Today we’ll start off with a question: What is the one audience that you own? That’s not subject to algorithm shifts and is one of your greatest assets?
It’s your email list, and if you’re not focused on cultivating it, you’re definitely leaving money on the table in more ways than one.
We originally shot this episode back in April of 2021 with the incredibly savvy Regina Anaejionu. She’s the author of the bestselling content planner, Epic Blog, as well as the founder of Publish Your Thing, an online destination to help authors, bloggers, speakers, and other content creators and experts make the most out of their intellectual property.
Guys, we packed so much into less than 60 minutes — from using paid social to grow your list to segmenting your audience and avoiding the dreaded FREE ZONE, Regina covered it all. Enjoy!
JENNY GUY: Hello, hello, hello, hello. I’m saying hello to every single one of you. I’m not going to do that. Because that would not be expedient. But I am very, very glad, and wish I could say hi to every single person that’s joining us. Because we are so grateful to have you for another week.
It is Thursday, April 8th. Which means it’s time for another episode of Teal Talk, the show about the business of content creation. I’m your host, Jenny Guy. How is everyone doing today? Hello, hello.
It is April, which means it’s officially spring, and National Card and Letter Writing Month. I was not aware of that before today. Am I the only one that still really loves almost nothing more than a handwritten letter or a card in the mail?
There is just nothing better than something written in somebody’s handwriting, with a stamp that you get in the mail. You feel so fancy. It’s a lot of fun.
And our 2021 equivalent of that, that you can send to all of your audience, is email newsletters. I know this can be somewhat of a fraught topic, because as content creators, I’m sure that there is not a single one of us who has not heard the– your email is just so important, because it’s the one thing you own.
So who out there has a list? Who out there is sending emails regularly? Who has a list and doesn’t know what to do with it? Is email really worth all of the trouble and the expense of the platform? To answer that question, and we definitely will, enter my amazing guest for today.
REGINA ANAEJIONU: is the author of the bestselling content planner Epic Blog, as well as the founder of Publish Your Thing, an online destination to help authors, bloggers, speakers, and other content creators and experts make the most out of their intellectual property. Regina has been interviewed for publications such as Fast Company as an innovative entrepreneur– infopreneur. I’ve never heard that one.
After building online schools with over 20,000 students, growing an email list of 50,000 subscribers, and generating more than $1 million in revenue her first few years selling courses and books online. $100,000 in profit coming from a single book, which is amazing. Her mission is to help passionate creators publish more, earn more, and create meaningful change. Regina, welcome to Teal Talk.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: I’m so excited to be here. Thank you, Jenny. This is like one of my favorite topics, so I’ll try to contain my–
JENNY GUY: We’re so excited to have you. And I love you. I love that. To hear that.
Because you are passionate about it, and that is very apparent. And I want to– let’s incite some passion in our viewers. Let’s get them on the email newsletter train.
Starting with this. Guys, this is a question for all of our audience. Are you currently sending out an email newsletter to your followers? If yes, how often? If no, why not?
Tell us what your pain points are. Tell us in the comments. If you have questions for myself or Regina, drop them in there. We will do our best to get them answered.
And we’re just going to start at the very beginning with Regina while our audience is chiming in with their answers to the question we just asked. We heard some pretty incredible things in your bio right now. You are truly a Jane of all trades with regard to content creation.
Aside from knowing what an infopreneur is, is which I want to know more about, I really want to know with regard to this, with regard to our topic today, why email? Why do you love it? And why do you teach it?
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: You know, you kind of hit on it with your comment earlier about receiving the personalized handwritten. I love stationery. I love paper.
I used to have an invitation design business. So I love the feeling of getting something that was written just for me, or made just for me. I mean, I’m sure we all do.
And you’re right. Like the online equivalent, or the closest equivalent that has sprung up in recent years, is email. And I think it’s so interesting, especially with our ability to segment our email list, right. And like tag, OK, these people are more interested in sewing for beginners. And these people are more interested in intermediate lessons on sewing and handcraft, whatever it is that you do, right.
I love email because it allows us to kind of send a personalized path or strategy plan, if you will, for people who are trying to do something important online. Get healthier by cooking healthier foods. Whatever it is you talk about, there’s a way you can tailor your email so that the person feels like, is she– is this person reading my mind? How did they know that I needed this right now?
So I just think it’s a really powerful thing. And right now it still goes straight to people’s phones, usually. Or straight to their inbox. And it’s something that people are still checking, still engaged with. And it feels like a very personal thing, since it’s in your inbox. That was a really long answer, but I just think email is–
JENNY GUY: No, it was a perfect answer. And it’s so right. I didn’t mean to interrupt you there, but I got super excited hearing you say it.
Because with a website, as much as we talk about creating a path, we can’t really. We cannot dictate how people are going to consume our content. We have no way of knowing how– where they’re going to bounce.
Whether they’re actually going to go read your about page and know who you are, or know where you’re coming from, know what you’re offering them. But with an email, you can actually tell them all of those things. The things that they need to know in order to become your fans.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Right. Jenny, you made a really good point. Which is especially with the internet as it’s grown, you have no idea what somebody’s first contact with your brand is going to be.
It could be a tweet. It could be a post that was shared by a friend of a friend of a friend on Instagram. It could be that they land on a specific blog post on your site. They could land on the homepage. I mean, there just a million different opportunities to have that first contact.
And so I think what we’re talking about today is so important, because once the person makes that next level decision of like, I’m going to subscribe. Huh. I’m going to pay more attention to this person or this brand online.
Then, exactly as you said, you can set those first 90 days of emails up to be the same for everyone. But to maybe have little things that they click or do to indicate what they’re really interested in, where they’re really at with your topic. And you can customize the relationship from there.
And so I think email is important. Because it’s our first chance to kind of take a little bit of control over what order people see things in. And what we’re directing them to on our site. So I just had to hop in and say that’s a really important point.
JENNY GUY: No. That’s exactly right. And I love that. That’s genius. Because we all know when we’re content creators, and we’re putting out one post a week, or three posts a week, or whatever we’re putting out, we’re putting out a lot of content. And some of those are sponsored posts that we’re doing for that relationship. Some of them are something that we may not.
But we have our top posts. We can’t help it. We try to say we don’t. But there are some posts that are incredibly– we’re proud of. If you can direct somebody to your best stuff that you know is going to win them, do that. Why wouldn’t you do that?
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Yeah. Absolutely.
JENNY GUY: OK. Here’s what we got. We have somebody from some of our comments who says, I have a list, send emails weekly, and it generates traffic and sales. And I learned most of it from Regina.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Oh, wow. Awesome
JENNY GUY: We actually had several people that. We have Chris Moore, who said hello from Looneyville, West Virginia. I did not know that was a place, Chris. The Live, other than getting to spend time with you guys and Regina, is worth it now. Because I now know there’s a place called Looneyville, West Virginia.
That is amazing. And she said, I have a precious list. I love hearing that. I’ve never heard anybody call their list precious. That’s very nice.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: That’s beautiful.
JENNY GUY: We’ve got weekly. We have multiple times a week here. Every time I publish– this is our VP of support, Nicole Johnson. She says yes. Multiple times a week here. Every time I publish a new post, and then seasonal stuff, and I aim for one collection of recipe suggestions per week, too.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Love that.
JENNY GUY: That’s awesome. OK. We got Caitie Q. Caitie Q says no, because I just started my blog and no one wants to sign up for my freebie yet. Oh my God. That’s tough. We’re going to talk about freebies.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: We are.
JENNY GUY: OK. We have a question here from a viewer. And I think– let’s just jump in. We can go back to the set questions in a minute. We have, how do I approach a cold list? I’m scared to start, because I don’t know what to do.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: I love that. So for anyone who’s watching, and maybe that term is unfamiliar. Generally when we say a cold list, it’s maybe people that you haven’t emailed in a really long time. Or for some reason– maybe they signed up thinking your list was one thing, or they signed up for one topic and you started talking about other things.
And so basically cold people are people who haven’t opened your emails in a while. And that might be for you defined as a month, three months, six months, a year. Or maybe you just started your list and then didn’t email for two years. And then you’re like, do they even still want to hear from me?
So I love this question. What I want to talk about to kind of answer it is I just want to bring in this business term that you all might be familiar with. So in business we talk about something called a growth market and a mature market.
And basically what this means is, right, when a new service or product is first introduced, everything is new. Everything is awesome. There’s so much innovation, you’re– like the internet, right? We’re just like, oh my gosh, we can read articles on this computer thing here.
Like we were just so excited, right, with the internet. And now it’s kind of old in one sense, right. There are so many options for articles and blogs and things that we can read. And so what was once innovative and just introduced to us for the first time is now– it grew, and now it’s kind of this more mature market.
And when you get to that place where there are a lot of food blogs, there are a lot of craft blogs, there are a lot of business blogs, or whatever it is you may do. You are approaching or are in something called a mature market. And it means that it’s harder for new people to break into it. And it also means that if you did let your list go cold, it can be harder, seemingly– but there are ways to combat this.
But it can be seemingly harder to re-engage people’s attention. Because by now they’ve gone and followed five other blogs that talk about similar things. Or they don’t– maybe they don’t remember our name, because they signed up for our list so long ago.
So a couple things. One, just like strategy. If you have been collecting your email addresses in legal and legit ways, one thing that you can do is actually upload all of those email addresses to something like Facebook ads.
Instagram ads using the Facebook Business Manager. And then you could do what’s hopefully a very low cost– set your budget. Whether it’s going to be $50 or $100, or if there’s more available, cool.
But you can actually send out an ad to your email list, basically. You upload those emails and tell Facebook, hey, I want you to create an audience of these people. And then you can target them with an ad on Instagram or Facebook to just kind of rewarm them up to you, right.
And I would send them to your best blog articles. Your top hits. Or send them a free ebook. Or just something that really re-engages them and reminds them of who you are. So that’s one strategy, if there’s some budget to put behind it.
If there’s no budget to put behind it, I would consider sending out kind of like a re-engagement sequence, is what people call it. But I would do the same thing. I would be engaging people with my best hits.
I wouldn’t spend too much time describing, like, oh I’m so sorry. I’ve been gone for so many months. Please forgive me. People don’t care as much about that as they care about, well, do you have anything you can offer me? Right? Is there some information you have here that would be helpful?
So I would do the same thing. I would hit them up with something like, not necessarily with this cheesy of a headline, but my best free resources. And maybe not use the word free in your subject line, because sometimes that can get caught up in spam filters.
But my best quick resources for you to blank, whatever it is you help them with. Transform your kitchen. Detox your home from harmful chemicals. Whatever.
And then I would just hit the email with like, hey, we’ve compiled our most top performing content. Whatever you want to say. Most popular content on how to blank. Here it is. Send them the 10 links, whatever it may be.
And then follow up in a few days with like a free ebook or a free video course. Something that has some video or audio in it will be helpful for getting the person to feel more connected to you. So on and so forth.
I feel like, Jenny, I could answer this question for 52 minutes. So I won’t go that long. But basically re-engaging with your best content. And understanding that maybe whatever you did to grow the list is not going to be effective enough in a more mature market. And so you want to take bigger, bolder strategies to stand out, if that makes sense.
JENNY GUY: Yeah. And I love the idea of not using email to re-engage your email list. So smart. So great. A way to grab their attention. And I actually wanted to ask you about that.
You said not dwelling on I’ve been gone because XYZ. Is it is it better, do you think, just to pop right onto the positive? Say, I’ve been out for a while. We’re here we’re back now, and here’s what I got. How do you suggest doing that?
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: I mean, to your brand personality. My brand personality would joke about it. Kind of like, you may remember signing up for this list about detoxing your home two years ago and not hearing from me much since. And then I might do like the hand on the face emoji, right.
But no fear. We are back with all new content, some of our greatest hits, and we’re more committed than ever to helping you get harmful chemicals out of your home. Or whatever it is. Switch to the Keto diet. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, right. And then just hop back in there.
And I just think that’s because, right, people– there’s that phrase. And so I don’t know the original person who said this, but people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, right. Or whatever it may be.
People are not really that concerned with your life or why you were gone. I mean unless it’s a spouse or somebody. Yeah, I want to know why you haven’t talked to me in two years. But other than that, they don’t really care.
And so it’s more draw them in on something they really do care about, and then try to kind of sprinkle in some personal stories and anecdotes that remind them of like, oh yeah, I did like him. I did like her. If that makes sense.
JENNY GUY: I did sign up for that for good reason. We have some people asking. Chef D came in and said, I thought a mature market was older than 60. Sigh. And then he wanted to know more about doing those Facebook ads. So if someone is not familiar with ever doing those before, how would you recommend they get started?
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Right. So, great question. So, inside Facebook there’s something called Business Manager, right. And so you can just Google it. Facebook Business Manager. And it’s going to take you to business.facebook.com.
Inside Business Manager, this is where you can actually create entirely new Instagram ads and Facebook ads. Now, the really powerful thing about business manager is what’s called audiences, right. And so basically it’s your way of telling Facebook who you want to show this ad to. So a couple of things.
If you all have been in business or been blogging for a while, you probably have a Facebook page. You’ve probably started an Instagram account. And whether you got to your first 100 followers, 1,000 followers, 10,000 followers, or more, people connected with you for a reason at some point, right.
So one of the cool things you can do in Business Manager is you can say, hey Facebook, create a custom audience out of everyone who has connected with me on my Facebook page in the last 365 days, right. Or hey Facebook, create an audience of everyone who has interacted with me on Instagram in the last 365 days.
Or if you have a lot of social media connections and you want to just narrow it down to the most active people. You could even say, hey Instagram, or hey Facebook, I want to show an ad just to the audience of people who have DMed me on Instagram or saved one of my posts in the last 90 days, 30 days, right.
You can also create some audiences out of everyone who’s ever been to your website. Well, I won’t say ever been to your website. It lets you track up to 180 days. So six months. And so what’s great is you can go in and build those custom audiences based on people who have interacted with you.
And again, you can upload your email list of everyone who’s signed up for your email. And what Facebook does is, it matches. If somebody signed up for your email list with the same email address that’s connected to their Facebook profile, Facebook’s like, oh, that’s Bob. Oh, that’s that Sally. Whatever. I don’t know why I named everyone Bob and Sally in that scenario, but–
JENNY GUY: We’re great. Bob and Sally are awesome people.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: So there have been times, right, where I uploaded maybe a list of 40,000 people. And Facebook was only able to match 28,000 of them. So you’re not going to get every single person on your list. But certainly enough of them.
And that’s really the power, because then those people already– they signed up for your list for a reason. So even if they are like, who’s Regina, I have no idea. I don’t remember this person. They still care about whatever they signed up for.
Whether that was– I don’t know. I keep using this example of nontoxic living. Or if you talk about mindset and meditation. They still care about that topic, most likely. So then you’re re-engaging them with your best content. Did that provide a little more clarity on ads?
JENNY GUY: Totally did. And I know that Dennis is saying, so you upload your email list through Business Manager. Yes. And I also know from my own work that Business Manager has a ton of resources.
If you go in there and poke around, they have– they tell you how to do everything in there. They have help docs. They have everything.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: So true. And it’s like since Facebook makes money from ads, they will do their best to educate users such as ourselves on how to use ads. So Facebook even has some free courses and instruction on how to get the most out of ads. Because they know that’s the way that we’re going to keep using them, if there is some benefit there.
So like Jenny said, so many great resources. You could also go to YouTube University, as it’s sometimes called, right. And just look for some YouTube resources on how to do it. But there’s a lot of good info on Facebook.
JENNY GUY: So much help. I mean, that’s how they’re making their money. They want you to have an ROI with what they’re doing if you’re going to– so you’ll spend more.
We’ve got somebody here who says, I did this for a post rounding up my best free tutorials. $1 a day and it re-engaged peeps. So that’s $1 a day.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: So smart. $1 a day.
JENNY GUY: Yeah, it’s so– I mean, it is so smart. That is. So before we move on and go back to the list, I don’t want to dwell too long. And we’ll just have to have you back to talk about more Facebook stuff. But can you talk about ways you can use Facebook to go beyond reengaging your people and growing that list?
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Yeah, definitely. So I just want to be clear. There are so many ways to use social media for free, without paying to grow your lists and everything like that. But I’ll mention two best strategies. And one of them will involve– one will be paid. And one of them will be free.
So, if I’m using Facebook to grow my list from scratch, let’s say. Or we’re re-engaging the list. Whatever it may be. One big thing that I would really recommend is creating some type of event, in essence, right. So for example, you all are familiar with Mediavine, obviously.
And so you may remember, I guess it was probably four summers ago, right, that y’all did your first Summer of Live, right. So you did live streams every week. And we’re just educating the audience for free, correct?
JENNY GUY: Correct.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: So something like that. I mean, granted, I’m not saying go do a full Summer of Lives. But it could be like a yoga week, right. Or a yogathon. Yogathon? No. Yogathon. I don’t know.
JENNY GUY: Yogathon.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Yeah. Or whatever it may be. Like let’s say that you’re a homeschool consultant. And obviously there are a lot more people who have been purposefully or not purposefully, like didn’t mean to be homeschooling, right.
And so you might have like homeschool hack week, right. Where for seven days straight, or five days straight, or every other day for a week you go live with a quick 15 minute lesson. Or something like that. And you’re sharing your best hacks.
Listen, when I first got started, I just asked my family members to come to these Lives so that there would be somebody there. Even if they weren’t super duper interested in the topic. I think what Jenny will tell you, and what anyone who does lives will tell you, is most of the views happen after the Live anyway. So don’t feel bad if there’s truly just your two family members and your cat there. It’ll be fine.
But anyway, I would create more of an event. Because this gives people time to figure out what’s happening and actually start sharing said event. So like, oh, hey, my friend is thinking about homeschooling more. Thinking about continuing homeschooling even though schools are now open. I’m going to forward this video to them.
So I would do something like that, where even if– whether it’s Live and people are finding it, or after the fact, and you just leave it up on your Facebook page. The key thing is I would really recommend that in the text of those Live posts you make sure to link back to your website. To top tips.
Or hey, if you want to take this further, read my ultimate guide on blah, blah, blah, with homeschooling. I don’t know anything, clearly. And then also a link to your opt in, right. And so I would do something like that, number one.
And then number two, I’m going to add on a paid strategy to this. What is cool, back in Business Manager one of those audiences you can create is an audience of everyone who’s viewed your videos. So you can go select those seven Facebook Lives that you did over those seven days, 10 days, 14 days.
And you could say, hey Facebook, anyone who watched at least three seconds. Or anyone who watched at least 25% of one of these videos. Put them in an audience, and let me target them. And those might be the people you target with hey, do you want to get on a free consultation call with me. We can plan out your homeschool semester in 20, 30 minutes.
And then you could sell them your further package. Or you could– I mean, whatever it is that you’re actually selling. And it may just be hey, visit my blog.
So your ads could be like, go check out our top posts and our top recommendations for homeschool equipment. And you know you’re getting affiliate and ad revenue the more eyes that you have on that, so. Again, a long answer, Jenny. Sorry.
JENNY GUY: No. You’re amazing. So if your goal is to set them up for your list, offering– giving the Lives so they can meet you. They can have that event. They can build that up. You can then couple that with the paid strategy of creating the audience of people who you already know are at least warm, because they’ve watched some of your stuff before.
And then, say, bring them in even closer. And say, sign up for this. You clearly already like it. You want it to a certain extent. Sign up for the list. Get the freebie. Grow your list of people who actually are interested in what you’re doing now.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Right.
JENNY GUY: Awesome. All amazing suggestions. So email marketing can be very expensive, depending on your platform. And it can be time consuming. So let’s talk about why do it. What is the ROI here?
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: So the first thing– I mean, everyone always talks about this. But we would be– we wouldn’t be responsible to not just mention this. Your email list and your website are your properties. So at any time, since you own them, you can pick them up and take them to another host, right.
So all of the content, all of the blog posts that you put on your website, are under your copyright from the moment that you publish them, right. Make them tangible, as far as the copyright law states. But anyway, your blog posts are yours. Your email list contacts are yours, right. Until somebody unsubscribes.
And so to me this is property versus rental, if we look at it in real estate world, right. Your website and your email list, this is property. You own it. You can monetize it in any way you see fit, as long as it follows the laws.
Versus trying to build your audience solely on Instagram, solely on Facebook, solely on LinkedIn. Somebody else owns that. And at the end of the day, they’re making the decisions that are best for their shareholders and for them as a company.
And if that decision is one day like, huh, we don’t like them anymore. We think you’re in violation of our policies. You’re kicked off the platform.
I won’t mention the platform name, but I had a friend who was a huge blogger in a certain space. Had a 60,000 person following in this platform that shall remain nameless. And was kicked off because they thought she was violating a policy.
And she was allowed to get back on when they realized it was some type of mistake. But all of those contacts were lost. And that’s a horror story. That’s probably not going to happen to everyone. But it’s something for us to think about, because it certainly could happen.
So even though it can be a time consuming task, and/or it can be something that costs money. Website hosting and email list hosting costs money. It’s so important.
Because it’s the difference between owning a piece of property and getting to charge rental fee, right. Versus being the renter forever. And just FYI, I rent my house. My apartment.
JENNY GUY: Same.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Yeah, I’m not saying anything bad about that.
JENNY GUY: No.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: But yeah. I mean, that’s important. That’s important to think about.
JENNY GUY: It’s a decision about– it’s all about what you want. I was telling Regina earlier, I’m looking for a home. And it’s about what you want your life to be right now.
Because there are things you get for renting. But we’re not getting– not flying down that rabbit hole. Because I could talk about it for about 8,000 hours too.
The other thing I think, that even if it’s not the extreme what you said, which is a real thing that happens to people. They do get bounced off of platforms. You also can just get creamed by an algorithm shift. And all of a sudden your posts aren’t being seen by anyone.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: True. True. And it’s like, it’s so interesting, right. Because we spend all this time creating this great content in those platforms we don’t own to get somebody to say, click. I’ll follow. Click. I’ll like this. Click. I subscribe to you in essence, right.
And we did all this work. And then all of a sudden, like you’re saying, an algorithm change can all of a sudden make that vote of confidence, or vote of letting you in my feed on my phone. It can make it just null, void, doesn’t matter. Didn’t happen.
Whereas when someone says click, I’m literally giving you my email address. I’m visiting your website. I am clicking on your ads, your affiliates. Signing up for your ebook, right.
Buying your course. Whatever it may be. That’s a relationship that only we can ruin on after that fact, right.
Like if the customer was not a good fit, that’s one thing. But at the end of the day, we now have control. How do we service them? What kind of tone do we take with them? Are we respectful? Are we inclusive?
Are we giving good information? We have the control. Versus somebody else having that control. I mean, you get the point.
JENNY GUY: Yeah, no. But it’s very true. Speaking of expense, there are a lot of platform options out there. So when we are platform shopping– and I understand that when some people are just starting out, they’re going to go with the free option.
Which is totally fine. As you start to invest and see that it’s something that works for you, then you’re going to want to invest more to get more. But what are we looking for in a good email management platform?
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Great question. I’ll be clear by saying that I have probably tried all– I mean, I’ve been online doing this for over a decade. So I’ve tried all of the platforms, y’all. From MailChimp, MailerLite, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, Ontraport, Infusionsoft. Everything that I can think of.
And then I always sign up for new ones when they come out. Flodesk. I’m just– I’m trying them out. Seeing their features. So I say this with a little bit of experience with the different platforms.
A few things, right. You are looking for something that can grow with you, even if you’re going to start with one of the free platforms. Which is a great idea in my opinion.
So you can have a free [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] account on MailChimp, MailerLite, ConvertKit. A lot of them offer free plans. First thing I would look at is sign up for one that lets you get to up to at least 1,000 subscribers before they start charging you, if you’re going to go with that.
And that is because I’ll say I started monetizing when I was at 71 subscribers. Because I just didn’t know any better. I was like, I have this thing. I should tell them. OK, cool. And started selling. But in general, a lot of people will quote somewhere between a 2% and 3% conversion rate on their email if you’re selling some type of product, right.
Now, if you’re directing them to your site to go check out your best posts, the conversion rate would be higher. But if you’re actually selling something you can– maybe it’s going to depend on your industry. 2% to 3%. So if you have up to 1,000 subscribers and it’s still free, then that means 20 or 30 people possibly buying your product.
Which means at that point, you’re like, oh shoot. This is totally worth it. And now on the 1,001st subscriber if they start charging me, no problem. Because I’m taking it out of revenue in my business. And so I would highly recommend looking for that.
And then the second thing which you’re probably familiar with, Jenny, of course as well. Is I would look for a platform that gives me the ability to tag people and not assume that every contact is the same, right. There are going to be some of your contacts who are beginners in your topic. There are going to be some of your contacts who only want to work with you one on one. Or there are going to be some of your contacts who are interested in these types of lessons and sewing tutorials, but not these.
And you want to be able to tag them so that you’re not talking to everyone as if they’re the exact same person. We love to build out the avatar. Like my ideal is a person named Jenna. She’s 47, and she did it– and all of that.
But at the end of the day, it’s Jenna, and Fred, and so on and so forth. And you want to be able to tell the difference. So those would be my recommendations if you’re starting with a platform right now.
JENNY GUY: Love all that. We’re going to get into subscribing here in a minute. Before that, I have a question for everyone out in the audience.
I know that this is controversial. But what platform are you currently using for your emails? And why do you love it? Tell us. Or why do you not love it? What are you looking for that it’s not doing?
OK. So when you’re growing your list, what are your best tips? We actually have a question from Kelley Grant here. Who is jumping right in, which is something we are going to talk about. Which is double versus single opt ins.
Give us the lowdown on growing up that list. Opt in placements and language. To pop up or not to pop up. What freebies actually convert. And this can be the longest answer of all, because I am very excited to hear all your thoughts.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: OK. Great questions. I think the first, most important thing to say is that every ideal audience is going to have a different way that they interact with content and with brands. And they’re going to have different preferences.
So you’re going to be in some industries where people are so used to pop ups, it doesn’t even faze them. They just exit out of it. They don’t even read it. They just came here for a specific blog post. They want to know your top 10 recommendations for whatever it is that you’re talking about.
And so they literally, it’s almost like neutral. It’s muted. It didn’t even happen when a pop up happens.
And then there are some people, some audiences. Maybe that audience is a little more– it would really depend on your industry. But you might know this ahead of time. It might be with your audience that’s a little more mature, or whatever it may be. You’re going to maybe truly annoy them with pop ups.
As soon as that pop up comes up, they’re like, you know what, never mind. I’m going to go to a site that doesn’t annoy me. Or all this stuff is happening. Like, what’s going on here. It’s too much. Like, I’m out of here, right.
I say that to say the most important thing that you can eventually do is test different things out. And not be afraid of data. To be honest, if you’re a business owner, you have to get to some level of comfort with data. You have to know your conversion rates and things like that.
So you can set it up one way. Test it out. And then try something different. And pay attention to the difference in conversion rates.
That said, I think something that typically– I have blogs in different niches. And so I’ll say in general, I think that one thing that doesn’t annoy people is to have the announcement bar at the top. So I might have landed on your website for those top 10 tips and there’s a not-in-my-way announcement bar at the top.
It’s a different color than the rest of your site. It still is on brand. But I can see there’s something special you want to draw my attention to. I may read it immediately, or I may read a little bit of my post first.
Or just kind of check out the design of your site. See an ad in the sidebar. Cool, cool, cool. It’s loading. Whatever. And then I’ll get to reading it.
But either way, I think it’s not in people’s way. And it can be a great way to collect email addresses. So for example, you might have up there sign up for the seven day homeschool hack marathon whatever, right.
And then people go, they give their email address, and you’re just directing them back to the Facebook Lives that we talked about. Where for seven days you’re doing these 15 minute sessions, right. So I like that.
If you’re going to try pop ups, and you’re like, I don’t know. People might– that might be so annoying. Maybe try one of the ones that comes from the bottom and just kind of raises up very slowly. It’s not trying to scare anyone.
It doesn’t like boom as soon as you hit the website. It just raises up probably about 30 seconds or so after somebody’s been on the site. You can set those timers, right. It can be 10 seconds, 30 seconds, so on and so forth. So those are great things.
In terms of placement, I really think use your sidebar to your advantage. I think if your site for some reason doesn’t have a sidebar, and you just do maybe ads at the top and middle. Or however you’re monetized.
If your site doesn’t have a sidebar, I would consider designing graphics that are the width of your blog column. So that they look very clean. And put those graphics inside your top blog posts.
Go look at your top performing blog posts. If you’re like most of us, right, you probably have that. You’re like, that one post I wrote six years ago, or however long it’s been. You’re like, why do people like that so much?
JENNY GUY: Yes. We all have that. Yes.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Yeah. Update it a little bit. Put in that full length– or full width. Excuse me. Graphic that has a mockup of your little Facebook Live sessions where you’re sharing your homeschool hacks. Or it has a mockup of your worksheet that you’re sharing your homeschool hacks. Again, whatever it is.
So I really like the idea of looking at your data for your most popular posts and putting sign ups in there. Using the sidebar to your advantage. And trying the announcement bar up top. I think that those are really, really great I guess placement strategies.
But then when we talk in terms of what are the most successful opt ins. Like is a three page checklist going to get as many sign ups as it did when the internet was more new? Probably not.
So I would look at just to our conversation earlier about an introduction phase, versus a growth phase, versus maturity. Most of you are probably in markets that are still growing. But they’re approaching that mature phase where there are a lot of competitors. The leaders have the market share.
It’s hard for a new person to break in. Not impossible, but harder. You’re probably approaching that phase, if you’re not already there.
And so, that said, whatever used to work might not work as well in that more mature market. And so if it used to be a three page checklist, maybe now instead it is a five day challenge that you send out via email.
And that comes with a follow along guide. It includes that checklist, but some more content as well. And so people can either follow it with the PDF, or they can follow the live email course that’s happening, or whatever.
One opt in that I’ve seen be really, really effective still, and especially during this mature market phase, is a quiz that helps differentiate. It helps the person customize their experience within your brand. And within their goal.
So keep in mind, they’re on your site for some larger goal. I’m checking out your vegan recipes for the larger goal of getting healthy. Or seeing what this vegan stuff is about. I’m not on your site because I like your name, or your curly hair, or your top knot.
JENNY GUY: You’re here to solve a problem for me. Yeah.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Right. And so that’s something that you want to think about. So with these quizzes, you are helping them get to that goal in your industry faster. So what type of vegan diet is right for you?
If you’re a newbie, not all vegan diets are the same. You can do a slow roll. You might be a slow roll vegan. You might be a this, a that.
You’re even making up terms to help people classify and understand their situation and their path towards their goal. So if they want to be fully automated in their business in the next six months or something like that, what should they automate first? What should they be doing?
And so you could have this quiz that helps them prioritize how to set up automations. How to install, start working with funnels, how to go vegan. Whatever it may be.
And so I like that because it gives you data. You know what they want emails and content about. You know what affiliate programs you might want to sign up for because of, oh, 80% of the people who come to my site are slow roll Sally vegans.
Like that’s helpful for me to know. And it gives them data. Because they’re like, oh, yeah. Yeah, that’s right.
JENNY GUY: That’s right. That is who I am.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: That is who I am. That’s a good plan. And it feels more customized. Because I guarantee you, they’re going to go to your competitor’s site as well.
And it’s just going to be like, hey, get my checklist. Hey, get my free ebook. It has like 10 amazing recipes in it.
And that’s a very different experience from your here’s your customized plan. I’m going to take this five minute quiz, and you’ll get a customized plan on how to blank.
Which is why you came to my site in the first place. So it helps you differentiate yourself in a crowded market. So those are just some ideas. Jenny–
JENNY GUY: Girl, quizzes–
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: You know by now I could go on forever.
JENNY GUY: No, but this is amazing. I am enough of a 90s teenager, late 90s teenager, to love quizzes more than anything. And there’s nothing I love– like, I love a good quiz. Who doesn’t love a good quiz?
I have people saying, oh, I love the idea of a quiz. I have never even thought about trying quiz my niche, which is a very mature market. There are a lot of people saying this quiz idea.
And it enables you guys, the more that you get, more information you get, the more it can help guide your content creation. It can not only guide your email list, it can guide everything that you’re doing. The more you learn about what people really want to know.
Even with Teal Talk and Summer of Live, in terms of content creation. We’ve been asking more, what do you want? What do you want to see? What can we give you?
And when we hear things that we’re like, but we did that. But they weren’t around. They don’t remember. They may not have been here two years ago when we did those episodes.
So that is really great information, to go, they still do care about that. And they’re not consuming it the way we created it. It’s not like they’re going to say there’s old news. So learning that stuff is so, so helpful. And information is always power.
I would also be remiss not to mention that with grow.me, which is our first party data solution, there’s a new feature called Spotlight Subscribe. Where it is kind of a pop up amalgam without being a pop up. Like it has the features of a pop up. It comes forward when a reader reaches a certain point in the content.
It blurs some of the content around it for just a second to really highlight that subscribe. But it doesn’t obscure. People don’t have to cross– x out of it. It’s not a bad user experience.
That to me is– I love it. Because I don’t know about anyone else. We’re consuming the content on our phones. And some pop ups are hard to get out of when you’re on a phone.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Yeah.
JENNY GUY: So you can run–
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: I have definitely left websites– oh, sorry, Jenny.
JENNY GUY: Oh, no. You go, please.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Not understanding, like is there an X button or not?
JENNY GUY: No. And you’re done. Like once you get annoyed to that point, you’re like, I’m done. I’m not going to mess with this.
So here’s some of what I’m hearing people with platforms. Just to go back for a second. We heard, I use paid MailerLite, as it connects beautifully with my Shopify products.
We got Flodesk. It’s inexpensive and great for basic use. We got SendFox. I’ve never heard of SendFox. Because it is so content focused and easy. It doesn’t have tagging though.
And then we have somebody say, I use MailChimp because it’s what I started with. But I’m looking for a new provider that offers more functionality, like the ability to remarket them.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Oh, yeah. That’s great. I love those. Did anyone recommend– did anyone say ConvertKit in the responses?
JENNY GUY: I haven’t seen a ConvertKit, but I know that a lot– are you are you a big ConvertKit fan?
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Yeah. I would say that 90% of my projects go with ConvertKit. I don’t know. I probably have four or five lists with them right now. And then I’m testing out Flodesk for one of them as well.
I like ConvertKit. Obviously it’s not the only solution. But I do like it because they introduce the free plan up to maybe 1,000 subscribers.
And they have the tagging and stuff like that. But pretty much everything that everyone was listening– listing. Excuse me. Sounds great.
And the most important thing I think, Jenny, is just that you have the list. Because as we talked about earlier, as soon as that list is not functional for your needs anymore, you can switch to a different provider. And it’s really not that big of a deal.
The tagging, though, is pretty helpful. Because you would want to be able to like transition over the tags as well. Just understanding what did the person sign up for on my list.
Was it the seven day event, or was it this, or was it that. So tagging could be pretty helpful. And I think you can do it to some degree in MailChimp and MailerLite like for free as well, so.
JENNY GUY: Here come all the ConvertKit fans. We had one person say, I used to use ConvertKit, but I could never get the emails to look pretty. Interesting.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Yeah. I could understand that. I know they’ve done a lot to change their themes. And for me, I loved it. I loved just the plain text based email. So I’m a part time minimalist, if you will. So I loved that.
But for some industries, that’s not practical. You want to have the more designed Flodesk desk looking, MailChimp looking email. So that makes sense.
JENNY GUY: So we had the question from Kelley from before. Double opt in versus single opt in. Where do you stand?
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: OK. So you all may be familiar already. For anyone who’s not, with a single opt in, if somebody just enters their name and email address, or just their email address, they’re immediately on your list. So if they entered the wrong email address, if it’s actually a spambot that is entering 20,000 email addresses a minute into different websites.
Or if somebody signed up their friend instead of them just to be nice, but their friend didn’t just subscribe to it. All of that can happen. And the person is immediately subscribed.
So there’s pros and cons. The pro there is that there’s no extra step. The person is on your list. And they start getting their emails or their freebie the moment they sign up.
The con is they might have mistyped their email address, and they will never get that email from you. And you’re going to be potentially paying for people on your list that aren’t even real email addresses.
And then there is the concept of if all it took was just enter the email address one time and press go, and they didn’t have to go back and reconfirm that they really want to be on your list. There’s this concept of perhaps with the double opt in those leads being a little more valuable to your business. So with double opt in y’all, when I go and I enter my email address on your website, it automatically sends me an email.
You can usually change the wording of it. But it’ll say something like, hey, we just want to make sure you really wanted to be signed up. Click here to confirm, and we’ll send along your free seven day subscription of blank. Whatever it is.
And so then I have to say one more time, which then verifies that I typed in the email address correctly and all of that stuff. And you’re not paying for anyone who doesn’t really want to be on your list, in essence.
I have found that my quality of email list is higher with double opt in. Because I guess people have to take that extra step. And because what happens is, if somebody really wants what you sent, or what you’re saying you’ll send them, they’re going to go search for that email in their inbox and interact with it. Reply to it. Whatever it is that you’re asking them to do.
And that sends a signal to Gmail, or whoever they do their email from, that you’re a safe sender. That this person actually wants to receive emails from you. So just as a pro tip, y’all. The very first email you send out, or a second email, ask people to reply to you with something.
And that’s because as soon as you hit reply and start talking back to this entity that emails you, Gmail is going, oh, OK. They must like them. So we’re going to– their emails are to go straight to the inbox or whatever. So it really helps you.
But anyway. I think double opt in is helpful for that reason. And then if you’re trying to save money when you’re first getting started, you want to only be paying for people who are real and who mean to be there. So I think it offers that additional benefit.
Yeah. I don’t know. Those are my thoughts. I’m not I’m not against single opt in. But we don’t use it for any of our properties right now.
JENNY GUY: That’s really helpful. We actually have a couple of questions. One is the question I was going to ask. I love it when people preempt me on these things.
How often do you recommend cleaning your email list of cold subscribers? I call it culling. How often are you doing it? How many unopened emails are you letting go before you say bye bye?
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Great question. So first thing I’ll say is I just would recommend that everyone be careful when you’re cleaning your list. I do it at least once a year.
But when I’m being purposeful, we probably do it once a quarter. And so this is the process of looking. And you define this. You define this for your brand.
This is the process of looking through your email list. You’re using filters to do this. You’re not hand by hand doing it. But anyway. Looking through your email list and going, hey, if anyone hasn’t opened an email in three months, they probably don’t want to hear from us anymore. So we’re going to label them as cold.
So a couple of things, y’all. Your email software will have different definitions of cold. So your email software may just say anyone who hasn’t opened in a month. If you only email out twice a month, or if you haven’t emailed out for a while, you may be seeing people on this list of cold subscribers that love your emails. But you just haven’t sent any lately.
Also, a month to me is not really long enough. Somebody could go on a vacation, blah, blah, blah, right. So you’re going to want to make sure that first when you are filtering and showing all your cold subscribers in your email list software, you’re going to want to know how they define that.
So if they define it just as one month, then please make sure that you actually just change your filters. And make sure you search for people who haven’t opened in three months, or six months, whatever it is for you. So I to say that, number one.
But yeah. I would say about once a quarter when I’m being purposeful about it. And so basically at that time we’re identifying anyone who hasn’t opened emails in three months for us. If they haven’t opened emails in three months for us, we– a couple of things.
Number one, you can send a re-engagement sequence to try to see, did you really mean to stop opening my emails? Or no. Number two, I would always export the people that you’re about to delete off of your list, and keep– since they have not unsubscribed, I would export them before you delete them.
Because you can do that thing of uploading them into Business Manager and then targeting them with ads. Which might re-engage them. They might buy your ebook. They might go back to your website. Click on some affiliate links, et cetera, et cetera.
Different email providers have different ways of tracking if somebody opened your email or not. And so it is possible. I don’t want to get in to the technical aspects. It’s possible that somebody has been opening every single email and reading it, but it’s not tracking in your software. So you might be about to delete somebody who loves your emails.
So one thing we do every single time is we actually give people links to click on over those three months. Or in the re-engagement sequence. To make sure that we don’t filter anyone who actually is opening emails and clicking.
So we’ll either click to a product we have, click to the best guide on our website, click somewhere important that they would want to go if they’re opening emails. And that way we usually are able to save a few more email addresses each time we clean. Because they’ve clicked. If that makes sense.
JENNY GUY: Yeah, no. That totally makes sense. So I want to go back talking to– about segmenting, and tagging, and all of that. Because we just had a question from someone who said, my list currently doesn’t have anyone tagged. Could I use a quiz and re-engagement campaign to accomplish that?
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Yes. That makes me so excited. It’s exciting because you’re in a good position. If you all have been tagging, awesome. If you’ve never tagged anyone or segmented anyone, also awesome. Because it’s a clean slate and you can do it right. Instead of– at one time I had to almost just delete my whole email list, because there were so many tags and it was so messy. That it’s like, I can’t even tell what’s happening here. So–
JENNY GUY: Thank you for sharing that vulnerability. And making it helpful, to where no one has to feel bad about themselves right now. You’re not doing it wrong. You’re good.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Well, you know those times when you like– you’re using your own little code of what this tag means. I would go back and read stuff and be like, I can’t tell what that means they signed up for or did. So you’re not alone.
But anyway. If you’re doing that, I think that’s a perfect– whoever said that, that’s an excellent strategy. So you can do something like a quit. You can– a couple of things. You could just do it in your email.
You could send out an email series. Over like two weeks you’re going to send out three or four emails. Maybe more. That have people clicking on specific links.
Like click the statement below that most fits you, and I’m going to send a special resource your way, right. Number one, I am just getting into homeschooling. And I want to learn what is the best way to set up my homeschooling calendar.
Number two, we’ve actually been homeschooling for a year or more, and what I’d like is more blah, blah, blah, blah. And number three, oh, I’m a homeschooling pro. However, now I’m trying to figure out if I should switch curriculum for the next year. Or whatever it is, right.
Your top three things that you think your audience identifies with. And ask them to just click one. And then based on what they click, you’re either like homeschool beginner, or homeschool intermediate, homeschool advanced. And then that lets you know, hey, I’m only going to pitch my consultations to this audience versus that.
So you can do the quiz inside the email, in one sense. And/or you could use a separate platform like Typeform. Or I don’t know, Jenny, if you all have any quiz software magically. Or if you have some that you want to recommend.
But you could use separate software. Create the quiz, and then have it in essence talking to your email software. And saying, hey, if somebody ends up as a go vegan Sally, go vegan veggie whatever, Veronica. Then put this tag on them. But if they end up as a this, put this tag.
So for example, Typeform and ConvertKit talk directly to each other. So you could do that. But whatever it is you use. MailChimp, MailerLite. There’s probably some quiz software that you could use to do that. Do you have any quiz software you like, Jenny?
JENNY GUY: We have not. We are just now starting to dip our toes in. We did a survey of this last time. We used Airtable table for it. And we’ve used Google Forms before too. But we are hearing you. We have a lot of ideas, actually.
I’m corresponding with somebody on my team who was the one who recommended to have you on the show. And she’s like, we have to do quizzes. We have to do them now. I’m like, you’re right. We do. That’s accurate.
We are almost out of time, which bums me the heck out. We’re going to do our wrap up question. Although I do not want to, because I want to talk to you about more things.
But we love action items on Teal Talk. It’s our favorite way to close out a great hour of education. So what I would love is one to two tips for people who currently aren’t using email marketing. A jump start for them. And then one to two tips for people who have a list, and see some emails, but maybe aren’t currently seeing the ROI that they would really like from it.
And I’m going to have you come with that in just a second while I make an announcement. I also want to make sure that you tell everyone how they can get more information from you, and help. We are going to share a handout, a one-sheeter with all links from what we have, and some from Regina too.
So we’ll have that for you that we’ll share in the comments in a second. But what services you provide and how you might be able to help people too. So back to Regina in one second.
On our next episode of Teal Talk, guys, it’s next week. It is fake tax day. Because it’s not real tax day, since we’ve got delayed for a month. But it will be Thursday, April 15th at 3:00 PM Eastern.
The algorithm shift is upon us, guys. We know it’s coming. Google has told us it is coming. Google Page Experience and Core Web Vitals are going to be a thing in May.
We are going to have Andrew Wilder from NerdPress. And Eric will be here, our CEO, to discuss what Mediavine is doing to help you guys with Core Web Vitals. And what you can do, work you can do on your own or have developers do for your site.
Now, back to the amazing Regina. Please tell us your tips, and where we can get in touch with you and follow you. And learn from you more.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Oh, thank you, Jenny. So if you have already been using email marketing, and you’re either just trying to give your list a jump start, or refocus on audience building, one thing that I would really recommend is– OK, there’s this phrase going around.
Or there’s this thing going around social media. Of like not comparing yourself to others. And how that can be very damaging. And listen, I agree. You don’t want to just scroll through Instagram and compare your beginning stages to what somebody else has chosen to publish.
However, I think it’s a little dangerous to just throw that around. Because in business, competitive analysis is a good thing. And it’s something we really kind of have to do.
So for those of you who are re-livening your– that’s not even what I’m trying to say. Your list. I’d recommend take some time. Do some competitive analysis.
Do whatever you need to do before it. Drink some nice tea. Meditate. Get ready. And dive in on what the leaders in your space are doing, and what upcoming emerging leaders in your space are doing.
And then I would really just ask myself, what do I need to be creating to be at the top of the game? To be outperforming, and to be offering– be of even more service to my audience, right.
And so if everyone’s doing like, here, download this checklist, do this. Every week we send an email about this. You’re taking it up to the next level. It’s a quiz. It helps people design their own path through their goal. And each week they’re going to get one action item related to that goal.
And you’re going to make sure it’s not wasting their time, and you’re only going to direct them to the top resources on your site. Something like that, right. So you’re taking it to the next level.
If you’re just getting started, I think you can do the same. You can do competitive analysis, and just understand the market that you’re about to enter into.
Who are the leaders? How did they start? Not just what they’re doing right now, but how did they get to where they are? How do they engage with their audience?
And you can base your strategy off of that. Because again, the idea is I want to stand out. I want to differentiate myself from those people.
Because I believe I can help the key audience in a different way than they can. And it’s not about better or whatever. You can collaborate with one of these people.
But at the end of the day, business is about competitive analysis and being willing to do that work. So that’s kind of what I would recommend. Is like, what are you willing to do?
And what’s the best type of content that you can create to be the top 1% of performers in your industry? To be helpful. To be talked about by audience members.
So that would be that. And as far as getting in touch with me, I think I’m on Instagram the most, maybe. @byReginaTV. Trying to get back into the Twitter, as they call it. And then probably our most popular web property is PublishYourThing.com
And that’s where we help people publish their thing. Whether that be a book or a workshop. And there will even be tips related to blogging, and YouTubing, and stuff like that as well.
JENNY GUY: Fantastic. We’ve shared your Instagram. We’ve shared your website. That’s also on the handout.
Regina, you are amazing. We want you to publish your thing. Thank you for giving us all these tips that’ll make us into that top 1%. You are the best.
REGINA ANAEJIONU:: Thank you, Jenny. Bye, everyone.
JENNY GUY: Bye, everyone. We will see you next week for Core Web Vitals and Page Experience. Have a great week, you guys. Bye.
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