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Email Marketing Secrets to Accelerate Business Growth (Episode 130)

Kyle Stout is the founder of Elevate & Scale, a leading digital marketing agency that helps 7-figure product-based entrepreneurs elevate their brand and scale their growth.

Kyle is a leading authority on how email marketing can vastly increase revenue by improving customer retention, increasing average order value, and driving repeat purchases.

Kyle started his career in digital marketing back in 2013 as a freelance copywriter, where he honed his skills in brand storytelling and email marketing. Once he had developed a set of frameworks that worked consistently across different niches, he started Elevate & Scale in 2019 specializing in email marketing for ecommerce businesses.

Kyle is a husband and proud girl-dad living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. When he’s not working, he enjoys working out, staying active outdoors, hosting family cookouts, and traveling.

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What you will learn

  • What led Kyle into the world of digital marketing
  • Discover why Kyle fell in love with email marketing specifically
  • Learn an uber effective marketing campaign approach for e-commerce businesses
  • Discover the marketing and remote team management tools Kyle swears by for managing his team
  • Why does email list segmentation matter? Kyle shares his thoughts
  • Learn some simple, easy ways to grow your email list
  • Kyle unpacks the rapid rise of TikTok and why businesses need to be paying attention

Transcript

Jeff Bullas

00:00:03 - 00:00:53

Hi everyone and welcome to The Jeff Bullas Show. Today I have with me, Kyle Stout. Now, Kyle is the founder of Elevate & Scale, which is a leading digital marketing agency that helps 7-figure product-based entrepreneurs elevate their brand and scale their growth, especially in the e-commerce space. Kyle is an authority on how leveraging email marketing can vastly increase revenue by improving customer retention, increasing average order value and driving repeat purchases. So Kyle started his career in digital marketing back in 2013 as a freelance copywriter where he honed his skills in brand storytelling and email marketing. Once he developed a set of frameworks that worked across different niches, he started Elevate & Scale in 2019 specializing in email marketing for e-commerce businesses.

So welcome to the show, Kyle. It's great to have you here.

Kyle Stout

00:00:53 - 00:00:54

Thanks for having me.

Jeff Bullas

00:00:55 - 00:01:22

So Kyle quite often our journey's not a straight line much as everyone draws them as that. So let's go back to what you initially were doing, you did an economics degree and why did you do an economics degree? Was that because mom and dad said it was a good idea? Was it you just like the sound of the name? What made you get into economics?

Kyle Stout

00:01:23 - 00:02:14

So I always had an interest in marketing and I was in the marketing program and this is around the time when digital marketing was still very new but I was pretty interested in it and I was an early customer of people selling info products. I didn't even know that's what it was back then and then some of those people started to kind of spill the beans on their business and I thought, oh wow, there's something here, this is interesting, but in my marketing class is they weren't talking anything about that, it was very, very outdated. And I thought, well I'm really not learning anything new, like I am online, so, and I thought, you know economics, okay, if I learned how, if I just learned how the business world works, how the economy works well that would be more useful for me and maybe that will help me be more successful. So that was honestly what led me there.

Jeff Bullas

00:02:14 - 00:02:55

Ok, what you described is actually not unusual digital marketing, of all the digital marketers I know, I don't think I know one that actually went to university to do a digital marketing degree, they are almost all self taught and learn by doing and you just, and I remember looking at something and you talk to anyone who says, well I did a marketing degree and digital marketing was like, you know that part of it, you know. So your story just reflects what I've seen over the last decade. Plus, so you did your degree, but then you're interested in marketing, but you didn't take that route initially. How did that happen?

Kyle Stout

00:02:56 - 00:03:48

No. So towards the end of, I was finishing up college. So again, I always wanted to just be an entrepreneur, but I didn't really know exactly what I wanted to do. And just a random turn of events happened where I had an opportunity to go into the oil field and be what's called a land man, which is really just kind of helping the oil companies handle all the legal stuff they have to do to lease the land and get a drilling program going. And there was just kind of like a gap in the market where I found an opportunity kind of worked my way in and I had a good gig going. But eventually that all sort of came to an end, the oil market changed and I knew okay, I'm gonna need to make a change. I don't want to be in this industry forever. And that's when I decided to look at okay, what can I do to get into the marketing world.

Jeff Bullas

00:03:49 - 00:04:00

So what did you do? What was the, what did you observe? Was it a friend, a book? Just reading online?

Kyle Stout

00:04:01 - 00:05:34

Yeah, I was just, podcasts were still pretty new. I was listening to podcasts. I was just doing some research on Google and looking at, okay, you know, should I get into paid advertising or creating websites or you know, what's the angle, what should I do? Something that kept jumping out at me was copyrighting. I always enjoyed writing, I noticed that people spoke very highly about how that skill set transferred to, I noticed that whenever people would talk about you need to have a great website, you have to have a great copy. And for your advertising you have to have a great copy. And it seemed like there was a silver lining of, but you always have to have a great copy. And I also just happened to notice that a lot of random successful CEOs and founders had a background in copyrighting. I just kept finding this over and over. So I was like, okay, I gotta look into this. And I instantly just thought, okay, I really liked it, I was drawn to it. I found that, you know, there's a lot of I always had an interest in human behavior and psychology and I noticed that okay, there's a lot you can do here for exploring the psychology of why people make buying decisions and how you can guide the decisions using copyrighting. And so I really just self taught, looking up stuff online, obsessively reading blogs, watching YouTube videos, whatever I could, you know, reading books, whatever I could get my hands on. And I just signed up for all the different freelancer websites that were available at the time and desperately trying to get my first client.

Jeff Bullas

00:05:34 - 00:05:36

Okay, so how did you get your first client?

Kyle Stout

00:05:37 - 00:06:19

So the first client was a guy, he had a marketing agency that he was starting and he needed a copy for his site. And I had started just doing some blogging on my own because I figured well let's just start putting content out there. So I had some samples I could send him like you know they weren't from a paying client but they were writing samples at least and they were totally unrelated. But also my rate was extremely cheap at the time. So he was like okay whatever, let's take a chance. And he ended up, you know, loving the copy I put together and that led to a couple more projects from him but it also led to a recommendation. And you know the start of a portfolio that I could use to get other clients.

Jeff Bullas

00:06:20 - 00:06:22

So you started a blog. When did you start the blog?

Kyle Stout

00:06:23 - 00:06:54

I started several blogs. I actually had done that in college. Like because I was always interested in this digital marketing thing. I just always, even whenever I started to get into the oil industry, I knew that was going to be the thing right at the end. I started this random blog about alternative energy and you know it never went anywhere but I just always had this like I need to put stuff out there and I just was just trying to get my feet wet in anything related to digital marketing.

Jeff Bullas

00:06:54 - 00:07:22

So part of doing the blogging and the writing was to learn, it is that part of the motivation, other words, let's write about energy and because I'm really interested in it, so let's write about it because I found writing for me is where I need to distill complex ideas and try and make them as simple as possible for other people to understand. Is that part of what motivated you?

Kyle Stout

00:07:22 - 00:07:48

That was a big part of it for me, it was, you know, learning not only just learning the subject matter, but learning about blogging itself and just thinking like, okay, if I want to learn about blogging, I can read a million blogs about it or I could just try and start one and go through the trial and error and that's how I like to learn is just to try the thing and not really have expectations necessarily about where it's gonna go. Just try it and see what happens.

Jeff Bullas

00:07:49 - 00:08:05

I think, especially in this fast moving world where a lot of the institutional learning we've had in the past, we have the only way you can go and learn some things by doing it and then there is so much information online, isn't it?

Kyle Stout

00:08:06 - 00:08:21

Oh it's incredible. I mean everything I've learned since then has been online. I mean obviously sometimes through hiring coaches, consultants, things like that, but people I found online. There weren't people I found in my local network or at my college.

Jeff Bullas

00:08:21 - 00:08:35

Yeah. And that's the thing about the internet that excites me way back in early, well, mid 1990s I said I no longer have to go to the library to get information.

Kyle Stout

00:08:36 - 00:08:56

Oh yeah, that was huge to me. Like the fact that there was just unlimited access. You know, Wikipedia was still new and this is back when people would really bash it. I mean I would just go on these deep rabbit holes of, you know, you've got the tabs open all down your browser because one thing leads to another. Yeah.

Jeff Bullas

00:08:57 - 00:09:04

Yeah. I found that, because with search engines it’s so bad in the 1990s that it took you to page 20 to find something useful.

Kyle Stout

00:09:05 - 00:09:21

Yeah, but you've dominated the search engines for a long time, because I remember when I was doing ghost writing for inbound marketing agencies and creating materials that were really targeted towards CMOs, I used to come across your blog all the time.

Jeff Bullas

00:09:21 - 00:10:12

Yeah. Well I, my secret source on doing that was basically just blunt force trauma. I created so much content. That idea I managed to rank and I started it. So one of the things that actually initiated me to start the blog was Hubspot which you've done a certification with and that was in like 2008-2009, and they used to have this website Greater tool and I became obsessed with it. So I just wanted to get my grading up. So and then I just started writing like a madman and so I was sort of at the peak I started during the real trend of blogging back in 2008. So blogging peak actually 2010, if you look at Google trends.

Kyle Stout

00:10:13 - 00:10:16

Okay, you always were there.

Jeff Bullas

00:10:16 - 00:10:41

Yeah. Yeah. So for me I was obsessed about ranking back in 2009-2010 and I was on a mission from God, as they say in the Blues Brothers. So yeah it's interesting here that I was ranking well for that, but because what I love about ranking with SEO is free traffic.

Kyle Stout

00:10:42 - 00:10:49

Yeah high value traffic too. A lot of times it's some of the most valuable traffic and business can get.

Jeff Bullas

00:10:49 - 00:11:15

Yeah, that's right. So it's fascinating. But it took me a while to get onto email marketing because I wasn't that technical and setting up an email final and everything else. And the sequence was a bit complicated for my non technical skills. So all right, so you discovered you want to get back into digital, you got your first client. So what happened from there?

Kyle Stout

00:11:16 - 00:12:44

So from there, I was really, I was just trying to learn as much as I could, I was taking on any project that people would give me. So originally was doing a lot of blogging. So I've worked with a couple of, one of the bigger Hubspot agencies at the time. So I was doing ghost riding for them and they were trying to be the top ranked agency and they accomplished that for pretty much all of the inbound marketing related search terms. And that's where I would keep stumbling up on your stuff because every search term you were there somewhere on the first page. And but then I was also doing, I started getting into more sales copies. So writing the copy for people's websites and product descriptions, that kind of stuff. And then that led to email marketing and even writing copy for ads. But email marketing was the one where I liked it because writing the copy for a website a lot of times is great, but it's a one off project and and a lot of times, especially if it's a newer business, you don't get the satisfaction of seeing real results of seeing them, you know, drive sales because it's a new business, it's a new website. There's not a whole lot going on yet. And yeah, you made it look good. But with email marketing I liked that satisfaction of sending out emails and immediately they get sales for their business and you know, seeing that impact right away.

Jeff Bullas

00:12:44 - 00:13:11

Yeah. Yeah, that's what I love about email marketing as well is that it's direct response marketing which means that you see a response or you don't see one if you're doing it badly but you're doing it well, you see that response and you turn that attention into a lead and then you can turn that lead into a sale. And whereas SEO, search engine optimization is a long game.

Kyle Stout

00:13:12 - 00:13:14

Yeah, definitely.

Jeff Bullas

00:13:14 - 00:13:22

Yeah. So ranking your website for certain terms is you've just got to go okay, let's settle in for the next 10 years.

Kyle Stout

00:13:23 - 00:13:49

Yeah. And then it's also usually a different sales process where you can put all this effort into making these really great blogs but then it's just a longer sales cycle for the B2B side of things where they're generating leads but then they have a whole sales process and you know is their sales team very good. Are they actually closing these leads? And it's just a long time to get that gratification of the results.

Jeff Bullas

00:13:49 - 00:14:40

Yeah exactly. And so I, essentially content is the secret foundation or secret source. Not secret source, but the foundation of any good being ranking on the first page of Google. And the reason it takes so long is because Google's algorithm will rank you according to how many inbound links you've got. And also the quality of those links I think that's still very much entrenched in the algorithms that they never reveal but only hint at. So and just to get people to link to your site is just a slow drip game. That's really and your content is gonna be good people. I want to link to that because that's such a good piece of content.

So yeah, I fell in love with content when I read Hubspot blog back in 2008, and read David Meerman. I don't know if you read David Meerman Scott's book The New Rules of Marketing and PR at all. Have you read that?

Kyle Stout

00:14:40 - 00:14:42

I did read that one back in the day. Yeah.

Jeff Bullas

00:14:42 - 00:14:51

Yeah. Well that was sort of like the Bible of inbound marketing I think in the day, wasn't it back in 2000? I think he wrote it in 2007 or something like that.

Kyle Stout

00:14:52 - 00:14:58

Are they the ones who coined, because I think someone else coined inbound marketing?

Jeff Bullas

00:14:58 - 00:16:16

Yeah, Well it's either him or David or someone close to that sort of, I suppose pioneers in that space, but because inbound marketing sort of got, that was I think Hubspot term they used all the time.

And what I loved about inbound marketing and content marketing, that's become more the popular term today is that I was used to be a salesperson, right. And so my way of getting a client, this is more B2B not B2C of course, but it was about knocking on doors. It was about cold calling. And no, I, and if anyone says they love cold calling, I will call them out. I think they're lying frankly because you got to deal with rejection every call almost, right. And it's a numbers game and it's relentless and it doesn't scale. So when I saw inbound markets, if you create content, you can attract customers and get sales that way and went, that sounded like Nirvana to me. So because of my sales background, inbound marketing really spoke to me.

Kyle Stout

00:16:17 - 00:16:55

Yeah, that's interesting because I, what really got me was similar reasons, but it was because I was a consumer of blogs and I liked the fact that I could go read blogs from a company before buying something from them and it made me want to buy from them. So it worked on me and I realized again, like the difference between, everyone hates getting a cold call. But if you can, if there's a piece of content that you enjoy, we all love content. That's why we listen to the music and watch the movies and everything that we do. So if you can have, you can consume something you enjoy first. It's a lot easier to than want to buy from them.

Jeff Bullas

00:16:55 - 00:18:00

And content builds like you said, credibility and trust.

So that's what I loved about it was that eventually people said, well there's no decision to buy from you because I've been reading your blog for the last 12 months or whatever. It's just you already trusted, you already credible and so inbound marketing was just music to my ears back in 2008, 2009 as one of the major reasons I started the blog actually, was Hubspot and David Meerman Scott and ;little push by Tim Ferriss about the opportunities as a digital entrepreneur.

So, alright, so let's have a little look at, so you sort of ended up being in the digital marketing space, an issue with email marketing for e-commerce. So tell us about, if you're talking to a client, what's your sort of approach with them to produce an effective marketing campaign built around email for an e-commerce store?

Kyle Stout

00:18:01 - 00:20:21

So the first thing with any business, no matter what, always starts with understanding their customers. So that's the, to me again, I think that because I had a background and blogging and all of that, there was so much emphasis on the research that went into the copy before it was written that I carried that over and I have my team do that where again we have to first understand what's driving this customer, what situation are they in as it relates to the products, you know, is this something that enhances their lifestyle? Is this something that's a need? And then really understanding all the classic stuff of doing bio persona work of just their wants, fears, needs, concerns, all that kind of stuff but also I like to have a reason to show up in the inbox. So it's looking at, okay, why would they care that we're emailing them and then taking an angle of the content. So it's not just, I mean you can do it as simply as just putting a photo and a line of copy and a Buy Now button, which you see a lot of e-commerce businesses do and yes, that I mean they do get some sales, but that's not really a great email to receive for most people. So I like to focus on, you know, maybe if you've got, let's say you've got 10 particular benefits for that product. I like to go deep into one benefit for that one email. So now we've totally convinced them of this one thing because what I find is that with pretty much all of us, there's a certain number of reasons why you would buy a particular product, but there's going to be maybe 1 to 3 that really move the needle for you and the others you don't really care about or you just kind of see this nice to have and whenever you go deep into these into one specific thing now you've pulled those people who were, that was the thing for them to get them off the fence, you've pulled them out of the email list and now if you follow up later with another email where you go deep into another benefit, now you've kind of got those people to show, raise their hands by clicking through and even hopefully purchasing to show that okay, that was the thing that they really cared about. And over time you start to even learn even more about your customers because if you go deep into a particular benefit and no one clicks and no one buys, you think you've realized, okay, that's not a driving force for them.

Jeff Bullas

00:20:22 - 00:20:28

So that raises the very valid point of the importance of testing, isn't it?

Kyle Stout

00:20:29 - 00:21:15

Yeah, maybe there's a lot you can do, maybe testing with specifically with e-commerce businesses because you don't have, the challenge with B2B is you have the CRM, you have to have the personal interactions between the salesperson and the lead versus if everything is done with Klaviyo and Shopify every action is recorded. So you know, whenever they clicked, you know, they added something to cart, but they didn't actually complete the purchase. You have all that data and not only that, but like you said,

AB testing, so we can do AB testing for all the campaigns that we send out, but we can also have active AB tests running at all times on all of the automated emails which and then we just update those every month. So that allows all of the automated emails to continually improve over time.

Jeff Bullas

00:21:16 - 00:21:41

Because and that's sort of opens up the other line of conversation, which I'm interested in your thoughts on is that I was interviewing Alan Dibb, who wrote The 1-Page Marketing Plan, he's an Aussie from Melbourne, had a couple of successful businesses exited those and he said that marketing is not anything magical. It's really just a process.

Kyle Stout

00:21:42 - 00:22:28

Yeah, no, I agree. It really is. And it's, I look at, you know, okay, if a person, let's say on one end of the spectrum, you have someone who doesn't know anything about your product or service, maybe they don't even know it exists and then you have someone who's a diehard loyalists, they absolutely love everything about you and then you think, okay, what are the big steps to get them from one end to the other? There are usually some big steps and then within those big steps, there's a whole lot of little smaller things of ways that you can educate and inspire and entertain to move them along. So it really is a process of just, you know, educating them and getting them convinced that whether it's convinced about your company or you or convinced about the particular product, but it is a process that you can just move them along gradually.

Jeff Bullas

00:22:28 - 00:22:50

Yeah, I think it's important. People understand if they're gonna start, whether it's a side hustle or whether they want to start a business and grow it that really only need to enjoy what they're doing, which will maintain them on the long journey because it's gonna be a long journey is they've got to not only fall in love with what they do, they're also gonna fall in love with the process.

Kyle Stout

00:22:51 - 00:22:54

Yeah, definitely, because it's not all going to be fun at all times.

Jeff Bullas

00:22:54 - 00:23:28

Yeah, yeah, so, and you've got to be curious about will this process work, so even I think it was even, I'm just trying to think, George Lucas was interviewed on his ranch and he said that he loves the process of filmmaking, not just, you know, film. So in other words, he enjoys everything from the idea to screenwriting, through to production, through to launch and it's making a successful film is a process.

Kyle Stout

00:23:30 - 00:24:36

It definitely is. And I find that again, like you said, it's, you have, you kind of have to enjoy it because what's gonna happen is a lot of times people find a process that works and they only stick with that, but they don't know how to go beyond that. So obviously we have certain strategies and we have certain systems that we can see repeated success because we just have, you know, they've worked so many times for past clients, but you're always going to have that, that random client or that random business where it's not working like it used to, and you have to be willing to just scrap everything and a lot of times just make up something you just, and you have to be unafraid to like, okay, I don't know what this, I don't know if this will work, but I'm gonna rely on my strategies and the things I've done in the past and let's just try this very new thing and sometimes you'll be rewarded and other times it will fall flat and then you have to start over and do that again and it's on you to again, just get back into the process, do it again, have a good attitude because if you don't then you just will never solve the problem.

Jeff Bullas

00:24:36 - 00:24:42

Exactly, you've gotta understand that failure is actually part of success.

Kyle Stout

00:24:43 - 00:24:44

Yeah, definitely.

Jeff Bullas

00:24:44 - 00:24:55

And everyone look, we look at people like Steve Jobs and that we're going, oh, he was enormously successful. But what you don't understand until you read his story was he had enormous failures.

Kyle Stout

00:24:56 - 00:24:58

Yeah, he had enormous failures.

Jeff Bullas

00:24:58 - 00:24:58

And many.

Kyle Stout

00:24:59 - 00:25:00

Yeah.

Jeff Bullas

00:25:01 - 00:25:35

So, what are some of the tools you need to help you succeed with your clients and certainly in this modern day and age, the tools we have at a hand that are in the cloud, in other words, they're available anywhere, cheap to use, sometimes even free. What are some of your tools that you use that you think are really, really important and you mentioned a couple. So what are the sort of like suite of tools that you think are important to be a successful email marketer and just high level.

Kyle Stout

00:25:36 - 00:26:45

Yeah, so the main tool we use is Klaviyo, which is an email service provider that caters towards e-commerce businesses that are, it works best for businesses that are using Shopify, where their site is built on Shopify. It also works well with businesses using WooCommerce because the integration is very clean and it allows you to create automated emails at every step of the sales process. So if someone goes and looks at a particular product but they don't even add it to cart, you can surprise them with an email talking about that product that you've now seen that they're interested in and you can do that at every step of the sales process. So for, we really prefer businesses that are using Shopify, WooCommerce because it allows us to do so much more with Klaviyo and beyond that, other things are just more honestly nice to have. So there's, you know, there's apps you can get for Shopify, but really it, I mean our team, we have tools we use for, you know, project management and email design, that kind of stuff. But the main tool is Klaviyo.

Jeff Bullas

00:26:45 - 00:27:12

So what are some of the tools you use for teamwork and collaboration because everyone says, you know, everyone looks an entrepreneur and sees the CEO founder and thinks that they are the, you know, they're doing everything. But in fact a good CEO founder is just quite often the conductor and a strategic guy person. So what are some of the tools that help you collaborate in this digital world? Because I wouldn't mind betting that you have quite a remote team.

Kyle Stout

00:27:12 - 00:27:29

Yes, yeah, so our team is remote. We use Slack for communication, we use ClickUp for project management and we use Google Docs for storing a lot of the assets and files that we share with our clients.

Jeff Bullas

00:27:29 - 00:28:44

Yeah, we use Slack, we move to that recently. Trello are collaborative tools but so it's what I think a lot of people from a distance don't realize until they become a digital entrepreneur and typically most entrepreneurs are digital these days because you got to get used to it. The tools now are just amazing. Like we started using Trello 2 years ago and it changed my life as an entrepreneur. It just, instead of, you know, trying to do project management via email, phone calls, then emails, so I get spam and lost inboxes and you know, overwhelmed, so we moved to Slack out of that Trello as part of that, more instant messaging but we do use Google Docs as well and what I love about Google Docs is that you don't have to copy and standard files attachments, it's just in the cloud and it's just so easy to use, I use it for the podcast. It's just yeah, the tools we have today compared to only 8, 9 years ago. Amazing.

Kyle Stout

00:28:45 - 00:29:55

Oh yeah. And the capability, it's actually there. They're pretty complicated actually. I mean they can be simple, but there's so much you can get out of them. So for example, you know, and I went from, I used to be very unorganized. I was doing, it was all email and Google Docs was how I was organizing things and and doing all communication through email for the most part, which just doesn't, it doesn't last right? It doesn't scale. Yeah. So getting to Slack and then getting into something like ClickUp was a major step up. But then I actually hired a consultant who specializes in ClickUp to help us figure out how to use ClickUp because it was so capable and there's so, I mean, I could have taken the time to go through all of the tutorials obviously, but it's a lot, it's just that alone was taking, you know, more time than the whole project management. So we got someone and she got us set up that our systems refined, she created trainings for us. That was a huge help. And another tool I forgot to mention it's been very helpful over the last couple of years and a lot of people have given me a lot of great feedback on this is Loom. So it allows, have you ever used that?

Jeff Bullas

00:29:56 - 00:29:56

Yeah.

Kyle Stout

00:29:56 - 00:30:32

Okay. Yeah. So that's amazing for like let's just say I need to give feedback on an email design from our graphic designer and I could just pull up a Loom instead of having to try to, you know, make an email of all my notes or whatever, I can pull up a Loom and say, hey can you change this thing here and can you tweak the color and move this? And I'm just showing them on my screen with my mouse on a quick video, then I shoot them a link. I don't even have to download the video or anything and just, you know, it stores it in the cloud, kind of like Google Docs just give them a link to the video and then it's really great for giving feedback whenever you need a visual aid.

Jeff Bullas

00:30:33 - 00:30:37

Exactly. And not only that, documenting processes.

Kyle Stout

00:30:38 - 00:30:40

That's the other thing we use it for.

Jeff Bullas

00:30:40 - 00:31:28

Yeah. And that's a long journey if you need to start from scratch to do it. And I, so my senior editor, I had for about seven years left a few months ago, a couple months ago. And so I said, well how are we gonna transition and you know, hats off to him. We talked about it and he said, what I'll do is I'll just document everything I do via video. So when someone from the new editor starts and they started, you know, within a week or two and transitioned over two or three weeks. You know what, It was pretty close to painless because of what, number one, what he did. Number two, the use of video to document processes.

Kyle Stout

00:31:30 - 00:31:43

Yeah, it really helps. And you can leave comments on the Loom video so you can have a conversation there if that's ever necessary. But yeah, it's just compared to screenshots and long text documents. It's just night and day there.

Jeff Bullas

00:31:43 - 00:32:41

See I'm old school, I love writing and I can read a lot faster than watch a video. So for me, I find it frustrating because I can read 1000 words a minute or something. So to watch a half hour video, I can read something like three or four minutes. But for what you're doing for process and everything else and documenting video, short videos, documenting with a screen video what you're doing. It's just, I'm just amazed looking back in reflection how far we've come in just 10 years. And it's also driven by the fact not only the technology. Well, the underlying technologies, we now have a lot faster internet. Because video used to be so, didn't work well when we had slow internet. So it's like productivity has been driven by the intersection of technology is not one technology.

Kyle Stout

00:32:42 - 00:32:52

Oh yeah, I mean that's completely right. I mean every software you use now is faster and more powerful. So it's just like you get that incremental boost, but with every little thing you're doing.

Jeff Bullas

00:32:52 - 00:33:17

Yeah. And I think I was reading something about as that workers have become 700% more productive in the last 100 years than when they were, you know, back in the early 1900s, I think in the last 10 years the productivity has increased, especially in the digital entrepreneur space and other spaces, because it's just so much easier to scale as well.

Kyle Stout

00:33:18 - 00:33:20

Yeah, yeah, definitely.

Jeff Bullas

00:33:21 - 00:33:36

So all right back to email marketing, we got distracted by tools and technology but there, so well in terms of email marketing, what are some really good practices that you would recommend to anyone that on top of your list?

Kyle Stout

00:33:37 - 00:35:34

So one thing that I don't think people give enough attention to that can make a huge difference is segmentation. So this is going to be, I mean this really you can do this, it's gonna depend on what tool you have. So if you're using Mailchimp, you're not gonna be able to do this. But if you're using HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, Klayviyo, those kind of tools, you'll get to do more of this. But segmentation is just taking your whole email list and breaking it down into smaller groups of people based around certain parameters you set. So you can have it be where you have people interested in a particular product. Or it could be you could break them down by customer lifecycle so you have leads and you have one time buyers and you have repeat buyers and VIP buyers. Another good starting point would be to create engagement groups. So you can have what's called like a 30-day engaged segment, which means that they have and you can change the rules based on your preferences for what you define as engagement. But we would typically do something like someone who has opened or clicked an email or visited the site in the last 30 days. And then you can create that for different time frame. So you can go 30, 60, 90 and so on. And the thinking with this engagement based segment is that the people who are the most engaged usually want more of your emails and the people who are less engaged, they've obviously stopped engaging. So they want fewer emails. So you're better off long term to exclude them more often and only email them when you have something really exciting, like a new product launch or a big holiday sale or something and don't don't keep emailing them on the weekly emails because you'll get them burnt out to where they just ignore you no matter what you send. Whereas if you give them a little break, then it's easier to get them to come back when you have something exciting for them.

Jeff Bullas

00:35:35 - 00:36:07

Yeah, engagement is very, very important and like just mentioned, segmenting is you want to be sending the right content to the right segment because then that will drive engagement. So let's, the other thing I'm intrigued in is your approach to let's say, and this is a very important thing because you need to have people on an email list. So how do you build an email list effectively? What are some of your top tactics there?

Kyle Stout

00:36:08 - 00:37:49

Okay. Yeah, so I mean all the classic stuff still works, you know, having some sort of lead magnet. So, in the e-commerce space, these days, it's most commonly, it's gonna sound so simple. A pop up that offers somewhere between 10 to 20% off their first purchase. That's what, if you go to the majority of these consumer facing e-commerce brands, that's what most of them are doing, but you can get more creative and a lot of them are doing now quiz funnels. So that first offer is a quiz where it helps you understand, you know, really get a better understanding of which particular product would be best for you is usually the type of quiz, there's a company called Prose that does this really well. So it's, you know, getting a custom skin care plan or a custom hair, I believe it's actually hair care with them. and then that allows you to then get them into that welcome series where now you're constantly talking about this product that's specifically formulated for them. So that's a really great way. Another thing you can do would be asking for their birthday and giving them the opt in that way and giving, surprising them with the birthday gift. So there's different ways to get creative, but all the classics, you know, the, especially in the B2B, like the downloads, free trainings and the B2B. So free on demand video trainings I think are probably a lot of people probably like that more now than the free pdf but you got to have something, you got to give them, the most important thing is just give them a reason, like no one wants to sign up for an email list anymore, just for the sake of signing up for an email list, it's just not that no one that's not interesting to anyone.

Jeff Bullas

00:37:49 - 00:37:54

Yeah, so basically you're just gonna provide a soft bribe really.

Kyle Stout

00:37:55 - 00:38:15

Yeah, exactly, and the more, you know, the more enticing it is, the more sign ups you're gonna get and that's and you can test that, so is with your software, you can test on your opt in form, you can test your offer and see what it, you know, like if you don't want to give as big of a discount, you can test the different discounts against each other.

Jeff Bullas

00:38:16 - 00:38:57

One of the big challenges for email marketers as well is basically trying to make sure you keep them engaged and you mentioned term engagement before and we've talked a little bit about it. So because a lot of the email marketing platforms will say, well no one's opened in 90 days and you need to do this to make sure otherwise, you know, we're going to mark you down as an email, as an email user. How do you manage that in terms of not only growth, so you grow the list is one thing, we just talked about that. How do you make sure that this doesn't lose from churn?

Kyle Stout

00:38:58 - 00:39:55

Okay, so part of it is going to be using segmentation, like I mentioned before, so that should help on the front end, because you're, it's like you mentioned, it's easier to create email content that's more catered to that particular segment. So it's just now again, some people are just, they're just gonna stop opening something you can do, but you're giving yourself a better chance of showing up with a better reason to show up in their inbox when you do that but there are gonna be some people who just stop opening for, you know, a variety of reasons. And what we usually do is we have automated sequences set up to where once they hit a certain time threshold, then we try to re-engage them. So it could be, it could be as simple as just asking them if they want to continue getting emails. It could be a surprise offer, so there's different ways you can take it, you can go more nurturing or you can go more customer win back with like a surprise coupon or something.

Jeff Bullas

00:39:57 - 00:40:38

Yeah, because that's a real challenge. And I think some of the platforms, we've used Infusion software for a long time and now we're moving more to ActiveCampaign and we find the open rates of the ActiveCampaign are much better, it seems that Infusion and that's the other challenge to with email is that despite best intentions of every inbox, whether it's Microsoft's or whether it's Gmail or whatever is that emails will turn up and spam and trash even like even Google's reminders and information, like your YouTube ads are now running goes to my trash. This is their own platform.

Kyle Stout

00:40:39 - 00:40:40

It's funny, isn't it?

Jeff Bullas

00:40:42 - 00:40:46

So how do you make sure that they don't end up in spam and trash?

Kyle Stout

00:40:47 - 00:42:18

Okay, so the inboxes have gotten a lot more sensitive about this over the last few years. So this is actually a big deal, and it's gonna go back to, I know I keep stressing this, but another reason why segmentation and really being thoughtful about the content of your emails and and trying to make it interesting and making, creating emails that people want to receive is because you want it, you do want to maintain good performance metrics so you wanna, you want healthy open and click rates because what will happen. And that's also why I say, don't just email your whole list every time because you get all those unengaged people who don't open at all, don't click and let's say their Gmail users and their Hotmail users, Gmail and Hotmail look at that and they say, okay, well people don't want this company's email so that it's just, you know, we don't really know what happens in the algorithm but the odds now are higher that they're gonna push you to promotions and spam. So the biggest thing you can do is preventative is if you are emailing segments where your performance metrics are starting to fall, tighten up that segment a little bit. So where you're sending to a little bit fewer people who are more engaged. And that way you can maintain those healthy engagement metrics that the inboxes want to see. And that will prevent you from, of course there's always gonna be the random email like you said, but that will prevent you from dealing with that issue in a major way.

Jeff Bullas

00:42:19 - 00:43:13

So to get people to open your email and then read it, number one, you've got to have a really good headline, don't you? And then number two, the first line of the email then also becomes important and I love this by, I think just trying copywriter was, I can't remember who it was but the job of your first sentence is to get people to read the second sentence. And after that the job of the second sentence is to get people to read the third sentence. So basically you're drawing people into your content to your email. Now I've seen some email tactics recently done by Hustle and Trends. Same company now owned by HubSpot. They use three different ideas in a headline. Have you seen that done before?

Kyle Stout

00:43:14 - 00:43:19

You mean where they've got, so let's say they're pushing three different products but all in one subject line?

Jeff Bullas

00:43:19 - 00:43:22

Yeah or just three different types of content.

Kyle Stout

00:43:23 - 00:43:59

Yeah. I have noticed people doing that where they just try to, I think fit a little too much into one subject line, right? I noticed that with especially with like the bigger brands like think of an Old Navy or something for example where they're really hammering their email list very hard and you know a lot of their subject lines are like they'll throw in three products in there, you know, and typically with direct response you want to keep people focused on one thing like you said the subject line gets them to open the first line gets them to read the next line and then you just kind of work them down to that CTA.

Jeff Bullas

00:43:59 - 00:44:18

Yeah. So I was interested in your thoughts on that because I've seen it done and it could be right, it's more a blunt force email isn't all it's in other words they're not really doing segmentation. They're really, they're talking to an entire church rather than groups you know rather than subcommittees.

Kyle Stout

00:44:18 - 00:44:52

Yeah that’s usually what I see with that. And then there are times though like I read some business newsletters that are great. Like Morning Brew is one, there's one called the Hustle and you know they're going to mention a few of the headlines in the at least in the preview text. Usually not in the subject line though, in the preview text. So you know you kind of get an idea of like the articles that you're gonna be reading about. So that's where it makes sense. But actually come to think of it, they don't ever do that in the subject line. The subject line is always a short curiosity driven subject line. So even that's not a great example.

Jeff Bullas

00:44:53 - 00:45:33

Anyway. It's just fun to watch what's different brands, whether it's been to see what it doesn't matter but how they're actually trying to get people to open because we live in such a noisy world and the job of attention is just getting harder and harder. Like I remember when I started and this extends to social media extends to emails is that the job of getting people to click is because it's just content fatigue. Like we're just overwhelmed.

Kyle Stout

00:45:34 - 00:45:55

Yeah, The competition is insane. And the type of content has moved so much more to short form where it's just, we're all being trained to have a shorter attention span and we're trained to always have this feeling of more options no matter whether you're scrolling social media or you're scrolling your inbox.

Jeff Bullas

00:45:55 - 00:46:46

And I saw an acronym a few months ago, TLDR. And I went, that looks like to me like, is that a tech error just like, is this like something happened, you know, when they wrote the email and it appears at the top of their blog or whatever on top of that email and going, well, I discovered I actually had to Google the acronym. TLDR means Too Long Didn't Read. So it's like, right, okay. So yeah, and guess what? We have TikTok that basically rose to fame because of 15 seconds video done to music.

Kyle Stout

00:46:46 - 00:46:50

Yeah, I don't know if, have you ever spent much time on TikTok?

Jeff Bullas

00:46:50 - 00:47:16

No, I haven't, I've seen some of the videos and yes, it's very, very engaging and very addictive, so, but the numbers on TikTok now compared to Facebook and Instagram is like insane. Like, and I think Facebook and Instagram have got a little bit of work cut out for them frankly.

Kyle Stout

00:47:16 - 00:48:06

Yeah, it's, I was shocked because I read something at the beginning of this year. I believe that there is more traffic on TikTok than through Google. I thought there's no way, how could that possibly be, you know, I believe it was a certain, like, I think it was within a certain generation though, but I noticed I had avoided TikTok for a long time and then I finally was like, okay, let me just see what this is about. I mean I'm a marketer, I have to kind of have to, I have to know what's going on here at least. I was shocked, I mean, the first time just scrolling. I remember telling my wife that, okay, you can feel it addicting your brain, you can feel it making you want to keep scrolling to the next thing and you can also feel your attention span shrinking like after 15 minutes, it's powerful actually.

Jeff Bullas

00:48:06 - 00:48:39

Well I think they've used AI machine learning to actually help them do it. And so it's, I think they're ahead of the game compared to, even though Facebook's got incredibly deep pockets, so it's going to be fascinating to see how this plays out over time and then TikTok is more a B2C environment. So it must be good for e-commerce if done well.

Kyle Stout

00:48:39 - 00:48:53

Yeah, I mean right now for organic traffic, this is probably, if a business wants to just get started somewhere on a low budget, like if they're willing to create the content themselves is probably the fastest traction they can get right now.

Jeff Bullas

00:48:53 - 00:50:01

Yeah. And that's what used to be great about Twitter and social media back in 2013, 2014 until the algorithm started creeping in for pay to play, So yeah, and a lot of the newer platforms, such as TikTok and it's not new. It's been around what I think five years now, so yes, it's great for organic and I do love organic because one of things excites about social media and Google search engines back in 2008 and 2009 was you could earn attention by creating great content and then sharing it.

Whereas today, the, because that was great because before we had to pay for attention by a newspaper or radio or tv and so you were fighting the media moguls. What's happened since then is we had this like window of opportunity for organic, we still have it with TikTok and others are still there. But, where the window of opportunity to get attention organically, that just, we flipped from one type of media mogul to another.

Kyle Stout

00:50:02 - 00:50:52

Yeah, that's very interesting because that to me is what's been disappointing with Google was, you know, we were talking earlier about how just the access to information and I loved it back in the day when the best, truly the best content just always rose to the top on Google and now Google has become so much more manufactured and it's so much more, you know, sponsored, even if it's not actually an ad, it's like the big corporate sites, they get the top rankings more often than not. And a lot of the blog sharing things from personal experience that to me were a lot of the more interesting content and more unique, you know, take on things, those used to rise to the top and now you just can't find them.

Jeff Bullas

00:50:52 - 00:51:43

I totally agree with it. I think, you know, what excited me 14 years ago now was that I loved the democratization of attention and content, Google and social and then, but now, instead of democratization, we have corporatization, it's all about the dollars and the other thing that I really don't like what Google is doing too on top of ads and you know, is the snippets. The snippets are designed for them to keep you on the page rather than going to the source of the content. So the creator of the content actually doesn't get the attention, sure you can click through to it, but the snippet is really Google's way of stealing content from the source.

Kyle Stout

00:51:44 - 00:51:57

That's, you know, I actually never thought about that, but that is very interesting and now that you say that I think about how many times I've googled something and I didn't click through because I saw just enough from the snippet.

Jeff Bullas

00:51:58 - 00:52:02

So I wrote a piece about that about a month ago. It was Google stealing your content.

Kyle Stout

00:52:03 - 00:52:06

Yeah, they have done a lot more of that, that's for sure.

Jeff Bullas

00:52:06 - 00:52:33

So let's make the SEO search engine game a bit tougher. So anyway, we've digressed in the philosophic discussions about the particular state of play with digital marketing especially.

So just to wrap it up, Kyle, what are some of the top tips if you want to succeed at email marketing? Just two or three, whatever you think are the most important to leave for our listeners and viewers.

Kyle Stout

00:52:33 - 00:53:21

So the most important thing is to really do your research on the people you're emailing. I really believe it's more important who you're emailing to rather than what you're emailing about. And a couple of, you know, just big picture things is don't email everyone on your list every single time you email and then, you know, use segmentation and test the email frequency. So over time, if you can send more emails, you're going to usually make more revenue, but you have to balance that with not annoying everyone because you sent those emails to every single person on your list. So the challenge is okay, how can we send more, but we're sending to fewer people at a time and if you can crack that code and you'll be able to scale email as a sales channel.

Jeff Bullas

00:53:21 - 00:53:37

So I love that. So number one, know who you're talking to, send out the messaging right. Number two segment who you're talking to into different buckets and number three don't send them too many. Make sure they keep engaged,

Kyle Stout

00:53:38 - 00:53:38

Yep.

Jeff Bullas

00:53:40 - 00:53:54

Kyle, it's been an absolute pleasure, mate. I can see that you love what you do and glad that the oil industry sort of abandoned you.

Kyle Stout

00:53:54 - 00:54:05

Oh yeah, I mean I was never, I never fit in. That's the thing, I just never, it was so forced, you know, and yeah, this is definitely where I want to be.

Jeff Bullas

00:54:05 - 00:54:50

That's great. Well, here's the thing I think I've learned from life is that be careful what you wish for. And sometimes that safe job is actually not a safe job and it can lead to a life of drudgery if you're not careful. So sometimes the worst things that happen to you in life lead to maybe the best things that can happen to you in life and that's I think you've got to keep in mind, nothing is forever and be careful what you wish for. And because what you wish for might be the worst thing that you can end up with.

Thank you very much for sharing your wisdom with us. I think it'll help a lot of people get better at email marketing, so thank you very much and look forward to maybe catching up in the USA one day.

Kyle Stout

00:54:51 - 00:54:53

Alright. Yeah, thank you so much for having me.

Jeff Bullas

00:54:53 - 00:54:54

Okay. Thanks.