*PS. Below you will find an auto-generated transcript of this episode.
Arek Dvornechuck: Hey, what's up Branding Experts, Arek here at Ebaqdesign and welcome to On Branding Podcast. And today my guest is Kyle Stout. And Kyle is the founder of Elevate and Scale, which is a leading email marketing agency that helps direct to consumer brands unlock their hidden revenue and put their sales on autopilot. So Kyle is an expert when it comes to email marketing and content production. Hello, Kyle. Thanks for joining us today.
Kyle Stout: Hey, thanks for having me.
Arek Dvornechuck: Thank you so much. So today we are going to talk about email marketing, but also content production as it relates to each other. And perhaps we can also talk about how to leverage AI for this purpose. So I just wanted to start with a simple question. What are some of the most common mistakes that business owners make when it comes to email marketing?
Kyle Stout: There are three big mistakes that I see over and over of businesses of all sizes, really. So the first one would be relying too much on discounts. So a lot of times business owners, they have this idea that people aren't going to want to get their emails or won't buy from their emails if they don't offer a discount, so they feel this internal pressure, like they have to make the email special by putting a discount in it, not to say there's anything wrong with running, promotional sales around holidays and things like that. But you don't have to do that because if you just discount every single time, you're just eating into your margins and not getting as much profit as you could. Then the next thing is not getting the email frequency figured out. So that could be sending not often enough or sending too often. And what I see is a lot of times smaller businesses trying to do too much with their email marketing and they're sending too many emails for the size of the list they have. And it's just annoying people and it's getting people to ignore their emails and it really destroys the long term value of their email marketing. But then on the other end of the spectrum. You'll have bigger businesses that have big, really warm lists, and they're not emailing them enough. Maybe they're not emailing them at all, or they're only emailing like once a month or even sometimes once a week when they could be doing multiple times a week. And then the third mistake, which really ties into the second one, is sending every email to everyone on your list. So once you get to where. You are able to start sending emails more frequently. You don't want to be sending every email to everyone on your list. You want to start to create segments within your list and then to curate the content for those different groups of people. So that way the email content just resonates more with them. And it's a more interesting email for them to receive.
Arek Dvornechuck: Yes. I totally agree And I have to say that I'm guilty of The segmentation mistake. I'm just transitioning to a different platform, so I need to clean up the list. I have some segmentation in place, but I would like to really polish things up so I totally can understand what you're saying. So just to sum up for our listeners, some of the most common mistakes when it comes to email marketing is just relying on discounts. It's not really about sending coupons or discounts and it's more about being on point with your marketing message, right? Because ultimately you can send discounts once in a while, but if you do it every time you're not going to use this opportunity to actually talk about your business, try to convey your marketing message, and then you're going to diminish your margins as well, right? And then the second mistake was about frequency. So you could be sending too many emails, which can annoy customers, as you said. And they either unsubscribe or they ignore you, right? And then the third mistake, which I already mentioned, is the segmentation, which is extremely important as well. That's great. What do you think are some of the biggest tips you can give us? When it comes to writing those emails, when it comes to some of the strategies. On how to write emails so that they get opened and they convert.
Kyle Stout: Okay. So the first thing is really, it's a fundamental thing, which is just, if you haven't done this yet, really taking the time to research who your ideal customers are. Especially a lot of times for people just getting started with their business, they are trying to, they're going to sit down to write a copy. They're trying to write it for everyone in that market, but within every market. There are a bunch of smaller sub-markets So knowing who your ideal customers are. And again, if you already have a lot of customers, then you have a feel for how your customers are different from everyone else in your customer pool.
So for example, if you're selling supplements or anything related to health and wellness, you have people who are really more focused on building muscle or some people who are really more focused on losing fat. Or some people who are just really health conscious and their whole thing is not so much about how they look. It's they're, they care way more about the quality of ingredients. So things like that. So once you have that information. Now, what I like to call it is having a reason to show up in their inbox. Meaning with every email, I try to have some sort of conversation starter. And it's something that's based on the things I know that my ideal customers care about, which is why you have to do that initial research.
So again, it's like, if we were just talking about a random supplement and these people are very health conscious, then maybe the email starts off talking about. Some of the issues that people have when trying to find supplements that are promoted as natural, but not really all that natural. And it turns out they have a bunch of these ingredients that aren't actually that good for you. And then once you've given a little, brief run down on that, then it's a natural segue into your products and your unique value props for your products. And so that conversation is done in a way that even if they're not in the market to buy from you today, they at least are now, they've learned something. They're a smarter consumer and they're going to be able to spot those things in the market. So that's what makes your emails more interesting to receive is if you always have some kind of content in there even if they weren't going to buy today. They at least think to themselves I'm going to keep opening their emails. Then you're going to get the purchases whenever they are in the market to buy. And of course, for the people who are ready to buy, it's a no brainer because you've spoken to their specific needs and problems and desires and all of that.
Arek Dvornechuck: Yeah. So basically we need to provide value, right? We should provide value. We should have some hook because we can start with a problem as you mentioned, right? What's the problem with the existing products for if you want to lose weight, or if you want to build muscles and so on, as you mentioned, the ingredients may not be really natural. So you propose to actually focus on their problems and it could be a question. It could be a statement, but something that. Provides actual value. So not just being salesy and promoting your product, but actually talking about your audience and their problems. And then we can, weave our product into that and suggest this as a solution.
Kyle Stout: Yeah, exactly.
Arek Dvornechuck: Okay. So since we covered that, I just want to briefly. Touch on, how do you measure success? How do you measure the ROI of your email marketing campaigns? And then what's really interesting. I think that a lot of our listeners would really enjoy this and how to use AI to actually help us. Write better content.
Kyle Stout: Okay. Yeah. So for measuring success, one thing that's important to keep in mind is you want to measure your success against yourself. So what will happen is, say you go and you search, what are the best open rates and click rates for my industry? You're going to find numbers that may be higher or lower than what you're getting. The thing is if you say you're below that then, you know, okay, I have some work to do, but you also might be way above that. And you might feel like, oh, I can let my foot off the gas a little bit. I'm already doing a great job. And that's why I say you really need to focus on what you're doing because email marketing to be successful, it's all about having this relationship with your list and then really nurturing that relationship over time. And that's why I find that having the quality of content in the emails is better long term for getting consistently high opens and click rates and conversions as well, more so than things like having the best eye catching subject line, although those things do help if they don't like the emails, they're just going to eventually stop engaging with them, no matter how eye catching the subject line is. As far as actually measuring the ROI, you want to make sure that you've got everything integrated correctly. So if you're like me, I work a lot with e-commerce businesses that use Shopify and Klaviyo is our favorite email tool. So you can see how much revenue is generated per email.
Now, one thing you want to pay attention to with all of these email and SMS tools is they have an attribution window. So that's how long of a timeframe in which that email will claim the victory for that purchase basically. And you will notice that some platforms too, they want to make their numbers look a little bit inflated. So they have this really long attribution window that I don't think really reflects the way customers are buying. So for example, there are certain SMS platforms that have a seven day attribution window. Meaning if that person buys within seven days of getting that text, they'll say that the text message is credited for that.
And it's hard to say because if they're following all your stuff on social media, if they're getting ads from you, they're getting emails, they're getting texts, truthfully. It is hard to always be 100% accurate and dial it back in. But one way you can do that is to make sure you have tighter attribution windows. So like three to five days for email, one to three days max for SMS. And you can also use Google analytics to help you create reports that are a little bit more honest between all of your different marketing platforms. And there are other tools out there like triple whale attribution tools you can use to help you really keep track of everything. Cause once you've got a lot of stuff going, it is hard to say. And it's also, a lot of times it's not just one thing. It's the combination of everything you're doing that's getting the sale. So, even though I do email marketing, that's what I specialize in, I'm not going to sit here and say that it's. The only thing that matters and it's the most important thing. So I do like to encourage people to, you know, keep an eye on that and make sure you're trying to be as accurate as possible with where you're attributing everything. Now the next part of your question about AI, this is awesome right now. Cause I've been using these different AI tools for years and up until late last year, they really weren't that good. They just weren't even close to producing copy that good copywriters can do. But they have come a long way and they're really useful for a lot of things. And I still don't think that they produce copy that's as good as a good creative copywriter. But when it comes to doing market research, really dialing in the research for creating your ideal customers, that stuff we were talking about earlier, it's really useful for that, for generating email topic ideas. Writing rough drafts of email copy and even giving you some, say you have some ideas for subject lines or headlines in the emails and getting alternatives to those so that, just to get new ideas for a spin on what you created, it's really great for that.
Now, the downsides are that it's very difficult to get it to write a copy that truly fits the brand. So you still really want to go in and edit the copy, make sure it fits the brand. And then the other thing is that if you're having it right about the same topics all the time, sometimes you'll notice it can get pretty repetitive, meaning that when you're talking about the same topics a lot, it will use the same descriptive words. So you have to be creative with your inputs and that will determine the quality of the output that you get from ChatGPT or any of these other AI tools.
Arek Dvornechuck: No, that's a great tip. Definitely agree. And as you mentioned, those AI tools have come a long way and now they are getting better and better. And I use ChatGPT and, in other tools, but as you mentioned, it's just a tool and we still have to revise it and it can be repetitive and it can be generic. And we have to use this content with something unique, something custom. But it's just a great tool overall to generate a lot of ideas. Or perhaps just, even feed chat GPT with some of my likes, as you mentioned you have a draft. And you want to refine it, maybe get some other ideas to implement in that. Yeah, so treat it as a tool. And but you still have to revise, you cannot just probably write emails and then, send them without even reading them and seeing if it makes sense. Yeah, so that's a great tip.
Do you have any other tips on how to improve? Can you share with us some of your prompts or? How do you actually let's say we are using chat GPT, or maybe you can even think of a specific example so that our listeners can get an idea of what type of prompts we can use to get better results.
Kyle Stout: Yeah. I like to have pretty detailed prompts for things. And what I'll do is. If this is for your business or if this is for a client that you're working with, you want to save your prompts somewhere. It'll save them in a Google doc or somewhere so that way you can reuse them. Because once you get this, once you find a winning prompt and it's really detailed, you're not going to want to type it out every time. But, so I like to start off with just. Telling it what I'm looking to do. I want to write an email and I'll just say an email. I say, what type of email? So is it an educational email? Is it a promotional email? Whatever it is. So you give it the type of email, the type of copy you want. So in this case, we're talking about emails. And then you will say whatever the business name is. And then below that, I'll have some information about the business. And this doesn't have to be a really long description. It can just be like two or three sentences that generally describe it. The way that a company would describe themselves in their social media bio, where it's written out as a unique value proposition, include that in there, that's important. then below that, I will include about the customers we're targeting or something like that. If you've done the work to create some sort of ideal customer profile, you can copy and paste all of that in there. So you can include demographic, really the big things are a general description of the demographics. And then really putting into psychographics. So, their wants, needs, fears, desires, list off a few of those things, all that in there. Then below that, I will include details about how to write this email. Or details about, so actually let me take a step back first, it's been details about the offer of the email. So what's. What's the topic? So is it a topic? Are we promoting a specific product? Is it a product launch? Whatever it is and give a couple of details about that. This is, you don't require a whole lot of information. Then below that it's how to write the email. So what kind of tone do I want it to write in? So a lot of times I want to write in a friendly conversational tone. I want it to use active voice. These are like little things because I found that AI writes in a passive voice a lot, which is not very good for copywriting. It's just his go to thing. So that's an important one to include in there. And then finally, if you have examples of copy that you really like. You can even include that in the prompt and say examples of emails like this. And then you below that in brackets, you put the example copy and then you hit that, you hit enter on that, and you're going to get a way more refined, way more specific output from that than just saying a generic thing. So it goes back to what we were talking about earlier. If you just say, write an email about protein powder. There's a million things you could say. It has to be so generic because it's considering the millions of people who buy protein powder, but if you tell it to write, if it's going to be a promotional email about a new protein powder that you're launching and you're targeting health conscious millennials who want to build muscle and you go into all this detail. The messaging is going to be drastically different. And it's gonna speak way more specifically to what your ideal customers actually care about. And then when you get the output, you can always tell it to say, Hey, rewrite this and make it be more clever or use more humor, or you can give it, I like to give it iterations. And a lot of times I will take sections of the copy it spits out. I might even reorder them as far as how I use them in the email. And there's certain sections where I might manually change a few words myself. I might give, I might copy and paste a section back into it and say, Hey, write this in a different way. And you give it a description of, do you want it to be more concise? Do you want it to be funny or whatever? And that's how you can piece through it. And yes, it does take a little bit more time, but considering what you get out of that and assuming that you're not already an expert copywriter, the level of copy you can get from spending that little bit of extra time with AI is actually. It's way faster and way cheaper than hiring an amazing copywriter to do all of that for you.
Arek Dvornechuck: Yeah, that's an awesome tip. That's a great tip. And as we all know, just to sum up for our listeners, there is a lot of money to be made in, with emails. Email marketing is still there. It's not going anywhere. And I know, from my own experience and working with my clients, that we all check emails. It's still there. But I know that you also combine it with Text messages, right? And other marketing. Yeah, it definitely takes time to write emails that are on point. That are viable people who want to open. We can get their attention and we can get them to click, but just to sum up for our listeners, which is at least for me, it's super interesting. And the tips you gave us are really critical. Having your prompts longer as you mentioned, instead of just using generic prompts is going to give you more refined more Content that is going to be more on point and then so what is the type of the email?
Is it educational? Is it purely promotional? Are you offering some coupons and stuff like that? You of course need to describe, you need to include some description of your business and I was talking about your value proposition. Another important thing is to describe your audience And here we can paste the whole we have some let's say, customer profile, we can paste that to chat GPT. So it can be still some of the demographics and psychographics and use them perhaps in the content. And of course, we need to include, whatever tool we are working with some details about the offering, the product name, description. Perhaps benefits and stuff like that and there are other tips like tone of voice you already mentioned that, ChatGPT likes to use the passive tone of voice, which is not really good for that it's better to use active voice conversational style and also we can give it some Examples of good copy, right? Of good emails that we've used in the past and they work as an example and also use the chain of prompt.
We don't have to take the first idea, we can actually follow up and ask the chat GPT to rewrite it, use some humor, add some more information, make it shorter and so on. Yeah, I think these are great tips. How do you see email marketing moving forward? We have this big revolution now with AI and its big innovation. Do you have any vision for the future when it comes to email marketing and marketing in general?
Kyle Stout: Yeah, I do. I don't know how long it would take to get to this. Cause I don't know of any platforms right now that are trying to do this, but. What I envision for the future is where you have, so let's say you sign up for an email platform cause you think about right now with these big email platforms, they have so much data on all of us already, like these big email platforms, the active campaigns, the Klaviyo's, all of that, they're working with thousands of businesses. So they're seeing the backend information. They're seeing the web traffic. The customer purchases, the activity that's happening between with all these people. So as you, as one buyer buy from multiple companies and you are passing that data along on the backend to where each individual company might only know your purchase history with them.
But these big tech platforms, they know your purchase history with everything, right? Or at least with a lot of stuff. So I see it where you sign up for one of these platforms and the AI is constantly learning and already knows your customers way better than you ever could. And it's generating emails on a personal level, meaning that when you want to launch a product or do a promotion or whatever, It's putting out content to, instead of you personalizing it for a segment, which is already a big step forward from what most people are doing, they're actually getting a truly personalized email.
So it's actually written for them. So it's, not only just doing simple stuff like using their name, but. It's crafting all of the copy and showing only products that they are truly interested in. And that's where I think it goes. I think even the design, I think it even brings in the design element where they just know what style you like and it will use your brand elements, but it will design the email and craft the copy in a way that's truly personalized.
I think that's the future of all marketing is where things become way more personalized and we give up, we will end up giving up more of our information to these. Platforms, but in return, we get a way more personalized experience. And I think the trade off, while a lot of people are going to be concerned about all their information they're giving up, I think we already see that people, they say that, but then we all love the convenience, right?
Everyone loves the convenience of Amazon and everything. And the more everything is personalized to you and the easier it gets. People are just going to enjoy that more. So yeah, that's where I think we're going.
Arek Dvornechuck: Yeah, I can definitely see that. Yeah. So more personalization, more accurate email. It's easier to maybe generate this content or the design. It all makes sense. So, As we are approaching the end of our episode of course, we're going to link to your website. Which is elevateandscale.com. That's Kyle's website and how to connect with you. Are you active on social media?
Kyle Stout: Yeah. The best platform to connect with me is on YouTube. That's where I'm most active. And that's the same thing. Elevate and Scale is the handle. And that's where I'm uploading daily videos. So make some short form and long form videos.
Arek Dvornechuck: Yeah, I saw some of these videos and I see you're growing your channel. Which is great. So we're going to link to your YouTube too. There is a lot of valuable content for you guys to check out. Where Kyle shares a lot of tips when it comes to marketing and email marketing specifically. Thank you for coming on the show. I really appreciate that.
Kyle Stout: Thanks for having me.
Arek Dvornechuck is a strategist and designer who helps brands grow by crafting distinctive brand identities, backed by strategy. Need help with your project?—Get in touch
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