June 6, 2023

Episode 15:

How an Email List Can Help You Grow Your Private Practice

In this episode, we’ll discuss how an email list can help you grow your private practice by building trust with your ideal client.

Episode 15: How an Email List Can Help You Grow Your Private Practice

Show Notes

Welcome back to The Designer Practice Podcast, and I’m your host, Kayla Das. In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about how an email list can help you grow your private practice. Email marketing is not a new thing. Many of us receive emails into our inbox, sometimes even an hourly basis from the companies that we have subscribed to.

And email marketing is really a great way to reach your ideal client and build trust with them. In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about what email marketing is. We’re going to talk about the benefits of email marketing. We’re going to talk about how email marketing helps you build trust with your ideal client. And I’m going to give you some practical strategies on starting your email list today, if you haven’t already started it.

So, let’s dive in.

What is Email Marketing?

So, you might be thinking, what is email marketing, really? It’s when you send out emails to those who have subscribed to your email list and you provide them content. Usually, it’s on a weekly basis or a biweekly basis, or sometimes even on a monthly basis. Whatever seems realistic for you in your practice. But basically, you are sending them emails with helpful content in return.

Benefits of Email Marketing

One of the benefits is that you save money, and this is because as you grow your email list, you can spend less money on paid ads. So, whether you’re investing in pay-per-click ads such as Facebook ads or Google Ads. Or maybe you’re putting an ad in the local newspaper or a local magazine, or whatever it is that you’re paying for, that can become costly over time. But with an email list, those on your email list are essentially free. And although you may pay for an email marketing platform, the cost is significantly lower than having to pay for ads over and over again.

The second benefit is that your email list is in your complete control, meaning that you can send out emails to who, when, and how often that you like. Also email marketing is a modern way to reach people really fast. According to Harvard Business ReviewPeople check their emails around 15 times a day or every 37 minutes on average.” That is really quick, and although we can estimate that people may check their social media platforms even more than that. Because of the algorithms, we never see all of the posts that people make. In addition, your perspective clients may not always see your posts, whether they’re following your business page or you’re paying for pay-per-click ads, it doesn’t mean that people are going to see it.

The other piece with this as well is that with emails, you can start building trust with your ideal clients. Whereas if people are seeing pay-per-click ads or even an ad in a newspaper, they are just skimming and scrolling by, that’s not building trust with clients. And going back to the Harvard Business Review statistic that people check their emails every 37 minutes on average. In my practice, when I send out emails, usually within the first hour of sending my emails, more than half of my average open rate has opened their email.

So just to give you some context, my average open rate is around 50 to 55% per email, give or take. And usually within the first hour, about 25 to 30% has opened my email. Now do I know if they read my email? I don’t know that for sure, but I can tell that they have clicked on it. So, it shows that people are really checking their emails and you are reaching people very, very quickly.

The Know, Like and Trust Factor

So, I want to dig into that Know, Like and Trust factor piece. When it comes to effective marketing, first of all, people need to know you are out there. They need to know that your practice exists. They need to know the services you provide or the products that you sell. People need to know you exist because if they don’t know you exist, they’re going to go to somebody. They also need to like what you have to offer. So, both your services or your products, like maybe you’re selling digital courses or you have a membership or something on that line. They need to like what you have to offer.

And then finally, and this is the most important part of effective marketing, which many marketing strategies miss the mark on, is that you want to build trust with your ideal client. They need to trust you and what you have to offer, and that what you have to offer will help them achieve some result or goal that they are looking for.

And when it comes to email marketing, it really helps build that trust because they are getting emails from you consistently. It’s not like a pay-per-click ad, or it’s not like a newspaper ad where they see it once and then it’s gone. That doesn’t build trust. It might build the know factor, and it also might build the like factor. But it’s not building the trust factor because they really don’t know if they can trust that ad yet.

Ideally when they like what they see on that ad, they might click on that ad, and then we need to start building that trust. So how do we build that trust? It’s through free content that is how we build trust.

Building Trust with Free Content

And if you’ve been following me at all, whether it’s through this podcast, whether it’s through my email list, or whether it’s through my blogs or social media, or wherever it is that you might be following me, you know that I love providing free content. Whether it’s free lead magnets, so things that people can opt into, and we’re going to talk about that in a second. Or if it’s providing blog posts or podcast episodes, like this episode today. And the reason is when people know and like you, they need to build that trust. Trust is not just given. So, through free content, people can start building that trust with you.

So, one of the most common mistakes when it comes to email marketing and really many types of marketing for that matter, is that when people send out emails or they create ads, it’s about selling something. So, selling the service, selling the product, and the only time that they send out emails or have ads is when they are selling something. But you’re missing the trust factor here, and if you don’t build trust, more people are going to unsubscribe from your email list and you’re not going to have high open rates.

So going back to when I mentioned that on average my open rate is 50 to 55%, that is really good. If you Googled what the average open rate is, it’s usually around 20%. But I honestly and truly believe the reason I have such high open rates is because people know that there is going to be something of value there.

In saying that, of course I do sell my services and I do sell my products, but I come from a place of value. I come from a place of building that trust with you so you want to keep opening my emails, you want to keep listening to my podcasts, all of those good things.

Two Types of Free Content

So how can you create free content that people want to read, hear, or even open in your emails. So, there’s two ways you can create free content.

Inclusive Free Content

The first is through what I call inclusive free content. You might hear many marketers call this ungated content, and really essentially what it is, is that anyone can land on the content without having to sign up or paying for it or really exchanging their email for anything to read or listen to that content. So, this could be your blogs, this could be your podcasts, video blogs, social media posts. Basically, it’s free. Anyone in the world can go on it. It’s very inclusive because there’s no restrictions on that.

Exclusive Free Content

The second type is what I call exclusive free content, and many marketers call this gated content. This is where people have to sign up for something usually in exchange for their email, to receive that free content that you have to offer. It’s exclusive because not everyone can access it unless they sign up and they exchange their email for that thing. And this is usually what people call either lead magnets, opt-ins, freebies, giveaways. You might hear it called all of those terms. But typical lead magnets or freebies that people give are checklists, cheat sheets, questionnaires, guides, eBooks, worksheets, pre-recorded webinars or gated podcast episodes, meaning people have to sign up for the episodes to get them, templates, quizzes. And I have almost all of these.

I have social media templates that people can sign up for free. I have a blog topic generator worksheet. I have pre-recorded webinars. And if you’re starting out, you don’t have to have all of these. I’ve built this over time, but it’s really important to think about, how can I create something that people want to exchange their email for whatever it is I have to offer.

I see this a lot on private practice websites is a sign up to join my newsletter. And although on my website you would find that at certain spaces, actually I have one right under my main blog webpage. It’s not the only way you want to have people sign up. And the reason this is not the only way you want people to sign up is because people are not usually going to sign up for a newsletter. And I’ve only had very few people sign up under my signup or my newsletter tab, but I have lots of people signing up for my quiz, for my checklist, for my free social media templates. People are signing up for that because they are getting something in return. And because we receive so many email marketing things in our emails each day. People don’t want just another newsletter. They want something of value that they can have. And that would be your lead magnet or your freebie. But it’s exclusive because they have to sign up for it.

Create Content from a Value-First Perspective

So, the key to email marketing, whether you provide inclusive free, or exclusive free content, which it’s always good to balance both, come from the mindset of value-first. Making sure that whatever you give, whether it’s inclusive or exclusive, that it is valuable. So, value first and selling second. So even though in the long run, the goal is that people sign up for your email list so that they eventually buy your stuff. You want to build that trust and value gives trust. Me, providing you this content today, ideally, is helping you build trust with me because I am giving you something for free, right?

Whether you do or do not ever reach out and buy any of my services or products. I’m still building that trust with you. And that’s what you want to provide for your ideal client because they start trusting you, and you’re the first of mind when they need whatever it is that you are either selling or the service that you provide.

Passive income and Email Marketing

And I want to tie this back to passive income, because as you know I love passive income and I do believe that some type of passive income stream should be added into our private practice. I have four passive income streams working on a fifth at this moment. And how email lists really help is that as you build your email list, you can funnel content, whether it’s free or whether it’s paid, you are funneling through your email list.

So, for an example, with my email list, weekly, I’ll send updates that I either created a podcast episode or that I created a blog and basically, I send it out to my email list so that they know it exists so that they know it’s out there, right? Know, Like and Trust. They need to know that blog is out there, otherwise they’re never going to click on it. And with that they then have the choice of whether or not they read or listen to my content. But it helps me funnel people to that content. And of course, if it’s a paid service, so maybe it’s a digital course or maybe it’s your one-to-one services, then you can send out that as well.

Email Marketing Compliance

So, there’s something I really want to touch on. We’re not going to go into great detail, but it’s really important for you to know. When you are creating an email list, there are spam laws that you need to keep in mind when you are starting email marketing. Now, depending on where you live, there are different spam laws. In Canada, we have CASL, so CASL. In the US there’s CAN-SPAM Act. And in the EU there’s GDPR.

Basically, each legislation has its own rules and regulations, and I am not a lawyer, so we’re not going down spam laws. But I do want to provide you some helpful things to know, as a general rule, important for your email marketing to stay compliant with legislation.

So, like I said, each legislation has its own rules and regulations on how you obtain email addresses, and then also the process in which you take to obtain those email addresses. We won’t go down in detail because I don’t know all of the legislation. I will have links to each legislation in the show notes if you scroll down below so that you can read more up on your specific legislation.

Permission to Send Emails

But a few things to know as a general rule, when you have an email list, you have to be given permission by the person to be added to an email list, and they need to know that what they are signing up is your email list. So, you want to be very transparent in however you’re obtaining people’s email addresses that they are signing up for your email and that they have given you permission to do so.

That’s why it’s important that whenever you have, say, a free lead magnet, you have a small blurb, usually at the bottom saying that by giving you their email, they are signing up for your email newsletter. But they have the ability to unsubscribe at any time. And if people decide after you giving them that blurb. They’re like, I don’t want to sign up for this email letter. They are obviously not going to get that free guide or free freebie, whatever it is that you are providing them and their right to turn away from that. And that’s why having something free versus just a sign up for my newsletter is helpful because it entices or encourages people to subscribe because they have the choice to not sign up for your freebie. But if your freebie is really that good, they’re probably going to say to themselves, “Yeah, maybe I should sign up for this. I can unsubscribe at any time.”

Unsubscribe Button on Emails

Another general rule is you need to have an unsubscribe button on your email list, so using your regular Gmail account to send out emails in bulk, won’t have that. So, I encourage you, even if you BCC people’s email addresses, to not send it out through your regular email account.

So, it’s best to use an email marketing platform to write and send out your emails, which can be integrated into your email. When my emails are sent out, it looks like it’s coming from my regular email, although it’s coming from my provider, which I use Convertkit for my email marketing. But email marketing platforms actually have an unsubscribe button built into them so that subscribers can unsubscribe. So, this is really important with being compliant.

And I’ve actually just recently had someone who very obviously added me to their email list. I tried to unsubscribe. They still continue to send emails out and I am not building trust with that person. Actually, if anything, I am getting very irritated with emails like that. So, the other piece of this too is when we think of trust is people want to know that they can at least at some time, if they decide that they no longer want to be added to that email list, that they can stop getting your emails. So, there’s a lot of email providers out there, there’s Convertkit, MailChimp, Aweber, Active Campaign, some all-in-one platform such as Kajabi, have email marketing capabilities. And even you can integrate platforms with Kajabi. Because I use Convertkit as my email marketing platform because I’ve been using that even before I had Kajabi. But I can integrate it so they work kind of hand-in-hand. So that’s how I send out emails.

A Footer on Your Emails

As a little extra, I add a footer at the end of all of my emails. It’s just a template that I created explaining to the subscriber that they had signed up for my emails. I list my name. I list my business name. I list at its resources for therapists and coaches in private practice. As well as how they can unsubscribe. In my opinion, it provides a gentle reminder to subscribers that they did in fact sign up for my email. Even if they can’t remember how they’ve signed up. And this is it, people are signing up for things every single day that they may not remember that they had signed up with you.

And actually, a lot of clients tell me, “I’ve been on your email list for quite some time. I don’t know how I got there, but I’m there.” So, they can’t remember how they got there, but this just reminds them that they did. But if they are having subscribers remorse and they want to unsubscribe, I say, feel free to click the unsubscribe button below. And this also helps build trust too, because it reminds them, “Oh, you know what, maybe I’ll give these emails a try because I know that I can subscribe anytime.” I almost find it like kind of helpful. It actually encourages people to stay on because now they’ve been given the direction that this is how you can if you want to, and then it gives people that chance to continue to get my email so that I can build trust with them.

Something that I also find really important, I’m going to give you analogy here. Is that think of when people come to your door trying to sell things. And they were uninvited. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it can feel a little invasive or maybe it’s not the right time and I look at email marketing, very much the same. If you start adding people without being completely transparent, without giving them all the information that they need to know that they are signing up and that they know that they can withdraw that consent at any time, it might not feel so trustworthy for them. You don’t want to be uninvited to somebody’s email. You want them engaged. If you invited someone to your house, you are going to let them in, you are going to be more engaged. You are going to hear what they have to say. And it’s because you’ve done it on your terms.

So going back to your ideal client, by having them sign up for a lead magnet, something free, something that they enjoyed, something that they liked, something that they found helpful. One, is already building trust because they found it helpful for them. Two, it gets them on their email list where you can start engaging with them, helping them learn more, giving them small wins along the way, funneling inclusive free content. Maybe you might even give them exclusive free content too, just to your email list. So really the point is that when people feel that it’s on their terms, they are going to listen to you more. So being very transparent, setting it up in a way that you would want to have if someone were to send you emails.

Setting up an Email Marketing Provider

You might be thinking now, “Okay, this is all great information, but how do I set up my emails?” So, when you choose your marketing platform, like I said, Convertkit, you can choose based on what’s realistic for you to send out emails. I actually send out emails every week. Sometimes, depending on if I’m in a launch or maybe there might be two things that happen the specific week, I might send two a week. But usually, it’s once a week.

However, one of the biggest mistakes that happen, and this is with all marketing, this isn’t just therapists, this is across the board, is that all we do is send out emails to sell. So, I do not send out an email each week selling something. Actually, I only sell something usually every month and a half to two months. I’ll have a sales email. Now, I might have two or three emails if I’m selling something in a week, if there’s something big happening. But in general, I don’t sell every week. I give free content most of the time and this helps build trust.

Let me give you an example, at the time of recording this episode, I sent out an email a couple weeks ago, just reminding people that I do one-to-one coaching and that if they would like to book a free consult to please do so. I had 20 consults booked just from that one email in the first 24 hours. Of course, not all of those consults became paid clients. We know that not every consult’s going to lead to a paid client. Consults itself is an exclusive free service as well, because the truth is people can have a consult with you. There’s no obligation but they learn a little bit more about you, your service, and maybe you’ll give a tip or two along the way. I know I do, at least in business coaching, I’ll give a little tip or a strategy or something to help people with what they’re doing.

Create an Email Marketing Strategy

But when we think of free content, we want to ensure that when we’re creating it, we’re setting it up with some sort of strategy or some sort of thing that matters to us. So, for instance, I always give emails for my podcast and my blogs, but I monetize my blogs and I monetize my podcast. So even though it’s free for people and it builds that Know, Like, and Trust factor, no one has to buy anything from me from listening to this podcast. Nobody has to buy anything if they go on my blogs. But I do monetize it, so it helps me gain income through that content.

But I think the important thing here, and this is where that value first selling second comes into play, is that you want to think of your strategy beyond making money.

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation with Email Marketing

There needs to be some intrinsic motivation or intrinsic reason on why you are doing what you’re doing, whether it’s a paid service, whether it’s free, whether it’s a lead magnet, whatever it is, there needs to be some intrinsic motivation over the extrinsic. And extrinsic is money. Of course, I am not saying that money isn’t important, income isn’t important. I wouldn’t be able to continue to provide you these podcasts to give you all of this free content, if I wasn’t getting paid.

But the reason that I do this is not for the money. The reason I provide or at least try to provide valuable content that I think will be interesting for you as a listener is because I consider myself a connector where I want to connect therapists and coaches like yourself to steps, strategies, resources, experts, and give inspiration all in one place so that you can feel that you have the tools to start, grow, and scale your practice, and that you start building that confidence along the way.

So even though money and income is important, I couldn’t do what I do without it. The reason I do it is deeper than the money. I can continually show up because I want to give you everything in one place that can help you grow your practice, design a practice that you love.

In my business, collaboration is a huge part of my business model. I don’t proclaim to know everything, although I hope to learn everything someday, but I want you to hear from the voices of people that are experts in specific areas while also showcasing my own experience and my own expertise, and that is why I have guests on this podcast. That’s why I am affiliates and sponsors with others because I know these are resources. These are experts. These are steps. These are strategies. These are hopefully inspiration that can help you design your practice the way you want to have it designed.

So, as you can see, although money and income help me to sustain my work, and thank you for everyone who do sign up for the products in my podcast ads, or those who click on my blog to read them. That is a huge help in keeping me going. But money isn’t my driving factor. Connecting, collaborating and closing the practice resource gap that I see are the reasons that I do this.

And it’s not surprising that these are all rooted heavily in my professional and personal values. My business values are connection, collaboration, and value first. So that grounds me. That helps me. That is why I do what I do, I want to connect, collaborate, and provide value.

So now I encourage you to think about why outside of money, of course, you do what you do. Whether it’s your services, whether it’s a digital course, whether it’s a membership, whether it’s a blog, a podcast, an email list, social media, whatever it is, I want you to think about why you’re doing it.

Because when it comes to maintaining your email list, or even your practice for that matter, your intrinsic reason for doing it is going to be much stronger than the external factors influencing it, such as money. So, I want to repeat that again. Your intrinsic reason for doing the thing that you. Is going to be stronger than the external factors influencing it, such as money?


So next week on The Designer Practice Podcast, I’m actually going to take this a step further and we’re going to be getting hyper-specific about the steps that you need to take to create a service-aligned lead magnet. So, a lead magnet, opt-in, freebie, whatever you want to call it. That’s what we’re going to talk about next day. I’m going to give you steps on how to do that. So that you can start getting people on your email list so that they are exchanging their email for that free offer you have to give them. So that you can then funnel your content, your offers, and your services.

Thanks everyone for tuning in to today’s episode. I hope this was valuable. If you have a friend or a colleague that you think that this episode would be valuable for them, please share this episode or the Designer Practice podcast as a whole to a colleague or a friend, because the more people that can hear all of this content and get all of this inclusive free content, the better.

Thank you everyone.

Until next time. Bye for now.

Podcast Links

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Credits & Disclaimers

Music by ItsWatR from Pixabay

The Designer Practice Podcast and Evaspare Inc. has an affiliate and/or sponsorship relationship for advertisements in our podcast episodes. We receive commission or monetary compensation, at no extra cost to you, when you use our promotional codes and/or check out advertisement links.


Plummer, M. (2019). Harvard Business Review. How to Spend Way Less Time on Email Every Day. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2019/01/how-to-spend-way-less-time-on-email-every-day#:~:text=On%20average%2C%20professionals%20check%20their,in%20less%20than%20an%20hour.

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