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How Build A Quality Email List And Then Turn Them Into Paying Customers Jill Fanslau

This week is another interview episode ahead of the Christmas period. In this episode, the very lovely Jill Fanslau has joined us to talk about email marketing. As the owner of a Weber, Jill has lots of experience when it comes to email, putting her in the perfect place to give you all of tips you need to succeed. We talk about how you should collect emails, how you should collect them and what you should be sending your list once you’ve started building it. If you want to start building or growing on your email list, this is definitely the episode for you.

KEY TAKEAWAYS COVERED IN THE PODCAST
  • You don’t own your social media accounts but you do own your email lists. If Instagram or Twitter were to go down in the next week, where would that leave your business? You need to be smart about how your channels work alongside one another and drive your social media followers to your email list.
  • If you’re struggling to see results with your email list, you need to ensure you’re cleansing and segmenting it. If you need to, let people CHOOSE what list they’re on. Ask them what they want to see.
  • Although building your list is important, you need to be sure you’re actually emailing them. If you haven’t emailed them in a long time, be honest.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your email list. You don’t have to only email when you’re selling. You have to be able to provide and bring something to the table without asking something in return.
  • Humans crave stories so if you can weave those into your email, people will connect with you on a personal level.
  • When you’re onboarding new emails, you should use a seven-email strategy. The first email should be a welcome email that should arrive instantly. Introduce yourself and let them know what they can expect from you. Afterwards, you should follow up with a story email as it starts off the likability process. If you don’t want to write a story, shoot a video.
  • Your third email should provide more value. Next, you should send and agitation email that hits their pain point. Although it will make them squirm, you want to remind them of the reason they signed up to your email list. This should go out right before you pitch someone a product or solution.
  • Some people may need a little bit of help making a decision, so this is where you will need to send a proof email. Whether it’s a testimonial, a case study or a review – people will experience intense FOMO if they’re missing out. Once you have sent a proof email, you need to send an ask email.
  • The seven-email strategy can take one month, two months or six months.
  • The best way to determine how long your emails should be is to test. It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing, it matters what your audience want.
  • Think about whether or not people will be opening your emails on their mobile, rather than their desktop.
  • Link shorterners can cause your emails to end up in spam.
THE ONE THING YOU NEED TO REMEMBER ABOVE ALL ELSE…

No matter how big your list is, write to one person.

HIGHLIGHTS YOU SIMPLY CAN'T MISS
  • Introducing Jill – 07:40
  • Why Should You Use Email? – 16:00
  • Is Honesty the Best Policy? – 22:30
  • Emails Are Not Just for Sales – 30:10
  • What Do You Say to Your Email List? – 34:50
  • What Is A Seven Email Strategy? – 47:59
  • How Long Should an Email Be and Should It Be Text Only? – 59:00
Transcript below

 

Hello and a really warm welcome this episode of the podcast. How are you doing? We are really close to Christmas so I should imagine if you are listening to this before Christmas, you are amidst of cards and present wrapping and decorations and all that sort of thing. As I record this, it's actually still the end of November so I actually don't know whether I'll be doing that myself.

I have to say that my husband and I joke that if we didn't have children we would quite happily not have Christmas which sounds really mean. Actually one thing that is really interesting, prior to me having my own business, I loved things like Christmases and birthdays and having dinner parties and doing all these lovely things but you know what happens? It is little bit sad and I do feel a little bit sad about it, but what happens is you have your own business and honestly my brain never stops thinking about business, working on the business, doing things, thinking I need to check this, do that. Sometimes it just doesn't feel like it has any more space for anything else so in all honesty, I find it much harder now to do things like Christmas and birthdays and plan them as well as I would want to. I'm one of those people who loves that sort of stuff and I much prefer I deal with other people's birthdays and giving to other people at Christmas much better than myself.

It's just really weird. Are you like that? I don't like my birthday so much. I much prefer to plan someone else's. I used to be really good at it. I used to make cards and I used to throw parties and I used to do really cool, thoughtful stuff and I would love to do that more. Maybe one day when the business is lots bigger and I can afford a bigger team that can do things more for me, my team is amazing as they are by the way, but obviously I would have them do way more if there was no budget constraints. Yeah, maybe one day that will come back and I can start throwing dinner parties again but at the moment, like I said, apart from having the children we would quite happily have no Christmas this year.

The other thing I should say is obviously as you all know if you've been listening to the podcast, I have a stepson and then obviously I have my daughter and she spends one week with me, one week with her dad. We have to take it in turns so Christmas is, one year she stays with me and she's here Christmas Day and wakes up on Christmas Day here and then in the other year she obviously does that at her dad's. It's actually that this year, she's at her dad's on Christmas Day herself, so she doesn't get here until Boxing Day so we will actually have a very quiet and non-eventful Christmas Day but then Boxing Day will be our Christmas Day. There we go, just giving you a back story on my Christmas because I'm sure you absolutely needed to know that.

This week, I'm doing another interview because I have been really good. I've batched so many interviews recently that actually I thought I would do two in a row and I wanted to do the solo ones over the Christmas period just in case you don't get a chance to hear them. Mainly because I feel bad like if you've come up to my podcast, and I'm not even sure this actually happens all the time but, of course Christmas and New Year I have seen a dip in the past in terms of downloads because people are busy, they're out of their routine, I guess if you listen to this one you're on the way to the office or if you do a morning routine or go for a walk or whatever. Obviously if you're not doing that on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve which are the two days the podcast comes out this year then that person is going to miss out if I've done an interview. That's why I've chosen to do solo episodes for those two because you can listen to me every single week so I'm not offended if you miss that week maybe. Obviously you might listen later so that's fine.

Anyway, I'm going to do an interview this week. This week we have got the very lovely Jill Fanslau and I'm hoping I said that right again. It is Fanslau? Yeah. She has been in marketing for twelve years and she works for AWeber. She is head of content marketing but she has done lots of other things and she's been published by some of the world-renowned brands like Men's Health Magazine, Women's Health Magazine, and National Geographic Society.

If you don't know, AWeber is a online platform that you can use to send emails. As you know, I have talked lots of times about systems that I use. I don't use AWeber and I have to say, because I get approached for people to come on the podcast which is super cool actually because it opens up people to me that I've never seen before, I might not know, I might not of thought they would want to come on, and it just kind of gives me a bit of variety and I'm really strict. I've had lots of requests for people to come on that don't fit with my audience, don't fit with you guys listening, and I really hope that people I do bring on do fit with you and therefore it's interesting and it helps you.

When I was approached by Jill and she wanted to talk about email marketing and what she can do on them and advice around coming up with ideas for sending out emails and that sort of thing, I was like, “Perfect, perfect, perfect,” however, I don't use AWeber so I was really keen to make sure that when we do this episode it was really focused on the content not necessarily platform and she was great. She was absolutely brilliant, perfect. Obviously AWeber is used by lots and lots of people. It's a very, very good platform. It just is one that I haven't used so I will link up and only Jill in the show notes as always. I put all their links in there. I will also link up to AWeber so that you can have a look at that if that's something that you think you might be interested in.

Like I said, this episode is all about email. It's about how you should collect email, why you should collect email, why you should send emails, and then what should you be sending them? That, for me, is the question I get asked a lot because it's [inaudible 00:06:17] saving emails and collecting emails but if you don't actually email them, they're not going to be very warm when you do get around to emailing them. Normally, people only then email when they're trying to sell something or they need something. It all about how can you email them ongoing and going forward and what should you put in those emails?

We'll talk about that, we'll talk about onboarding as well in terms of when you do get someone onto your email list, how do you onboard them? What do you do? What kind of emails do you send them so that they get a feel of who you are and then you get to kind of have a conversation with them. Then, some tips around writing your email, how you write it when you're writing it for one person, so I really enjoy talking about this. Really enjoyed sharing my experiences with email as well. Hopefully this should be a really, really useful one for you and if you are looking to build your email list and you haven't yet started, please do so. Real exciting point there. You can get a free download that is five ways to build your email list that lots of people forget about, some simple, easy things that you can do. You can head over to Teresaheathwaring.Com/list building and you'll be able to get that here and there's a download like I said of five ideas there.

Anyway, I will shut up talking and I will let you carry on listen to today's interview with the lovely Jill. Here we go.

 

Introducing Jill

 

Okay, it gives me so much pleasure today to welcome the very lovely Jill Fanslau to the podcast. Jill, welcome.

Thanks so much, Teresa. I'm super excited to be here.

You know what, I'm really excited to be here because, I'm really excited to be here? I'm always here. I mean, I'm really excited for you to be here. It's been a long week and it's only Wednesday so we're in trouble.

This is a great way to kick this off. I love it.

Always, always. It's like and you know what happens, this is now going off [inaudible 00:08:09], I hardly ever edit these things out so my audience is more than accustomed to hearing me get it wrong and fixing it all live in the podcast. I'm sure they won't mind.

Yeah.

Very off [inaudible 00:08:21]. [crosstalk 00:08:21]

We did not practise.

Yeah, if anything I am authentic. I am super excited to have you here because we're talking about something that I really love to talk about and it's a little bit old school in marketing sense, but we're talking about emails. It's actually a question that I get all the time in my academy about, how do we get better open rates? How do we structure an email? What do I say to them every week? How often should I email them? How often should I do all these things? There's so many great questions that we're going to address and you are really the expert on this so I'm really, really excited.

Jill, just so my audience can have an understanding, can you just briefly tell them who you are and how you got to do what you're doing today?

Yeah, no problem. I'm super excited to talk about email. As you said, it's such an old school marketing tactic but yet people are still learning new things every day about it and it's changing at a faster pace than I think it's ever changed before so I'm really excited to dive into that. Yeah, just some background on me. I got started in print journalism and I got started right around the time that newspapers were declared dead.

Perfect timing.

It was great, yeah. I was like, “Great. I'm glad I spent all this money on my education and coming out to a horrible job field,” I think there was a 20+% drop in newspaper ad revenue the year that I graduated. [crosstalk 00:09:50] Nothing to do with me. I was really lucky and actually got a job at the National Geographic Society, was still able to go into journalism, which I think has given me a really great background in how to create content for people and do so in a really service-filled way. Giving people actionable tips, expert advice, statistics, research, data, and implementing that into marketing materials.

I started out at National Geographic, quickly saw the writing on the wall that magazines and newspapers weren't going anywhere anytime soon, and I pivoted and went to digital marketing, digital journalism. I got my degree at night for that in grad school and then hopped over to Men's Health Magazine, started out as a senior editor, and one day my boss said to me, he's my mentor as well, he goes, “What is it that you want to do at Men's Health? What's your dream job?”

I was like, “Fitness editor,” and he looks at me he says, “Okay.”

I'm like, “I know, it's impossible, I'm a female, this is Men's Health, I can't be the fitness editor,” and he goes, “I don't care if you're purple, green, male or female, if you are the best person for the job, you get the job.”

I got the job. The next thing I know, I'm fitness editor and then I moved up to director of the website, which was really cool because at that point I was doing journalism but you're doing marketing hand-in-hand. You can't run a digital website and not be doing both. We were slicing and dicing content and putting it up on social media, putting it on the website, YouTube, we were everywhere. At the same time, we were also selling products and services. Every piece of content that we created was high-quality, education-based, service-filled, but also was pushing a product or a service to someone that we thought they could get value out of. It was a really cool mix at that point of digital marketing, journalism.

Then I was up for a new challenge and hopped over to the Sass tech industry and here I am at AWeber which is a Sass email marketing platform and it's been around for 20 years. Our founder Tom Kulzer actually created the email auto-responder in 1998 so we're like the [crosstalk 00:12:11] we're like the OG godfather of the email marketing business.

Here I am, I am head of content marketing but I do a tonne of demand-gen strategy as well so driving acquisition, paid advertising, SCL, webinars, all of that fun stuff.

Amazing.

Yeah.

I love hearing the stories of how people got to where they were and the skill sets that people gain in order to direct them into certain ways. Actually it must have been really nice to come from a journalism background because I've always said for a really long time, I've worked in marketing for 15 years and people got marketing and PR confused and I always used to say to people that sort of came to me and said, “Can you do PR,” like it's a really specific thing and you write in a very specific way and I can't write like that. That's not a way I've been taught to write or a way that I do write.

For you to come from that direction where actually the story-telling, the getting to the punchline, the key messages, the current thing that's going to draw someone in is such a good skill in order to then go forward and use that from a marketing point of view. It's kind of fascinating really. Also the content creation and then luckily doing the sales bit because as I sat there and listened to what you were saying I was thinking, “I wonder what it's like to create content and not have or want to just get a sale at the end of it,” and obviously you have that element which was great because then it gave you all of those skills really, didn't it? That's awesome.

Obviously what we want to talk about today is how we go about these emails. We joke that it's old school and lots of people think that because social media is here that we no longer have to do that sort of thing. However, one thing that I teach and one thing that I talk about all the time is that we don't own our social media. We're marketing on borrowed ground. Therefore, if something was to happen to our platform, if Twitter decided tomorrow they were done or in fact I have a horrible but very powerful story of someone that I know personally so I know it's very true who had a huge Instagram following, hundreds of thousands, and she built her whole business using Instagram and she'd done a bit of an email list but it wasn't her priority because she was getting so much traffic and so much stuff direct from Instagram. Built an online business, selling an online course, and basically someone hacked into her Instagram, wiped it, and it went.

No.

Literally overnight. All those files.

Oh, that's horrifying.

Isn't it? She said that the followers were bad enough, that was awful enough, however for her the thing that really upset her because she was doing a business where she taught people how to be creative with kids and their children and it was all about doing these amazing creative activities. For her, the content that she produced and had only on Instagram, and it went literally she lost everything. Of course, she got in touch with Instagram and not that they don't care or not to say that publicly, but they're a big company, they deal with big accounts, and obviously hers even though it's big maybe to the rest of us listening, to them she's not Kylie Jenner. I think if Kylie Jenner had something happen they might help her out but unfortunately they didn't help her out and that was it, start from scratch again.

 

Why Should You Use Email?

 

For me, email is so important but of course one of the reasons I wanted you on and one of the things I wanted to talk to you about, how we should look at writing our emails, is the fact that the open rates are still pretty low and how do we really make the most of that? I feel like I'm just throwing every question at you all in one go. I'm just like, right, you go and I'll tell you when to stop. Where do you want to start with this? What's your thoughts in terms of rate? Where do we start with this beast of email marketing?

Yeah, so it's interesting that you brought up social media because people say that to me all the time, “Well, I need to focus on social media,” and I will be the first person to say this, yes, you have to be on social media as a brand. There's no doubt about that but to your point, if Zuckerberg decides tomorrow that all of his algorithms are going to change, a small percentage will only see your content. It doesn't matter how engaged that audience is and if they want to see your content, they can't. You have no control over that.

That's a pretty awful way to run a business which is why I think that you have to be smart about how your distribution channels are working together nowadays. There's a reason email is old school but still around. It's still 42 dollars for every dollar spent ROI and 3.9 billion people are projected to use email in the year 2019 and that's only supposed to go up next year as well.

Amazing.

Yeah, it's old school but it works right? There are ways to drive your social media followers to your email newsletters, to your email list, so that if a platform goes belly up tomorrow or Zuckerberg decides that his algorithm is going to change and 5% of your social media ends up seeing your posts, you've got another solid channel to communicate with them through. That's through email. It's funny that you say open rates fluctuate or they're lower. I was talking to a woman the other day and she's like, “Yeah, back email's heyday, back in 2008, 2009, I had a 40% open rate and now I have an 8% open rate,” and I was like, “Huh.”

She was like, “I think everything is just going into promotions.”

I was like, “Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay,” so I started to dig into her strategy a little bit and then I was like, “Tell me what types of emails you send.” She's an email newsletter for moms and she sends the top picks of the week and advice every single week and I go, “Oh, how are you segmenting your audience? How are you letting your audience choose what they get from you?”

She said, “Well I don't. They sign up for my list and then I send them the cool picks of the week.”

I go, “Yeah, but what if I have a baby and you send cool picks that are for adolescents and then the next week you're sending them for toddlers and then the next week you send them for adolescents again? That's three weeks in a row where I'm not reading your content.”

Yeah, not interested.

Now I'm going to unsubscribe or I'm going to mark you a scam or I'm just not going to open. We started to dig into it and I'm like, “I don't think that your problem is necessarily going into the promotional tab. I mean that might be part of it and I can help you with that but I think that you need to start segmenting your list and you haven't done it since 2008.”

This list now, you need to number one clean it. Purge it. Get people off of your list that have not engaged with your content in months. That's number one. That's just good list hygiene. Number two, let people choose what content they're getting from you. Add some on the sign up form, do you have a baby? Do you have a toddler? Do you have a kid within this age range? Then send the emails that you're creating around those age groups to those segments of people. Also let them self-select on their journey if their baby becomes a toddler, at the bottom of the email say, is this still the right age range for your child? If they say no, my child is now a toddler, they can click toddler and on the backend of an email marketing platform like AWeber, you get tagged toddler and now all of the sudden they move over to the toddler campaign.

There's really smart ways to be sending content to people that they want, that they need, and it's really not that complicated to do it which is fantastic.

I think that's the thing about technology now compared to when, and I remember years and years ago when I first started doing emails while I was employed by a company then, and I looked at things like constant contact and I remember it being like, oh my goodness, I've got to do this email and it felt massive. Literally you just shoved everybody in there and you'd just send one email and that was it.

Yeah.

Now, the beauty of what we have is that we can be so smart. We can do the [inaudible 00:20:41]. If we can ask our customers and our prospects in the right way, we can find out which bits are most important to them and what they want to hear from us. Oddly enough, you're talking about this and I'm sat here thinking, my strategy and we've talked before but I'll just say again, I built an email list and I teach on how to build email lists, and I'm very confident about how to get people on your email list and that's great. I build this email list from nothing, I started from zero because I had gotten one side of the business that was an agency, and obviously I got a list of them but when I wanted to do my own online stuff, they're not the right people. I hopefully, smartly went, well I can't just move them across because they didn't want to do it themselves. That's why they pay us to do it.

Yep.

I thought, started from scratch, built my email list, sat on it. Literally collecting it as I go to get some stamps. Oh, I just love looking at how many people I've got on my list. I'll do nothing with you. I would do their onboarding emails, I would give them the thing they'd asked for, and then that would be it. I sent them all an email saying I've been a fool and I shouldn't be emailing you, and if you don't want to hear from me regularly, that's absolutely fine, no problem, unsubscribe. If you do, you're going to hear from me every Wednesday. Today is a Wednesday. I've written it, I'm having it proofread as we speak, and then it will be going out at some point today and I said I would send you an email every Wednesday and I will give you some value. I will chat to you, I hopefully might make you laugh occasionally, and it will be very authentic from me. I won't get my copywriter to do it, it will be me that writes and it will be something different.

 

Is Honesty the Best Policy?

 

Although I don't mind receiving, I receive emails from [inaudible 00:22:23] and James Wetmore and their emails say, “On the podcast is,” and I don't mind that as a receiver but for me, I just didn't want to do that because I didn't want to feel like I was repeating myself. Basically started sending out these emails but I don't split the audience at all and I'm sat here thinking I was so proud of myself and what I do and then thought, “Oh no, I'm just messed up,” because I literally just send the same message to everybody. I think I need to. I have done an episode on this, have you heard of a system called ResponseSuite?

ResponseSuite? I don't think so.

Okay, so a UK-based company and they have a really cool surveying system that basically plugs into whatever system you're using. I'm confident that you guys will be on there and basically what happens is you send a survey and first off, you can change the thank you page based on their answers, so that was lovely. You could say to someone, what are you struggling with or what's the main thing you need help with right now? Then if they said, I need help with coming up with list-building ideas, then you send them to a thank you page that says, “Here's a free download on list-building,” or whatever, so that's cool. Then it would tag them in, and at the time I did it I used Infusionsoft and interestingly enough they don't do it with Jarvee so it's a shame I'm not using them at the moment but they integrated with Infusionsoft when I was with them. Not worked for them, I've not worked for Infusionsoft. I feel like I should've had a glass of wine or something, maybe I'd be a bit more [inaudible 00:24:00].

Maybe a bottle, yeah.

Yeah, maybe, maybe. Will be after this call. What happens is it tags them Infusionsoft and whatever system you'd be using and I know there's a load of them that are on that list. That's really awesome because you can do it, I did, and some people responded however there's a part of me that thinks, and tell me whether I'm wrong, that because of all the lead magnets I do, because I do a lot of speaking, I feel like they're only coming on my list if they're my type of audience anyway.

Yeah.

I talk about the same thing all the time as in roughly, Internet marketing, social media, digital marketing, so am I being a fool or am I just about okay?

No. I think you're being hard on yourself because I really do think you're doing a good job. You mentioned so much about your strategy that I'm like, “Yep. Plus one, plus one, plus one, like, great job,” so a couple things that you're doing extremely well that I think are just best practises that everyone should be doing is one, you said this yourself, you're being super authentic. Your tone, your voice, it speaks to exactly who you are, the way that you're addressing your audience is exactly how you talk in a podcast and how your [inaudible 00:25:18] sound. It's not a bait and switch. You're not getting them through one channel and then on another channel sounding completely different or stuffy or, you know? That's fantastic.

Second of all, you set a foundation of trust with your audience when you tell them, “Hey listen, I haven't been very communicative with you in the past but I am making it a priority now to email you every Wednesday and this is what I'm going to send. You can opt in to come with me or you can opt out, that's okay, but we're going to go on this journey together,” and then you stuck to it.

What email is, is a relationship when you think about it. It is building a foundation of trust with your audience from the get-go and then sticking to that. You don't want to break that. If you start emailing them four times a week and they're like, “Whoa. You told me this journey we were going to talk once a week and now you're calling me more than my mom? We need to take a step back here.” You have to build that trust and you have to stick with it.

Some people use email like they're standing on the stage in front of a room of people, a room of people that they've invited in, people who've decided okay, I'm going to join this room, and then they stand up there with a megaphone and they just bark. They just talk. They're like, “Check out this product, check out this content, check out,” and they don't make it a conversation. They don't make it a discussion. They don't involve their audience and another thing that it sounds like you're doing is you're actually making it a conversation.

You're asking your audience what they want from you and I, this is one of my number one things, is send a question email at least once a year if not more often that just says, “Hey, what am I not giving you that you need,” or, “What's your biggest challenge this year,” or, “If you have a successful business can you tell me what you wished you had known before you got started?” Not only is it good for you to be striking up a conversation with your audience that they feel like it's a very personal relationship as opposed to you just, again, standing up there with a megaphone.

What it does is it gives you fodder for more content. You could come up with your next four lead-gen ideas. You could come up with your next four blog post ideas. Your next six Instagram ideas from answers that your audience is giving you. You might not know that you're missing the mark and then have six people write back like, “I just can't figure out how to do this,” and you're like, “Oh my gosh. Yeah. I thought they knew how to do that but they don't. Let me spin something up real quick for them.” You could get your next product idea or you could build relationships with people. You might not know someone's on your list and they might write back and all of a sudden you're like, “I need your on my podcast.” You just never know and I just say to people, “Don't be a megaphone. Make it a conversation. Sometimes your audience is actually smarter than you and they'll give you the ideas.”

Yeah and you're so right because there are some people and you know what surprises me? There are some people in the digital marketing space and in the industry that I am buying from if you'd like, where I'm a consumer, who are big, big names who literally only email when they're selling.

Yes.

It's like, why? Why do you do that?

Yeah.

You know what happens now? I actually really, I'm not going to name and shame, but I really like this person but when I get an email into my inbox, delete. I don't even [crosstalk 00:28:43]

I know.

Because of the fact that it's not enough for me to unsubscribe, it's just the fact that I know you're selling something. The other thing that is interesting and I would love to hear your opinion on this, affiliate marketing is wonderful, okay? It's a great tool. I'm not, not an advocate for it. I don't do it personally however I use affiliate links. I sent out an email talking about, what was it, oh, Bonjoro. Do you know Bonjoro?

I think I've heard of it, yeah.

You can send personal videos to people, it's brilliant. Check it out.

Yeah.

I'm still on Bonjoro and I put an link in there and it's an affiliate link. It's not that I'm completely adverse however, what happens in the space that we are in is one person, one personal brand, let's say is promoting their thing, okay?

 

Emails Are Not Just for Sales

 

One, they go into email overdrive because while [inaudible 00:29:37] open, they are like boom, boom, boom, hammering you to not only do you get suddenly a massive influx of emails from them. Then what you do is their friend there and their friend there and their friend there are all affiliates and they start emailing you but of course what they're doing is pretty much emailing you exactly the same thing because the person selling the thing has very helpfully, and again I get it, I'm not saying it's not a great strategy or it's not a strategy to use, but of course you end up getting four emails that virtually read the same because they're using a swipe file.

Yep.

I don't know how you feel about that but for me on the receiving end, it makes me feel a bit like “Ugh,” that's horrible.

It feels lazy, right? It's like the used car salesman who would use any tactic to get you to buy and it just doesn't sit right. We can all see through it. We're not idiots sitting here on the other side of the inbox like, “Oh, that's funny that they all sent the same message. How did that…,” you know?

Yeah.

We're all smart consumers and we see through it. It might work one time, it's not going to work every single time, and after a while that tactic becomes totally null and void because everyone will know what's happening. People do this on Instagram too. They use the same swipe files, the same content, the same captions, and again as you said, once you get into a circle all of a sudden you're scrolling through your feed and you're seeing six of the same swipe file photos with the same captions.

Yeah.

I don't know. It's so going back to what we were talking about a couple minutes ago, just so inauthentic.

Yeah.

It's just, there's no real person behind that account anymore and you've lost my trust when you do that. To the point that you just made that some people only use email to sell, one thing I can't stress enough is you have to provide value to your readers first and foremost. This is my old school journalist person coming out too but it's a psychological thing when you have a relationship with someone to give them value, bring something to the table without asking for anything in return.

The more value you provide someone, the more likely when you do go and put a solution in front of them like a product or a service, the more likely they are to be like, “You know what? This person helped me with this, this, this, and this along the way, I want to pick up what they're putting down. I want to buy their product because I'm not only a fan of them, I not only trust them, but they've been helping me and I feel like the solution is a help now too.”

I'm not saying you need to go and create an entire course or a 100-page ebook, value can be something as simple as you're a thought leader in your industry and you curate six articles that you saw and you write your spin on it, you know? A 300-word like, “Here's my thought around this new trend happening, I'm curious what you're thinking of, here are six articles that I read about it.”

That saves me, if I'm interested in that topic, first of all now I see you as an authority on the matter, I get your opinion on the matter, and you just saved me so much time going to find six articles about it so that I can learn more? That is value, right? It's 300 words you had to write, that's it. I think any time you can provide value for people, it's invaluable.

Yeah. Absolutely. Let's just touch on that a bit more because obviously I've explained the way I write is very much I sit down and I write it. I'm totally honest and I tell my audience that I sometimes sit there on a Wednesday and I'm like, “What should I talk about today,” because it is different content and I should batch, or not batch, but I should plan and I don't.

For instance, today, the day we're recording this is National World Kindness Day or something.

Oh, I didn't know that.

Yeah and it inspired me in the sense of being kind and doing nice things and one of the things that I teach in the academy and when I'm speaking generally is I have this four-step process and I digress on that, I apologise, get seen, get emails, get sales, get fans, because people forget once they've actually sold to someone they're like, “Great, move on, get another sale.”

Whereas the [inaudible 00:34:08] is so important so I used the thought of being kind, the process that I do in saying, “Here are some tips to give some kindness and some love to your customers.” I literally wrote six or eight things like send them a personal card, use Bonjoro, which is why I thought about it to send a personal video, send them a gift card to have a coffee on you, give them a DOP thing, all these kinds of little things that they could do. Literally I sat there today and thought, “What should I write about? Oh there you are, do that.”

 

What Do You Say to Your Email List?

 

I'm not saying I'm the most ideal way of doing email but the one thing I get asked all the time is, “What do I say?” If I'm going to commit every single week to write to my audience and I sell a product or a service or my industry should be so much easier or me should be so much easier because I teach people stuff. It should be a case of what someone asked me this week, I'll write about that. One of my academy members, she makes these amazing gift keepsake teddy bears so people send her, it's so cute and we were just [inaudible 00:35:16] you have children [crosstalk 00:35:17]

Yeah.

They send the baby's clothes once they've grown out of them and she turns their favourite baby's clothes into the most beautiful bears, just stunning. She's amazing.

That is amazing.

Also she does thinks like she makes, and it's all handmade, she's so smart. I don't know how she does it. I'm not like that at all. She makes quilts and things but again, she gets you to send in all the stuff and creates something lovely out of it. She's just started building her email list, she's doing a really good job, she's doubled it, she went from basically not very many to 250 people. [crosstalk 00:35:56]

Wow.

It's just amazing. What does she talk to them about every single week without just going, “Buy my stuff, buy my stuff.”

Yeah. That's tough. One thing that, if she's on Instagram, is she on social media?

Yeah.

This is one of those, I know that you were saying you like to keep emails separate as a distribution channel and the content on there, this is one time where I think that literally she can slice and dice the content.

Yeah.

She can be like, “Hey, I don't know if you saw my recent three posts but here are three bears that I made. This one was sent to Nebraska, United States. This was sent to London. This one was sent to…,” and talk a a little bit about that, then it gets people to your social media channel and vice-versa. She could even say like, she could start to talk about some of the memories behind some of the people's clothing. Like, “This is a bear, it's made out of a christening gown. Their one month outfit, two month outfit, three month outfit,” or whatever. She could tell the stories. Testimonials are always great to send out and again, she's not directly selling. She's talking about her business, talking about what she's doing, but she's not directly being like, “Buy a bear, send me your stuff.” [crosstalk 00:37:18]

Sorry, go ahead.

Go ahead.

I was just going to say story-telling. If she can talk about the impact that she's making on people, meeting with someone who was so moved by a gift by that, or someone who had their bear for decades or something like that. Telling those stories is really important too. As humans, we crave stories. It helps us connect the dots to things, it brings out emotional responses, so she can start to weave some of those stories into why she does her business and what it means to people. People will remember that.

Yeah, for sure. I think the other thing that sometimes people are a wee bit fearful of doing but I think it's great strategies, another part of her business is she makes bibs and teething rings, and of course they're beautifully done. You know those tag things? My daughter loved tags.

Yeah.

She never had one of them actually, she just used to like go through clothes and be like, oh no, and then she'd get another one, no, and then she'd find one and she'd be like, “Yes, I'm having this one,” whatever it was.

For me, it's like, so your audience who are buying the bibs, and she has started looking at how she can split them so she knows who's buying the keepsake things although they do still tend to be parents but they could be grandparents. They could be other family members, but then the people who are buying the bibs and the teething rings, they definitely have the children so again, why wouldn't she share a weaning story or a story about natural ways to help teething or things that her audience would be interested with.

Granted it's not selling her product but if I was that mum, if I was someone who had bought this product and then an email came through and there's all these other additional kind of things that help me, why wouldn't I want to read that or look at it or click on it and feel like she's a resource to me?

Yeah, or if you're a grandmother and you know that your daughter's baby is going through teething, the mom's been up all night long with the baby for weeks on end and she gets an email like that from your friend that's like, “Hey, here's some natural remedies for helping teething, here's some stories I found, by the way don't forget we also have this available here,” that's a really soft pitch but it's the perfect solution, right?

Yeah, yeah.

Giving them value, giving them solution, and I think that to your point, if we kind of shift our mindset around, “Oh well then I have nothing to write about,” think about what your audience is going through. Think about that mom who's up all night with her kids. Think about if you're a grandparent, what that gift means passing it down, stuff like that. I think that actually you have more content ideas at your fingertips than you would ever assume.

Yeah and I think people often think that they can only talk about the thing that they sell and what's interesting in a few of my emails is sometimes I will talk about, I have a classic one and this is one of the emails I got the most responses from which is odd, right? Basically I had gone, and if you're on my email list you'd have read this I'm sure, but if you're not I'd gone to Nashville, I was going to Nashville, and I was taking a first-class flight. I do not pretend for one second I paid for that, it was on points. I fly lots. I got it on points because I can assure you I did not pay twenty grand to go on a plane and that's how much it would've cost.

Yeah, you and me are in coach through and through.

Yeah, honestly. It's like I don't want to be there, I really do want to be in first, but I can't afford to pay that. [crosstalk 00:40:50]

Enjoy it if you're up there.

Totally. I was going to Nashville, we're flying first-class, my husband and I. I get to the airport, cut a really long story short, I went to check in in first-class feeling very excited and my ESTA, because we have to have an ESTA to come into the country.

Okay.

Was under the wrong name because I'd changed my passport. I hadn't thought for one second to change my ESTA. I'm stood about four hours before my flight because luckily we went really early because I just wanted to sit and drink champagne for hours on end for free. We sat in, they wouldn't let us go through because obviously they won't if I haven't got a valid ESTA, you can't even check in. She's like, “You'll just have to apply. It can take up to 72 hours.”

Oh no. [crosstalk 00:41:40]

I was [crosstalk 00:41:41]

My free champagne.

I know, I was looking forward to it so I was freaking out and really quickly I thought, you know what? With all this personal development stuff I've done since I'm in business, there's nothing I can do about this. I can't control what might happen. I can control how I deal with it. So I did, I calmed down and in my head, and I didn't admit this in the email and I have admitted this to many people so this is coming out now, but in my head I had dreamt that I had walked through being first-class so many times that I couldn't imagine it not coming true. Do you know what I mean? It's like now I'm there, I'm on the plane already, I'm experiencing it. [crosstalk 00:42:22]

Yeah. I've got the blanket on my lap, my feet are up. [crosstalk 00:42:24]

Exactly.

Yeah.

I like played that over in my head so many times and I think I kind of thought, “It's going to happen.” Anyway, long story short, the ESTA came through within about an hour which was unbelievable. The woman even was like, “You do not know how lucky you are.”

When I went to, I was going to my email and I got through, and of course the thing I was going to write about then did not seem relevant so I wrote about this and really, the only moral of the story was I couldn't control what happened but I could control how I reacted and that was it. The entire thing was just a story about me potentially not getting on first and this is what happened and it was weird because again that's got nothing to do with me or really what I do but by this point, I'd written quite a few emails to people getting to know me, they were getting to know what I was like, and the response was immense. People were like, “Oh my God, this time this happened to me and I nearly did this or this.”

Yeah.

Because they could relate to what I was saying and I think I'd written it so honestly from my heart like, “Oh my God, man. I nearly…” [crosstalk 00:43:31] You can almost hear the tears in the email and then the relief at the end.

Yeah. It's so relatable, right? You told a story that we've all been there. Maybe not standing there for first-class but we've all been in that situation where we're biting our nails and we're angry and we're frustrated and things could go one way or completely the other and to your point, it's your attitude and how you face it that really matters at the end of the day, right? Did you handle it with grace or did you go to the other side? Regardless, your story could've gone one of two ways but [crosstalk 00:44:08] the fact that you put it out there, we've all been there, and I say this all the time when it comes to email. I always say send a story email whether it's your own story about some trials and tribulations that you've gone through no matter how small, no matter how big, it'll resonate with a part of your audience and it will just make you seem more human to them.

Yeah.

I love that you turned a situation in an airport into an email because that's what the experts do. They use anecdotes all day long and send it out and sometimes it ties to a product, other times it doesn't, it's just a touch point with their audience to be like, “I'm a real person, here's a lesson I learned and let's all learn from it together. Tell me times that you've been stuck in this as well.” Again, it's a conversation, right? It feels like I'm sitting next to you on a plane with a glass of champagne instead of you being this person I've never met before on the other side of my inbox, you know? [crosstalk 00:45:06]

Genuinely they seemed like they were like, “I'm so relieved for you,” and I was really honest. Like I said, I told people all along that I got it on points, I didn't pay for it, and how excited I was because I'd never been first-class on a plane and all this kind of thing. Like I said, I think in some way knowing my audience, I knew they would relate. Like I said, it may not be relatable I'm waiting for a first-class plane. It might be, “Yeah you're right, actually I didn't deal with this thing particularly well and I could've done it better because actually there was nothing I could do about it.”

Don't get me wrong, I was really calm that day. Today, my daughter's bus was late coming back from school and I was freaking the hell out so I don't do it all the time. Sometimes I get a little angry and sometimes [crosstalk 00:45:48]

We're all human. The one thing I think that you touched upon was not only being relatable, but you did it in a really likeable way. You used your own voice, you used your own anecdote, it sounded like it was coming from you. I always say, say you have a list of four thousand people.

Yeah.

Write to one person.

Yeah.

Write to Chelsea who's sitting on the train after a long day at work, she just wants to get home, she opens up her email, write to her. Don't write to four thousand faceless people. Write to one person and write to them like they're your best friend. You just want to help them or you just want to talk to them or you want to tell them a funny story and it's that likeability that gets people coming back over and over again. I don't think you need to be smart or pipe-y or whatever it is. I just think that you need to be likeable and you need to give them value, and then I think your open rights and I think your results will be that much stronger because of it.

Yeah and it feels nicer. It feels more authentic. It feels real. It doesn't feel like you're on my list because at some point I'm going to sell to you. Don't get me wrong, obviously we are all in business and we do have things to sell but I have a [inaudible 00:47:09] and that's for one of those reasons because when I have done an open and closed call, I've emailed my list more and I apologise. I literally go, “I know it's a Sunday and I promised I wouldn't email you on a Sunday but I do want to tell you about this thing so please bear with me,” and I give them the option to opt out of that particular thing. I say to them, “If you don't want to hear about the academy or you don't want to hear about a master class or you don't want to hear about a challenge or whatever it is, then just reply and I promise I will not include you in any of these emails.”

Again, trying to be really honest and open and whatever about it.

Okay, let's move on to a few other bits because we've been chatting about that and it feels like I'm stealing the show. You're an advocate for a seven-email strategy. Can you explain what that is and why we should be doing it?

 

What Is A Seven Email Strategy?

 

Oh yeah. We did cover a lot of them already I think throughout this conversation but I'll run through them really quickly.

Perfect.

These are the seven emails that I feel like everyone should be sending whether they're through broadcasts or if you want to automate them. Everyone who signs up for your list should automatically get a welcome email.

Yeah.

Welcome emails are going to be one of your highest open emails because people have just signed up for your list and they should get it instantaneously. They shouldn't have to wait a week to get it so make sure you've got that automatic on the backend when someone signs up, they opt in, they're getting the email. Introduce yourself, start to introduce your tone and your voice, do exactly what you do and set the foundation for how many times they'll hear from you, what they can expect to get from you, and then also if you have a lead magnet. Like you said, “Hey, sign up for my email and you'll get this checklist,” make sure they get the checklist [crosstalk 00:48:53] included in that email. Yeah.

Secondly, I would follow-up with a story email. We were just talking a lot about anecdotes. It can be about your background, it can be about how you got started in a business, it could be about a funny story from the other day, but again I think it's just setting that likeability. It's making you feel like a real person to them. That you're sitting there at your computer typing even though it's all done automatically but you're not a robot, you know? You are talking to them one-on-one sharing a story with them. It can be short.

I have people who are like, “Listen, I'm not Jane Austen and I don't want to sit here and write a story to people,” and I'm like, “Cool, shoot a video.” Shoot a one-minute video and send the email and say, “Hey, I want to introduce myself and tell you a quick story about how I got started. I think it will really help you. I would love for you to take a minute and listen.” Keep the video short. People aren't going to go sit and watch a movie of you no matter how cool you are but keep it short, keep it sweet, and give them a little bit more about you. I think that you should do that.

I think that the next email you send should provide more value. Again, it's the whole psychological thing. The more value we give people, the more likely when we eventually put a solution in front of them, they're going to buy it. They're going to purchase it. They're going to tell their friends about it. What was I going to say about that? I'll go back, I'll remember it.

I hate it when my brain does that, does it all the time.

I feel like there's so much I want to say and I'm like wait, what was it?

Again, I don't think it needs to be an ebook, I don't think it needs to be an email course, I just think it needs to be curated content. Your take on something that's happening, some things that you've learned since you got started, something like that. Your five most popular blog posts, that's value, right? I don't have to go searching. I don't have to figure it out for myself and read ten thousand articles. You've curated them for me right there.

Then I think that you should send an agitation email. What I mean by this is [crosstalk 00:50:54]

I was going to say, a what email?

Agitation [crosstalk 00:50:57]

Agitation, okay.

Mm-hmm (affirmative). This is when you want to, you should know what your audience's pain point is, right? What they're coming to you for. What problem keeps them up at night that you can help them solve? This is the email, this is after you've provided value, this is after you've set a foundation with them, this is the email where you kind of what to make them squirm a little bit. You want to remind them of the problem that they came to you for. You want to address it directly and you want to say, “Hey, I know you're struggling with this. I struggled with this too,” and kind of make them rub a little salt in the wound. This email should go out right before you pitch them a product or a solution.

Okay.

Amy Porterfield is really, really good at this, of Email Marketing Made Easy. She loves agitation emails. She's not sending them every day but whenever she has a product launch, whenever she has a course launch, you'll notice that her email series, usually four or five in, she will send a long agitation email where if that's your pain point or your biggest challenge, you're sitting there and you're like, “Oh yes, she's speaking to me. I hate that. That's exactly what I'm going through right now,” and then guess what? She provides the solution, she provides, and it's her product.

This is what I was going to say, it doesn't feel sleazy because what has she done? She's invited me to webinars, she's sent me content, she sent me a downloadable content calendar, I listen to all of her podcasts. She's putting a product or service in front of me but it doesn't feel like she's been a used car salesman up to this point because she hasn't tried to sell me every single day. At this point, I am so excited to take a chance on her product and solution because to me it's solving a big issue and we have a relationship. I would say definitely send that agitation email and then provide the solution, which is your product.

Then some people are going to need a little bit of help making a decision. Some people aren't just going to be like, “Yep, you know what? I really like you, you're cool, you send me blog posts, I'm going to buy.”

How do I pay?

Yeah. That's the dream. Yeah. That's the dream and that's not going to be everyone. So this is where you want to send the proof email. Testimonials, quotes, key studies. Your friend who makes the teddy bears and the blankets, quotes from people who absolutely love their products. Five-star reviews, stuff like that. Send proof because at the end of the day we're social creatures and if we see other people raving about something, we have intense FOMO, the fear of missing out, and we want to be a part of that social group. It can help us get over the hump in making a decision to send a proof email.

The last one is one that we've already talked about, it's send that question email at the end. Ask people if they liked the product, if they didn't, what you could've done better, if they need something else from you, ask them about their base challenges for the year 2020 coming up, just ask them. They'll tell you what they want which is fantastic because then you don't have to do all the legwork of figuring it out. They will tell you and all you have to do is ask. I think that's one of the emails that people forget. It's so easy to send but a lot of people just don't.

That's kind of the mix of the five to seven emails that I think that you all should be sending. Again, this could happen over a month, this could happen over six months, it just kind of depends on what you've promised your audience and the relationship that you've built with them.

Yeah.

And what cadence you feel is right.

I love that. I love some of those different ones that you've given us. The agitation one automatically is, “Ugh,” makes you feel like, “Oh no, I don't want to send that because I don't want to upset them,” but all you're doing is saying, is this the problem you've got?

Yeah.

I'm just thinking about to my lovely bear lady and the problem I've got that she would solve is that I don't want to throw away somebody's lovely, beautiful items of clothing that I remember my daughter in as a baby that I want to keep. I want to keep that memory when actually I could turn it into something much more useful and lovely. Effectively, them being set up in the loft and ultimately what's going to happen is she's going to grow up, she tells me she's not having children. She asked me once, “Does it hurt?”

I was like, “Does it hurt? Are you kidding me? It feels like your insides are being ripped out.” [crosstalk 00:55:29]

She's telling me now she's not having children but she might adopt, okay?

Okay. She's nine, right? She's nine years old?

She's nine. She's got a bit of time to change her mind.

Making these life decisions now, I get it.

Exactly. She could pick up, she's told me their names, she's told me what type of children she's adopting, where from, what ethnicity of children she's adopting, she's got it all set. [crosstalk 00:55:51]

Like her mom, she's [inaudible 00:55:54], you know?

Okay. This is it.

Good for her.

What's going to happen is I'm going to go, “Look at all these things you used to wear.”

Of course, she's probably going to go, “[inaudible 00:56:03], mum,” because obviously by then, they're probably going to be mothy for starters if that's really a thing but anyway. For me, that's my pain point. Do I want a whole big bag full or suitcase full of clothes or do I want something that's useful that I can give her, that genuinely she can pass on or then have for a long time? The pain point, I think sometimes when we think about pain points we feel like we're going to go, “Oh, you think you're a failure. You failed, haven't you?”

As if we're making them feel terrible about themselves and it's not to feel like that.

Not at all.

This is the issue that you've got. It may not be horrendous or awful but it is an issue and I fix that issue, which is great.

Yeah. For me it's yeah. [crosstalk 00:56:50] Yeah, I mean there's several avenues she could go there. She could pick out three or four different pain points and be like, “Does this sound like you, does this sound like you, or does this sound like you?” I'm the type of person who I don't like to hoard anything so almost to a fault, I give away all my kid's stuff the second that they grow out of it. I'm like, “See you.”

Baby stuff out the door [crosstalk 00:57:13]

I love it.

I was just like Teresa when we got on, my husband and I, surprise, just found out we're having a third and now I have absolutely nothing.

Brilliant, brilliant, because you've been like [crosstalk 00:57:24] gone.

We don't even have a high-chair. We've got nothing.

You've got to start from scratch again.

Yeah, right, but instead it would be really nice to be able to say to my daughter and my son one day, “Mommy got rid of everything of yours,”

Because I didn't care to keep it.

Yeah. I didn't want my house cluttered, that's how much it meant to me. I did save this and it would be great to be able to sit down with them and talk about it, and then one day be able to sit down with grandkids and be like, you know, this, and then make one for them as well.

I love it.

Yeah.

That's so funny because I was just assuming that the people with the pain point, and this is why this is so good and this is why it's taught to your audience, because I'm sat here seeing my pain point. I've kept these clothes, I don't really know what I'm doing with them, and you're sat there with a completely different one in the sense that you don't want that clutter in your house, which I totally get by the way. Therefore, a something that you could keep. Before you throw everything out you can go, “Right. I'll keep that one, that one, that one, and I'll send them off to be made into a bear rather than keep his clothes.”

Then I can get rid of everything else, yeah.

I love that. I love that. That's brilliant.

Couple of questions I've got written down here.

Yeah.

That I'm going to throw at you and I'm itching to see your answers because then it might change the way I answer these questions in the future.

All right.

I always love doing this because it's like, “This is what I normally say. Is this correct?”

 

How Long Should an Email Be and Should It Be Text Only?

 

Length of email? I wanted to bring that up because you brought up Amy Porterfield and she is the queen of long emails. I have to say I never intended on sending such long emails as I do but for some reason, I can't keep them, they're not as long as Amy's but they are longer than I would like. Is there a theory or is it just whatever's comfortable with you?

Yeah, so that's a really great question. We actually get that question all the time so I think there's a couple answers to it. We actually did a big research project last year where we looked at 100 email marketing influencers in this space. People who just can't be beat when it comes to email marketing and we looked at 1,000 emails across the board from all of them. We found out the averages of what they're doing. What are they all really, really good at?

What we ultimately found is when it came to email length, on average, they were all sending around 430 words, which takes about 3 minutes to read. Again, there's different sides of the spectrum, right? You've got Amy Porterfield, you've got [inaudible 01:00:02] Hanley, who are sending thousand-word emails.

And I get both of those, yes.

Beth Goden on the other side, who's sending 100-word emails. However, the majority of them are falling right in the middle around 400, 500 words. What I think is fascinating about this is you can be like, “All right, if that's what the majority of all of these influencers are doing or these experts in the field, I'm going to do the same thing, great,” or you could look at it and say, “You know what? I'm going to do the exact opposite so I stand out. I'm going to send a long email or I'm going to send a really short email.”

Same with subject lines. We found the average subject line for email marketing experts are around 40 characters, 43 characters to be exact. If you really want to stand out in the inbox then, send one that's super, super short or send one that's super, super long. If everyone else is going around 45 characters, 43 characters, do something different.

You can kind of look at this data a couple different ways. The advice that I always give everyone who asks me this question is test. Test a really long email versus a really short email and see which one you get more engagement on. Which one is driving whatever the objective is of your email? If it's to get to someone to a webpage, if it's to get someone to download something, if it's to get someone to answer a survey. Which email got the best engagement? At the end of the day, that's what matters because that's how your audience is reacting. It doesn't matter what Amy Porterfield's doing, it doesn't matter what Jenna [inaudible 01:01:28] doing. At the end of the day, what is your audience doing?

A/B split testing easier than ever and platforms like AWeber you can set up two versions and send it to 10% of your audience each of them. Which ever one wins, send it to the remaining 80%.

Yeah, amazing.

You can do that with, called action buttons and images and length of email, subject lines, all of those different factors. I would say definitely test but it's nice to kind of know the average because then it gives you a starting point.

Yeah, that's good. That's really good. The character thing especially, that's interesting for the subject title because again, technically you only see so much of it anyway so I suppose that's obviously a consideration anyway.

Yeah and that's a really good point too is mobile. A lot of people we create these emails on our desktop, right? We don't think about the mobile version and I read a stat the other day, it's like 66% of people are reading emails on their mobile phones. You should actually be optimising your emails for mobile first, desktop second.

Yeah.

Yeah, I think you should make sure that your subject line doesn't get cut off at a weird point in mobile. How are images rendering? I always like to say too, and people think I'm crazy, but keep paragraphs like if you're sending a longer email, keep paragraphs to two sentences max. The reason I say two, it feels so weird when you're writing it because you're like, “This is weird that I'm breaking up this.” [crosstalk 01:03:03]

There's a break, there's a break, there's a break, there's a break. Yeah.

Yeah. On mobile, it looks so much better, it's so much scannable, it's more scannable, it's easier to read, it's easier to consume. I'm not scrolling, first-world problems right? Scrolling all day [crosstalk 01:03:19]

It can make a difference.

It really does and if you want people to consume the content that you're writing, make it as digestible as possible. The best way to do that is to cut up your long paragraphs into two sentence, three sentence max. Again it feels really weird as a writer to do that because you've got a paragraph that should all be together and then just start chopping it up.

Yeah.

But it does, it projects itself so much better on mobile if you do that.

Perfect. Okay, next question. HTML versus text-only? Let me tell you what I tell people [crosstalk 01:03:53] whether I'm right or wrong. I do text-only. The reason I do text-only is, one, it looks more authentic because if I was emailing you directly or you're one of my team or you're a client or whatever, then obviously I'm not doing HTML emails to my team to ask them to do something. One, it looks very authentic.

Two, I believe that this is where I say really tentatively in case I've been saying the wrong thing but it does have an affect on the deliverable rate because HTML email is spotted a mile off whereas text-only might not be. Is that right still or not?

No. That's incorrect. That's actually a huge myth in the industry. We recently, because we've got this question all the time, you're not the only person that thought that. [crosstalk 01:04:39]

Thank God for that.

In fact, internally we were like, wait? You've got email experts out there, people who are running email marketing platforms being like the data shows HTML gets stuck in spam and plain text does not. Just to verify, plain text means that you are not hyperlinking text, you are not including images, you are not bolding content, you are not italicising content.

Oh, okay. That's an eye-opener for me because I just assumed because I was typing in an email and not, so when I think of an HTML email I think of someone like a big, Amazon for instance. Who got a header and they've got image and they've got a [inaudible 01:05:24] section, that it's a very designed email.

Sure.

I do bold and italic.

Then you're sending HTML as well because that takes HTML code to do that.

To do that, you're right. Of course it does.

Yeah, so we were like, where's all this data that these email marketing platforms are saying like, we don't provide HTML email templates because plain text is better. We started looking into it and we're like, there is no data that proves that this is [crosstalk 01:05:57]

That that's the case.

We went to an anti-spam expert, she basically helps businesses avoid the spam folder, and she's been doing it for decades. We said, “Okay. Here you go, plain text versus HTML. Is there a difference in deliverability?”

She said, “Absolutely not. There is no difference. All that matters is the links that you have inside your email,” so if you have blacklisted links inside your email or if you're putting an image inside your email that is then linked out to a site with a bad domain, you will be faulted and you will end up in the spam folder. There's more opportunity for that when you're sending in HTML but that's because you know, I think the myth comes from a lot of spammers would do that, right? They'd put those blacklisted sites behind images and behind, you know, they would link, link, link, link, link, and they wanted to get you to the sites that did not have good domain reputations. They were getting bucketed into spam.

As long as you're sending really good emails and whatever lengths you're sending, you're putting in your emails, you're fine. You can put as many images as you want in there. It doesn't matter but to your point about it looking more authentic and all of that, I completely agree. If your business is driven by this more personalised look, send a simple HTML email with only bolded or italicised text, that's fine. If you've got an e-commerce site where you want to show off some products or you're launching a new, yeah, then go ahead. If you want your logo at the top of every email and you want a photo at the end of every email, go for a more fancier designed email. You don't have to worry about if that is going to land in the spam folder more than the inbox anymore.

Okay.

We'll bust that myth.

Thank you and do you know what? This is why I love doing this, why I love speaking to experts, because obviously in my world, do marketing for a really long time and I learn constantly and I'm constantly learning about every different or as many different things as I can. You pick up these things and then you save them for a long time and then suddenly when you get on a call like this, you go, “Is that still correct? Why…” [crosstalk 01:08:16] because you haven't necessarily had time to go and double-check these things so I love that.

The one question I've got though, which I think my audience will have when they listen to this is, how would they know if it was a blacklisted site? Is it as obvious as going, is it a normal, okay, normal website or is there somewhere they can check?

Yeah that's a really good question and we actually have a blog post about this because again, we were just so confused by so many people were having questions about this and we came up with, it was one of the things that we asked Laura Adkins that we interviewed and she said you can use tools like Cisco's Talos to check.

A link to this, if you can send me that link I'll make sure that gets in the show next time.

Yeah, what I'll do is I'll actually send you the blog post that kind of goes into this whole myth and how we kind of busted it. It's got the tool that you can use. One thing that I forgot to mention too is Bitly and TinyURL, any kind of link shortener, is also more likely to get you into the spam folder.

Oh, that's really interesting. [crosstalk 01:09:21]

Yeah. I think you're fine if you're just hyperlinking text or you're doing a call to action button because they're not going to see the long URL anyway. If you're using pure plain text emails where you can't use a call to action button or you can't hyperlink text because again, that takes HTML to code, you would have to include the long links that people might think, “I don't want to include this long link. I'll use a Bitly link or a link shortener,” and you just shouldn't do that.

Yeah. That's great advice. Really, really good advice. Fabulous. Jill, I appreciate your time greatly. I am very aware that we've been chatting because we had quite a chat before we got on [crosstalk 01:10:02] before we started.

This has been so fun.

Honestly, I love it. I love it. Thank you so much for your time. I will obviously link up to everything in the show notes. We'll definitely put that blog post in because that's a really, really good one and thank you so, so much for your advice. I really appreciate you coming on.

Yeah, this was great. Thank you so much, Teresa.

No worries.

Wasn't that cool? I really enjoyed that. Lots of good ideas, lots of good advice, some nice tips and strategies that you can use when sending out your emails. Also, I love it when I've learned something. You know what's really interesting about this and any industry, I guess? You only know what you know. Obviously, my job is to know a lot and I do think I know a lot when it comes to marketing, digital marketing, social media however, things change all the time or you hear something and you read something and it's the wrong advice and that's why I guess I do things like the academy because you can go out there and you can Google anything. We're in a world where literally information is abundant, which is amazing.

However, it doesn't always mean its good information and it doesn't always mean its correct information. What's great about doing the podcast is that 95% of the time unless we're talking about a subject that I really don't know anything about or something that I don't talk a lot about, Pinterest was a great example of that, that actually I hadn't learned as much as I should've done in terms of that. When I did the interviews on them quite a while back I actually learned loads. Some of the things that Jill said that I'd had as common misconceptions so I really love it. Like I said, when I learn something I'm like, “Great, awesome,” and I'm not afraid either to let you guys know that I don't know everything because like I said, how can you in your business?

Really quickly as a side-note just because this has come up, I was talking to some people in the academy that want to do more speaking and obviously I do a lot of speaking. They were like, “Ask me how you manage and what you do,” and they said, “What do you do if someone asks a question and you don't know the answer to it?”

My advice back is just be honest. Just say, “I don't know,” and as much as obviously we all know a lot about what we do, we can't possibly know everything and especially in something as fast-moving as social media. Facebook and Instagram and all them, they change their rules and things all the time so it can be really difficult to stay up to date with all those changes. One thing that has helped me, it has been the academy because part of that on Facebook Live that I do every month, I give them all the updates. It makes me go and research what's happened that month which is really helpful but yeah, don't be afraid of sitting there thinking, “What if I don't anything?”

The thing is, you're going to know way more than most people in that room for sure. Don't worry that if there's someone trying to catch you out. I have it all the time because again, everyone thinks they know a lot about social media and even the people who don't even work in social media so I'm just really honest. If I don't know something, I don't know it and great. Every day's a school day. Brilliant. That's why I loved doing the interview so much because I do get things from them which is perfect.

Anyway, just went off on a little one there just thought I'd mention that while that came up. Okay, so, I'm going to leave you to it. Next week is Christmas Eve. I feel like I should have some Christmas-y sleigh bells going over the podcast. Obviously Phil, who edits the podcast, listens to this and maybe on the Christmas Eve episode Phil, you might want to check something in. That'd be cool. Okay, I will see you next week and until then have a lovely, hopefully not too crazy, week.