Gary Leland Show Episode 10
Gary: Lynette, I appreciate you joining me on another episode of The Gary Leland Show. Thanks for joining me. We go way back, back to the old days of podcasting!
Lynette: Absolutely, glad to be here! We are old school, what has it been 10 years since we all got started?
Gary: I think so. I started seeing people in Podertainment magazine writing articles about what they have learned in 10 years of podcasting. Now you work for Aweber. How is that going?
Lynette: I love it. I have been there for about 6 months and it’s a really good fit for me, which was kind of odd because a lot of people wouldn’t have thought that because I am everything social and content that it wouldn’t work for email. I work at a technical marketing company, which is exactly the right fit for me.
Gary: I thought it was an odd fit too when I heard. As you know I’m late in the game when it comes to my email list, but I have set it up with Aweber, which is why I brought you on. Tell us a little bit about what’s involved with this?
Lynette: Part of the story is why I think email works so well and why Aweber was such a good fit for me. I was using Aweber for about 8 years before I became an employee and team member there. For me, everything I have done online is to help businesses, whether you are a small micro business of one or a big corporation, learn how to connect better with potential clients online. I love small-medium businesses, it’s where my heart is, and it’s what I still am even though I get a paycheck from somewhere else. I think that everything that you do on social platforms like Facebook, MySpace back in the day, Twitter, etc., there are a ton of people out there, but not everyone is willing or able to purchase your product. The more you narrow it down, the closer they get to you, the more they get to know you, and that will divide them down into email. That is why I thought this was such a great fit for me because after you build those relationships and you get that subject matter expertise and people get to know you for what you are selling online, they always go to email from there.
Gary: When it comes to doing email, I am looking for a couple of tips. We know Aweber is the company I am going to recommend because that’s the company I am doing business with. I do want to say that their service is fantastic. I don’t think I have ever had this good of a service before, you will be treated great. I’m just saying this because it’s the truth. Now when it comes to email marketing, give us some guidelines. As an average person, how often would they want to send out an email? Is there a norm where you are giving them enough helpful information without overloading them?
Lynette: I like to ask them how often they want to hear from us. We call that cadence in the content marketing world; what repetition do you want to do, once a week, once a month, etc. You should be paying attention to that on social channels and your blogging. With email, ask people how often they want to hear from you and watch your open rate. If your emails are being opened less and less, you may not want to send as many emails. Aweber actually has plugins that allow you to poll people within your email list to find out that sort of information. I always like to remind people to not overextend themselves. If you say you want to send out an email a day and you can’t keep up that pace, people will notice and you will lose your relationship with those people. If you can’t commit to more than once a month than stick to that frequency. It may not be as often as you want it to be, but it is very important to be consistent.
Gary: I plan on starting once a week and going from there, I figured that would be an easy guideline. Lynette, you just mentioned the open rate, which is something that you can see with Aweber.
Lynette: It seems a little “big brother” but this is something you need to pay attention to. If you have people who consistently open your emails, then you would want to single them out because they are your most dedicated audience. That’s why I encourage you to use that information, see if they are clicking on links, sharing the information, and then reward them with extra or exclusive content.
Gary: What is considered to be a good open rate? What am I looking for as far as numbers? Let’s say I have 10,000 subscribers. How many should I be looking to get to open the email?
Lynette: There really is no industry standard with that. I would say anything over double-digit percentages is good. This is just what I have seen; Aweber has these stats online. In my opinion, anything over 10% is solid. It seems like you would want every single person to read every single email, but it doesn’t work that way, just like every single tweet is not seen by everyone who follows you. If you can consistently get double digit percentages to open your emails, then that is a great place to start. Expecting 50, 60, or even 100 percent of people to open your emails is difficult because everyone gets busy, your message may not resonate every single time. This does not mean they don’t want to hear from you, it just may not work out at that particular time. Consistency and always improving is what I believe to be the most important part. I have seen people with very low open rates, but they don’t get discouraged, they keep plugging away and as long as you are improving that’s what really matters.
Gary: Wow 10%, I wouldn’t have known that a number that low was really that high.
Lynette: I have seen industries at 30-40 percent, but it also depends on how close to the audience that person is. Things like deals and coupons and things that are time sensitive tend to do well. Things that are more personal in nature like a blog post will get varying open rates based upon how much time people have to read what you are sending. Every industry is different.
Gary: Do you read Chris Brogan’s email? Is it a good guideline for me to follow?
Lynette: Yes actually and I will tell you why. I would read his email even if I didn’t know him because the topics he covers are relevant to me. Even though I work at a company now, I am still an entrepreneur at heart. He starts his email as if he is writing to you. He does legitimately write to one person even though he is sending it to multiple people in an email list.
Gary: How does he do that?
Lynette: When you write an email, you don’t want to write it as if you are on a stage in front of 1000 people. You should write it as if you are sitting across the table from someone drinking a cup of coffee. If you think about it, if I send an email to you or you send one to me, you’re talking to me. That is what Chris’s email does; it feels like he is talking directly to me even though I know that it is sent to many other people. I feel a personal relationship with him when I read it and that is the strongest part of what he does.
Gary: It’s funny you mention the cup of coffee because in those emails he mentions that he is drinking a cup of tea or coffee.
Lynette: He does and he will tell you exactly what he is drinking and sometimes will give you link because people want to know. He is also visually framing that relationship. When you read that you think about Chris sitting at his kitchen table with a cup of coffee. Sometimes he even puts pictures of his mug in there and that is building personal rapport with the people he is emailing. He wants you to be part of his business process and part of his professional life. The other thing he does that I really love is he only has one call to action per email. He wants you to do 2 things: he wants to you to learn something and be inspired, which I call the expected outcome, and the call to action is only one link. He doesn’t offer you 16 million things to click on. He is really good at building that conversation with you and at the end of the email when you are comfortable with him he gives a link to the thing he wants you to do or buy.
Gary: He has a huge email list so he must be doing something correct!
Lynette: He has a huge brain and is definitely doing something right!
Gary: Now I have been working on building my list so that I can send out a newsletter. Should I have been sending the email from the beginning even though my list was really small?
Lynette: Your email list is like a cookie jar. If you stockpile them and never eat them, they are going to go bad. You can get cookies but you should use them from the beginning. Before I started at Aweber people would say that they wouldn’t start the email list until their blog was built out or until they have 100 fans on their Facebook page. Those are all good things, but I believe in the social marketing trifecta: social media, blogging, and email are your three horses in the race. You need all three to win. If you pull one or two out there is no way to win. Starting your list early is good. Even if you have 5 people you can send them emails, they can still go back to the archive for those early posts. It also helps sharpen your skills going forward so you are more comfortable with it. I think you should grow your list as you grow. Those first people will be the most loyal ones because they joined you in the beginning.
Gary: Ok so I did it wrong and it’s funny that it happened this way because it is completely the opposite of the way I do everything else and the way I tell people to do things. Let me ask you another question about double opt in. Double opt in is when someone signs up to be a part of your email list, then they get another email asking for them to confirm that they want to get your emails. Is that the only way you can do emails with Aweber?
Lynette: It’s not. If you are coming from a different service and have a list that you have been using, you can generally transfer the list over. Our customer service department is amazing, which is honestly one of the reasons why I wanted to work there. You can generally bring your list in, there are exceptions, but for the most part you can bring it over. Sometimes people will be on email service providers who don’t exactly play by the rules, so you will have a list that is spammier than you want it to be. We do have stoppers in place to make you have a good, clean list where people actually want to hear from you. Having a big list where no one does anything or buys anything is a waste in my opinion. The customer service team we have works really well for that. There are reasons for this and there are laws in place for this. The one we have in the United States is called CANSPAM and there is one in Canada that goes by the acronym of CASTLE. They are in place to prohibit people from spamming you although we all know it happens. The double opt in is in place just to help confirm that you did sign up for this email or newsletter, just in case someone else did it for you or something like that.
Gary: Good to know there is a reason for that. When people are emailing like this, what is your bounce rate?
Lynette: Bounce rate is basically when an email is not deliverable. So if their mailbox is full or their email has changed or something has happened, it is like a return to sender.
Gary: Does that hurt you? Does it hurt your standing with Aweber?
Lynette: Not necessarily because there is some magic that happens behind the curtain that we take care of. We tell you what the bounce rate is, but it is taken care of in the computer system. If an email address is invalid, the system will not send an email to them again.
Gary: Something else I did that I am not sure many people are aware of is that you can just store a list with Aweber for $5. I have a list from Podcast Pickle that has thousands of people on it and Aweber took a look at it. They are going to check it and make sure the addresses are still good before I start sending to my email list.
Lynette: I actually didn’t know about it until recently. People spend time and money driving people to their social media outlets, then to their blog, and then to email. I like to use plug ins or third party products. There is one called Heyo. They run contests on Facebook where they submit their email address to enter the contest and are told that they are now signed up to your email list, so you are going straight from Facebook to your email. You’re skipping over some of the steps. For Twitter, there is something called Twitter Cards. It’s not technical but you have to read into a little bit. You send a tweet and it embeds a little form where they can enter their email address and be added to your email list. There are more people on my social media sites than there are on my email list and blog. Use that big audience to your advantage.
Gary: So I shouldn’t be emailing saying to follow the link to sign up for the newsletter? I should be making it possible to sign up in the post?
Lynette: You can do both, but I like the social aspect better because it is much bigger. You should be getting to people any way you can, so some people you can send an email or you can post a link that goes to your sign in form and you can invite them to listen to your podcast or get your newsletter because it is of interest to them.
Gary: What tips can you give me before you go to help with my email efforts?
Lynette: First tip is to be consistent. Send those emails on the same day or days every week. The second tip is to pay attention to your statistics. Pay attention to what people are clicking on and give them more of what they want. The third tip is to get in touch with your audience any way you can because no everyone loves social media or understands it, so go out and reach your audience where they are comfortable. Tell them about your email right from there; don’t make them go to your blog to sign up, it’s too many clicks. The last tip I have is to be human in your emails. If there is nothing else that Chris’s email has shown us it’s that having an honest to goodness conversation with someone in email is probably the best way to build rapport and trust. When you think about it, Gary, the two things we have on us as modern people every day is our cellphone, which has both our text messaging and emails. Those are the two most intimate ways to get to someone. I know that I don’t want someone texting me all of the time, so if I give you my email and permission to email me, that’s about the closest relationship you can get to me digitally.
Gary: All of those are very good tips. I had not realized the personal conversation aspect of the email. That is probably the biggest tip I got out of this interview. What is your personal thought on the best time of day for your email to go out?
Lynette: That’s a tricky one! I won’t give a best time of day, but I have seen a couple of things. J Bear, who does Convince and Convert, has given this tip over and over again: he likes to send emails a couple of minutes before the hour or a couple of minutes after the hour during business hours. His thought is that when you go to a meeting, you get there a couple of minutes early and you fiddle on your phone to read your email. Right at the top of the hour, either 10 minutes before or 10 minutes after works best because people tend to be reading emails. I would also be mindful of time zones. You can find out where most of your list is located with Aweber, so use that to your advantage. Don’t send your emails at 4 am because people will not be reading them.
Gary: That might be the second best thing I learned today. People can visit you at Aweber.com? Is it easy to find the blog there so people can find all of the great information you are talking about?
Lynette: Aweber.com, yes. It is because we just redesigned the website and it looks fabulous with a big blog tab on the top of the page. Everything that is in there I am extremely proud of because we have an amazing team who is out to please and to give information to businesses to help them along.
Gary: If people want to know more about you they can go to lynetteradio.com?
Lynette: lynetteradio.com or lynetteyoung.com. Lynetteyoung.com is my professional site, or @lynetteradio on Twitter is also a good way to find me.
Gary: Lynette, I really appreciate you spending time with me today.
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