430 Ken Mahar - CEO at Email Broadcast
Ken Mahar is the founder and chief strategist at Email Broadcast and specializes in developing email campaigns for his clients. Though it may seem a simple thing to do - to send an email blast to a list - it is actually an extremely technical process.
Ken has dedicated his entire career to sending emails and in today's episode you are going to hear answers to all those questions you've always had but never known who to ask - how often should I send to my list? What should I write? How important is the subject line? How big a list do I need? - and a lot more.
There are some campaigns we run here at GowerCrowd that involve sending in excess of a million emails so I was delighted to be able to quiz today's guest on best practices so that I could share them with you too.
What You're Going to Learn
- How to get email addresses for email marketing
- Use a lead magnet to get an email address
- Email deliverability in your marketing campaign
- Effective use of lead generation forms on your website
- Email engagement and how to measure it
- Email marketing and common mistakes
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How to Get Email Addresses for Email Marketing
Adam Gower: How do you get email addresses, to email, to people - to send emails to people. What's the best practices for that?
Ken Mahar: When we sit down with our clients, we really talk to them about their business and find out where are they contacting customers. If they are an e-commerce play, and the only thing they have is a website, well then that's going to be a majority of their engagement with their audience and that's where they're going to be collecting email addresses, pretty much only. If you're out, you know, a guy like you, that's - maybe does a book tour, that's speaking, that has live events, that is on other podcasts, that has a website, really, you want to look at - everywhere you're touching your audience and be asking yourself, am I doing a good job at collecting emails? Trade shows - another one. And so, you really want to, kind of, ask yourself, where all can I collect email addresses? So that kind of gets the ball rolling. So, you collect an email address and it's amazing how many people like, oh yeah, we do email marketing and they collect an email address and then they do absolutely nothing with it. It's a terrible crime. One that I'm trying to, you know, change the world. So, when you collect an email address from your website, that is an indication that, hey, this person is interested in what you do and they're likely very new to your organization. It might be their first, second, third time they've been to your site and they're like, OK, I'm going to sign up for whatever this lead magnet is. Well, there's another tip. If the box on your website, just says, "Get our newsletter". Sorry, that's not cutting it. Nobody wants your newsletter, right? Everybody has a story where they're the hero. They're trying to get something and you need to help them accomplish that. So you need to develop a lead magnet, we call it, and to help your audience get what they want then, they will give you their email address.
Use a Lead Magnet to Get an Email Address
Adam Gower: What kind of lead magnets do you see?
Ken Mahar: Well, a good rule of thumb on this is, to go - am I offering something that's worth maybe $20 worth of value, to get somebody's email address. Because, that's kind of what people's internal price tag - you know, $10 to $20 bucks for the value, then I'll give you my email address. Signing up for your newsletter - it's not, that doesn't cut it. But if you give me the 5 critical metrics that every real estate investor must know before he makes a deal - Oh, OK, well, now I'm interested. And then I'll give you my email address. By the way, don't just collect an email address, for crying out loud. Get a first name as well. Right? That's your opportunity to get a first name. Get an email address. There may even be a critical function that you need. I usually only go with first name and email address, but maybe you're like - you know, you're a clothing retailer for women and men. Wouldn't it be nice to know that this is a man who is signing up or a woman who is signing up and then you can segment your audience and send them more relevant emails. So, have something of value. That's what a lead magnet is all about - is creating something of a value. Maybe it's a .pdf, maybe it's a video, maybe it's an inside look, maybe it's... whatever.
Email Deliverability in Your Marketing Campaign
Adam Gower: Are there any deliverability differences between Gmail and Yahoo addresses versus a corporate address?
Ken Mahar: Yeah, if you're getting a Gmail address, it's very likely that you're going to end up in the "Promotions" tab in Gmail, if they use Gmail as their email client. And so, one of the things that you might want to do in that case, and again, we're kind of back to this whole customer journey thing, and I want to pick a bone with you a little bit. I think there are more than two things. There's lots that happens in an email thing, but, you might want to set up an automation that teaches people, hey, by the way, when you see your email on our promotions tab, you can just drag it over to your inbox and that'll white-list us and you'll end up on their primary tab, going forward. Or, here's our email address. Enter this in your contacts so that we show up in your primary tab. And so, you want to do that early. Get them to do that early before you just are in the Promotions tab forever. Now, you're like, oh, well then it's way better to get a corporate email. Well, it can be but corporate emails have their own challenges too, in that they're very discerning about email that's coming in, and they might have a very high spam filter turned on and then you have to meet those tests. So, when we go through and do an email for somebody, that's one of our many things on our checklist is, what's the spam rating on this email? And it's surprising the kind of words that end up kicking that.
Effective Use of Lead Generation Forms on Your Website
Adam Gower: I see this all the time with our clients. They actually don't have sign-up forms on their website. And so, what we always do is we install some kind of lead generation form right at the top. One of the first things that you see when you get to the website that invites somebody in return for something of value to give you their name and email address.
Ken Mahar: Right.
Adam Gower: So what kind of forms have you seen work best? I'm going to give you 3 examples of this. Let's just kind of visualize what somebody's website looks like. You could have a button that says, sign up. Some kind of message above it. Get the free download. Sign up, right? So there's a button there that when you click it, either pops up, gives you a pop up with a form to complete, or already has the form on the home page. So name and email address, sign up. So it's right there. Or redirects to a contact page of some sort. What formula have you seen works the best?
Ken Mahar: I think you can data test it to see what's valid for you but, the form that's already on the website, your first name and your email address that's already there, with the button, I think that's hands- down the best option. In fact, it's been a while, but like, Southwest Airlines did a split test on this, and they checked it. And the single, having to click a button and then go to a different form rather than having it right on the page cost them like 2/3 of their signups. It was a big number. I don't remember exactly what it was, but it was by far and away better to have the the name and email address right there. And if you think about it, it's kind of intuitive, right? It's like, when I see the form right there, I already know what I'm getting into. If I click a button and then it's something different, you know, and I've seen terrible execution of this. I've seen, you click a button, you go to a contact page and here's 15 fields for you to fill out. First name, last name, address. You're like, oh my God, nobody's going to ever fill all that out and nobody ever does and they're wondering why their email marketing is not working.
Adam Gower: Yeah. And you know what? I always say - just get a name and email address. Once you've got that, you can ask for everything else you might want, later. You don't have to get it all at that first point of contact.
Ken Mahar: Exactly.
Email Engagement and How to Measure It
Adam Gower: What are key metrics that you look for? When you talk about a "good response". If you're asking for a response, that's one thing. But if you're sending out some kind of newsletter and we can talk about that in a moment, a newsletter or some kind of information or an update of some sort. You're looking for something else, aren't you? You're looking for opens, clicks, website behavior. How do you define user engagement?
Ken Mahar: Yeah.
Adam Gower: Or quantify, I should say.
Ken Mahar: Yeah. Well, there's some common metrics for email marketing that we use. One is called an open rate. How many people opened your message? However, most people don't understand what an open rate really is so, why don't I take the chance to, opportunity to explain that. So, an open doesn't mean that your person actually opened your message, necessarily. All it means is that a image pixel was downloaded to that person's email client. A lot of people have their mail set up that every single message loads all the images by default. So that person looks like they open everything. Ok. Even if they didn't give your message two seconds worth of consideration before they deleted it. That would look like an open. On the other hand, there are some people, I'm one of them, that don't load messages by default who might be reading every single one of your your emails. Reading all the copy, maybe even picked up the phone and called you and to them, you look like you don't exist.
Adam Gower: You didn't open, right? If you don't have it set to auto-load, then even if they open and read, it looks like they didn't open it.
Ken Mahar: Yeah. And this has become a particularly thorny issue with Apple's new release. So, Apple is kind of known for protecting their user's privacy, and they've decided to let people opt-in. In fact, it's one of the screens that come up with the brand new phone. Like, do you want to opt-in to mail privacy? And if you say yes, then that Apple user, what happens is, they will accept any and all mail. And so, it looks like they're a 100% open rate. So they'll accept the mail and then behind the scenes, like, they won't share what iOS version they're on. They won't share where the location is, of this person when they opened it and all that stuff used to come through. They'll just basically say, yep, we got that email. And so, what's going to happen, coming up over the next several months is that people are going to see this increase in their open rates and go, oh my gosh, we're doing really good. When it's just kind of fake data.
Adam Gower: And that's because people are not actually getting.
Ken Mahar: They may or they may not. We don't know. But because they get it on an Apple iPhone, it looks like they opened it. So you might have sequences set up in your automation series that says, hey, if this person opens this message, then send this. Well, that's always been problematic because of what I just talked about, about it not necessarily being a real open. But that's just kind of gotten more muddy. So, that's open rates. The next thing is click-through rate. And this is the percentage of people that actually click on a link in your message. So, I guess it's kind of important. One thing that should be said is, it's kind of important to have something to click on, inside of an email. Even if it's an educational email where you're still in the "making friends" process and you're not asking for an order or asking for anything. It could be just like, hey, I saw this cool article I thought you might be interested in. Check it out here, and at least there's a link in there for somebody to go, to go click on. Because that's a "real" engagement. When somebody clicks on something, you know who clicked on it. You know how many times they clicked on it and you even know when they clicked on it. You know where they were when they clicked on it. I'm not sure how this Apple thing is going to affect that but, clicks are for real. And, that's a much better metric to be looking at as you go along. Open rates great and you kind of want to track it as a trend. If you see big drops in your open rate, you're like, OK, maybe we have a problem here.
Email Marketing and Common Mistakes w/ Ken Mahar
Adam Gower: What are the biggest mistakes that you see people make when they walk in the door of your office? What are the biggest mistakes you see that you like to correct?
Ken Mahar: Well, one of the main ones is that - we take over email campaigns because that's what we do - is people come to us and say, hey, emails should be doing a lot more for us or we think email can be really valuable, but we haven't been able to pull it off. And, I'll start asking some questions and generally, I'm like, well, tell me about your strategy. And they're like, what do you mean? Like, what's the overall strategy of your campaign? You know, so we're like, OK, well, there's our first mistake. You don't really have a strategy. Other than like, let's send out some emails, you know. But you should be thinking about your strategies. Like, OK, are you trying to double sales? Are you trying to promote a new brand? Are you trying to repair a reputation? Like, what is your business goal? And then your email should be doing that thing for you. And so oftentimes they don't have the right strategy. Here's another big red flag. If you've got one person doing your email marketing. The reason email marketing is so tough is because it requires a broad range of skill sets. Are you a great copywriter? Like, really good? Are you a designer? A world class designer? Are you a strategist? Like, are you a sales expert? Are you also a technical wizard that can put everything together and have the right flows happening and the integration with the website? And almost nobody is all of those things because they're so different, you know, they're left brain, they're right brain, they're no brain. And so, if you have one person doing your email and you're doing more than a million dollars a year in business, I can almost guarantee you that you're leaving a lot of money on the table and you don't even know it. That's the scary thing is that - you're missing untold opportunities by not having a great email strategy, if you have one guy doing it. And then another one is - not leveraging advanced tactics. Not doing segmentation, like I talked about. Sending one message to everybody in your audience. Not leveraging automation. Understanding that, hey, when people go - when they're in this stage, they now need a new sequence. We're trying to sell - they've been around for a while, now we're trying to sell them on our high-end service or package. That's a whole different series. We need to add people to that series. We need to be smart about it. And when they're in that series, not send them out the weekly newsletter or whatever. Realize that they're in their own little series happening right now, and don't interrupt that flow with a different broadcast. So, and this is hard, right? This is hard stuff, and this is why people hire us. They're like okay, we need to step up our game in email marketing. I don't want to hire an entire department, and Ken's already built one. I've got all the people on the team. We have 17 people on our team. We all work as a team together. And I've got a designer. I've got a copywriter, I've got a strategist. I've got an API and CRM specialist, and we work as a team together on our client's behalf. My God, we do it for less than they'd pay a single part-time employee. I mean, it's ridiculous how good the value is.
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