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Hosted by:

Katya Allison

Director of Marketing
Content at GRIN

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About GRIN Gets Real

Welcome to the GRIN gets real podcast, the show for people who want to maximize their marketing potential. From influencer marketing to eCommerce strategy and everything in between, each episode will feature industry experts that share their insights and provide actionable tips to help you achieve your marketing goals. Subscribe and stay tuned!

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The State of Email Marketing: Is It Dead or Very Much Alive?

In this episode:

Chris Orzechowski

Founder of Orzy Media

How to leverage emails for sales and marketing

Chris Orzechowski is the Founder of Orzy Media, a boutique ecommerce email marketing automation agency. He’s written two bestselling books on email marketing. He also has a popular print newsletter called Make It Rain Monthly, which is read by over 300 subscribers in over 30 countries. To work with Chris and his team, go to theemailcopywriter.com.

Full episode details

Emails can help your brand connect with consumers on a personal level. 

And no, that doesn’t mean you can’t automate them. 

“You’re writing to one person at a time … What I want you to do is actually take a random customer from your email list—you don’t have to send this email—but … write that email as if you were writing a personal letter to them, telling them about whatever the promo is or what the sale is. Those are some of the best, highest-converting emails you’ll ever have.”

The question that lives rent-free in every marketer’s mind: How can I make an email stand out? When you consider it, your brand is fighting to stand out in inboxes full of emails, but that shouldn’t discourage you! Chris Orzechowski is sharing his best advice for creating emails that convert. 

Email automation may just be a marketer’s best friend. 

According to Chris, when you’re not automating, “you’re leaving money on the table.” Taking some time to think through the consumer journey and create thoughtful touchpoints for them is essential. And if you’re afraid of people unsubscribing based on too many emails, don’t let that fear stop you. 

“We’ve had a lot of brands where they’ll have one email in place—they’ll have one of those one abandoned cart emails, and we’ll add a second or third email. Then, 50% of the sales will come from the combined second and third email … So if you just have that one email, you’re probably leaving 50% of the revenue on the table from that flow.” 

However, it’s more than just increasing your frequency. Your emails need to stand out and resonate with readers, and Chris is ready to show you how. 

In this podcast episode, listeners will learn about: 

  • The current state of email marketing 
  • How to utilize user-generated content within an email
  • The top three things most brands miss in email marketing 
  • How changes in iOS 14/15 have affected email marketing  
  • And much more! 

Quotes from the episode

The State of Email Marketing: Is It Dead or Very Much Alive? 1

“But usually, with every single brand that we’ve ever worked with, we’ve been able to find things that they can improve upon because it’s this never-ending journey. Like, you can always convert a little bit better, you can always change up your frequency, change up your style, change up the copy you’re using, the stories you’re using, all those kinds of things. So that’s the cool thing about email, there’s just so much opportunity, and it really is a deep, deep medium.”

“My one rule for subject lines is to be radically different at all costs, and there are obviously many ways that you can interpret that.” 

“And when you think about all the marketing mediums, how many people follow influencers nowadays, right? Like, why are they following those people? They’re following them because they’re telling interesting stories. So you could almost be your own influencer with an email.”

“People respond to people. They buy from people they’re familiar with, you know, like the people they have a relationship with. That’s why so many businesses are, you know, they’re really in the relationship business. That’s why they use marketing—to create that bond.”

Katya Allison:
Welcome to the GRIN Gets Real podcast, a show for marketers by marketers to talk shop and share insights on the ever-changing landscape of the digital world. My name is Katya, and I am your host on this exciting journey as we talk to our experts who join us.

 

In every episode, we aim to help marketers maximize their potential by getting real with industry experts across multiple industries and disciplines. From influencer marketing to ecommerce strategy, we talk through it all and leave you with actionable tips to help you in the day-to-day of marketing.

 

Now, my guest today is Chris Orzechowski. He is the founder of Orzy Media, which is a boutique ecommerce email marketing automation agency. He has written two best-selling books on email marketing and also has a popular print newsletter called Make It Rain Monthly, which is read by over 300 subscribers in over 30 countries around the world.

 

So put your AirPods in, turn up that volume, and get ready for my guest today, Chris Orzechowski.

 

Chris, welcome to the GRIN Gets Real podcast. I am super excited to have you on here to talk about email marketing.

 

Chris Orzechowski:
Thanks so much for having me. I’m pumped, too.

 

Katya Allison:
Yes. And you know, the title that I selected for this is “The State of Email Marketing: Is It Dead or Very Much Alive?” because I think that oftentimes people think, “Oh, who emails?” And I’m—it never ceases to surprise me, the amount of leads that you can get, the traction, the connection, the engagement, all of this stuff that you can get from emails.

 

Before we do dive into that, let’s share a little bit about who you are and just, kind of, your area of expertise.

 

Chris Orzechowski:

Yeah, absolutely. So, I run an email marketing agency called Orzy Media, and we typically work with a lot of ecommerce brands, although we do have some digital product brands, and every now and then, we’ll throw a SaaS brand in there. But what we—like, our superpower is kind of helping people with email marketing automation. What we like doing is setting people up with kind of like automated behaviorally driven email marketing funnels, and you know, essentially, this machine that we built for someone that just cranks out sales that they don’t have to lift a finger for, right?

 

So, we set up automations one time, and we have clients who, from years ago, they’re still using the same automations, and they’re still making money day after day, week after week, month after month from those things.

 

So, we just love building assets for people, and what we specialize in is more tech-space, more copy-heavy emails that tell your brand story in your brand voice that make your email stand out in the inbox, that make people actually look forward to wanting to see your emails because that’s one of the things—with some brands, it’s like, every time they send out emails, like “Oh, I know what’s in here. It’s another coupon or another sale or another, whatever.”

 

And that’s fine, but eventually, people start to tune your stuff out. So we just find creative and fun ways to keep people engaged with email and to keep the sales rolling in.

 

Katya Allison:

So now, let’s dive into it. What is the state of email marketing? Is it something that is very much alive? Is it dying down? Obviously, you’re not going to say dying down. This is like the backbone of your business.

 

But I’d love to hear from your perspective because you, you know, you’re on different podcasts, you’re on different shows, you also lead classes as well, too. But like, what do you tell people that come to you and ask you that?

 

Chris Orzechowski:

I just say, “Email’s dead. Thanks for having me; really appreciate it.”

 

Katya Allison:

Peace out. Peace out.

 

Chris Orzechowski:

No, it’s—I think it’s very much alive, and I think it’s just been getting more and more important. And I think people started really realizing this last year because, like, within, you know, especially in ecommerce, or really all digital businesses, it’s like, you have revenue, or you have, you know, the lists that you own and the lists that you rent, right? The list that you rent is the one you keep on having to pay for over and over, and that’s Facebook’s list of customers, or Instagram’s list, or Google’s list, or YouTube’s list, or TikTok’s list, right?

 

You don’t own those customers. You don’t own those followings, right? You have to pay them every single time you want to market to them, but when you have your own list, you own that list, and maybe you had to pay an acquisition cost a long time ago to get them to buy or get them there, but that’s the list you own, you can market to them as many times as you want.

 

And with everything that’s been going on for the iOS updates, and just you know, platform instability, and these platforms getting shut down or shutting down accounts randomly and costs go through the roof, I mean, there’s a lot of people who just can’t even afford to advertise, right? Maybe their ads are still working, but the costs have creeped up so much that it’s just becoming harder and harder to win.

 

So, I think email’s become more important because there’s so much more margin to be made from those sales, and if you know how to nurture your list the right way and keep them coming back for more, it’s—I mean, it’s—it’s like printing money. It’s crazy.

 

Katya Allison:

Well, let’s talk about the acquisition costs because I’m also a big believer in owning your list in general, and I think when it comes to marketing and ad spend and all of that stuff, we’re all very focused on the sale. We obviously want to get the sale—we’re in this for business, but do you find that when brands come to you that there’s a lot of education that has to happen on your end in telling them the value of, like, what that email list is?

 

Chris Orzechowski:

Sometimes. Yeah—definitely, it definitely does happen that way because sometimes brands will have, like, maybe basic automation setup, but they’re not doing too well, and then we’ll be like, “Hey, want to see a magic trick?” And then we’ll add, like, one simple flow, and they’ll be like, “Oh my gosh, there’s an extra, like, $4,000 a month coming in.”

 

Katya Allison:

Yeah.

 

Chris Orzechowski:

Which is nice, right? Or 10,000 dollars a month, or whatever it is. And sometimes there might be scenarios where brands—they just don’t email their list at all, and they have 80,000 people, and it’s like, “Hey, wanna see another magic trick?” And we send an email out, and it’s like, “Wow, you just made 12 grand in sales? Like, should we do it again?”

 

And so, you know, it depends, though. Some brands are super savvy, some brands know, you know, how to, you know, how to have that conversation, and then they just need more of just someone managing it, or someone kind of just owning it, right?

 

Katya Allison:

Yeah.

 

Chris Orzechowski:

But usually, with every single brand that we’ve ever worked with, we’ve been able to find things that they can improve upon because it’s this never-ending journey. Like, you can always convert a little bit better, you can always change up your frequency, change up your style, change up the copy you’re using, the stories you’re using, all those kinds of things. So, but that’s the thing, like, that’s the cool thing about email is there’s just so much opportunity, and it really is a deep, deep medium.

 

Like, if you think about a list, like, let’s talk about an ecommerce brand with a list of 100,000 people, but they’re not all the same kinds of people. Within that list, there are maybe 20, 30, 40, 50 different segments, and I’m not even just talking about people who bought product A versus people who bought product B. It’s people who spent a certain amount of money. It’s people who have bought at different times, maybe some last, what, six months ago versus someone buying seven days ago. There are people who are interested in certain product categories. There are people who have been in your continuity programs, people who have canceled the continuity programs. There are people in different states, maybe, if you have a regional aspect of your business, right?

 

There are so many different ways to slice and dice the list in terms of segmentation that you can really drill down and find little pockets of people that you could send different offers to, which will increase your overall earnings per subscriber for the segments.

Katya Allison:
So would you say that a good first step is to—I don’t know—the first advice that you could potentially give someone is, like, segment out your list? But then, I guess for me—the follow-up question is, where do I even start? Where do I even start?

If I have 80,000 people, is it sending one email out to filter out what they’re interested in? I’ve seen that tactic work a lot, and I used to work at an agency, and that was one of the tactics that we used was, like, this mass email of what you’re interested in, so that they can maybe self-select and segment themselves out versus falling into, like, firmographics or demographics.

But what’s your advice if you have that list and you want to be able to segment that out?

Chris Orzechowski:
So, those survey emails are great. I love using those. I even use those myself for my own list because it helps me build–you won’t be able to segment everyone, but you segment the engaged people, which is super important because they’re the people who are going to be spending the most anyway.

Another way that I like to start, like, whenever we have a client in that situation, the beginning of the conversation always starts with, like, “Well, what’s your goal? Like, what is the KPI we’re trying to hit?” And sometimes they’ll say, “We want to make an extra 100 grand a month.”

And I’ll say, “Okay, cool. We’ll make an extra 100 grand a month. What do we want to sell to get there, right?” Because you have products, you have offers, so you start with what those products are. Then, I’ll say, “Okay. You want to sell this widget? Okay. Well, who are the people who are likely to buy this widget? You know, maybe it’s a one-time thing.”

Like, I always use the example of, like, an outdoor grill, like, if you sold—if you have a list of 80,000 people, and maybe 10% of those people are buyers, like, you could try to sell another outdoor grill to someone, but, like, how many grills does someone really need? Like, maybe we segment those people out, and we create a list of people who haven’t bought the grill yet, right?

Maybe another product we want to sell is a grill brush. Okay, why don’t we just sell that to the people who already bought a grill from us? So like, I just go very simple first, and I say, “Okay, what are the products? How many of those units do we need to sell? What segments can we sell it to?”

And then you don’t have a crystal ball—you can’t tell exactly how many sales you’re going to make when you send an email, right? You say, “Okay, if our goal over the next quarter is to sell this much product, here are the segments we can go after. If you multiply typical conversion rates for our list that we’ve seen with other segments, getting—kind of reverse engineer the math—we’re just trying to make more money. It may or may not happen—we can send more emails; there are things we could do.”

But it’s always easier when you have that target because then that helps you create segments and think strategically through. Maybe you don’t need to create 50 segments. Maybe you just need four, right? Four for this quarter, work those and then say, “Okay, what’s the next step down for the next quarter?”

Katya Allison:
Oh, I like that advice. Sometimes, I swear, I start to create more work for myself than I need to, so I’m glad that you’re like, “Hey, sometimes you can segment 40, but you may only need four.” And I think that’s really key for it, for people to understand that.

So let’s say, you know, we’ve got the segments. I always think the next daunting thing is the email itself, right? And there are a couple of questions in the email itself, kind of, thought process. There is the email sequence that you want to be able to send people out, right? How many are in there? What’s that magic? Or maybe that has to do with what you previously talked about?

But then there’s also, like, the meat of the email. I see a lot of brands that spend a lot of time on the inside of the email, making sure that they’ve got all their, like, value propositions in there, which is fantastic. But I know myself as a consumer, I get a ton of emails. So for me, as a marketer, I think about the subject line. So what are some tips that you can provide on, like, the subject line itself? Or maybe—maybe you don’t think that the key is the subject line? Maybe you should start there.

Chris Orzechowski:
Okay, so subject lines are super important. Even in, like, a post-iOS-15 world, they still are important because even if you aren’t able to completely—not—you really actually couldn’t ever completely accurately track open rates, but it’s just a little bit worse than it was before. So it’s not a huge deal.

But the thing to remember is, like, there are still people reading your emails, whether you can see them opening or not, right? So the subject lines are super important.

My one rule for subject lines is to be radically different at all costs, and there are obviously many ways that you can interpret that, but, like, things that I’ve done with my own brand is, like, on Halloween, I sent a subject line with about 40 pumpkin emojis, which, like, no one would be crazy enough to do that, right? And like Thanksgiving, I did about 40 turkeys, so, like, it spanned pumpkins and turkeys across the entire screen, and, like, when you think about it, like, is that—is that a good hook, is that good copy? Like, no, but it’s just something that was so radically different than anything you might see.

There was like, “Happy Thanksgiving. Happy Halloween. Here’s a spooky deal, right?” And like, that’s what everybody does. Like, “30% off our spooky deal today.”

Katya Allison:
But it’s so cute! Spooky deal—I have to see it.

Chris Orzechowski:
I guess, right, but—but then people see the pumpkins. They see 40 pumpkins. They’re like, “What is this about?” And they have to click it, right?

Katya Allison:
Yeah.

Chris Orzechowski:
So it’s like writing things. So that’s like one step is just to be radically different at all costs. The other thing is just to, like, make your subject line sound like they’re coming from a human.

Katya Allison:
Yeah.

Chris Orzechowski:
Like I sent one the other day, like “I’m moving,” or like I’ve sent ones before, that’s like, oh, I might have gotten myself into trouble. Like, I can’t remember, you know exactly what I said, but there are little things you can do where it’s like, it sounds like it’s coming from a person rather than a brand.

Katya Allison:
Yeah.

Chris Orzechowski:
And you see, like, what I kind of got this idea from was, like, seeing brands on Twitter, big brands, like, you’ll have, like, Wendy’s and the Wendy’s corporate account is, like, talking smack to people as if, like, it’s a person, you know? It’s like, you know, they’re talking smack to Burger King, and Burger King is talking smack back. It’s funny because they’re these big, like, mega international brands, but they sound like a—like a person rather than, like, “Hey, we’re running a sale at our restaurants,” you know, and that stuff gets attention.

So I think the more that you can make your emails obviously sound like they’re coming from a person—and that continues in the body, like, I like having emails that come from a person, where you’re telling a story, you’re—you have copy.

Some of my favorite types of emails for brands, I call them, like, behind-the-scenes at HQ. What’s happening at headquarters? Because people, like, you know—there are so many documentaries now, like Chef’s Table is one. Like, obviously, like, you want to go to all these great restaurants and eat the food, but, like, if you’re not going to fly to France, or you’re not going to fly out to Argentina, or wherever the restaurant is, I mean, watch the story, like, that’s some of the best TV I’ve ever watched in my life.

Just like seeing how the chefs, you know—the guy from Australia who only uses fire, they didn’t have electricity in the kitchen. Yeah, like just hearing the story for like an hour, hour and a half. I’m like, “This is insane.” Like, I never even knew that all this stuff happened. Like, that’s interesting content.

Katya Allison:
Yeah.

Chris Orzechowski:
And, like, when you think about all the marketing mediums, like, how many people follow influencers nowadays, right? Like, why are they following those people? They’re following them because they’re telling interesting stories.

So like, you could almost be your own influencer with an email. You don’t have to go out and try to live the influencer life necessarily, but, like, you could essentially just do the same thing but within a different medium, within the personal mediums, like, “Hey, here’s what’s going on.”

I had this one client, Sena Sea. She sells fish. Her family, they’re fishermen out in Alaska. I mean, the best salmon you could buy, right? And she’ll tell stories about, like, “Hey, we were out in the boat the other day, I’m like, here’s what happened. I’m like, here’s the fish we caught,” and, like—and it’s like, wow, how would you ever buy salmon from someone else when, you know, seeing the story and her family’s catching it, and it’s not from some big global fish farm where they’re feeding the fish, like, garbage, and it’s, like, low-quality meat? Like, how do you ever buy that again when you know you can buy fish from Sena?

Katya Allison:
Yeah.

Chris Orzechowski:
So that’s what I love about email, like, you can get personal like that.

Katya Allison:
Well, there’s something that you said about language, but it’s talking like you are, like, an actual person. There is someone that is writing this email, you know. You kind of have to have that brand voice. But I also think that there’s something about, like, speaking that same language as, like, the consumer that you’re sending it to, as well to, like, use the same language because you can definitely tell when something’s buttoned-up from a brand, and that’s easy to ignore, just in general.

So, what is just kind of your advice for a brand who wants to speak in the, like, that same language as their consumer as well, too?

Chris Orzechowski:
Yeah, so the best advice I could give—it’s kind of like an exercise, really.

Katya Allison:
Yeah.

Chris Orzechowski:
But I think it’ll—like—if you do this once, it’ll forever change the way that you write emails. So like—so the backstory is, I had a client. Before we started working together, he was manually sending out cart abandonment emails. So I was like, “What do you mean? Like, manually?”

Like—he’s like, “Yeah, like, I see a customer abandon the cart, and I’ll just whip up the, you know, pop up Gmail, whip up an email, and hit send.” Like—I was like, “Dude, we could automate this.”

Katya Allison:
That doesn’t sound scalable! Very personal!

Chris Orzechowski:
Yeah, but—but then, like, I thought about—like, we automated it, and he’s made a lot of money from it—but what was interesting about that was the more and more I thought about that, you know, because I would see people write emails, the brand writers I’ve coached, copywriters I’ve coached, and they’re like, “Hey, you all. Hello fellow customer.” You know—like, they do this, like, as if they’re all standing in a room together, like, they’re not. They’re reading the email by themselves at their desk, or on the toilet, or on their lunch break, or whatever, right?

So like, they’re, like, looking around like there’s no one behind it, like, “What do you mean to everyone, right?” Because people try to play it, “Oh, I need to write to all 100,000 people.”

You’re writing to one person at a time. So if you were to write a promo email or write any kind of announcement email, or new product email, or whatever, it is, like—what I want you to do is actually take a random customer from your email list—you don’t have to send this email—but pop their email address into Gmail, write your subject line, and write that email as if you were writing to them with a personal letter to them, telling them about whatever the promo is or what the sale is.

And those are some of the best, highest-converting emails you’ll ever have. Again, you don’t have to necessarily send it to that one person, but like, just whatever you wrote to that one person, it’s like, if you’re writing an email to your mom, you wouldn’t write like a marketer, you would just write like a normal human using words that your customers understand; conversational tone.

People don’t do that. They think, “Well, I’m the CMO, or I’m the head copywriter, or I’m the email marketing manager, so I have to put a certain like—like you said, buttoned-up feel to it, right?”

Katya Allison:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Chris Orzechowski:
People respond to people. They buy from people they’re familiar with, you know, like the people they have a relationship with. That’s why so many businesses are, you know, they’re really in the relationship business. That’s why they use marketing—to create that bond, to get—to build that, you know, like, trust, and part of it’s the way you talk, so I think that’s a useful exercise for anyone who’s struggling with that.

Katya Allison:
Oh, I love that advice. I think it also helps with writer’s block as well, too, when it comes down to it because I write a ton of emails as well, too, and my email is, like—my email signature is at the bottom of a lot of emails. And I always feel like, if people only knew I respond if you reply back to me—like, there’s a person behind here. Just try me. Sometimes it’ll take a couple days because I do get a lot of replies back, but there is a person behind there.

I love what you’re saying, and I think that that’s super great advice. I would love it if you could also provide a list of, just kind of, top three things that most brands miss from email marketing. What would they potentially be?

Chris Orzechowski:
One thing is, like, they just have low frequency, and, like, I’m just talking to brand owners where—I had this one guy this one time. He was a good dude, but he was, you know—I was like, “How often do you email?” And he’s like, “Once a month,” and I said, “What you should do is go to, like, at least once a week,” and he, like, gasped as if I, like, had just—like as if I had, like, insulted his mother or something.

And I was like, “No, no, no, dude. Like, it’s going to be fine.” He was like, “Everyone will leave. Everyone will unsubscribe,” and I was like, “Bro, I’ve worked with every size list out there in every industry you can imagine. I’ve never once, ever in my life, seen someone go from, like, once a month to once a week, or even once a week to, like, once a day, and poof, the list is gone. Everyone unsubscribed. Like, it’s never going to happen.”

And I tried to just talk him off, like, he wouldn’t listen to it, but the thing is, if you could probably email at least one more time a week than you say you’re, like—whatever you think the limit is, you probably can get one or two more times a week. And for some people. that, like, scares them, like, “I don’t want to bother people.” And I’m like, “Okay, well, if you write good emails, you’re not going to bother them.”

So that’s the first thing, right? Like, if you’re just blasting them, “Buy my stuff. Buy my stuff. Buy my stuff,” you know, like, yeah, you’re going to bother people. But like, if you have engaging content and good copy in those emails, you’re telling stories and things, take people on a journey with you, take them behind the scenes, like, they’re not going to look at that, as—

You know, like influencers do that every single day on Instagram or Facebook. They’ll do it six times a day. They’ll post updates, right? Like, we never say that’s annoying, but like, so going from two emails to three emails a week is annoying? Like, I just don’t buy it, and I just haven’t seen it with testing data.

Like, if you send more emails, you’re going to make more money at the end of the day. Like, it’s your job to bring in money for your business. Like, if one person replies back, and they’re like, “You’re sending too many emails,” like, do you think that person is a good customer? Do you think they’re going to give you a lot of money? Do you think they’re going to give you great testimonials and UGC? Like, no, they’re complaining about your marketing messages. Like, they don’t like you, for whatever reason, they’re not going to buy from you anymore.

So don’t worry about that one moron who gives you some pushback because what happens is like—we’ve had that with clients, and it’s like, you’ll send an email, and then, like, one person will be like, “You’re sending too many emails,” and they’ll be like, “Oh, my God, I want to stop.” I’m like, “You just made 10 grand from that, like, really? Like, was it worth one complaint for, like, again, if it’s—if it’s 7,000 people complaining, which again, I’ve never seen—but if that’s the case, again, I’ve never seen it, but let’s hypothetically say if that’s the case, sure, maybe you’re doing something wrong.

But like, if you have one or two or three people out of 100,000 people, like—I think about a town of 100,000 people. Like you’re going to have a few psychopaths there, right? Like, you’re going to have a few crazy people.

Katya Allison:
Well, that’s just statistics, right?

Chris Orzechowski:
That’s just statistics at that point. Like, are you going to let these people ruin your day? Are they going to be your new CMO? Are they going to take over your marketing and make the decisions, you know what I mean?

But that’s what people do. That’s what people do. They do this all the time, and I just try to talk people off of ledges, saying, “Everything’s going to be fine. You’re going to make a lot more money, and the people who are going to be buyers will love you” because what happens is, every time you make a sale, you solve a problem, right?

So by you being hesitant to send more emails, being hesitant to make more sales, you’re losing out because your business is growing fast, and your customers are losing out because that’s the day you could have solved their problem, and you withheld that solution from them. So that’s like the first thing.

The other thing is just having really like two and three, just having like solid flows and automations in place. Like, do you have an abandoned cart? Do you have a browse abandon? Do you have a walking sequence? Do you have a post-purchase? Do you have a win-back? Do you have some for your VIP customers? Do you have any kind of cross-selling? Like, if you don’t have those things in place, you’re leaving money on the table. It doesn’t matter what you sell. You’re leaving money on the table.

Katya Allison:
I love that. So two and three are kind of the same, just, sequences, and lots of them. And then also, number one, email more frequently than you think that you should. I really love that analogy because you’re right. It is all statistics. I always like to say, like, “Great. If they unsubscribe, they weren’t meant to be on the list. They’re helping me with the hygiene of my list. I don’t want to email them if they don’t want to be part of it either. I don’t want to force them.”

And you’re right. Like, when you look at your entire list, the percentage of people that really unsubscribe is so minimal. You can’t please everybody in life, in marketing, in business. So don’t—don’t be afraid. Pull the trigger. Send the email.

I should go back because a few questions ago, I was like, I have two questions within this question about the email sequences. Is there a magic number? Is there a number that you see like, “Hey, this is kind of the sweet spot?” Like, if you make your email sequences—I guess I’m thinking like, is there a three to four email sequence, and then you put them in another like subject sequence? Does that make sense?

Chris Orzechowski:
Yeah, yeah, it makes sense. It depends. It’s–it’s a little context dependent. Like, for instance, we’ve had clients where they might have, like, one welcome email, and, like, any emails they add are going to make more sales, right? But like, usually for like a welcome sequence, we’ll, like—anywhere from seven to 10, sometimes five to 10, but usually like seven to 10.

What we’ve seen with a lot of different types of sequences, like, if we’re talking about like abandoned carts, browse abandonment sequences, even, like, things like win-backs, VIP, stuff like that, like, we’ve had a lot of brands where they’ll have one email in place. They’ll have one of those—one abandoned cart email, and we’ll add a second or third email, and 50% of the sales will come from the combined second and third email, sometimes even over. So it’s like, if you just have that one email, you’re probably leaving 50% of the revenue on the table from that flow.

Again, it might take some testing, and you might need some additional splits, and, like, we’ve even had brands roll out in the fourth or fifth email in some of those sequences and still make even more sales because, again, like, there’s water in the well, so keep dipping the bucket down. You know what I mean?

Like, don’t just assume that someone’s not interested. I mean, I always tell this story about cart abandonment. I was buying something for my wife a few years ago for Christmas, and we were getting some work done on our house, and they were like jackhammering tiles, and I didn’t realize that there were wine glasses on the shelf behind me. And I was, like, sitting there working at the table. And next thing I know, as I was about to check out, like mid-check out, entering my credit card information, glass shatters.

I had to take 20 minutes to clean up the glass; vacuum. It was a mess. And then, by the time I got back to my computer, I, like, forgot what I was doing. I was, like, distracted with something else. That doesn’t mean I didn’t want the item, right? So, like, if they only stopped at one email, I would have never went back and actually bought that thing. Or, I mean, maybe I would have, like, right? Or maybe I would have went to a different site, or they would have lost the sale to someone else, or I would’ve gone to Amazon or something, right?

So, I always say, like, for most sequences, if you go—if you have, like, one email, and you add a second or even a third, you probably will make more sales for most types of behavioral-type sequences.

For other sequences, even, like, if you’re doing, like, a sales sequence, sometimes people will be like, “Hey, we’re doing a sale.” Cool. Absolutely, you do sales, right? They’ll send a sale email that expires in two days, and then you won’t hear about it again. It’s like, “Hey, what happens if you send an email the morning of the last day? Then what happens if you send an email about the sale in the p.m. of that last day?”

I mean, we had one client where we took their—they were running sales, and they make anywhere from, like, 10, 15, maybe 20 grand, up to 30 to 50 grand every time we run a sale, just because we were just doing follow-ups in the last day.

Katya Allison:
Yeah.

Chris Orzechowski:
And it’s like, how many sales did you run? And you never did that before? You know, like, how much money did you leave on the table because you just weren’t sending? And people loved it because they’re like, “Oh, thanks for reminding me that.” So they would say, like, “Thanks for reminding me. I totally forgot about this. I got distracted before.” You know?

Katya Allison:
That happens to me literally all the time. I have to see something multiple times before I make, like, that final purchase, and maybe I don’t have my wallet next to me. Like, that’s always a big thing. Like, I’m scrolling through my phone, I don’t have my wallet next to me, and I want it, but it seems the wallet’s so far away. You know what I mean? So I am going to wait for, like, kind of that next email.

You know, what I think is so interesting about everything that you’ve just kind of shared up until now is it’s a lot simpler than I think brands are giving stock to it, right? Like, this is not some complicated, like, you know—you’ve got, you know, some origami-kind-of yoga-move-twist to make this—make email marketing work for a brand. It is very simple. It is also making that connection with your consumers as well, too, and email is a great way to start that conversation.

Chris Orzechowski:
Yeah, and that’s the thing. If you just get started, what happens is your audience will give you feedback. So like, you need to start telling stories and sharing what’s going on. Like, what’s going to happen is people reply back to those emails, and they’ll have questions, or they’ll give their own comments, and then that will fodder for future emails, and then you build that bond and second flywheel effect, and you never run out of email ideas ever again.

Katya Allison:
I love it. Do you recommend having one person in charge of email marketing?

Chris Orzechowski:
Do you mean like just sending from one name? Or just one person at an organization, like, owning that job?

Katya Allison:
That’s a good—that’s a good follow-up question. Both. Like, someone within the company, I know not—you’re more than just a pretty face, Chris. Is, you know, is there one person within the organization that should be sending it out? But also, is there that one person in that email signature that you want to make sure is at the bottom at all times?

Chris Orzechowski:
So it depends brand to brand. Like, I—you know, I could argue that I think it does help to build if you see Jerry at whatever brand, like, when you see the name, you’re going to start to like Jerry, right?

But then I’ve seen other brands that go against the grain. Like Bright Cellars is one, and they’ll have like four or five women, and they’ll just be like Maria S., and they’ll be like Becky Q. And like, I’ll be like, who’s Becky? Like, why is she or who’s—and like, someone’s like—trick me, you know? And then the next day, Susan, you know?

Katya Allison:
It catches you. Well, they all have different wine selections. I’ve gotten those emails from Bright Cellars, and I love them. I’m like, “Oh, what did she pick out for me?”

Chris Orzechowski:
Yeah, you know what, I’ll say one thing about that brand; they are smart with the way they do email marketing because essentially, you will never stop getting those emails. Like, I was on the list for six months because I did the quiz and didn’t buy the—I did it with one email account, and I bought, and I did it with another email account to see what happened. Six-month cart abandonment sequence. They just kept sending every single day. I was like, “This is beautiful.”

Katya Allison:
That’s amazing.

Chris Orzechowski:
It’s so crazy. Yeah. But anyway, like you can do that. It’s going to depend brand to brand. I’d say for most brands, just keep it simple; make it from one person.

In terms of like, organizationally, it is good to have someone just, like, own that. Like, I’m a big EOS guy. So like, who’s responsible for that? Right? Like, who’s in charge of that? You know, do you have an email marketing manager, or an email copywriter, or someone who’s just, like, sitting in that seat that’s like, that’s their role? Because that is—those are your best customers.

When you think about the entire world, where are your best customers? They’re on your email list. Like, sure, you’re making future best customers out there in the great wide open of social media or, you know, on your influencers’ list and those kinds of things. They definitely are out there, but those are future people you’re going to get at some point. The people right now that you have, they’re the people on your email list.

Katya Allison:
Yeah. I love it. I’ve got a couple more questions for you. The first one is, I’m constantly pushing for brands to extend the life of their UGC, right—their user-generated content—by leveraging it in other marketing strategies, and to me, email marketing is definitely one of them. How would you leverage user-generated content with emails for an ecommerce brand?

Chris Orzechowski:
So we like to share a lot of, like, customer stories and kind of, like, using them as a demonstration almost, right? Because what happens—what we realize with email, really, with all marketing, but definitely with email, I’d say, is, like, people on your list are on a journey, right? And you’re a brand that sells products that are going to help them get one step closer to their end goal. It’s almost like climbing a mountain. It’s like they’re trying to get to basecamp one, then basecamp two, then basecamp three, all the way up to the summit, which is their ultimate goal.

So like, you’re going to sell solutions via the form of products. They’re going to help them move to the identity they’re trying to achieve or the outcomes they’re trying to achieve, whatever it is. So UGC, the way—what that does—that demonstrates, like, “Hey, here’s how this person solved the same kind of problem you’re trying to solve using these products.”

And what that does is it kind of induces—this is going to sound bad—but a little bit of envy almost, right?

Katya Allison:
Yeah.

Chris Orzechowski:
But I think in a good way because it’s like if you see someone—like I’ll use the outdoor grill example. Like, Brio is a company I really want to buy an outdoor grill from, and I’ve been on the list for a while, but we’re getting, like, other work done in our house. I haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but, like, I see these people cooking, I’m like, that could be me. I could be grilling those steaks, you know? So it’s not like—it’s almost like I have envy. I was like, “I want to be that dude.”

Katya Allison:
It’s aspirational. It’s aspirational content. Yeah.

Chris Orzechowski:
I want the steaks, and the shrimp, and the skewers, and the this, this, and that. I was like, “I’m going to build a badass fire with, you know, all the stuff. And so, like, when people share that, like when I see all these people grilling and the different setups, different things that they’re making, like, that’s UGC content, right?

And I will look at that stuff all day. I mean, there are literally accounts on Instagram that are just over-the-fire cooking. That’s all they do. They just—it’s literally—they just take grills, and they just show you how to make food. They show you the food they made. And, like, there are people who follow 20 of those accounts at once, right? They’ll literally follow them, being able to scroll and scroll.

So, like, you can essentially—you can be your own influencer with email, and you can do these kinds of things. You can show that UGC, and it’s great because it’s demonstrative, it shows how people are using the product, it shows the benefits of getting the product—from the product—and the pain points that it’s moving them away from. And in the way that you generate more of that, there are a lot of different ways. Contests are a great way.

Katya Allison:
Yeah.

Chris Orzechowski:
People love being the star of the show, you know? If they could show off—because it’s awesome. Like, “Oh my gosh. I sent them a picture of me, like, cooking the other day, and they put it on their website. They put in their emails.” They’ll forward those emails to all of their friends and be like, “Yo, this brand wrote about me. This is so cool, right?” And then that’s word-of-mouth traffic, and that’s free PR and buzz essentially.

Katya Allison:
Oh my god, I love it. And also, I’m going to hook you up with my husband, who also follows all of those grilling accounts as well, too.

Chris Orzechowski:
Good man.

Katya Allison:
He’s currently looking at barbecues. I—if I have to listen to one more smoker conversation.

Chris Orzechowski:
Exactly.

Katya Allison:
You are not alone.

Chris Orzechowski:
He’s a keeper. He’s a keeper.

Katya Allison:
Absolutely good to see.

Chris Orzechowski:
My kind of guy.

Katya Allison:
Okay, so, well, now it’s prediction time. I would love to see—or not see— hear what your thoughts on what’s going to happen to email marketing in the next year or two? What do you see kind of happening?

Chris Orzechowski:
I think it’s going to continue to blow up, and I think there’s going to see more, like—I know at least in the ecommerce side, like, there are a lot of brands who are rolling out a lot of SMS stuff. Again, it’s all in that umbrella of owned revenue. But those two things can kind of play nicely off each other in terms of even, like, capturing email from an SMS situation, capturing an SMS from an email situation, vice versa.

But I would say, like, the push for owned revenue is going to be so super important, and I think—I still think the whole ecommerce world is very early with understanding email. Like, I come from more of the direct response, like, copy-heavy world. Obviously, you know, like, I’ve talked about copy a lot.

Katya Allison:
Yeah.

Chris Orzechowski:
And those people are dialed in. They’re dialed in with the email stuff. Like, they’ll email—most people email every day. Like, they understand segmentation. They understand different tags and things. Ecomm people are still very early, and it’s fine—it’s not like a dig. It’s just—it’s early, it’s a good—it’s a good time to, like, really start learning.

It’s kind of like, imagine, like, if you could, like, understand how Facebook worked back in 2015. We’re getting clicks for a nickel, right? Like, that’s kind of where I think personally we’re at with email because email will probably get more and more sophisticated as time goes on. It might be a little bit tougher to compete.

But right now, I still think it’s kind of emerging for us right now, you know? Like, it’s still you—you can make a lot of money. I don’t think that performance is diminishing. I think it’s becoming more important. Sure, you know, the open track is a little wonky, but, like, we have clients who just absolutely crush it with email and get sales they didn’t have to pay for.

So I think it’s just going to become more and more important. People are going to want to own more of the revenue because of all the platforms or, you know, even Facebook. Facebook was king for how long, right? It’s still good. You know, I advertise on Facebook. So I’m not like knocking it necessarily. Like, you need to advertise somewhere.

But it’s just harder, just harder to do, so, like, if it’s harder to do, you can jump to a different platform, which has its own challenges, or you can just learn how to own more of your revenue.

Katya Allison:
It’s all a balance. It’s a balance. Well, thank you so much for coming on and just sharing the wealth of knowledge that you have with email marketing, from subject lines to email sequences to sending more emails and everything kind of in between. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Chris Orzechowski:
Thank you. Appreciate you having me.

Katya Allison:
Now, Chris dropped some knowledge bombs about email today. Spoiler alert: email is not dead. In fact, after this episode, I would say it’s not used enough. He shared the value of brands’ owned list of customers to market to and provided tips on subject lines, content, email sequence’s sweet spot, and segmentation.

I also wanted to share my favorite quote-unquote miss brands make when it comes to email. Bottom line, you’re not sending enough. Don’t be afraid of the unsubscribe. They’re helping you get your list down to the most interested and the most engaged customers. And that is where the sale is at.

In addition to being such a fantastic guest, he also wanted to share out his book, Make It Rain: The Secret to Generating Massive Paydays From Your Email List. This book shows ecommerce brand owners five key strategies for making more sales from email, even if they’re just getting started. So be sure to visit the episode page to access that link and get a copy of that great book.

Want to hear more? Be sure to subscribe to the GRIN Gets Real podcast to get the latest episode. Give us some stars—I wouldn’t mind five of them, no pressure—and leave us a review. We want to hear what it is that you like about what you’re listening to.

Connect with me on social. You can find me on LinkedIn—Katya Allison. And if you’re interested in learning more about GRIN, visit our website at grin.co. That’s g r i n .co. Until next time, keep grinning.

© Grin Technologies Inc. 2024. All rights reserved.

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