promotional email

What’s Old is New Again! – The Case for Using Promotional Email in 2019

In the fashion world, it seems like a lot of clothes that I grew up with are becoming popular again. Just the other day, I saw a girl at the movies that looked like she was straight from 1989. From a distance, you could tell she had Jessie Spano hair. But as my wife and I got closer, we realized that not only did she have the hair, but under her coat, she was wearing a white turtleneck and overalls.

I’m not really into the whole hipster scene, but is this a thing that us 30 somethings are just not aware of? I know when I was going to school, popped collars and wearing polos on top of long sleeved shirts was a thing. However, I can’t say I would suggest going back to that look. And to add to that, I never expected to see leggings or denim as items that would make a comeback!

It seems that what was once old is new again.

Business has Cycles, too!

In that same vein, I’ve noticed that business has its own set of cycles. For instance, in the 90’s, Walmart started taking off because of a few reasons:

  • They had everything.
  • You always knew you were getting the best price.
  • You get in and get out without hassle of sales people.
  • Because of all the above, you save time.

Today, however, there has been a shift back to a service centric model. There are many more specialty stores and boutiques opening up because there are certain things you don’t get at the big box stores.

Big box stores like Walmart seem to cater to everyone. They do this by having everything but not many options of one particular thing.

Take grocery shopping for example. Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods have a completely different vibe to them than the larger chains like Walmart and Meijer. For one, you have a lot more options in specific items.

But on top of that, help is fairly easy to find if you’re looking for something in particular. Not only that, but when I talk to people who work at these places, they seem to be a bit more educated in the products that are available.

When choosing between one or the other, it’s really a choice of customer service vs time/money. If expertise, help, and friendliness are things you care about, you’ll probably go to a specialty store. If being frugal is your thing – then Walmart might still be your choice.

Return of the Main Open Source Marketing Medium: Email

promotional email
Remember these words in the AOL days?

This month, I have a focus to figure out what’s going to be big and different in 2019. One of those things, I’ve realized, is marketing.

When it comes to marketing, which is important for any creator, we feel it necessary to be on social media all the time – posting and interacting with our base there.

It would certainly seem that this is the best way to get our voice out there in 2019. That’s where all the eyeballs are, right?

But how effective is this really? And is our message getting out to those who follow us?

Add to that this question – with all that’s been going down recently with privacy, should we continue to trust these large online companies with our information?

As these questions gain more attention, people are starting to wonder what the next big way of getting the word out is going to be.

And after reading this article over at the Wall Street Journal, I think the writing is on the wall.

One point that the article brings up is this question. Would you rather have your voice going out to 1000 or 10,000 people who have opted in your emails? Or would you rather have 100,000 followers on Instagram or Facebook?

Email Allows Deeper Connections

For me, the answer is simple. Email has an ability to not only allow us to reach all of our followers, but it allows us to connect with them in ways that not many utilize social media for.

In my recent chat with Avi Arya, one of the things he spoke about that he remembers having great success was when he personalized his emails to people he was marketing to. In fact, he would create a handful of videos to particular people each day.

This was back in the late 90’s when it took several hours to download one 3-5 minute song. It would take one of his assistants all night to upload these videos.

But it blew people away and made him well known in his industry.

In email marketing we can tailor our message to fit the size of audience we’re addressing and be direct. In social, we can’t do that. It’s a numbers game.

Action Steps

So at this point you might be wonder, ok, what do I do with this information? People just don’t willingly give up their emails today like they might have even a handful of years ago. They don’t want to add one more thing to their inbox which is more than likely already cluttered.

So how do you get over that hump?

The answer is not new by any means.

We simply need to add awesome value for their email. Like last week, below is a video from Pat sharing what he’s learned on this topic over the years. It should give you some great ideas in what you can offer.

quality content

Creating Effective Quality Content

When it comes to marketing today, there’s a certain idea all digital marketers have to follow. We have to add value before we get the sale.

What does that mean?

Well, for most, it means that we have to educate our potential clients or customers about what it is that we do or make.

In fact, it can take up to 6 to 8 touches before a prospect becomes a buyer.

Typically, those touches take the form of “content”.

Content can take the form of videos, audio, or even text – like this blog. And it’s usually in the form of an educational format.

In this post, we’re going to look at a few places that we can find ideas for good content in 2018 and beyond.


Natural Content vs SEO Driven Content

When we’re thinking about creating content that attracts potential customers, we might be tempted to do a number of things. Most of these fall into three types.

Natural Content Creation

The first type is one where the focus is mainly on what our own individual customers or clients want. As a creative entrepreneur, this is something that seems a bit more natural.

The goal of creating this content is usually to retain and educate the clients, audience, or customers you already have.


SEO Driven Content Creation

The second type of content is content that is created specifically for what Google (or other search engines) suggest people are searching for.

Knowing this information allows us to create content specifically based on these search terms or “keywords”.

The end goal of this type of content creation to bring in more people into your sphere of influence.

If you’re not familiar with the term SEO, it simply is the acronym for Search Engine Optimization. The idea behind it is that If a particular site has good SEO, the site will rank hire in Google’s search results.

The goal is to appear on the first page of results.

At one point, it was much simpler to understand what would rank a website higher than another in Google. So much so, that if you understood the fairly rudimentary rules, you could start your own solopreneur business or small agency offering it as a service.

In fact, I remember back in 2010, there were several people in my social circle that worked for a couple of startup SEO companies here in Indianapolis.

Today, while SEO still exists and is still useful, it’s getting harder and harder to predict how Google ranks websites. They’re constantly changing what variables make our sites rank higher.

Some of those variables even include traffic on the site, authority of the site, and how quickly the site loads for individuals browsing the site.


Hybrid Content Creation

Ideally, since the SEO world has become so hard to predict, the best thing we should do is create content that not only has keywords in it, but also is made to educate your currently existing audience.

The main way to do this is to simply to find out what your audience is asking about, find out what keywords in Google are related to those questions, and then build content based on the results you find.

Doing good SEO work on your site is not the scope of this particular post. However, I have two recommendations for you if you have a WordPress based site.


  1. Make sure you have the Yoast SEO Plugin. I personally recommend the premium version because it has some kick butt features (including multiple keywords) and you only have to pay for it once. 
  2. Secondly, when you’re searching for keywords, you can use a free tool within Google Adwords called the Keyword Finder. When you’re searching, there are two columns that everyone should consider. The average monthly volume, and the competition.

Ideally, you want an Average Monthly Volume of 1k – 10k (number of searches a month). If you try anything higher than that, there’s a much higher chance your site won’t be seen in the front of the results. If you use anything less than that, you might be targeting a smaller group of people.

Once you find a keyword that hits that 1k – 10k search sweet spot, then you’ll want to check it’s competition. Ideally, you want a keyword that has low competition. However, from time to time you might have to use a keyword that is marked as a medium. I rarely use those that have high competition.

Here’s a visual of what I’m talking about:

quality content

How to Find Your Audience’s Questions

If you choose to go the natural or hybrid route, you’re creating your content with your audience in mind.

If that’s the case, there are a few places where you can get topic ideas from your audience – directly and indirectly.

  1. Ask them! You can send out a survey to your followers (whether it’s through Messenger, email, or whatever you prefer).
  2. Check out what’s being asked and discussed in Facebook groups or other online forums that are related to your topic. If you think you can go into further detail than what’s covered in the post, go for it. 
  3. See what other thought leaders in your industry are talking about. What are your favorite blogs, podcasts, speakers, and/or authors discussing? They probably have already done the research to find a good topic to discuss. Feel free to add your voice to the conversation!


Action Steps

When we’re having to create content on a regular basis for our audiences, we might draw a blank when we’re looking. Once you have an idea of what kind of content type you’re going to be creating (whether it’s natural, SEO focused, or a hybrid of the two), then you just need a spark of inspiration. If anything, this gives you a good excuse to check in with leaders of your industry!


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Marc Mawhinney – Performance Coaching for Coaches – Learning How to Make a Living as an Online Coach (AoL 091)

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Debra Jason: A Glimpse into Millionaire Marketing and Breakthrough Copywriting (AoL 064)

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Why I Started Using Email Marketing in 2016 (and Why It Still Works)

Today, more than ever, we’re pressed for time and energy. Each day we start with so many minutes and energy to pay attention to all of the things that we need to deal with.

Many things in our lives distract us from what we want to actually get done. Email checking is one of the biggest pet peeves to most of us – me included. It feels like such a drag.

After swearing to myself that I’d never use email to reach people on a regular basis because of how unresponsive I personally am to it and how overused it seems, I realized that I was leaving a legitimate way to engage and connect with people on the table. Some people actually want to hear from me. 🙂

In fact, there’s some people (again me not being one of them) that actually pay more attention to their email than they do social media. So much so that in the past couple of weeks that I’ve been sending emails, I’ve already had a couple of unsubscribes! Personally I hardly ever unsubscribe from people unless they send too much – (usually those are daily senders and my junk mail tends to grab those after a while anyway).

So what made me realize that this was a good way for me to engage with folks if I’m not the most receptive of it myself? Well, I’m glad you asked. Here’s why:

There are some people who really only get their notifications from the web via emails.

Seriously. They don’t have Facebook, Twitter, or another social media constantly open. Nope, instead, they go to their online email web portal, check to see if anything is going on and if it’s not, then it’s not anything they need to worry about. Larry King recently put it this way on his interview with Lewis Howes when it came to having a phone that can text – “There’s a reason I don’t text. If I need to know it, I’m sure you or someone else will tell me.”

The same is true with social media. My dad is this kind of person as well.

Every cell phone, even flip phones, has email capability.

Unless you know someone that’s carrying a Zack Morris brick or something from the late 90’s or early 2000’s, all phones have email capability. (I don’t even know if those phones can actually use today’s signals or not though, so…)

While there are some people like Larry King who use their flip phone only as a phone, most cell phone users opt to use it for as much as possible. More than 50% (56% of this writing) of all traffic on the web is from mobile devices. People are connected, true, but not everyone has the same apps or use the same social media platforms. Email is “universal”.

People rely on emails for digests of what’s going on from their favorite brands.

When you’re looking to check and see if there’s a sale at a favorite store, are you going to do that via social media, their website, or check for an email if you subscribed to them?

You’ll probably check their website.

However… you probably wouldn’t even think to check their website if it wasn’t the fact that you had been notified by an email of theirs in the past about a sale.

Personally, I know for me that I bought two new Colts hats in the last couple of years because I saw them featured in emails. Had I not gotten those emails, I probably would not have gotten the hats that I wear pretty regularly.

It’s easier for the one doing the marketing to integrate emailing into other marketing systems making them seem more personalized.

Truth be told, I tend to pay attention to emails that start with this: “Hey, Jc!”

Why is that? Because it makes my subconscious feel important. Even though I know that I had to have had put my name in a form somewhere for it come out that way (I go by JC not Jc), I still have more of an interest in that particular email – because I obviously actively signed up for it.

On that same point, 31.5% of US online retailers use the customer’s name and/or a unique welcome message. However, nearly half of US online retailers use personalized product recommendations (44.9% – read marketing funnels) and a quarter of them report adding shopping cart reminders (27.6%) to cover all of their personalization bases.

It’s inexpensive.

Currently, right now with MailChimp, I’m not paying anything to email my email list. I think that this is a great option for anyone that might not have a huge budget to spend on tools when they’re first getting started.

Also, I’ve used other tools like Constant Contact and aWeber, and frankly, I wasn’t too impressed with their functionality. MailChimp has gotten way better over the last couple of years.

However, there’s one cavot that I’m pretty sure using MailChimp has – it has issues getting through spam filters. Not sure why that is.

If you’re using MailChimp and you start hearing about your subscribers ending up with your email in their spam folders a bit much, you might want to consider other options.

The least expensive one that I can think of is ActiveCampaign which seems to have a reasonable price point.

That said, if you already have a course or two and you’re bringing some money in to cover your expenditures, you might want to take a look at ConvertKit – which seems it’s quickly becoming the best platform for online business folks.

Love it or hate it, it’s still effective.

So there you have it. Even though I’m not the first one to use the medium by far (I went a whole year without using it), I’ve realized that even within the few weeks that I have used it that I get more engagement. In the end, if we’re trying to get our message out there as people who want to change lives, then I’ll concede that email is a tool that you might want to reconsider using in the foreseeable future.

Let me know below what your experience has been with email marketing. Did you hate it at first and eventually give in like me?