In the latest episode of the Marketing Strategy Show our host Kym was joined by Dave Charest (Director of content marketing team for Constant Contact) to dispel the myths around email marketing no longer being relevant as well as the best practices to ensure your Email Marketing success.
According to Dave some business owners and managers wrongly assume that email is dead, when in fact Email Marketing is 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than both Facebook and LinkedIn combined!
In the latest episode we discussed:
- The 5 step method for improving your email marketing efforts;
- Why Optimising for Mobiles is critical?
- Providing value for prospects and customers
- Benefits of email marketing vs other channels
If you want more information from this episode check out the transcript below.
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Kym Heffernan: Hi and welcome to today’s Marketing Strategy Show. The Marketing Strategy Show is all about getting the right marketing for your business. In our Marketing Strategy episodes, we pull back the curtain with an expert on a specialised topic or someone who has great experience [00:01:00] with that topic. Now our topic today is email marketing. Email marketing is one of great interest as many people say mistakenly it doesn’t work. No one reads emails. Yet from my experience, I’d say it’s quite different.
When we use email marketing effectively, it’s a fantastic way to keep in front of prospects and customers that generate effective touch points and hands down is the best way to get customers to your own media, your website. Though a lot has changed with [00:01:30] email marketing primarily regarding declining open rates and click rates. Today we’re joined by a special guest, Dave Charest, who’s the director of content marketing at Constant Contact. Constant Contact is one of the world leaders in email marketing and they see hundreds of thousands, probably millions of emails from people who use their platform.
Dave’s going to help us understand why email is still the best method of communicating with prospects and potential clients, but more importantly, what’s changed and what you [00:02:00] need to do to create an effective email strategy today. Hi, Dave. Are you there?
Dave Charest: I am here, Kym. Thank you so much for having me today. It’s a pleasure to be here with you.
Kym Heffernan: Lovely to have you as well. Look, maybe you should start with a bit of the Dave Charest journey, share your story and your authentic marketing and email journey.
Dave Charest: Ah, sure. Wow. Let’s see. Where to start? I actually have a theatre background. I was living in New York City at the time. I’m originally from the Massachusetts area over here in the States. [00:02:30] I was working at a small business. I was working for a small business, and I was doing insurance billing. It was something I didn’t actually want to be doing. I was like, “Why am I doing this? What’s happening here?” It got to the point where I was like … Yeah, exactly. I’m like, “I need to figure something else out here,” because I just got to the point I wasn’t really enjoying the job anymore and that type of thing, right?
I had always kind of been interested in marketing and I always been kind of interesting in that. This was all kind of at the time where [00:03:00] online marketing was kind of taking off. I started to kind of just consume information, teach myself, and then I ended up starting my own blog. I lined up a few clients. Then I ended up starting my own kind of consulting business with email marketing and just online marketing and that type of thing. While I was doing that, we were living in New York at the time. As I mentioned, I was originally from Massachusetts and we’re looking to move back with my wife, back to this area.
My wife, we had two kids, and we just want to be closer to family and things like that. I [00:03:30] was like, “You know, I’m kind of really good at what I do, but I’m really horrible at running a business.” As I mentioned, I have the theatre background so I’m a bit of an extrovert in that sense. I was like sitting here by myself. It’s not so much fun for me. I started looking for opportunities back at home and I came across a job description for a content developer for Constant Contact. I happen to know somebody that I used to go to [00:04:00] school with that work there. I was like, “Hey, tell me a little bit about this thing.”
Basically it was like somebody wrote like a, “Dear Dave, do you do these things,” and I was like, “Yes. Yes, sir. I do do those things.” It’s all about creating content. It was very much on the realm of educating customers and working with small businesses and helping them kind of see the benefits of doing these things that they just really didn’t understand. I talked to the person that was hiring for the role and we hit it off right away. It was like within 15 [00:04:30] minutes of the conversations like, “Oh yeah. I’m going to get that job.” Fast forward to today, I guess September will be seven years into working with Constant Contact.
I started as a content developer. I’m now director of the content marketing team across all of Endurance, Constant Contact included. I do a lot of speaking engagements on email marketing and my team is really responsible for creating those educational resources that help people kind of create their own best practices [00:05:00] or say we give them places to start so that they can create benchmarks for themselves and then learn how to do better from there. Realistically our customer at Constant Contact is someone that is a small business owner first and email marketer by necessity, right? These are folks that aren’t necessarily marketers by trade.
We try to break down the mystique of it and make it drop dead simple so they can get using it because we’ve seen how powerful in can be for business and the impact that can have [00:05:30] on a business. For me it’s a no brainer that you should be doing it. I guess that’s in a nutshell my journey with Constant Contact.
Kym Heffernan: The duty of Dave.
Dave Charest: There it is.
Kym Heffernan: It’s really interesting you come from that content background because I guess not surprising with your title, but I think a lot of people think about email marketing more about the platform and engagement rates and open rates. What I’m hearing, [00:06:00] especially these days as you said, it comes down to content and engaging customers. That’s where it should start, right?
Dave Charest: Yeah. In particular, we speak to a small business audience, right? I think one of the advantages that you have … I mean end of the day, here’s the thing that hasn’t changed in the years that have come down is that people like to do business with people that they know, like and trust, right? It’s been the same for many, many years. I don’t anticipate that ever changing, right? Really email is a way [00:06:30] for you to reach somebody in a place where they’re visiting everyday, right? I think it’s something like 91% of consumers are checking their email at least once a day, right? They’re married to these devices, right?
The stuff that you put in there is just a really easy and simple way for you to continue to build and grow those customer relationships so that your business can succeed. It’s just a simple way to do that. You mentioned the content and the content really is all about what are you putting [00:07:00] in there that’s going to resonate with that person. Is it just letting them allowing you to kind of know you and your business a little bit better, but is it also focused on what value are you providing to the person that’s receiving it?
I think that’s the big key that I think people … When they don’t see success with email marketing, it’s typically because we see what they’re doing is they’re just sending information about themselves, right? They’re just saying, “Buy this or do this.” It’s like very me, me, me focused, right? Really what you want to try to do [00:07:30] to get the best benefit from it is marry value with an ask, right? If you provide value to people, they start looking forward to the emails that you’re sending them. The actions that you want people to take, they start to see the value in why they should take those actions. It makes everything kind of work really better for you.
We find the top three reasons why people actually subscribe to email list or consumers do that is because yes, they want promotions and discounts, but they also want exclusive content. Then they also want to show support for your business or your organisation, right? [00:08:00] Those are the top three reasons why. It’s really about kind of thinking holistically through that and thinking about all right, I’m going to provide value while also giving them the opportunity to buy from me. When you do that, those things really come together in a nice way. It helps you see more success with your email marketing efforts.
Kym Heffernan: Dave, to put some context too, I hear a lot of opinion on email marketing, but how many customers and emails do you guys see each year that your research [00:08:30] and your stuff is based on?
Dave Charest: Oh my. I think we’re in the billions. I wish I had a hard number for you.
Kym Heffernan: It’s in the billion.
Dave Charest: Yeah. I mean there’s lots of emails being sent. This is actually another interesting way to think about it, right? Nobody really wakes up in the morning and says, “I can’t wait to receive some more email today,” right? Nobody wakes up saying that, right?
Kym Heffernan: Yeah.
Dave Charest: It’s a vehicle that everybody has [00:09:00] and everybody uses a common place today. That’s why it’s even more important to make sure that you’re providing value and you understand who you’re talking to and those types of things so that it actually works for you. Because there’s actually a lot more noise today in the inbox than there was in years past, right? It’s a very effective channel that works. That’s why people are doing it. I think some recent studies have shown that if you’re thinking about in terms of just acquiring new customers, email [00:09:30] has shown to be 40 times more effective than using Facebook and Twitter combined, right?
Those social platforms combined. It’s multitudes more effective, right? It’s just a different environment.
Kym Heffernan: Absolutely and also strategically too. I mean Facebook and Google and most other digital medias, but they’re the two big ones of course, are very good, but they’re also platforms that you don’t own. So, If they change the rules, which they quite often [00:10:00] do, it’s very difficult for you. Owning your own database and communicating with them, whichever way, but primarily of our email, is certainly strategically what you have to do as a business these days.
Dave Charest: Absolutely. We always say that like, “Yes, you should be using these things together, but you should always be using social media with an eye towards getting those people to join your list,” right? I almost think of it as like social media is like the big party and then you’re trying to invite some people to the after party, [00:10:30] right? You’re finding the people that you really connect with and you want those. Those are the people you want to have come to your side of the house, right? Because as you say, right, Facebook, Twitter, all these things, they’re going to change their algorithm.
They’re going to do this thing and it’s going to impact how you communicate with people. When you have an email list, you control how you communicate with people, right? There’s a different environment there.
Kym Heffernan: Your segmentation on those channels is based on their data rather than your data. They’re going to be more personalized. [00:11:00] It’s very hard to personalize on those mediums, right?
Dave Charest: You know, it is. They’ve got really great targeting capabilities and things like that. Like I said, it’s a good compliment to what you’re doing from email, right? I don’t want to discredit the opportunities that they do give you, but email is where kind of the magic happens, right? It’s like that’s where okay, now I’m going to communicate with people. I can actually see more of what’s happening. I can actually see the actual people who are opening and clicking and doing things with my email. Then I can follow [00:11:30] that through and see what that looks like from a sales perspective, but it just changes the dynamic too, right?
Because like your social medias, there’s a lot going on, there’s lots of distractions and email feels a little bit more personal, right, because it’s somebody … What’s interesting about that is that’s like a true opt-in channel where somebody has kind of raised their hand and said, “Hey, I want to hear from your business. I want you to send me information.” There’s power in that opt-in, right, because that’s somebody, like I said, saying, “Yeah. [00:12:00] I want to hear from you.” That’s somebody saying, “Yeah. Please market to me, right, but do it in a way that is going to be beneficial to both of us,” right?
Kym Heffernan: It’s self-selecting. I mean a few years ago, and we talked about this a little before the call, your email newsletter was much like your offline newsletter, right? You’d have a section on this, a section on that scrolled up, but that’s changed. That’s not as engaging so much, well, is it?
Dave Charest: Yeah. The big difference is now … I mean that’s [00:12:30] what worked back then. Everybody was reading their emails on the desktop, right? They’re looking at it on a different device. I think today prevalence is with the mobile device, right? I think we’re at like 56% I think is the last stat where they said people are opening on a mobile device now. That’s where people are consuming, and then this age of social media where it’s all these quick little things. People want to be able to get the message, understand what you’re saying to them, consume it and get it, and then can kind of take the next steps, right?
Versus no one’s going to be looking at an email [00:13:00] and then saying, “Oh, I’m going to read this for 20 minutes while I’m out doing something,” right? Then there’s the hope that “oh, they’re going to get back to it,” but most times people never do, right? You really need to think about like, as you mentioned, segmentation and thinking about that. It’s really about getting the right messages to the right people at the right times. When we talk about personalization and things like that, it’s taking a couple of things into account, right?
When [00:13:30] we talk about personalization, there’s been some studies that shown that like 52% of people are actually likely to switch brands if they don’t get personalised communications. What do we mean by that, right? Personalization is the way we look at it. It’s really about that idea of like one, you have a huge advantage as a small business versus kind of the big box stores, right? So that people should feel like they’re receiving a one-to-one message from you, right? The messages shouldn’t feel like it’s coming from or speaking to a large group of people. It [00:14:00] should feel like, “Kym, I’m talking to you about this specific thing today in this email,” right?
Then the other piece of it is that time and relevance are really important, right? You want to think about those things when you’re sending and that’s where the kind of segmentation comes in. It allows you to kind of really send those right messages to the right people. We were talking a little bit about kind of opens and clicks earlier before we started recording here today. Those personalised messages typically see [00:14:30] higher open rates, about 11% higher, and see about 27% higher click through rates too, right? Now that by no means is where you should stop looking, right?
As we were discussing, is that you have to go beyond those opens and clicks and really start thinking about well, what happens? What did you want somebody to do when they opened your email and they read it? What was that next step? Did they do that thing? That’s really, really, really what you want to start to think about is what is the business result that happened from sending that email because that’s going to be your true metric [00:15:00] and true case of seeing what it means to your business. I think I was sharing a story how …
Typically on an average if you look across all industries, you’ll probably see an open rate of about 18% across all industries is what we see, right, for our small business customers. You think, “Okay. 18%,” right? I was mentioning to someone, we were talking about a customer the other day that had a 2% open rate. If you looked at those two in isolation, you go, “18 is better and 2 [00:15:30] is horrible,” right? But that 2% open rate equated to $154,000 for that particular customer. That’s why you can’t look at those numbers in isolation, right? You really need to think about what is that business result that you’re trying to get to and what do those numbers really mean in respect to your business.
They’re good leading indicators and they help you understand the engagement and whether or not you’re getting the right messages to people, but really go beyond that to get to the business result. That’s where it’s going to really kind of come into play for you.
Kym Heffernan: [00:16:00] I think it’s like all contact points, isn’t it, Dave? Email marketing is only one contact point. Most of the people listening to this are in business to business. You have multiple contact points with people. You pick up the phone. You email them. You see them face to face. It’s just one of those contact points, but by looking at people who are opening your emails and read and engage them, your sales team get a much better view of who’s finding value from your business. It gives you a great opportunity to have a conversation.
Dave Charest: Yeah, absolutely. I [00:16:30] think what’s nice about email too is particularly when you think about a B2B business, right, is that that gives you the opportunity as somebody working with another business for them to kind of get to know you, right? Again we talk about this know, like and trust component, right? Like people do business with people they know, like and trust. You start to build that relationship and that’s really the value of email marketing. Like we always find that it’s about creating and growing these customer relationships so your business can succeed, right? It helps start that.
A lot of times you start those conversations [00:17:00] that when you actually do talk to somebody, you have that conversation on the phone or you meet face to face, you’re already kind of taking care of kind of the small talk, right? Because you’re then having this ongoing conversation with people and they’ve already …
Kym Heffernan: They know a bit about you.
Dave Charest: You’ve already sold them, right? They already bought into what it is that you’re trying to say. Now it’s like all right, how do we do this? It’s important because when you think in particular and when we talk about like building those relationships even with your existing customers [00:17:30] so that you’re continually staying top of mind, like it’s typically, what is it, like 5 to 25 times more expensive to get a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. That’s one that can equate to a lot of extra money, but typically what we see is those people that are your customers end up …
The number one way people, small businesses in particular, get new business is through word of mouth, right? The stronger you can make those relationships with your existing customers, the more opportunity you [00:18:00] have to get in front of the other people like them because those people will talk about you. I think the stats are something like if you can get a 5% increase in your retention with existing customers, that can equate to about a 25% to 95% increase in profits, right? You started this talking about how email doesn’t work, right? Clearly those are people that are either one, not doing it right or just haven’t used email before.
Kym Heffernan: [00:18:30] That for me leads us onto a good point. I think you put together a number of steps of tips for us, Dave, on how to make it more effective. I’d love to explore those.
Dave Charest: Yeah, absolutely. When we think about email marketing, we think it really boils down to doing five things, right? Around here I call them plan, design, create, measure, and grow. Those are the five things. The first thing you want to do is you want to make a plan for success, okay? The number one reason why any idea falls by the wayside [00:19:00] or something goes wrong is because you haven’t put a plan in place. A lot of times people get started, right, with email marketing and they’re like, “I’m going to send emails.” Then they send about the first one, but they don’t know what they’re going to do the second month. Then it becomes, “Oh yeah,” and then they don’t it, right?
The first thing you need to do is at least get an idea of planning. You’re setting yourself up for success. You plan for that success. You’re saying, “I’m going to send at least one email once a month and these are the things I’m going to talk about.” You have an idea. You have something to keep you honest, right? Then beyond that …
Kym Heffernan: Just beyond that, Dave, can I just [00:19:30] go back to that point that you talked about, personalization. Plan is planning content, but you’ve also got to plan your database, haven’t you? To be able to personalise email, I see so many people they’ll just have a form where people fill in their email address. That’s great, but how do you personalise that? You’ve got to be able to at least capture the basics like first name, last name, right?
Dave Charest: Well, yeah, but those are things that you can look to kind of develop over time, right? One of the ways that we would think about doing that is actually I think you [00:20:00] mentioned self-segmentation earlier. One of the things we recommend people do is let’s say you’ve got a particular product or service or something that solves a particular problem, right? You can send what I would call like a broad email out to your existing base of all your contacts. You can use a tool we call click segmentation, which means if somebody clicks on a link that is about a particular topic within your email, you’re going to ….
In the backside what’s going to happen is they click on that link, you can automatically add them to a link, [00:20:30] I’m sorry, a list that you’ve created saying … The example we always give is there’s a bicycle shop, right, that has a cycling club. The more people that they have in their cycling club, those people tend to spend more money at the bicycle shop, right? They send out an email about their cycling club and people click on the link to find out more.
Then what they do is they add those people to a prospect list about the cycling club and then they follow up with more information about the club and give them reasons why they would want to [00:21:00] join the club. They highlight something unique about the particular club and then they kind of try to invoke some fear of missing out by showing all the people having a good time, right? Then these people that have shown some interest, they’ve self-segmented themselves into your list unbeknownst to them, right?
But now you’re following up with information that’s relative to them and timely, as we mentioned how important that was in the personalization front. Now you’ve got messages and you’re actually doing things at a smart way and you’re implementing some like automation tools [00:21:30] in there too. It’s not like something you have to … It’s kind of working automatically for you, right, once you kind of get it set up, but you’re absolutely right. You need to think through, “All right. What are the types of groups,” like if you think of a nonprofit, right?
Are there volunteers? Are there donors? Are there just people that come in? You know, that type of thing. You do want to think about that, but there are other ways you can actually get more information on the backend, right, as well.
Kym Heffernan: But also I think too just strategically and we may differ on that point, but I don’t think there’s any point [00:22:00] of just capturing an email address for the sake of an email address here in B2B particularly. You need the person’s name. If someone’s just going to give you an email address, well, yeah, do you really want them as a prospect?
Dave Charest: Yeah. I mean I think it really depends on your business, right? I think you make a great point for B2B. I think because it’s so relationship-based that you do want to have some more of that information so you can address people by their name and do those types of things. We do find time and time again [00:22:30] the more information that you ask for, which could be good for your business, right, because I don’t think it’s always more, it’s always about … You’d always want to take quality over quantity, right?
If you have somebody that’s going to give you more information and I think you got to really think about the value piece in exchange for that, right? The more information you ask for, people will typically give that up if you’re providing more value to them. It’s like what are you getting in exchange for giving that information. You really need to think through that.
Kym Heffernan: Step number one is planning. It’s planning.
Dave Charest: [00:23:00] Yes. Thank you for pulling me back on track there. Step number one is planning for success. Step two is really designing for today’s audiences, right? We talked a little bit about that idea of it’s not just taking your paper newsletter and then transferring it to a digital form, right? It’s not doing that anymore. That used to work then. Today we’ve got mobile devices. We’ve got tablets. We’ve got all these different size screens that people are looking on. You really want to think about designing a newsletter that’s got the essentials in it. That [00:23:30] has the information that people need. That’s mobile responsive.
It’s something that is going to adapt to the screen that they’re looking at it on. It’s going to have a picture. It’s going to have some texts. It’s going to have a call to action. It’s going to have these things that lead people to quickly understand, consume and then take the action that you want them to take when you’re thinking about designing that. That would step number two, right, thinking about designing for today’s audiences. Then third we go into create, right? You want to create to encourage action, [00:24:00] right? What I mean by that is if you’re going to include a picture, you want to make sure that picture is relevant to what it is that you’re talking about in the email.
It shows somebody having success with that particular thing or invokes that fear of missing out. Just something like that, right? Then you also want to create in a way that you’re only providing information that helps gives them what they need to take the action that you want them to take, right? Let’s say you want them to set up a consultation [00:24:30] with your business or something like that. What do I need to know in order to take that step, right? You don’t want to put in extraneous information and you want to be concise as possible. We often break it down into kind of three things with that.
If I’m saying, “What are you offering,” that kind of becomes the headline of your particular thing. “Why would the reader find that valuable,” so you kind of explain that. That’s the text of your email. Then, “What do you want them to do next,” and that becomes your kind of call to action, right? What is it that you’re trying to get them to do. If you can answer those three questions, [00:25:00] you’re going to be presenting the information in a way that’s valuable to the reader and helps drive them towards taking a particular action. That’s how you think about creating for action.
Kym Heffernan: I actually love that, particularly the point about putting that off from the headline, but also the text is they’re starting with why it’s valuable for them rather than what it’s all about.
Dave Charest: Exactly, right? Exactly. I like to say a lot of times people understand the problems that they’re going through and what they’re struggling with [00:25:30] and they don’t really know what the solution is. A lot of times as a business you want to start with “my thing does this” when really what you need to start with is “are you having trouble with this thing” and then getting them yes because that’s what they understand. They don’t know the solution yet, right? If you start there, that gives them reasoning to get to “oh, this will offer a solution to that? Awesome.” You know?
Kym Heffernan: Right on. Yeah.
Dave Charest: Then beyond that, then we talk about measuring, right? We’ve been talking a lot about you really want to measure the business [00:26:00] results, right? Because if you’re doing all this stuff and you’re not looking at what the information is telling you or you’re not tying it back to any business, why are you doing it? You know? Really that’s the fourth step is really thinking about how you measure that and how you track that towards business results.
Kym Heffernan: What sort of measurements do people put in place, Dave, that you found or should be putting in place?
Dave Charest: Well, yeah. I think what you want to think about is just think about what was that thing that you wanted people to do. If [00:26:30] you wanted somebody to call and schedule a … Either call you, right? How many calls did you get from sending that email, right? That’s really what you should be looking at. If you wanted somebody to go to your website and check out some pages there, how many people went to your website? What happened after they got to your website? If you wanted them to buy something, how many people bought that thing? It’s really that simple. There’s so many things that we can measure today and so many things that we can look at.
I think you could get way more advanced if you want to, [00:27:00] but a lot of times people don’t have that skillset, right? Really you just need to get to that idea of like what is it that you wanted somebody do? Did they do that thing? That’s a win. If they didn’t, well, then okay, where do we have to go back and how do we make adjustments from there? I think that’s the simplest way to really think about it. Then from there or lastly it’s about grow, right? You really need to be continually growing your list to grow your business, right?
You’re going to have natural things, list churn. People are going to move to a different place or not be interested in what [00:27:30] you’re offering anymore. They’re going to outgrow your business potentially. All of those things happen. It’s likely that your list is going to have turnover. Sometimes people enter the wrong email addresses or they change email addresses. Things like that happen, right? I mean if you just do the simple math, right? The more people you have on your list, the more people you have to encourage to do business with you, right?
That’s why it’s important to just always be looking for the opportunity. That means on your website, right? Making [00:28:00] sure that your website has a sign up form on every page or you’re doing something beyond just asking them to join your email list. You’re providing value in exchange for the email address, right? You’re doing all of those things. You’re using your social media channels to eventually get those people to join your list, right? Doing all of those things and you’re doing that stuff consistently so you always have some growth there. You have more people to encourage to buy from you. Plan for success. Design for today’s audiences.
Create [00:28:30] to encourage action. You measure the business results. You grow your list to grow your business. Those are the five things that I think are really important to be successful or at least how to start laying the groundwork for successful email marketing for your business.
Kym Heffernan: I go to the second when we talked a little bit about planning, but on the second one, designing for mobile, people have got a short attention span on mobile, haven’t they? It’s slow to load big images. I think that’s why it’s important, not that I want to sell Constant Contact necessarily, but to [00:29:00] use a platform like Constant Contact because all that hard work’s done for you, right? If you use a commercial email engine, which is pretty damn cheap to manage your leads, all that heavy lifting is done for you, right?
Dave Charest: Well, yeah. I mean the great thing with that is that we have … One, we have a really easy to use editor, right? You can build an email from scratch if you wanted to and you can do that in under a minute. We have like seven essential elements you should include in this email. You could build an email like that in under a minute, [00:29:30] right? Well, we also have templates that you can use that you just go in. You can change your colours. If you have a logo, you can add that in. You can choose from different industries and you can choose from different kind of purposes for sending the email. Those are all fully customizable.
It takes all that work out for you. I think more importantly is when you think about just legally, you need to make sure you’re having permission. Using a tool like Constant Contact allows you to document that. People use sign [00:30:00] up forms and you’re getting that information in. We’re designed to be able to help you send to multiple people. Where if you’re just using like your regular account, like your personal account like a Gmail, those will cut you off at a certain point of trying to send to people. That’s just not a safe way to use people’s data, right, because like you see people do the BCC to somebody or they accidentally CC everybody.
Kym Heffernan: You see everyone’s email address.
Dave Charest: Yeah. It’s like oh no, please don’t do that. [00:30:30] It may seem like a good idea or a cheap way to get out of it, but you’re also just lacking all the information. As I mentioned earlier, you can see who opened your email. You can see who clicked on the email. You could get access to a lot more information that allows you to kind of make smarter decisions so you can do better things that you just don’t get access to by just trying to send emails to people. You shouldn’t do that. Yes, use a tool like Constant Contact.
Kym Heffernan: The other thing I think there’s a real challenge is, you hit a nail on the head, is [00:31:00] growing the email list. I see so many people on the website say, “Please subscribe to my newsletter,” with a little box. I mean who in their right mind ever does is my question.
Dave Charest: Yup.
Kym Heffernan: Hey, I’m going to subscribe to the newsletter. I’ll fill out more forms and get more emails. No one says that. What are you finding are the offers that work best for Constant Contact for example? What do you do to encourage subscribers to your email list?
Dave Charest: What we do is offer value in exchange as I mentioned earlier. For example, we [00:31:30] have a hints and tips newsletter, right, but we don’t say, “Subscribe to our hints and tips newsletter.” We say, “You’re going to get a compendium of our top articles on marketing best practises. You’re going to get invites to our latest webinars. This is all the stuff that you’re going to get so we can help you grow your business.” It’s about that versus the newsletter itself, right, or about the email. It’s about what you’re going to get, right? Similarly, [00:32:00] I mention those three things or the three reasons why people are likely to subscribe.
If you can take one of those three things and say, “All right. If you’re part of this list, you’re going to get exclusive access to something,” right? You almost want to make it like a special place, right? This is something you’re not going to get from following us on our Facebook page or our Twitter account, right? You’re going to get something special for being here and we’re going to provide that to you. Just understanding your audience, like what are the [00:32:30] pain points? What are the things that they’re struggling with? What do they need help with?
If you can create some type of asset that helps them with that, they’re going to give up that email address for that particular asset because they know it’s going to be beneficial to them. It’s really thinking that way about it.
Kym Heffernan: Of course, you’ve got to deliver on that promise as well.
Dave Charest: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Kym Heffernan: Otherwise, they’re just going to unsubscribe.
Dave Charest: Exactly. That’s the thing, right? Again we’re talking about building trust with people, so you never want to kind of … You don’t want to not deliver [00:33:00] on that promise that you’re making.
Kym Heffernan: I think the other thing, I guess coming from your background and what you do at Constant Contact, I see a lot of small business they struggle with what content should I create. It gets, “Oh my god. I haven’t sent out the monthly newsletter. I’m going to write something and shove it in there.” That’s not the best way to engage people long term, right?
Dave Charest: No. This is why I talked about that importance of planning, right? You can kind of get yourself ahead of the game, right? There’s multitudes of things you can do. [00:33:30] It’s always about all right, how can I provide some value with this, but also what are the things that I need to talk about in relation to my business and my products or services, right? It’s just really thinking through that. What is the information and why this is information that I’m going to send, what’s in it for the person to open the email, right? If you really start to think about that, you don’t have to be a novelist. We usually say sometimes a picture, a paragraph, and a call to action is all you need, right?
Just [00:34:00] use some type of image to get their attention. Write a short paragraph about what is the thing and why it’s interesting to them as I mentioned. Then you’re pointing them off to another resource, right? I often say, “Think about your business. What’s the personality of your business? Are there people on your staff that you can have help you, right, with creating particular things?” For example, we have a customer out in this area owns a cheese shop. He gets his whole staff involved. They share [00:34:30] stuff on Facebook. They put up their menu, their daily menu, of stuff. They put in the new wine tasting, like the new beers, and things like that that they have.
Then they send out a newsletter that points people to those things or creates something that’s particular to a particular holiday or something like that. It’s really thinking about how can you add value to that particular customer’s life, right, and how can you help them kind of … Example would be [00:35:00] you sell wine and you send a newsletter that’s like five wine and cheese pairings or something like that. You’re going to a friend’s house for dinner and you know “oh, I’m going to get this and this because these things go and I’m going to look cool because that’s going to really go well together,” right? You’re actually helping them look cool.
Kym Heffernan: Is there a particular kind of content in a B2B environment you found that people like more? Like case studies for example or product information. Have you found any patterns in that at all?
Dave Charest: [00:35:30] Well, I think it depends on where they are in their particular life cycle as a customer, right, using the words about it. I think it’s like the first thing is kind of awareness, right? Are they aware of the particular things that you’re talking about? [inaudible 00:35:45] right? It’s awareness. Then are they interested? At each of those stages you’re probably doing different things. You’re using different types of content. The awareness stage. It may just be oh, I didn’t know this problem existed. Oh yeah, that’s [00:36:00] me, right? Like yes, I get that. You’re sharing information to help them think about that.
Then the interest is like oh, then you’re telling them maybe a little bit more about your product or service. The interest and desire, then you might bring in a customer case study or something like that that shows somebody else overcoming the challenge that that person might have. Then it’s all about the action step of it, right, and then actually driving them to call to schedule your consultation, do this thing or purchase this particular product, right? [00:36:30] It’s really thinking about it almost in a story nature, right? You’re setting up a problem.
You’re guiding them through how they can kind of solve that problem and then offering up why your business maybe the best solution to help them with that. If you can do that, you’re going to be setting yourself up in a good way that’s not just saying, “Buy this. Buy this,” right? That leaves out all of the exposition.
Kym Heffernan: That really [00:37:00] comes down to personalization, doesn’t it? Because if you have an existing customer and you’re sending the same email about awareness to everyone, an existing customer is going to get bored with that content, right, because they know. They bought the product. I’ve got a customer, for example, a software vendor. They get a 60% open rate in their emails because they’re sending to existing customers how to use the software better. There’s tips and tricks on how to get more value to what you’re doing. That’s great engagement. It helps them build long term loyalty, but I wouldn’t send [00:37:30] that to someone who’s never bought the software because they wouldn’t know how to use it.
Dave Charest: Absolutely. I agree with you 100%.
Kym Heffernan: Finding different content and segmentation. People often think about segmentation by industry. Another key where you should think about breaking up your list or tagging your list is by what stage they are in the buying cycle, right?
Dave Charest: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yup. That’s definitely a great way to think about it.
Kym Heffernan: Okay. Excellent. Anything else, Dave, that you would like to add to what we’ve talked through? Where can people go for resources [00:38:00] for example? I mean I read your blog. I started to read your blog in preparation for this podcast. You have some amazing content there on tips and tricks, et cetera. I think that’s a great place for people to start. I’ll put that link in the show notes.
Dave Charest: Yeah, that would be great.
Kym Heffernan: Any other resources or research that you can suggest for people?
Dave Charest: Yeah, no. I think honestly the blog is a great place to start. It’s blogs.constantcontact.com. That’s where we share a lot of our information around best practises and can kind of point you to any new research [00:38:30] that we do. Actually we recently did some research with some small businesses and actually when we’re talking about the relevance of email marketing is email marketing still comes out as that top marketing tool. 42% of the people were using that and ranked that as their top tool.
That’s a great place to start because you’re going to find lots of information there on how to kind of get better results from email marketing and there are other marketing topics as well because we’re really focused on really trying to help small [00:39:00] businesses do more business. That’s our mission there. That’s why we create that content there. That’ll point you in the right direction.
Kym Heffernan: That would be a great start. Just out of interest, what do you read on email marketing in your role? What articles or blogs or people do you follow and read on email marketing?
Dave Charest: Yeah. Oh, that’s a great question. I think one of the people from just a straight up email marketing the industry is Litmus. Litmus Blog has a lot of great content about kind of like the latest trends in email marketing [00:39:30] and just email sending and design and all of that stuff. They’re a really great resource. Then honestly I actually try to read a lot of things that are kind of outside the industry, but then particular to like storytelling and things like that. Because I think ultimately at the end of the day if you can really figure out how to tell a compelling story, your business usually comes out on top.
Then I also like to just look at other industries to see how … Because I think there’s lots of similarities. Although they’re very different [00:40:00] industries, there’s things that kind of play across all industries or the structures and the fundamentals of things that kind of work across that you can start to apply to your business or your marketing. Those types of things. I think it’s good to really kind of just expose yourself to lots of things or pay attention to something that catches your eye and then be analytical about it. Why did that catch my eye? How can I use that for my business? Do that type of thing.
Kym Heffernan: I think that point you talked about measuring is really important too in being able to [inaudible 00:40:29] about that. When [00:40:30] we spoke before about sales reps and contact points, it’s difficult, expensive, and people don’t want to see a sales rep every month or every fortnight. Knowing that people have opened your email for five months in a row probably is a good time to pick up the phone and call that customer, right?
Dave Charest: Yup, absolutely. It’d be a good indicator. You may want to take the next step.
Kym Heffernan: Exactly. Right. One last question I’m going to ask you.
Dave Charest: Sure.
Kym Heffernan: I’m sure everyone asked, how frequently should you email? This is probably the number [00:41:00] one question I get. People get scared about mailing too frequently.
Dave Charest: Yup. Unfortunately, this is one of those answers that it depends, right, but I’ll give you some guideline. Well, because I think you want to be setting expectations with people, right? If you do something that deviates from those expectations, then that’s when people get upset, right? I think they ask that question wrong, right? Like why do people unsubscribe? Because they get too many emails, right? That’s not [00:41:30] correct. It’s because they get too many irrelevant emails, right? We often say, “Look, the least you should do is at least once a month.
That way you’re staying top of mind with people and they don’t have that opportunity to kind of forget about your business and go like, “Wait, what’s this email? Why am I getting this,” right? But then there are also times where if you said to sign up to get daily tips, well, if you don’t send everyday, people are going to be upset with you, right? It’s really about those [00:42:00] expectations you’ve set. We typically see sending more typically equates to more business result, but doing it in a way that again is relevant. If you’re doing those things right, that more piece kind of takes care of itself because you’re sending the right things to the right people at the right times.
Kym Heffernan: That’s a really good point, the meeting expectations. I’ve never heard that before, Dave. I think that’s a little piece of gold there because you’ve got to have not just expectation, but what you [00:42:30] can do on a consistent basis, right-
Dave Charest: Exactly.
Kym Heffernan: … to tell your email. There’s no point in saying to people, “Hey, we’ll send you fortnightly tip,” if you … It’s not just about the email, right? It’s about the content that leads to it as well. You have to create the blog post, all the resource, whatever else that lead people there. Unless you got the resources to do it, don’t do it. I see a lot of times where you get a regular newsletter and it’s almost a bit like the untended website, the old website, that was built 10 years ago and the Facebook page that has two person on it. Any regular email [00:43:00] communication is bad.
Dave Charest: You bring up a great point and that’s probably the first question that you should ask is how much can I actually keep up with if you’re the person doing it, right? If you’ve got a team, what could your team do, right? If you can come down to that, then that helps drive your strategy a little bit. Definitely try to at least commit to once a month and hopefully more.
Kym Heffernan: Dave Charest from Constant Contact, thank you so much for your time today. There’s been so many [00:43:30] learnings. I’ve been doing email marketing for 15 years, but you taught me two or three things today that I never even thought about. Really appreciate that. I’m sure our audience will learn lots from it as well. We’ll put all those links in the show notes.
Dave Charest: Kym, thank you so much and I’m glad I was helpful. I hope your audience finds it helpful as well.
Kym Heffernan: They will. Thanks, Dave. Appreciate that. Appreciate your time.
Dave Charest: All right. Have a good one.
Voiceover: Thanks for joining us on this episode of Marketing Show. We hope you got some practical effective tips and ideas so your organisation gets more prospects [00:44:00] and nurtures those prospects to becoming long term customers. Just a reminder, the show is sponsored by The Marketing Strategy Co who help B2B organisations develop winning marketing strategies and sales and marketing automation systems to turn their sales and marketing efforts into new customers and dollars through their marketing.
Check out the show notes for this episode and The Marketing Strategy Co’s planning and marketing services at themarketingstrategy.co. That’s themarketingstrategy.co. Until next time, [00:44:30] happy marketing.