Chad S. White
Email Marketing Rules
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I think that’s the really important thing that a lot of brands lose is you see a lot of advice on the web telling you like, oh, you need to be driving revenue or Opens aren’t important. It should really driving clicks. Focus in on what it is that your business does, and an email should be amplifying that.
So should always be aligning to your business and recognizing how your business might be fundamentally different. From a lot of other businesses, and so your KPIs are gonna be totally different.
Hi, and welcome to the 91 Day Success podcast. I’m Jonathan, and I am thrilled today to be sitting here with Chad White. Chad is one of the foremost email marketing experts that I know of. And candidly, I met Chad online and had the opportunity to read a couple of his books, and I was so impressed. I wanted to bring him on to the podcast to introduce him to you guys and give you a chance to learn some of just the tremendous insights that Chad has as it comes to email marketing.
Chad, instead of me telling him about you, if you would take a moment and give us the elevator pitch of who is Chad White and how did you get to where you are today, and why should we listen to you when it comes to email marketing? Sure. First, thanks for having me on the podcast. I’m very happy to be here.
So my name is Chad White. I’m the head of research at Oracle Marketing Consulting. It’s a global, full service digital marketing agency, and my role there is dual facing. I get to help a lot of our clients and help our consultants, help our clients, but then I also get to do a lot of content marketing and thought leadership, getting our thoughts and opinions out into the marketplace because we’re a people business and we’re an idea business.
And I am super privileged to be able to stand on the shoulders of tons of other super smart people and work with them to mold a collective sort of point of view and to get ideas out there. And in our space, we do a ton of work in marketing, but we also do some other digital marketing work as well. And there’s just been a tremendous amount of change that’s been thrown at us over the years, and that’s a thing that really gets me excited.
So my, my, my initial professional career was I was a journalist, I was a reporter and a managing editor at Dow Jones and at Conde Nest. And I think I still have that sort of journalist mentality. I’m always looking for the next news story, the new wrinkle, the thing that’s different to help folks do a better job.
And for me, My transition from journalism into the marketing space was back in the mid two thousands when my brother started a blog, and being a younger competitive brother, I said, If my brother can do it, I can do it and I’ll try to do it even better. So I started this thing called the retail email blog, and I started following over a hundred of the top online retailers, email marketing programs, and blogging about what they were doing every day, essentially six days a week.
And I did that for eight and a half years. And that was how I got into the email marketing space and really seeped into it. I was doing some email stuff before that, so obviously I had an interest. But that was really how I got into it and it’s, I think it goes to that idea of the 10,000 hours. I used to joke that, look at a hundred thousand emails and you’ll know a lot about email marketing and get really good idea about what works, what doesn’t work, what’s a good design, what’s good messaging and, so that was my entree into the field and very quickly, Got plugged into a lot of consultants and doing a lot of research and never looked back a great, it’s an awesome move for me.
That happened just very organically. But yeah, that’s how I got into it and what I’ve been doing and along the way, wrote some books about email marketing, which is a whole different story, which I’m also happy to talk about. Actually, it’s one of the things I was gonna ask about. So how did you transition Chad from that role as a consultant into an author?
Because your current email marketing books are certainly not your first and the only ones. How do you make that transition? And I think I know why you’re updating them regularly, but if you can tell the audience why is it so important that you’re updating them as frequently as you are? Yeah, so honestly, the book.
Organically rose out of what I was doing. And there the catalyst was that I was really ticked off of, people started saying this thing like back in 2011, 2010, they started saying this thing that like best practices are practices that are best for your business, and things like that, that I like just intensely disagree with.
I believe firmly that best practices would exist at the industry level. Absolutely. This is like the crowd wisdom. This is, especially in the EMA marketing space, it’s determined by what consumers think is generally best and also what inbox providers believe is generally best. So you’ve got a lot of constituents to deal with and then what your peers are doing, like all of that creates this sort of group.
Think about how things should be, how things should work, and I got really ticked up that people were like, really? Dissing best practices and making it sound like you can just do whatever you want because well, you absolutely can do whatever you want. You have to recognize that some of the things you do go against the green of what consumers expect, what inbox providers expect, what regulators expect.
So that is like super important. So that was the, that was my motivation to first. The first edition of UN Marketing Roles, and that was back in 2013, so 10 years ago. And I had some advantages in that. I, in my previous life, had worked in a couple of book publishers. I was familiar with how book publishing works, and so that gave me a lot of confidence to do it.
But your other question is why have I updated it and there Yeah, it’s. Twofold. So yeah, I have done four editions now. So just last month released the fourth edition of You Marketing Rules, which is now a two volume set, just chalk bowl of greatness. Very comprehensive. But the reason that I’ve updated it over the years, this sort of is twofold.
First, I realized that there was more I could say and there were more things that I was learning. So that was probably the big motivator for the second and third edition came out pretty quickly, so it’s been almost six years since the third edition. So a pretty big span in between. But the second edition, I think came out like 18 months after the first edition and the third edition came out like two and a half years after that.
And that was mainly me realizing, I could say more, me realizing that there was more areas of new marketing that I could address that I hadn’t. And that certainly happened with the fourth edition too. I’ve, I continue to learn, which is, again, as a journalist, like I’m all about absorbing new information.
But the second factor, which definitely has played a lot into the fourth edition, is that there’s just a lot of industry changes. There are a lot of things that have happened since 2017 when I released the third edition. Dark mode didn’t exist. Generative AI didn’t exist. Beanie didn’t exist. Apples male privacy protection didn’t exist.
That was a big one. I had started to make some updates and that one hit and I had to pause what I was doing and really get a good grip on, alright, how is this kind of changing the industry before I could then pick up, pick back up on the writing. So there’s been just a tons of big changes. Gdpr, c, cpa, I know I throwing a lot of acronyms at you, but a lot of.
These substantial changes have happened in the past six years that I needed to reflect upon in, in the new edition. It really is a combination of those two things. Me learning a lot more and there being industry changes and, there was all other like changes along the way. For instance, one of the things that’s new about the fourth edition is that I’ve now added exercises to all of the rules.
So there’s now 184 tactical rules that you should follow or are highly recommended. And now I’ve added a little over 200 exercises that help you put those rules into practice in your business, in your organization, and that was an element that I didn’t have before. Lots of reasons for the changes that the big ones being lots of industry changes and me just learning more as an emo market, as a consultant.
And being able to communicate that better. I’m all about iteration. Absolutely. Again, and kudos to that. I think that’s great. You, as you went through, you did throw out a lot of acronyms. I’m glad I knew all about one of them, but I know some of our audience is not as familiar with email marketing. Let’s take a step back if we can for just a moment, Chad, and talk about why from your perspective, Not only what is email marketing, and I think that’s probably worth just commenting on, but then why is it so important for businesses in 2023 to still be doing email, something that we’ve been doing now for decades?
Yeah, and it definitely gets a little bit of a, oh gosh, email marketing is so old feel, but hopefully I’ve already started to convince people that there’s just been tons of changes. It’s a rapidly evolving channel that likes to absorb all the trends that. Impact a lot of other channels too. But to boil it down to its core marketing is a permission-based relationship marketing channel.
And the thing that I think makes it super special is that it has a lot of really unique capabilities. It can, first of all, practically, everybody has an email address and it also, that email address tends to be really core to how they function in an e-commerce world. Like it’s their identifier for a lot of their accounts.
All of their receipts go there. It’s just like a really key part of how people move around in the internet world, but it also has rich content. You can send video and pictures and all kinds of interactive stuff that you can do in email. You can send segmented emails and personalized emails. You can automate emails, so lots of.
Really targeted capabilities. But the thing that gets me the most excited about sort of its future and its sort of longevity, and the reason why I think that it’s not really going anywhere is that it continues to be a very powerful, open platform. Everything that’s come along and tried to challenge email and it’s clan that they’re gonna kill email and then close gardens.
Facebook Messenger and Twitter. And I even heard what I like. That RSS was supposed to kill email. Just crazy. Oh wow. And Slack, which said that they were gonna kill email. All these things are closed systems that are owned and operated by one company and email marketing doesn’t work that way, or the email channel doesn’t work that way.
Apple, Gmail. Microsoft, Yahoo. And then around the world, tons of other brands have collective control over this channel, and that makes it really stable and really inexpensive to access, which is super key. So the rules don’t chain a ton compared to other channels. We see right now Twitter changing the rules practically every day, how it’s gonna operate.
And it’s caused a lot of brands to rethink. How they, even if they even want to beat on Twitter, and some of them are walking away from 10 plus years of investment in that channel, which is rough, really rough. And so I think EMA marketing is amazing in that it is so much more stable and for individuals, it’s a great place to invest themselves because it’s likely to be around for a long time to come.
Unlike a lot of these closed gardens. Yeah. Really good explanation. I know for years, Chad, I’ve been telling our customers that email marketing probably has the best return on investment of any of your marketing simply because it is low cost. But that always brings up the question about what should we be measuring to measure the success of an email marketing campaign, and what metrics should a business be paying attention to?
Yeah. So I wanna go back to the, your statement about R roi. Sure. Cause I think that’s really important. This is something that I think a lot of folks in the email market industry love to just wave around, like a very proud flag and it is something that we should be proud of. But I think something gives like way too much meaning to it.
And generally you’re probably gonna see that folks say that. You get like a 40 to one return or a 36 to one return on your email marketing investments. So for every dollar to invest, you get 36 back. Something like that. Some people brag of having programs to generate a hundred dollars for every $1 they invest.
And my general sentiment when I that wave from round is, first of all, it should give great confidence, but this is a really good channel to invest in, especially when you compare it to things like radio. Or television No slower, where the returns are way lower, put it mildly. But I think the thing that makes me really sad is that people settle for that and I think, oh, that’s a good point.
I think there’s really nothing sadder than when I hear brands bragging about getting like an 80 to one or a 90 to one return. To me, that’s a sign that you. Are drastically doing it wrong. Like you’re drastically underinvesting, right? So you’re grabbing a lot of the low hanging fruit to get to some kind of a great ROI like that.
But then you’re stopping. And what I like to compare it to is if you were to go to Vegas and you sat down in front of a slot machine, a penny slot, and you were dropping your pennies in, and you dropped down a hundred pennies and you’ve got a hundred dollars back, For your hundred pennies. It sounds like a lot of brands are then just saying, wow, that’s great, and just like getting up and walking away from that machine and, but I would argue that you should keep your butt planted in that machine and be investing more and more until that return comes down to something much more reasonable.
In terms of marketing terms. Drive that down two to $20. For every dollar test. And so do more of that long tail work, more optimizing, more testing that will generate these incremental returns that maybe you’re not as great as you were getting at a hundred to one, but drive to the other side of that ROI curve.
So I think that’s one of the things that people just chronically get wrong about marketing is that they settle for good enough, that they settle for. This is so much better than some of our other channels. Let’s stop here. I see. And I think there’s just so much more that we could do to make these experiences way better.
So I wanted some, A great insight. Great. That’s insight, but let, good one. You were talking about metrics and MA metrics. Yeah. And what should people do? So I think here is another place where a lot of brands get very confused because they lose themselves. They lose what their business goals are. And in my mind, there’s really four big sort of buckets of businesses that operate in the email marketing space.
So there’s one there’s, revenue driven businesses, so those are like retailers, like their email programs should be trying to drive purchases more revenue. And so that’s one. There’s B2B brands, they’re generally trying to drive leads. That’s a completely different mechanism. They’re trying to drive up their lead scores and then get warm people up to the point where they can hand ’em off to a salesperson.
So that’s a completely different mode of operating. There’s subscription-based services and SaaS companies, their main thing is they want to retain people, right? Their businesses run on retention. That’s where almost all the money is acquisition tiny. For very young companies all about retention. That’s different metrics entirely that you would want to use to make sure you’re retaining people.
And then the fourth business model is what I would call like engagement based programs, and that’s things like media companies and C P G companies where they’re either advertising driven or their business is, their email program is. Separate from the points of fulfillment. So again, C PPG for companies are like a really good one.
Yep, absolutely. They’re not direct selling, so their metrics are different. And so I think that’s the really important thing that a lot of brands lose is you see a lot of advice on the web telling you like, oh, you need to be driving revenue or Opens aren’t important. It should really driving clicks.
Focus in on what it is that your business does and an email. Should be amplifying that. So should always be aligning to your business and recognizing how your business might be fundamentally different from a lot of other businesses. And so your KPIs are gonna be totally different. It’s really good points and I appreciate your perspective on that.
Even I admit, I have not thought of a lot of that. I’ve never really given thought back to what you were talking about, the difference. Between the customers that we tend to work with similar customers all the time, and therefore we don’t think about that. You’re right, totally different objectives depending upon what type of model you’re at and where you’re at.
That brings to mind. I know some people that are watching right now are going, okay, this is all great. I love it. Email marketing sounds like I can get a great return, but what do I do? How do I use it to build relationships? How do I use it to increase that customer engagement? Any quick hints or ideas?
That you think the average business could benefit from their chat? Yeah, so again, I do think it goes back to those four big bucket buckets of business models, really understanding what it is you’re trying to accomplish. If you are, if you’re a retailer or an e-commerce company you’re trying to drive that next purchase.
And if you do some analysis, you probably have some very concrete goals. About around what makes a good customer, right? You’ll try to find those behaviors that separate like an okay customer or a one-time customer from a great repeat customer. And email marketing can be fantastic at nudging on those behaviors to try to flip people from.
Be a one-time customer into a strong multi-time customer and figuring out what it is for different customers that come in through different acquisition sources, understand what it is that you need to do. But I think more generally speaking, what’s about understanding their needs on an ongoing basis.
I’m a big believer that email marketing is a dialogue or should be a dialogue. I think there are some mail streams where it. It makes sense just to give everybody the same thing to media companies. Everybody should get the same thing, especially it’s very tailored, but in general, I feel very strongly email marketing is a dialogue, and so you should be paying attention to how your individual subscribers are responding to your messages, and then look for opportunities.
To then extend that their interest. So if they’re clicking on certain kinds of content in your emails, you give them more of that, or you send them a segmented email or an automated email that then extends that conversation in the direction that they’ve expressed an interest in. With things like E to B brands, you get more successful by understanding what are those things that create interests.
What goes, takes a cold lead. Makes them warm, makes ’em hot. What are those various things? And using your email program to try to nudge people in that direction, respecting that everybody has their own sort of path that they’re going to choose. But always presenting those different paths. So having things like a high consideration and a low consideration cta.
So like a low consideration CTA would be to like watch a video maybe. Whereas a high consideration CTA would be like to book a demo or book a meeting. So always feeling people out with your messaging to see where are they. That’s the super important thing is to use email to figure out where is the subscriber right now?
How can I meet them where they are? And so my next message to further that relationship. Oh no, it’s so interesting you chat about that. It makes me think of. The old days of personalization and I, you and I talked a little bit upfront about that. Personalization used to mean I was gonna put hi Jonathan or Hi chat at the beginning of the email and that was personalization.
And nowadays with the tools that are available, even to people that don’t have a lot through the email automation tools and things like that, the ability to say, okay, if somebody watches this video, I wanna move them into this campaign, or if somebody clicks on this link, I wanna send them more information about that.
The tools that are available just so far surpass that and I think make that whole process of engagement more real for a business because we can personalize that interaction and like you said, make it more of a dialogue. So I love that. That’s great. Yeah. And we’re still early days on personalization. Oh yeah.
I feel like we’ve been talking about this for so long and, Jonathan, you’re completely right. It used to be that the word personalization in email marketing meant putting someone’s first team in the U of S. We’ve evolved so far beyond that and we’re just begun that the personalization opportunities in the future are still just enormous and growing.
So that’s one of the areas I think is really interesting. I guess the other thing I would say about personalization is that, I like to talk about big P personalization and small P personalization. I feel like this is a word that has become a little stretched and so makes sense. Like true personalization is when you are tailoring the content of your messages in some way.
You’re changing up the content for a particular subscriber. So yeah, it could be a first name mail merch, but probably is something like, Product recommendations or content recommendations tailored to that individual. It could mean that you’re putting in different content blocks. It could mean that a dashboard that has their reward points in there or their status as a airline customer or whatever it might be.
But so that’s Big P personalization. But I feel like today we also talk a lot about small p personalization, which is all the other ways. So you can tailor content, language localization. Segmentation automation, send time optimization, subject line optimization, all the different ways. And certainly with things like generative ai now coming onto the scene there’s folks talking about, oh geez, can we personalize the vernacular of our messages so that they connect with the vernacular that our subscriber uses based on like their. Communications with our support team or other types of like communications we have from them, which I’m not saying that’s a good thing to do necessarily, but those are the kinds of things that we’re now talking about having the potential to be able to do.
And then we just need to eventually test and see if that moves the needle or if it’s just mega. Oh no, but it, I think you’re right. I think AI is gonna really bring. Some tremendous new opportunities. Some of those will work really well. Some of those will fall flat, but I think we’re definitely entering an era where we’re going to see a lot more uniqueness coming through in our email as companies are trying to figure out how does this generative AI allow me to customize those messages in a way that resonates, whether it’s using, like you said, they’re vernacular or just terms about as simple as.
The city that I live in, if I can reference something that’s happening or about that city because I know where they’re at, and AI can do that automatically, how much does that make a better connection? I don’t know the answer, but I think we’re gonna see a lot of TR trial and error there in the near future.
Definitely. I’m more optimistic about generative AI in other capacities. Yeah. Being like an assistant for writing or. Doing some adaptation of writing. Yep. So personalizing to industry or things like that. But I feel like a lot of it will be done like behind the scenes. Absolutely. In the email marketer’s hands, and not necessarily in the way I keep hearing it talked about as though chat is gonna be writing the email based on some prompts and you’ll send that out like site unseen.
I don’t think that’s actually going to be common anytime soon, but there’s tremendous potential. And obviously just ungodly amount of money being invested in these tools, right? Oh yeah. Yeah. Microsoft alone investing over a 10, 10 billion. Billion, yeah. And that’s just their latest round. I. Really fascinating to see how the capabilities grow and also how the business models mature.
I think that’s the other thing that people are thrown off by. They think that absolutely is gonna be free or low cost forever. I don’t think that’s true. Maybe CHATT free will continue to be free for a long time, but while they continue to move on to the other iterations, Yeah, that could be possible, but I don’t think that’s the tool that people are gonna want to use when chat G P T seven is out.
Yeah. I’ll compare it to my iPhone, that iPhone seven was great when it came out, and it’s really expensive to buy a refurb one nowadays, but it doesn’t compare with the 14th. And if you want those features, it’s gonna cost some more money. No, I think you’re absolutely right. Chad, what type of mistakes do you see businesses making regularly?
With their email marketing. And are there any two or three things that they should be looking to avoid when it comes to those mistakes? Yeah, so we’ve already talked a little bit about like the roi. Yeah, that’s a good one. And I, feel like probably the biggest mistake that everybody made is at the underinvest, but I feel like I’ve already banged on that nail quite a lot.
That’s kidding. I think the second thing I would say is that they misunderstand how to use metrics or they misunderstand what the metrics are telling them. And I think one of the, for me, one of my biggest bugaboos is, using open rates to judge the success of a subject line. Lots of you know, marketers think that is what you should be doing because they wanna optimize the funnel in stages.
Right? So they wanna say, oh, you’re getting the email, you’re looking at the envelope content, and that subject line is super important. Let me optimize that so I can maximize the number of openers that I get, right? And then I’ll move on and I’ll optimize the body content and maximize the number of clickers coming through, and then I’ll maximize the landing page to maximize conversions.
And the flaw in that thinking is that it doesn’t operate in separate. Stages, it’s all one funnel. And so who enters the top of that funnel is absolutely critical to what happens at the bottom of the funnel. Don’t want merely curious people opening up your email. You want people to open your email that are gonna convert.
And so you want people to understand what that email is about and to self-select. Into that funnel. Yes. Yes. And so you want good alignment all the way down. And when you optimize for opens, it causes you to engage in behaviors that go after curious people. So your subject lines start to get vague. They start to get cause lever, sorry.
I love that, Chad, because I, it’s, we even talked about clients that have in their general marketing, get people to select out of your offer because if you can get the people that are not as qualified to select out of your offer, even if you’re, like you said, your open rate’s lower. If I can get 80% of those opens to convert, and it was half as many people that opened it.
When I got 10% to converge, I still won. The business did better. We got more conversions, we got more sales. That’s just absolute goal. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah, always look as far down the funnel as you possibly can, as it makes reasonable sense and judge success based on that of all the elements in your email and especially the subject line.
I think the other big thing that I see folks doing wrong is around automated messages. These campaigns have been lauded for immemorial as being said it and forget it, and that’s been like, like a pitch point. And I think it’s been a disastrously successful way to pitch these emails because it absolutely made a ton of brands set up lots of trigger campaigns, which are amazing, super duper ROI on pretty much any automation you can set up.
So it’s been wildly successful in terms of encouraging people to set up automations, but it is set. All of the wrong expectations for how to have long-term success with automations. These are living, breathing campaigns. They exist over long periods of time, and if you neglect them, these creatures don’t do well.
They break down. They start to not do the things you want them to do. And so one of the best things you can do, especially if you have a lot of automations already set up, is to go back, do an inventory, And then start to do some simple qa. Are they still working? Are all the images still functional? Are they linking to links that work?
And then you can start to a deeper check, oh wait, should it be linking to that link that still works? Is that the right image? Is that the right language? That should be in there. And do some AB testing. Do some seasonal optimization. I love anchoring automation. In the time. So if you’re a retailer going into the holiday season, your welcome email should probably speak to people a little bit differently than if that welcome email were going out in March.
Absolutely. Because they’re there for a particular purpose, most likely. And the same thing for other brands too. Figure out what your peak seasons are. Probably wanna change that. Welcome to really. Drive and connect with where people are right now. Why are they subscribing right now? If there’s a reason for why they would subscribe today, you should be trying to amplify that reason and better connect with them.
So lots of opportunities to optimize to seasonally optimize, do those AB testing. And to just generally keep on top of these messages to make sure that they’re really doing what you want them to do. And I think a lot of brands had a big wake up call in the early months of the pandemic when they realized that some of these automations were saying things that were suddenly very insensitive or not on brand or not connecting.
Absolutely. People work and I think that since then, people are more in tune to this need, but. Don’t let that pandemic mentality go away. Like when we did, I think just a fantastic job as an industry, really reconnecting with our customers. Don’t lose that need to constantly be paying attention to these messages and trying to make them a little bit better, a little bit better.
Because what are the fantastic things about these emails is that their ROIs are so huge that get even just a little bit more, it turns into a lot more money in your pocket. Oh, great advice. One other, I’ve got a couple other questions, but one that I’ve been waiting to ask for a long time, and it’s something I hear from almost every customer that I talk to in the marketing business wants to know how do I get my emails to show up in their inbox and not their spam folders?
Do you have any insights at all to help the average business owner and people like me to go. I know there’s a lot of technical things to do, but at the end of the day, what should we be doing to make sure that these messages are ending up in their inbox? Yeah, so there definitely are a lot of technics to do things like authentication.
Super duper important saying email service provider, that’s important, but by and large there’s lots of different factors. But I think the two biggest factors now that are really important are spam complaints and engagement. So spam complaints are, key, I think, early in the relationship. So making sure you have good permission, good expectation settings.
So there aren’t any surprises. People aren’t getting emails that they’re expecting to get that keeps those spam complaints low. And the second one being engagement, which is just massively important today, which is why it’s so devastating that Apple is now obscuring opens with all these fake opens from mpp.
Making it really tough for brands to do the right thing. Engagement has been important for over a decade now, and it’s really like the number one way that you can make sure that your emails continue to have good deliverability and it’s just become a lot more complicated. But that’s certainly, that’s the second big one, is making sure people are engaging, making sure that they’re opening and as much as you can see, And also clicking, which has become kind of way more important since our visibility into opens is not so great.
And the other big change here is that reputations, center reputations are now not just attached to IP addresses, but also to domains. And the thing, and the reason why that’s important is because it’s now essentially impossible to run away from a bad reputation. It used to be that you could just scrap your IP addresses.
Move on to new ones, and you would just reboot your reputation, go to another e s P. Or if you change your IP addresses, it almost doesn’t matter anymore because your domain is stuck on your reputation. Your reputation is stuck on your domain. Yep. So unless you’re fundamentally changing your business and abandoning your, morales, you’re, that reputation’s gonna follow you.
So today more than ever, pays to things right. And pay attention to the basic. Like permission to make sure that you’re getting off on the right foot, and then later on respecting that when people don’t respond to your emails for a very long period of time, that they’ve withdrawn permission and you need to stop emailing them.
That’s an interesting one. And if I’m not mistaken, that’s something most male software nowadays is capable of helping the business and out with. Absolutely can monitor now and go, okay, we’ve been sending chatty emails for a year. He is not open to single one of ’em. It’s time to take him off the list or do something different to try to get him to reengage, but not just continue to leave him in the do not open status.
That’s right. And a lot of smaller brands won’t have nearly the deliverability troubles that larger brands will, because a lot of the smaller brands using ESP that are tailored for them, they’re. By and large, like insisting on double opt-in, which is the gold standard for permission. So that puts you in a safe position to start with.
They’re using shared IP addresses. They’re also taking care of a lot of that inactivity management and being pretty conservative, and so a lot of smaller brands aren’t gonna find that deliverability is a big issue for them. It’s only when you graduate. To like being a larger sender where you have a dedicated IP address and you have more control over where to draw the lines on inactivity and how you manage that, that you have more potential to get into trouble.
There’s more opportunity there, but there’s also a lot of opportunities to get into trouble and that’s, these are the kinds of clients that we have at Oracle Marketing Consulting. Our clients tend to be like among the biggest Oh, absolutely. And deliverability is a constant concern. It’s something they’re constantly monitoring and trying to make sure that they’re doing the best that they can while also maximizing revenue and engagement opportunities.
So it’s that balance between those two. No, very good point. The next question I want to ask you something I’ve got a very strong opinion about, but I, and I’m sure yours is identical, but I’d love to hear it from a third party. I was having breakfast yesterday with a client of ours. It’s been a long-term client and we hear this come up occasionally.
Hey, I just got contacted by a lead service provider and I can buy a list of verified email addresses. His, it was 12,000. He’s in they do queues and carpeting in churches and synagogues, and it was 12,000 churches and synagogues with. Their property manager’s email address, they’ve all been verified and it’s $15,000 and can I buy that and send out a bunch of emails?
And I said the answer is you can, but you shouldn’t. I’d love to. I’d love to get your perspective since just recently I’ve heard a lot more about that. I don’t know if it just happens to be the customers I’m talking to, or maybe there’s some new lead providers that are getting on the phones more all of a sudden.
But I’d love your perspective. And to hear what you have to say about that tactic. Yeah, so one of, one of my must follow rules in my book is not to buy email addresses and we’re not to partner for email addresses. Can’t buy permission. Yes, you can’t. You can buy email addresses, but you can’t buy permission.
And Frank, it’s. Just that simple. There’s no quicker way to flambe your business, emo marketing business Yeah. Than to buy a list. There’s just not, first of all, so many dangers around. Just the list providers themselves, like these lists. If you’re not spending a ton of money, it’s, and that’s also a red flag.
It also means that the, like those, email addresses are probably out of date. There’s probably roll addresses in there and there’s probably spam traps in there. So if you’re buying anything that seems like too good to be true, then you’ve absolutely are gonna destroy email program. But even buying high quality lists, it’s an uphill battle because now you’re forcing yourself into the offices of folks.
Imagine if you were just to show up at one of your prospects places of work and unannounced to say, I wanna see someone. Like, how would that go? It would not go well, right? Poorly. Yeah, that’s exactly true. Yeah. Very poorly. And that’s exactly how it’s gonna go. When you buy even a high quality list that isn’t full of all kinds of dangerous email addresses, you’re still like, You’re starting off on exactly the wrong foot because you’ve made it all about you and your needs and not about the other person that you’re trying to approach.
Now, I think I will say that one of the things that’s different here is that there are lots of opportunities, and especially in America, to still do cold outreach, right? It’s not illegal. To find someone’s email address on a website or on LinkedIn and reach out to them reached out to me. I did it. I didn’t.
That’s how you and I connected. Absolutely. And that’s totally fine. That’s fine. Everywhere. And just to be clear though, it’s only like bulk, bulk emailing folks that don’t have permission to send. That’s where it’s problematic, but that one-to-one cold outreach. Is totally fine. That’s totally fine. And so just to make sure that we’re talking about the same thing, but it’s when you do it in bulk, especially with purchases, that’s when you start to get into, make trouble.
And I’ll also say that here in America, it is not illegal to do that, as you pointed out. I do think eventually it will, I don’t think, agree that it’s too far in the future. This has been like a long brewing pride. We are now so out of sync with how Europe and the rest of the world functions, that it’s only a matter of time that it is going to be illegal in the US to buy list and, permission will be preeminent like it is in other developed First Nation.
Yeah. You know what I say to people is, yes. Legal Now you could do that, but why not use this time to get really good at permission based on marketing? Because eventually that’s the only email marketing there’s gonna be. I think the other point you made that I really like Chad, is that you talked about when we buy a list like that and we try to bulk send it out, it’s really all about us.
We’re not focusing on that consumer and a customer, and at the end of the day, if we’re not focused on them, they’re not gonna engage with us. They’re not gonna be working with us. We need to spend that time, even though different, when I reached out to you, although it was definitely cold, I still took enough time to read your books, read your blog, know what was going on.
It didn’t take tons of time, but it definitely. If we invested as a business a half hour into every single person we did cold outreach to, we’d get a lot different result than if we would, if we buy a list and we invest a half hour in 15,000 contacts. And that was only to import them into our system. So I think that was really insightful from my mind.
I think it’s great to hear you. It, really is about where is your focus and what are you focused on. And it becomes. Incredibly obvious in these messages I get, as you might imagine, not only a lot of cold outreach, but a lot of cold bulk outreach. And now granted I’m in the emo marketing space.
I think my sniffing is better than the average person, but it’s blatantly obvious and people I think in general are really smart. I think sometimes we’re incredibly insulting to people’s intelligence. People are really smart. They know. What it looks like when you’re trying and when you’re not. They know and it’s not gonna have success with that kind of way of operating.
No, totally agreed. Jeff, I am so grateful for all the wisdom you shared and I could probably go on for another hour with you. In fact, I may reach out and ask you to come back. So I’ve got a lot of other questions, but I wanna respect. Your time and I told you we’d take less than an hour and our audience’s time.
I would like to ask you one more question though before we end and you may wanna address this a little different. Some of my other guests have, cause I know you’re really in that consultant’s role, but we call it the 91 Day Success podcast because we know a lot of our entrepreneurs and business leaders that are, with us, are thinking about either starting new ventures or maybe in some cases going from management out on their own or whatever, and.
The question we ask you is real simple. If you had to start over and again, you may wanna treat this as a consulting advice, you had everything you have today except for your network of people, and you only had a thousand dollars, what would you focus on in the first three months, the first 91 days to start building up a successful business?
Yeah, so maybe this is like a little bit of a tired answer, but I. When I did get That’s fair where I am now, like the thing that’s amazing is, again, it was blogging, was this thing That was the change that allowed me to break out of the space that I was in. And back when I started blogging, plugging was still like relatively new.
Not everybody was doing it and that certainly helped me I think a little bit stand out, but the democratization. Of media is something that everybody should be just keenly aware of. You know that you can start your own media operations in print, via blogs and audio, via podcasts, on video, via YouTube.
You have just tons of mechanisms to get yourself out and to build a name for yourself and to create a brand. For yourself and for whatever business you wanna run. If I wanted to get to where I am now and be a consultant again, I think I would do a lot of the same thing to try to get my ideas out there and gain attention, and largely the same way that I did it.
Now, there’s just way more mechanisms to do it. Sure, Because social media is much more evolved and there’s things like TikTok. On, you have so many more vehicles. Whereas when I started, there were relatively vehicles, but now you tools are way cheaper, the mechanisms are way more varied, and so you can really find where your audience is and focus in on those.
So that’s what I would do. There’s still lots of opportunities for original ideas and passionate people, and there’s. Thankfully, lots of ways that you can get attention nowadays. Great advice. Great advice. I know that my team’s gotten a lot of information. We’re gonna put contacts to your books and that on the, podcast that people can see ’em.
If they’re listening and they say, wow, I wanna learn more about this. I’m thinking the best next step is probably to look and pick up your book, the email marketing rules, or I should say, books, notes. It’s two editions. Or two. Two set. Sorry. Volumes. Yep. Two volumes. Thank you. Yeah. What’s the best place for them to do that?
Is it Amazon, burns and Noble, wherever. What’s the best spot for them to go find those books and to pick those up? Chad? Yeah, go to Amazon and search for email marketing rules and that’ll come up. You can also go to my website, email marketing rules.com. Then you’ll find links there as well. Yeah, and if you are interested, I wanna encourage you, if you’ve found Chad’s advice, interesting.
You wanna learn how to maybe do better with email marketing for your business? Chad’s got an amazing blog. I also follow him on Twitter, and he shares some just amazing value there. Connect with him there. Buy the book. You’ll be making dramatic investment in your business. And Chad just shares this in awareness, especially in his latest volume.
Making it really easy to put this into practice through the exercise that he’s given and all that. I highly recommend it. So Chad, thank you again for being willing to join us today, spending time on the podcast. We really appreciate it. Any final words from you? No, thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.
Great conversation. I’d be happy to come back. I appreciate it. I’m, I’ll definitely reach out cause I’ve got some more questions if you’re stuck with us through the whole podcast. I want to thank you for listening and watching the podcast. If you know of any business leaders or experts like Chad that you’d like us to interview, refer ’em over to us or make a connection, we’d love to reach out.
Just like I reached out to Chad and said, Hey, let’s let’s bring you on and tell your story. So with that, everybody, make it a great day and we’ll see you on the other side.