Episode 7: The Money is in the List: Using Email Effectively

Once you’ve encouraged your site visitors to interact with your brand, it’s time to get a little more personal and get them on your email list. In this episode, we talk about email marketing strategies, both from the perspective of site owners and digital marketers, but also as consumers. We discuss ways to connect with audiences in the inbox as well as how to get them to invite you into their most personal communication medium. We also review updates to Kadence Conversions and what’s coming in the new version of Kadence Blocks.

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Timestamps & Links

  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 2:10 Why email marketing is important
  • 2:32 PinnacleFoods.co
  • 2:51 A big brand with poor email practices
  • 5:07 Loyalty programs
  • 6:30 Standing out with subject lines, the promotions tab in Gmail
  • 10:17 Encouraging email subscriptions
  • 13:00 Selling information, StoryBrand
  • 14:23 Effective communication via email
  • 17:11 Target markets, time-based relationships, cleaning the list
  • 19:19 Re-engagement campaigns & the importance of trust in a brand
  • 22:34 Being of service to your audience through email
  • 24:34 New version of Kadence Conversions & Kadence Blocks

Transcript for The Kadence Beat Episode 7

Kathy: Welcome to episode seven of The Kadence Beat. This is the podcast about creating effective websites with Kadence and WordPress. And this week we want to talk to you about email, because email is such an integral part of a relationship that a website owner has with their audience.

And we wanted to talk about some of our experiences with email, both as a consumer, and also as website owners. And I know we’ve got a number of varied experiences there. How are you guys doing?

Hannah: Yeah, doing pretty good here.

Kathy: Well, you guys are both doing better than me. I have wild pigs in my yard, I should have a podcast called “the wild pig” and just rant about wild pigs for awhile. I’m just kidding. I will not do that. Let’s talk about email.

Hannah: I would love to hear more about this other life that you live, Kathy.

Kathy: As a wild pig hunter?

Hannah: That’s amazing.

Ben: Do they like eat your like flower beds and all that kind of stuff? Like deer do that here.

Kathy: They burrow, they like root around and things and just tear up yards. For me, they’re tearing up all of my flower beds and just like rooting around in it. And my neighbor across the street, they are literally destroying her lawn and it’s progressively getting worse and worse. So they come for appetizers here, and then the full meal is across the street.

It’s crazy. I had no idea. This was the thing I would have reconsidered where I lived had I known that wild pigs was going to be a part of my life, but anyway.

Hannah: Wild. I didn’t even know that was such a thing.

Ben: The deer here in Montana can be pretty intense. Our neighbor just made an eight foot fence to try to keep the deer from jumping into his yard so he could have a garden in his backyard. and I won’t be surprised if deer get in there somehow.

Kathy: They’ll find a way, I’m convinced of it. They’re crazy.

Let’s talk about email, because email is incredibly important, right? The first thing that anybody does is get an email address. Right? And so you have email as a way of communicating with friends, with family, with everyone, and marketers know this, site owners know this. And I’ve heard from internet marketers that “the money is in the list.” And in my experience as an internet marketer, I’ve seen some money in some lists. How about you, Ben?

Ben: Yeah, definitely. I think, it’s a big part of so much when you’re doing online sales. With my brother, I run a, freeze dried food company called Pinnacle Foods. So shout out if you want to go look up PinnacleFoods.co. And in that, email marketing has been by far, the most important marketing thing we were doing.

Even, when you look at Kadence, it’s a, it’s a huge part. I think it comes with a lot of caveats of this can be done poorly, this can be done unresponsibly. There’s good practices and there’s bad practices of email. And you want to stay away from being that brand, that spammy brand. I’ll pick on a big brand. Best Buy is one of the worst, in my opinion, because when you try to unsubscribe from Best Buy, you can only unsubscribed from a list and not from their database. And they usually have your email on nine or 10 lists at a time. And so for awhile, I just was like, I’m going to figure out a way to get off of Best Buy’s email lists, because they would send me emails all the time.

And I just constantly went through and unsubscribed and unsubscribed continually on different lists for months, trying to get off their list, to actually be done. And I never did. I still get emails from Best Buy. There’s trustworthy ways to do it, and there’s not.

Hannah: It’s funny you say that because I also get emails from Best Buy and I don’t think I’ve bought anything from them in like 15 years.

Ben: Yeah. Yeah, We can pick on the big brand, they’re the worst with regard to email the they’re the ones the worst I know of.

Kathy: When you end up on a list like that, what does it do to your view of that brand? Do you not want to do any business with them. You’ll take it anywhere, even if they have the lowest price?

Ben: If it was a small brand, I think I would feel that way. it’s so funny. I think because it’s a big brand, I’m like, yeah, I’m really annoyed with you, but if you’re still convenient for me, I will still use you. And I’ve never tried to get off of Amazon’s list. So, you know, maybe that’s just as bad. Like I don’t like there’s other companies that I haven’t tried that with. I think in general, I tried to get off Best Buy cause I was like, I really don’t ever use you.

Kathy: So Hannah, was there an email or a brand that got you on their list that did something unique that made you subscribe to their list?

Hannah: Well, it’s funny that Ben mentioned Pinnacle because as their sister, I am subscribed to that list, but I also think their products are awesome. But recently I got an email saying if you purchase now, we’ll give you more dividend points. And I actually don’t need Pinnacle food right now. I have like a whole box of it, but I was like well, obviously I want points. So I’ll just order more. So I did, I ordered more Pinnacle Foods and now I’m stocked for the summer and I have dividend points. Another shout out to Pinnacle. They definitely got me.

Ben: Yeah, that’s awesome.

Kathy: It is really cool. Just taking a little segue? Loyalty programs, and obviously they stay in front of you with their emails and loyalty programs. Do you feel like that that encourages you to buy, how much of an impact does a loyalty program like that with dividend points, for example, how much of an impact does that have on customers?

Hannah: Yeah, I think it’s big.

Ben: Some of it has to do with what you’re selling and, and whether or not it makes sense. I don’t think a reward program works for everybody or it makes sense for everybody. For something like Pinnacle, we make food for outdoor enthusiasts. People who want to eat gourmet food when they’re backpacking and hiking and camping and all that stuff. Already, the brand itself is going to create a culture of people that feel like they’re a part. And then anything you can do to try to make that more I have a buy-in like, I am a part of this, people group, this group that does these cool things that has these adventures that eats good food.

And so that for Pinnacle, that was a good way of getting that buy in more. It was creating a rewards program.

Kathy: Sure. And a lot of brands that have products or services that they sell that are repurchased or somebody does something a number of times like mileage points for an airline or something that you’re going to buy often like shoes or food or things like that. It makes a lot of sense, but maybe not so much with software subscriptions. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense.

So let’s talk about standing out, in let’s say, the promotions tab on Gmail.

I remember when the promotions tab was introduced and I was doing internet marketing at the time, and I knew that a lot of people were afraid of this, because it was so important to stay in front of a customer.

But that promotions tab scared everyone. And now it’s just part of life people will spend time going through the promotions tab and cherry pick out something that looks interesting, but it has to be relatable to them. So I guess the question is not necessarily, do people want to find ways to stay out of the promotions tab, but how do you stand out once you start connecting with a customer from an email marketing standpoint. What makes you guys dive in there and want to read an email? Is it the emojis in the subject line? That’s it? Isn’t it. If you go into your spam tab, it’s like all emojis. There’s so many of them. There’s fire, there’s hearts. There’s giant Xs.

Hannah: Not sure why people do that. It just feels very unprofessional to me. The emojis that maybe people like them, I’m not sure.

Kathy: I’ve been experimenting with it on the Kadence brand. Just one, just like, okay, what’s going to communicate visually for visual learners. What is going to communicate what I’m trying to get across? Like, if there’s a training coming up, I’ll do it. The four cornered graduate hat. Does that drive you nuts?

Hannah: That? No, I think that’s fun. I think it’s when it’s like a whole, it is, but when the whole subject line is like fire and whatever else, it’s like, okay. That’s not for one or two is cute. Absolutely. I’m definitely guilty, especially on Instagram of using the emojis, but it’s just the overkill of them, but I’m like that doesn’t make me want to come to you.

Kathy: Right. There’s definitely a line between acceptable marketing. It’s kind of like clickbait, right? You know, there’s this line of engaging a user and the closer you get to it, the more you engage them. And then all of a sudden you fall off a cliff and you’re in clickbait land, and everybody just cringes at your subject line.

But up until you reach that point, it’s effective marketing, right? You’re drawing attention. You’re engaging the user where they’re at, you’re pulling them into the message you’re trying to communicate to them. So it’s kind of like the subject lines have that same type of effect where there’s this line of clickbait and you can dance up to it.

But if you take one step over, you’re Wile E. Coyote going over a cliff.

Hannah: And it’s totally real. I think something in that will make me click on the promotional email. Is, you know, something similar to the Pinnacle email I got, where I know that I’m going to get something out of my purchase. It’s not just like a 10% off discount, but also like we want to reward you. So I think REI is another brand that does a good job of this.

And if you’re an REI member, then you just got their 20% off that they do annually. And it only lasts like a month and they don’t do it often. They’re not a company that’s going to give you 20% off discounts all the time. So when you get it, you want to use it. You want to use it quickly and you also are stoked because you’re going to get dividend points that you’ll be able to use the following year.

So I’m way more inclined to shop at REI. If I’m looking for outdoor gear, because I know that I’m going to get points back and it’s gonna, you know, I’ll be able to use those the next year. And it’s like, you get free money the next year. It kind of feels like, and it feels like a little gift. So I have to say kudos to their marketing team.

Kathy: Excellent. Great example.

Ben: So let’s back up and cover some basics. How do you get people on your list? What are some good tactics to get them on the list? And then what are, let’s talk about tactics to keep them. Most common ways that you would generally try to get people on your list is you want to offer them the exchange.

You want to give them something for free, something that’s valuable, something that you took, not just a couple hours to make, but like, this is a really great product or information or discount or, I mean, something that actually costs you. As the person who’s giving away something, you offer that in exchange for an email that tends to be, the easiest way to increase your list, as well as when you’re doing that, your creating something that matches with your brand.

And so anyone who actually is willing to give you their email, you know, that that’s a good lead. Like that’s someone who you want to communicate with because they were already interested enough in what you had to offer to join and thus, you know, you know, that they’re going to fit.

So that free thing you’re going to give that often is like the hardest brainstorm and you really have to figure out how to be creative there and like how to create something. And I mean, I think one way to do it, it’s just to look at what you offer and go, what of this can I give away?

For free, that I planned on charging for, or I currently am charging for whether that’s giving them a buy one, get one, or like some big discount or your first order we’ll do this or whatever, or you get them on some kind of information that you’ve spent a lot of time to create. I see a lot of ebook stuff. I don’t generally go for that. I think the eBooks I’ve probably fallen for business strategy ones, where I was looking at different things like that.

I think one good way is to start talking to your customers, the ideal ones you already do business with, or want to do business with, try it out.

Would you give your email for this? Would you give email for this and see what people say?

Kathy: It’s always good to take something that you know is valuable in your business. It’s valuable enough that you have sort of this intuitive need to charge for it. It’s something valuable that you know somebody’s going to want to pay for. And if you look at the actual cost of acquiring a customer, how much work and how much effort you have to go through in order to acquire a new customer, and you can actually do some accounting to figure out how much it has cost you to acquire customers in the past. And is the thing that you’re giving away as valuable as it’s been to pay money, to acquire customers, either through ads or whatever investment in marketing you’ve made in the past. And where do those things add up?

If you want to charge someone a hundred dollars for something. And it costs you $300 to acquire one new customer. Does it make sense to give away that a hundred dollar thing so that you can get a new customer for a hundred dollars that you’d have to nurture? Then it might make sense.

Ben: StoryBrand always used to say if you’re selling information, create your brand around, like here’s the information for how you can do it. And here’s the steps. And if you just want me to do it for you, here’s what that will cost. And that really works because you give them this level of trust.

You’re willing to give away your secrets. You’re willing to be like, I’m not putting this mask up of like, I’m going to do something that I can’t tell you about. I’m going to actually tell you exactly what I’m going to do. And then, you know, what, if you want it for free or you want me to do it for you, then you can pay me.

But if you just want to do it yourself, you get it for free. And like that actually tends to lead to. One gathering a bunch of people who are interested in whatever it is you’re offering to get that free information, but also a lot of people who go, oh, okay. This seems really good. And yeah, I do actually want the convenience to pay you and have you do it.

Kathy: Definitely, you know, and I’ve heard that exact same thing from another internet marketer, and I swear that person has taken it from StoryBrand. That’s brilliant though. Yeah. I mean, give out, give away all of the information, but actually getting it done and knowing all of the shortcuts, that’s something you can charge for. That’s a really great point. So how do you keep people on your list? How do you keep them engaged? How often should you be hitting your list with an email? How personalized should those emails be? Any ideas on that?

Ben: A lot comes down to like your business, your brand, how you already relate to your customers, where you already communicate with your customers and how easy it is for your customers to communicate with you. I don’t know that there’s like a rule that I’d be like, it’s this, or it’s this, or, and I think you could probably say.

There’s times when you’re doing things, you’re going to email more because of what’s happening in the business or what’s happening in your industry and then times you’re going to email less. So, yeah, I don’t know that there’s a rule, but I would just say before you send that email, is this an email I’d want to open.

Kathy: Very good question.

Hannah: Yeah, that’s huge. I’m definitely a minimalist. I would vote minimalism when it comes to receiving emails, because when I get an email, I want to be excited to see that company pop up in my email list versus when I get an email from the same company every single day. And I know that they’re just telling me, like we have one new item or like something that like really doesn’t apply to me or that I don’t care about versus if I’m getting an email, like say once a quarter or once a month, and again, there’s not a right or wrong, but if it’s less than I’m actually excited, because every time I get an email from you, it’s actually information that I want, then that’s huge to me. And we don’t need to know everything, every detail that’s happening, but tell me something that I want to know, and I’ll be excited to open your email.

Kathy: And definitely connecting with customers. If you have a number of lead generation strategies, like in software, if you have lead generation in your product, or if you have another separate lead generation, that’s coming in from a website, or maybe you’re doing a marketing campaign where you are doing an ad and you’re providing something of value so that people give their email address and join the list, and then you have a plan for nurturing them.

Communicating with those people based on where they’re coming to your brand is important too, because somebody who’s actually using a free version of your product is going to have a much different experience and expectation than somebody who just found you on an ad. It’s going to be a completely different experience.

And if you are communicating to everyone all the same, then it’s not going to land in the same place. And also the email inbox is such a personal place. It’s where your mom sends you recipes and, and jokes she saw on Facebook. It’s a very personal, intimate place. So if you’re just blasting just a generic email, it’s not going to land in the same place because it’s a more intimate relationship. And to respect that as a marketer, I think is important.

Hannah: Yeah, that’s a great point, Kathy.

Kathy: Another thing that I think is also incredibly important is, as a marketer, understanding that people come on your list sometimes that don’t want to stay there forever. Maybe they’re only, for example, in your business, Hannah, you might have people who join a list because they’re in the midst of planning a pregnancy or they’re pregnant. And then once the baby’s there, it’s like, they’re not interested in. Maybe they want to forget all about childbirth for the rest of their lives.

Hannah: I hope not, but that is a good point.

Kathy: So, how does a marketer understand that it might just be a time-based relationship and, you know, clean the list? How, what are some good ways of doing it?

Hannah: Yeah. Would probably require some humility to recognize like, these people actually don’t want my information anymore. It’s not that they don’t like me, they don’t like my brand. It’s just that this actually isn’t helpful. And if I want them to come back to me, if they get pregnant again, then the best thing to do is actually to unsubscribe them.

Kathy: Sure. Or maybe even add them to a list of past customers that, you know, maybe there’s something really big that happens and you want to let them know, maybe you’re moving offices or moving towns and you, or something huge is happening in your business. And you want to let past customers know.

Hannah: Yeah, that’s a great point. That’s great input. Cause yeah, you definitely don’t want them to forget you either. So even sending photos , once every quarter or whatever, just little updates of what’s happening. That’s big. Email marketing. Isn’t really something that we do. So I don’t have a lot of input when it comes to that with midwifery, but, um, that I’m sure of midwives do. yeah, there’s no need to keep emailing her promotions after she’s had her baby.

Kathy: Sure, sure. But there’s a lot of businesses that are like that. And then there’s a lot of businesses that might have a list that’s grown and you’re not getting as much engagement from certain people and you might want to write them and let them know, we’ve noticed you haven’t been reading emails.

Do you still want to stay on this list? Sort of what they call in marketing and re-engagement campaign. And there are some good ways of doing that in some bad ways. Ben, do you have any thoughts on that.

Ben: Yeah, I just have one thought if you’re going to do it actually unsubscribe the people, if they don’t respond. I’ve had that quite a few times where I’ll get the re-engagement Hey, you haven’t opened our emails in the last six months or whatever. And I’ll be browsing through subject titles and I’ll see it and be like, yep, definitely don’t want to do anything, don’t need to re-engage. So I don’t even open that email. And then of course, two days later, I got another email from them as if I did reengage and it’s a normal marketing email and that kind of thing. It leaves a bad taste about the brand because you’re like, okay, so that was what, just a, thing you wanted to try to see how many responses you could get.

If it didn’t mean anything, don’t say it’s going to mean something. And I think that gets a lot to the core of you want to build trust, you want to be a brand that’s continually building trust. And so any time people are so sensitive, anytime it just feels wrong or it feels like an oversell or an over-hype or, any of these things, you break a little bit of that trust when it’s like, You know, huge alarm bells, and this is the biggest thing ever, and it’s another 20% off sale and you’ve done five this year already.

Like that’s over. And, generally like people are gonna have negative feelings about it. And so I think you have to constantly be thinking about am I creating this trust relationship? Do my customers feel like they can trust me with the subjects that I’m using and the emails that I’m sending.

Kathy: Trust is huge. In software, it’s incredibly huge, especially in the WordPress space because people have their digital home on the web and we are asking them to invite our code into their digital home. So trust is incredibly important, but it’s also important with other brands as well.

People want to feel like they can trust that that brand is going to respect them, understand where they are in their journey as a human being. Not just a customer, you know, but as a human being that aspirational identity that we talked about in an episode recently that you understand who I am, where I am at this point in my life, what I’m trying to accomplish and meet me there.

I personally don’t think you want to have a list of engaged people who are responding to you.

And if you have a list of people who are not engaging, they’re not clicking on anything. You’ve mailed them 20 times and they haven’t even opened it. It’s time to say goodbye and focus on that target market of people who are responding to you because that person or those groups of people that you can segment out in your list, you might want to keep them around for like the big announcement type of thing.

But you might not want to just blast them all the time because that’s not engendering trust. Blast them when it’s important, and really just focus on serving the people who are engaged, the people who are high intent, that you can see that they are they’re ready to engage somebody, maybe hasn’t purchased yet, but they’re looking at all of the right things on your site.

They are looking at all of the right things in your emails and find out what makes them tick. Where they’re at aspirationally with your brand and talk to them there. And that’s going to grow your business 10 times better than just blasting your list

Ben: Yeah, I think we also mentioned early on, like, it’s great to give away a free thing to get their email, but don’t let that mean. You need to stop giving away free stuff. Like it’s not, it doesn’t mean like from now on, I get to send you emails where I basically ask you to buy something from here on out.

I think this is another StoryBrand thing. I think they say five out of six emails should be free content should be you giving something to the user. And then that one in six is like the ask. It’s like that, come buy this or whatever. And that’s just a general rule, but it’s a good thing to think about.

Make sure that It’s not just always an ask. I’m giving to the user, whether it’s, hey, we just released this and it’s free for you to get, or we’ve just added this to your account or, you know, whatever it is. You want to make sure that it’s not always an ask, even though you got their email through you gave them something for free.

Kathy: Email is the perfect place to be of service. And maybe it’s not something that somebody is going to immediately take advantage of, for example. You actually inspired the post of a guide on how to use dynamic content with Kadence. And we talked a little bit about why, and I’m like, okay, let’s show somebody who has never done this before. Let’s show them how. And that was a guide that helps them use Kadence better. We tried very hard to make sure that it was like, step-by-step no matter how technical you are. This is the non-technical, no-coders way to really get going with dynamic content with Kadence. And that was a gift, you know, we didn’t like have to charge for it.

If you’ve got Kadence and you’ve got Kadence Pro and you can do this. Here’s your gift to get started and do it, and try to be of service as much as possible to as many people as possible on your list in every email that you send. And then, you know, you can put a footer in there. That’s, if you don’t have pro you can go ahead and do that here, but this is really our way of trying to be of service to as many people who use Kadence as possible.

And speaking of email and marketing and converting those site visitors into email subscribers, we’ve got some updates to Kadence Conversions, it looks like. Pretty exciting.

Ben: Yeah, definitely. There’ll be more to come with Kadence Conversions. I think there’s definitely a lot more that we want to do with that plugin. But this one, this is, in large part, feature requests, just a couple little ones. One was in conversions, you can have a banner show up as you scroll down the page.

And we got feature requests saying, hey, like when I scroll up the page, can I make that banner go back away? So that’s now an option. we added the ability to track if Gravity Forms converts. So if you’re using Gravity Forms to capture data, now it’ll trigger a conversion when that Gravity Forms submit is successful and that will then show up in your analytics. And then, we do trap focus for accessibility reasons when you have a pop-up. So that way, if you’re on a screen reader or you’re running through tabs that you don’t like exit the pop-up. So what that means is like the tab stays within it until you exit the pop-up itself instead of like tabbing where you can’t see, because it’s hidden.

But one of the things that that did is it like changed styles when certain things were automatically had focus. So we kind of tweaked how that works now. So the focus is trapped, but it doesn’t trigger some styles. So just a few things in conversions, but important things for the people who are asking for it.

And then, yeah, upcoming, we have a big release for Kadence Blocks 2.4, which is going to have a lot in it. I’ll go through some of the changelog here. So we’ve got a new show, more block. Um, you’ll be able to dynamically source the gallery. We had people asking to be able to make a custom gallery link sponsored so that’s added. Inside of the icon list, you’ll be able to have sub lists. So you can like nest lists in the icon list. There’s new settings being applied for like controlling min height on the section block. And even with the image block there’s new mobile control. And then big thing is like the section block is now like its own block and not married to the Row Layout.

So you’ll be able to add that in the nest that, and do a lot of different, things with blocks that way where you can create kind of really custom layouts, by nesting section blocks and then setting with some things like that. There’s quite a lot coming out in this next update.

Kathy: That will be incredibly exciting. And you just gave us on the Kadence team a quick tour of that the other day. And that looks very exciting. What all the innovative things that are happening with Kadence Blocks.

Well, that’s all the time we have for The Kadence Beat this week. Thanks for listening. And if you are not following us or subscribe to us on your favorite podcasting app, please go ahead and do that. And to those of you who have left really nice reviews on Apple Podcasts and other places, thank you so much. We do read all of those and that really empowers us to do even more episodes.

So thank you so much for listening and we’ll talk to you soon.

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