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The Clientside Podcast

Email marketing with Keith Monaghan

The Clientside Podcast

38 min Keith Monaghan

Keith Monaghan has sent email campaigns to millions of recipients for some of the world's most recognisable brands including Western Union, bike brands Specialized and Trek, Lucas Film and Nike.

In this episode, Andrew Armitage talks about privacy in email marketing (which is particularly timely given the recent announcement from Apple on iOS15 and macOS Monterey), whether email automation needs to be personalised and the importance of not over-complicating your campaigns.

Keith’s mission is to simplify marketing and help businesses of all sizes reach their customers with good, solid marketing that gets results. He's the author of 'Easy Email Marketing: 10 Simple Steps For Creating And Sending Email Your Customers Will Love'.

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Andrew:
Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Clientside podcast. My name is Andrew Armitage and I'm your host. I'm also the founder of a digital marketing agency called A Digital based here in the UK who sponsor the show.

Andrew:
Great to have you with us as we continue into our third series on the Clientside podcast. This is the second episode in the series, but our 26th show overall now and as usual, you'll find this and all the previous episodes on your favourite podcasting app, or by heading across to our website, at adigital.agency/podcast where we add links from the show and a full transcript of the conversations we have with our guests.

Andrew:
So today's subject is email marketing and email has for a long time been a solid, reliable way to engage with your audience, even as social media and other channels have grown in popularity. Email stood the test of time with consistently good engagement and performance. It's easy to create, cheap to send. From a recipient's perspective, it's ubiquitous, transcending different devices, different demographics and cutting through both the B2B and B2C audiences. And let's be honest, if you're going online, you're going to have an email address. So unlike some audiences who use the internet without having a social media profile, they're almost guaranteed to have an email address and that of course, provides an opportunity to connect with them, perhaps initially on a transactional basis, but over time on a more personal level.

Andrew:
Now, unfortunately, today we have a little bit of audio interference in the first part of the show. Just gets a little bit of a background fuzz on one of the microphones, so I'm sorry for that. Hopefully it doesn't detract too much from the content. It does improve after about 20 minutes in. But just a word of warning, the first 20 minutes do get a little bit fuzzy in some cases. So let's meet today's guest who joins me from Portland, Oregon, which is one of my favourite cities. Keith Monaghan is the author of the book Easy E-mail Marketing, and he's created and managed campaigns for audiences in their millions use brands, including NBC, Lucasfilm. That seems appropriate as today we're recording this on May the 4th. He's carried out research projects for the likes of Nike, like Specialized Ontrack and Western Union. So welcome to the show, Keith, and thank you for joining me today.

Keith:
Thanks for having me. I'm happy to be here.

Andrew:
So, Keith, just tell listeners a little bit about yourself and your background and what led you to specialise in email marketing.

Keith:
Right, right. Right. Why should anyone listen to me? It's always the million dollar question.

Andrew:
Yeah.

Keith:
My wife and I moved to the Silicon Valley from Los Angeles in the mid 90s. At that point, I was like most people in the world. They didn't know what the Internet was. I didn't understand any of it. Quickly fell into the culture there. Put my resume online, landed a job running a product support department at a company called Zoome XO and that gave away a free web page to put your clipart on in exchange for receiving emails on software and hardware. Branded products department for a while and fairly quickly moved up to managing the campaigns because I was one of the few people there who could write and communicate and as well as talk to the engineers, I guess it comes from having a liberal arts degree. So I very quickly moved into that. I was there for quite a while running campaigns for them. They got bought up by NBC television. I ran more campaigns for them and then moved on. It was a crazy time in the valley when anyone with a pulse and experience was getting phone calls about jobs, moved on to some other companies. But email followed me. I was always the guy people would call, Hey, we know a guy who does this? You know, we know somebody who does this. Give him a call. And here we are, 20 something years later and I'm still getting references and calls and still doing it and still helping people. Now, my focus is mostly market research and marketing creative. But like I said, email marketing has followed me. So probably for the 15th or 20th time last year, I got an email from a friend who said, I've got another friend who wants to start email marketing. Would you talk to her? And in the process of talking with her via email, I realised I was basically outlining a book on how to do this. And I've done it before. I thought, well, I'm missing an opportunity. Why am I not writing this thing down? So I wrote Easy Email Marketing with the simple idea of getting people up to speed with the basics in 10 easy steps. There's no insider language. It's very plain, very easy to understand, get you up and running quickly. And if you're already running campaigns, even large ones, it's a good read. You can read it in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee or tea and make sure your foundation and your basics are in line. That's who I am and that's where I've been.

Andrew:
Great, great stuff. I mean, we've obviously been through, round the world huge impact through a global pandemic. Email has, from what I've seen, it's grown in terms of strength and performance and still been that go to channel for so many brands and companies. What have you seen through the course of the pandemic? Have you seen any impact in terms of how companies are using email, in terms of sending campaigns out? And also on the flip side, in terms of recipients, what are those people receiving campaigns doing? Are they more engaged or less engaged?

Keith:
You know, not surprisingly, online commerce is skyrocketing. Usage is skyrocketing. So as you can imagine, at least from my experience, what I'm seeing with clients is companies who want to get started in email marketing are actually organising, looking to structure their email marketing for the first time rather than random messages. And for the companies who are running large campaigns and have been running them, it's about fine tuning and optimising. They're trying to find the threshold. Now that everyone's more focused with online shopping it seems like there's a greater acceptance and a widening threshold for receiving marketing emails from the companies you love. And so far that's pretty much panned out. My larger clients have been able to increase frequency a little bit and come up with some special offers that are related to people being stuck at home all the time. And so far, the feedback, the numbers anyway, show that people are a little more accepting of it these days, especially from brands that they really like and want to hear from. It's kind of like society has just unsurprisingly taken this huge shifts into the inbox and online so far, it seems very positive from my point of view, what I see for for both senders and recipients.

Andrew:
And I guess there's a degree of people longing for that connection that for a lot of people in lockdown was perhaps lost. And therefore their attentions have obviously been diverted, you know perhaps had a bit more time on their hands, possibly more willing to to engage in those email campaigns and sort of act on sort of the underlying messages, I guess.

Keith:
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, that kind of dovetails into something that I've learned over the years is that I really believe that we take our inboxes very personally. Most of us are very careful who we let in and what we let in. And I think that has just been magnified during the pandemic. Right. We're hyperfocused on the inbox. That's where life and business are happening more than ever. So the opportunity is there. I think the trick for any company is to figure out how they can tiptoe around frequency and maybe increase it without upsetting people. As far as recipients go, people seem to be a little more loose, a little more accepting of the fact that emails a major channel for the companies they love.

Andrew:
And I think one of the things which is going to be really interesting is privacy. And we'll maybe come on to that in a little bit. But you talk about frequency, it's going to vary inevitably by different sector, by the relationship that an individual has with the brand. But what sort of frequencies are people sending? And is there an ideal frequency with which to sent out an email campaign?

Keith:
You know, that's the that's the big question. Right. And I think the ideal frequency is whatever your audience will accept. That's a totally vague answer. And the only way you're going to find that is by going a little bit too far and pulling back a little bit. In my experience, people will let you know if people want to hear more from you to let you know, and I think it's also important to recognise what type of company you are, how you want to touch your customers. Are you an informational company or are you sending current, relevant, quickly digestible information every day or three times a week? Or are you sending offers that are seasonally relevant, as you're saying it's a it's not a one size fits all thing. And it's certainly, in my eyes, better to under send than over send. It's something that I kind of go into in the book and I'm happy to talk to anybody about it if you want to email me. It's really a game of trial and error, just seeing what what your audience will tolerate. And that sounds a little harsh, but I think you can do it in a way that is friendly and recipient friendly. Just be honest with people. You can increase your, tell them, we've got some more offers coming up. We want to send an offer every week or every other day or whatever and see how they react. It doesn't have to be a permanent thing. It's trial and error. See what happens.

Andrew:
So in effect, you're actually giving them the choice. You can you could almost segment them into high frequency recipients vs. low frequency recipients.

Keith:
And that's that's something I don't go into in the book. But that's definitely an option. Once you get your, your basics down to learn how to segment, which is splitting them into separate audiences. And you can go very, very far with that, as you know. You can get into geography which people in certain areas of the country are buying things, frequency of opening the Email, gender, interests, whatever you have. And that's definitely something to think about after you've gotten the basics down. I think in my experience, just getting the basics down will take you much further initially than worrying about the advanced stuff. 20 percent of the effort will get you 80% of the result.

Andrew:
So I think there was a quote from Seth Godin who said that the definition of a relationship, particularly with email, is if you stop sending people notice that you've stopped sending. That's when you've built a real connection with your audience because they want to hear more from you. If they don't notice you never had a connection, your brand wasn't as strong as you thought. And certainly that engagement and interest in what you have to say wasn't what you thought either.

Keith:
Absolutely true. I will never argue with Seth Godin.

Andrew:
No, Absolutely.

Andrew:
So, yeah, we've seen that growth through more e-commerce and perhaps the lack of contact and so on. What's really high on the agenda for companies at the moment. There's loads of different ways to go with with email marketing, you've touched on segmentation and I would agree that they're just doing some email marketing was better than dipping in and out to audiences of poorly segmented audiences. There's there's lots of talk around personalisation, automation is another topic that always triggers a healthy debate. What's high on the agenda for an email marketing campaign for a company that is looking to perhaps become a little bit mature, maybe they're sort of dipping in, dipping out, what's the goal that they should be aiming for in terms of planning their email marketing?

Keith:
You know, I think once you've got your email marketing set up, once you're moderately advanced in email marketing, it really pays to think about the customer journey and how automation can fit into that. And that's where segmentation comes in, segmenting different audiences, coming up with different automations for different audiences based on the reaction, you can get really granular. I think at that point. I think once you get the basics in line, getting granular with all the automation and playing with it is really a lot of fun. When you think about the customers they want, how they react and at every step of the way, going to segment the audience further based on how they react. Automation is probably the key focus that I would recommend to a mid-level or some advanced company email marketing, mainly because you can get such great results with such little effort, right? That the efforts all up front, in the fine tuning and getting it right. But once you get it right and you check in once a week, once a month or whatever. In a well designed automation is a thing of beauty. It's fantastic and it doesn't feel like automation to the recipient. And there's, like you said, there's a wealth of information out there on that and lots of videos. But I would encourage any company who wants to go to the next level to really focus on automation.

Keith:
Personalisation in my experience. More often than not, I find that it tends to have problems because it's based on the information someone fills out in the form when they sign up. So if they're not putting their first name or if they're putting in something goofy or silly in the first name, it'll completely wreck the flow of copy. It won't sound right. It becomes obvious that it's automated because the recipients thinking, well they can't even get my name right.

Andrew:
Yeah, If they repeat it 4 times through the body copy of an email, then it's a bit of a giveaway isn't it?

Keith:
Right. So, you know, I would say about personalisation second, that requires a lot of cleaning up data, focus on automation and really go down into that.

Andrew:
Are you of the view that automation can happen without personalisation? I presume you are are based on.

Keith:
Yeah, yeah. I mean, well, I guess we should provide personalisation. That example I gave was first name and I think that's a basic idea of personalisation, when it comes to customer behaviour and customer history, that's the real personalisation that excites me. Based on previous purchases, how many things have I've left abandoned my shopping cart? I haven't bought, things I haven't done. To me, that's the real personalisation that matters. But behaviour, not name or association to something.

Andrew:
You're going to another level aren't you? A level deeper than the obvious than somebody's name.

Keith:
Right and it's got to be, you've got to be really good with your data, you've got to really be able to pull it and clean apart. But the good thing about automation is you can use the feedback is immediate. If it's not working, I think it's important to differentiate between first name, last name and a greeting and deep personalisation, which is behaviour oriented.

Andrew:
That makes sense. And then obviously that determines where you can best deploy automation to get the best results. Things like whether it's abandoned carts or whether it's a follow up email to a particular purchase. Those are the sort of things where there's much less scope for mistakes be made, I guess, because if somebody bought a widget, they bought that widget, they can't spell that widget wrong. They might have bought the wrong product. But that's a slightly different ball game isn't it?

Keith:
Odds are most of them will be interested in the accessory to the widget or related, not all of them. But it's pretty simple in that sense, whereas you don't have to worry about cleaning things up.

Andrew:
Yes, it takes care of itself doesn't it, the housekeeping. What's your view on things like step processes that I mean, obviously automation works very well for that. You can put in certain conditions and rules as you're going through the motions of a particular journey. Where do those stepped processes tend to work, particularly effectively?

Keith:
You know, in my experience, they tend to work far better selling a product or service than they do an event, or event a charity. I don't know why that is, it's something I've been trying to crack for a while and my client's been trying to crack, but it seems like we are far more accustomed to a series of steps in purchasing something whether we think about them or not, than we are when it comes to an event or giving to charity. I guess to answer your question in the long, roundabout way, I think I'd focus on automation and steps far more when it comes to consumer behaviour and economics or e-commerce than I would if I was doing something far more personal, far more art like. You know, I've had a couple of clients who really arts and those recipients really want a high level of personalisation and handholding. They really want to feel the connection. It's possible to have automation and a series of steps there, but you've got to be careful. Not give away any clue that it's automated because for some reason we humans love the personal touch when it comes to art. Whereas the things we buy, which may also be emotional. More interested in steps that Amazon and Apple put us through. And so mimicking those works well.

Andrew:
I think my point of view, I don't mind and I understand that placeholders that are used within content for personalisation and things like that. I still want to feel that it's personalised to an extent. I don't want to feel that I'm a slave to a machine that is churning out huge volumes of these messages in the hope to build loyalty around either my custom or something that I bought, something that I expressed interest in. I really want to feel that the companies I'm connected to understand where my pains and gains are and therefore I'm going to get something of value out of signing up to those companies.

Keith:
When I worked at Zoom, I learned something that really stayed with me and I wasn't even doing email marketing, I was running a products department and I came up with a bunch of templates, came up with a bunch of email templates to respond to people who had problems with their products, and they were very dry, not personalised feeling at all. But at the bottom, the company always signed from certain individuals, a fictitious figure. And I was shocked at how people assumed that she was real and responded back and tried to start a conversation. Sure, it was an early time of the internet and people weren't quite as savvy, but I think most people are fairly intelligent. People buying hard drives and complex software, and just by putting the fictitious signature on these very dry technical support, people responded as if it was a real human being. And so I think we all kind of know deep down inside, a lot of the stuff is automated my gut feeling, I don't have any evidence to back this up, my gut feeling I think there's something very profound and deep in our brains that kicks in when we see even the slightest hint of a human being being personalisation with something.

Andrew:
So we're talking about automation and personalisation. Obviously, you know, the interactions that we make with a lot of these emails are tracked and monitored and companies can use that information to perhaps, refine the frequency, refine their content. Perhaps it goes into how they segment their campaigns. But we're seeing a growing sort of importance around privacy, people attaching a much greater importance to the privacy around the data. We've seen it with iOS 14.5 come out this week, there's obviously impacts around how that works and interacts with apps and how they collect your data. Most people will realise that for every email campaign that gets sent out, that lands in their inbox, their behaviour is being tracked. Do you see sort of a growth in concern around privacy when it comes to email tracking? I've seen, for example, some people say we deliberately don't want to monitor information because we'd rather have that trust from you in terms of that privacy. And yet so many companies, obviously, who are sending, particularly if you're sending out millions of campaigns, you're going to want to have some sort of benchmark around how they're performing. So privacy is going to affect email marketing. Do you think? You think we'll see?

Keith:
You know, I think it will. But at the same time, I don't think I don't think email marketing is nearly as invasive as people think, you know? I mean, it comes really down to so what can what can an email marketer know about you? Well, they can know that you open the email. They can know that you click on the link and that's about it. They may know roughly where you are geographically based on your IP. In my experience, that technology is pretty flawed. So a lot of marketers don't use it. For me, knowing that people know when I open the email and whether or not I click doesn't bother me. What bothers me is my location being surreptitiously used by apps like Facebook and that kind of thing. And the fact that companies like Facebook are building very detailed, very deep profiles of me based on my proximity to other people, where I've been, who I talked to, I read the other day that Facebook has a patent for using the gyroscopes in phones to know whether or not two people are leaning toward each other and they assume those people are talking. To me that's frightening stuff. And that stuff needs to be thoughtfully regulated. Knowing whether or not I open an email and click on a link is, it goes way back to the early days of the Internet, it's how technology works, right? If you load the image or you load something, it calls back to the server and all they do is look at the server logs to know that you opened it. To me, that's basic stuff. I'm not concerned about it. I think if people are unfortunately, I don't think there's a way to get around it. You can block images in your email and that would help. You might not be able to see what people are selling.

Andrew:
But I guess if you were sending campaigns out for the likes of NBC and Lucasfilm, you're not really bothered about what the individual is clicking on, opening on, you're looking at... surely you'd be looking at more of a macro rate.

Keith:
Well, that's a very good point. Yeah, I should bring up well, initially, yes. Back in the day we were looking at the aggregate numbers. Absolutely. And primarily that had to do with the fact that analytics were really primitive and fighting an individual's record was difficult and segmenting was difficult. Now systems are very advanced and things can be automated to the point where my purchasing history influences the automation in the emails I receive without anyone on the other end doing anything. You know, the A.I. just clicks right through and knows what I want and away we go. So in that sense, there's certainly the potential for abuse with some of the systems that are in place now for email marketing. Absolutely. But they don't scare me because they really just come down to what I click on in my inbox. And that's about as far as it can go.

Andrew:
Yeah, it's not trailing around from one side to the next. Cookies here, cookies, etc. is it?

Keith:
Exactly exactly.

Andrew:
One off short lived interactions that have really been measured, isn't it?

Keith:
Correct. Yeah, exactly.

Andrew:
Ok, let's talk a little bit about content, because as we hear all the time, content is king. And presumably that's the reason why people send out an email because they feel they've got content to share what makes good content for an email. Because I see a lot of emails that are, some are very long too long, in my opinion, and I switch off probably a third of the way through some are without calls to action. So I'm left thinking, well, what is the purpose of this email. Am I to do anything with that information or does it just get confined to trash? What makes good content when it comes to email? Because I presume we don't want to just be telling people what we've written somewhere else in our blog and sending them through and link to it, it's not really going to make very engaging content.

Keith:
Well, you know, again, it comes down to your audience. What do they expect? Right. I receive a couple newsletters every day that are long and I expect them to be long. That's what I want from them, their detail. I receive a couple of others that are from business people that are a series of links on stuff they find interesting, but that's how they position it. So your content, first of all, it depends on how you're positioning yourself, are you a thoughtful, in-depth writer or, you know, you're just sending links of interest to people or just products of interest. Either way, I think brevity is your friend. An email, unlike a blog post, can only be so long. At some point you're going to have to send people somewhere else to read the rest of your article, if it's two thousand words long. I think really what matters about email is content is focusing on the components of the three components of a good email subject line, the body of email and the call to action. That's it. If you think about a great blog article or something you've read, the headline of that article or that blog post is a promise of what you're going to read in the article. Email's no different. The subject line is a promise of what people are going to read inside and it needs to be concise and to the point and relevant because you're competing with hundreds of other emails in their inbox. So first of all, it's got to be relevant. Clear is better than clever, be clear about what's inside, don't try to be funny. It may be that your audience responds to a subject line that says hey and has a winky emoji. I doubt it, but I'm pretty sure they won't. Make sure your subject line is relevant and a promise of what's inside. Make sure the body of your email lives up to that promise. If you make the promise of a great offer or interesting information, make sure the email is that.

Keith:
It is shocking how many people don't get that. In my experience, the body of an email, if it's a paragraph three or four sentences, is more than enough. The fewer words you can get to the point with, the better. And then the call to action, a nice a length, a nice big button, whatever. It's got to be obvious. Click here to get this. Click here to download that. So subject line, body and call to action. Those are really the three things you need to think about. Everything else is decoration, maybe one image at most, I think. Think about the fact that people around the world are on far more primitive phone systems than we are in the West, downloading an email with seven or eight images that is, is not not doable for them. Maybe one image, maybe no images. It's far more relevant to have the message be coherent, clear and consistent throughout the email, subject line, body call to action.

Andrew:
What about emojis in subject lines? Where do you stand on that? I mean, again, I guess it comes down to the audience.

Keith:
My answer to all of these questions is, well, it depends. Yeah, and it does. MailChimp, the very big e-mail marketing company that we've all heard of, is really good about doing research and making their data freely available. You can go to the website and read all the reports, which is fascinating. So they anonymise everything and they aggregate all the data together from every campaign that's been sent out. And they found it depending on the audience. Some emojis do really, really well. They don't go into what the audiences are. But certainly I think an emoji is worth experimenting with as long as you're accompanying a relevant headline or subject line, just an emoji. You know, if you want to play with that, maybe prepare for the fact that it could be a failure, a relevant emoji with a relevant subject line I think can possibly do well. I played around with it. It seems like it might influence people to open it. But I think it really depends on your audience.

Andrew:
Sure. And of course, the brand that you're trying to portray.

Keith:
Yeah. Certainly, certainly worth experimenting with, if you can. And I, I would put the emoji at the front of the subject line just so people can see it, because a lot of email clients cut off the majority of the subject line. So put your emoji and your really relevant keywords at the beginning of the subject line. Yeah, if you have the time, the budget, experiment with it. But if you don't, don't worry about it.

Andrew:
And of course, there's a lot of the tools will offer some sort of experimenting approach through a subject, whether it be testing, campaign monitor, which is one that we use. MailChimp, I know do as well.

Keith:
Campaign Monitor is fantastic for that stuff.

Andrew:
That sort of process of testing these things, it's fairly straightforward to do, isn't it really?

Keith:
It is. And, you know, I think what you've got the basics down. Experimenting with AB testing, which is sending the same email to two groups with one difference, is always worth it, always worth it, especially if it comes out in emoji. If it's a simple as adding an emotion to your subject line to get your audience to open the email, please do it.

Andrew:
Yeah. Yeah. And what about, what about time to send? Because that's another one which is hotly debated. And yeah, I know the first answer that you'll give is again, it depends and it probably comes back to experimenting and that trial and error. I find it strange how some companies will send me an email, I get it late on a Friday afternoon. And I wonder, my thinking is they're expecting that to be sort of top of my inbox maybe for Monday morning, but it seems an odd time to pick and choose. But maybe they've got data that tells them otherwise. I have another email which I also get on a Friday afternoon, but I expect it on a Friday afternoon. And it comes in time and time again, same time every week. And that feels a lot more comfortable. But to get an odd email on a newsletter type email, campaign type email at five o'clock on a Friday, that seems slightly unusual timing.

Keith:
Yeah, I completely agree. And I'll tell you a story. When I was at a company called Elance, which was one of the first freelancer marketplaces online, you could bid and you could put out jobs and have freelancers bid on it. I was hired to start their email marketing and we debated hotly for a good week before we sent that first email. It's the best day and the best time. We had no data we know, which was ridiculous. Stupid. Sent it on a Monday morning because people are showing in the work. Send it on a Wednesday afternoon. They're at lunch. They want to get freelance. So finally we started the program and after about two months, the best time to send it turned out to be Sunday morning because our audience was freelancers who had worked all week. They'd enjoyed their weekend and then Sunday morning they were looking for freelancing work. We couldn't have predicted that. It comes down to your particular audience and what their expectations are and what their behaviour is. So there it is, the obligatory it depends. At the same time, once you find a good day and time to send, stick to it, like you were saying, be very disciplined and be regular that day and time, don't ever change it up because it's as you said, it's the random times and the random days that throw people off, there's something about our brains, love regularity, you know, and if it's something someone I want to hear from and it's coming at the same day every week at the same time, you're just going to get better results. And it's very easy to set up in your email marketing campaign software. You can do it weeks ahead of time.

Andrew:
Yes. It all comes back down to setting that expectation, doesn't it? Yeah. If you operate within certain parameters that people expect, then that loyalty is going to extend a lot further, isn't it?

Keith:
Absolutely. Just last week, I didn't get an email, a morning email from a guy that I subscribe to and I thought, oh, boy, something's wrong. And it wasn't like I schedule my day around this email. It's something that I casually flick through in the morning, but I noticed it right? I noticed he wasn't there. It resumed the next day and it was fine. But we love regularity and dependability.

Andrew:
Yeah. And I think coming back to the data argument, that's that's a good reason to be collecting data because you can actually then ensure that your campaign's fit in better with the habits of of those receiving it. And, you know, if someone signed up for information, they presumably have an interest in what you have to say. I suppose you want to try and be as aligned with their habits as you possibly can to maximize the value they get out of it. Not from a selling point of view, but if they've actively signed up to receive the campaign, then there's no point sending them at a time when quite blatantly they're not going to read it because it's completely inconvenient, right?

Keith:
Absolutely. Yeah, correct. And even more so as a creator and sender of these things, if you've got a chunk of people in your list who are never opening email, they've never opened it, they've never clicked on anything, well get them off your list. It's far better, you don't want to spend the time and money to send stuff to them. And analytically, statistic wise, we'd rather have a far more responsive pool of people responding to things.

Andrew:
Does that sort of housekeeping? Not only is it good practice, of course, but does it impact on things like deliverability?

Keith:
It can, depending on the ISP. I'm not familiar with the deep details of it, but it can absolutely affect it. It's down the list of things that will affect deliverability in my experience. Far more relevant is content. The fact that you're whitelisted with ISP use, that's relevant frequency, that you're not spamming people. Those are the things that are really affecting deliverability.

Andrew:
Yeah, of course. There's all sorts of technical areas that can go into around that which.

Keith:
Yes. And they're deadly boring. So for anyone listening to this with that right now.

Andrew:
All right. So just as we're thinking about wrapping up, then, what are some of the main mistakes that you see people making in campaigns where the questions that people are asking that may or may not seem obvious, but actually are sort of the golden rules when it comes to successful email campaign?

Keith:
Well, again, I go back to something that I've heard many, many times over the years. If someone says to me that they want to send an email blast out to their people, I know they don't get it. I don't they don't get marketing in general.

Andrew:
That sounds like a one off. Right?

Keith:
Right. And, you know, if you take the shotgun approach, you're not going to hit anything to use a really painful metaphor... I tend to think of the shotgun strategy, the blast strategy as kind of like a weed in your yard. The wind comes along and blows the seeds. They go everywhere. Who knows if they land where they land and if they grow.

Andrew:
It's a hit and hope which isn't really a strategy, is it?

Keith:
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Spray and pray, as we call it. Whereas, you know, emails like tilling a garden, you're putting the work in, you're growing it, you're pruning, you're putting the good stuff in there and over time you're going to reap the benefits of that. So the number one thing that I would tell people to think about is you've got to be focused and relevant and sending to the right people, you know, blasting people, spraying and praying. It's a waste of your time. It's a waste of your money. And you're far more likely to be blacklisted by an ISP for just sending a bunch of crap out to random people. It's no different than being at a cocktail party. You're not going to run around and ask everybody there to buy your stuff and then walk away. You're going to talk to people. You're going to build a relationship. Emails the same thing. That's the thing I tend to educate people about time and again, even at companies who've got robust email marketing campaigns, even people VP's of marketing have been doing this. It's very easy to get caught up in the numbers game, the analytics and thinking that more is better, spending more is better. You get better results. But that's not always the case.

Andrew:
So I guess really that message there means that companies can start with a very small list. Could be ten people. Yeah, but just nurture that, work very carefully. Absolutely. Tie in with their interests, use the information that comes back. The data is not very great there, is it. But if you start small and get those basics right, you're really setting yourself up for that longer term success.

Keith:
I would also add that the other thing that I tell people all the time is that when it comes to messaging, clear is better than clever. You know, there are a lot of great, clever marketing campaigns out there. They're really hard to do right, right. It's very easy for a clever campaign or what you think is a clever campaign to come across is incomprehensible or just wrong. Always default back to clear. It's better that people know can browse something and see exactly what you're offering. You're going to get far better results. If people have to think about it and decipher it, you're going to lose them. So clear is better than clever.

Andrew:
Yeah, absolutely. And of course, that just comes down to basic communications 101 doesn't it? Irrespective of email, they're..

Keith:
Human communication. Absolutely.

Andrew:
People switch off. Their attention span is very small. We're all a little bit like goldfish, aren't we? Whether on the train, whether we're commuting to work or stood at a bus stop, whatever it might be. If it's not clear, then we just move on, we delete it or we skip through to the next one

Keith:
And now more than ever. We're all bombarded with messages all day long. We're used to tuning things out, so if something is clear and relevant to me. That's what I'll pay attention to, not not the noise in the background.

Andrew:
The overriding message that I'm taking there is focus on your audience, tailor the content around your audience and what they are wanting to hear rather than just trying to be jumping around saying, hey, look at me, I've got something great to share. It's about that gradual build up over time,

Keith:
And that's exactly it. And I think that's true of all marketing, in my opinion. Frankly. It takes time and you've got to be relevant and you've got to be OK with not being relevant to some people, but being relevant to your people. And that's OK. And not just true of email. It's true of your social media. It's true of your in-person meetings. It's true, true of everything.

Andrew:
You can't be all things to all people.

Keith:
Well, that's for sure. We all know that.

Andrew:
Ok, Keith, well, look, we're pretty much out of time, but I want to give you a chance for you to share where people can look you up online, where you can find out more about you. And I'm pretty certain that you'll have your own newsletter that people can sign up to.

Keith:
I do, Yeah. So you can go to readeasyemail.com. That'll get you to my website, you can read Easy e-mail free online there, you can download it free. There's links to buy it on Amazon Kindle and Apple Books. I have a newsletter that I just started called Cost Free Marketing, which is free marketing ideas. Ways to get the word out without spending any money. And there's some other articles there that I've written about marketing, plenty of stuff. And you get in touch if you have any questions about email or other stuff. Find me at readeasyemail.com and I'm happy to answer them for you.

Andrew:
Ok, well, that's great Keith. Well, thank you very much for joining us. Appreciate it. It's an early start over there in Portland, Oregon. So really appreciate you coming on to the Clientside podcast to share your experience with those, managing those huge campaigns. Plenty of takeaways there for businesses of all sizes to take advantage of. Thanks again for joining us today.

Keith:
Well, thanks for having me. It's a lot of fun.

Andrew:
So thank you to Keith for taking the time out to talk to me today. Really appreciate the time that my guests spare to join me on the podcast. I'm sorry for some of the audio gremlins that crept in, in the first half of the show. Hopefully it didn't detract too much from the content that Keith has shared. But the key takeaway from today is to keep in mind what will earn you a place in someone's inbox. Of course, it's becoming a crowded place. So always think back to why you started an email campaign, what you hope to get from it, but more importantly, the value that you're adding to your recipient's. You want to have the email that people notice is missing from their inbox the day you don't send it. Of course, you need to earn the permission of your readers to show up in their inbox on a regular basis.

Andrew:
So thank you for joining me. Do get in touch if you've got any questions for me or feedback, you can email me directly at hello@theclientsite.show. I'd also love it if you could leave a review for the podcast, massively grateful as it will help others to find it and join our future episodes. We'll add some links to the show notes at adigital.agency/podcast, including the link to my new book called Holistic Website Planning, which is out now on Amazon. But for now, we'll wrap up, and hopefully see you again in a couple of weeks time when I'll be talking to Olly Whitfield about the client agency relationship and how best to approach the pitch process, what it takes to get the most from your agency relationship. So thanks again for joining me. I'll see you in a couple of weeks time. Bye for now.

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Email marketing isn't nearly as invasive as people think. They can know that you open the email. They can know that you click on the link and that's about it. They may know roughly where you are geographically based on your IP, but In my experience, that technology is pretty flawed.

Keith Monaghan Tweet