Not sure where to start when it comes to advisor marketing? Unclear about the best tactics to try or how to get organized?
It’s a struggle to get started because there are so many options… and with the various paths you can take, endless opinions about which one is best.
Creative Advisor Marketing’s Content Marketing Q & A series aims to solve some of those problems by providing clarity and direction for financial pros who want simple, straightforward answers to real questions.
My goal? To give you the information you need to move forward with confidence in your inbound marketing strategies.
Small Business Questions Around Content Marketing, Answered
This is a mailbag-style series, meaning these questions come from YOU: advisors, small business owners, and readers of this site.
In this mail call, we’re talking emails that are concise so they don’t exhaust your reader — and how to deal with exhaustion when it’s your own.
Question: When crafting emails to prospects, what is your secret to finding the right email length?
I tend to put too much detail in emails, but don’t want to leave anything out about how I think I can help someone.
— Jud Mallini, CFP® and founder of Together Planning
Answer: First of all, let me applaud you for such a thoughtful question. I appreciate that you’re not just thinking of yourself and what you have to say here — you’re concerned about what’s appropriate for your readers.
This is an excellent position to start from.
I don’t think there’s a precise word count when it comes to the “right” email length. I think what’s right depends on a number of factors, including:
- What your readers need, want, and expect from you.
- The complexity of your message.
- What you’re asking readers to do after receiving your email.
I share the tendency to put way too much detail in everything I write. When it comes to blog posts, that’s usually a good thing and it gets good results. But every time I ask someone to read over an email draft, the feedback is, “this is too long.”
They’re almost always right, and I find ways to cut what turns out to be fluff from the email so it’s more direct — and ultimately, a more useful email than the one stuffed full of information.
In general, shorter is better when it comes to email. But that’s not necessarily very helpful in answering your question. Since there’s not a specific word count I think you should hit (every situation requires a different level of depth to the message you send to someone), I can share the process I use to pare down to essentials in email:
- I write out my long-winded draft in full. I don’t censor or edit myself; I brain-dump everything onto the table so I have all the information I want to share in once place.
- I may request someone else read over the email and make an edit (especially if it’s an email involving some emotion OR a concept I feel is difficult to explain in writing). Otherwise, I’ll just save it as a draft and come back to it in an hour or two.
- When I revisit my email, it’s suddenly much easier to see the fluff I need to cut out. I go ahead and trim the email down to a more manageable size.
Specifically, I look for indirect phrases or “hedging” words when I’m trying to whittle down the email. Here’s an example: “I think I could probably get that done for you in just about 2 weeks,” becomes the much stronger, more concise “I can do this in 2 weeks.”
Then, I identify paragraphs where I could simply provide a link to a place on my site or another website that contains the explanation or answer I wanted to give.
Instead of listing out every single one of my services, for example, I can just say, “You can get a feel for what I do on this page. We can also develop a custom engagement for you, but let me know if anything here matches what you want.”
I also try to find ways I can invite someone to share about their problems or goals. The more detail they can give me, the more succinctly I can reply.
If someone emails me and says, “I’m interested in working with you, how can you help me?” my response will not be a novel-long email about the services I provide. Instead, I ask some variation of, “Do you have something specific in mind that you need help with or want to accomplish?”
These actions help me reduce the length and complexity of my emails. Beyond taking these steps, I constantly remind myself to get to the point.
I challenge myself to skip introductions or explanations and be direct as possible. I invite people to reply with questions or requests for clarification if they need it — and they rarely do.
Question: How can I keep working on my business when I’m totally exhausted?
I feel like I can barely keep my eyes open these days. Sad, I know. I’ve accomplished a lot in my life in
the past, but I am really struggling with energy at the moment.
Answer: This is a tough one to deal with, because I believe the right, best answer will vary from person to person. Just like anxiety, I think “exhaustion” comes in many stripes and impacts different people in unique ways.
Still, I would love to speak to this from my experience and provide some thoughts on what’s helped me recover from burnout or pure and total lack of motivation.
Please keep in mind these ideas might not work for you. They may not be helpful, and they could be entirely counterproductive.
If you struggle with chronic exhaustion, there may be underlying mental or physical health issues causing it — and that’s okay! But if this is the case, seek help from the pros who can address the problem and not just through ideas from personal experience at you.
That being said, I might start by seeking out the root problem. Often, things like exhaustion are caused by very simple things that we do or don’t do.
Start with how you’re caring for yourself physically. Are you…
- Getting 8 hours of sleep every night? If not, make that your goal this week. Commit to going to bed at a set time and waking up at a set time every day (and make sure those set times provide you with 15 to 30 minutes of time for you to actually fall asleep once you’re in bed!).
- Eating whole foods? The specific type of diet that’s right for you won’t necessarily look the same as someone else’s. You might need more animal-based proteins to feel good than someone else, who may feel their best when they’re eating mostly plants. But most folks operate at a higher level when they eat whole foods and skip the processed stuff. If it has more than 5 ingredients on the label, try cutting it out of your diet. Consider eating plant-based meals and add in additional foods, like meat or eggs, according to your preferences.
- Incorporating movement into your day, every day? It might be hard to go and move your body when you’re exhausted — but exercise can actually provide you with more energy and help you sleep better at night. Think about going for a 30-minute walk every day if you don’t have an exercise routine now. Consider committing to an exercise you enjoy, 3 times a week. You don’t have to go crazy, but some sort of movement may help you feel better.
If you’re not checking one or all of these boxes, think about starting here. If you can take care of yourself physically, some of that exhaustion may fade and you might find you have more energy to run your business day to day.
Of course, the problem could be deeper than simply getting more sleep.
Is something (outside of your business) causing you stress, like a relationship or lack of community? Do you feel like you’re struggling with personal challenges, like feeling confident or accepting a part of yourself?
Take a moment to be honest with yourself and pinpoint areas where you might feel an intense sense of unease. That worry might weigh you down and leave you feeling lethargic and unable to do much when it comes to business.
The solution to those problems will vary. A personal development workshop could make a difference. Seeing a therapist on a regular basis could be life-changing. Blocking out time in your calendar to see and visit friends could leave you feeling energized.
Explore some options and give some a try — and then, record how you feel after. It’s helpful to keep a log of your thoughts, feelings, and energy levels as you try on different solutions so you can clearly see what works and what doesn’t for you.
Hopefully, these tips give you a starting point to move forward from. I think this will be a journey that will take some time, because again, the best solution for you may not look like what works for me.
But I’ll leave you with a few more simple tips that I find help me tremendously when I’m feeling tired, defeated, and dragging from lack of energy:
- Acknowledge how you feel and don’t make yourself wrong for it.
- Breathe. Seriously! Whenever you find yourself feeling oppressed by any feeling, be it stress or exhaustion or anything else, take a few minutes to step back from whatever you’re doing and breathe deeply.
- Ask yourself what you need. Then be quiet and listen. What comes to mind for you? Maybe it’s taking a nap. Maybe it’s taking a week off from work and life and general and scheduling nothing on your calendar. Maye it’s a trip into nature for a weekend. Maybe it’s taking a hard look at your business and revamping or restructuring it so it works for you.
- Ask for help. If someone can do something for you, ask them. Lean on a community for support.
- If you don’t have a community, seek one out. There are amazing groups online and off that could likely provide you with the help you need. Reaching out, to an old friend or new, is one of the best first steps you can take to solving any problem.
Have Content Marketing Questions? Get Answers!
I invite you to send me the questions you have around:
- Inbound marketing
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Project management
- Freelancing or entrepreneurship
- Strategy and creative development
…or whatever it is that’s on your mind as an advisor or business owner who wants to start growing influence and gaining clients.
I’ll answer your question directly in an upcoming mailbag so you can stop feeling stuck and start taking action.