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One Email That Could Double Your Client List

There’s one email that you can’t not send if you’re looking for new clients. Skipping this means you’re leaving money on the table and missing a huge opportunity to turn subscribers into megafans.

It only takes a little time each day and it has the potential to change your business forever!

And since I know you’re in your business for the long haul and are really committed to making it work, I know you’ll want to take action on this week’s Build Your Business Challenge, Actionable Advice in 60 Seconds or Less.

Check out the video, and start taking action!

Go here to dive into last week’s six-email action challenge.

Are you accepting this week’s action challenge?

First, tweet about it!

Then, declare it in the comments below, get to work, and report back when you’ve done it.

And if you have tips on this week’s challenge, please share them in the comments as well.

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{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karen

I am in the process of doing this now, thanks Jenny!


2 Jenny Shih

Excellent!! Report back when it’s done so I can virtual high-five you!


3 Michele Santo

Starting this today. Great idea!


4 Jenny Shih

Woohoo!! Like with Karen, I’ll be watching for your report back when it’s done for that high-five!


5 Paula

I am up for the challenge, however, I just recently switched email addresses and not sure how I can prevent it from going into their junk mail box. Any suggestions would be sooo appreciated!

Thanks, Jenny!


6 Fon James, The Emergency Business Coach

Hey Paula,
What if you sent an email through your autoresponder and told them to look for an email from your “paula loves you @ email (i.e. you new email). LOL. This way they know to whitelist that email too!
Just a thought to keep you from getting stuck on worrying about the junk folder.
Hope it keeps ya moving.


7 Jenny Shih

I wouldn’t worry about your new email address getting caught in filters. As long as it’s a fresh email address, you should be fine in most cases.


8 Kendrick Shope

This is some of the best advice I’ve heard. “All things being equal friends buy from friends. All things being unequal friends buy from friends” That simply means people crave connection. This is sales genius!


9 Fon James, The Emergency Business Coach

You are definitely right Kendrick. I just sold an Emergency VIP Day to my past client (who is also a friend). We did the session yesterday and it was absolutely fabulous and she wants MORE! Sometimes we can get caught up in the mindset of “if they bought once, they won’t buy again” but that’s a bunch of B.S!


10 Jenny Shih

You are the authentic selling maven, so if this gets your stamp of approval, then these ladies better listen up!!

Thanks for the great reminder that these emails should sound like they’re coming from friends. That’s super important!


11 Leah

But how do you differentiate a personal email from an autoresponder?

I already send my broadcasts/autoreponses from my personal email address, use really conversational language, and are on a non-formatted text, i.e. it already pretty much looks exactly like a personal email.

How can I assure that my personal email will get opened, and, most of all RECOGNIZED as a personal email?


12 Fon James, The Emergency Business Coach

I think it would require you to be even MORE personable. If the person on your list is a past client, you can see how things are going since your work or since they bought your product. If the person has never worked with you, you can say something about the item they downloaded and ask if they need more support or how things went with it. I think it’s all in your mindset when you type the personal email out. Your mindset should be on that specific person…which is totally different when you do autoresponder…it’s subtle but noticeable on the receiving end. I can tell when I get a personal email…even if its from their autoresponder address. Hope that helps ya!


13 Leah

I know that when someone finally OPENS the email, it will be noticeable that it’s not an autoresponder, but it’s in getting them to open that makes me unsure. Maybe I’ll say, “Hey, this isn’t an autoresponder, I wanna talk to you!” or something :)

I may try a test batch of 200 or so people (those who routinely open my emails anyway) before I commit to doing my whole list.

This would definitely be a major, major, major time commitment!


14 Jenny Shih

I’d suggest starting withs something like “Hey Name! I wanted to personally reach out and email you (not from my email list)…”

If people have preview turned on in their email, they’ll see the first few lines.

You could also try the subject “A personal note from Leah,” but I’ve seen people do that in mass emails so I’m not sure it will work.

Last thought: some people will always not open some emails; that’s just how it goes. But those who do open will be delighted to see it’s really from you, personally.


15 Jenny Shih

Didn’t you do this before, Leah? When you were first starting out? :-) What worked then?


16 Leah

I have my autoresponder sending a “can I help you with anything” email about a week after they get my freebie, which works really well for me. On average, I probably get a handful of replies per week, which I feel satisfied by. I offer help, give it, refer people to blog posts, etc. and it creates a good rapport.

I do see the value in reaching out personally, but I worry that it’ll just look like another “can I help you” email and make me look overbearing, haha :) It’s a get over myself situation.


17 Marthe

Wow! This is probably a great idea, but I can’t see how it’s possible. I have almost 6000 people on my list. Also, what do you write?



18 Fon James, The Emergency Business Coach

First of all, big kudos to you chic for having 6000 plus on your list! You rocking it girl!
But I would make this challenge one of your daily tasks, where you can break that number down into a manageable chunk…say 30 minutes a day to send personal emails. This is actually a high-pay off activity because it could bring money in the door. If you do it daily, you will eventually get through the list.

Now as far as what to say…all depends on the list. If it’s a past client, see how they are doing since you last spoke. If it’s a potential client, focus on the freebie they got when they joined your list…basically ask how it went or if they have any questions…sort of like…”Hey I was thinking about you and I wanted to see how _________was going for you since you downloaded the report. Were you able to take action right away or do you have any follow up questions that I may be able to support you on?” Something like that…lol. Just make it specific and personable and you’ll be straight. The point is that you are taking time to reach out on a personal level and they will know the difference.

Hope that helps!


19 Jenny Shih

Do you have a full client roster? If so, no need to go through the list!

In this case, I’d suggest that you start by emailing past prospects (you track everyone who’s reached out about working with you… right?). Connect with them, check in on what they’re up to, and offer to give them a little free tips over email.

That will be way more effective and way less daunting than emailing all 6000 (which I don’t recommend).

Start there and see how it goes. Great question, Marthe!


20 Jennifer

Love this! However, I have the same question as Leah– how is this different from auto-responders that insert the person’s name? I suppose it could be more customized, but with many people on my list, I don’t know their exact situation so it would be hard to offer a personalized tip or advice geared specifically for them.


21 Fon James, The Emergency Business Coach

Hey Jennifer,
See my example above on suggestion, but the main thing is don’t try to be perfect on it, just reach out as best you can. I think doing the task will make a difference as Jenny points out. We get caught up in trying to do things exactly as instructed verses just making it work Jennifer style. You may not know their exact situation, but if your lists are divided up based on the freebie they signed up for or a product they bought or promo you ran, you can simply start with that.

The act of sending a personal email outweighs sending a perfect email :-)

Hope that helps.


22 Jenny Shih

Great point! You can’t offer targeted advice but you do know they’re interested in your topic because they’re on your list. So you can do a general question about your topic area or follow up more deeply on the content from your opt-in. It’s okay to be general in this email to get the conversation started.


23 Rebecca McLoughlin

I love this idea! I too would love any examples you might have? Thanks so much!


24 Jenny Shih

What you write depends on what feels authentic to you. You could….
– follow up on the freebie you send out
– offer a free mini session (if you’re super new with no clients, this is a great option)
– offer another free thing that would support her in getting through the freebie
– ask if she has any questions about your topic area because you’d love to offer a little personalized advice on the house

Here’s a way to think about it when you write. Imagine you’re way into knitting and a friend just took up knitting. You gave her some free tips and set her on her way. Then, a month or so later you decide to email her to see if she wants more tips, has any questions, or because you came across a great resource she might like. How would you word that email? Use that frame as a starting point and you can’t go wrong!


25 Sara

Awesome example, Jenny! Thanks and thanks for asking the Q, Rebecca!


26 Parijat

This example really hit home for me. Thank you for sharing it like this!


27 Fon James, The Emergency Business Coach

This is absolutely a great idea that I have already started doing, so I love when I get cool confirmations of my actions! Love your hair too Jenny! Super cute!


28 Jenny Shih

Awesome, Fon!


29 Melissa zoske

Thanks for the advice Jenny! Love this idea and will be implementing it this week. I hope people will post their results as that would really help.


30 Jenny Shih

Yay! I love action-takers! Report back for that high-five!


31 Teri

I love to do this with new subscribers, but haven’t done it with my current list. I only started it some time ago, and left a note for myself inside mailchimp on who I have sent that personal email to. I rarely get a response though, do you have any suggestions on what to say? I usually just greet them, say thank you for signing up and send along a blogging checklist to use as an extra thank you. I invite them to reply and tell me a little about them and their business, saying that I’d really love to connect. Any suggestions to change, take away or add something to that would be welcomed! Thank you for your short video’s Jenny, am loving the short amount of time it takes for me to get through and still have time to comment! (although I always love to read your blogs too!).


32 Jenny Shih

Consider the tip I left for Rebecca above for how to think about writing the email and see if that changes the tone and feeling.

There will definitely be people who don’t reply but that’s okay. It’s the nature of people and email. Those who do will love you for your free tips!

PS Thanks for the kind words on the new video format. I’m loving doing them this way. And it seems to bring more comments — which is more chance for me to interact with all of you and help you with your business — which is a win all around! I’m going to keep this up for awhile I think. :-)


33 Kendrick Shope

I love this blog post so much I keep thinking about it. Jenny Shih is a business genius. I had one further thought about emailing your entire list and would love your thoughts Jenny.

One of the keys here is to make the emails authentic. That has to do with the energy surrounding them being that of how can I help you vs I’m emailing you to promote myself. You don’t need to physically put those words in the email but it’s more of a mindset thing.

People pick up on sleazy self promo or simply doing something for the sake of self promo.

When you approach Jenny’s tip from genuine, personal connection and being of service, this will create “mega fans” as Jenny said.

Love this idea. This is why even to this day, I consult Jenny about my business. She makes me better!


34 Jenny Shih

You nailed this one, Kendrick. (Of course you did!) The key is to make the emails authentic. I’d love to see people use the example above I gave about emailing a friend who is learning to knit. When we talk to people like they’re our friends, they are more open to receiving it.

I think this is true in all forms of promotion. Pushing ourselves in front of others never works… people sniff it a mile away. But when we gently move into their circle and share our wisdom and genuine helpfulness, they pick up on that too…. and often buy!


35 Jen

So I started to do this today and sent a personal email to about 8 people. I genuinely think my energy was good and I was coming from a place of service and generosity. But then I got crickets…nada, no response. I know it’s a numbers game but hard stuff!


36 Jenny Shih

You just sent them today! Yes, it’s a numbers game. Yes, your energy has to be good. And it might take people a week or more to reply :-) And that’s okay. You sent the emails with love, now release your attachment to an outcome, and go have a good weekend! Then come back next week and send more to new folks. Keep it up!!

So I’m high-fiving you for taking action. Be sure to give yourself some credit, too!


37 Hannah

This was so well timed. My list hasn’t heard from me for 3 months while I’ve been rebranding. I think sending everyone a personal note to let them know I’m still here and ready to help will be a great way to get me back on their radar before I relaunch my site. Thanks for the great advice!


38 Jenny Shih

Great approach, Hannah! Thanks for sharing!


39 Amy Wright

Great idea!
You could easy make this a canned response in Gmail and just add personal touches in one sentence that you could research quickly in social media or on their website (hey, I loved your last blog post about…) so that they know it is very personal to them.

Will get to working on this right meow :)


40 Jenny Shih

Yes! I love gmail’s canned responses. To anyone who doesn’t know what they are, basically they’re templates emails you save in gmail, but you can edit before you send. Great idea, Amy!


41 Quiana

Such a great idea. I’m rebuilding my list which is super small right now. This will add an awesome touch! Thanks Jenny as always you’re keeping me straight!


42 Jenny Shih

Perfect addition to your list-building activities!!


43 Linda Ursin

Challenge accepted :) In fact, I’ve already been planning to do this :)


44 Jenny Shih

Take action time! Report back when it’s done for that virtual high five!


45 Cassie

I love this tip. Simple yet powerful. I agree that not everyone will open or reply my emails but the ones that do will get to know that I am approachable and am a real human behind the business. I love the challenge you set last week too Jenny! Off to apply it in my business today. Thank you :)


46 Jenny Shih

I love action-takers. You go, Cassie!


47 Kathy

I’m taking this on! This feels organic and a great way to offer that personal heads up that my coaching rates are going up in April. Thanks Jenny! xo


48 Jenny Shih

Absolutely! Great idea, Kathy!


49 Veronica

Hmm… ok, this is new. Thanks Jenny!!! love your practical advice..!


50 Jenny Shih

You’re welcome! That’s exactly what I’m here for :-)


51 Heidi Thompson

I’ve just exported and organized my list and I’m going to start writing 5 or 10 of these each day :)


52 Jenny Shih

Awesome!! Let me know how it goes!!


53 Christina Ambubuyog

Hi Jenny! Love this idea. One of my intentions this year was to create more engagement and feel more connected to my list and community. So I love this because it really highlights that. I’ll be getting my list printed out and start sending out these love letters!


54 Jenny Shih

Perfect, Christina!! And I love that you’re calling them love letters :-)


55 Sara

Jenny, a Q about my list — part of it is made up of friends and family — do I send them an email just the same? Something about that makes me nervous (like they’re only on my list to support me not be my client or get my advice). Just want it to feel clean and energizing and not nerve wrecking. Reaching out to other subscribers feels great and I welcome the challenge!


56 Jenny Shih

It’s up to you. You can let them know what you’re up to and use it as a chance to connect with them. However, since you’re pretty sure they’re not going to hire you since they are family, it’s okay to skip them. Permission granted! :-)


57 Llyane @FrenchOnSkype

Wow, Jenny, I thought this type of email would be too intrusive.
Thanks for giving me the permission :)
I’ll do it after I’m back from my French immersion in Paris.


58 Jenny Shih

Permission granted!! With an “be of service” mentality, you’re changing your perspective from pushy to helpful, and that’s definitely not intrusive — it’s thoughtful!


59 claire stone

This is such a great idea, and I’m totally up for it. The part that I’m really stuck with is how to finish the email.

Saying something like ‘let me know if there is anything I can help with’ sounds to pushy, but just signing of with a cheery ‘best wishes’ seems pointless. Any tips on something in between the two?

Many thanks for inspiring me to do this!


60 Jenny Shih

What about something like…

… I find that my subscribers have a lot of questions about A, B, and C. I wanted to let you know that I really love helping people when it comes to those topics. If you have any questions about those things, or anything related, drop me an email. I’d love to help (on the house, of course)!


61 claire stone

Ohhh, that’s just brilliant!

I’ll give it a go and let you know how I get on.

Thank you so much


62 Frances Arnold

I actually recently cued up an invitation for anyone on my list to “have tea with me”, in a virtual setting. Just that person and me. Do you think this is along the same lines? Or would the “have tea with me” be better in an autoresponder sequence? And then write people from my email like you’ve suggested?


63 Jenny Shih

The more specific your offer, the more likely someone will be to take you up on it. When you have new people coming to your site who don’t know you, they’re less likely to jump on “tea” than “let me help you with X over tea.” This applies to both a general email broadcast or an autoresponder.

Depending on your email service… When I added an email like this to my autoresponder series at 60 days after subscribing, it automatically went to everyone who had been on my list longer than 60 days. So it was a way to get it to everyone now and later. You might look into that and you’ll cover both angles.


64 Frances Arnold

Hey Jenny,

One more thing came to mind. What about emailing someone who opted off of your list? My instinct tells me I’m not supposed to, but I wanted to hear your input about this anyway. Thanks!


65 Jenny Shih

I recommend leaving them alone since they unsubscribed.


66 Sita Chopra

Hi Jenny!

Love your video! Thank you so much for the suggestion to email them directly! But I was wondering what could one say…so for example, when they opt-in they receive a free 6-min audio loving-kindness meditation. My autoresponder asks them how the meditation is going and if they have any questions. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for how I could make it more personal? I have a list of 640 subscribers – its worth emailing each one right?

Sending hugs,
Sita :)


67 Jenny Shih

It’s great to have an auto responder like that. You could also share with them common challenges people have with meditation to let them know if they’re facing those challenges that they’re not alone.

I’ll turn the question back to you: If you shared your meditation with one of your best friends and went to check in with her to see how she’s doing with it, what would you say in that email? How can you take that same friend approach to the emails with subscribers? That’ll give you your answer!


68 Sita Chopra

Thanks so much Jenny!! That’s so helpful!! I’m going to do that right now!! :)


69 Clare J Fitzgerald

What a great idea Jenny and I loved reading all your suggestions for how to do this. I love your approach to business -simple, elegant and giving.


70 Ashley @ Greenlight Holistic Healing

I tried this a while ago and didn’t get any responses. : /

And ideas what to give people advice on if you don’t know what they’re personally struggling with? I had emailed people and invited them to have a free 15 health coaching session when I did this before. Thanks Jenny!


71 Jenny Shih

First, look at it through this lens: If you were at a networking event and someone came up to you and said, “What are you struggling with? Let me solve your problem in 15 min for free.” How would you feel?

Likely it would be a little intense or off-putting — and that’s normal. The same thing might happen to people when they get a cold email from you like that. So we want to soften it and create a connection first before we dive into the deep stuff with strangers :-)

Instead, start by forging a connection. Welcome them personally to your list. Let them know why you’re passionate about what you do. Then simply open the door for them to email you if they have any questions about ______ (whatever your focus area is). Start by building a connection and a relationship before selling them on a free session (because even though it’s free, you’re still “selling” them on saying yes).

Hope that helps!!


72 Parijat

Total newbie question but by list do you mean newsletter subscriber list? Or a list you keep of past/present clients plus people who have contacted but not followed through? I’m wondering if I need to include a newsletter as part of my services? Thank you!


73 Jenny Shih

Yes, you got it. List = newsletter subscriber list.

A newsletter is something we give away for free, like how you get my weekly emails. That’s my newsletter. Through that I share great, applicable, rich content to help you in building your business. For you, a newsletter would be articles and rich content applicable to your target audience.

By building a list, you’ll be able to share your expertise and build trust with your audience. The more they trust you, the more likely they are to buy what you’re selling and know that you’ll make a difference in their lives.


74 Barbara Austin

Sorry, but this just didn’t work for me; I sent to about 100 people on my list (hand-selected based on their frequent opens & clicks, meaning they obviously read and enjoy what I send them). I asked for general feedback/impressions, and invited them to pick my brain if they have any questions. Only one person responded, and she explained that she loves my stuff but actually doesn’t even own a business yet (thus she’s technically not even my target market).

Any suggestions on how to actually get replies? I mean, I can’t imagine they don’t have questions; they probably have tons but are hesitant to ask…


75 Jenny Shih

I’m so sorry that you didn’t see results, Barbara. There are a lot of possible factors that could explain why. Things like phrasing of the emails, the specificity of your questions, etc. I’m actually going to ask some of my Make It Work Online clients to chime in with examples of what they’ve done because they’ve done some great work and had great results with it.


76 Diana

Yes, do it! It took a bit of a deep breath, but I went through my list and pulled out all the 3 and 4 star people – the ones who really open my blog consistently. And I sent them a personal email saying hi and thanks for being a part. To say thanks, I offered to answer any health question they had for free (I’m a health coach who works with food and simple lifestyle changes to heal), either by email or phone. I got lots of happy responses, many questions I could answer, four new sales and two connections for workshops/retreats. Don’t doubt Jenny – go do this one. It felt great! It was a nice business builder.


77 Jenny Shih

Thank you so much for sharing this, Diana! I hope this one helps give you some ideas, Barbara!

More client examples coming your way…


78 Debbie Leven

Yes, I did this following Jenny’s advice. People really appreciated the effort and the connection and I got good response – one person asking me whether I’d do a review of their website, another saying they wanted to work with me this year, another asking me to cost out some PR project work and a couple more thanking me for the tips I share (I sent out to about 150 on my list). Here’s what I sent.

I titled it: Thanks Ben for your help and support

And, each email was personalised in the email subject line and in the email too, below is the body copy.

Hi Ben
I just wanted to drop you an email to say thanks for your continued support. I know that your time is precious – you have so many things on your ‘to do’ list yet you’ve taken the time to visit my PR Coach website and wave your hand in the air to receive updates, tips and information. That is very much appreciated. As I said, you time is precious so I’ll keep this short. I have a question.

How can I help you? Are there specific topics you would like to see on the blog, questions about media visibility or guest blogging you want answered, resources, templates, offers or services you are after?

I don’t want to waste your time on stuff that isn’t relevant or isn’t going to help you get more visibility and grow your business. So, just hit reply and tell me how I can help you.

Or, if you feel it would be easier to chat on the phone then we can schedule a no cost, pitch free, 15 min chat and I’d be happy to help in any way I can.

Let me know how I can help you and I’ll get on the case. Thanks again for your support.

I’ll be back in touch on Wednesday with my regular update.

Enjoy the rest of your week.


79 Jenny Shih

Thanks for sharing a specific example, Debbie! You ROCK!


80 Carla Holden

I went through and personally emailed each person on my list during MIWO!

Here is one of the personal emails sent:

Hey Jill!
I wanted to personally reach out to you and say hello (not from my email list).
I know you signed up for my list building workshop last month…checking in to see how things are going with list building and your business.
Let me know if there’s anywhere you’re stuck or anything I can help you with!
If you want to hop on the phone for a mini laser coaching session, I’d be more than happy to do that too.
Anyway, would love to know how things are going with your business and what you’re up to.
Nice to virtually meet ya

I’ve already gotten a few jumpstart clients this way so it definitely works. I did about 7 – 10 a week and plan on continuing with new sign-ups.

Thanks Jenny!


81 Jenny Shih

LOVE IT, Carla! Thank you so much for sharing. I know this works, and when you find the right way to connect with your audience, it turns subscribers into fans and readers into clients. Woot!


82 Catarina

Hi Jenny,

I did this for everyone who signed up for my webinar recently to check in with them and encourage them to sign up for a free mini-coaching session with me. Since my webinar was about how to avoid burnout and most of the attendees are super-strapped for time, it was not only a nice thing to do, but they needed (and said they appreciated) the extra bit of encouragement to take action.

As usual, GREAT advice! Thanks Jenny.


83 Jenny Shih

So smart!!


84 Parijat

What happens if no one replies? :(


85 Jenny Shih

First, always keep in mind a scientist’s mindset! You can read about that here:

Second, keep in mind the numbers! Certainly everyone won’t reply. So if you sent 20 emails, it’s not a big deal if you didn’t get a reply.

If you sent 100, then it might be worthwhile to revisit what you’re sending them. Look at the examples from my clients here. They each took a different approach to find what worked for them and their people.

The key is to not not do it because you didn’t get an immediate reply. Instead, keep trying (like everything in business) until it clicks.

This concept is something we talk about a lot in Make It Work Online. In all areas of business you need to learn the theory, the what, the how, and the approach to make things work. You also need to have supporters keeping you on track even when you’re not getting immediate results. So keep at it, Parijat!! Don’t give up because when it does click it will work great!


86 Parijat

Thank you for the reality check! Needed that. Reading through your blog posts now and coming up with ideas on how to try again!


87 mary

Solid advice. Thank you. Mary


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