October 12

Episode 103 – Unique Ways to Grow Your Email List


Ken: Hey everybody. Welcome to this episode of The Marketing Guides for Small Businesses Podcast. Today I’m joined by Paul, Jen and Ian as usual.

Hey everybody. I’m gonna talk about something. We’re all gonna talk about something actually that is, I think we all think is really important, and that is building a list for your business. Having a list in many cases for most businesses is maybe one of the single most important things that they can do, and yet, sadly, it seems so daunting for many businesses to be able to build, or even if they are building a list, are they using it effectively, or at all. And so in this episode, we’re gonna talk about not only clever ways to build your list for email marketing and also text message marketing, but also what do you need to do to actually help you create that list. And it’s not just put a form up on your website and say, Hey, subscribe and expect that you’re gonna get a lot of people doing that.

So let’s let’s just jump into it and Jen, I’m gonna start with you. Before we really get into building a list, let’s take a step and talk about why lists are so important. 

Jen: So yeah. The email marketing list. I guess some of you guys can talk more about the text messaging. We haven’t been so much into that yet anyways with some of our clients, but we are big into the email newsletters and getting that list happening.

It’s very important. To have a list and to be sure you’re in communication with your list because of many different reasons. So if you’re starting out, it could be clients that you have worked with in the past, clients that you have right now, folks that have expressed interest in the products or services in your business.

And it’s so important to have the list and to then to keep in touch with the list because not everybody’s ready to when you want them to buy, everybody’s on their own kind of sales cycle when they’re ready. It’s important that you’re often communicating with your list. Now, I’ve heard some folks say you know what? We’re doing our posting on social media, or I’m, out speaking all the time. People can get ahold of me that way. But much like ourselves, not everybody is looking at your website or your social media all the time, and different people are attracted to different types of communication. I would have to say that list is very important because although there’s many different ways to communicate and keep in touch with our potential clients, our existing clients, email is one of those things that you have to get invited in and you appear in the email inbox.

Even if the email is not opened, I know we can talk about that a little bit later, but somehow in the inbox, you are registering onto somebody’s radar and that’s very important to keep top of mind when you’re looking to build your business and grow and maintain your business. 

Ken: I think people need to get out of their own ways.

We’ve talked about this before for other things, just because you may have an opinion about email and getting spam emails. First of all, nobody likes spam. We’re not advocating that at all. This is a list that people opt in. Because it’s providing value in advance. Just because somebody doesn’t read your email doesn’t mean, like you said you’re registering awareness, Hey, I’m still out here.

Even if they don’t read your email, they still see that you’re out there. So yeah, it’s super important. 

Ian: Yeah. If I could add one more thing, I think is a really important reason to cultivate a list is that a lot of businesses pay a lot of money to get in front of people through advertising of some form or another.

Only through building your own list that you can transfer that relationship into a non monetary way of reaching out to them. It actually puts control into your hands in order to nurture that relationships. I see that all the time that companies are spending, spending, spending on ads, but they’re not thinking about how do I take this conversation into my own control by gathering information and nurturing and building a list.

Ken: Yeah. 

Jen: You make such a good point there too, because this is actually a great way to be building, you know how they all talk about, there’s that famous quote about don’t build your castle on rented lands when you’re putting so much effort into social media because that can change at any time, right? If you have the list, you own it, you own the relationship with those customers or those potential customers, that’s where you need to get to for sure.

Ken: Yeah. Also you mentioned social media and I think a lot of people substituted, social media for email list. Okay, so let’s just take a look at that. First of all, you don’t have control over it, just like we talked about. Second of all, when you look at typical open rates, they’re way higher from an email and super, like fivefold higher usually with text marketing. If you’re lucky, you are reaching, what, maybe eight to 10% of the people who like or follow you on social media if you’re doing a really good job and traditional email open rates with people who have truly opted in and say they want to get your information. Usually with a list that you continue to send to on a regular basis, that’s about 20%.

It’s the low end that you could expect. That’s way better than any performance you’re gonna get from social. 

Jen: Absolutely, it is. 

Ken: Yeah. Then when you weigh that in what Ian said about the owning and controlling, I think it’s super important. So Ian, let’s talk about some online ways to build the lists.

Ian: Sure. One of the most obvious ways that a lot of people think about this and it actually, 

Ken: Can I jump in real quick too? I wanna make sure that kind of focus on tools, not, I don’t wanna get to the lead magnet yet. We’ll talk about the lead magnets in just a second. So just really focus on the tools. 

Ian: Yeah. And that’s good to try to hold me back because it’s hard not to talk about. One of the things I should, even before going into kind of the, Is that a lot of businesses think about buying lists, and I thought it would be important to bring that up. We don’t recommend that a lot if you’re in the business to business world.

The lists are much better than business to customer. So business to business versus business to consumer. So that’s just something to keep in mind. And the thing to keep in mind with buying lists is quality is paramount. Getting quality lists is tough. It’s not for the faint of heart. And you have to do a lot of list hygiene, meaning cleaning up the list and making sure it’s relevant.

But really when we’re talking about building a list you have a few avenues towards that. One is buying the list and one is asking people to give you their information. To exchange their name, their and their email, or their phone for something of value. So in the business, we call it a value exchange, and I think we’re gonna dig into that a little bit later as well.

It’s really important to understand that nobody’s just gonna give you their information if you are not giving them something that they want. It’s paramount for you as a business to really understand what is it that people are looking for and what are they willing to give in exchange for that.

We’ve talked about this before in other contexts, but it’s almost like you’re on your first date and you’re asking to marry someone. That’s not really appropriate in most cases at this stage. The business just wants to get the next date, and in order to do that, you just need to get the minimum requirements from the person. Usually that’s name and email address. 

I should also say that there’s strategies that a business can do in order to grow their list quality and the quantity of valuable information in there over time. So you might start just by asking for a name and email. But if you’re smart and you build your funnel or your nurture sequence appropriately, the next stage when you offer something of greater value, you might ask for their mobile number or how many people are in your household, or do you like to golf or whatever it is, something that’s gonna allow you to customize your communication a little bit more. But you asked Ken, very specifically about the tools. I just wanted to preface that. 

Ken: Sure. 

Ian: Because think it’s an important staging ground or framework to understand. For sure your website is where most of your list building activities will happen. Like a form on your landing page or within your blog. Sign up for our eNewsletter, get our lead magnet. Get an evaluation, whatever it is, online chat is a great way to start a conversation, whether it’s robo chat or real chat, but you can start to collect information through there. Popup forms in a good way that we’ve all seen bad popup forms, but good popup forms can actually be super helpful. Again, you’re giving them something of value. They’ll give you their information. 

Linking, making sure that you’re offering the opportunity to get the lead magnet, sign up for your newsletter, whatever it is in your email signature. It’s real estate, right? You might as well use it. Social media. Jen talked a bit about that.

Certainly you can use social media to drive people to your website. You can talk about your lead magnet or whatever it is that you’re gonna exchange for their information. But right within Facebook, there’s something called a Facebook lead ad, and some of the other social media channels have this as well where it’s an online form right within the platform, so people don’t have to come to your website and they can actually sign up for your newsletter, your webinar, whatever it is. The beauty of it is that form is pre-populated by Facebook with the information Facebook has on the person, meaning their name, their email address, and the person looks at it before clicking submit, but it saves some steps. It reduces barriers, but those are just a few that come to mind. These are tools that you could use to grow your list. You could even use offline things like direct mail. 

Ken: I do wanna elaborate though on the Facebook lead ad. So that is a paid strategy to get people to opt in. The other nice thing about that is it’s gonna use a real email address because it is the email address that somebody used when they signed up for Facebook, so a lot of times we’ve all seen it.

People will put in bogus email addresses hoping that they’ll still get the value that they’re trying to get without giving you that proper exchange of a real email address. That’s a nice thing because it does give you quality contact information. 

Ian: For sure. Yeah. 

Ken: One thing too, is think about your social media biolinks, many social media properties. Most social media properties only really give you one biolink that you can have. So you definitely wanna create a page that you send people to from that biolink. And then on that page you could build out and have calls to action to get people to join lists through various things. And we’ll talk a little bit more about, but you definitely wanna take advantage of that.

There’s a tool out there called Linktree. There are a whole host of tools that are out there that will allow you to build these. You don’t need those if you have a landing page created on your website. That’s all you need, link to it and then build your own and not pay for a subscription. It would be the way I’d recommend, but whatever works, it’s more important to get it done than spending couple bucks a month for a subscription.

So don’t let that stop you. That’s a real important place. And then also I think on your social media covers. Sometimes you can use that real estate again as a poster when people are on your social media properties to say, Ah, okay, now it’s not clickable, but if it’s a simple url, then they can go there and subscribe that way.

Paul, now let’s get to you. Let’s talk about some offline ways to build your list, because I think this is a huge missed opportunity for most people. 

Paul: It is a huge missed opportunity, especially if you have a location where people come into, and that’s where this really applies, is that you can have signage, table tens, QR codes, you can put it on your invoices.

Even billboards. Although I’m not a big fan of billboards because I tend to ignore myself, but I guess they do work. If you have a brick and mortar location, you have this space where you can put all these things, links to your website, the QR code, where you can ask people to leave a review. You’re right, people don’t take advantage of it.

Businesses don’t take advantage of it. Door hangers, if you’re a service area business, even if you don’t have a location where people come into it, a lot of service area businesses don’t. If you’re doing a job in a neighborhood and you’re dropping off door hangers, use that. Put your website, your links, your contact information, your QR code, put that on your door hangers.

The offline aspect now, I think that we get hung up on the online part of it and we don’t talk about and take advantage of the offline part of it. 

Ken: I think most businesses don’t do a very good job of either online or offline. Another thing is a vehicle wrap. There’s no reason why you can’t have a call to action as part of your vehicle wrap to get people to opt in, especially if you have a long sales cycle. 

If you’re trying to sell ’em James Hardie siding. That’s not a quick decision for most people, and they may need to get more information and they may want to see how you might be able to help them solve their problem. And in order to do that, to get ’em on a list to deliver a lead magnet and you’re off to the races hopefully.

The other thing too, is if you have a brick and mortar business, you can use the physical space of your business the way you decorate it. Painting walls, there are so many different things. Don’t forget to use the real estate you’re already paying for. Try to leverage it and get the most out of it. 

Paul: Yeah, graphics in your windows.

Ian: One of the things to consider too is we’re talking in the normal running of your business, but where I see it often you have so much opportunity for list building and businesses are really thinking about it, but often not very strategically is at trade shows.

You’re spending a lot of money to be there. It’s an offline event, usually. You have an opportunity to build that list, and even from ways of dropping your card in a bowl, which is the old way to win a prize, now you can scan people’s cards or you can offer a lead magnet. But yeah, trade shows are fantastic opportunities to grow your list.

Ken: Yeah, absolutely. I would challenge everybody watching or listening to this to just pick one of the things that Paul and Ian just talked about today and implement that as a way to help build your list. Jen, we’ve talked about this. Opt-ins require something of value. And it’s really a trade. It’s I’m willing to give you my email address or my cell phone number in return, I perceive that you’re gonna be able to give me something of value.

The average statistics are that perceived value needs to be at least 15 to 20 bucks of perceived value. So how do you craft irresistible offers that demonstrate that perceived value? Because look, everybody gets spam emails, and I’m telling the world right now, if you send me an email to my business email address trying to sell me business services, and I see that you’re sending it from a Gmail or email account, you know what?

I’m automatically gonna mark you a spam. Yeah, because that is bullshit. I’m sorry. It’s just obnoxious. Be respectful and demonstrate value. Use a real email address. And look, I encourage everybody. Sorry, I’m going off on a rant here, but I encourage everybody getting emails from people check to see if they’re real business domain emails.

If they’re not, you should ignore ’em and you should run away because they may even be malicious intent behind. So anyway, Jen, how do you create those irresistible offers? 

Jen: All good points there. It’s just to piggyback on what you were saying as well. I think it’s really important that you talk about the frequency that you’re going to be mailing people as well, because there’s nothing more maddening if you’re mad about those email addresses that come across from Gmail or non legitimate domain. The thing that gets me is when there’s six emails in one day or all of a sudden, I didn’t realize I signed up to a daily email newsletter, which I could do once a month or twice a month, but every single day. Come on. So I think the promise has to be there as well.

It’s not only necessarily what you will get, either a downloadable lead magnet, a checklist, something of immediate value to me. But also too, what’s the frequency of our communication here? I think that’s really important, as well. As we talk about text messaging, that’s something that as a vendor haven’t supplied to our clients yet, but definitely as a consumer, I’ve been on the other side of it, and I have to tell you about the text messaging. Even though it’s the kind of thing that you can hardly ever ignore, a text message that comes into your phone frequency and making the timing on that work properly is very important as well.

And I’ll give you an example. My poor dentist, they run a fabulous operation. They’re so enthusiastic to be dentists there. It’s lovely. But when it comes to communicating about your appointment it drives me crazy. You will go to the appointment, pay for it, make your next appointment, which I’m on the every six months so far, no cavities, but right.

And as soon as I’m leaving the premises, I get a text message for November 17th. Don’t forget your next dental appointment. Oh, come on. That’s the kind of thing that you want the week ahead, couple days ahead, maybe the morning of going to the dentist, not six months in advance. I’m really encouraging that. I don’t know if it’s the proximity, I don’t know.

I guess I can’t find the word, but the frequency and how often are you going to be inviting yourself into my inbox or inviting yourself into my phone to communicate with me. That has to be negotiated or at least announced upfront as well. So I know your question was more about the value but there’s also this longer term value of my time or value of my attention that you need to not break your promise.

How often am I gonna hear from you? How often should I expect to hear from you? I think that’s really important upfront as well.

Ken: For text messaging. Yeah, it’s really tricky. It’s really delicate. You have to really think about it. You absolutely do not want to abuse text message marketing because, and look, being unsubscribed is a good thing because if people are unsubscribing, they’re basically telling you in a legitimate authorized way to end being removed from your list so that they’re no longer gonna get those communications.

And that’s the right way to do it. We can talk more about the text message marketing strategies we get toward the end of this episode. It’s just critical if you’re trying to put together something to help you build your list. You’ve gotta put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes and say, what are they gonna see that’s valuable for them and what’s a worthwhile trade for them to give up an email address in an age where there’s so much spam email and abusive emails?

What is gonna be willing for them to give up that information. So, part of what you do is you talk about the transformation, what they’re gonna get when they read this, or when they watch this webinar, or they sign up for this demo. Here’s what you’re gonna get in return for that and be very clear about it. 

Paul: One thing, if I can jump in, we touched on it, but I haven’t really directly addressed it, is the unsubscribed link. And Ken, you just mentioned that you send me an email without an unsubscribed link, it will get marked as spam. I see it all the time. You were talking about the emails. Free, whether it’s Gmail or Microsoft, whatever.

I get a lot of emails that don’t have unsubscribed links. It’s I think that’s bordering on illegal. 

Ian: It is in some countries, Canada. 

Ken: It’s not in the US If it’s a business email to, from a business to a business. 

Paul: But still, if I can’t unsubscribe from your email with a click and I don’t wanna receive the emails anymore, or it’s something I’m pretty sure I didn’t sign up for, I’m gonna mark it a spam. 

Ken: Yeah. I encourage everybody to check the senders, look at the details. If you see an email come across that you don’t recognize, it could be a legitimate source. And if it is, if it comes from a business domain it could be worth your time. But if it’s just coming from a free Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, you name it, any of these free email tools, be suspicious of it and be careful with those.

Ian: Ken, before you move on, I feel compelled to give a public service announcement to dentists that use their practice management systems or their marketing add-ons, the way Jen was talking about. I actually see that all the time with our clients and prospects who move to new systems. The out of the box practice management texting is absolutely thoughtless.

You really have to go in and scrutinize it as if you’re a patient, my personal dentist, who is also a client, which creates a good feedback for us sometime in relation to this. When they upgraded to a new system, I was getting text messages as I was walking out just like you and what the heck? And then I’m getting an email at the same time and it was this very horrible patient experience.

And, so I think tools are fantastic when they’re used with the patient or the customer in mind, but you really have to scrutinize it and don’t just take it out of the box. Be thoughtful about it. Send it to yourself and see what it feels like. 

Ken: Yeah, absolutely. 

Paul: Just everything. Which most people don’t.

Ken: All right, Ian, I’m gonna let you talk about lead magnets now. What kind of lead magnets typically work for most small businesses? 

Ian: They’re all over the board. And again, it depends on your industry, whether you’re business to business and consumer, the length of your buying cycle for your customers.

There’s lots and lots of options. Remember, it’s all about the person on the other end, the receiving end, what’s valuable to them. And I think we’re gonna get into a little bit more about the stages or the marketing hourglass framework later on. 

But the idea should be where are they in their buying decision? What is most valuable to them at that time? And usually think about it as I need to increase the value of what I’m offering over time. So when I first start communicating with somebody, it might be a checklist. Checklists are super hot, or listical as they’re called. Other things like that. Cheat sheets.

Maybe an offer, but things that are super easy to consume, they’re quick hits, they prove value to the person. But then things like eBooks, quizzes are very popular. They don’t have to be called a quiz. Sometimes that’s appropriate, sometimes it’s not, but it’s answer these questions we’ll give you either here’s what everybody else is thinking as a whole.

Or, here’s an assessment of what you’ve given us and a grade or something like that. Demos if your software tool or could almost be anything if there’s an experience involved. Some sort of demo could even be an online walkthrough of something. Mini courses, that’s a really hot one, and usually that’s a higher value exchange.

Unless your business is offering paid courses, you might offer a free mini course, right? Free consultations, free evaluations. Lead magnets are only limited by your imagination and your understanding of what your ideal customer wants at the stage of their buying journey, so that you can give them really, you’re equipping them with something of value to help them become an informed buyer.

Ken: I want to give a shout out to an episode that Jen did a couple of weeks ago talking about white papers. That’s another great lead magnet. Case studies. Things like that. Another interesting one that I thought about as I was putting this together is a challenge, so like a 10 day challenge. Sign up and you’ll get an email for the next 10 days with a challenge each and every day.

These are usually related to fitness or dietary related things. Personal.

Ian: Or maybe a personal coach, right? 

Ken: Yeah. Or stuff like that. So those are great. You folks who are watching or listening, jot down those ideas. Brainstorm, see what you can come up with around those things, because those tend to be the things that work best across the world of small businesses that we are working with.

Jen, you work with different types of businesses than we do. Anything else that jumps to your mind? 

Jen: Not, you’ve caught me off guard. 

Ken: Yeah, that’s right. 

Jen: I’m sorry I wasn’t ready for that one. 

Ian: What do you guys, I’m just throwing this out as a question because I see it occasionally, usually on the business to business side where somehow I’m on somebody’s list, right?

They probably purchased it and they’re using $25 Starbucks card to then move me to a conversation. For me that never works. But I’m curious if you guys. 

Jen: Why? Why does that not work for you? 

Paul: Doesn’t drink coffee. 

Jen: I don’t drink coffee. 

Ken: I do only drink Mayperry Spotted dog coffee. 

Ian: That’s great. That’s the spotted dog coffee.

Ken: You’re welcome. 

Ian: It’s a good question, Jen. Usually it’s because the business who’s sending it to me, I have no interest whatsoever in what they’re offering. If it was something I was already interested in and somebody offered me a Starbucks card, I would probably give them some time. Yeah. Right now my time’s at a premium and $25 doesn’t cut. It doesn’t. Have you taken anyone up on that offer before? 

Ken: Oh yeah. 

Jen: No, I haven’t. I haven’t. I didn’t have the reaction to it that you do though. But for me and just thinking about it, it was either, yeah, it wasn’t a match, it wasn’t ready for the next step yet. 

Ken: But making that offer. It’s not the right time for you right now, that doesn’t mean that you don’t want to keep following up and maybe sending that back out is a potential offer to get somebody to take that next step and get into your sales funnel. 

Ian: Ken you were nodding, which ones have worked with you? 

Ken: Oh yeah.

Ian: So all our listeners can send Ken some .

Ken: Yeah. Amazon gift cards. Starbucks.

Ian: And what’s it exchanging for a 10 minute conversation or? 

Ken: Yeah. Or even longer. I’ve even had ’em up to $150. Yeah. Part of our jobs is to consume information, to find ways to solve marketing problems for businesses.

Marketers tend to use the paid tactics, maybe a little bit more aggressive than some of the other businesses or, like those gift cards. And so sometimes there are opportunities where you get that gift card and it’s look, I don’t know anything about that really. Maybe I need to learn a little bit about it because I do anything with it, but I need to know enough to advise my clients if that’s gonna be a good type of a solution for them.

And so would I make it a priority without a paid gift card? Maybe. Maybe not. It definitely has helped at times get me over the finish line for sure. 

Jen: That’s very interesting. 

Ian: Just so everybody knows $150 might work for me. 

Jen: Oh yeah. Okay. That’s your threshold. Where that has worked, and I know this is in another area of the funnel, but if I am a client of a service and they want my opinion or they want just 10 minutes of my time, yeah.

An Amazon gift card, that kind of thing. Sure. Yeah, I’ll do that then that value exchange and make it worth their while for sure. But those that just, Hey, do our survey or Hey, can we hop on the call? And it doesn’t seem that they understand both, like Ian said, the value of your time, but we’re all on this call running a small business.

There’s about 42 other things we should be doing besides giving someone our opinion. Your time has to be acknowledged for sure. 

Ken: Yeah. Okay. 

Ian: My last rabbit trail on this topic. What about being entered into a really rich contest? 

Jen: I hate contests. 

Ian: Trip to Alaska. 

Jen: I know. I’m like the weirdest on that. Contests don’t work on me. At all. Not interested. Nope. 

Ken: I think obviously you, those need to line up with who your ideal clients are and if it’s something that they’re gonna see potentially a value, then those might work. For me those rarely work. 

Jen: You know what’s funny about those or the contests or that kind of thing? We see those a lot from the banks.

Trying to get new customers or cell phone companies trying to get new customers, but where’s my 20 years with my cell phone provider being rewarded? Or my 25 years with my bank being rewarded? 

Ken: Yeah. 

Jen: That’s the kind of thing where it’s, it backfires a little bit on me. I’m, where’s my iPad?

Ken: Yeah, true. 

Jen: Customer appreciation. 

Ken: Paul, let’s talk about the funnel. So how does a sales funnel help you build and grow your list? And how can you create a high converting sales funnel opt in? 

Paul: I tend to look at sales funnel. It can help grow your list. I tend to look at the sales funnel, it works better if you have something with a longer sales cycle as opposed to something people are gonna purchase immediately.

It helps keep you top of mind, definitely, it has to be informative. People don’t want to constantly be bombarded with buy this now. They don’t wanna be bombarded with these sales pitches. So it has to be informative. It, yes, it’s going to address your product or service, but it’s about solving a problem.

And how does this make your life better, or what’s the benefit for you? How is it going to improve your life, your situation? Whatever. You have to have a sales funnel this day and age, as we’ve talked about, people are constantly bombarded with different emails and marketing and advertisements. And you can’t abuse it.

But having a sales funnel keeps you top of mind like especially if it’s something with a longer sales cycle. People are gonna be looking around. If you have an expensive product. You’ve mentioned James Hardie siding. If you have a bathroom remodel or a kitchen remodel that those are 30, 40, $50,000 projects, people are gonna be shopping around and you have to convince them that you are the best option.

To me, that’s really where the sales funnel comes into play and can really benefit you. If I’m buying $5 widget, I’m either gonna buy it or I’m not. You don’t need a sales funnel for that, in my opinion. For a longer sales cycle, a more expensive product, and it’s also not just a sales funnel.

Going back to the email newsletters, it’s staying top of mind, keeping your product, your service, your business in front of people, especially for repeat business. 

Ken: Yeah, I can even see where a restaurant, even a new restaurant, people may not be ready to go in there and try it yet, but they may be willing to download something to get, could be an offer that gets them to sign up for being on your email list.

It could be getting a recipe or something like that. And that way it gives you permission to keep staying top of mind with them but still putting together a specific email nurture series to get them to come in and buy sooner rather than later than just drop ’em into a regular weekly newsletter or once a month newsletter.

I still think that works really well. Part of a sales funnel is going to include that five to seven email nurture series to get people from the time they say, Okay, I have an interest to accelerate the sales process to the extent that you can. That’s one of the tools that I think is most effective for us in many ways to help guide that buyer’s journey and accelerate it.

We don’t control it anymore, but we can guide it and make it work a little bit better. And we know the kind of information that people are looking for. Overcoming objections they want to see, what other people’s experiences are. They want to understand the transformation that they’re gonna experience. Why are you different? How do you stand out from other competitors that are out there? 

And those are the kinds of things that you put together in this email nurture that follows up. It’s overall, the sales funnel is the landing page, the opt in, the asset that they want to claim, all the ones that Ian talked about, and then you need to put ’em into an email nurture series and then you drop ’em in and into some kind of a long term nurture series. I think is really the best strategy out there. 

Ian: Have you guys seen the Secret Deal type emails or texts from usually it’s restaurants where they’re just trying to speed up your repeat? 

Ken: Yeah.

Ian: I had seen those work really well where you’re already like a secret member basically of their hidden society of food lovers. They send you something and it might even be the day of come in today. Use this secret code word and you get a free appetizer or something. Where it’s entirely unique to you as a return customer. I see those can be really powerful.

And for the business, you’re getting a return customer much faster than you might otherwise have. 

Ken: Yeah, and that’s really where I think text message marketing works really well. And I think text message marketing generally needs to leverage an offer, either a discount or you buy this, but you get this added on top of it where you’re not discounting, but you’re adding extra stuff on top of it.

Text messaging, I think it works much better that way, but again, you never want to abuse it. You only want to do it maybe once a week. Again, it’s great to stay top of mind. You periodically you can remind people. It’s Memorial Day weekend. It’s a great day to come in and grab a burger. You’re not offering a discount, you’re just saying, Oh yeah man, I’m ready to get this weekend started.

Okay, yeah, I could eat a burger right now. No worries. Just reminding people occasionally but usually I think text more than email probably should be offered driven more to get those to work effectively. And again, if you’re only doing it once a week, you know what? I’m a vegetarian. I don’t eat burgers.

I’ll just ignore that. But if I still like the restaurant, I’m still interested in other things. 

Paul: Maybe they have a veggie burger. 

Ken: Yeah, maybe. Yeah. 

Paul: There, there was a couple points made there, and I don’t know if we really realize is, there’s two different things that, where you have the longer sales cycle where the the nurture and the funnel really helps. But then you have on the other side where it’s restaurants are a great example. It’s a high repeat type of thing. That requires two different strategies. 

Ken: Yeah. But the other thing too is I think we’ve talked about this before. I know Paul, you and I talk about this all the time.

We subscribe to a lot of emails. Do I read 90% of the emails that I get from the people that I subscribe to? Nope. But if the subject line catches my attention and it’s, Oh, we’re gonna be talking about how you can leverage Google local services ads to increase your bookings. Okay, I’m gonna read that because right now, that’s a topic that’s really important to me and to my clients.

But I may have ignored the last 10 emails that I got from that company, but I know that eventually they’re gonna give me something of value. Or maybe I’ll set it aside and say, I’m gonna get back and read this later. So you want to continue to send emails even if people aren’t reading ’em, because you will eventually get people to say, You know what, I need to know about this now I’m gonna open this email.

 Again, if they don’t want to get ’em, they’re gonna unsubscribe. And that’s not a bad thing if you continue to add value, even if it’s not contextually the right value at the right time for somebody still getting into a regular rhythm of sending emails. The other important thing is it keeps your list clean and pure.

If you don’t send emails for six months, emails go bad really fast. People change jobs, they change internet service providers. Our cell phone carriers. There’s a whole host of things that cause emails to go bad very quickly, so you need to keep sending on a fairly regular basis to keep your list clean. Jen, let’s talk about how do you drive traffic to your lead magnets?

Jen: Your lead magnets. Okay, so for folks that are listening, sometimes we use too much marketing nomenclature. You know what lead bank, that’s the thing. Or that’s your offer. That’s your, I guess your value in exchange for the email address. So you’re doing that kind of trade in the industry. We call that your lead magnet, right?

You wanna get the leads. It’s hopefully a magnet drawing folks in. So how do you drive traffic to the lead magnet. So you’ve got your downloadable ebook, you’ve got your webinar, you’ve got your checklist. So how do you make people know about that offer? So that you can grow your list. You can do things with it, you can put it out on social media.

You can do a podcast like this. You can do an event, you can be offline in real life doing a speaking gig or a trade show presentation, something like that, where then you can say, out into the audience, I’ve talked about these six things. If you want the checklist, exchange your email address for it and we can get that to you.

That’s another good way. I know you talked a lot about this, Ken, just text 3674, and we’ll get that right to you. So that can be a good thing to do there. The lead magnet I want you to think about is sometimes you need to put some promotions, some money behind it in order to drive the traffic, in order to drive the interest to it and let folks know that it’s there for the taking.

So that’s what I recommend. 

Ken: Yeah. So for example, right now I’m a board president of the Modern American Dance Company, and we have performances tonight and tomorrow. The people who attend the event, we know the dates we’re performing, but we don’t know the programs that we’re doing. Those aren’t quite settled yet.

People can text 2223. For the 2023 season to the phone number, and then they’re gonna be put on a list to get notifications when we have our new dancers officially on board. The specifics of the programs, what pieces and performances and themes are the concerts gonna be taking.

Where are they gonna be held? What are the ticket prices? Early ticket discounts, things like that. And so you don’t always have to have something that you’re giving away, but you have to have that value proposition because if people like the performance, they are gonna be like, Oh, I wanna know what these guys are doing next year.

Use opportunities like that. I think it’s huge and so many missed opportunities. 

Jen: Sure. Just on that, just on the text message I do have to let you know if you’re doing a promotion that is more than just local, Ian and I are sitting here in Canada and, Canada always gets, the always gets ignored.

So if you’re listening to podcast whatnot in North America, text and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, to just make sure that you understand what carriers are available to have that campaign. 

Ken: Yeah, absolutely. Great point. Great point. Yeah, you’ve gotta know your audience. You’ve gotta know where they’re located and how you can deliver and what they’re asking for sure. 

Ian, let’s see here. You’ve got an opt in, but it doesn’t mean that they’re gonna become a customer patient client or whatever. So we’ve talked a little bit about this, but I’d just like to hear your thoughts on how do you move people through that buyer’s journey to get them to the point they’re ready to take that try off or even make the purchase. 

Ian: Yeah. I think somebody mentioned this already, but just in case they haven’t. If you have a list, it means nothing. You have to use your list. So I’ve actually seen companies that work really hard to get a list and then they never use it. You were talking about only emailing every six months, Ken. You gotta use your list in order to stay top of mind and to see any kind of impact. 

I thought it would be really helpful just to bring up again, the marketing hourglass. I think it’s actually the perfect framework for thinking about I have somebody in the no phase, they’ve just come to know about us as a dentist, a restaurant, a plumber whatever it is, right? A software company. 

How do I then move them through the phases of no, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer, which is the marketing hourglass. So it’s like the sales funnel. It doesn’t forget the customer. Once the sale is done and it looks at that all important repeat and refer, because those are really vital first of all to the success of the business, but also it’s an ongoing relationship. You don’t just cut off the relationship with this customer if they become a customer, right? You have to remember that. So it’s a really great framework for thinking about those phases that somebody, and it is just a framework.

People, you talked about people choosing their own adventure, but it is a framework for a business to say, okay, a person become a patient in my dental clinic. They need to know about us. Obviously they need to like us for some reason. They need to like us, then they need to trust us. Then they need to try something from us.

It might even be a virtual thing, but then they can buy from us. They can become a patient. Look at that customer, that potential customer, or look at your existing customers and how they move from stage to stage and the information that they need or the tools they need or the incentives they need to move from a no, to a like, to a trust, to a try, to a buy.

That’s really important cuz then you can turn it around as the business. First you’re looking at it from the customer’s perspective, but then you’re turning it around going okay. We have these resources and tools at our disposal, how are we going to effectively, first of all, get that list, but then nurture them?

And it is a nurturing process. It’s a relationship. And I think that’s forgotten a lot in the digital world that yes, they’re a contact card in your CRM system. They’re a real person with real needs and real desires, and you as a business can serve them and serve them well, and so it’s about how do you naturally move them through that process.

I think that’s the gold in all of this is when you can effectively think about them that way and move them through those stages, then that’s where you’ll start to reap really great rewards, and you’ll continue to create this compounding effect of a growing customer list and growing fans of your business.

But just as an example, a person knows about you. They’ve started to like what they’re hearing about you. You need to provide them with things, say at the trust stage so that they’ll trust you, right? Are you really who you say you are? Do you have a video that creates the like, but then also the trust?

Can you offer them a guide at that time as a lead magnet that you’re providing them with information of how to find the best service for them? We see that all the time with dentists or remodelers, where a guide to remodeling your home. If you’re thinking about remodeling your home, why would you not get a free guide that brings you, that’s building a lot of trust, right?

Customer reviews. All of these different things as a business can be used effectively and strategically through that buyer’s journey so that you are, you’re moving people along really effectively. Jen case studies are a great example, especially from business to business side. You’re building trust there. You’re showing how you’ve effectively done what that person is looking for with another business.

And so you’re creating trust and it’s almost like a try cuz they’re wearing you as well going, Okay, this is how they perform that service for as similar business as us. 

Ken: Yeah. You mention it, the repeat and the refer, the list gives you the ability to step on the gas pedal and accelerate new business in a way that you almost never really have any other way because you’ve already built the no and trust.

So if you need to step on the gas pedal and rev up your business and get more business coming in on a short basis. That’s ultimately really, there’s nothing more powerful than that. And you can’t do that without a list. Speaking of which I wanna make sure we talk about, so many businesses have never even put together a list, but they have a list.

They just don’t have it organized in a usable way. They’ve got emails, in their business email system or personal email if they don’t even have a business email. They’ve got email addresses and cell phones maybe in their QuickBooks. They’ve got on invoices where people maybe have written out information, but they never put in digitally anywhere.

Maybe some CRMs that they have. Depending on the nature of the business, maybe some operational systems. It’s really important to take time to pull all that information together and put it into a usable format. We’ve talked a lot about how do you get new people into your list. But don’t forget about anybody who’s ever been a customer of yours probably should be on a list of yours. 

Paul. Let’s wrap this up just by talking a little bit more about text message marketing. Can you talk a little bit about the big differences. I already mentioned, I think offers are a really critical component for text message marketing. What else do you see in terms of text versus email in regard to the differences? Then maybe how you can leverage those? 

Paul: Text messaging is a different format and yeah, I think it’s offer driven is a big part of that, as opposed to say an email newsletter. Sure, you can have an offer in an email newsletter, but that really needs to be more informational based.

How your product or service helps people as opposed to an offer, which, and the reason, one of the biggest reasons for that is that text has much higher open and response rates than emails. We’ve talked about this. I get a lot of emails. Everybody does. I’ve signed up for different newsletters, and half the time I don’t open them, but a text message, it pops up. You almost don’t have to open it. It just pops up on your phone and it gets your attention. Sure you can choose to ignore it. 

Ken: I can attest to that.

Paul: But the open and response rates for text messaging is much higher. That’s why your offers are gonna work better in that text message format.

It also goes back to something you just said, Ken, is that you have to organize your list. You have to get it in one place. And any business that has been around for a while, if you go back. Historically, having a domain based email wasn’t an issue 15 years ago. It just didn’t matter that much. So they’ll have some contacts in their personal email and they’ll have some contacts in their business email.

They’ll have it in their invoicing system, QuickBooks, whatever it is. They’ll have it in if they’re using a CRM. It’s not organized into one place and you have to get that organized and yeah it can be a pain in the ass, it can take some time, but you have to get that organized and get that into one system.

And it goes back to efficiency and productivity and having everything in one place so you can be organized and be efficient and do these things properly. Yeah, they are two different formats, two different purposes. 

Ken: Even the link click through rates on texts are almost 50%. 

They’re coming from a trusted source where people have opted in. It’s it’s really powerful. Just to wrap this up, I know we’re coming up on the hour. Maybe we’ll just creep over it just a little bit here. But gamification, I think is pretty interesting, as a strategy to grow your list. We’ve got text message marketing platform that that will allow you to use the gamification and a reward system where each link that’s created for every subscriber is truly unique to them so that amount of referrals that they’re getting in terms of helping you grow your list. In return, you’re giving them some incentives to do so and you give ’em a variety of different ways to do that. You could certainly do that with email as well. In some cases gamification, gamifying the process to make it a game and make it fun and get the competitive juices flowing with people to say, I wanna get this extra discount, or I wanna get this t-shirt or this freebie.

Sure. I’m willing to help turn people on to really good deals or learn more about valuable information. What do you guys think about that? 

Jen: I think it’s a neat thing. Personally, and when I was first introduced to some gamification I didn’t really see the appeal to, to be quite honest. This is a few years ago, but having been introduced to and been in different systems where either the end result or progress meant a lot to me, having it attached to a game, I’ve 180’d on that opinion, and I can see how both rewarding, satisfying, bragging rights the whole bit. And and personally, so I’m just thinking of something most recently. So I’m in Duolingo, learning a new language, and the little thing that they have set up. It’s so neat. It really is. When you fail, when you do good, when you get almost there and whatnot.

So absolutely, I think it’s a neat thing. And if it can be tied to something that’s important to you, whether it’s in your business or in your personal life, I’m converted to that. 

Ian: This isn’t actually an answer to your question, but it was something I was thinking about, Ken, as we’ve been going through this and we haven’t really touched on it, but I think it’s an important addition to this is we’ve talked a lot about kind of the list, the lead magnets, everything like that, the funnel, the hourglass.

A business should have a plan. They should have a plan for how they’re going to get their list, what they’re gonna do with their list after, how it’s going to effectively move people through their decision making. And that’s really important and that sometimes seems really large to a business, even the technology that you guys were talking about.

So don’t be scared to talk to your marketing agency or a marketing agency about how they can help with this. It sounds deeply self-serving to say that as a marketer, but that’s our superpowers on this. We all do this every day, all day, and we’re here to serve our clients. And I think sometimes people feel they have to do it all on their own.

And so that’s just an encouragement to even have a conversation and seek help and that you might have your mind blown about what can be done to help you. 

Paul: This isn’t really an answer to the gamification question, but something that I think we’ve touched on, skirting around haven’t address directly is you have to have, goes back to building your list and, it’s amazing how many small businesses don’t either have a CRM or don’t effectively use it. You have to have a way, if someone fills out a form on your website that puts that contact into your CRM. You have to have that. If you don’t, you’re getting these contacts on your website.

You may get a note or you probably get a notification and someone in the office follows up, but it’s not put into your CRM, so you’ve just lost a huge opportunity there. And it happens all the time. 

Ken: Yep. Absolutely. Okay. We’ve gone long today. I love this topic. This is one of my all time favorite things to talk about because I think it is fundamentally a huge game changer for so many businesses.

But we’re gonna wrap up because we’ve gone long. Thanks everybody for watching and listening to us talk about this topic. Ian, Jen and Paul, thank you.

If you like this episode or any of our episodes, please share it and let other folks know. We’d love to hear your feedback. Check us out on all your favorite podcast locations as well.

Thanks everybody. Have a great week. 


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