6 episodes

Answering one email marketing question in three minutes or less.

Win the Inbox Podcast Phil Hollows

    • Marketing

Answering one email marketing question in three minutes or less.

    Win the Inbox: Comparing Email Marketing and Facebook

    Win the Inbox: Comparing Email Marketing and Facebook

    If you’re obsessing about your Facebook page, you’re missing out.
    I know. It’s easy to focus on social media audiences. But their organic reach is terrible and declining, with single digit – or worse – engagement rates.
    What, then, is the secret to getting consistent and successful audience interaction?
    Comparing and integrating Facebook (and social media in general) with email marketing’s proven results is the topic for this episode of Win the Inbox.
    I’m your host, Phil Hollows, CEO of email service provider feedblitz.com, and “Win the Inbox” is where I answer one email marketing question in three minutes or less, to help you meet your personal and professional goals.
    Facebook’s organic reach is terrible – there’s a reason they’re always pushing you to buy ads. Only a few of your followers see each post, and engagement is poor, even when a “like” counts as a meaningful interaction.
    It’s the same everywhere. The signal to noise ratio is low, the engagement to audience ratio worse.
    But did you know that average open rates for email are over 20%? When was the last time a post on your social media platforms got that? (Don’t bother checking – the answer’s never).
    Email marketing works.
    It works because you have permission from the subscriber to deliver directly to their inbox; it’s the ultimate push medium.
    Emails aren’t lost in an auto-refreshing feed. They sit patiently in the inbox, ready to be opened, searched, indexed, reopened, clicked on. All the time. Any time.
    Emails contain rich content that’s unrestricted by social media platform rules.
    Think about it. Signing up is work; you know the drill. Everyone on your list is therefore that much more committed to start with, because they’ve invested effort in joining. Invested effort in giving you that permission I talked about earlier.
    Look around at the web sites you visit. They all have popups and lead magnets and subscription forms. They win your attention on social media, but how they keep it – and own it – is with email marketing.
    Copy them. They do it for a reason.
    Firstly, use social media to drive signups. Have a “join my list” call to action in every post, every video, every podcast, every page, every bio.
    Secondly, make clear the value in signing up. Offer incentives to join, such as a free download, an e-book, a coupon, or a monthly sweepstakes. Or give them privileged access to promotions, to events or to you and your work.
    Then? Use email to drive them back to your social media presence in a coherent, cohesive, cross-platform marketing strategy. For example, if you’re hosting an event on social media, the best way to drive traffic to it is with email marketing.
    By all means build your audience on social media. But make the most of it, with email marketing.
    If you liked this, please like, share and subscribe! There’s more at FeedBlitz.com/WinTheInbox, where you can also ask me a question you’d like to see addressed in a future episode. I’m Phil Hollows, and I’ll see you next time.
    Get Win the Inbox updates straight to your inbox!
    Phil and the team are all around the interwebs. Keep up with Win the Inbox and FeedBlitz in these spaces:
    Facebook – LinkedIn – YouTube

    • 3 min
    Win the Inbox: Why Should You Use Email Marketing?

    Win the Inbox: Why Should You Use Email Marketing?

    How email future-proofs your business.
    Why should you be using email marketing? Why, with Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and YouTube and influencers and Etsy, should you be using email to market and sell with? Is email marketing really the best use of your time, and can it really move your business forward?
    Yes.
    The number one reason you need to embrace email marketing is as simple as this: Your business’s future depends upon it.
    And that’s the topic of this episode of “Win the Inbox” where I, your host, Phil Hollows, CEO of email service provider feedblitz.com, answer one email marketing question in three minutes or less, to help you meet your personal and professional goals.
    There are basically three things that email marketing delivers.
    - Amazing engagement - Predictable Sales- Future-proofing your business
    While engagement and sales are two great reasons why you need to be using email marketing, the one I really want to talk about today is future-proofing your business.
    That’s right: email marketing future proofs your business.
    With email marketing, you own your list. Unlike, say, your Facebook fans, Instagram followers, YouTube subscribers or Etsy buyers. Those people are not yours. They belong to the platform, not you. You can’t get at them.
    Unless they’re on your email list.
    The platforms you’re building on are all advertising companies with interesting social, photo or search engines attached. Their business models work against what you think their purpose is, so you buy advertising from them. Organic platform performance will only get worse, because it’s not in their shareholders interest to make it better, and you’re the one holding the bag.
    Unless you have an email list.
    Platforms can change their algorithms. They can block you. They can go out of fashion. They can even fail. If you’re relying on Facebook or Instagram or Etsy to build your business, remember that you’re building your business on someone else’s digital land. Which they control, not you. What happens to your business when they change the rules to suit their business? Or traffic craters when Google changes the search algorithm again? Or you stop buying ad space from your retail outlet?
    If that traffic goes away, what can save your business?
    Your email list, that’s what.
    Because you can generate sales and run your marketing with your email list.
    Why? Because It’s your list. It’s algorithm independent. It’s platform independent. And since email lists are portable, you can use any of the many email marketing services that are out there, including FeedBlitz!
    Email marketing doesn’t have that risk. Email marketing is the only way to protect yourself and your business in the ever changing digital landscape. Platforms may come and go, but everyone has an email account.
    Don’t be a digital tenant on someone else’s app. Own your business. Own your lists.
    That’s why you need to embrace email marketing.
    Thank you for your attention. If you found this helpful, please like, share and subscribe, and head over to FeedBlitz.com/WinTheInbox for more. While you’re there, you can even ask me a question you’d like answered right here on Win the Inbox! I’ll see you next time.
    Get Win the Inbox updates straight to your inbox!
    Phil and the team are all around the interwebs. Keep up with Win the Inbox and FeedBlitz in these spaces:
    Facebook – LinkedIn – YouTube

    • 3 min
    Win the Inbox: What is a Good Open Rate?

    Win the Inbox: What is a Good Open Rate?

    How to improve it in just three easy steps.
    We have a client who recently tweeted about their mailing list. About 29,000 subscribers strong, emailed at least five days a week, their open rate is around 40%. One of the replies asserted that a 40% open rate was, and I quote, “Meh” – which leads me to today’s topic.
    What is a good email marketing open rate? And what can you do to affect it?
    Hi, I’m Phil Hollows, CEO of email service provider feedblitz.com, and the host of “Win the Inbox,” where I answer one email marketing question in three minutes or less, to help you meet your personal and professional goals.
    When I talk about open rates, I mean the unique open rate. In other words, the number of individuals who opened a mailing.
    Typical open rates are between 17% and 19% (source: Campaign Monitor), or just over 21% (source: MailChimp), so about the same. At FeedBlitz, we see average open rates in the low 20s as well.
    So, obviously, our client’s 40% open rate is very good indeed, and certainly not “meh.” Especially given that the list is not trivial, and is basically mailed daily.
    But if your mailings aren’t pulling these numbers, don’t panic! There is much you can do to improve. And if you’re doing as expected or better – don’t relax! I’m pretty sure there are ways you can improve too.
    The most important thing about your open rate is that, not matter what it is now, it shouldn’t worsen. Individual mailings will vary, but over time your typical open rate should remain consistent. For that, you need to make sure your content focus and mailing cadence remain stable and predictable.
    Another point: If your list’s open rate is 25%, say, it isn’t the same 25% each time. So the more you mail, the more of your list you’ll reach overall.
    Here are the core factors that affect open rate:
    – Subject lines.
    – Preview or pre-header text, which is the “sneak peek” text you see on some email systems and phones.
    – Subscriber fatigue.
    These are easy to change. And the better you do at any of them, the better your open rate becomes.
    But – and it’s a big one, I cannot lie – none of these things matter if your email is consistently in the junk folder.
    Factors that affect what’s called “inboxing” are:
    – Your content.
    – Open rates, ironically.
    – Complaint rates.
    – Authentication.
    – IP reputation.
    – Domain reputation.
    – Your email service provider.
    I’ll dive more deeply into each these factors in other Win the Inbox episodes.
    Here’s what you can do today to improve your open rate significantly:
    - Write better subject lines. You should intrigue, inspire, and excite. Here’s a pro tip for better subject lines: Look at past mailings to see what’s really excited your audience. And do that again. And again. And again.- Write better preheader, or preview, text. Think of it as a second subject line. Expand, explain, tease, convince and cajole – but don’t give away the goods. Make them open it. - Drop non-engaged recipients. Beware the “Gambler’s Fallacy.” If someone hasn’t opened your last 20 emails, that doesn’t make them more likely to open the 21st. They’re not paying attention; delete them.
    These are the quickest and easiest steps to improve your email marketing.
    Please like, share and subscribe. There’s more at FeedBlitz.com/WinTheInbox, where you can also ask me a question you’d like addressed in a future episode. I’m Phil Hollows, and I’ll see you next time.
    Get Win the Inbox updates straight to your inbox!
    Phil and the team are all around the interwebs. Keep up with Win the Inbox and FeedBlitz in these spaces:
    Facebook – ...

    • 3 min
    Win the Inbox: How Often Should I Email my List?

    Win the Inbox: How Often Should I Email my List?

    Finding and changing your ideal email marketing cadence.
    Nobody wants to feel like they’re being taken advantage of. I suspect we’ve all experienced giving out an email address, then getting multiple emails a day and feeling totally bombarded.
    On the other hand, sometimes we join a list and hear nothing for ages. What’s up with that?
    As email marketers, we don’t want to abuse the permission privilege and start triggering unsubscribes and complaints. We don’t want to damage our reputations.
    We do want to inform, educate, convince, market and sell. How do we find that goldilocks setting, where we’re not emailing too much, we’re not emailing too little, but we’re getting it just right?
    That makes mailing cadence the topic of this episode of “Win the Inbox” where I, your host, Phil Hollows, CEO of email service provider feedblitz.com, answer one email marketing question in three minutes or less, to help you meet your personal and professional goals.
    Often when I’m asked “am I mailing too much?” it’s from someone who wants to email more often, but is coming from a place of fear. They’re worried about upsetting existing list members and getting a bunch of unsubscribes.
    The key to managing any email marketing campaign is to ensure that your emails are timely, actionable and relevant. If you hew to that mantra, increasing email frequency won’t cause the worst of the problems you’re afraid of.
    Moreover, only existing subscribers will have this issue. New ones won’t – for them it’s just way it is. The concern ages out.
    Whatever frequency you use, I always recommend making other options available. If you have a daily newsletter, offer a weekly alternative. That way you keep anyone who feels overwhelmed by a daily update as a subscriber – they just switch to the weekly list.
    The trick is managing expectations. If you’re switching it up, combine an expectation reset with an off-ramp. For example: “This list will switch to a brief daily summary starting on the first; if you want to stay on the weekly schedule ”).
    How often should you be mailing?
    I always advise mailing at least weekly. Mailing less often risks people forgetting that they signed up, or they lose interest. The list gets stale, and your unsubscribe rates skyrocket.
    Once you have a cadence established, it’s important that you stick to it. Low subscriber churn derives from your being predictable and routine.
    No matter what, a large and persistent change in unsubscribe rates is a sign that your cadence or content focus has drifted away from your goldilocks setting, and it’s time to fix it.
    I have one exception to the predictability rule: Event-based email marketing. If you have a deadline, mail early and often about it. Maybe send exactly one email more than you’re entirely comfortable with. People are lazy, and if you let them procrastinate, they will. Don’t let them!
    These are the goldilocks takeaways: Mail at least weekly. Be predictable, timely, actionable and relevant. Set expectations clearly, offer alternatives, and be diligent about deadlines.
    Do these things, and you’ve got an email marketing program with a terrific foundation for success.
    Please like, share and subscribe. There’s more at FeedBlitz.com/WinTheInbox, where you can also ask me a question you’d like addressed in a future episode. I’m Phil Hollows, and I’ll see you next time.
    Get Win the Inbox updates straight to your inbox!
    Phil and the team are all around the interwebs. Keep up with Win the Inbox and FeedBlitz in these spaces:
    Facebook – LinkedIn – YouTube

    • 3 min
    Win the Inbox: When’s the Best Time to Email?

    Win the Inbox: When’s the Best Time to Email?

    Whether it’s time of day, or day of the week, or day of the month, this question crops up time and again in forums, at conferences, and in our support queues.
    I’m going to tell you the answer.
    Hi, I’m your host, Phil Hollows, CEO of email service provider feedblitz.com. This is “Win the Inbox” where I answer one email marketing question in three minutes or less, to help you meet your personal and professional goals.
    So in the intro I promised you the best time of day to mail your list. Before I give it to you though, I think it’s worth looking at why this question is asked.
    If you think that by switching to Tuesdays at 2, or every third Thursday following the full moon, then your email marketing results will be transformed, I have news.
    Changing the time of day, or day of the week, is unlikely to make a huge difference to your email marketing program’s success.
    Maybe a percentage point here or there, which might be a very big deal for your business, to be fair. But. If you’re looking for a “Hail Mary” breakthrough moment, optimizing delivery time probably won’t give you it.
    But, that said, a promise is a promise! So here’s the big reveal: The best time for you to send your emails is….
    I don’t know.
    WAIT. I don’t know, but there are people who do know exactly what it is.
    I bet you want to know who they are, right?
    Ready?
    Your subscribers.
    They will tell you. Not by answering a survey (although you could always try that as well), but by how their engagement changes when you alter delivery times.
    They key to this is (a) testing, and (b) knowing what metric(s) you want to use to define success.
    Start by building a mental model of your ideal recipient, and when the best time to reach them is in their daily and weekly routines. Then test based in that premise.
    Mailing weekly? Split your list into days of the week, see which one does better over a long enough time frame. Don’t be afraid of weekends either, when there’s less competition in the inbox. Try it.
    Got a daily newsletter? Try overnight, so the email is there when your audience wakes up. Or at lunchtime, when they’re on break. Bear in mind here that ¾ of the US population is in the eastern and central time zones.
    If and when you get a result, get everyone onto that schedule and return to a predictable delivery cadence for the whole list.
    One thing to be prepared for during this process is that there will be those who’ll dislike any change whatsoever. I once got a phone call late at night once from a subscriber who was furious that the email he used to get at 4:30 in the morning now arrived at six am instead, and what was I going to do about it?
    I don’t know when the best time of day is for you to send your emails out.
    I do know that your subscribers can tell you.
    If you do optimize delivery times and get a result, share your results in the comments.
    Please like, share and subscribe. There’s more at FeedBlitz.com/WinTheInbox, where you can also ask me a question you’d like addressed in a future episode. I’m Phil Hollows, and I’ll see you next time.
    Get Win the Inbox updates straight to your inbox!
    Phil and the team are all around the interwebs. Keep up with Win the Inbox and FeedBlitz in these spaces:
    Facebook – LinkedIn – YouTube

    • 3 min
    Win the Inbox: The Quickest Way to Start Email Marketing

    Win the Inbox: The Quickest Way to Start Email Marketing

    Email marketing sure sounds daunting. You know you should be doing it, but it can seem like a whole lot of extra work.
    I get it. I was at a conference recently, and the “Getting Started with email marketing” session began with “lead magnets” and just got worse from there. Something so important, so effective, and so easy to start, was made to sound crazy complicated.
    And that’s the topic of this episode of Win the Inbox – the quickest and easiest way to get started with email marketing without freaking yourself out.
    Hi, I’m your host, Phil Hollows, CEO of email service provider feedblitz.com, and “Win the Inbox” is where I answer one email marketing question in three minutes or less, to help you meet your personal and professional goals.
    So: what is email marketing?
    You send an email to a list. That’s as basic as it gets.
    You need people to join your list. For that, you need a subscription form, and you get that from your email service provider, or ESP. The company I started, FeedBlitz, is an ESP.
    Then you send your email from the ESP.
    All you need is a form and an ESP. That’s it.
    Wait, wait, I hear you say, I need an ESP?
    Yes, you need an ESP, because while sending a single personal email is easy, sending bulk email is surprisingly hard to do well. Three reasons:
    1) Spam, blacklists and reputation
    2) Subscriber management
    3) Compliance and the law
    Of course you’re not a spammer. If you’re just starting out your web site’s probably on a shared server, which is fine. But then you’re sharing an unmanaged email server, which is not fine for bulk email. In email marketing, you are the company you keep, and your web site neighbor may have just got you blacklisted; you don’t know what they’re up to after all. Plus: Many web hosts limit how much email you can send, because they don’t want to be blacklisted either.
    An ESP’s job is to get your emails into the recipient’s inbox, so we manage our reputations obsessively to give you the best possible deliverability and avoid blacklists. With an ESP your web site neighbors can’t hurt you, and you can (largely) email as much as you like, whenever you like.
    Then there’s subscriber management. Opt-ins, confirmations, unsubscribes, complaints, feedback loops, bounces, the list goes on. You want to do that? Of course not. But it’s part of what we ESPs do for a living, so you don’t have to.
    Finally, compliance. There’s CAN-SPAM and CASL in the US and Canada; GDPR and CCPA in Europe and California. Email marketing opens you up to obligations that go well beyond changing your privacy policy. ESPs handle that for you, too.
    So, again, here’s what you need to start email marketing quickly and easily:
    1) An ESP
    2) A subscription form from your ESP
    3) That’s it.
    More of your emails reach the inbox, and you outsource the hassle to the ESP.
    Do it now. Don’t wait to be perfect. All you have to do is write your next newsletter. You can do that, right? Right.
    If you liked this, please like, share and subscribe! There’s more at FeedBlitz.com/WinTheInbox, where you can also ask me a question you’d like addressed in a future episode.
    Get Win the Inbox updates straight to your inbox!
    Phil and the team are all around the interwebs. Keep up with Win the Inbox and FeedBlitz in these spaces:
    Facebook – LinkedIn – YouTube

    • 3 min

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