What is the best email marketing system for coaches?
That’s the number 1 question I get asked by clients who are either just starting out in the online space or who are scaling their businesses. And it’s no surprise because we all know that email marketing is one of the most powerful ways to stay connected to our communities.
CRMs are one of the most powerful tools you could use to track those relationships. It is a really crucial system to have in your business.
Why Should Coaches Use an Email Marketing System?
The truth is, you can’t really efficiently run a business without an email marketing system.
Email marketing systems allow you to build a list of subscribers, email them regularly with both nurture and promotional content, segment your subscribers by interest and behavior so that you can create customized and personalized content.
Email marketing systems support your lead generation, nurture, conversion AND delivery, all critical phases that support your business.
What is CRM?
CRM is an acronym for Customer Relationship Management Software. A CRM quite often has email marketing capabilities.
However, it also combines data tracking such as conversations, sales, and a host of other customer activities. Some email marketing systems simply do email marketing and nothing more.
Things Coaches Should Consider When Choosing an Email Marketing System or a CRM
One of the problems I see quite often is business owners blindly following the email marketing system recommendations of their coach or peers. This is a good way to find out what is working or not working for someone else’s business.
But there are other factors to consider when deciding which email marketing system (or any system for that matter) will work for your business.
1. Where Are You Right Now? Where Do You Want To Go?
There are email marketing systems that are more suitable for people who are just starting out. Then there are those more suitable for people who are in the process of scaling or have already scaled.
You need to think about where you are now and how quickly you want to grow. This may save you from having to pick a system that caters to you right now, but then having to migrate later.
2. What Do You Need Your Email Marketing System To Do (Functionality)?
Obviously, you want a system with email marketing capabilities – that’s a given. But what if you have a sales team and want a system that is able to track leads or commissions?
Or you may be a coach in the process of scaling your business – this could result in several affiliate collaborations. Not all systems are able to track these.
3. How Robust Of an Email Marketing System Do You Need As a Coach?
This is linked to the paragraph above. How robust a system you need would depend on how quickly you want to grow your business, and if you want a system that is able to grow with you.
If you have a small team (or none at all), there are systems like Active Campaign that have a sliding scale and are a lot more intuitive and user friendly at the back end. That would make it easy for your VA (who may not know much about CRMs) to figure it out.
A marketing platform like Ontraport or Infusionsoft are a lot more robust and would typically be more suited to a scaling coaching business that has a team of skilled tech people proficient in that system.
4. What Is Your Budget?
If you are a coach just starting out or even scaling you might be looking to streamline your costs to boost profitability. You may be looking for something more economical for you and your business. Perhaps even an email marketing system that offers a free pricing tier, like Mailchimp or ConvertKit will work for you.
With that said, I typically do not recommend MailChimp because it offers a ‘list-based’ email marketing system, which can be very limiting. ConvertKit is a much better option as it offers a ‘subscriber-centric’ email marketing system.
With a ‘list-based’ email marketing system every contact that’s in your database is counted as one contact in each list they are on. So if you have one contact who appears on five lists that is counted as five contacts.
Anytime you want to send an email to multiple lists you would have to duplicate the email and send to each list. On the other hand, in a ‘subscriber-centric’ or ‘contact-based’ email marketing system, everything is based on the contact (subscriber) themselves, not the list they are on.
In the subscriber’s record you will see what campaigns they are in, what lists they are in, and what automation they are part of. You can send an email to a group of contacts based on shared conditions rather than just what lists they are on.
5. Do You Prefer an Email Marketing System That Offers Everything On One Platform?
Just as you have stand-alone systems that interact with each other (Active Campaign for email marketing, ClickFunnels for landing pages, and Kajabi for course management), there are also systems considered to be ‘all-in-ones’ like Ontraport. For systems like Ontraport, you have a landing page builder, email marketing, affiliate marketing, order processing, sales, and leads tracking all in one place. It even has course management!
Another example of an ‘all-in-one system is Kajabi. So you’ll want to consider if you’re someone who wants to get an all-in-one (which could be more economical for you), or is happy with stand-alone systems. You might choose a stand alone system just because you have had it in place for years.
The last thing you probably want is to have to migrate all your data to another system. After it’s all said and done – if there’s one thing I’ve learned in five years of working in hundreds of online systems – it is this:
Every email marketing system has its pros and cons.
So I recommend trying out systems. Get your team or at least the person who will be working in that system to try it out. It is why most, if not all, email marketing software systems have a trial period.
Take a test drive. Try out the main functionality you are looking for and see if that particular interface works for you.
The Best Email Marketing Systems for Coaches
What email mailing systems do I personally recommend for coaches? I have two that I really love and think work well.
I love Active Campaign not only because it is designed to cater to people just starting out, but it is a system that can grow with you. It has a lot of robust features even at the lower tiers.
I particularly love its visual campaign builder, its SMS marketing, and the fact that you can build landing pages on the platform if you need to. I will say that I don’t necessarily recommend using Active Campaign for landing pages, but it can be ideal if you’re just starting out.
If you’re in the process of scaling your business, meaning you have a bigger team, a bigger list, and are running an affiliate program amongst other things, the system I recommend to all my clients is Ontraport. Ontraport offers all that Active Campaign does, plus a whole lot more.
It is considered an all-in-one marketing system and they have been around for a really long time. It is very much a CRM with robust email marketing functionalities that enables you to track sales and leads. But even then it has a shorter learning curve than say, Infusionsoft, for instance.
From its ability to set up affiliate centers, order forms, and membership sites, to integrate with Stripe and PayPal – Ontraport has it all. Yet it is offered at a fair price, making it a very good value for your money considering all you get in it.
But my favorite thing about Ontraport has to be their customer support. They probably have one of the best I have personally come across. And they are constantly upgrading and up-leveling their system to support their users more efficiently.
Whatever system you decide to use, take the time to do some research and think about what core features you need and where you want the system to take you in the next couple of years. It will save you a lot of time and hassle in the long run.
Coaching Email Ideas To Grow Your Business
Best email marketing platforms for coaches is still one of the most effective ways to generate business growth if you’re doing it right. I’ve seen it far too many times that coaches focus so much on gaining new email subscribers (which of course is important), but then actually do little to nothing with them.
Here are a few ideas on how to use email to grow your business.
A welcome series is a way to welcome and initiate new subscribers into your community once they’ve joined your list. They’re typically set up to send immediately upon them opting into your list. They can be as short as a 3-email sequence or I’ve seen them up to 15 emails. A welcome series typically includes some mixture of the following:
- The delivery of whatever it is they signed up for (i.e. your lead magnet)
- An introduction to who you are, what you do, and why you do it
- What they can expect from being in your community
- How they can stay connected with you
- A next step or CTA (call to action)
Email marketing is not considered effective if you can’t get people to open your emails. The best way to create strong engagement or improve engagement is to offer value through your emails by way of nurturing emails.
Nurture emails are exactly what they sound like, they nurture your audience, encourage or help them grow or develop in some way. Depending on how you help people, nurture emails could be quick actionable tips, motivational inspiration, downloads, transmissions, or meditations. The goal of nurturing emails is to provide value, build trust, and help people understand the pillars of what you do and how you can help.
A great way to make sure you’re on track with whose on your list and the content you’re providing is to survey your list via email.
Curious about what kind of content is resonating with them? Ask them in a survey. Wondering what kind of content would be supportive for them to receive going forward? Ask them in a survey. Thinking of launching a new offer but not sure you’re on the right track? Ask them in a survey.
Surveying your audience will help to understand them more deeply, so you can serve them at a higher level, and ensure you’re creating a mutually beneficial relationship with your list.
Don’t Forget To Promote
Let’s be real, the main purpose behind an email list isn’t just to create community (though that’s an incredible benefit)! Building your email list is designed to create an audience of people to serve with your offers, thereby growing your revenue and your business.
So, while supporting your list through nurture emails is super important and not to be forgotten, just as important not to forget is to actually make offers to your list. There will of course be a percentage of your list that just wants to reap the benefit of your nurture content, but there will be others that want and are ready to gain additional support and if you’re not marketing to your list, they’re never gonna know about it.
As you can see email marketing for coaches is a smart way to grow your business – especially when you choose the right email marketing system for you.
Choosing the right email marketing system can feel overwhelming. After all, there is a lot to choose from. But being clear on how you intend to use the system, where your business is going, and your budget will all help you find the best solution for your business needs. If you’re not sure how to get clear on these things, hiring a systems expert can support you.
Once you choose two to three, sign up for a free trial to take them for a test drive and see which one best suits you. Once you make your final decision, you’re ready to start using an email marketing campaign to grow your business!