Below is a talk I did at this years Techstars Startup Bootcamp seminar as part of the Dublin Web Summit. It is an overview of how email can be used to build the value and reach of your business and reduce your workload.
Transcript from the talk:
Email is dead!
It has been killed by IRC, by blogging, by MySpace, Friendster, Twitter, Facebook and Google Wave if you remember. And like a Bond villain, while they’re explaining their plan to exterminate Bond, Bond has slipped off, got the woman and has set the bomb.
Now, a few companies, I just want to highlight, that are based upon email, Groupon, you might have heard of, which recently turned down an offer from Google for six billion.
This guy Paul, actually his second name has just gone blank on me, he sold his email list for eight million and it was Help A Reporter Out . Which is a simple list, newspaper reporter has a story he’s looking for sources and they fire an email out to the database. He sold that database for eight million.
Trillist Nation last year hit ten million in sales and two million subscribers.
Daily Candy , which is probably one of the bigger email lists here, it sold to Comcast for $128M and these are basically databases of email subscribers, which are emailed to often with offers, cool places to go to, things to see. So that shows the value that email can be to your business.
The Direct Marketing Association of America put the value at thirty, around thirty Euros, and that came in slightly under organic search in terms of return investment.
So a few points to help you use email effectively in your business:
Capture subscribers everywhere, and I mean everywhere, even here as your exchanging business cards, ask can I add you to my new newsletter list.
This is probably how you’re doing marketing currently. You’re doing it scatter shot approach, blogging, you might be doing a podcast, you’re putting stuff out on Twitter, on LinkedIN, Facebook you’re maybe doing flyers, newspaper ads, I suggest on each of those points of contacts that you’re putting out there, you ask for users email details, because the value to your business is going to be building up that email database. That database of leads, people who are interested, that’s where the long-term value in your business can be built up. That’s just pulling all those points together and kind of centered them around your email database. I’m constructing this kind of framework at the moment around a marketing loop. So on each of your points of contact, you’re asking for an email subscription and you drive future contact through that email. You’re driving people to your Twitter, you’re driving people to your LinkedIN, you’re driving people to you Facebook. It’s prompting instant reaction, you now become in charge of your contact, with are prospects, which are customers, and you then hold that value. Facebook, tomorrow could suddenly start charging one thousand Euros a month for a business page and not letting you take out your contacts, whereas if you’ve got that email address, With the email address, I think Flowtown was mentioned earlier, I think they’re changing their services at the moment so I’m not too sure, but it’s a service that with the basic email address you can find out a subscribers Twitter details, their Facebook details, their LinkedIN details and with a basic email address you can find a full profile across the web, not just within the silos of Twitter, of Facebook or LinkedIN, and that’s where your long-term value is.
So, what do you do with those email addresses once you have them? It’s very, very simple, send a monthly ‘We’re not dead’ email, just to keep contact with them, let them know you’re still alive. Keep yourself within their frame of reference. They might not need you now, but down the line they think, I need a service like…oh I got that email. So that’s your ‘I’m not dead’ email.
Keep it short and sweet and keep it often.
Second, ask your subscribers to buy stuff. You might remember the marketing loop, this is how that would then turn into a sales email. So you pick a segment of your subscribers, which are of particular interest, it might be in a particular area, they might have bought from you previously. You pull them out of the marketing loop into a sales process. Whatever it might be.
I’m going to ask you all to stand up for this. I’m sorry for the guys with laptops. A bit of audience interaction here. I hear a few curses up there. All right, so I’ve just chosen to target a sales email at you, so I’ve created my email, for there’s about a hundred people in here but each of you will count for about a hundred people, so I’ve created my email, a thousand subscribers here, now I’m going to test two versions of the email with different headlines to see which gets the best reaction. I’m going to go send it out to two hundred people, one hundred people get one, one hundred people get the other. From there I’ll see which one gets the best results. Now I’ll ask the two lines at the back, sit down please.
Now I send the winner to the remainder of you guys, eight hundred people. Of that, only about two hundred people are going to open. So, everyone but the front two lines stay standing. Sorry, front two stay standing, everyone else sit down please.
Of those two hundred about eight will click, so I’ll just ask this line here to stay standing, everyone else sit down.
Of those eight, only about one will buy and for the purposes here, that’s Des at the end here, now Des has just sold a day’s worth of consulting through that sales email. And probably cheap, I know Des, what you charge a thousand Euros for a day’s consulting , excellent value by the way. Now, he just spent ten Euros on that email, send it out and he’s just earned one thousand Euros from it. That’s a typical example of a sales email from a database that you’re keeping current and you’re keeping in that marketing loop. I’m going to say if you’re not getting at least that, you have a few problems.
An econsultancy.com survey, this year, they surveyed all their members and they went out and surveyed people on the street, and they placed email ROI second behind organic SEO which I think I covered earlier.
Stalk your subscribers!
There’s an amazing amount of information you can get on your subscribers. We talked earlier about Flowtown.com and how you can guess where else they populate on the web. Through your email statistics and tracking, so that sales email you sent out, you can see how many people opened it, who opened it, when they opened it, any bounces any dead emails in there. That’s hugely valuable data. There’s a company I heard of recently and they were sending out targeted emails and they’re actually tracking the time that you opened that email. They’ll send out any future offers based on that time, because they know generally you’re sitting in front of the computer at that time and are more likely to react.
Automate your email as much as possible. We all don’t have a lot of time. This is behind the curtain of our own web app and so we’ve built our own auto-responder system, and in it we can set up emails so any interaction a user has on our system, gets tracked and can trigger an automatic email. So they’ve just signed up, the system can send an automatic email. They’ve signed up but they haven’t checked out the system in a couple of months, we can send out an email. They just bought, we can send out an email with other items they might also be interested in buying, based on that. The value in a relatively simple system is immense to your business. You can build your own, there are systems out there that you can use as well, auto-responder systems that don’t necessarily give you the same flexibility as if you built your own, but can be a starting point. An example from DropBox, you haven’t used our system in a while, can we help you, anything we can do. You’ve just bought a room at the Luxor hotel, why not try our restaurant as well, as you’re in the buying mood if you buy now instead of when you arrive you get a discount.
Re-marketing, now this is a new area for , I would say, and it’s something that I’m getting very very excited about. Re-marketing is, touched on earlier, but tracking a user through your system. Track a user through your shopping cart system right. As early in the process as you can get a contact detail for that user, and if they drop out during the checkout process, for any reason, follow-up with them and ask why. Eight-seven percent of consumers abandoned carts, but only five percent say they will return to complete the purchase, but you should instigate that return with a very simple email. So, we’ve seen sales funnels earlier, at the end of the sales funnel, during the checkout process, that’s where you’ll see at the drop-outs. But there’s no reason you can’t track what they put in their shopping cart system and at what point the dropped out. If two hours later and you see they still haven’t completed the checkout process, fire out an email and say your shopping cart is just about to expire, return quickly and complete the purchase. Or if you know they’re definitely not going to return and pay the same price, offer them a discount. We’re not offering fifteen percent off, it just happens to be the same item you were looking at. Do you want to buy now? You can see a lift in probably about twenty-five percent of sales just through that technique alone, it’s well worth looking at.
A few examples, Skin Store thank you for your recent visit, you left some items in your bag, as a courtesy we saved those items for seven days. Click here to view your shopping cart.
So that’s a quick overview of email and possibilities of email marketing and email sales. I heavily suggest you look into it directly, there are huge opportunities. Email has been consistent over the last umpteen years in making money for business.
Social is shiny and email is money.
All right, thank you all.