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We’re here today to talk to you about growing your email list.

Email is certainly not dead. In my opinion, email is still one of the best marketing channels that a business is able to utilize. You take a look at different channels, whether it’s Facebook, or Google Ads, or Instagram, or your website, the advantage of email marketing and email marketing efficiently is that you own those channels. Unlike Google Ads where it’s a pay to play game, while it can be very effective for a lot of businesses, it can be an expensive game that if their margins aren’t there, it could make it a not so profitable channel.

Unlike Google Ads where you’re not in control of how the performance goes or the placement, your email, if used correctly, you can ensure that your communications get delivered to your customers and your prospective customers. Unlike an SEO strategy where it’s relying on Google’s algorithms to show your site where you have no control email, again, you have full control. One thing that often happens is people will take their entire email list and they just send emails that have no actual value. When the email sent with no value, it’s not pertaining to someone, people get blinded by it, they’re just either deleting or they’re unsubscribing making it a useless channel. My argument for people who say email’s not profitable is that your email is probably not profitable.

What are some meaningful ways we can grow an email list and maybe some actionable tips for a smaller business or medium sized business that has not seen tremendous success from emails. What are they doing wrong? Why are they doing it this way and what are some common issues that you see?

I think the first thing to answer is why is email non-profitable for a specific business. And I think that really comes down to it being a lot of work similar to anything to do. Well, it takes a lot of work. It takes time. It takes testing. And if it’s not made a priority or you’re just sending out a blast every once in a while, those are the reasons why email doesn’t work for some businesses. What can a business do? The first starting point is probably to ensure that the list and their lists that they have are managed correctly and effectively. And what does that mean? It means segmenting out who’s on the list, why are they on the list and how are they important to your list? Now, if you sell, let’s say you specialize in LASIK eye surgery, that’s something that hopefully you’re not going to have very many repeating customers.

You’re not going to want to be sending sales emails to that same list over and over and over. However, where you could benefit by segmenting users who have already became customers of yours, you can email them specific referral programs. You can email them updates to stay relevant. You can do a number of things. Where email starts to not work is when you get what’s called list fatigue and that’s where you email the same list over and over. No one’s taking action because no one gets value. When you’re crafting an email, I think before you even start, you need to figure out what’s the purpose and what are you going to actually give a value to a customer. You take a look at these world updates or holiday newsletters, those are worthless. No one looks at them. They usually delete them. You’ll be lucky if you don’t end up ruining your list and having your future contacts end up in the spam folder.

When you start segmenting out your list, depending on the email service provider you use, you can typically do it through an export or some sort of tool that will help segment people who have either bought from you, people who have signed up on a newsletter on your website, people you’ve met at an offline event. People who have used specific pages. If you have a website and let’s say you’re a general contractor and you offer plumbing services and electrical and landscaping services, the people that looked at plumbing should never receive an email for electrical. You can reference types of services you do in the email, but you certainly would not want to send something to someone that’s not what they’d be expecting.

What about some options of how can we build the list up? What’s some actionable easy steps that we can do right out of the gate to build up the list?

If you have a popup on your website, that’s a great place to get contacts. Someone has already made it a point to come to your website. If you ask them for an email address, you can whether you have to give some sort of offer or tell them the types of content that you’re providing them. If let’s say you’re a blog and you do crafting, you can explain to users that you’re going to be sending them tips, tricks and discounts for X projects. That would probably be the first way is certainly have an onscreen pop up. Definitely something in the flutter because those are going to be two places that for someone who’s interested, they’ll go out of their way, they’ll add their email in and then it’ll go directly to your email service provider.

Somebody that’s taking the time to actually fill that out, that is somebody that’s more than likely I want to get my messaging in front of. There is a certain level of interest and that’s somebody I certainly would want to talk to.

Agreed.

My experience too. I like to think of myself as speaking directly to one particular person and when I send content, I don’t want it just to be some generic stuff. As you’ve said, that will be the fastest way to the junk mailbox, but something that provides value that’s interesting and that we’re not sending the same thing over and over and over and expecting different results.

Sure. So when you start off by segmenting out these users, you’re going to create this end goal if you will, of what’s the purpose of that email. And that email should speak to a specific user or user segment and it should provide value for that user. And even though it will take time by doing so, those emails are going to get read, they’re going to get clicked through. People are going to not ignore those emails. Oftentimes people are like, “Oh, I don’t know what to write about.” There’s nothing wrong with giving general broad updates, just staying on top of mind, providing relevant information, but it’s also a good opportunity to be able to include links to social media or highlight certain posts or reviews or comments from users that have engaged with your business. By doing so, you can bring someone from their email to maybe your Facebook page or your Instagram or another channel you’re using to bring additional awareness.

Again, they have already signed up to your email list. Likely they might have interest in signing on following your Facebook page or your Instagram and then again you can communicate with them through other channels. So if they don’t see your email, maybe they’ll see something in their social media feed. Another good opportunity with email is to utilize referral programs. You can always throw in a note about, refer to this person, get whatever, whether it’s a prize or dollars off or loyalty points. Certainly a good way because you already have these prospective customers or current customers and you’re staying on top of mind. It’s so easy for someone to just afford an email. They don’t have to pick up a phone, they don’t have to even get too invasive to send someone a text or they don’t know them that well. They could pass email around to someone that they think might get some value out of it, which is why you want to make sure that all the emails you’re sending have value.

Promotions is another good aspect to be able to incorporate into your email. Now, this does not necessarily mean discounting and one thing that I’ve seen, especially with E-commerce stores, they’ll constantly send out coupons or offers or promotions. Using email in that capacity could certainly have negative effects for a store’s business because if someone’s expecting discount coupons or through every single email, you’re going to get a lot of false signups to your newsletter. You’re going to get customers who only want to purchase from business if something’s on sale. You don’t necessarily always want to use resort to a good discount, but you could rely on things like giveaways or contests or use the opportunity to get someone to post something onto your another channel like your Facebook or your Instagram. Again, it’s emails about providing value but also staying relevant and when you find that sort of combination, most businesses will certainly see a significant lift on the short term of getting their emails to have higher open rates, higher click through rates and certainly lower unsubscribes.

Now we’re getting unsubscribes. There’s no benefit to keep someone who doesn’t want to be on your list, on your list. And again, back to segmentation. How is this person involved in your business? How are they relevant? How are they going to help grow your business? Now, if someone doesn’t want to be on your list or they asked to unsubscribe or they tried clicking on the unsubscribe link they want out and as a responsible business, you should make it as easy as possible to let them out of your list. Certainly legal implications if you don’t, but that’s a whole separate conversation. Making sure that you don’t have bad email addresses like buying lists, that’s the first way to make sure that your emails end up in a junk folder. Why this is a problem is because when you send an email, if there isn’t able to go through, as in that fails being received, it’s usually one of two issues.

It’s either called a hard bounce or a soft bounce. A hard bounce is where an email is not valid and a soft bounce is like an email being full. Either way, it’s a problem. When an email bounces, oftentimes service providers like Gmail or Yahoo or Hotmail or AOL, they want to make sure that users enjoy their email experience. They want to make sure that users are aligned on their emails to not get flooded with junk or spam or adult advertisements or anything like that. And what they do is they take what they call a honeypot, as in an email that hasn’t been logged into in four or five years and they say, “Okay, anyone who emails this email address, we’re going to automatically make sure any other email is automatically sent to spam.” So if I’m Acme Locksmith and I emailed this honeypot to whatever user 123@gmail.com, Gmail is then going to say anytime Acme Locksmith emails anyone on Gmail, that email will not be delivered to the users.

Very bad.

Very bad indeed. Certainly making sure that your list is clean, it’s relevant, that’s very important. Having everyone wants to have a big email list, that sounds great. At the end of the day, if you’re sending out 10000 emails and you’re not gaining in any business and it’s not actually doing anything for you, you’re just paying more money to your email service provider to keep you on a bigger plan. And you certainly could have negative implications. One big misperception that I’ve seen often is that people think, Oh, okay, well if constant contact doesn’t work out, I’ll go switch to MailChimp. It doesn’t work that way because there’s what’s called a blacklist. It’s almost, I don’t know, like a national registry and if you’re emailing from, again, acmelocksmith.com and you get flagged on a black list because you sent spam, it doesn’t matter where you go, no email service provider is going to be able to get you off of that. Certainly not quickly and definitely not cheaply.

I can’t stress enough on how important it is to make that your emails are very relevant to the customer. They’re providing value. You’re giving resources. Yeah, it’s email marketing, setting up flows or setting off campaigns can be very valuable to a business. If someone comes to your business, there’s nothing wrong with having a welcome series. You don’t want to email someone three days in a row, but you can send them an email when they sign up. “Here’s what to expect.” You can send an email a couple days later. “Thanks for signing up. Here’s a little more about the company.” You can send an email a week later and then that should end. Find something else to be able to email the customers. Oftentimes if you have a product that maybe it needs a little work or there’s a learning curve for someone, say you sell drones.

If I’m a drone manufacturer or a reseller and someone comes to my website and they buy a drone from me, I have a couple of good opportunities to be able to email. I guess first, if they come to the website and I offer them a discount code, maybe that’ll get them to buy from me versus a competitor and that’s before they purchase, but now I have their email address. If they’re looking around at a specific type of drone and they don’t end up purchase, I can start sending either browse abandonments where it just means they were looking at specific products or I can actually send a card abandonment. Maybe they added it to the card and they didn’t complete the purchase. You can send a couple emails showing those products. Staying on top of mind, here’s the offer, here’s a different offer if they buy X amount of days because you’ve already acquired the customer, and then if you just let them go without sending any emails, then they’re not just in the wind.

I love the ability to get to that point and be able to narrow down based on they’ve put it into the card, haven’t checked out. Love it. Absolutely I think that’s magnificent. You had mentioned in the past, I remember I was complaining in a previous podcast about certain things or about being targeted online and you said, “No, I love it when things are done correctly in the right way.” You remember that?

Yeah. It keeps relevant ads. If I’m looking at a specific product and I don’t end up buying it at that time, maybe I just wasn’t convinced. Maybe I wasn’t ready. Maybe I forgot. I got to be honest. I’ve been looking at buying a new wireless keyboard. I can’t tell you how long I’ve just put it off. Not for any reason just because I don’t have the time to go on and price shop it out and figure out which one I want to buy. But then I’m scrolling through Facebook last night, pops up on my feed, done. No more. Bought it. Now, originally it wasn’t the keyboard I wanted to get it from Larger tech, but over the last, I don’t know, maybe week and a half, they’ve sent me a series of emails and it has shown me how it works. It works with multiple computers.

I can easily switch to a different screen. Shows me the battery life, how I charge it. It address any [crosstalk 00:14:27]. I mean, look, it worked. It’s not an anomaly. I mean, again, someone looks at a product and they don’t buy no problem. Take that opportunity and show them relevant content on how it’s going to help them, how it makes them more productive, whatever the benefit is. Oftentimes to E-commerce site, if someone makes a purchase, you can send them an email on here’s what to expect. It’s going to take X amount of days for it to show up and when it shows up, here’s how to use it. Here’s a core use, here’s how someone else uses it. And it keeps them positive, it keeps them engaged. Maybe shipping takes a little longer, no problem because now they’re excited. They’re waiting for it to show up. They’re looking at these features or functions or uses and it really just makes for a good engaging experience.

Yes. Isn’t Amazon just killer at that too? I mean, I’ve had so many Amazon experiences with exactly what you’re talking about. It’s like they’re in my brain, can’t get them out. They get an email at exactly the right time. It’s shocking.

Yeah, sure is.

Mike, I think you’ve provided some really, really interesting content today at a higher level. Went into a lot of detail. I hope that this was very interesting to our audience and I hope that at the very least we’ll get them thinking, how am I not currently utilizing email and how can I improve by utilizing all or some of the subjects we’ve touched on today?

Right. I mean, I could go on for another hour about this, but I think the key is just to start small and scale it from there. Find relevant information that’s going to provide value. You do those two things and send it to however many people, whether it’s 10, whether it’s 50, whether it’s 200. You’re going to see long lasting channels that you own. Email is valuable because you own that challenge. Your list, it’s not going to get taken away unless you abuse the list.

Thanks everyone for listening. Michael, thank you for the info and we’ll be in touch in the very near future with more content.

Until next time.