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email outreach for consultants

Email Outreach For Consultants: Don’t Use Marketing Automation (Do This Instead)

By Michael Zipursky
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What type of LinkedIn requests or emails do you ignore?

Automated ones, right?!

Every day, I’m bombarded with automated connection requests and emails.

Guess what?

Your prospective clients are too.

So, how can you stand out?

How can you send a message that gets read and starts a relationship — instead of being deleted?

Watch the video below to learn more about the problems with automating your outreach messages:

By the end of this post, you’ll learn how to use marketing automation the right way — and how to craft your initial email outreach to potential clients.

What’s Wrong With Marketing Automation

Here’s an example of an automated message that I received (and ignored).

As you read it, think about why it doesn’t feel like this person is trying to connect with me — and why it feels like they are just trying to sell me something.

“Hi Michael,

As a business owner, have you had to look over your exit strategy due to our changing economic times? If so, I feel your pain as an owner and investor myself — which is why I joined Transworld business advisors to help other business owners confidentially evaluate and execute their exit strategy.

I would love to connect with you. If you or anyone you know are interested in hearing more about me and the services we offer, I would love to connect.”

Now, let’s contrast that with an outreach message that I did respond to.

“Hi Michael,

Sorry I missed you on the phone today, I was calling because your company has been nominated by our partnered schools as a potentially good fit…

In my voicemail, I mentioned that xxxx offers a free program where you can get post-secondary students to help you with marketing, research, software development, or other side-projects.

This would be a great opportunity if there are areas in your company where additional input and ideas may be valuable but you don’t have resources for.

If you’d like to learn more or have any questions, you can reach me at 647xxxxxx or feel free to book a Zoom Call with me.

Let’s chat soon as classes do fill up quickly.”

What’s the difference between the two?

Unlike the first message, the latter message resonated with me.

At this time, we were looking for help with social media and research — and this email spoke directly to what we were looking for. It was short, clear, and offered a specific next step.

Here’s another example of an email that we responded to: 

Greetings Michael & Sam,

You’ve never heard of me. Hi, I’m Chris.

I found you through your podcast. Top stuff!

Naturally, I checked out out your website. I found your Clarity Coaching page…

And felt compelled to write you with some unsolicited advice you’re welcome to ignore:

I noticed you follow the application to strategy session model…

But what if I could enroll folks over email, bringing more people in while taking some pressure off strategy sessions?

See, the way I do things is sending out email broadcasts asking people to reach back, and enroll them with one-on-one convo instead of a call.

All you only pay me a % of the new revenue I bring in.

And you’ll be encouraged to know I’m not exactly an amateur at this…

Last month, we sold over $50k of a DFY service for a client from a tiny 2,500 list using the same process…

Not too long ago, I worked with a New York Times Best Selling Author, and we just wrapped up a quarter of a mil. launch together.

If you’re even the slightest bit curious, would you be open to a 17-minute chat?

I promise to give you some ideas you’re free to steal. If you play your cards right, I might even tell you the lamest joke I know!

I await your angry and soul-crushing response.

Have an absolutely terrific day,


Marketing Consultant / Conversion Copy Expert / Below Average Vodka Drinker

How To Use Marketing Automation (The Right Way)

Does this mean you should never use marketing automation?

No. Marketing automation can help ramp up your outreach, but it cannot do 100% of your outreach for you.

Here’s how you use marketing automation the right way.

Automate the list-building of your prospects to reach out to. And then automate the parts of your outreach that are consistent, like copy and pasting the template you’re using.

But when you actually message them, you switch to a personalized, human approach.

How do you personalize an outreach message?

Start by reading their LinkedIn profile and seeing their latest activity.

What have they been posting recently? What type of articles are they engaging with?

Show them that you’ve taken interest in them and their lives.

Including a quick video in your LinkedIn message or email is a powerful way to add another layer of personalization to your message:

By doing just a little bit of research about them, you can make your email outreach more “you-focused.” And doing that will help you land clients.

Tiffany Rosik, CEO of TGR Management Consulting and one of our coaching clients, considers herself an “extrovert in person, but an introvert with social media.”

It wasn’t easy for her to reach out to her ideal clients.

But, we gave her a goal: have at least two meaningful conversations every week with prospective clients.

Instead of using a mass-marketing, automated approach, we helped her create an outreach strategy using highly personalized messages.

Using this approach, she hit her goal number of conversations. Even better, she landed her first consulting clients using this outreach strategy.

Hitting this goal number of conversations per week was so impactful that she keeps that number up on her bulletin board as a constant reminder. And it’s a constant reminder of the type of outreach that works.

Email Outreach Template for Consultants

There’s no “script” that gets a 100% response rate from every potential client.

With outreach, you’re reaching out to individual human beings. Everyone is different.

Some people are very open to connecting. Some people aren’t. Some people don’t have the time right now to read new inquiries. Some people are just in a bad mood when you send your message.

There are countless variables involved with every prospect. To expect one message to get a response from each one is an unhealthy, unproductive mindset to have.

That said, we have worked with hundreds of consultants and have tested dozens of different email outreach messages.

Here are some general best practices — and a framework that you can take, tweak, and make your own:

  • Don’t use automation to do blanket promotion. Nobody likes that. Instead, try and establish a connection — a base on which you can build a relationship.
  • Get very clear about how you can personalize your message. Mention something unique about them. Use the words “You” twice as much as you use the words “I” or “Me.”
  • Keep it short. People who don’t yet know you aren’t going to give your message much time. Try and keep your initial message no greater than 150 words.
  • Ask one question. The more research you do on your recipient, the better question you’ll ask — and the greater chance they respond. As soon as they respond, then your outreach message has done its job.

How might this look in practice?


Your latest post on TOPIC was a fantastic read. Really enjoyed the bit about IDEA.

You’ve been working in INDUSTRY for a long time. Has TOPIC always been on your mind, or is it something that has come up more recently?

Would love to connect as I do some work in TOPIC/INDUSTRY and value your insight.

email outreach template

This is just an example of using the best practices. Come up with any message you’d like as long as it follows these key principles. The more custom you can make it — and the less automated it is — the higher chance you’ll get a response.

If you do find that a particular message gets a higher response rate, keep using it. But make sure you do customize it.

As soon as you try and automate 100% of your outreach efforts, you’ll come across like the example earlier in this post.

The last thing you want to do as a consultant is to build a reputation as someone who is overly promotional and doesn’t add value in their marketing.

Imperfect Action

Take the email outreach template/framework above and customize it to your voice.

Start sending 3 of these emails to new potential clients every day. Ensure that you are following up with them using an effective sales follow-up email strategy.

By consistently reaching out to ideal clients, you’ll have more conversations with more clients. You’ll book more meetings. You’ll send out more proposals. You’ll win more consulting work.

And as a result, you’ll grow your revenue.

It all starts with your initial outreach message. Take the time to personalize it, and you’ll get a response.

Here’s another example of how Sam, co-founder of Consulting Success®, approaches outreach:

But if you try and automate the whole thing, you’re playing a numbers game that’s hard to win.

Marketing and sales are about creating a real human connection — something you’ll never be able to automate.

Are you looking for step-by-step help with messaging that helps you get more clients?

In our Clarity Coaching Program, we’ll help you create a custom outreach strategy that helps you book calls with high-value clients consistently.

Learn more about our coaching program here — or, schedule your FREE Consulting Success® Growth Session where we’ll talk about you, your business, and your next steps to skyrocket your revenues.

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