The engine of my information marketing business is email marketing. I use email to sell both my own products and products for which I am an affiliate. A store has to have a way to get people in the door. Advertising. For me, that’s email!
For years (since ’07) I’ve been using Aweber. Also, GetResponse since probably about three years ago. Late last year, however, I felt the need to update my whole email marketing back end to my business. Silly me, I thought this would be about a two week upgrade. Turns out it’s been at least four months, and I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
I thought I’d highlight some of this journey for you. You might run a similar business, or at least a business that relies heavily on email. Or you might want to some day. Either way, I hope a little information about my decision to change up how I did email marketing and the bumps and pitfalls I encountered along the way will be educational. Let’s start with an brief explanation of list based email platforms vs contact based platforms.
In order to understand my move in email marketing, you have to understand the difference between an list based email platform and a contact based platform.
Aweber and GetResponse are both list based platforms. So are Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, etc. The “unit of currency” on these platforms is the list. Over time, on both Aweber and later on GetResponse, I built accounts with thousands of emails on each account. At one time, I had three Aweber accounts and one GetResponse account. This isn’t counting the very short lived Constant Contact account I had. (They decided they didn’t like me and shut me down!)
Marketing on these types of platforms is “list-centric”. By that I mean, let’s say I sold a product about press releases. Everyone who bought went on a certain list. Let’s say that I’ve got a new product, say about using video with press releases. I’d want to inform the buyers of the press release product about the new product, right. Well, on Aweber and GetResponse my only real option would be to send an email about this to the whole original press release list.
Let’s say I sold the press release product two months before pitching the video product. So, during those two months a lot can happen with the individuals on the press release list. They’re all not going to be in the same frame of mind they were in when they first bought. Sally might have gotten into CPA marketing, while Bob dropped off the face of the earth entirely. So, just pitching a product to a whole list is a much more average (as in law of averages) way of doing business marketing. I have no way of knowing what each individual person’s interests in the current moment are.
Now, let’s say I’ve had all of these guys on a CRM type platform, like ActiveCampaign, InfusionSoft, or whatnot. And, let’s say during the two months between the sale of the press release product and the video product, I’ve sent, oh, 50 or 60 emails to this list. With a platform like this I can actually track what emails a specific subscriber opens. I can see who clicks what. And, most importantly, I can build intelligence about what people are interested in.
What if no one clicks on follow up emails about press releases, but if I sent out some information about CPA marketing I got a ton of clicks, and not only that, what if I were able to tag the people who had displayed an interest in the CPA marketing?
Do you see how cool that is?
With Aweber, GetResponse, etc, all you can do is make a whole ton of not necessarily warranted assumptions about what people are interested in. With ActiveCampaign, or Drip, or whatnot, you can actually tag people and thus focus your marketing efforts a lot more.
So, that’s a general rundown, with an example of the difference between the two. (Note: Both Aweber and GetResponse have various features that tend toward doing what a CRM does. But, it’s not really the same thing. Kind of like saying that a tricycle and a Ferrari are both vehicles.)
Sometime around last September, I had the idea to switch over. Again, I thought this would take a couple of weeks, and now here it is mid-January. Well, just like all good things, there’s a massive difference between a great idea and great execution of said idea.
My online business focuses on Internet marketing. This world is very focused on what’s selling right now. Hello…launches? Any given day, five to ten new products launch. Some of them are pretty good stuff too!
CRM’s by their very nature are more focused on long term selling to subscribers. So, someone buys the press release training. A CRM would be great at upselling them over the next week, then selling them related products from my back catalogue. You don’t really need a CRM to blast your list with whatever today’s hot selling product, right?
So, over the past few months and behind the scenes, I’ve been making hundreds of experiments about what to sell to my list, how to sell to my list, etc. Building sort of a manual CRM approach. Talk about work! I would mail, then look at stats on a spreadsheet and analyze the daylights out of them. One thing that I’m very careful about is assumptions. So many marketers believe they know what’s going on, where all they’re doing is seeking to validate spurious assumptions. I thought I knew too. Boy oh boy was I wrong!
I was wrong about virtually everything. What my list bought. What times were the best times to mail. How many times per day were the right times to mail. Etc, etc, etc. By running a sort of manual CRM for a few months, I was able to see what was just a stupid assumption on my part and differentiate that from what actually worked. Now that I’m done, I’m ready to start testing various automations I’ve programmed into my back end.
Which brings me to this article.
If you came here from my list, I now know a few things. I know you open my emails. (Thank you!) If you clicked over to this article, I know that you’re interested enough to check this out. I know these two automations work, and I now know a little bit more about you.
Might sound spooky, except here’s what this will do for you. It’s actually very simple. In my email marketing business I only make money when you buy something. So, it behooves me to mail you personally more of what you’re interested in and less of what you’re not. It’s massively better for you too! You won’t notice a difference right away, but over time I think you’ll notice that you get less crap that’s just not your bag and more gems that feel like they’re perfectly suited for you. That’s the goal right there, to use the Internet and automation to better serve my market!
Thanks for reading this!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.