Most of our friends know that at ROBYN, we are focused on honing our marketing skills... And we enjoy sharing what we have learned! To this end, we are thrilled to introduce a side project we've been working on: The 7 Minute Smarketer.
The premise behind the podcast is to sit down with innovative marketers who are experts in different disciplines and give them 7 minutes to make us smarter. The podcasts are hosted on the 7 Minute Smarketer website, which you can hear by clicking the button below...
Patrick Allmond: Above the Noise with Email Marketing
Bobby Lehew: Well, hello everyone. Welcome to "7 Minute Smarketer." Whether you're a small business, a solo entrepreneur, or you manage a large marketing department, this is the fastest place to get caught up on tools and techniques to make you a smarter marketer, except for that little ole podcast over on Focus Consulting. Right, Patrick? [laughter]
Bobby: Today my guest is Patrick Allmond. He's the founder of Focus Consulting. He's a podcaster, a blogger, a pilot, and Focus Consulting has been doing online marketing training for over a decade. So, these folks know what they're talking about. Patrick has been someone I've known for a while, and he is the eminent marketer. He is the eminent professional. Every time I reach out to Patrick, he's always so helpful and full of great advice.
Today our topic is going to be email marketing, and I'm thrilled that Patrick's going to tackle this one because we're going to learn a lot. So, Patrick, you know the drill, right? You have seven minutes to make us a smarter marketer or you owe me a beer. I guess...
Patrick Allmond: OK.
Bobby: ...you just have to transport it over to me I guess.
Patrick: Yeah, that's not a problem.
Bobby: Then we can catch up later. [laughs]
Patrick: Exactly, not a problem. Well, the problem is I just don't see you enough.
Bobby: I know. It's crazy, right? We live right around the corner from each other.
Patrick: Exactly, I only see you about once every six months...
Bobby: I know.
Patrick: ...if that. A big conference has to come together. You gave me a great intro there, and I appreciate that.
Patrick: You're way too kind. I actually stopped by the office before as I was driving by, out of a whim. Out of all the times, they said you had just left and you were just coming back.
Patrick: I waited there for five minutes. There's a nice lady at the front desk there. I think she had a candy bowl.
Patrick: I went through a little bit of candy, got hyped up, and said, "OK, I've got to get back to my desk."
Bobby: Well, man, it's great to have you on the program today. Without further ado, I'm going to set the timer. Why don't we just get started?
Patrick: OK, you reach across the virtual world and smack me when time is up.
Bobby: [laughs] Yeah, and I'll interrupt you a little bit, hopefully, because I've got a few questions of my own on this subject.
Patrick: OK. Well, like you mentioned, the topic is email marketing today. I picked this one because this is one I just covered on a Thursday webinar that I do, and I'm a huge, huge fan of email marketing. Really quick, like you said, my name is Patrick Allmond. I run a company called Focus Consulting, been in business since 1998, founded right here in Oklahoma City. There are several things that I teach about the online world, but in my opinion email marketing has gotten a bad rap over the years. But I really think it's coming around again.
Patrick: There are a couple of different products I use depending on the price point. But one of the things I'm a big, big fan of is customer retention. When a customer visits any one of your online properties, be it a social media property, be it your website, be it your Twitter account ‑ whatever it is ‑ find a way to stay in touch with that person. In my opinion, email is the absolute, absolute best way in the world.
Patrick: You can have the largest number of Facebook fans you want, Twitter followers, but those are temporary, and they are very loose connections. When someone opts in to receive information from any of your emails, it actually had to go through the whole double opt in process. So, they basically are saying, yes, I really want to have what you are offering.
Patrick: I assign all of my leads and prospects a value. I might give a Twitter follower five cents and a Facebook fan 10 cents. But I give my email followers a dollar because those ones are golden. Those are the ones...
Bobby: That's great.
Patrick: ...that have a better chance of staying on with me long term, and I can honestly say that none of the people on my email list that have come to my website, asked for something, and double opted in have actually ever left my email list.
Patrick: I have people I've picked up via conferences and fishbowls and stuff like that. Those people will flake off. But I've never had a double opt in person leave my email list. They are very, very loyal.
Bobby: What's funny about this topic Patrick is that I was just talking to Dan Gordon on the "7 Minute Smarketer" a couple of episodes ago, and he mentioned that was where his focus and energy were going. What is the difference between email marketing today and email marketing two or three years ago? Is it because of the clutter and the noise online that email marketing has become now sort of this precious conduit that you can reach your audience through?
Patrick: I think it is. Dan's a brilliant guy, so I'd follow anything Dan would say. But, yeah, I think it's the fact if you can reach somebody's email inbox...I think that's getting a more and more precious and more and more reserved area. So, if you can get there, you can get a greater span of someone's attention is what you can do. Like I said, for someone to even ask for permission to be on your list in the first place, they really liked your voice. They really liked the information you're offering. So, they had to go through more effort. Becoming a fan on Facebook is a single click, right?
Patrick: Becoming a follower on Twitter is a single click. But an email follower had to go through a couple of rigmaroles to actually get there. So, I think it is. I think you brought up a good point. People are people are being very choosy and very picky with their email and inbox, at least, I know I am.
Bobby: Yeah. I know you're probably going to get to this. What are the best practices these days for content for email marketing? I know that even professional marketers who do this day in, day out struggle with content all the time. It's got to be one of the hardest things to develop. What is your advice for businesses (marketers) as they try to develop content within their email channel?
Patrick: I would say the most successful email marketers are the ones that approach content very much like you approach a real‑world relationship. Right before we got on the call I was checking my email. There was a gentleman that I'd sent off for his email list yesterday, and today I had a sales pitch email. I'm like, dude, no way. I instantly unsubscribed from his list. It's long‑term relationship building, long‑term lead management. So, if someone subscribes for my free book, maybe for the next two or three emails I do nothing but give out free information, give out information that helps that person. Rather than try and pitch them something.
If you can do that, if you can use your emails and occasionally throw in a pitch, but mostly just share free information that will help the person, I think you have a much better chance of retaining the person and convincing them to buy something once you do throw a pitch at them.
Bobby: Right. I know you have been doing a marketing podcast for a while, and I know you've had episodes where you advise what tools to use. What are some of your favorites go to for email marketing?
Patrick: I have three different classes of tools that I recommend. There are the free email marketing tools, and my favorite one there is MailChimp. That company has a great set of tools. They are a fun company, and they give out some pretty cool t‑shirts.
Patrick: So, when I tell someone to get in the MailChimp, I say get in the MailChimp for free. You can use their product for free up to 2,000 people on your list. That's the first thing you've got to do right away. The second class is what I call...they're all bundled together‑the Constant Contact, the iContact. You pay anywhere between $20 and $100 bucks a month. It's a regular email list building.
But one that I use, and the one that I heavily, heavily recommend is Infusionsoft.
Patrick: That's a big product. If you have a big list, and you have other things you're trying to do with your list like ecommerce, affiliate marketing. It does these magical long‑term sequences. Like if Billy sign's up for my list, I can setup a sequence for Billy to get 10 emails but an email to if Billy says, "Hmm, I want more information about this." I can stop that list of 10 emails and fork Billy over on to this...excuse me Bobby...what am I saying? I could put Bobby over on this other sequence of 10 emails which may give him more information about whatever he clicked on, right?
Bobby: OK, how about this, frequency and time of week?
Patrick: Frequency and time of week, I'm a mid‑morning kind of person. I'd say no more than maybe twice a week. I hit my list up about twice a week.
Bobby: Wow. We're doing once a week. We found with our own little AV testing we did Friday mornings. Early mornings around six is when we release ours, and we were stunned at the opens that we got on Friday morning. I don't know how common that is, but I read that again just this past week. So, that's very interesting. Do you have a day of the week that you recommend?
Patrick: I'm a big fan of Monday and Tuesday mornings.
Patrick: I think a while back a study came out that said the best email open rates are Tuesday through Thursday, after nine, before three.
Patrick: I actually try to stay outside of that range. I've done one on a Saturday morning before and had like a 24 percent open rate, which was great.
Bobby: Yeah. I've had other people say that about Saturday as well. I think one of the factors why Friday weighs in heavily on our particular industry and our business is that we sell a fun product. I think people are in that mood by the time they hit Friday. That's our only estimate on that. We have just another minute or so, Patrick. What 401 advice can you give marketers on email marketing that's really going to help them if you had to boil it all down to just a couple of key nuggets?
Patrick: First of all get started, a number one tip. Number two find a way to give away something for free in exchange for an email address. Just about every website I put up says I'm going to give you a free report on this, this, this. Just give me your email address. It has to be something very attractive for somebody. I get opt‑ins 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So, get started, find a way to give something to someone for free. Go over to MailChimp and get started. It's free. Quit whining about cost. There's no cost to get started in email marketing.
Let me see, I have a couple of notes. I'm trying to figure out what other. I would say don't let your list get stale.
Bobby: Hmm, good advice.
Patrick: Don't try to email somebody every three to six months. If you come at someone now and you've haven't come at them for six months, they have forgotten who you are‑"And oh, look. It's spam."
Patrick: I have had people double opt in to my list...and I've made this mistake before on a different project...double opt in to my list and then six months later they'll actually call my market a spam. I'm like, wait, you agreed to this, two times.
Bobby: Right. [laughs]
Patrick: But, no. Or they get stale. Can't let it get stale.
Bobby: Awesome, that is awesome. Patrick, thank you so much for joining us on "7 Minute Smarketer." [music]
Bobby: You folks can find Patrick at allaboutfocus.com. We really appreciate the advice today. You definitely made us the smarter marketer.
Patrick: My pleasure, always willing to talk to you sir.
Bobby: All right man, take care.