It’s not enough to just be doing content and email marketing anymore. Those are merely the prerequisites to join the game.
To have a chance at succeeding, you must be doing more — and in this episode of The Digital Entrepreneur, we discuss what that looks like in the present and near future.
In this 29-minute episode, Brian Clark and Chris Garrett join Jerod Morris to discuss:
Listen to The Digital Entrepreneur below ...
Voiceover: You’re listening to the Digital Entrepreneur, the show for folks who want to discover smarter ways to create and sell profitable digital goods and services. This podcast is a production of Digital Commerce Institute, the place to be for digital entrepreneurs. DCI features an in-depth, ongoing instructional academy plus a live education and networking summit where entrepreneurs from across the globe meet in person. For more information go to Rainmaker.FM/digitalcommerce. That’s Rainmaker.FM/digitalcommerce.
Jerod Morris: Welcome back to the Digital entrepreneur. I’m your host Jerod Morris, the VP of Marketing for Rainmaker Digital. For those of you scoring at home, this is now episode number 21. I’m joined today by a couple of familiar voices. First we have Brian Clark, the Founder and CEO of Rainmaker Digital. Brian, welcome back to the show that you started.
Brian Clark: Do you really think people are scoring at home?
Jerod Morris: No, it’s a callback to an old Sport Center catchphrase. I’ve always wanted to say it.
Brian Clark: I do appreciate the reference, and I did get it.
Jerod Morris: We’ll see how many other people do. Now, a person who definitely did not get that reference. We also have Chris Garrett, the Chief Marketing Technologist at Rainmaker Digital. Chris, I hope this appearance helps cure your podcasting withdrawal symptoms that I’m sure you’re still going through.
Chris Garrett: Yes, that it does. And I can confirm, I did not get that reference.
Jerod Morris: Yes, that was a sport and goal reference.
Brian Clark: Inside baseball.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, I know.
Chris Garrett: I don’t even get inside baseball. I have to have somebody explain that one to me.
Jerod Morris: All righty. We are not going to talk about baseball today on this episode of the Digital Entrepreneur. We’re going to talk about email. We discussed this topic back when we did our five episode series on the elements of the modern marketing website a couple months ago. We’ll have that episode link for you in the show notes. Email actually kicked that series off. The episode was titled, “How Email (Still) Creates the Profit Engine of Your Digital Business.” If you are not yet convinced that you need to be building an email list, go back and listen to that episode and then get started building an email list.
For this episode we’re going to assume that you understand the importance of building an email list, are in fact already doing so, and are at that next-level stage where you’re looking to become more sophisticated with your email marketing. You’re working with autoresponders, you want to get into tagging and segmentation, and perhaps improve what you’re already doing in that area.
That’s our big idea today, which is to stress the importance of thinking in a more sophisticated and strategic way about what you’re doing with email. Also to discuss how we’re building these tools and features into the Rainmaker platform in a way that no one else has really done because of one key huge difference which we will get to here in a bit. First, Brian, I want to start off by asking you, why have tagging and segmentation become such essential elements of an email marketing campaign?
Brian Clark: It’s all about that providing a more personalized experience. When we’re putting together our email sequences everything depends on the action or inaction. There are usually a couple to several variables that are always at play. Isn’t it smarter to speak to someone based on what they actually do, what they show interest in, than some one-size-fits-all autoresponder stream? That worked great for me in 2001 to 2005, but we’re in a very different world now.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, we are. The message that you are delivering to your audience needs to adapt. We’ve talked about this idea of the right message for the right person at the right time, and that’s what this allows you to do. Chris, Brian and I were actually talking the other day about the difference between tagging and segmentation. What is that difference? Can you explain what tagging and segmentation actually are from a more technical standpoint and what the difference is between them?
Chris Garrett: Segmentation is what Brian has just talked about, talking to the people who are interested in the topic about that topic, and not sending them information that they’re clearly not interested in. You segment them. You put them into groups. So this group is interested in red widgets and this group is interested in blue widgets. You can do that by putting them on two different lists, or you can have one master list and add information about them. Brian is interested in basketball and Jerod is interested in football. It can be one list called “sports,” but that information about what they are interested in could be a tag. It could be a custom variable.
It’s a piece of information about that subscriber or that prospect. Back in the day, with the early sales CRM processes, you would say, “This is a prospect. This is a warm lead. This is a qualified lead.” You would say, “This person has shown interest. This person is ready to be closed.” That’s a piece of information about them. Just like you would tag a blog post to say it’s about science fiction or romance, you would tag a person to say, “This is what we know about them.”
Jerod Morris: It’s so important to be able to do this to have flexibility. I’ll give you an example from a project that I was working on with a certain email provider. I wanted a way to send messages to the people who visited — this was for The Assembly Call — people who watch the show the most. If people had visited that page ten times I would tag them a certain way, but I actually had to create a separate list for those people and send it to a separate list and pay separately for that list, as opposed to it just being a tag for those people, those subscribers all within my list already that I could just email.
Brian Clark: That’s what I have to do now, and I’m not shy, it’s AWeber. Chris, when are we moving me to Rainmaker? It’s so unwieldy when you have to create a new list.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, I hate it.
Brian Clark: It doesn’t make sense. And I think AWeber has some much more expensive advanced features that may include this, I’m not sure. But my opinion is, this is just email in 2016. This isn’t advanced email marketing. This is just email marketing. MailChimp and AWeber and all these people who are vanguards of the industry are saying, “Sure, we’ll sell you that for this much more.” I disagree with that approach, because I think everyone needs to be doing at least basic segmentation and tagging. It just makes much more sense than creating all these separate lists and, of course, being charged for them.
Chris Garrett: You want to be encouraged to do this. The more you know about your subscribers — the more you know about your customers, especially — the better you can provide the service to them that’s not annoying. It changes how you approach the copy as well, because if you’re sending an email saying, “You may have seen this,” or “I don’t know if you saw this what I’ve talked about last week,” it’s awkward, it’s clumsy. It’s a lot better to say, “You were on the webinar on July the 10th and we’re doing it again.” Being able to say, “I know this about you, therefore I know you will be interested.” Or, “We met at a conference in Denver,” instead of, “Did you see me in Denver?” You’re talking to a person instead of the group as a whole. When you’re talking to a person you get through to them better. You can include the things you know about them.
Brian Clark: Looking at it from a conversion standpoint, if I send out an offer email for a promo and someone clicks but doesn’t buy, that is an important piece of information compared to someone who either didn’t open the email or opened the email and didn’t bother to click. The first person is probably seriously thinking about it. They at least went to check it out.
That’s a very different message that I would send to that person compared to someone who doesn’t seem to be interested at all. Maybe they didn’t see it. With that person you can say, “Hey, did you see this email? Because you didn’t open it.” The person who saw it, clicked, and looked — that’s valuable information. What if you gave them some incentive to tell you why they didn’t buy? That’s incredible information in return that you would also get from knowing that.
Chris Garrett: Also, the majority of the people aren’t going to buy — 95% are not going to buy. If you only focus on the 5% who take the action, what about the majority? What about all the others who might be ready later? They might, as you say, have good reasons why they didn’t take action right now. There’s a lot of money and goodwill sat there that you could be just ignoring.
Jerod Morris: The other thing that’s interesting too, is how much more you can do when your email is fully integrated into the platform. This is what I want to ask you about in regards to Rainmaker, Chris. As I go through and start using some of these features, I’m finding so many more options available for tagging and segmentation and being able to adapt the content based on what people do on the website. If you’re just using a third-party email provider, you can obviously do a lot based on what they click in the email and all of that stuff, but actually having it integrated into the platform gives you a whole world of other information that you can use to tailor the experience that you’re giving them.
Chris Garrett: Yeah. One of the things that I know you and Brian have talked about a lot is the free member library concept or the free course. We’ve really focused on making that as useful and valuable as possible. Because, if you’re sending people off of your site to a third-party training platform or video hosting platform, you’re losing a lot of opportunity to know about what is really engaging to them — what is really exciting for them, or gets them to take action — or what they want to go deeper into. Having just that website and that training platform in one, that’s huge increase in what you know about your customers or your prospects.
If you look at how we use it — we know if somebody has started Brian’s course versus started the funnel course or Chris Lema’s course. We know if they’re a paid person or a free person. We have a free library because we do what we teach. We know to not send people information based on whether they are free or paid.
We don’t want to send them the stuff that you should pay for, but also we don’t send them things that will annoy them. We don’t tell them to buy what they’ve already purchased, which sounds basic, but how many times would you signed up for something where they should know but they still tell you irrelevant things or they still mistake you for being a prospect when you’re already a customer? If you just go around the web and you see all the remarketing ads for stuff that you’ve already purchased, you know what I’m talking about.
Then, as we add to the platform, we want to look at people who haven’t registered. Maybe they haven’t even signed up for your email yet, but we still want to know information about them to use later. Think about if you’ve got a blog and that blog has call to actions to get people to sign up for the email list or sign up for the free membership, then that free membership gets people to pay. If you’re sending people to separate sites or separate tools all along the line, you’re losing those connections. Once somebody has shown that they’re a human being and a return visitor we want to build up information about them. Then you can start segmenting through your content and through your own site experience. You can have on-site call to actions based on the actions they’ve taken and the interest they’ve shown.
You can have blog post series that lead people to have a deeper interest in a topic and then you can give them the opportunity to go deeper into that by registering for a free course — either as an email course or as a learning management system video-based course with downloads. That’s another opportunity for them to express more interest and show more action. Sign up for webinars — you know if they’ve signed up for the webinar, but did they attend the webinar? That’s all information you can build about them, and it’s all through their actions and their interest rather than trying to infer, spy, or use analytics, which is not really great for drilling down to an individual.
Brian Clark: Tagging is an email concept, obviously, but it’s also a CRM concept. You’re actually building a database of informed information. You can review that information, but Rainmaker does most of the heavy lifting for you. I think that the really exciting thing that we’re going to be able to move toward that third-party automation solutions can’t is — because you’re essentially controlling the email list and the site in an integrated fashion, that allows you to truly adapt the site — literally change elements of the page based on topical interest, behavior, and identity. To where, if a certain interest is determined…
For example, we sell a lot of different things, but if someone comes in at Copyblogger through the email marketing landing page, that sends them into My Copyblogger along with everyone else. That’s valuable information, because we know that their point of entry was email. Therefore, the follow-up sequence for that person is different from everyone else, even though they all ended up in the same place based on a tag that is placed right there.
Chris Garrett: If you think about the things we sell on StudioPress, if somebody buys the foodie theme versus the real estate theme that’s good information for us to know. They’re actually expressing that they’ve got an interest in industry in a vertical, and that is really useful information.
We’ve got people in our customer base who are writers, we’ve got developers. They have different needs. They have a lot of overlapping interest, but they also have different interests as well. You can service them better the more you know about them and know what they might be interested in. Also, if you give them an opportunity to express interest and they don’t take the opportunity, that’s also information that you can glean as well.
Brian Clark: Let me ask you this, Chris. You and Nick, one of our developers, were geeking out. We’re trying to extract reasonable deadlines from you — like marketers do — without much luck. Tagging is really the smarter way to segment. But you guys were talking about advanced segmentation and some other stuff that we have coming later in the summer for Rainmaker. Tell us a little bit about that.
Chris Garrett: One of the problems with tagging is that a lot of the time a tag will be a “yes” or a “no.” It’s really interesting to say Jerod is interested in basketball, “yes.” But I think it’s more interesting to be able to say Brian started this course on June 22nd and show a different message if somebody started before June the 1st or after June the 1st. Then there’s things like lead scoring. If somebody downloads a white paper, do you give them ten extra points to say that they are really interested versus somebody who’s got a lead score of one? Is that person...