Not so long ago I asked for your help to build the BoS, BLN email lists by sharing your knowledge of best practice in this pursuit. The BoS Community came shining through, with Rob Walling (also the subject of my first BoS video review) providing podcasts he has completed in his ‘Startups For the Rest of Us’ series which, among many useful things for start up people, has three podcasts based on this very topic.
I have summarised the key learnings I took away from these podcasts, starting with the first episode, in the hope the knowledge I gained would be useful for the larger marketing and start up community. I’ve used the BLN and BoS as examples, and I would recommend listening to the podcasts yourself as these reviews have been very much filtered through those goggles. For those wishing to do just that, they are available here, here, and here. I also include my notes on the bottom of the page for anyone interested.
The first thing Rob talked about is to think about is what is your number one goal from your emails (actually quite similar to his BoS Talk, The Number One Goal for Your Website)? Asking yourself not only what does email do for us, but also how does this serve the core goal of your business? To sell tickets to conferences? No, that’s too shallow. Our goal is to help facilitate profitable, sustainable software businesses by bringing the best and brightest into the same place and allowing them to talk, listen, and learn from great speakers and peers. Email is a tool we use to achieve this goal.
With the goal in mind, you can start to think where email fits into your sales funnel. This takes some wider thinking on a business wide level. I drew the whole thing out, and attached metrics for their success and also a traffic light coding on how well I feel we are doing this at the moment as a starting point.
Rob also discussed pricing. Now we have the goal (Number one) and reason (funnel) for of our email in mind, we have to understand the implications of how our product will be perceived through the emails – in the podcasts, this was focussed particularly on price. The BLN and BoS have the target of producing high quality, intimate conferences. We’re proud of our community spirit, and want our emails to reflect this. For us, even the highest priced, last minute tickets represent great value for money, meaning unless we have a particular price break coming up, we’re unlikely to mention price. For e-commerce this may be different as you’re looking to sell a specific product in a harder way. You need to think about what is best for you, related to your goals. Tl;dr: your goals inform your content.
Finally, how on earth does one go about attracting the right people to your list? Start from the very beginning and work your way up. The podcast had three tips. Number one. Decide who you want on your list. Are these going to be long term communities, or one off quick sales? Number two. Design and manage your lists to reflect number one. For long term communities you may consider segmenting more based on their personal interests and message them irregularly. For a quick sale, throwing everything you have at them and hoping it sticks might be more appropriate. Number three. Consider how they are going to get onto your list… i.e. sign up forms. As a rule, more fields = less people + higher quality, less fields = less people + higher quality. Also consider where your sign up forms are, Joanna Weibe has a great piece on this here. Is there anywhere else people can sign up? Blogs, scroll ups, boilerplates? All worth considering!
To summarise, the podcast had three great themes and lessons that I took away. Goals, content, lists (and sign up forms). If you’d like to sign up for our emails to see how I attempt to put all this into action, do so here!
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