Learn five powerful ways to grow your list faster and make more money with email marketing in 2016. Kim Albee is the founder and brains behind WP Marketing Engine, an extremely powerful email marketing platform that integrates instantly and easily into any WordPress website and in this episode she reveals her most powerful strategies for increasing your opt-ins and maximizing the ROI from every email you send.
Transcription Ep 67: Five Ninja Email Marketing Tips To Grow Your List Fast In 2016 With Kim Albee
Welcome to the Project Ignite Podcast. A podcast designed to skip the hype, skip the fluff, skip the BS and just give you real actionable tips and strategies to help you grow your business and income on the internet. This is your host, Derek Gehl.
Today we’re going to be diving deep into list building and email marketing tips and tricks and choosing the right technology to help you run your email marketing campaigns. We’ll be finding out how to get more subscribers.
To help us with this we have an incredible lady who has over 27 years of experience designing software and running businesses. She was named one of the top 20 online marketing strategist by the Online Marketing Institute in 2014 and again in 2015. She’s founded two marketing software companies and a content marketing agency.
Her company, Genoo, is focused on providing integrated online marketing tools and marketing automation to small and mid-sized businesses through both their flagship project Genoo and their newer product which we’ll be talking about, WP Marketing Engine. Genoo helps marketers figure out how to get more subscribers.
This is the industry’s first and only full featured marketing automation platform which is accessed entirely through your WordPress admin which is very, very fascinating.
Without further ado I’d like to welcome Kim Albee to the show.
Kim thanks for being here.
Thank you very much Derek. It’s really, really fun to be talking with you today.
Before we get started, just expand on my introduction and give us your story on being an entrepreneur. How did you get into software development running your companies and building marketing software and helping people figure out how to get more subscribers?
I’m a geek by nature. I went to school and got my degree being a geek and being a software architect. I’ve always been in technology. I’ve always been lucky enough to be on the leading edge of a lot of different kinds of technology build.
Then I grew up in a family where my dad owned his own business. He was a general contractor who built houses and apartments and things like that in San Diego area. I think there have always been lots of different ways that were pointing to Kim is going to be an entrepreneur.
If I look back in my life I like to make a difference.
I’ve always wanted to make a difference for small businesses and it’s taken me a while to get here. My first company I created … we had this technology and I always worked for large companies. Wells Fargo’s Star Tribune in the twin cities. Used to be the 16th major metropolitan newspaper. You know what happened to newspapers.
At any rate, I started my company so that I could help small business. My first company that I created I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t create how to make it affordable for that small business market. I just couldn’t make it sustainable.
In about 2007 I had this “aha” moment where I realized what we could do and that was the forming and the creation of Genoo. Of course, it was also the big downturn in the economy in 2008. Timing not necessarily on my side but at any rate we were still growing and moving.
I keep looking for the leverage point for small business and that’s really been my focus – entrepreneurs and small business. I think that they mostly get the short end of the stick a lot. They’re the least likely to have all the resources to really do what needs to be done to really grow and yet they have to cobble all these different kinds of things together or be really, really reliant on the technologist to help them.
My whole thing is, how do we circumvent that? How do we empower those folks to really do well? That’s the driving factor behind what I do. I created a company to help do that. I was told by a lot of people “You don’t have a company. You’ve got a techie idea.” I just kept moving forward.
We’ve just put some things together and people seem to like what they get from us and the support that we provide and on we go.
I love what you’re doing and I totally agree with what you’re saying because I see it every day with the people I work with and the people starting businesses. It’s such a pain in the ass when you’re getting started and you don’t have the technical skills and you’re trying to figure out how to get more subscribers.
Trying to piece together all of these independent systems and trying to make them work cohesively to accomplish what in theory should be a simple task. It’s a showstopper for a lot of people who are just getting started.
On top of that you call a company to ask for help and then they tell you, “Well it’s not us. Go call someone else.” Or you’ve got your WordPress site. Say you have a WordPress site and you end up having an issue. You contact the plugin company that you’re trying to figure out and they say, “Disable all the plugins on your site.”
You still have the problem and you’re like, “My site is up. It’s operating. I’m taking money right now. I have an ecommerce site. What do you mean just turn everything off and see if I still have a problem? What are you talking about?” You have that too.
Not all that long ago we went through exactly this. It was the perfect thing. Everything was working just fine and then one day something stopped processing. I call up Infusionsoft (or Confusionsoft, depending on how you want to refer to them) and they say, “No, it’s your gateway. It’s your merchant account.”
I call the gateway and the merchant account, they swear up and down it’s not them and it’s Infusionsoft. We spent a couple of days finally troubleshooting it ourselves because neither of them would take accountability for it.
Fortunately I have some good technical resources that I can tap into and we eventually did trace it back to Infusionsoft. We had to show them where their issue was.
For the small guy getting started who doesn’t have technical resources, holy crap that’s a pain.
I want to talk more about technology because email marketing and marketing technology I think is at a really interesting point. There’s this whole new market of companies like yours that are opening up that are offering people just getting started small businesses some really cool functionality. We’re going to get to that.
Before we get to that, let’s dig into some of the actual … the email marketing list building stuff. I know you’ve got a list of tips and strategies for how to get more subscribers for us to dig into.
Before we get into that though, let’s talk a little bit about the mistakes that are happening right now as people work out how to get more subscribers. Some of the issues you’re seeing. Any seasoned internet marketing veteran is familiar with the term “the money is in the list.”
I never met a 6 or 7 or 8 figure digital entrepreneur that’s not using email as a main part of their business. Despite its importance, I’m seeing so many people that are doing it poorly, getting mediocre results or just almost nonexistent results.
Why is that? What are people doing wrong with their email marketing today? What are some of the common faux pas if you will? And do you have any email marketing tips and tricks to share?
Here’s a couple of things I see. The first one is people … well nobody likes to admit this anymore and if you ask and it’s embarrassing to say but most people are still doing this and that’s sending an email to their entire list every time they send an email or batch and blast no matter what.
If I have a list and I’m going to send an email, I got to send it to the entire list. If you’re using Constant Contact or an AWeber or whatever, all you have are lists. You just have to choose which one are you going to send to.
That’s where I think list based systems get you in trouble today because it’ll be worse and worse in terms of your deliverability if you continue to do that.If you continue to send to your whole list, the Googles of the world, the ISPs of the world that get your emails are starting to get smarter and smarter about who’s engaging and all of that and those kinds sending that kind of volume where you’re only getting a 20% open rate so 8 people of 10 are not looking at your email is going to start hurting you dramatically.
That’s the part where people are going to get a big wakeup call that don’t start to wake up already.
Here’s the challenge. I’ve been wracking my brain right now. What entry level email marketing system allows you to do advance segmenting beyond just a list?
I have an answer for that.
I’m talking about the …
The $7, the $8, the $10 entry like the AWeber’s the get response.
No they don’t. It’s all list based sending.
Even MailChimp at the cheap end you can’t do … It’s all list based sending. You can only know certain things about that list as well. That’s part of what the problem is.
They can’t tell you really what a person or an email address basically on your list is actually interested in. All you get is this is what link they clicked and we have more and more statistics that show that doesn’t necessarily even tell you intent or tell you real interest.
You do have problems there, I agree. The current state of things and even when you watch public television here in the US I see over and over ads for Constant Contact.
You’re an email marketer and they show you how to put a coupon and blast it out to your entire list and all your customers. Now you’re a modern marketer. This is their ads and they have them running. It’s like, “Oh my God!”
That’s all you can get from that solution. I see them run here in public television. All the time we’re seeing those ads.
The answer is segmentation and we’ll talk more about technology and some of the solutions available for that. I think one of the things I love to do here is dive into a little bit because I know a lot of people listening don’t understand email technology and sort of list base versus an action based or tag based system. I think we can dive into that.
Before we do, now let’s talk about some specific strategies. I know through what you’re doing … your system is all about offering opt-ins and really cool ways to collect data off the website. If you had to give me say your top 5, what would be the top 5 ways and things you should be doing to capture emails on your website today?
5 Ways to Get More Subscribers
Here’s my first one. This is stunning. This shocked me actually when I found out about it. I couldn’t believe it. Do you know that the majority of bloggers out there on the internet today, people who are blogging, have no idea who their blog subscribers are?
They don’t know who they are. They might know how many they have but I think it’s only like 25% or 30% that actually know who they are.
When you say know who they are, are you talking like these are people that are just saying, “Hey subscribe through a feed or …”?
Yeah they subscribe through speed burner or whatever. They have no idea who their blog subscribers really are. They’re using a blog email system where it’s all in a separate system. It’s not in anything that you can ever know anything about. That’s blog subscribers.
On top of that, imagine now we all know we get a lot of blog comment spam but the ones who actually take the time to comment that are legit you don’t know who those people are either. They comment on your blog. They’re actually engaged with you and yet you don’t know who they are. These are people that are interested in you. They’re interested in what you’re doing.
By God if they click the subscribe to my blog button which is the most generic form of call to action and you don’t know who they are and yet what you want is a list and the money is in the list and you want to send it, why don’t you know who they are?
Why don’t you care about not only that they subscribe but when you do an update to your blog, what are they reading? What are they clicking through on? What are they engaging with? Figuring these things out is as important as figuring out how to get more subscribers.
You don’t have any intelligence into that at all. To me seems to be a squandering of some really good capital that you can get there. For me number one is know who they are and pay attention and have a system that lets you know who they are.
I 100% agree. The challenge is, is people say “Hey I’m going to start a blog.” They enroll in a blog program, how to start a blog and they start they blog. In so many cases the email is the afterthought.
That’s so wrong because the fact is, is the reason you’re pushing content out there is to get people to come to your website and to engage with you. You need to capture those people as effectively as possible and then know who they are so you can now market to them.
It’s funny because I’m watching this whole community of people that are coming in to internet marketing from the let’s call it the social side. I’ve always come at it from … I hate saying this but an old school, the direct response marketing. I’m all about how to get more subscribers and market to them well.
Everything I do I’m like, “Why am I doing this?” It’s either to capture a lead, create a conversion, whatever that may be. What I’m seeing is a lot of people that are coming at it from the social side thinking give away all this value and the universe will reward you.
The fact is the universe will only reward you if you know how to monetize those rewards. I totally agree.
Here’s the challenge and we said it right at the beginning. I want to start a blog so I just start doing a blog. Then it’s like, “I need to figure out how to get more subscribers.” You try and hook all the things together to get the subscribers in a way that you would know who they are.
If it takes you more than 3 hours to try and figure that out and I’ve seen people they’re like, “I spend a day and a half getting my thing set up with active campaign and now it’s finally working. Phew!” People only have so much patience and then they’re going to be like, “Hey just this solution.”
You won’t know who they are, but hey, I’m off to the races and people are at least getting emails. I don’t know who they are and I don’t know what they’re doing with the emails but they’re getting them. Then they’ll like me enough that they’ll come back and then maybe I’ll at some point find out who they are.
You just give away that part of your business or that part of being in control of things because it’s too hard to figure out.
I think that’s it also.
This one goes off the first one too. Number two is there are two critical questions to ask before publishing any blog post. Most people just publish their posts. They have standard sidebar that is the same on every single post that you have and you probably have subscribed to my blog thing on the call to action on your sidebar.
Here’s the thing that people are missing when working out how to get more subscribers. Here’s the first question. If a visitor loves this post, what could I provide that would deepen their knowledge or allow them to personalize this idea to their world? That’s your first question.
The second question is, if they don’t take my first offer, what is the second thing or action that would make a difference for them associated with this post?
Yes this takes a little bit more work than just pushing out a blog post but if you can answer those two questions and you can provide that in your blogpost, you will grow your leads way more quickly than just having a “subscribe to our blog” button.
To break that down and just put it in absolute layman’s terms is every blog post should have at least two opt-in offers that offer content that’s relevant and builds on the topic within the blog post if you really want to maximize how to get more subscribers.
I couldn’t agree more. What’s the stumbling block where those people go “How do I do that?”
That’s right. It’s not trivial. I will put it this way. It has not been trivial to do that. I talk to people every day that are like, “Yeah we would love to do that but we just aligned on one thing and it’s on all our blogs.”
Yeah. You know what right now and I mean I’ve got sites that I am totally guilty of that because it’s another element that’s difficult to figure out.
If you can do this you can generate …we did the study on how to get more subscribers and if you can get … in the same period we had one say “subscribe to our blog” call to action in the sidebar of everything we did a study and in that study we actually did what I call content specific calls to action.
I don’t want to get ahead of myself but we really looked at these two question and we answered them blog post same traffic coming in and we had a 6400% increase in our subscribers over just the generic call to action.
I’m just saying it’s a huge difference if you can tackle that. It’s massive.
Next on the list of how to get more subscribers.
The third one and you’ve already heard me say this is content specific calls to action are more powerful and you need to place them on your pages and posts when figuring out how to get more subscribers. It goes with two except for I’m also not just saying blogs. I’m saying on your pages.
If you have pages at your website, what is it that you’re asking people to do? There are so many times I see small business websites that when you look at them they’re gorgeous. The only thing that they have as a call to action is contact us across their main pages and then a subscribe to their blog on their blog pages.
When I look at that I just think “You’re basically appealing to only 4% or 6% of the visitors that come to your site.” Those that are actually ready to talk to you and you’re throwing away or you’re giving actually the other 94% to 96% exactly one thing that they can do short of talking to you which is subscribe to your blog.
Which is potentially one of the worst calls to action ever.
Exactly. When you think about being relevant and valuable, you don’t want to make your calls to action throwaways. You don’t want to just throw anything out there but it’s your best opportunity to solve a problem for your perfect customer, for your what people call avatar or buyer persona.If you understand the pain that you solve or the problems that you solve or the opportunities that are there and you can give them something really valuable and all you’re asking for is an email address, now you’re building positive regard.
People are going, “Oh my God this was awesome. It was only an email address that I had to give them.”
The other piece of this is what we’ve discovered in learning how to get more subscribers is you don’t necessarily need a dedicated opt-in page for every one of these offers. Depending on how you can place those on your pages and have them be right there in front of people and they’re looking at those pages and they’re relevant to the content on the page, you can actually take care of it all right there without having a dedicated opt-in page and a dedicated thank you page.
Then they never have to leave.
You do it right there. Its minimal disruption to what they’re trying to get done and yet at the same thing huge value.
Are you going to talk about placement?
Let me talk to you about that. My next point is think about your CTA buttons and think outside the box. Most people just have a button. It’s a little rectangular thing. It says get “instant access” or it says “register now.”
While that’s fine we’ve actually explored buttons that we call infographic buttons. You have two states in a button. You have the state you see and as soon as your mouse moves over it, you have the hover state.
Actually we have buttons that move and change in shape and offer more information on the hover so that you actually have much more engagement. We did a test on a client site and we thought, “These are really fun buttons and calls to action.” We place them in the sidebar at the top.
That seems to get the most engagement – sidebar at the top. Here’s your challenge. If somebody is looking it on the mobile, what happens to your sidebar?
That’s now at the bottom.
You’ve got to think about not only sidebar at the top for desktop, you’ve got to think about where do you place it in your post near the top where it’s there, where they’ll see it before they have to scroll too far. People will scroll on a mobile that’s one thing that we do but we’re not going to scroll all the way down past the comments to get to the sidebar which is where it goes is under the comments.
Most people hit that comment entry or they think I’m at the bottom of the page. We’ve seen that with responsive design, the sidebar that used to … at the top of the sidebar that used to actually work really, really well both on a mobile when it was nonresponsive. It worked really well on a mobile or a desktop.
When you go to responsive you lose the effectiveness of your sidebar for everybody that’s on mobile. It converts far less and hardly at all relative to a desktop placement.
Have you done any testing with popups be it traditional or now you see the ones that you go to the page and it slides the page down and it takes its place? What are your thoughts there?
I think whether it’s a slide down or it’s a popover those can be super, super effective actually. People hate them. I went to a conference one time and this person speaking said, “These are horrible and you should never use them.” I raise my hand and I said, “I’ve got a client that has converted more using that popup than you could ever imagine. Why would you say that out of hand without just saying why don’t you test it for yourself?”
Again, I say test everything on your audience and see what ends up being most effective. A lot of times the popups or the push down deals those can work really, really nicely with minimal real estate, right?
You also see the ones where you scroll down the page and they slide in from the right. You can see those too. I think all of those work to a certain degree. Just have to figure out with your audience what are they most responding to. That’s what we see.
Then it also helps if you know what’s the percentage of audience that’s on a smartphone or a tablet versus a desktop. If you know that about your audience, then you can also plan appropriately.
I think really crucial for the listeners wanting to know how to get more subscribers to ask themselves, “How much have they tested their sites on mobile? Have they gone through and looked at their opt-ins if they have them on mobile?”
As a digital entrepreneur we’re typically working on our computers on our websites but the traffic stats I’m seeing across my businesses and the businesses I work with now, you’re seeing 50 plus percent of the traffic is on mobile which is huge. What you just said there so crucial to be particularly the sidebars. It’s just completely hides it effectively.
I was one of the last people to get on a responsive website design bandwagon. Everybody is like, “Are you kidding? It has to be responsive.” I’m like, “Really?”
I can’t wait to see what people are going to find out about lead gen when you go responsive and where you’re used to placing your calls to action because if you have to scroll, people don’t scroll. You’ve got this catch 22. You’ve got to handle the mobile situation and you’ve got to be mobile today and responsive.
Now there’s all the new design challenges that are coming up because I think it was MarketingSherpa that ran a study and actually proved that a nonresponsive site converts better than a responsive site on a mobile device because you can pinch and zoom. That’s right.
Then you’ve got this SEO thing because Google is out there saying, “If it’s not responsive we’re not going to rank you well when somebody searching on mobile.” Then it’s like “We all got to go to mobile. We all got to go to responsive so that we don’t kill our search engine rankings.”
You’ve got all of these different things coming at you and very few people have tested any of this because the metrics haven’t been easily there to say, “Here’s my metrics. Here’s how many actual leads I’ve gotten from mobile versus from desktop versus tablet.
Again another little metric barrier there to you really getting the full knowledge of what’s working or not working from your offers from what it is you’re doing.
It’s really interesting. I was working with a client last week that has a really high volume e-commerce website and they were running just a simple AB split test on a couple of their sales pages. I ask them. I said, “What percentage of your site is mobile?” they said, “Well 60%.” I said, “We’re completely focused on split testing the design on the desktop and then the responsive side is a bit of an afterthought.”
Here’s the other problem that I see and now we’re going down the rabbit hole here but the other problem I see now is just traditional AB split testing is probably very skewed right now because the average person is saying, “I’m taking version A my control and testing version B against that. Each one of those versions has a desktop and a responsive design to it.”
The fact is you need to almost tease those apart and now test your desktop versus desktop and responsive versus responsive.
Unless you can have statistics that show you on page A and page B here’s how many desktops and here’s your convergence. Here’s how many you know and all that. If you can have something that can help you do that, then it doesn’t matter that you split those out other than the fact that you got it.
The end of the day the pages have to come together and work both on responsive and on desktop and you’ve got basically a CSS challenge there in terms of how you actually handle your mobile display.
I totally agree. I think we basically just said the same thing there. You need to be able to tease those apart. Here’s the reality on version A your desktop may have converted better but your responsive didn’t and converted worse. Blended you’re getting a skewed result.
That’s correct. You have to actually understand how each one is converting. By the way all the way down to the lead level. There’s not many systems that will actually help you do that.
Anyway, let’s come back out of the rabbit hole because I can totally geek about that stuff all day.
I know, right?
Where were we?
I was on number four of how to get more subscribers. I was talking about buttons and CTA buttons. Really saying think outside of the box. Your buttons have multiple states. Use them. There’s a program we use. I’ll just call it out right now. It’s Youzign.
I don’t know if you know about it but Youzign, Y-O-U-Z-I-G-N. Anyways, we use that and if you’re not a graphic designer, you can create really great buttons, multi-state buttons, they do them for ads and stuff. If you figure out …
I’ve got something I want to do that’s about 300 pixels wide and 100 pixels deep now you’ve got an ability to create something that can go on a page or a post that’s a nice button due to states of that button. You can give them some information and then give them more information when they roll over it.
You’ve got a whole different button performing for you than just your standard stock “click here, register now.”
Like the ones I have on my site, is that what you’re saying?
Possibly. I’m not naming any names.
What was the name of that program again?
Youzign, It’s Y-O-U-Z-I-G-N.
That’s very cool.
It makes it possible to create these kinds of buttons. Anyway, we can go into that.
We just started playing with it. We started to see on one client site where we put them and we would place them and stuff. We figured that people will take one and then we’ll nurture people to take more downloads. They had a lot of really great content.
What we found was once we started playing with these buttons, what we found was that people can go on the site and they take six downloads in one session.
Can you even imagine? It was like how do you nurture it because now we only had 10. They kept moving through the site and they would just take them because they were just catching them. They were engaging them and they were clicking and they were going ahead and completing those lead capture forms and take in those downloads.
It was stunning how much better performing or how well they performed over just your standard little buttons that you see sometimes.
That’s very cool. I’m going to be playing with that Youzign. I love the fact that we have such cool technology available to us now. Things like Youzign and Canva. We can just create cool stuff and we don’t have to … Love it especially for people like me who are not really designers.
Neither am I. This helps and that’s part of the problem, you need a web dev techie and you need a designer and so you use Fiverr and you get some result that might be okay but you’ve got to wait. Then everything is delayed.
If you can get things done for yourself right now as you get an idea and you’re all excited you can actually deliver on it and create the call to action. Get it in there and have the popup form right there without waiting on all that stuff and paying that expense to get that work done. Now you’ve got some real power in your pocket.
You just got some real power to do what you need to do when the thought strikes.
I think we’ve got one how to get more subscribers tip left, right?
Yes. We’ve gone through 1, 2, 3, 4.
Now that you’ve got things in place and you’ve figured out how to get more subscribers, then you want to start thinking about how you progress people along their path. You want to think about … my next one about CTA secrets is think about progression.
Topic-deep calls to action build real trust and authority. For instance we have three scoops and we call them scoops. The first one is the single biggest reason why your emails don’t get read. It’s just a simple download. It gives you these amazing tips about here’s what you can do to have your emails read and engaged with.
Then we have scoop two which is list or listening. It talks about this whole thing we started talking about as lack of segmentation and batch and blast. We draw a really big distinction between the two and what you can do to be more effective and have your leads really, really enjoy and love you.
Then we have the third scoop which is, when is batch and blast okay? Here we just told them never batch and blast. Then we have one that says, when is batch and blast okay?
We really dive deep in each one and by the time you read all three of those you end up having this knowledge about what you really need to be thinking about around your email. Topic deep CTAs build that trust and that authority.
What you want to do is set yourself up to make your next offer via email. Make sure you have a platform and people will forward your emails and you’ll get new leads because people are really enjoying you. Really you’re making a difference for them and they’ll be like, “Hey check this out. You’re going to want this.”
They’re going to share and spread more of the news for you. That’s always helpful.
The other side of this on top of that so think about progression. The catch here is that you’ve got to make sure you have a platform that knows when somebody has already taken an offer so you don’t offer it to them again.There’s nothing more frustrating – here you are smart, you’ve got all this stuff. You’re reading their mind in a way and then you offer them the same thing three times because you don’t know that they took it. There’s nothing more irritating.
Everybody I talked to has actually experienced this. You’re thinking, “Don’t they know that I already took their offer? Don’t they know that I’ve already gotten this and they gave me a thank you email and they’ve acknowledged that? I thought they knew me.”
Then you go ruin it because you can’t really track that. Anyways, that’s the fifth one for me on an opt-in secret is just think about progression. You can deepen that relationship in a really, really nice way.
That’s fantastic. Everybody listening there was a ton of stuff in there. If you can even do half of what Kim just shared with you regarding how to get more subscribers, you’re going to see your results skyrocket.
Let’s shift gears a little bit here from how to get more subscribers. Before we run out of time I want to talk about the technology options. You’ve been pioneering and building in this space since as you said 2007. I’ve always seen a void in the market.
When I first got started online the first SAS systems, hosted email marketing systems were AWeber was one of the first get response and then the MailChimp the constant contact, iContact. I call those to an extent … I don’t know if this is the right term for it or people would be offended by it …but I call them church group mailers because they’re great for organizing your church group.
They leave a lot to be desired with marketing.
For somebody getting started, you are faced with, “Do I go with AWeber or do I go up to the Infusionsoft and Entreport level which has a big ticket.”
You’re spending two grand to get your system set up and then you’re going to be spending at least a couple of hundred dollars a month on top of that plus learning curve plus, plus, plus, plus all of these different things.
Then you have to make it work with your system. Then obviously above that we get into very high commercial exact target stuff like that. There’s always been this missing void in between mom and pop mailers and Infusionsoft level. Why did you go after that? What do you see that’s happening different now?
Here’s what I see is that I went after that because I have a commitment to the small business, and I also know that at the entrepreneurial side.
The Genoo product set that we have is right at the same price point as Infusionsoft except for no setup fee. Then you start looking at, “How I really enable? What are the real problems that entrepreneurs are having?”
The guiding principle for me is what are those problems and how can they best be solved at a price point that works. I challenge myself and my staff to come up with solutions and email marketing tools that are affordable and empowering for that small entrepreneurial market.
That’s where we were focused when we came up what we now call WP Marketing Engine that runs entirely or is accessed entirely from within your WordPress admin.
There are several reasons why we did that and created that particular offering that gets at that small business space. I think typically it’s like, “What’s worth more … you got to go upstream.” The Infusionsofts of the world have taken I don’t know how much venture money.
At some point I’m not saying venture money is bad. I’m just saying that at some point you become beholden to those investors and they’re after getting their return. That puts a different strain and a different stress on a company in terms of being able to surf.
You saw that with HubSpot. HubSpot went upstream and started charging more and more money and they became … still people say “They’re for the small business marketplace.” If you look at spending $30,000 in your first year I don’t think that they’re for the small business marketplace.
You really have to start to look at, what really is going to serve? That’s always been a question that drives us. I don’t know if that answered your question entirely.
Let’s talk about the solution because I have a question about the solution that you’ve created. You’ve taken a different approach. You’re now in this space between the AWebers, GetResponses and the Infusionsofts and there’s always been this need there.
Over the last couple of years I’ve watched a few players emerge. ConvertKit Campaign Monitor is in there as well and now you with the WP Marketing Engine, but you’ve done something really different.
You’re not a traditional hosted SAS system that sits off on the servers and the average user has to figure out how to connect that to his website. You really integrated it into the WordPress platform. What was your decision making behind that? What kind of advantages does something like that offer?
Our decision was I’ve seen the frustration of somebody trying to plug all kinds of things together. If you’re using emails marketing tools like MailChimp for instance they don’t even have their own WordPress plugin. Their answer is “Go out and search in the plugins directory and find one. Then install it.”
There’s 340 or something like that WordPress plugins for MailChimp that were all written by somebody else, not them. They don’t maintain them. If somebody writes one of them and they decide, “I’m tired of maintaining this.” and it stops now you’re open to vulnerabilities. If they don’t know how to code those plugins you’re open to vulnerability.
There’s no way that a small business owner or a small business marketer or entrepreneur that isn’t a techie knows how to decide which WordPress plugin to select.
Then you need that. You need an event plugin if you’re doing events or want people to register and to go to webinars or that kind of thing.
When you look at the things you have to cobble together, no wonder it’s a major pain in the butt and you have major holes in your system where you have to cobble things together.
What we kept looking at was “If they install our plugin, we have a plugin/cloud hybrid basically that they access right from within WordPress.”
We know how much WordPress gets hacked. Are you kidding? We ended up putting all the good lead data and your campaign data. That’s all up in the cloud.
If your WordPress site gets hacked or whatever, you still have all that data. It’s not hurt at all. It didn’t even get impacted by something that happened to your website for instance which with the plugin that runs entirely on your server, you would end up losing things. You would end up having compromises.
We wanted to protect that privacy data and all of that.
Your leads and your list and your campaigns and your metrics, we wanted to protect that from what has to be native on your WordPress but at the same time it looks like it’s all right there within WordPress and it takes less than 15 minutes to set up and configure and have it working with your WordPress website.
Our goal was we want you to be able to create forms and have opt-ins and popups and pages and all of that very, very easily without having to be a techie or having to rely on your web dev or WordPress expert so that you can operate your business and operate your marketing in that way.
That’s why we did it. That was the whole push behind us coming up with that solution.
Also having integrated with the website gives you a whole different level of being able to track users activity and stuff as well I assume.
It’s tracking pixel. The challenge with WordPress and I believe if you have any Infusionsoft solution or anything the mailer solutions will never have any problem because they don’t place the tracking pixel. They just measure your clicks through your emails.
For anything that does more like an Infusionsoft or like a WP Marketing Engine or Genoo, you want tracking. You want a tracking pixel. You want to know everywhere they go. You want to know what they’re doing so that you can trigger and automate other activities and actions that you need or want to do so that you actually build that relationship and trust and authority with your leads.
The problem with WordPress before we looked at really integrating with WordPress is tell an entrepreneur where to put the tracking pixel on their WordPress implementation and now you’ve got problem number one. We wanted to solve that.
The only way to solve that was to start offering a plugin that would work really well. Then one thing led to another. We were like, “This doesn’t work. This is complicated.” We just started to solve the problems.
I really love the approach that you’ve taken with this and I think it’s going to solve a lot of technical hurdles that are preventing for the small businesses from leveraging a lot of this advanced targeting that … not only we’ve been talking about but it’s the future of this. It’s the future of email marketing.
If in a few years from now you’re just still doing mass broadcast without any type of segmentation, your results are just going to get worse and worse and worse. That’s not what the big ESPs are looking for. They want mailers that are talking to people that are listening.
You’re not going to get the delivery either. You’re not going to get it. The algorithms are not going to deliver your mail because you’re going to have a bad reputation for being a sender because the majority of people aren’t engaging with you and that’s the part that’s really going to kill a lot of people who don’t pay attention.
Now we’re just about out of time but before we wrap things up. If our listeners want to find out more about you, your business, how to get more subscribers, WP Marketing Engine, any cool giveaways that you have, where do they go?
I’ll give you two things. The first one is you can go to WP Marketing Engine and that’s our site. Right on the homepage of our site we usually have some free training that you can take.
Right now if you go out there we’ve got a full set of training on calls to action. We have a full CTA training how to maximize opt-ins on your website and you can go to the homepage. You should be able to click and get that training.
That’s fantastic. Kim thank you so much for sharing all your knowledge and email marketing tips and tricks today. It was definitely an info packed interview, a great sessions of email marketing tips 2016!
You’re very, very welcome. Thank you so much Derek. I really appreciate talking with you today. It’s always fun.
All right everybody that was email marketing and I would call it marketing automation expert as well, Kim Albee.
As always any links that we mentioned in this interview will be included in the show notes. WP Marketing Engine, anything else that was mentioned along with the entire transcript of this episode.
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This is your host Derek Gehl signing off.