First Steps in Email Marketing

  1. Why email marketing. 01:29
  2. Building an audience. 03:50
  3. What tools do you use for email marketing. 05:06
  4. Value emails versus sales emails. 07:38

Read the full episode transcript below:

00:27 David Blackmon: Hey, everybody. Welcome to another episode of WP the podcast brought to you by WP Gears. I’m David Blackmon.

00:34 Tim Strifler: I’m Tim Strifler.

00:36 David Blackmon: Today, we’re going to talk about email marketing, and we’re going to give you a five-minute email marking crash course. Tim and I are going to be speaking at WordCamp Phoenix, today, in fact. If you’re in Phoenix, and this is a last-minute, and you’re listening to this podcast, get your derrières over to the convention center downtown and come listen to our full 40-minute email marketing crash course.

01:05 Tim Strifler: Yeah. Absolutely. This is one of the things that, I mean, we could literally spend hours on email marketing. Actually, David and I are going to be releasing a full-blown email marketing course, and so obviously we’re not going to be able to teach you everything in five minutes, but again, this is the crash course. David, I’ll go ahead and get us started with the “why email marketing.”

01:28 David Blackmon: Absolutely.

01:29 Tim Strifler: The why is because it works. With email compared to any other marketing channel, you have a direct line of communication to your audience with social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube. It’s very crowded. You’re competing with every other page and everything that your audience is following, and the algorithms are going to filter out business pages, so Facebook shows very little business pages these days, and instead, show people’s friends and family and groups and stuff like that.

02:03 Tim Strifler: You might have a huge following on Facebook, but you won’t be able to reach them unless you promote and do paid advertising; however, if you build up a legitimate email list and you nurture that list, well, it’s like a well that you can keep coming back to and you can do an email blast. It’s kind of like printing money. I feel like with marketing, it is the one thing where it almost feels like printing money because you can do an email blast, and within minutes, hours, you can see results, revenue coming in if you’re selling products and stuff. Anything you might add to that?

02:40 David Blackmon: Yeah, and I think the one thing that, the only thing that Tim left off, which is very important, he alluded to it but didn’t say it, and I’m going to verbalize it-

02:49Tim Strifler: Yes. Thank you.

02:51David Blackmon:  … you own the email list. Tim mentioned social media platforms and stuff. They can shut down at any time, and no matter how big of an audience you built up on those other platforms, if you don’t own it, you’re putting your business risks in other people’s hands. That’s one of the other reasons why I really love it because you own your email list. You can take that customer database with you no matter what business you’re doing. If you’re doing email marketing courses, for example, today, and tomorrow, you start a WordPress product business, you have an email list and an audience built in, and you can take it with you. It’s very important.

03:33David Blackmon:  Next on our list, number two, is user acquisition. You’re going to want to collect emails. You’re going to want to start doing it from the beginning. Don’t feel like you need to have this big, elaborate thing to collect email addresses. Just figure out some really good value propositions for an audience that you’re targeting so that you can start acquiring email addresses, ebooks, PDFs. Tim and I case, we have a WordPress product business, so we’ll create free plugins, free layouts, free themes. We’ll give them away. We do that, we are really good guys, I’m going to tell you, but it’s not out of sheer ultraism that we give away these free products. We do know that there’s a return on that investment. Like Tim said, it’s like printing money because I jokingly tell people, if I could send an email in an hour, I would send an email an hour. That’s how much it impacts sales in our business. It doesn’t even have to be sales emails. It can be just value emails, blog posts, anything. We’re going to talk about value emails versus sales emails last on this five-minute crash course, but user acquisition’s important. Figure out a good, valuable something that you can give away to the audience that you’re trying to target, and then have them do an email sign-up to get it. It’s that simple. User acquisition’s important.

05:06Tim Strifler: Yeah. Absolutely. The next one we’re going to talk about in this five-minute email marketing crash course is the tools, what tools do you use for email marketing. There’s a couple different categories of tools. The first one, the most important, is the actual email marketing platform that you choose to build your email list and send out the emails and stuff. MailChimp is the most popular email list, or email marketing platform, I should say. That’s what I use. I use MailChimp in my business. Love it. It has all the bells and whistles, but it’s also very easy to use. They have a free version. I always recommend, people, if you’re just getting started, go out and sign up for a free plan on MailChimp, and then as you grow, you can upgrade to the paid version the more emails that you have on your list and the more features that you want, but it’s definitely a great place to get started.

05:59 Tim Strifler: David also has experience with GetResponse, which is also great. That’s kind of the first category is choosing what email marketing platform. One thing to keep in mind though is it’s not going to make a huge difference. It really comes down to preference because all of the big ones out there, MailChimp, GetResponse, ActiveCampaign, they all have similar features, and they’re going to get the job done, so don’t overthink it. It’s not going to make or break your business. You can always migrate your list pretty easily so it’s not terribly complicated to change your mind down the road.

06:30 Tim Strifler: Then the next category of tools is how you’re actually going to build your list, so what mechanism are you going to give away your lead magnets and so forth. I use Gravity Forms on my WordPress Divi website because it allows me to collect the email address, send the email to MailChimp, and then send the freebee using Gravity Forms email responders, and it works out really, really great. I highly recommend that.

06:56David Blackmon:  I would say our top, probably our top three or four email marketing tools are GetResponse, MailChimp, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign. Constant Contact’s really popular, AWeber. A lot of these, there’s a ton of them out there like Tim said. Don’t be afraid to use them. A friend in the RV community actually started ConvertKit, so I’m familiar with that one. Really familiar with GetResponse and MailChimp also. I’m selfishly throwing those three out there because I’ve used them and I know people who work on the other ones, so make sure to check it out and stuff.

07:38David Blackmon:  Next on our list is value emails versus sales emails. Once you get this email list built up and you start marketing to these people through email, you don’t want to always be just pushing, “Hey, come buy my stuff, come buy my stuff, come buy my stuff.” You’re going to have people unsubscribing from your email list faster than you can say, “ABC.” It’s just going … They’re going to be out the door, unsubscribed, and you’re going to kind of be proverbial peeing in the wind, if you get my drift. They’re just going to be getting out every which way but Sunday.

08:18David Blackmon: My experience is, is that you don’t have to send sales emails to make money. You can submit … If you’re producing valuable content on your website through blog posts like we do, send that out to your email list. They’ll want to read that type of content. That brings value to them. I am shocked at when I do that, it brings people to my website, and if I have things to purchase on my website, whatever that is, they always end up purchasing. My sales end up going up. Don’t feel like you always need to be promoting.

08:56David Blackmon:  But on the other flip side is when there are times of years where you have big promotions and big sales like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, everybody does it, don’t be afraid to email over to, what might feel like excessive emailing to your list. They’re expecting it. They’re expecting emails to be coming at these times, and guess what, you may have a couple people complain, but the majority, the vast majority of them are not going to complain, and it’s going to make a huge, huge positive to your cash flow and your business if you do this.

09:37 David Blackmon:  I remember the first couple of years, I would send out one email blast and then, “Oh, I can’t do it anymore. It’s just too salesy, and people are going to unsubscribe.” Then I got to the point where I said, “Well, you know, I’m just going to try it out. I’m going to test it out.” I mean, I’m going to tell you, I send an email in the morning and the night for a week solid on special promotions like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, for example, and our sales just went through the roof.

10:06David Blackmon: The bottom line is, obviously, you can do whatever you want. Throughout the year, we send value emails 95% of the time. 5% of the time though, we blast out sales for our email list, and I’m okay with it now. One of the reasons why I’m okay with it is because we’re paying for those emails. If you don’t really want to be on our email list and stuff and you’re not interested in buying our products at the end of the day, I’m not … I’m glad you enjoy the free stuff that I get, but it’s not going to hurt my feelings if you unsubscribe from our email list, if that makes sense.

10:49Tim Strifler: Yeah. Definitely. I think the important thing to note is by sending out value emails either half the time or more, the majority of the time, you’re essentially buying good will with your email list, and so when they do get, quote-unquote, “blasted” with sales emails around Black Friday or Fourth of July sales, whatever it may be, they’re going to remember, “Oh, yeah, this company, they’re sending me a lot of cool stuff. I’m a little annoyed. I’m not going to unsubscribe because I get a lot of value from being on this email list.”

11:20Tim Strifler: You’re essentially, you’re buying their good will ahead of time by providing value and things that are useful to them to keep them around for when you do send out those sales emails, and not to mention, when you do send out those sales emails for paid products, whatever it may be, you’ve provided so much value that they’re going to want to go see what it is that you’re selling because you’ve won them over with that credibility. They now trust you because you’ve provided things that are useful for them.

11:49David Blackmon:  And the five-minute email marketing crash course has now turned into the 12-minute email marketing crash course. We’re not retitling it. We’re going to leave it like it is, but we do have a great topic for you tomorrow. In all seriousness, if you are in the Phoenix area and you see Tim and I and you’re attending WordCamp Phoenix this weekend, come say hi to us. You listen to the podcast, we would love to meet you and shake your hand and just talk WordPress with you. We will … Tomorrow, we’ve got another great topic, Vimeo versus YouTube for video hosting. Tim, until tomorrow, we’ll see you then.

12:32Tim Strifler: Take care. Bye-bye.


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