Beyond The Messaging Connection, Episode 2: The Email Dilemma
Beyond The Messaging Connection, Part 2: The Email Dilemma
[00:00:00] Trent Chapman: All right, welcome back to be on The Messaging Connection. This is Trent Chapman here with Ryan Chapman.
Ryan Chapman: Hello!
Trent Chapman: And we are going to be talking today about the email dilemma, Episode 2 here. Now, we love email. Now, we may sound like we're trashing on email a little bit here in this episode. But let me just set this straight- we used email to build our first business and it was very, very effective for us. It made us millions of dollars. So we're big fans of email. However, it has it's time and it's place. And we still use it with our campaign, we still use it with our follow up, with our customer onboarding, but again, it has it's time and place and we know it's limitations so we work within those.
So when we talk about it today, don't feel like Trent and Ryan hate email, that email is the devil, don't ever use it. That's not what we're saying here. But, you have to be realistic and understand what the limitations are.
Ryan Chapman: Well, I think this is a- Trent, if you don't mind, I want to state that sometimes people talk about medias as if they are, like, stagnant, they don't change, [00:01:00] they're not dynamic. And the reality is that when we were using email- what now 12 years ago? We started using email. It was a different ball game than it is today. Things change.
Trent Chapman: Direct mail back, then. It was a different ball game of direct mail back then.
Ryan Chapman: Yeah. Just understand that. Medias change. The ball game changes around them and mostly because of how it's used.
So, and you can't stop that. It's human nature. People are going to abuse every media and because of abuses things change, rules change, people adjust. Everybody's in a constant flux of trying to set their own priorities. So I think that's an important concept to start with.
Trent Chapman: And here's what's strange is I think that people realize this but maybe not be consciously aware of it- none of us want to be bothered, right? We don't want-
Ryan Chapman: Yeah!
Trent Chapman: Email is designed to communicate usually person-to-person, business-to-business. We want to communicate with other people in a way that's not just jumping on the phone because that's difficult.
You gotta line up set [00:02:00] schedules. It makes it hard. But, when we can communicate in a way that we can send a message and someone can get to it when they have time, reply to the message when they have time that's great. However, email has been used for more than just that. So, because of that, email service providers have been coming up with ways to get rid of unwanted email or spam.
So I think that, like, there's billions of emails every day that are spam. So, Ryan, what were the numbers? What percentage of emails sent on a daily basis are considered spam?
Ryan Chapman: I think it's something like 80 or 90% are. And that's in the billions daily that are sent. It's unreal.
And you know, I think back to when we started with email 12 years ago, you know, there was still a lot of email but it was still relatively new in terms of mass marketing and stuff. There were some filters, there were always rules, but the rules back then were very like were driven, right?
They might break an email into a bunch of different words, measure a [00:03:00] ratio real quickly of words to images, like, was there mostly HTML in the email? Or were there words? Because they kind of figured out if it was just a picture that was something that the spammers did. So if you had low words to images or HTML then they would say 'okay, this is probably more likely spam and so we're going to treat it like that.' And then they have some arcane spam traps and stuff like that and they were looking for words like 'free' and, you know, stuff that the full-on spammers used.
Trent Chapman: At that time frame, though, they did start to implement something- it wasn't machine learning or anything- but they started to look for high spam complaints and then started to block IP addresses, started to block email addresses.
Ryan Chapman: Yeah. Yeah that and they would look at these other rules and then if they saw that you as the sender were doing that then of course they'd penalize your domain name, your IP address. You know, stuff that they could use to associate that bad email with a bad character and then, you know, they're trying to [00:04:00] eliminate bad characters.
But I mean if we compared then to today, I would say it's, like-
Trent Chapman: Totally different.
Ryan Chapman: Yeah, not even in the same ballpark. It's so much harder now because the email service providers have become so much more sophisticated that it's so easy for them to just say 'naw, I think you're spam' and then throw you out. And if they don't throw you out as spam, they can hide your emails.
Trent Chapman: Under the Promotions Folder.
Ryan Chapman: Promotions Folder. They do all sorts of stuff, you know, depending on the setup of the email service. They can do a lot of things to bury your email. And so it's pretty easy.
Trent Chapman: Well this kind of brings us to the point here. That is that when you're using automation in business, and email automation specifically, most of those emails that are sent by automation platforms are not being open and read. They're not being seen.
Now, you can have a great headline to your email. You can have a great message inside the email but the fact is if they don't open that and don't read it, [00:05:00] that headline and that message does nothing for you. So if your email go straight to Promotions, straight to spam, who cares how great your email was? It doesn't matter about your copy. It's a matter of seeing it.
Ryan Chapman: Let me just clarify what Trent- Trent's using a copy writing term 'headline' for 'subject line.' That's how ingrained we are with our email.
Trent Chapman: Sorry about that. I need to bring that back down, it is true.
Ryan Chapman: Yeah.
Trent Chapman: With all copywriting there's always a catch right? What is the thing that hooks your attention so that you'll read the rest of the body of the message? And that's what a subject line is, it's basically your headline to your email, is your subject line. So go back to that, Ryan, continue.
Ryan Chapman: Well, yeah. No, I just wanted to point that out so people that maybe aren't familiar with direct response copywriting or just copywriting in general. They may not understand what you meant by a headline. That's your subject line, like Trent said, it's the hook and so they don't even get a chance to see that. A lot of people just write terrible subject lines to begin with because we don't know, you know? Nobody's teaching us those things for the most part. So we write an okay subject [00:06:00] line that doesn't really get much attention.
And, you know, with email it's funny. Back, Trent, in 2011 we had a little software for the training company that we had and in it, I decided- Twitter was fairly new- so I was like 'well, I'll just do a Twitter clone for people to be able to communicate with each other.' And pretty quick- do you remember what people started complaining about with that approach?
Trent Chapman: I don't remember this at all.
Ryan Chapman: Oh, okay! They started complaining because the stream of the feed of people's comments and, you know, communication, just pushed everything down. And so that's what we have happening in email today. So you send an email, geez, what are the odds that that email's gonna get buried by 300 other emails by the end of the day?
You know, that's what you- so it's not just that you have to get through the filters and the loops with email. But just the sheer volume of messages is pushing your message further and further down the Inbox and you know, it's a clean [00:07:00] inbox-
Trent Chapman: Real quickly, Ryan.
Ryan Chapman: Yeah, go ahead.
Trent Chapman: I'm going to email app on my phone here. I have 7275 unread emails.
Ryan Chapman: It's a big accomplishment for people to have a zero inbox, right? It's like something people will post about on social media because it's so rare. Now, I happen to accomplish it by every, like, quarter. I just archive everything. I figure if I haven't gotten to it by then, you know, I'm probably not getting to it. So I just archive all of it. But some people, you know, they can't do that. They're afraid of missing something so they won't archive it but it'll just get away from them, right?
Trent Chapman: That's what I do, Ryan. I look for people's lists that I'm on and I unsubscribe from that list. I unsubscribe. I look for their email address, search them all and archive all those. That way it removes hundreds at a time.
Ryan Chapman: You probably follow some sort of process. I think that's an interesting thing to be thinking about because you're not alone. You're not alone, Trent. Those of you that are listening, you're not alone. All of us have to figure out how do we deal with all this [00:08:00] information.
I think it's interesting if you look at the history of email, best I understand it, is email kind of started in the government's sphere- or with some messaging board type things that convert it into a direct message type thing- and so basically it was students, government people and large corporations that initially had email and then they were like 'hey, we need to email other people.'
And so then consumer email addresses came out. That's where you have services like Hotmail and Yahoo! and AOL who were giving consumers, finally, this chance not only to get on the internet, but they have an email address, that coveted email address, and then pretty soon we figured out 'oh, this is a scam,' you know? But we all had to have it because everybody was in the email game. And so that's-
Trent Chapman: I don't even have one. A lot of us have a dozen email addresses.
Ryan Chapman: Now, we'll contrast that later on to some other media types. But, you know, that's yeah, well that's exactly it, too. A lot of us don't just have one email address. We [00:09:00] have email addresses for different people, right? So my kids know that they have to have a spam email address and then their real email address. And, you know, my kids are teenagers up to young adults and so they already know that and I think most people have it the same way. So depending on how much you trust the person that is asking for your email address you give them the appropriate one.
So, Trent, talk us through what is the experience of the average person as they're looking at their email inbox? I think this is helpful because if we're even trying to get any- by the way, you can win the email game, but you can't win it just with email. I think it's really important for you understand.
Trent Chapman: We'll talk about that at the end here. There are some ways that we've been able to make email more effective without just relying on email.
Well, yeah, so when I think about my email inbox- and most people have a process, right? We want to make sure that we can get to the right messages we want. Because you do get messages in your email that you want to read and those messages are important. [00:10:00] But what happens- Ryan mentioned it earlier- a lot of times other messages that are coming into your inbox, they may not be going to spam or Promotions, they're actually coming to your inbox, are not really urgent or important or something you need to reply to. They're notifications of some sort- like your Amazon delivery. You know, it's very important.
But anyway, you get all these messages coming in and then you have to make sure you have a process for finding important messages from friends and family or from work that you don't want to miss. And so we all have a process. So for a lot of us we might have a process of filtering, whether it be an automated filter we set in our inbox or we manually filter things, put them into box one, box two, box three, as they come in. That way we can get the box one's when we have time, box two's if we have more time and box three is when we're really just bored. So a lot of people have processes like that. There's also filtering, like, by Google, for example, Gmail and all. They have, like, your inbox, your Promotions tab and then your Junk Folder. You've got all these different tabs that they can create for you to automatically, through machine learning, try to get an educated guess of 'oh, this is coming from this [00:11:00] email service provider. That's used for automation so this is probably a promotion email. Let's put this over here.' So they do that for you as well. So all this stuff is happening. We're filtering, the email service provider is filtering and so that's the first thing.
The other thing I do- I don't know if you do this Ryan, but I'll go through and as I'm scrolling through and I just look at the headlines and the sender. If it's a sender that I recognize and go 'oh, I'm looking for an email from them' or it's a headline that sounds like something I want to read I might grab those. Otherwise, I'm going to select all that's in my inbox and then I'll just unmark the ones I wanna keep and then archive the rest. So that's the process of scanning through visually, not using any type of filtering process, but just visually scanning through and, you know, cleaning out things. And I'll do that weekly probably.
Ryan Chapman: Well, let's take a jump back 10 years. Think about 10 years ago. You might have been an early adopter of Facebook so you're just getting onto Facebook. You may not have had a smartphone yet. How much information did you have to deal with then versus [00:12:00] today?
Trent Chapman: Oh, a fraction.
Ryan Chapman: Yeah, today it's not just that there's more and more email. There's more email, there's more social media notifications. You know, there's all these other things that are saying 'hey pay attention to'-
Trent Chapman: Yeah.
Ryan Chapman: I think because of that gimmicks that may have worked 10 years ago just don't work the same today. And there's people that still continue to use the gimmicks or try to use them and it's almost comical. It's more like a comical in the classical sense, which means it's a tragedy.
Because these people that are using these gimmicks think that 'hey, I'm accomplishing something' and the reality is you're not. The gimmicks don't work.
You've got to have some sort of headline- and we're using headline in place of the subject line because that's the way we want you to be thinking about it because that's part of how you get email to work- but you've got to use a subject line or a headline that actually communicates the genesis of the value that your email is going to provide for them. [00:13:00] Because, like Trent's saying, they're scanning through, you know. They can identify- we've all been trained well enough that we know the spammy headlines, you know. So they just don't work the same way that they used to. It doesn't mean that they don't work but they don't work the same way they used to and they also color you as a character.
I think that's important for you to understand, too. What we're looking for in marketing is we're not just looking for some mindshare. We're looking for mindshare that sets us in the right light. Because we all know somebody that when we see their name we kind of think scammy. We kind of think that's slimy and it's not that they- they probably do deliver good content periodically, but their approach, their technique, is always a little underhanded, you know what I mean? So you're gonna-
Trent Chapman: Once you're in that bucket, it's kind of hard to get out of it too. So once you put yourself on that slimy bucket or scammy bucket, it's hard for them to change their perception of you. Is this a good time to talk about attention currency or do you want to talk about that after?
Ryan Chapman: Let's go into that in just a second. I want to go through, [00:14:00] have you finish going through, that process that people go through. It is a good- so remember attention currency because we're going to come into that. But what do people do then, once they've scanned the subject line or a sender?
Trent Chapman: First scan is to say 'I want to get rid of all the junk that I'm not going to even read, I don't care about.' Then I've only got about 10-15 emails left here. These aren't emails necessary that I may want but maybe the headline caught my attention, the subject line. And so I'm going to open those up and it better be something that really quickly, in the body of the message, gets to the point or hooks my attention in some way. Because if they are going with long form copy, and I didn't request that information recently, I'm probably going to get like glazed over eyes. It's a lot of copy here. I don't want to read this right now. So you've got to get to the point or hook me somehow pretty quick in that first few lines so that they get my attention into, 'okay, I'm going to invest more of my time to see what this is about'.
And that usually happens when this is- I'm not talking about email from my mom, email from my [00:15:00] family, those things, I'm gonna, of course, read because it's someone that I care about and want to read their message. But it comes from someone that maybe I opted in to your list a couple months ago and I get a message from them. They had a good headline or good subject line.
They have less time to get to the point than anybody else. They have to make sure that they've said something that's of value to me and they've expressed how this email is going to benefit me in my business, my personal life, in some way to where I'd want to invest more time reading that.
Ryan Chapman: So when you're saying that, you're really talking about targeting. You've got to make sure that you're not doing large broadcast that you're not doing real loose campaigns. You've got to be on point.
And I think this is a good setup for attention currency. So we'll delay it a little bit longer.
But the point is as soon as somebody opts in to your list, however they do that, that's probably the peak moment of interest. And so unless you build some sort of attention, some sort of reason for them [00:16:00] to pay attention to everything else you say, that first interaction is like an audition almost, right? You're auditioning to say 'hey, should I get more of your attention?' You know? And if you are sloppy about it, or if you're not thoughtful about it, that's where you're probably going to kill your full on chances of being successful at the email. So it's really, really critical that you think about those interactions from beginning all the way through and you're not cutting corners on the email because you can kill email with one email.
Trent Chapman: Well, here's what happens if I read that email, whether it be the first email or maybe it's down the line a couple weeks-
Ryan Chapman: Second.
Trent Chapman: -after. Yeah. And It's not bringing the value that I thought it would bring, there's a button at the bottom of every email that says unsubscribe. So I'll tap that and then I'm done with them. Or I'll use, like, I use Unroll.Me.
There's a lot of services that let you opt out. You just tap the button and then it automatically makes sure that that message just never gets into your inbox again. It'll either opt out for you [00:17:00] or it might just go ahead and just block those messages from getting into your inbox.
Ryan Chapman: You'll remember that Trent said at the beginning that email service providers are using machine learning and some other things to be able to determine, you know, where placement of email should go.
But you also notice that they'll place unsubscribe buttons at the top of your email if they recognize it's coming through marketing automation. So, it's a lot easier to lose connection with people through email than you even realize. It it is a tough game to play. So-
Trent Chapman: I'll share a little story about how using personal email has improved the results for one business. We'll talk about the collections, you know, the recurring revenue when people's billing and payments fail. We'll talk about their situation where they do use personal email versus automated and how that's helping them to use email more effectively. So that's going to be something we talk about the end when we have time for that.
After I've decided who I'm going to opt out of at that point I'm pretty much done going through my [00:18:00] email for the day. So it's either you've accepted- I've accepted you. I like the information, I click through, I get more information on your website, watch a video, whatever. I follow your next call to action or you probably have lost my trust and interest and I just opt out.
Why don't you talk about this big myth and misconception about the cost of email? Why don't you get into that a bit?
Ryan Chapman: Okay. The big myth is this- email is free. And a lot of people act as though it's free. Mostly because their marketing automation platform, whatever they're using, they may charge them by the contact or they may charge by the number of emails, but they're not thinking of a price per email. I don't know anybody that's thinking of 'oh, okay, email costs me .00057 cents to send.' They're mostly thinking that it's free and because of that they just send as many as they can.
It's not uncommon for me to see people to have campaigns that have like 50-60 emails in them. You know, they're just like yeah, I'm gonna- you know, it may be like a three-year campaign, but they're [00:19:00] like, yeah, I'm just going to trip on them until they-
Trent Chapman: Buy or die. Buy or die.
Ryan Chapman: And the problem with that approach and you know, I think people... I always am concerned people will see our marketing automation campaigns and they'll be like 'that's it?' Because we understand that, you know, people are usually in the market for something for a period of time. The long tail is not as effective as it used to be because of the game of email.
Trent Chapman: There is profit there but it's not going to be... Most of your profit is not in the long tail or in the extended follow-up, though. We found that out.
Ryan Chapman: Well, and I really think that part of that was based on a misconception about something. We'll kind of get into that in a little bit here, but the underlying problem with this myth of email is free or no cost or very low cost and it's just abundant and I can just use it however I want is that nobody's paying attention to this concept we mentioned before of attention [00:20:00] currency.
Now attention currency is this concept that says, every time you have an interaction with somebody you are either making a deposit or withdrawal in the amount of attention they will give you. That's not just true in marketing. That's true everywhere, right?
Trent Chapman: I think you went over that really quickly. People may have missed that.
That's something that- and this is personal interaction, too. You probably have friends or acquaintances, maybe they were friends and now they're acquaintances, because of the interactions you had with them. They made a lot of withdrawals to where now there's no friendship. Now there's an acquaintance relationship there.
That's the same way with the emails that you get or the messages you get from a business or from someone you're following. They're either building up that trust and that attention or they're detracting from it by not providing value to your relationship.
Ryan Chapman: Now, value is an interesting thing because we can call that kind of generically but this value [00:21:00] is in the perception of the receiver. So whatever the receiver perceives as value, it's not what you think is value and this is the other part that I see business owners get caught up in. They're just like 'well, this is a super valuable, you know, this is a big tip. They really need this tip.'
Trent Chapman: 'This promotion is a great offer. It's a big discount.'
Ryan Chapman: Yeah. 'Oh man, huge, huge value in this offer. I mean, I've got 37 items in there valued at $16,000 and I'm only selling it for a thousand. I mean huge value.' The value is determined by the recipient. That's really critical for you to understand. If they don't perceive it as a value it doesn't matter what you think about it. And that's kind of harsh and sometimes people might go 'geez, Ryan, you're such a hard butt on that.' But the truth is, it only matters what the recipient values and so it's got to be from their perspective.
And this is another reason why early on in the relationship you want to make sure that you're actually accurate to what they find to be important. What are they looking for? There's some ways that you can go about doing that [00:22:00] but you've got to make sure that your messaging is on target with their needs. And if you do that your odds are better then that you're going to be making deposits instead of withdrawals.
This does not mean you cannot make offers. Understand that the right offer made to the right person at the right time is extremely valuable. So we're not- we kind of joked about 'oh, yeah, It's really valuable from your perspective but not theirs.' There are some offers you can make that are extremely valuable where they might see it exactly like you do. 'Wow. That's like worth 16 grand and given to me for a grand? That's a great value. I'm going to jump all over that.' So it's not to say you can't make offers but you've just got to be paying attention to that attention currency. And if you send a bunch of emails that really don't communicate much, and especially don't communicate much from their perceived value measure, you're going to be shooting yourself in the foot.
And so you might have 50 emails in the campaign. But after email two or three they've either filtered you out or they've mentally filtered you out or whatever the case may be.
[00:23:00] Trent Chapman: Unsubscribed.
Ryan Chapman: Or unsubscribed in the worst case scenario... Or maybe best. It's probably better for you to know that somebody unsubscribed than to have somebody ignoring you. I think the stats are, Trent, that probably close to 30 percent of the emails you send out are actually even looked at. And when we talk about looked at, you know think back to what Trent was walking through-
Trent Chapman: That headline.
Ryan Chapman: That might mean they scan the subject line and then they opened it up and scanned the first couple lines. It doesn't mean consumption. Scanning is not consumption. Scanning as just scanning. 'I'm just looking to see what should I throw away. Not what should I keep' and so that's not interaction. That's not consumption. That's something totally different. You know, we can- that's why I say the best way with email to measure consumption is a click or a response.
Trent Chapman: On the value perception here, Ryan- I went back to that because I think we may have skipped this little bit- the perception on their side really comes down to when you're writing your [00:24:00] message or when you're sharing things to them are you addressing the concern that you promised you'd address when they opted in to your list? We all come to either, when we're opting in for a business- and it's usually business obviously, right? We don't opt in to someone's personal email list- we opt in to a business's email list we're usually opting in because they promised us or they attracted us with some sort of a offer to relieve some pain or bring us closer to a goal or objective that we have.
And so if their subjects, their content, and all that stuff does not drive us closer to that outcome- and this is where I see a lot of people miss this- they don't keep on point with their messaging. They jump from one message to the next, from your opt-in, to your emails, your other emails, they jump around so much that the person's like I don't want this stuff anymore because doesn't really talk about what I was interested in when I opted in.
So it's that market to message connection that just to be there in order to gain more attention currency. So if I'm addressing a nugget about a problem that they opted in to fix or a [00:25:00] solution or a goal they're trying to reach to help them get there, I'm going to get more deposits into the attention currency.
Even if I'm not selling in that email, by providing good valuable content, and maybe a tip or strategy of something of value around the problem or the solution or the themes you're getting to, that's where I'm getting deposits into that attention currency. Then my next email if I do a strong call to offer doesn't seem so off because it's related to the attention and the currency and I've already had deposits from them. And so I'm now leading up to bringing more value. Bring more value and do a call to action and that's how you see more and more results from your email.
Now, that's not going to fix the problem with the email filters that ESP is filtering out. That's not going to fix all the other problems associated with email. But if you're going to use email use it in a way where you're getting more of their attention, building up more of that currency so they trust you and want to do business with you.
Ryan Chapman: That all presupposes that you understand what your customers are after. Right? And so [00:26:00] that presupposes that you have a good clear call to action in the first place.
But you know, one of the things to this point, Trent, is whenever we're coming up with marketing we're first running it through the filter of can I deliver on that? Right? And so that's an important thing to do because I see people that are real quick to make crazy promises that I know they can't fulfill and I'm like 'why are you doing this?' You know? Because you're just shooting yourself in the foot.
Trent Chapman: Get a good response rate.
Ryan Chapman: So think holistically when you're doing your marketing, when you're thinking about email. Think holistically and say, 'okay what, ultimately, am I trying to do? Am I trying to establish a long-term customer-company relationship with this individual and if I am, what are the fundamental principles of a long-term relationship?
Like, the number one is trust. And so what that means is I've got to do what I say I'm going to do. So when I'm coming up with my marketing yeah, of course, I want people to take action. Yes, I want it to be enticing. [00:27:00] But I can't say things that I won't fulfill on and that's to the point Trent was making which is when you start sending these emails they better be on point.
They better actually deliver on the promises you made in marketing because if your marketing- or in your advertising- if your marketing doesn't deliver on the promises you made in your advertising you're shooting yourself in the foot because you're starting off the relationship violating their trust. Because they're like 'hey, you said you were going to teach me one, two, and three and you haven't taught me any of that yet. It's like you're just leading me on because you haven't gotten to it, you keep alluding to it.' Like if, when we talked about attention currency earlier on in the podcast, if we just kept on saying 'oh, yeah, we're going to get to that, we're going to get that' and then we never got to it you should have been ticked off if we had done that.
Fortunately, we delivered on our promise, but that's an important part in your email. You've got to make sure that you're thinking big picture. And that big picture ultimately is long-term customers. So what do we need to be doing in that email to make sure that it is [00:28:00] a long-term experience so that they'll stick with us.
Trent, we kind of glossed over something at the very beginning, that I think is important enough to go back and kind of bring up, which is we were all just making the assumption that the email, that the marketing automation platform, is even going to get the email delivered in the first place, you know what I mean? And that, you know, recently- we're on on a number of different forums on social media and we get to see people, you know, frustrated and upset because something's not working and email is one of those. People are trying to get emails sent out and they're not being delivered on time and they're getting frustrated at the email automation platform or the marketing automation platform. Because, you know, they think it must be their fault and what they're not realizing is this game is getting more and more difficult.
And so there are probably about three or four things you must do before you can even send out an email in the first place. If you've got to warm up the email, if you're using a brand new marketing automation platform, there's an IP address. So you've got to kind of warm that up which means you got to send kind of [00:29:00] gradually until you get your volume up to where you need it to be which can take a couple of weeks or months.
And then once you're doing all that, then you've got to hope that the email service provider is as whole isn't getting lumped because of all the senders that they're sending for. Because all it takes is two or three bad actors and then something like AOL or Hotmail just say 'no, we're not taking any email from you until you guys straighten up your act' and that happens all too frequently. You know what I mean?
There's a lot of complications with email just on top of the fact of everything else that the humans do to determine 'what do I actually want to read?' And that brings me back to what I said was- the first goal I used to have, Trent, when we first got started with email was, this is because we were at a convention and somebody said, 'well do you do trackable links?' And I was like 'well, what's a trackable link?' And then they explained it to me and I said, 'oh well, no.' And he said 'well, never send out an email without a trackable link' and I took that as gospel and I kind of started doing that, you [00:30:00] know.
Which is- the problem with that is that it has this very common perception in it that email is a talk at media. You want to explain what I mean by talk at?
Trent Chapman: Yeah. Well, if you think about this way- when we're sending out email broadcast most people's messages is- take action on this, watch this, read this, buy this. It's not a matter of 'hey, what do you think about X Y and Z?' And we're waiting for a reply or response back.
So we're talking at people. We're not expecting to have to invest our time, to have a conversation with them, to lead them to something. So a lot of times when email is sent out it's specifically to ask people to do something, tell them to do something, push them towards something that's automated, not conversation based.
Ryan Chapman: I just realized this! You know, the reason why that is- and you tell me what you think about this- but I think it's because a lot of emails that are written, right, [00:31:00] email is written by copywriters. If you go back, traditionally copywriters wrote two things- they wrote adds-
Trent Chapman: Print ads.
Ryan Chapman: -or direct mail.
Trent Chapman: Also print.
Ryan Chapman: And yeah and like, okay, so I'm doing direct mail. They can't just hit reply and reply back to that direct mail piece. They have to get a piece of paper, write it, put the stamp on it, take it to the mailbox. And so it wasn't something that they were normally thinking about. It wasn't like a 'respond to me personally.' The response may have been 'yeah, mail me a check' or something like that, so we're going for a purchase decision or buying decision, but you know, it wasn't let's interact and have a conversation.
And so that whole framework that people are building out of, right? So if you look at the evolution of most emails that are written for businesses, it's coming out of that direct response or copywriting world. And so that makes perfect sense if you think about it that that's why [00:32:00] so many people treat it as a speak at media, even though the original intention of email was a two-way conversation.
Trent Chapman: Well, we talked about this in our other podcast series we did for one of our businesses, but we'll touch on this lightly. There's a thing that we, we call these rules, right? And there's an old rule that was used with marketing and that was we have this limited media of print or, you know, mailing out direct mail and so they can't reply easily.
So what happens is what Ryan just explained- is we translated that marketing approach into email. Well, email had some new technology. It allowed for easy quick reply. But people are still using the old rules of 'it's too hard to reply so let's not ask them to reply. Let's just focus on talking at them.' And so it's crazy that we're here, 20-plus years into email being a thing that people use frequently and people are still using these old rules of 'it's too hard for people reply so let's just talk at them.'
[00:33:00] Ryan Chapman: Gosh, what is it like 90% probably 99% of people that do email marketing don't want a reply?
Trent Chapman: Yeah, we'll see a lot of businesses that are No Reply At.
Ryan Chapman: Which is insane, right? Because it's like well, of course you want people to reply because what if something's broken? What if it's not working? What if the person's having a bad experience? You want to hear from them because the only way you can make it right is if you know something's going wrong. So yeah-
Trent Chapman: That's just bizarre. I can't believe that that happens with email. And that's what brought me to this concept, this thought about- I mentioned earlier there's a company that does... I can't remember the name of them right now, it'll probably come to me. But, they do billing collections and I when say collections its basically when companies have subscriptions-
Ryan Chapman: Is it Gravy?
Trent Chapman: Yeah, it's Gravy. So people forget about the software they have running and then the billing might not work, but maybe they had a different phone number, a different email when they signed up and the company can't get ahold of them. A lot of times it's just that they didn't get the emails because their emails are automated through the [00:34:00] billing, right? And those automated emails on your billing are coming to the same marketing email software you're using. Therefore, the emails are going to promotions or to spam. So, they're not seeing the messages and their billing just went to default.
So, this company said 'hey, you know what? Let's take a personal approach.' And so what they do is, instead of using automation, their representatives are jumping in, emailing personally, from their personal email accounts- they set up a bunch of business/personal accounts, through Gmail- emailing personally to another person's email account. Getting much more deliverability because these are person-to-person emails. They're not going through automation filters, not getting stuck somewhere else. And people can respond back. Isn't that an amazing concept? They email and personally respond back and they're like doing amazing things with getting these people back into an active billing state.
So a lot of times businesses just are like 'awe, these people didn't respond. Cancel their account. It's been 30 days. They're not interested anymore.' When-
Ryan Chapman: We've never done that.
Trent Chapman: - involuntary. No, we've never done that. Never ever!
That's called involuntary churn in the business world, where you have a subscription-based [00:35:00] service or product. And that involuntary churn amounts for tens of thousands or millions of dollars in lost revenue because they assume someone's not interested just because their billing failed because they're not seeing the message that 'hey, your billing failed.' So this company, Gravy, is getting all that gravy that you're losing and helping collect it.
So that, just that concept of, they're using email in an effective way. They're not using it just for automation. They're using person-to-person conversations. So we've been talking about how they can incorporate also text message to create those opportunities for conversations with these people that may not have the right email address on file and that's why they're not getting the messages.
But that's just- think of that concept. Email is largely used to talk at people when it could be very effectively used to talk with people.
Ryan Chapman: Well, so then let's talk about this because you know, this isn't based on scientific research. This is based on observations. So there could be a little bit of skew in it, but the the logic is sound. So, you know, I want you to think and consider about this- [00:36:00] when you're working with the email service provider, the email service provider is trying to protect the recipients, okay?
Trent Chapman: Yeah, that's their job. If I get a lot of spam with AOL as opposed to Gmail where I'll get less spam, I'm sticking with Gmail because they do better to protect me and my time.
Ryan Chapman: So they're competing and they want to have that because they're also serving up ads, gathering information. It's part of the whole big scheme for the email service provider or if the email service providers charging money, then you know, that's what they're getting their money for.
So what's going on here is they're trying to defend that contact's email inbox and so they're looking for signs, because they're also not supposed to be Mr. Big Brother and hide things that the person wants. So they're trying to take cues from the user on which emails do they want and then making sure that those emails then get higher priority so that the user isn't going to be upset. Because yes, they've got to protect them from spam but they can't protect them from wanted emails.
So they [00:37:00] go about looking at some signals, this is where machine learning is so powerful for them, is they use signals from the recipient to train the machine learning algorithms so that it can be able to display the proper emails in the proper places in the proper way.
And so if you want to think about it in a point system, the biggest point- like, this is how you get like, let's say 10 points right?- Is if the person replies back to an email that was sent to them. That's huge.
Trent Chapman: What does it show when I reply to you? Does it show that I want to unsubscribe?
Ryan Chapman: No, it shows that we're engaging in some way. Now, I'm sure that they could look at the email content and if it's like, you know, 'screw you, don't ever email me again' they might not count it the same way or they may just be looking at any reply is a good sign. But let's say it's-
Trent Chapman: A lot of people opt out, right?
Ryan Chapman: Yeah.
Trent Chapman: Not a lot unsubscribe anymore.
Ryan Chapman: So it's 10 points if they reply, okay? Now, you may be thinking 'well, what about clicks and [00:38:00] opens?' I'd say open is like a tenth of a point? If it's 10 points for a reply and open is a tenth of a point, and then if it's 10 points for reply, it's one point for a click. So a click does count towards something, but it's not nearly as powerful as a reply.
So taking this information into consideration what we want to do in order to get all of our email- because understand if Gmail is collecting email from you, right? And they're looking at, let's say they're looking at Trent's behavior from my email that's sending to him, that's skewing Trent's individual inbox display from my messages, but it's also weighing in on the global for Gmail. So if we have-
Trent Chapman: Your domain, you're a sender-
Ryan Chapman: -for my domain, for my reputation as a sender. So if I'm sending email out to a hundred people and let's say 50 of those replied to me and like, you know, 10 of them click, you know, so we had 60 at least that opened or whatever. Okay- and remember the email [00:39:00] service provider has more information than your marketing automation platform does because there are a lot of things that skew your marketing automation platform's results- but with all that being said, if they go and they see that they're going to treat it a lot differently than someone who sends out a hundred emails and gets like 20 or 30 opens, no clicks and no replies. So just understand that concept.
Trent Chapman: It's almost like you have the currency with the email service provider as well. So think about it that way.
Ryan Chapman: Yeah, so that's really important.
So now as you're starting to write your emails, yes, okay, we've got to get the subject line right. Again, email is a rough state. So we're not telling you you can just do email and you're going to be successful in the mobile world. That's just not the way it works. But you can do a few things to make it better. And so while we're trying to set the stage for you to really understand how tough email is- because it is tough- there are a few things you can do to make it better and they require that you go beyond email. So the way to fix email is you go beyond email.
So the first thing you got to do is you got to get more people actually engaging with the email. So we like to use other [00:40:00] media. So it can be a phone call, a direct voicemail, a text message, a Facebook ad, something like that to get them to go to their email inbox. You know, 'I just delivered something important to you. Check it out.' That's really important. We can push people into the email inbox, that's going to get us a few points on opens. And if there's like a click, on the click.
Okay, that's phase one. Phase two is we've got to start thinking about how do we start conversations? And this is a concept that is super powerful on the texting side, but can be just about- not quite as powerful because it doesn't get seen as well, it's exposure is less. Like we're saying it's a tough game to get the email even seen- but in the body of your email, if you ask a question that starts a conversation you're going to be scoring major points with email service providers, which will help the delivery of all your emails. So if you use those three rules, it's going to help you a ton.
So think about how do I push people into the email inbox when something important has been sent to them? So that can be, like, [00:41:00] one of the things that we would do when we were back with our training company is we would have a weekly call. So during the weekly call everybody jumped on the call. We might tell them hey, we just sent you an important email. That's using a phone call, in that case it was a one-to-many phone call, to push people into the email inbox. That's going to help boost up our credibility with the email service providers.
Number two is you might use another media like texting or whatever like that. Number three is always use the links in there and number four is try and start conversations from your emails. Stop treating it like direct mail. Start treating it like actual email.
Trent, I'm so glad you made that breakthrough because I've been thinking about it. It'd been bothering me but you used something that is in our book, How to Fix Your Funnel that you can find on Amazon for like five bucks, but in that book we talk about new rules versus old rules.
And so that's what Trent was referencing when he said 'technology will change but if we don't change the rules to leverage the technology, we actually don't get any of the benefits.' And so, so many people [00:42:00] have been using email like direct mail because they didn't update the rules to adapt to the new opportunities that the new technology offered. And if you start updating your emails to the new technology, because the new benefit of email from 20 years ago is that you can actually reply and have a conversation with people! So if you get people to respond-
Trent Chapman: Well, here's the thing- you don't need to do that on every single email. It's not that you have to have every email be a question that gets a response. But you have to have it to where, at least one of every few emails, you're engaging with them.
And when you do that- and at first your list, if you haven't been communicating with them that way they'll find it awkward and odd, but new opt-ins they might see that as a normal thing because that's how you started out with them. And that might be something that's simple and easy for them to take on. And I would recommend if you're doing that keep it a plain text email, keep it very simple with a couple lines. 'Hey, appreciate you opted in and are learning more about how I can help XYZ. I found this problem in my life. Here's how I solved it and it helped my business grow by this much. I was wondering [00:43:00] what was the main thing that you're interested in when you requested more information so I can make sure I give you the right stuff?' And then, you know, it's a simple conversation. I'm starting with that question.
We do the same thing with text messaging and we'll get into that in our messaging section. We'll talk more about the message in one of our future podcast episodes. But that's a simple way that we can incorporate the same approach that we use with our text messaging- training to start conversations, but using it with email and have that as an occasional part of your email follow-up. So your emails will actually show more engagement and have better likelihood of getting into the inbox.
Ryan Chapman: That's great. I think we're going to wrap up the episode here. I just want to sum up. The sum up is this- email is a tough game to play. It's not a media that's dead. But it sure is getting hit pretty hard. You've got lots of things hitting you from all directions. You've got email service providers using machine learning now to use sophisticated methods to filter out email messages and put them where [00:44:00] people aren't going to see them.
You've got information overload. So the email inbox is just inundated. So you're fighting against that tide that's coming against you. And then on top of all that you have automation platforms that are constantly struggling to get the emails even out the door.
So you got a lot of these battles that you're fighting. But, with all those battles that you're fighting, email still has a place. But it's best place is as a reference that you use in other medias. So when you're doing your lead capture through other platforms what you want to do is reference that email. You know, tell people you delivered something valuable there as well. And as you do that, you're going to start getting some better opportunities.
And then finally make sure that you're actually using the technology the way that it was meant to be used which means engaging in conversation.
Trent, I think on that last note though, some people might think 'oh, no what if a bunch of people reply to my emails?'
Trent Chapman: Well, that's great. That's a great problem to have! Unless you're pissing people off and it's a negative thing [00:45:00] that becomes kind of a heavy thing to deal with. But in most cases, if you're asking and engaging with questions that are pertinent and directly related to whatever your product or service is that helps them to have a benefit, you're going to get a good, positive response from that and can lead to a conversation.
If you're selling like a ten dollar product that's like an online product and it's just one time sale, that probably isn't going to work for creating conversation and it may not be the best business to be in.
But, for most people, they have enough profit and value in what they offer that having a conversation, and having more conversations, may even justify hiring a sales person as you see your sales triple or double or whatever. Because now you're using conversations to sell versus just trying to hope that your emails get looked at and thay people actually want to buy without asking any questions. Because usually when people have a conversation they can ask the one or two questions they have that's holding them back making a buying decision and that's amazing. Once you get past that, you find out more information about why they're not buying, you can address that in your copy, in your marketing, in your [00:46:00] follow-up and then you have less and less questions about that thing, but you still have questions or people wanting to have a connection. The more you can connect the person on one-to-one, person-to-person, even if it's business-to-business, business-to-person sales, the more likely they're going to do business with you.
So, to me it amazes me how many people run away from the opportunity to talk to their customers or potential customers because they think it'll take too much time. It's like, 'oh, I'm building a business to make money' and that requires, often, investment of time and you can't just automate a relationship. It doesn't happen.
So that's what I would say If you're afraid of getting responses. Rethink about how you look at responses. It's a great opportunity to grow and learn and make your business better. And if you need to, hire some people. Great! It's a... That's an awesome problem have.
Ryan Chapman: You know, and that- you said something really important there, which is the point of marketing automation software should be to start conversations. Not sell. Right?
Marketing, like we said, the whole point of marketing is to move people to the sales conversation. And so, too many people think 'oh, [00:47:00] no, the part of marketing is to get people to buy.' No. It's to get them to enter into the conversation that leads to a buying decision. So you're educating, you're prompting, you're inviting. All those things that were designed to have a sales conversation. Where that one or two concerns that they have can be resolved and then they can make the buying decision.
If you- this is why it's- I shouldn't be surprised by it because it all makes sense- but how often people end up doubling their sales just by implementing some of these concepts we've already talked about in the first two episodes. Because we're moving from treating people the wrong way, which is what we're going to talk about in our next episode, to actually engaging with them as human beings and helping them with their problems and, through that process, creating great relationships that- and here's the thing about great relationships- they create referrals. There's all sorts of techniques people use to get more referrals which are usually, like, awkward and weird. You want to get referrals? Care about people and create great [00:48:00] relationships by taking care of them. You don't even have to ask at that point. They're going to- you can't stop them from doing it.
So we'll get into that in the next episode as we talk about how you see people changes the way you communicate with them. So thanks for joining us on this episode. This is really great, Trent! I'm really excited about the breakthrough that you had with email, direct mail. That's fantastic.
Trent Chapman: Yeah. I'm looking forward to look at rethinking how we're using email and talking about-
Ryan Chapman: I was thinking the same thing!
Trent Chapman: Yeah, more conversations. Even though we get tons of conversations through text message, there's still some people that prefer to reply to email and so we're going to incorporate better conversation starters, not only in our texting, but also in our email marketing.
Ryan Chapman: Compared to texting it's probably like 1 out of 20, but still there's one and we need to make sure we're using them.
Thanks so much for joining us on this episode. I hope you guys have gotten the value that we perceive that there is in it. Obviously, you're the one that matters. If you have, then you're going to look forward to our next episode, episode 3.
[00:49:00] Trent Chapman: That's a wrap!
Ryan Chapman: That's a wrap.
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