes you very relatable as an authority figure. So that’s the general overview. 

Giving Your Subscribers Nuggets of Wisdom In All Your Emails

But we also have the ideas and the examples. I think for somebody who’s scared of doing a video, I always say, think of your intro video, why I’ve done this. But to do an educational content case, you could easily take a PowerPoint, something that relates to what they opt in into. So you’re taking them through more content education, but also teaching them why it’s beneficial for them.

Rachel: Exactly. That’s the biggest thing is talking about those benefits, talking about the results that are possible when they do it and just saving that information for them so that they can consume it, try it, get a quick win. Like a quick result from that maybe they’ve never heard of oil pulling, maybe they do it and they’re Wow, this was amazing. Or they do it a couple more times, they just noticed some differences about themselves. And then they have you to thank. So really just giving them the best that you can in those emails. 

I think in those emails, really pulling out nuggets that you as the individual coach know. I think too often we think, Well, I don’t know as much as this other person. But that’s not true. We all have our own unique method. We talk about this when we’re choosing the right signature program and thinking of our method, but it’s like the things that we do as individual coaches for our own health for cleaning up that mess that we all went through are the things that we really need to share and sets us apart from somebody else.

Why Sharing Your Unique Story Separates You From The Competition

Michelle: Yeah, exactly. I remember when I was health coaching, I was really scared to share the story with people. I even published it on Mind Body Green. I know, they accepted my publication. But I talked about quitting smoking and that was a big thing that I had to do. It was something I was really embarrassed to share. 

But it got a lot of people reaching out to me that were wow, I need to do this. They were even already, maybe trying to live a healthy lifestyle. But it’s like the one habit they couldn’t let go of if I didn’t put myself out there. And I didn’t talk about that. Then nobody would have reached out knowing that so really talking about those things that you might even just be scared to share. But you need to because that’s going to separate you from everybody else.

Rachel: So let’s dive into some of those examples that we’re talking about for these emails.

Michelle: Yes. So let me share screen. Okay, for those of you listening, you can always go over to YouTube, but I’m going to have this on my YouTube channel. 

Content Idea For Email #1

So for email idea number one. So let’s say this is your first email. Really, this can come after the confirmation email. They’ve already downloaded it. Or if you wanted to quickly give them the list builder tool, the opt in freebie at the top, and then you’re going to dive in. 

If this is more personal story driven, it’s not necessarily a copy and paste from like your about a page, it really should be something that’s current. You can touch on some of your background quickly. Like I’ve been a health coach for X amount of years, I went to this school. This is why I did it. And here’s where I am today. 

Think of email marketing like dating. It’s like that first time that you’re meeting somebody, you’re sharing something personal with them, for them to get to know you. But think about your ideal client struggles. Think about why they opted into this freebie. Or maybe they opted in to see this masterclass that you’ve done, or they’ve attended a workshop and you’re sending follow up emails. 

You want to really think about, what are their problems? What are the things that they desire to achieve? Because for most of you, that mess that you cleaned up is that hero’s journey, you went through the trials and tribulations. And that’s part of what you really want to address in here. How did you get through what you went through? And how is that relevant to your ideal client?

Rachel: Yeah, and really talking about those problems that they might be experiencing right now. Whether you’ve experienced them yourself, you maybe even expanded and you’re really helping with a ton of symptoms, not like a ton, but gut related issues. So maybe they have bloating, or maybe they have gas, all these things that they don’t want to talk about. Here you are addressing it and asking them have you been feeling this way? I’ve been. You can share your story. 

Michelle: And definitely also talk about how you solve that problem as a health coach. So you really do want to talk about your method you want to talk about what it is that you do that’s different from anything else out there. What do you bring to the table as a specialist in this niche, right? So if you are a gut coach, then you really want to talk about how how do you help your clients? How did you help yourself? How do you help the people that you coach today? 

Also, always in all emails, it’s always good to give a call to action. That doesn’t mean you have to sell something, but the call to action could be something as simple as reply to the email if you have a Facebook group that you’re trying to build. If you have a social media channel that you’re trying to build just send them somewhere to take that next step. You have to tell them to make that call to action. So definitely doing that. 

Rachel: I for one was hit reply because I felt that it gave them an instant connection. Whenever I would reply back, people always say, oh my god, this is you. This is not a word. Yeah, that sent or an assistant that really just made that nice connection.

Michelle: Yeah. And honestly, I think you were one of the only coaches that I knew of that had such a large following as well, that would put your real phone number in the emails. Even still, to this day, sometimes it really does create that personal connection. It’s not even if you have a list of 5000 plus people, not all of them are going to reach out. But the people that do feel so super connected because you’ve just made yourself accessible. And that’s really, really important. 

As I always say, be accessible with boundaries. I’ve learned the hard way. Just building when you’re building a business, and when you’re really trying to build your list and get to where you have clients who are coming back or wanting to hire you, make sure that if you do things like hit reply it’s okay, if you don’t answer it after five. I would say that make sure that if you put your phone number out that you just have some boundaries.

Rachel: So that may sound like when you actually are writing this email what does that sound like? 

An Example Of Email #1 Content

Michelle: It may sound like, Hey! You have the greeting, the name. We all know that dealing with whatever the problem is, if it’s bloating, whatever it is, can be embarrassing, especially when in public. You’ll never believe what happened to me. And you can really share a personal current story as well. And this is just an idea, but it just helps you. Maybe if you’re facing writer’s block, you’re like, Well, how do I start this off? Anything like that. And then talking about what you did and then just continuing on in the email with the story. 

But definitely making it feel very conversational, as if you’re the one talking to them. Always. That’s one important thing too, in all of these sequences, in any email that you ever write, you never want to sound like you’re talking to a group of people. Because when it comes to email, it should feel very personal and like you’re only talking to them. So try to use the Merge Tags frequently with their name, try to address them with their name.

Email Subject Line Ideas

Rachel: I love your subject line. I’ve got to tell you about this, because it’s like Curiosity killed the cat. Yeah, that person is gonna want to open email one, because you’re telling them something that they’re I have to figure this out, I have to find out what’s going on with this person.

Michelle: Yeah, I love personally using curiosity driven headline a subject lines, but also, sometimes I’ll use really straightforward ones, if they’re getting another free download, or if they’re getting something that’s accessible to them instantly. And it’s free I want to put what that is in there. 

So I like to use a blend of both. But when it comes to the story ones, I love to use the curiosity driven subject lines, because if they want to know what it what is that and they’ll open it up we’re just we’re people who are curious by nature. So it’s really good to tap into that for sure. And your subject lines as well. 

Content Ideas For Email #2

For email idea number two, you can give a health tip on like their biggest problem. So this is really value driven. You could also add in a client success story who maybe had that same exact problem and that hope in email number two. 

Rachel: I mean, what a way to bring in a testimonial and guys if you don’t have a testimonial, because you’re brand new, think about family and friends that you’ve helped. I guarantee that you’ve helped somebody and you can reach out to them and say, Can I get a testimonial from now?

Michelle: Absolutely. I always like to call them character testimonials, just someone who knows what it’s like to get advice from you, to implement it into results as I’m sure you help coaches even before they start. 

The first people who ask for help is people we know. So friends and family so definitely reach out to them and don’t hesitate. Something else if you wanted to take that same email idea and even dispersed that into three separate ones. Maybe you focus on three separate areas or you have a main niche and then you have little categorized niches underneath of that or if you if you focus on specific problems. So let’s say skin one is good or something else, you can do that same flow for each individual problem and builds that sequence out even more. There’s really no limit to a nurture sequence.

Rachel: Now what could be the best way to end the problem? Email two, three ways to end the struggle with problem. Email four, tips to overcome the problem. 

Michelle: Yeah, late digestive a hormone but it could be as you said skin gut hormone. And going after you want to go after the symptoms of your niche. So what are they experiencing and how can you address each? Laser in on each symptom to offer a tip that could really make it life-changing that you’ll be able to give a fast, quick solution in an email, but they’re still going to need the coaching, they’re still going to need you. The program is still going to need to go to the next step. 

Using Motivational Content In Your Emails (#3)

So if they can have a quick win, then they will continue their relationship, reading your emails reaching out that sort of thing for email three. So this is a cool idea, right? So a lot of times we are quick to repost motivational quotes that inspire us or motivational videos or things that we do that’s motivational, but you can really take something like that and just build it into a story. Why is it important to you? How does it relate to them changing their health and their life, right? 

Rachel: So it shouldn’t be so random as it’s just oh, here’s a motivational quote that I love. But maybe it’s more about when I first read this, this helped me make the decision to commit to changing my health and my style. So it should be focused in pushing them forward and motivating them to make a change in their health and in their life and the story behind it. 

It’s not just like copying and pasting a quote and sending it on an email. But really talking about why it’s so important, and how that helps you make a decision on your house, or even how you have a client who shared something with you similar. An example of that might look like I want to share a quote with you today that really impacted my life. You can share what it is. I’ll never forget the first time I read this, you can dive deeper into that. Why it mattered to you in the lesson and really connecting the dots as a health coach would be how it helped you make a change in your life, or have this big aha moment where you knew you had to change something in your health or through autoimmune stuff, or really getting in or being able to quit sugar or being able to commit to your exercises?

Content Ideas For Email #4

Michelle: Exactly. Yeah. Email idea number four. If you have a blog post that is on your website, you could share that. But also think about, maybe a blog post that has had a lot of traction, Maybe people commented on it a lot. Or you notice that when you shared it on social media, there were a lot of clicks on it, people commented they loved it Take your highest value blog that got the most engagement and put that in an email, but also build it out. 

So you don’t just want to just be copying and pasting the blog, you want to build it out. So recently, I wrote a blog about put the title in there. Here’s why I wrote it and you can talk about why these tips are important to you why you wanted to share this with them. You highlight what was covered in it, because you do want to link them back to that blog, unless you’re just wanting to throw it in the email, you could do that as well. 

But it’s always good to drive them back to your website. Typically, that’s where you have a consultation, you have your work with me, you have more information there. So you do want to drop them in, you have another freebie on your main website that may be new, or you have a freebie in your sidebar on your blog page. So you might get this person wanting to just find out more information. Some people have their Instagram feed. So I think there’s a lot of information when you’re driving to your website, a lot of value.

Rachel: Yeah, and if you don’t have a blog or a website, you can sign up and get a free blog at WordPress and there are free accounts WordPress, and you can just start writing. There are so many different ways to be able to share that. So don’t think you need to have this big, huge fancy tacky website with a big, huge blog and all these things. If you don’t have that yet, just go and use like one of the free blogging platforms and share it that way. 

Content Ideas For Email #5

Michelle: For email five, you can teach. I love this one. This can honestly go in any of the flow. But what I love about it is you’re teaching a new skill or a technique. Let’s say if it’s all them, but also what’s really cool is if you show a video, How to and actually show them, take that next level to explain it to them, you do want to make your video relatively short, like five minutes, maybe even 10 minutes is okay. But you don’t want a big long video in there. It’ll just be hard to consume. 

Also you want to keep it focused on one, how to write so if you can do that, then you put that in the video, you can link it, upload it to YouTube put that in there. I always like to screenshot the video because most software’s don’t autoplay a video in the email. So what you can do is you can screenshot it, and then have click here to watch the video underneath and then you can take them to YouTube, Vimeo, whichever one you want to use, or even if it’s public, if it’s a public video on your Facebook page, you can link directly to that video as well on your business page. 

And then email Oh, and here are just some ideas for that one so they’re How To Videos skin brushing, castor oil wrap oil.The key is to really demonstrate in that video, and just position yourself as an authority figure. 

Content Ideas For Email #6

Email idea number six is, let’s say you want to give a recipe away, or a handful of recipes. But even just one maybe it sounds you’ve got to try this recipe and subject line. The other day, I was testing some things out in the kitchen decided to add a new ingredient to my favorite protein balls. You can show pictures behind the scenes, show yourself, making them what they looked like before what it looked like after. Walk them through that process. And really, you’re just the best thing that I can say in this nurture, sequence. Even on social media is think of yourself as almost like a reality TV show people love them. So the more that you can make yourself real on the line, and show that example, in photos and videos, you’re people are just going to get hooked, and they’re gonna want to continue coming back to you for more information and value. 

Content Ideas For Email #7

Email idea number seven. This is a really cool idea. So this is about hot trending topics. So for example, if you’re in a season, like we’re winter, and they’re talking about seasonal colds. There’s a new article that just made the news and people are raving about it. They’re talking about it, like oh, what’s your opinion on this? Weigh in on that with your expert opinion, and just share an email about that. 

Now the thing is, is if this is an evergreen nurture sequence, which means it lives there, it’s automated all year round, or forever. It’s a sequence that isn’t impacted by dates, timelines, or anything like that. It’s just current, it’s always there, it’s automated. So if you’re going to update your nurture, so if you did put something in that was about winter, and you move to spring, you can always go and update it. And that evergreen nurture sequence, as Michelle said, lives there all year round, it’s automated. But you can always tweak them.

Rachel: Yeah, and with an idea like this, too, you can always touch on a topic that is a question people will always ask, right? It’s a question that it’s year round. People will always ask what’s the best supplements to what’s the best probiotics. So that might be like a trending topic, people are still trying to figure that out and either way your answer and your response will be the same. What are the best supplements for hormones? What are the best food ever?

Michelle: Yeah, toxic-free, all that stuff. Whatever you can do to really keep engagement. So really want to weigh in with your view from a holistic perspective. And that would be some really good seven like solid ideas on creating a nurture sequence that really adds value to your list, and just helps to take them to the next step. 

Why Call To Actions Are Important (But Don’t Sell, Yet!)

Always remember to add some type of call to action. You can even graduate that call to action. So maybe in the first email, it’s about following you on social media. In the second email, maybe it’s checking out your blog or video you’ve done or something like that. And you can slowly add in like a PS to schedule a free consultation, or a free consultation could come on, like email three.

This way, you’re not it’s not a sale, right? It’s still free. But at the same time, what I wouldn’t do is go putting in I have these programs that you can buy, right? Because we want this to be a nurture sequence, not a promotional sequence. So these would come first, before trying to sell anything inside of a nurture sequence.

Rachel: So when somebody wants to start selling for that coach who says when is that time, would you say to go through the nurture sequence and then have sale emails?

Michelle: Yes, definitely. I think that’s gonna help you what it does, it’s gonna warm up your audience. You can immediately send them promotional emails, but they’re cold. They don’t really know you. They don’t know.

Rachel: Yeah, sequences, for anybody who has a tag based system for their email marketing. You could have a sequence like this, so they’re not getting newsletters because the newsletters also are nurturing your list. But this is a way for your brand new potential client to really get to know you. Go into any newsletters, any promotion.

Michelle: Exactly. Yeah, that’s like the best way to do it.

Rachel: What would you say is your biggest tip for anybody out there who’s starting their nurture sequence?

Why It’s Important To Share Personal Stories In Your Emails

Michelle: Add as much of you as you possibly can and just try to not be scared to share personal things, as well as honestly, just getting in front of the camera or just taking the pictures of yourself as much as you can put yourself into these emails is really going to help you just build that relationship. It’s relationship-building when it comes to health coaching, so you’re trying to build a relationship. And you can’t do that if you’re void you’re not there in your emails, you’re just sharing other articles or you’re just sharing tips without any story, like really put yourself in it. And don’t be afraid to do that.

Rachel: Alright, guys, so we are going to conclude this episode. I hope this was really helpful. I’m sure it will help to not only improve your list building, but really think about these conversations. When you do get people into a direct message or a personal message. You need to build that relationship. 

So think about your marketing always as building a relationship and how can you infuse your story? Think about your own method, your own system, what are the things that have helped you to get better? What are the things that have helped people that you’ve helped and to make sure to infuse those into the emails? So guys, stay tuned for the next episode.

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