Welcome to the Marketing in the Wild podcast. I’m Julia from Stratos Creative Marketing, where we are obsessed with finding real-life examples of the good, the bad, and sometimes wild, in marketing.

Hi Marketing in the Wild friends! Welcome back for this week’s episode. This week, I am talking about email marketing and don’t like, don’t let your eyes glaze over. It’ll be really good, really useful. But the reason I picked this as a topic is because I keep on seeing these articles and blogs being written by famous, I would say famous marketers like Amy Porterfield, Jenna Kutcher, people like that, who a lot of us probably follow for tips and tricks on marketing. 

And they’re all answering this question that says, “Is email marketing dead?” And they say, and I agree with them, that it is not dead, but I wanted to add a little bit, maybe like my 2 cents to the conversation with some personal experiences, stories that really motivate me to do a better job with email marketing. And I’m hoping that they’ll help you.

I’m going to tell you a few stories, share some principles, and hopefully they’ll help you. But also if you have any questions about email marketing, know that me and my team, we’re always happy to talk, even to just help you brainstorm. 

So here are my principles. Principle number one: it’s all about the long-game.

Email marketing is a hundred percent dead, in my opinion, if you don’t work it for the long term. Whether you choose to do a monthly email, a weekly email, whatever you choose, do it and stay consistent. I can tell you this happened to me and I’m super grateful for it. Because we stayed consistent. We actually had somebody who emailed us back early on and asked us to do an inquiry and then a consultation, and then they became a client.

So let me tell you this story, way back when I first started, I started taking on some random speaking events. Our target audience is not necessarily nonprofits, but we do work with them, but I was invited to come and speak at a conference for nonprofit leaders. And I spoke about marketing and how they could use social media, gave them a bunch of practical tips.

There are maybe 20 or 30 people in the room. And so at the end, I always offer a freebie in exchange for people’s emails, so that then I can keep up with them. So that’s another side note, make sure that you are growing your email list. We’ll talk about that in a second. But I had maybe 20, 25 people sign up for my email list, which felt great. Mind you, they didn’t know this, but I probably only had 20 other people on my email list. So at this point we were sending out weekly emails to 40 or 50 people. So not very much. And there were plenty of times that I would question our efforts, my team and I’s efforts. Is this really worth it? 

Three months, I kid you not, after this speaking engagement, one of the attendees from the speaking engagement emailed me and then signed an 18-month contract for a grant that they had been included on.

So that’s where I’m telling you. It is not about the short game. If you send out an email expecting immediate responses, you may be, maybe not, but maybe sorely disappointed, especially at the beginning. 

So my second principle is don’t agonize about the numbers. Whatever software you use, whether you’re using MailerLite, MailChimp, Constant Contact, whatever it is, they’ll give you stats, but don’t agonize about the numbers.

In my opinion, if you have people who unsubscribe, that is good. That is totally fine. Because number one, if they unsubscribe, it means that they weren’t your audience. If you have your messaging dialed in and people unsubscribe, those unsubscribes are not your audience. Don’t worry about them. Plus it’ll help make your open rate and your click rate more accurate because then you’re not having people on your list who are not ever going to be interested in you.

The open rates are important to look at, but just remember I have clients ask me, “Oh my gosh, I got a 30% open rate. Is that good?” I’m like, “Yes. So good. It is so good!” MailChimp will tell you their average for open rates is 21.3% cross industries. Constant Contact says theirs is 25% across their industries, but look up your industry to find out what is the typical open rate. So that way you have a benchmark to look at. A lot of our clients have really spectacular open rates compared to their industry. They just don’t realize it and they’re disappointed that they’re not getting a hundred percent.

But here’s the thing, is people hang out on email lists, even if they’re not going to buy right then in there. I’m going to use my husband as an example, my husband uses a C-PAP, sorry to out you, babe. But he uses a C-PAP and so he gets an annoying amount of emails from this company that sells C-PAP parts. It’s actually quite obnoxious, but mind you, he stays subscribed because the moment that he needs some equipment, he can find a discount code in one of those emails. They send out discount codes, like almost weekly, maybe even more than once a week. But he can go back into his email, find the emails about the C-PAP machine and then get everything on discount. 

And so he finds it valuable to stay subscribed. Does he open them every day? No. Sometimes he just deletes them the moment they hit his inbox, but he would rather stay subscribed for the day that he does need it. And that C-PAP organization is going to get more and more authority in his mind because he is seeing their name in his email inbox every day. 

Would I recommend that you send out a daily email, if you are selling a C-PAP machine supplies? Maybe not, but keep in mind that just because people aren’t opening your emails doesn’t mean that they don’t want them.


Guys, I hate to interrupt this podcast, but I want to share a quick message about a resource we have here at Stratos for you.  

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That leads me to my next principle, our third principle, is to make sure the content is good. Make sure your sales emails are good. Make sure your nurture emails are good. Make sure you have a balance of them. Don’t only sell all the time. Provide some good, valuable content via nurture emails so people appreciate you and you create goodwill with them.

And most of all, make sure your subject lines are really good and they explain what is the content of the email. So, for example, if there’s a sale going on, make sure you put “sale” so that the people who have been hanging out on your email list, waiting for a sale, know they need to open that email.

Our fourth principle is: keep filling up your email list.

I already mentioned one way that I’ve done it is through public speaking. Another way is through ads. We do this for a lot of our clients and for ourselves, we love this. We actually combine, we have a lead generation machine. We combine social media plus social ads plus email to create this machine that helps people sell their products and their services.

But keep filling your email list, because, this is the problem, is that eventually you will have a stale list if you’re not growing it. And so your open rates might continue to drop. And so you need to have new people that you’re serving up good content to. 

And so here’s like another story. This is one of my favorite ones, because I got to see the power of email marketing work. So we had a client come to us. They had 6,000 people on their list, but this is the problem, is if we think about that last principle, keeping your email list fresh, like filling it up over and over again, they had not been doing that for over a year and a half.

And it also hadn’t been consistent. Remember, it’s also all about the long game. And so they had not been consistent either. And so they had an event coming up. They had zero signups. And so we were facing two problems. They didn’t have a fresh list. They don’t have new people coming in. They haven’t been focused on the long game. And while I will say don’t agonize about their number, about your number, they’re open rates were starting to plummet. 

And so what we did is we created a really good email, just like our principle three: creating really good content. We made sure that subject line said “Last chance for an event.” If you use the words, if you have something that can be a last chance, make sure you use those words “Last chance.” People are more likely to open it. 

And so we put “last chance” for this event. It was a Q and A. And within 24 hours, we were seeing, we sent maybe two emails that were last chance emails, we saw 20 people sign up and that’s pretty incredible. I was pretty proud of us because their email list was stale. It wasn’t dead, but it was stale because they hadn’t been filling it. They also weren’t practicing principle #1, all about the long game. And the content that they did send out on occasion wasn’t good content. And so that’s the thing guys, is if you combine these principles, principle of being consistent, because it’s all about the long game, not agonizing about numbers over and over again, balancing your sales, nurture, creating good content. and continually filling your email list, you will see that email marketing will deliver for you. 

It may take awhile. Remember, this is all, it’s all about the long game, but email marketing isn’t dead if you work email marketing right. Let me tell you it is not easy. It can be really discouraging because you will see the results right away.

But once you start seeing those results, once you start seeing how our client had 20 sign-ups within 24 hours for their event that had zero signups, once you start seeing people open your emails because you’re running sales, even though they haven’t opened your emails in a while, once you start getting inquiries from people that you’ve met three months ago, and then finally they’re signing up for something, or finally they’re emailing you back because they are interested, you are going to be so thankful that you started email marketing now and not later.

So like I said earlier, if you have questions or if you need to brainstorm what your email marketing should look like, please reach out to us. We love talking about email marketing. It’s one of our zones of nerdiness. And so we would be happy to talk to you about how to get those open rates up, but how to get those unsubscribes down, if that’s what we need to do, how to create good content, how to fill up your email list, and how to persevere even when email marketing feels like it’s dead. 

Again, I hope this was helpful. I hope that you are able to take something away from these principles because I clearly am nerdy and get passionate about email, but I really want everybody who listens to this podcast to also see the benefits that we have seen.

All right, guys. Well, I will talk to you next week. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about email marketing.