Chris Raines: Hey there. Welcome to episode 22 of the Dodgeball Marketing Podcast and video podcast. My name is Chris [Raines].
Michael Utley: I'm Michael [Utley], hey everybody.
Chris Raines: And guys, we’ve got to tell you: email finally is dead.
Michael Utley: Yeah, no, it's not dead. [inaudible 00:00:16]. That's our clickbait title-
Chris Raines: How many-
Michael Utley: We don't think it's dead. We think we just need to not suck at it.
Chris Raines: Don't suck at it. Email is the cockroach of online marketing.
Michael Utley: In a hundred years when we no longer have physical computers what we carry around, we will still [crosstalk 00:00:00:33]. We will all get... We will still get shipping alerts by email.
Chris Raines: Email will always be around. So that's just a funny clickbait title. There's so many articles email's dead. SEO is dead. Email is not dead. So this episode is how to maybe a better title or better how to not suck at email.
Michael Utley: Yeah. How do you use email appropriately and not... Here's what I've been telling people about how I think about email. A lot of our clients are hesitant to use email. I think of email as a good way to make sure that your index card is in there... Or that your business card is in their Rolodex. You're not necessarily looking for everyone to engage with every message.
Chris Raines: Exactly.
Michael Utley: But you are watching some other things. So we're going to give you five bullet points today on how to use email appropriately. So number one, learn customer email preferences from analytics. Emails are organic as you're emailing, you're watching the numbers and you're understanding how many people are opening it. How many of them are unsubscribing percent? What is the behavior? How many are clicking? And then if you can connect your email analytics or your email platform to your Google Analytics like you can really easily with tools like Mailchimp.
You can begin to see the engagement on the website or wherever you're sending them if it's integrated with your analytics. So don't necessarily make judgments about email overall. Think about how's email going to work for us. How's your organization going to work with email and be ready to take these signals and say, wow, we're getting really... We're getting a lot of unsubscribes. We don't feel like we're advancing our brand in anyone's minds. We're going to take a step back.
That's probably not what's going to happen. What you're probably going to have happen is, Oh, well this, this customer wants to talk or we've got somebody that we worked with a year ago and they've got a new thing they need that is what we offer. Emails is a way to be in their Rolodex and to stay top of mind over a period of years, think about email differently. It's not a lead gen tool. It's an audience nurture tool.
Chris Raines: Right.
Michael Utley: And so yes, I think number one is just use your analytics and kind of ease into it with a sense of, we're not going to hammer everybody with sales information. We're going to make sure that we stay top of mind, offer them some content that's valuable to them and watch the numbers and see how it plays.
Chris Raines: Yeah. And I would add to that for service businesses it is definitely not a sales tool it's a top of mind. If your e-comm, it's a little different, definitely is a sales not to say that you should say [crosstalk 00:03:05] but it is an effective tool if you're selling online. Most of the businesses that we're working with are going to be a lot of local businesses, a lot of people that are service-based and [inaudible 00:03:18] showing up in that email box is important.
Michael Utley: Even for e-commerce, even on that side, it wouldn't really is there as an extension of your merchandising. So it's a constant flow of things. And until you get into like really high-end e-commerce where then it's cart recapture and products, products you saved and special offers, and those are of course good uses of emails. So we're kind of talking about email for everybody else. All right number two. How to think about and how to segment your email audiences? One of the mistakes that we see a lot of folks fall into is segmentation is sort of an aha moment. [crosstalk 00:03:57]they want you to run with it.
Chris Raines: When they learn, they can't segment, they want to create as many segments as humanly possible.
Michael Utley: Yes. So you ended up with 300 segments for 300 addresses, and then the decision is, we really want to send them all the same thing. So what are we doing here? So yeah, we, we favor starting smaller segmentation and then building it out over time. You can always download your email lists and do some analysis and work with them in a spreadsheet, however you're comfortable. But for the most part, if you have two really different sectors of your business, or you have maybe some email content, that's really kind of for staff and friends and family and business partners, and then something else that's more customer-oriented, you can go ahead and kind of break out those segments. Something else that you can do is you can, with a lot of the modern email tools when you set up and stage a campaign, you can go ahead and send it to two different lists.
So you don't have to use your segmentation with every campaign, sometimes you can hit two lists with one campaign and that's fine. And you can avoid... You can use the modern email tools to avoid double mailing when you do that.
Chris Raines: Right.
Michael Utley: So, yeah. So there are ways to sort of catch yourself and use these tools to manage things. But with segmentation, what we're really doing is getting closer to what our connection to them is. And making sure that we're generating something through email that is of value to them. Anything else on segmentation?
Chris Raines: I would add one thing. And that's, if you... This is for people that have larger websites with larger email addresses. And if you have a lot of things that you're talking about, a good practice might be to segment, let themselves segment on the way in. So if you're running-
Michael Utley: It's a good idea.
Chris Raines: A health and wellness website and you talk about gut health, you talk about exercise and you talk about three, four other things. And you have sort of a generalized email sign up. It might make sense to say on the signup, what would you like to learn more about? And they might click and maybe it's a selectable one, they can click one or two or three things, and then they get tagged appropriately in the email system. So if they don't want to learn about muscle development, then they're not going to get any muscle development emails. So that sort of helps you call your list down and it reduces fatigue, people aren't subscribing cause they don't like your content. So ask them what they want on the way in. I will say for most local businesses, you're not going to do something like that. That's more for like a larger list, more of a national email.
Michael Utley: Yeah, for the email... For the national campaigns that we run. Those are the kinds of things that we're doing. We're making decisions about segments and a lot of this comes down to where the email addresses are coming from just to kind of state the obvious we are sort of discussing opt-in or emailing your own customers. Not-
Chris Raines: Not buying [crosstalk 00:06:38].
Michael Utley: We would never recommend or suggest buying a list. Okay. So another great use of email is item number three here, how to automate key email sequences. Something that we think about is having ongoing newsletters is sort of one way of doing email. Another way of doing email is product adoption and customer attention series. So that's pretty common if you sell someone a service or a package, or if they buy a product from you, whatever your business is, whatever it is you're doing to know that there are certain things you're going to want them to know about and be thinking about over time.
So this can include things like, how was your experience and getting a survey link out to someone. This could be product features and essentially selling in all the benefits of your product or service so that they know that it's there. This could be reminding someone to take action for warranty registration or to just do a follow-up check. Hey, how was... are you having any problems we need to know about. If the company that changes my tires on my car can follow up and make sure my experience was good. You can figure this out. People who are selling tires have got this figured out. You can figure it out.
But you want to think through what is the landscape and what are the hills and valleys of your relationship with someone for the first six months after a purchase from you? A lot of that can be automated. You can think about the stagecraft of that and think about it ahead of time. And there are plenty of tools that you can use to set up these, what we would call an auto responder or an automated email sequence. Then this is different than that idea of throwing them into a batch of ongoing content and more of an email newsletter.
Chris Raines: Yep. That's great. I wouldn't add anything to that at all. Like maybe a simple automation that you can start with is if someone... If you're a service-based business as local, if someone requests pricing or post a quote, they get an instant email that says thank you so much we'll be calling you in 24 hours and maybe give them some more links, some testimonials, or something to choose from. That's a pretty simple automation you can set up. I like everything you said other than that.
Michael Utley: As an agency, when we go through pricing and we develop a relationship with someone, we offer to them during that conversation that we'll stay in touch. And our way of staying in touch is drop them into our email newsletter so that we have that nurture. And so email sequences can be set up to nurture and content newsletters can be set up to nurture. But it's all about understanding how these different strategies and tactics work and using all of them.
All right, next up. How to plan email content efficiently. So this is sort of item number four today. So I'm a big proponent of staging, planning the stagecraft of an email strategy in a spreadsheet first. I like to think about content marketing and the content and the message points as being the ammunition, but planning the battle is marketing channels. So what we like to do is determine what are the message points that we're going to have in this program over the course of 12 months, we just generally start with what's today.
What's the next time we're starting a new month, Feb 1 okay, we're going to go 12 months out from there. And we're going to think about a number of different touchpoints, the website, the email capability, whether it's a set of segments, or we're starting one, a set of social media channels, and then a video channel and video strategy.
And so we're laying out and planning those messages over the course of a year around seasonality the things that are typical to that product or service. We're mapping all that out in a spreadsheet against time. And then the content public production and publishing becomes essentially a waterfall across all of these different channels. We have found that there's a lot of opportunity to help companies have a better return investment when we're not developing an email strategy in a silo, that's separate from the website strategy.
So if you're producing a steady flow of say podcast content that can be broken up, segmented, and used as part of your SEO strategy, which we do you can... And a good example, a good working example of the GoEpps way of doing things is the Dodgeball Marketing. We have topics, things we want to talk about. We're producing blog posts on those. We're producing a podcast that's going out to YouTube. The podcast is being produced as both full episodes and three-minute clips that are then... And the episodes are loaded to the website and transcripted, the clips are loaded, and then the clips are available for sharing, tagging, and categorizing on the video channel on YouTube.
And then all of those clips are good, social media content and good email newsletter content. So we have an integrated strategy that's all planned out and works in concert so that every time we get into a topic and develop subject matter expertise around something, we're using that. And then just the publishing is more of an active execution than planning. So that's how we think about how to do it efficiently.
Chris Raines: Yeah I like that and I'll say to that, it ensures that no matter where people are hanging out, they're going to receive your most relevant message at that time. So-
Michael Utley: That's right.
Chris Raines: If you're hitting email, LinkedIn, Social, all these channel[s]. . .YouTube video[s]. . . all these channels, everybody's not going to be hanging out at one of those channels. People spend time here or there, and they might not open the email, but they might see you on LinkedIn. So it sort of creates this blanket so that no matter where your customer is, they're going to hear this one message that you're promoting at this one point.
Michael Utley: That's right. And there's a famous quote, P.T. Barnum, "Nobody sees something until the seventh impression." I worked with a company years ago. It was named Seventh Impression after this idea, a company out of Alabama and the seventh impression. Sometimes you have to hit people from multiple channels, and email might just be that one that somebody replies says, Hey, we need to talk can I get on your calendar.
All right last item for this subject today, how to integrate email with site content. So we talked about this a little bit with having a content strategy. We think that planning website content is the biggest and toughest piece to get right. And everything else is essentially micro-content versions of the website.
Chris Raines: That's a good way to think about it.
Michael Utley: Yeah. So what we think of when we're planning is, is this good enough that it would work in a subject line. It's a really high level or a high bar, high standard to think about a headline as a subject line. It does this matter-
Chris Raines: It forces you to distill it.
Michael Utley: That's right. So what we do is we apply that level of critique when we're planning the larger format for the website. We're thinking ahead to those other iterations and saying, does this matter? Does anyone care?
Chris Raines: I wouldn't even say writing the headline first for pieces of content. It's probably a good exercise to know if it's going to be worthwhile or good.
Michael Utley: That's right. So that sort of smell test on does this matter really comes together in the blog or the services page headline. And then depending on how you utilize it in your other places, you're deciding is this worthy of a subject line. And so subject lines need to be fairly timely. They need to be something that adds a lot of value to the recipient. We've talked before about whether the advertiser or the publisher is making the first move or the customer's making the first move.
With email, the advertiser or the publisher, the company trying to sell something is making the first move so that email's got to really offer something of value. So when we send an email, we're pretty much trying to give away our content, our ideas, our expertise, and our knowledge of how to do this marketing thing well. But we're not pushing a lot of salesy types of information.
Chris Raines: Right.
Michael Utley: We're trying to give in order to earn some trust and some relationship and [crosstalk 00:15:00] classic kind of move on my marketing. So, and of course, Chris, to your point, it's a little different for e-commerce where you have some data, you know somebody just looked at that product and you're trying to get back [inaudible 00:15:12]. That's a little bit of a different animal.
Chris Raines: But I do think that comment still stands. Like you should be giving value more than you're selling. Absolutely. Even if you're e-commerce, it should be [inaudible 00:15:23].
Michael Utley: Always, always, always. Yeah. And for e-commerce that can be a testimonial or a review that they didn't... Maybe it was on the page, but it would have been obviously low priority. Or if you've got some enhanced content like video, you can follow up with. That's a good way to use email for e-commerce to engage people a little differently than they typically engage on a product site. All right. This has been, is email dead? The answer is. No. All right. We'll see you on the next week. Thanks, everybody.