Kate is dangerously obsessed with helping ethical entrepreneurs carve out their slice of the interwebs by wooing the hearts (and wallets) open of their small but mighty audiences, thanks to fun email marketing and easy yes mini-offers.
She believes you don’t need to bleed the alphabet or be a dirty rotten spam face to write emails that jolt subscribers into taking action, gobbling up your paid offers like candy… or kale if that’s their thing.
How did you get started in email marketing?
I’ve been a professional copywriter since early 2016. After writing everything from About pages to Sales pages, I found that where I really thrived and had excitement was writing emails for my clients.
Does email marketing still work to improve or grow business?
Now if your goal is to get one-on-one clients, by all means, go ahead and get those first few by referral, by tapping into your own network, before focusing on your list.
But if you’re looking to make money from passive income products such as courses or digital products – growing an email list is a great place to start making that happen.
And for all my service providers out there – once you’ve gone ahead and locked down your first couple of clients with word of mouth referrals, then go ahead and start focusing on your email list. That way you can have a steady flow of clients going forward.
What works really well for email marketing success?
- Being yourself.
Email works exceptionally well when you actually show off your personality! Let people in on your unique quirks, how you operate, even if you share that you have a giant love of your cat. That is what works in email marketing right now.
- Being particular about who you let on your list in the first place.
You see, there’s a common misconception that you need to have a big ginormous list in order to make a stable income. But the truth is that if you have a small but engaged list of the right people who are ready to throw their credit cards at you, you can make a great living. Then go out and find more and more of those right people.
- Emailing on the regular.
For most of my students, I suggest emailing your list once every week or at least every two weeks. Then when you do have a launch or an affiliate offer that you want to tell people about, you’re not popping up into their inboxes out of nowhere like, “Hey stranger! Give me all of your cash!“
- Giving your subscribers an ‘out’ from promotions.
This can take a little bit of technical know-how to set up but it is so worth it for building a genuine relationship with your list. If you are running a live launch or have a funnel set up at the bottom of your sales emails, have a link that readers can click on to opt-out. Something like, “Not interested in X anymore? Click here to stop getting emails about it, but stay on my list.” Not only does it help you avoid unnecessary unsubscribes but it also gives you a more engaged launch list, which means higher conversions for your effort.
What doesn’t work in email marketing any more?
FAKE Trickery and HIGH PRESSURE.
A couple of years ago this guru sent around an autoresponder (automatic email sequence) that was a fake conversation between him and his assistant. Asking his assistant to ask us ‘personally’ why we didn’t show up for the webinar live (which for the record, was a pre-recorded webinar with FAKE comments. SOOOO gross!). It was so disgusting it made me want to vomit. So I put this guy on blast every single place I could. So NO ONE would get deceived.
The worst part was that this particular product was for people looking to quit their 9-to-5 jobs, so they probably did not know any better. So freaking gross.
In short, my advice is to always be real and honest in your email marketing.
Is there a difference in email marketing approach for product vs service-based businesses?
Well, it depends if you’re talking about digital products or physical goods.
For physical goods or e-commerce, sending discount coupons and free shipping is almost a must. You also want to include a lot more pictures in your email. That way, people can get the feel for what it’s like to have your actual product in their home.
With digital products or services, you still want to tell your subscribers about the origin of the products, of your store, or why you started it. Along with a little bit about yourself and share some customer stories, too.
For service providers, you want to make sure that a lot of your emails are actually centred around the work that you’re doing with your clients and giving quick tips about that.
Say, for example, you do branding for clients. In one of your weekly newsletters or in your welcome series, you can talk about how a client came to you and knew that she wanted her website to feel fun, light, and airy so you went with these couple of colours. Then you can encourage your subscribers to send you their mood boards or just let you take it off their plate.
You also can’t get discouraged as a sales provider if you mention your services once in your welcome series and don’t get any bites. The truth is, it’s a lot easier for subscribers to slack off after they buy of course or e-book than it is when they actually hire you. Meeting new people and having interactions can cause a lot of anxiety. So, While they’re working up the courage to actually hit ‘book’ on your discovery call or mini sessions, make sure you keep showing up and being helpful.
In your experience, what types of Lead Magnets are excellent list builders right now?
The three types of lead magnets I just think are amazing for list growth in 2020 are:
- Lead magnets that solve a very specific problem.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a challenge a PDF or mini-course, it can work really well as a lead magnet if they are directly solving one specific problem.What doesn’t work as well is creating things like ‘The 5 steps to more traffic’ or ’10 steps to 6 figures.’ Those types of generic road maps are a dime a dozen. I mean, just go look at your Facebook ads!But when you come in front of your audience with a freebie that solves a small but concrete problem, people want it.
- Collaborative freebies.
While not technically a lead magnet per se, borrowing other people’s audiences in 2020 is huge. Whether it’s a partner webinar, running a virtual summit, or orchestrating a list building giveaway – borrowing someone else’s audience is still an amazing way to grow your list.
- Quizzes (when done right).
Honestly, if you haven’t worked on lead magnets #1 and #2 yet, I would press pause on creating quizzes until then. You see, quizzes became all the rage a couple of years ago. And for good reason. They’re actually really fun to do as a consumer. However, unlike back then, you need to give people their results WITHOUT requiring them to give you their email address first.Instead, on the same page where you give them their results, offer them a customised lead-magnet based on their answers (usually a pdf or mini-course). As you can see, a proper quiz can actually turn into creating five freebies and 5 customised welcome series, all at once. So I’d focus on lead magnets number 1 & 2 (described above) first if you’re a solopreneur.
What info is essential inside a Lead Magnet Nurture Sequence?
Well, it depends on what your goal is.
If you’re just trying to build authority in your industry then you want to share a lot of helpful tips, epic blog posts that you’ve written about the topic, and guest posts.
Also, if you have a podcast or YouTube channel that isn’t necessarily under your blog’s name (for instance, I have a podcast that is called Inbox Besties and my blog is Katedoster.com), share that. And, of course, you can always share your most active social media channel.
If you’re trying to sell a specific topic or service – explain how your proprietary methods are different and better. Share customer success stories, quick tips about your topic, and crush any objections that people have about their success with your topic or objections they would have about your offer.
In either case, you want to make sure that you’re showing off your personality and asking your subscribers questions. The goal is to make them feel like a bad-ass for being on your list.
What are your thoughts on using apps like ManyChat or automated online bots as List Builders and Nurturers?
I think that any way you can deliver value to your audience is amazing. And the truth is, you might be able to upcycle some of your emails into a bot sequence if you’re going to put all of your eggs in one bot basket.
However, let me remind you of Friendster, MySpace, Periscope and Meerkat. Those platforms are practically forgotten.
But you know what the public hasn’t ever forgotten about? Email.
What emails/email content are essential for a launch campaign to convert?
Of course, you want to have your standard emails like:
- frequently asked questions
- sneak peeks
- previews, and
- client success stories.
But you also want to have a handful of emails that individually address some big “yeah, buts” or mental roadblocks that people can have keeping them from success in your industry. Things like,
“I want to have a five-figure launch but I don’t have 100 people in my email list. How can your coaching style overcome that?”
Another email that I think is really powerful and terribly underused is about what the fear of success actually looks like for people.
For example, say you’re a relationship coach, if your client has success and finally gets her ideal man, is she:
- afraid he’ll leave?
- that her friends will be jealous?
- that she’ll get fat?
Always address the fear of success towards the end of your launch series.
What info do you use to optimise your email marketing strategy?
When it comes to optimising your email marketing strategy, I think knowing your people inside and out is number one.
The second thing is to make sure that enough people are actually seeing your stuff.
I can’t tell you how many students come up to me saying they think their funnel is failing, but then it turns out only 100 people have been through it. That’s just simply not enough data to know what’s working and what’s not.
The third thing to look at is your analytics overall for email marketing and see what they are against industry averages.
I had one student who was concerned because she was offering a discounted product on her thank you page after someone signed up and it was “only” converting at 5.5% (converting means the people who saw it vs bought it). The truth is, most thank you page offers only convert between 1% and 5%, so she was doing unbelievably well!
The things I do want you to be curious about:
- are you getting some replies to your emails?
- are you getting actual clicks when you have links in them?
- If you have an email series or a funnel, is there one email that’s getting a super low open rate and no click-through versus all of the other ones?
Keep in mind that the longer someone is on your list, the less likely, statistically, that they will open your emails (although I have found that my students of Love Your List, tend to have lower drop off rates than their friends).
Realistically, what results should businesses expect from email marketing?
I hate this question. Because the truth is that email marketing really depends on the energy you bring to it.
Sure, for most industries, the average rate for launch conversions from email marketing tends to be somewhere between .5 and 5% (5% is very high). The truth is, my students and I blow that out of the water every single time. Because we put in the time, effort, and heart upfront to understand our audience, their feelings, and their wants. So when it comes time to sell, PayPal notifications fly in higher than “normal.”
That being said, email still converts way higher than social media.
If you’ve got 100 people on your email list, I wouldn’t expect 95 of them to buy. But if nobody buys, you might want to do a little research.
What are your top email marketing tips to anyone wanting to DIY it?
Listen to the Inbox Besties podcast. ?
But seriously, my first recommendation is to be dangerously obsessed with seeing your people succeed. When you stop trying to shine the spotlight on how great you are (don’t get me wrong, you do need to show them that you’re not just some rando, that you do know what you’re doing), amazing things will happen!
Second, get the right people on your email list.
If you want to sell Facebook ads for people, then don’t offer a free DIY course on how to do Facebook ads. Offer a report of what’s working best for your clients currently or create a master class on the five ads that you run the get the biggest ROI for your people.
Third, make sure you have a good email service provider and an email address that ends in your website’s domain. No ‘email@example.com.’
I realise we didn’t actually touch on this for the rest of the interview but you can’t be emailing people from your Gmail account. It’s illegal. Look for an email service provider like ConvertKit, Mailerlite, or Flodesk.
Editor’s Note: Here at Optimise+Grow Online, we love and recommend ActiveCampaign for email marketing!
The key thing you want is for your service to only count subscribers once. That way, subscribers can sign-up for multiple freebies and you won’t get charged multiple times. Make sure your email service provider has landing pages, automations, and basic segmentation.
Fourth, don’t overthink it. Just email your people! Because a 10,000 person email list does nothing for your bottom line if you don’t actually talk to them. You won’t annoy them if you have their best interest at heart.
What are your top recommendations to anyone wanting to outsource their email marketing?
- Know your ideal audience/market like the back of your hand.
- Know your competition. If you can’t tell your copywriter or VA how your course or service is different than something else out there, they’re not gonna be able to pull magical copy out of thin air to describe and sell it for you. And, if you can’t think of a single competitor then you don’t know your audience well enough. Go back to number one.
- Before hiring a copywriter or allowing a virtual assistant to write your emails, you MUST ask them to explain to you what a buyer cycle is, how it works, and the different stages. If they can’t do that, DON’T let them anywhere near your email marketing.
How can you help people make their email marketing nurture and convert better?
If you are picking up what I’m putting down in this interview, as I said before, definitely subscribe to my podcast, Inbox Besties, where you’ll learn more actionable tips to help you write email so good subscribers click.
If you’re struggling to come up with what to send in your weekly newsletters, especially if you don’t create content on the regular, then head on over to KateDoster.com/2years and download my two years worth of strategically planned email ideas.
And, if you already have an email list but they never buy anything that you’re offering, then definitely sign up for access to my free on-demand training Little List, Big Profit, where I gave you my best tips and tricks for writing emails that leave subscribers begging for a buy button to slap (without you feeling like a money-hungry buttface). Just head to https://www.katedoster.com/class to get that goodness.
Where To Connect With Email Marketing Magic-Maker Kate Doster
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