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Show Highlights

Graham and Ashkahn consistently emphasize the importance of mailing lists, but today they dive in deep to talk about how to build a mailing list, giving their best tips and tricks to collecting emails and how to make sure you’re getting the right people signed up.

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Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)

Graham: All right.

Ashkahn: Hey.

Graham: Hello everyone.

Ashkahn: Welcome. Welcome to the podcast.

Graham: This is Graham.

Ashkahn: This is Ashkahn.

Graham: Today’s question is “you talk a lot about collecting emails, but what are some of the places I should collect them? I grab it from customers when they make an appointment, and I have a form on my website.”


Ashkahn: Yeah.

Graham: Collecting emails. We do talk a lot about collecting emails because you have to. It’s very important. I’d say that having a big email list is actually probably your number one arsenal in marketing, to be honest. Way more than having a big Facebook page or a lot of Twitter followers or something like that, you know?

Ashkahn: In fact, part of the answers of this question is we in some ways view our Facebook page and Twitter following and things as good means of filling our mailing list.

Graham: Yeah. Yeah, for sure.

Ashkahn: We view those as part of the end point ideally would be for those people to be on our mailing list, rather than-

Graham: Every one of them.

Ashkahn: Yeah.

Graham: Ideally we would just take them off of Facebook and put all of them onto our mailing list where we control how we reach them and who sees what.

Ashkahn: Yeah. Right? That’s one of the big differences is Facebook can just stop us from reaching people, and they have. We used to reach a bunch of people, and then they started making all these algorithms and stuff.

Graham: Now, not so much, unless you pay them, yeah, money.

Ashkahn: But that doesn’t happen with email.

Graham: Yeah. There’s the promotions tab in Gmail, I guess, has been the closest development to-

Ashkahn: Right, and-

Graham: Pushing some things a little bit to the side.

Ashkahn: Better spam filters, or …

Graham: Yeah, but even with that, you’re still at least kind of guaranteed to show up in a section of someone’s inbox as opposed to, yeah, needing to pay the gods of the internet in order to deliver it or something like that.

So, email is important. Yes. Ways to collect them, first of all, you’re totally right. When someone makes an appointment, when someone comes in physically to float at your spot, that’s of course a great time to grab someone’s email. The Helm, for example, just uses someone’s email as their kind of account name, which a lot of softwares do.

So, the email is very built in to just interacting with a lot of booking softwares. Within that, there’s also this kind of differentiation between someone giving you their email address to make an account and make an appointment and also them giving you their email address and saying, “I want to hear from you. Please send me marketing emails.” Stuff like that, right?

So, even when you’re collecting emails or when someone comes in in person, like if they booked online, they didn’t opt in to your mailing list, often at checkout there’s kind of an option to opt in to receive marketing emails from people or not. When they come in in person, train your staff to ask for or ask them if they want to sign up to actually be on the mailing list when they’re at their appointment, right?

Even though you have their email address and it’s in the system, still confirming verbally that you’re allowed to use that to actually send them emails and to let them know about sales you’re having and upcoming events and things like that, I think, is a great way to actually get that activated kind of double opt in list built.

Ashkahn: Yeah. It really is, at least in our opinions, I would consider a float center, if we were to be sending just a ton of emails to people without asking them, to be kind of spam. I would think it appropriate that some email client would filter that stuff out.

So, that’s what I want. I want confirmation from someone that they do want to hear from us and that we’re not just kind of getting them because they had to give us their email in order to book an appointment with us.

Graham: Yeah.

Ashkahn: You have a stronger email list at that point. You know those people are interested. It’s a much more real representation of how many people are gonna want to read what you’re saying and actually be interested in sales you’re doing and various things like that.

Graham: Yeah. I guess just to kind of delve a little further even into the things you already said, so collecting someone’s email when they are making an appointment again. Use another opportunity when they’re coming in to confirm they want to get those emails, and similarly, when they’re making the account. Making sure to tweak and play around with the wording that you have on your website to actually check that box to subscribe to your mailing list.

Often something like “join our mailing list” is not the strongest pitch to actually give you their email addresses, right? Letting them know that they’ll get special deals that are only sent to people on the mailing list, they’ll get important news or invited to events, things like that. Show some benefit in your pitch to actually get them to sign up, I think, is an important one.

Ashkahn: There’s a lot of different ways on your website to optimize what you have going on, too, from just where it’s placed on your homepage, making sure it’s actually on your homepage somewhere, not buried somewhere on your site, and there’s various, there’s all sorts of smart pop ups now that you can customize in terms of how many seconds after someone gets to your page does it show up, and it can only show up to someone once and then it won’t bother them again every time they come to your site, or it can detect when someone’s finished reading and about to leave a page and try to pop up right at that point, and welcome gates and all sorts of different kind of fancy ways of trying to up your amount of people who are subscribing.

Graham: Yeah, and we use some of those, too, for our various websites just to, again, kind of optimize that amount of people who actually trust us enough or even know that the mailing list exists to give you their email address.

Ashkahn: Yeah, it’s funny because the question involves the biggest ways to get emails. So, outside of that, I don’t know. There’s a lot of stuff you see people do all the time when you go to events or something like that where you enter your email to be in some sort of raffle-

Graham: Trade shows in general, right? If you are doing any events or giving presentations out in the public, don’t think of it just in terms of passive education of the people out there, right? Actually getting incoming emails from the people in the audience I think is, yeah, is really worthwhile.

Ashkahn: It’s pretty much nice to keep in your mind as just a go to call to action. At any point, if selling a float on the spot seems a little unlikely or a little too much friction, even if you are doing that, it’s nice to just always be aiming for people to sign up for your mailing list. It’s a lot less of a commitment for people, but now you have a way of contacting them and reminding them that floating exists and sparking their interest in the future.

Graham: Yeah, we have another good episode on A/B testing. But you might want to check that out because one of the best ways to actually get people to sign up for the email list is not anything tricky or something it sounds like that you haven’t thought of, like Ashkahn was saying. It’s more just doing the basic things and doing them really well. So, actually testing your calls to action and the area of your website that you’re trying to get people to sign up for the email list, using a tool like Optimizely, something like that, could really help you actually get more people on board.

Yeah, similarly, I guess you just did an episode with Derek where you talked a little bit more about concise strategies for big giveaways where people are doing their email addresses, is what they’re giving-

Ashkahn: Yeah, we talked specifically about the ones that we did, like a kind of monthly float giveaway on social media specifically, and they win a year of floats sort of giveaway. Both of those were methods of trying to get people on our mailing list at the end of the day, and to provide some activity on our social media and stuff like that.

But really, that was part of the process for those, and we’ve even, when we were first starting out, just had slips of paper-

Graham: I was just gonna mention that.

Ashkahn: -outside of our door and a sign that said, “Give us your email and we’ll keep you updated.”

Graham: Or else.

Ashkahn: Literally it was people, we just hung a pen there and people would write their email on a piece of paper and slip it in our mail slot while we were in construction. So, and it worked. We got emails based off of that.

Graham: Yeah, which is, it’s kind of amazing that things like that work. But they totally do. You’re a weird business. We put up little descriptions of kind of what we were and our name up on the wall there, little early beginners’ guides that we had on a brochure holder, and yeah. Just loose pieces of paper and a pen up, and I guess just that external was interesting enough and they’re like, wait. What is this floating thing?

Ashkahn: Yeah.

Graham: That it just enticed them to actually leave it, which is cool.

I guess a little more about converting, we started with converting people over from Facebook and Twitter, and then I just made some joke about getting all them, but it’s actually a really good place to grab people for your email list as well.

So, for things like that, linking over to posts that you’re putting on your site, it’s really, you can look at the Float On Facebook page and we do have a little widget that’s a “join the mailing list” kind of widget on there, but not, to be honest, not many people end up using that or just clicking and joining our mailing list straight from Facebook.

Ashkahn: Yeah.

Graham: So, it’s more like posting up content that you’re putting on your site. Interesting blog spots, or video interviews with clients, or something that you can then link to from Facebook and encourage people to come over, and from that page then you can try and collect email addresses is sort of a good way to go about it.

I guess just know that you’ll have to pay for that, right? As far as, it’s kind of like occasionally we decide to dump some money into trying to convert Facebook audience members into actual mailing list members because when you’re linking off your site, and especially when you’re linking to different content, videos that aren’t on Facebook, they kind of penalize you in the sense of not showing that content to anyone unless you pay for it. So, there’s sort of this transactional cost almost in converting Facebook fans or Twitter fans over into email list joiners.

Ashkahn: Yeah, at the end of the day, really doubling down on the things you’re already talking, you know about. Your website-

Graham: Yeah, you got this.

Ashkahn: And people coming in-

Graham: You’re doing good.

Ashkahn: Little, the thing is, you can run all these weird specials and crazy promotions and stuff like that as ways of getting people’s emails. It’s nice to do those too, but small tweaks to the main kind of fire hose of emails you have coming in to you to increase that size are in the long run gonna stack up month after month after month, if you can get 5% more people to sign up for your mailing list, those numbers kind of keep adding up. So, don’t forget about the basics, too.

Graham: Yeah. All right. If you have questions of your own, cruise on down to floattanksolutions.com/podcast.

Ashkahn: That’s right. That’s our website.

Graham: The little sub page of the website, too.

Ashkahn: Yeah, and there’s a thing on there to join our mailing list.

Graham: There’s a nice drawing of both of us.

Ashkahn: All sorts of stuff.

Graham: Yeah. Check it out.

Ashkahn: Check it out. Bye.

Graham: Bye.

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