041: Ninja Email Marketing for Bloggers with Barry Moore from The Active Marketer

Welcome to episode 41 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast! In this episode, talks with Barry Moore, an expert in email marketing.

Last week, Bjork interviewed Allison and Suzy from the Food Heals Podcast. They talked about using podcasting as a way to talk about food online, how they got started, how they started making money with their podcast from day 1. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.

Ninja Email Marketing for Bloggers

Have you ever received an email and thought, “Wow! That was just what I needed to hear right now. How did they know?”

To put it simply, whoever sent that email to you at the exact time you needed to hear it is practicing something called Ninja Email Marketing, and it’s definitely something you want to get familiar with real quick.

In this episode, Barry Moore from TheActiveMarketer.com talks about some ninja techniques for email marketing and how they can change the way you see your website visitors and customers – and how they see you.

In this episode, Barry talks about:

  • What it means to be an “active marketer”
  • Why it’s a good idea to be sending emails out regularly
  • What the different types of emails are
  • How advanced email marketing services track your subscribers
  • How you can use tags to send emails to the right people
  • Where new bloggers should start with email marketing
  • How you can use lead magnets to get more subscribers

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Bjork Ostrom: Welcome to episode number 41 of the Food Blogger Pro Podcast. Hey everybody, this is Bjork Ostrom, coming to you from St. Paul, Minnesota. Our dog Sage is sitting by my side and I’m excited to deliver today’s podcast to you, which is all about email. It might not sound exciting, but the reality is email is a really really important thing to understand if you’re going to be growing and building a business online. To be honest, for a really really long time, we didn’t really do much with email, both on Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro. We just didn’t spend a lot of time with it. Our focus was on the content of the blog, which makes sense, but what we found is as we started to understand email a little bit more and how to segment and tag and how to be intentional about building a list with lead magnets and things like that that has really had a big impact on our business.

If all of those different buzzwords that I just used don’t make any sense to you, we’re going to talk about those today because we’re talking with Barry Moore of TheActiveMarketer.com and kind of a funny story that we’ll talk about at the beginning of the podcast.

We were interviewed on a different podcast called Smart Passive Income a while ago. One of the things that I said was, “We just don’t really do much with email, we don’t have a good understanding of it.” Barry followed up this after and said, “Hey, I’d love to have a Skype call and I can show you some different things that you can be doing with email.” That started a relationship where he’s helped consult us on building out our strategy with email. We use a service called ActiveCampaign for that so we’re going to be talking about that in the context of ActiveCampaign, but there’s lots of different email service providers that do similar things. The fun thing is for Food Blogger Pro members, two things, coming up really soon, we will have an offer for you if you’re about to sign up outside, hold off until we publish this in Food Blogger Pro in the deals page at discount for Food Blogger Pro members on ActiveCampaign that’s exclusive for members, which we’re excited to offer.

Barry is going to be coming out with a course on Food Blogger Pro as well. For those of you that aren’t Food Blogger Pro members, you can purchase that course on Udemy. It’s a great course. It’s rated really well and it’s super in depth, but if you’re a Food Blogger Pro member that’s going to be available to you and that’ll be coming out on April 14th, so that would be a course that you can watch and it’s super in depth, super informational, which is very similar to this podcast episode today as I interview Barry Moore from TheActiveMarketer.com.

Let’s go ahead and jump in and have a conversation around email. Barry, welcome to the podcast.

Barry Moore: My pleasure, thanks for having me on, I’m excited.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, I’m really excited about this. I won’t take too long with his story, but I’m going to do kind of a quick backstory. Speaking of podcast, Lindsey and I were on a podcast, it was probably a year ago. I’m trying to remember, I don’t remember the exact date. It was a podcast called the Smart Passive Income Podcasts, which is a great podcast by Pat Flynn. One of the questions he had asked, this was around like, I don’t even remember the context of the question, but we said, “One of the things we’re not very good at is email.” After that you sent me an email and said, “Hey, you should probably figure out this email thing, it would be a really good thing for you to spend some time with, do you want to jump on Skype call and I can show you a few things?” I was like, “Yeah, sure.” We did and it’s been hugely beneficial for us, so that’s kind of the quick backstory, so people know how we got connected.

I’m curious to hear your story Barry, can you tell us a little bit about what you do? You call yourself an active marketer and your site is TheActiveMarketer.com. What is an active marketer?

Barry Moore: Well, in the context of my business, active marketing is all about having automated processes in place, so that the right message goes out to the right customer at the right time automatically. Your marketing is working behind the scenes actively all the time to get the right message in front of the right customers. It’s also a little bit of play on words since my favorite tool, my weapon of choice is ActiveCampaign for email marketing, so a little bit of play on words for that as well.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure. It’s kind of the stuff where I feel like when we think about the Internet and then online business, it’s like the ninja level stuff. It’s literally while you sleep, stuff is happening behind the scenes and I think that’s so cool and I’m so excited to bring this to the table and have the conversation with podcast listeners today because it’s such an important concept, especially when it comes to email. We’re going to be talking about it on a high level, but we’re also going to dig in and maybe talk about a few things with this specific email service that you talk about your weapon of choice ActiveCampaign. We’re going to be talking about some of the things coming down the line with Food Blogger Pro as well in that regard. Let’s start on a very very high level here, so I’m guessing that most people that are listening to this podcast have a general understanding that they should be doing email and it probably comes down to two different things that they’re doing.

Maybe they’re doing what we’d call RSS to email and if you could explain what that is a little bit, maybe occasionally people would be doing something called like a broadcast email, where they send an email out to their entire list, but there’s actually lots of different types of email, so can you break down what each one of those types is and how they work?

Barry Moore: Yeah, for sure, so first off if you’re not gathering email addresses on your website, you’re wrong. I like to tie it back to real-world metaphors, it would be the real world equivalent of going to a networking event, where there’s like a 100 people in the room and you don’t exchange business cards with anyone.

Bjork Ostrom: For sure.

Barry Moore: You wouldn’t think of doing that, like right? You want to get people’s contact details so they can follow you up. If they’re willing to give them to you, it’s because they want to hear from you again. It’s like getting a phone number from a pretty girl and never calling her back because you’re afraid to annoy her, but she gave it to you, right? First of all, you need to be doing that. Second, the second thing that everyone does wrong is they gather those email addresses and then they do nothing with them. They sit in a database somewhere in MailChimp or AWeber or wherever, there are tools everyone starts on. Then they’re too afraid to mail their list because they don’t want to get unsubscribe since like well in a de facto way, you’ve unsubscribed everybody because you’re not sending them anything.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, right, they’re essentially unsubscribed if you never send them anything because they’re never going to get anything.

Barry Moore: The question then becomes what do we send them? Traditionally, as you said where everybody normally starts is they do broadcast emails very frequently, often irregularly that send one month and then forget the next month and then we’ll do it again. They’ll get some discipline, they’ll send a couple. Then, they’ll forget, so it’s not at a regular interval. If not going your way …

Bjork Ostrom: When you say frequently, you mean like most of the time people are infrequently sending broadcasting emails.

Barry Moore: It’s very poor way for me to word that sentence, but …

Bjork Ostrom: No that makes sense though, yeah.

Barry Moore: They often just forget or don’t do it on a regular basis. The real-world equivalent of that would be your favorite TV show was on twice this week and then maybe once next month and then once three months, you wouldn’t watch it because it’s not happening and it’s not happening at a regular interval. You need to engage people at regular intervals, so they know what to expect and they’re looking forward to it ideally. Broadcast emails that’s basically where you login and you create an email or a newsletter, whatever you hit send and it goes out whenever you schedule it to go out. The same message goes out to everyone. That’s better than doing nothing, but only just barely because what you’re doing is you’re you broadcasting the same message to everyone, where everyone is not necessarily interested in that same message. Everyone has different preferences and we’ll get to that in a second.

Then RSS to email is basically a way of doing that broadcast automatically, so it’s better because it’s going out at a regular interval and you’re constantly and consistently engaging with your email list. I know you guys have a couple of RSS options and basically what an RSS to email is if you post something on your blog, there’s an RSS feed. It stands for Real Simple Syndication, so this is the feed of the content that’s going out on in your blog and that can be automatically turned into an email and sent out to people, so you’re getting your content in front of, in your case, you’re getting your recipes and things in front of people without making them come back to your blog every time to do it. Now, ideally you’d want them to and you’d encourage them to come back because then that’s where your other offers are, but at least they’re hearing from you on a regular basis and they’re getting to know you. You’re building a bond with those people.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah and so for Pinch of Yum, kind of to explain the story of our process and figuring out email, for a long time, we just had RSS to emails that went out. We used to FeedBurner, which is Google’s product that they shut down and don’t really offer any more, but whenever a post would go out, people would get a notification. It would have information about that post. They could read that post and that was kind of the strategy that we took with email. Eventually we said, “We got to do a little bit better job with this,” so we switched over to a different platform. We switched over to MailChimp and so we’d have that same RSS to email that would go out, but then occasionally we would also do broadcast emails. We’d go out and we’d say, maybe we had a product that we wanted to let people know about or an event that was coming up, we’d go in and we type out this email and we’d press send and it would go out to everybody that was on the email list. It literally would broadcast it out to everyone. That’s kind of how we started.

The one that I’m really excited to talk about is autoresponder emails. Those probably have different segments, which is kind of a little teaser and what we’ll talk about, but there is one more that I think is important for people to know about, but not necessarily one that we’re going to just spend a lot of time with and that’s this idea of transactional emails. Can you explain what transactional email is and why it’s important for bloggers at least to be aware of those, not necessarily that they need to really implement certain strategies around them.

Barry Moore: Well, I’m assuming that by transactional email, you’re meaning that there’s some sort of specific call to action that you’re try to get someone to do, whether it’s to buy something or sign up for your webinar or join your program or whatever is that we’re talking about.

Bjork Ostrom: Specifically and we learn about this because we came to understand this because of the Food Blogger Pro Forums. What would happen is we would have emails that would go out whenever somebody would post to the forum, so you could like subscribe to the forum.

It was like a notification email that would t go out when somebody posted. I think another example of a transactional email would be like a password reset for instance, like if you had a site where that would go out. One thing that we discovered that was interesting with that is with transactional emails, there’s these services that you can use like one of them is called Mandrill, another one is called SendGrid. I know this isn’t your sweet spot because it’s the opposite of Active Marketer, but one of the things that we learned was in order for transactional emails, whether it be forum notifications or like member information login stuff, in order for those to be delivered really well, you should use like a transactional email service, like again SendGrid or Mandrill as ways to ensure deliverability for those. That was something that I never knew and I just discovered within the past few months, but what I’m really excited to talk about is this last category and that’s where really like the Active Marketer piece comes in. That’s this idea of an autoresponder, so can you talk about what an autoresponder is and then we can really kind of dig into the different ways that we can get into autoresponders and once we have a basic understanding how we can get really deep into it.

What’s an autoresponder email?

Barry Moore: Yeah, just before I get into that though I might even say that there’s a level above that even above the transactional email. These transactional emails that you’re talking about are kind of event triggered, so it triggers an email. Above that the next tier of ninjaness is behavioral triggered email, so when someone takes a certain behavior that we want them to take that can be a trigger to fire off particular email. For example, let’s say you have a landing page on your website for, I know you guys just did a workshop, so let’s talk about that. Let’s say you’ve got a sales page for your workshop that tells everybody about the workshop and why they want to come and how amazing it is and click this button to sign up and reserve your spot. Let’s say somebody has looked at that web page three times, but they haven’t taken the action that we want them to take. They’ve gone back to the sales page three times, but they haven’t bought yet.

They’re exhibiting a behavior that would say to me that they’re interested in that workshop but that there’s something that’s holding them back from converting. It might be a time conflict, it might be a price thing, whatever it is. I might want a behaviorally triggered email in there that says, if Barry goes to the sales page three times, well first of all send me an email to let me know that hey Barry is interested, but there’s something that’s not quite getting him over the line here. Then, send him an email that says, “Hey, if you book before the end of the week and it just so happens we have the special going on if you book before the end of the week, we’ll throw in this extra thing for free, we’ll throw in this extra lens filter or wherever it’s going to be,” some sweetener to get them across the line.

They receive that email when they’ve taken a certain behavior. They think it’s gone out to everybody, “Oh, this is special running, wow, what a coincidence, I’ve come back for the third time and there happens to be special running,” but it isn’t. It’s just going out to that one person at the one time where they’ve exhibited the behavior that we want to reward.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah that’s so fascinating and it could even be an email that like let’s say for the workshop example, maybe that person has these reservations, they’re not proactively asking questions about them, but it could be maybe a simple email that goes out and says, “Yeah, super excited about this upcoming workshop, just curious to know, do you have any questions about it or anything that’s holding you back from following up and booking, we’d love to see you,” to may be open up that conversation.

Barry Moore: Replying them.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, sure.

Barry Moore: Let me know.

Bjork Ostrom: Actually while you’re saying that I pulled up my little task tracker and I added that in for different pages because I think that’s such a great idea. Can you explain a little bit and this is getting into maybe we can just run in this rabbit trail a little bit because I think it’s interesting, can you explain how that works because I think people understand the concept of like, “Okay, if somebody comes back three times, then they’re sent an email, but like what’s happening behind the scenes in order for that to happen?” Obviously that person needs to have signed up for that list ahead of time, right?

Barry Moore: Correct, so they need to be on your list. The more sophisticated email marketing tools, like ActiveCampaign for example, they will track once someone’s signed up to your list, there’s a tracking code on your website very similar to like to Google Analytics tracking code, but instead of a reporting pages visits back to Google that reports page visits back to ActiveCampaign. Once you sign up to the list, as a site visitor, you get cookie’d and then it actually ties, the specific page visits back to your specific contact profile. Barry has come to Pinch of Yum or Food Blogger Pro, I’ve signed up for your lead magnet, so that’s why lead magnet, they become so important is because when someone’s on the list, now we can track everything about them in very almost creepy way.

Going on behind the scenes is once someone’s logged in, it takes that email address, number one, and it runs out to all the social media profiles and it goes right, “Is there somebody in Facebook with this e-mail address, is there someone on LinkedIn, is there someone on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and all the rest of them.” It will pull back that social media profile, so I can see inside ActiveCampaign on your contact record, I can see all your social media profiles. Then, I can also see like every other traditional email system, it’ll show you how many emails we’ve sent, what email, what specific emails have gone out to you if you have opened them, what links within the email you may have clicked on. Then, the extra secret ninja sauce on top of that is it will track every single page visit now as well. It will say, “Bjork has looked at this page and this page and this page and this page.” Not only that it will track how many times you’ve looked at all those specific pages.

You can set up triggers in the system that will fire off an email based on whatever specifics you’ve put into the system. If I say, “Workshop sales page is the trigger, if they visit that more than three times, then I want you to do this, bang.” It’s just sitting there waiting kind of like choose your own adventure or kind of like, this would probably be a bad metaphor, but like a landmine, so when someone steps on that …

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, depends on the analogy.

Barry Moore: Someone steps up on that landmine or someone clicks that trigger, boom, an email goes out or a series of emails go out to that person and based on their behavior.

Bjork Ostrom: One of the things that I think is really powerful with this is the idea that and you say this on your site as you get the right message to the right customer at the right time. That was one of the things that was most exciting to us about setting up a system like this is and I think there’s a responsibility that we hold in being people that market to people, in that we do have this ability to collect this information, what does that look like, how do we handle it, what we decide to do with it? For us, one of the things that we are excited about was to start to refine the messages that we sent to people. For example, one of the emails that we sent out this week was an email about food photography, but previously what would have happened is we would have sent that out to everyone. The weird thing is like we have a food blog, so if we have 60,000 to 70,000 people that are signed up to receive emails about recipes and then we send an email about food photography, then it’s like, “Ah, it’s kind of dissonant, like I don’t want to hear about that.”

Using some of these strategies, we’re able to separate people out a little bit and as a concrete example, one of the things that we do is we say, if somebody that is signed up on the Pinch of Yum list goes to one of the posts on Pinch of Yum, specifically about food photography, then we want to add a tag that they have visited a food photography related post. It’s 100% accurate, some people might read a post and they’re not actually interested in food photography, but it allows us to on a much much higher level communicate to the right group of people without inundating people that aren’t interested in a certain subject with content that they’re not interested in. I think that’s such a valuable thing.

Barry Moore: Yeah and if you tie it back to what we’re talking about before, we were talking about the level one of ninjaness is to send out broadcast emails to do that on a regular basis. The problem with broadcast emails is you’re sending the same message to everyone, so if you think of that networking event metaphor, if you just got up on a chair and started shouting at everybody that “Hey, my name is your blog and they should pay attention I feel like that message would resonate Bjork and I run food blog, hey you should pay attention to my …” Like that message would resonate with maybe let’s say 10 people in the room, but the other 100 people in the room will be like, “Would you shut up?” That’s what the broadcast is essentially, it’s like you have to pick some message that you think is going to appeal to everyone, so that means it’s got to be kind of so general and watered down and doesn’t really appeal to anybody. Then that’s why you get people unsubscribed, like so good open rate is like 10% – 20% open rate, maybe like a 3% click through because the message isn’t specific and it’s not relevant to me as a person.

If you walked into that same networking event and let’s say there was a magic spotlight in the ceiling and shown down on the 10 people in the room that were most interested in what you had to say, you’d be like woah.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome, makes it little bit easy.

Barry Moore: That’s what this behavioral segmenting does and then now you’re sending messages that are more relevant to me, you’re doing me a favor, you’re sending me stuff that’s more relevant to me rather than the watered down broadcast nonsense. Now, I’m going to be more responsive to your business and your brand because you’re solving the problems that I have and you’re giving me the information that I want.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome.

Barry Moore: That’s the power of the right message to the right person at the right time, you’re actually doing them a big favor.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, so cool. I want to back up a little bit and review some of this stuff just to make sure that people are tracking with it because I think it’s always important, we do kind of a long string and then to do a quick recap. We have RSS to email and what’s your recommendation be for the average person listening to this that they should have something like that set up usually?

Barry Moore: I certainly would make it an option that your, like if the customer wants that, if they’re at home and they want recipes every day, damn, give them recipes every day. Give them what they want, if that’s what they want, then sure, but give them the ability to say, “No, not so much interested in that.” Like I said before, you want to choose your own adventure.

Bjork Ostrom: Give people the options, I think that’s a such an important thing.

Barry Moore: If you want to open the door, go to page 24.

Bjork Ostrom: These books are so awesome, weren’t they?

Barry Moore: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Okay, so we RSS to email that should probably be an option, it’s an easy way to start if the whole email thing is little bit intimidating.

Barry Moore: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Next level is like okay I feel like they have the RSS to email stuff figured out, maybe try sending out a broadcast email, maybe it’s an update about an event. Maybe it’s saying, “Hey, check this out, I thought this was really cool.” Some people I know will do like things that were cool that I saw this week and they don’t do it as a post. They do it as like a broadcast email, so all those would be options. We talked about this idea of transactional emails, which most people don’t need to be aware of unless you’re starting to get into sending out a lot of automated emails a day. If you do, you’d use things like SendGrid or Mandrill, but then you kind of spun that off little bit and say, there’s these behavioral type emails and I think this is where it starts to get into that really interesting conversation, where you can start to track and segment people based on their behaviors. That comes from literally just installing a script on your website, much like Google Analytics works, where it tracks people. The difference is in this case, it ties back to a profile, so you can start to build and understand people a little bit better.

One of the things that I think is really interesting is that this is a lot of the same way that you see Facebook working. Of the reasons why Facebook marketing is so powerful is because they have this ability to track within Facebook your behavior and this isn’t related to email, but I think it’s interesting. They have the ability to track within Facebook your behavior, but then a lot of websites will have a Facebook pixel on them, so it tracks after you leave Facebook, like if you click on something and go somewhere else, it tracks how you interact with that website, which is kind of that goes back to that thing of like, “Whoa man that’s crazy how much information they have about our behaviors,” but that’s why they’re able to market so well, which I think is just so fascinating.

Barry Moore: Yeah, those custom Facebook audience pixels can be super powerful as well. If you want to go back to the example of about your workshop landing page, if I’m not anonymous, if you already know who I am, if I’m already on your list and I visit your page and then I go away, you’ll know that from inside ActiveCampaign because of the site tracking stuff. If I am not into your list yet and I’m still anonymous, so you can’t tie it back to me specifically but I have visited your page. Then, what you can do is, Facebook pixels is once that person ends up back at Facebook, Facebook keeps basically an invisible list of people that have been pixel’d when they’re on your site. When they go back to Facebook, you can show them an ad, driving them back to your workshop again because they’ve seen it already and now they’re in Facebook and they’re seeing, “Hey, oh look now there’s another ad for photography workshop, awesome.”

Bjork Ostrom: It’s all of that stuff that I talked about at the beginning, which is like the stuff that we think about when we think about an online business, it’s like all those automated things that are happening behind the scenes, this is like a super quick aside, but I wanted to point out because I thought about it a few times and this a good time to explain it. For those of you that are listening, one of the things you can do, even if you’re not using Facebook to advertise right now is just to do a quick YouTube search or to find a way to put that pixel on your website because again even if you’re not using Facebook right now to advertise in any way that can start collecting data behind the scenes, which I think is an important thing to have, kind of like Google Analytics. It’s like even if you don’t use it, it doesn’t hurt to have it and to have it kind of in the background collecting information.

Barry Moore: All you need to do is drop Facebook Custom Audience pixel on your site and it will keep an invisible list of Facebook people, people with a Facebook profile, been on Facebook that have visited your website. The sooner you put it on, it’s like a bank account, sooner you put it on, the quicker it’s going to grow. You come back three months later and there’s thousands of people on that list. Now, if you decide you want to Facebook ads, you’ve already got a list of thousands of people who visited your website already that you can retarget ads too.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah which is crazy. Okay, I love this stuff, it’s so interesting. We talked about kind of this behavioral stuff, sending emails based on let’s say page visits and I think your example about the workshop one is a great example and probably one that we’ll implement because it’s like, “Why not, it doesn’t hurt.” If somebody hasn’t decided that they’re going to purchase and go to a workshop but they’ve gone back three, four, five times, you know they’re may be on the fence. Send an email and say, “Hey, do you have any questions about it?” We can have a quick conversation, we can clarify anything you have questions about.” I think that’s awesome. I want to go back to this last email category about autoresponders. My guess is some people might have some basic autoresponder stuff set up, but maybe a lot of people that are listening to this don’t. Can you talk about on a high level what an autoresponder is?

Barry Moore: Sure, so there’s kind of two broad categories. There’s your passive autoresponder, then there is an active autoresponder, which is I think kind of where I come in. Passive autoresponder basically is just you prewriting a bunch of emails as opposed to like the broadcast, where you might come in on Monday and you write your Monday and my wife sends out on Monday mojo emailed to her list. You might come in, send out Monday mojo every Monday and you write that every Monday. What an autoresponder does is you can pre write a bunch of emails and you can queue them up to go out at a specific sequence of time. You say, “When someone signs up for my lead magnet and my opt-in offer, we’re going to send him this email straight away and then we’re going to wait one day and we’re going to send them this one, then we’re going to wait three days, we’re going to send them that one. Then, we’re going to wait two more days, we’re going to send them this, etc., etc.” It’s queued up, ready to go because they’ve expressed a certain behavioral preference, which is they wanted your lead magnet, which is the Top 10 Foods that are Making You Fat?

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Barry Moore: Okay cool, so downloaded that. Now, we’re going to send them 10 emails, one email a day for the next 10 days that tell them about, highlighting each one of those foods that they should avoid or whatever. It’s already queued up, ready to go and it’s just waiting for someone to exhibit the behavior that would fire off that autoresponder, in this case downloading a PDF.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it, yup. The example …

Barry Moore: That’s the passive one. It’s just going to go for as long as it goes.

Bjork Ostrom: Again, a concrete example so for Pinch of Yum, one of the really plain vanilla autoresponders we have is after people purchased Tasty Food Photography, which is Lindsay’s ebook on food photography, I’m just throwing this out there, there’s maybe seven or eight emails that go out. One goes out right after and says, “Hey, thanks so much for purchasing the book, really appreciate it,” lets people know that there’s going to be four more emails after this with just some tips and some information on food photography. Then after that I’ll occasionally send out an email once a month. I think that’s what it is, it’s once a month or once a week and then we don’t actually go in and send those. It’s not a broadcast email. It’s just like whenever the time hits based on when the person bought the book, it like shoot an email out and we don’t touch any of that. It’s auto-response to the person based on that initial sign up. That’s kind of a plain vanilla version.

You said “That’s where I come in,” when you were talking about segmenting and kind of the ninja level of autoresponders, so what does that look like?

Barry Moore: The cool thing about those kind of what I call passive autoresponders is they’re warming up a new lead. If someone has never heard of Pinch of Yum before, we want to warm them up, tell them the Pinch of Yum story, give them what they ask for, try and bond them to the brand a little bit and give them some valuable content. Now, they are aware of us, they know about us etc. The downside of those is they’re just set to go for as long as they go. I know people who have year-long autoresponder sequences and send an email once a week for a year. People use those autoresponders for a lot of different things. Let’s tie that back to your workshop again, so let’s say you have a launch sequence or a presale sequence that’s going to go out every three days for the three weeks leading up to your workshop. It tells people about the workshop, what they’re going to learn on the workshop, the benefits that past students have got on it, some social proof etc. All these emails are going out, going out and going out every three days, leading up to the workshop and try and get people to sign up.

Now, where most people go wrong with those kinds of autoresponders is, say, halfway through your autoresponder sequence I sign up. That autoresponder is going to keep going, then keep selling me something that I already bought, which is really super common mistake. “Now, I did have this nice relationship with your brand, now you’re just annoying the hell out of me because you’re trying to sell me something I’ve already bought.” You want them to me a little bit active and track behavior. For example, so as soon as someone signs up for the workshop and they purchase and that purchase gets complete, I want the system to then stop that upsell sequence and I want to move you onto on an onboarding sequence that tells you all about the workshop, where are the cool places to stay in town, “Here are some of the restaurants you’re going to want to visit while you’re here,” getting them excited, getting them excited for the workshop, tell them what kind of camera gear they’re going to need to bring, all that kind of stuff. I want to actively stop one and start another one based on the user’s behavior.

Bjork Ostrom: Actively and the other thing that’s cool about it is automatically, so can you talk about what that might look like in the scenario of let’s say somebody purchasing a workshop, what happens behind the scenes and you talked about your weapon of choice being ActiveCampaigns, we can talk about it in that context, but what happens with ActiveCampaign in order for that to happen? How does ActiveCampaign know that somebody has bought something?

Barry Moore: All these marketing automation platforms, like ActiveCampaign and other ones, people are probably familiar with like Infusionsoft and Ontraport, those kinds of ones. They all work basically off events and triggers. The trigger would be someone paying for your workshop, so once the checkout is complete, the checkout system or the shopping cart system would send an event to ActiveCampaign that says, “Barry has just paid for the workshop, boom.” Then that event can be a trigger that fires in automation, so there’s basically just an automation waiting there, listening for this event to happen. Boom, events happened, well what do we do now, Barry has just bought, what do we do with Barry now? What we do is we stop the previous upsell sequence, so that he doesn’t get any more upsell emails and then we start this other sequences, other autoresponder sequence over here or onboarding sequence, we start the onboarding sequence based on that event or based on that trigger.

There’s too many variables to say this is how it works every single time, but a common instance would be, like so I don’t know how you guys booked your event, but a lot of people use Eventbrite.

Bjork Ostrom: Use Eventbrite.

Barry Moore: Yup, Eventbrite, right, so Eventbrite can send out notifications to another system called Zapier, which is kind of like a switchboard. Zapier just listens to a bunch of a bunch of your applications, it says, “Right, if this thing happens in Zapier, I need to tell ActiveCampaign.” It just sits there and listens like this old-school telephone operators with little cables and stuff. It’s just plugging one piece of information from one system to another system, so a new purchase in Eventbrite triggers some information to Zapier and Zapier goes, ‘Right, what am I supposed to do with this new Eventbrite purchase, oh, I’m supposed to push that into ActiveCampaign.” The fact that ActiveCampaign is listening for a new Eventbrite purchase and it goes, “There’s been a new purchase on Eventbrite for Barry, okay Barry, what we do with him, we stop automation A and we start automation B.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, I think this stuff is, I’ve said this a few times now, but it’s so amazing once you get it all setup and implemented because it can be so helpful to have these things running under scenes because you’re saving people like you said from potentially damaging or at the very least annoying emails because you’re putting them in the right segment. You’re segmenting your list and one of the examples that I think will help people visualize this is, I’ll do kind of a high level one and then a more specific one, well no, I’ll just do one. It’s from a recent push that we did for Food Blogger Pro. When we did our public enrollment for Food Blogger Pro, we had this huge push to have people sign up for Food Blogger Pro. We emailed people on the Pinch of Yum list, we emailed the Food Blogger Pro list. We said, “Hey, just so you know, things are closing down.” We had Zapier zap, is that what they’re called a Zapier zap, which is like the action that says, “I want you Zapier to listen to number one PayPal and number two Stripe, which is the company that we use for credit cards and whenever you see something happen on there that email address is sent through Zapier to ActiveCampaign, so that person it shows up as a Food Blogger Pro member.”

Let’s say if we sent out four emails and said, “Last time to sign up for Food Blogger Pro, 24 hours left,” somebody that’s already signed up wouldn’t get that email because PayPal had communicated to Zapier to add that tag to the person to show that they were customer. That at its core would be what segmenting is, is that right?

Barry Moore: Absolutely and we haven’t really talked too much about segmenting, but segmenting is, we’ve been banging on about sending the right message to the right person at the right time. The question then becomes is well what’s the right message for which person? Perfect example for you guys is I love Pinch of Yum, it’s beautiful blog.

Bjork Ostrom: Oh thanks.

Barry Moore: Great recipes and stuff. I’m a vegetarian, so if your latest recipe is for some great smoked pork, I’m not so interested. That’s not the right message for me. How you’re going to know if I’m a vegetarian or gluten-free or whatever the segment of your audience is going to be. ActiveCampaign can do that in a number of ways, but primarily it does that by adding tags to people’s profiles, so just as the name implies, it’s like a little tag you might put on a Christmas present, “This is from Bjork.” That’s how we know that present is for that person. In the food example, you could have a number of different tags based on your categories of content, so you could have like gluten-free, you could have vegetarian, you could have low fat, you could have barbecue, you could have dinners, you could have desserts, whatever, so that over time I’m accumulating these tags. You know that Barry is interested in vegetarian stuff, you know that he’s interested in salads, you know that he’s interested in desserts, whatever. Now, you’re segmenting me based on my behavior or based on my preferences and then now when you go to send emails, you can send them to a certain segment of your list.

Instead of the broadcast we talked about earlier because they’re 100% of the list, you can say, “I want to send this broadcast email which is our best vegetarian dishes, I want to send that email to everybody on my list, who has the tag topic equals or preference equals vegetarian. You’re sending the message to a subset of the list of people who’ve expressed an interest in that particular thing. If you set it up right, everyone’s getting little tags based on a number of different criteria and that helps you segment people into little buckets and now you can give them a more relevant message to whatever bucket they happened to be living in. Does that make sense?

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah and one of the things that we do right off the bat with Pinch of Yum when people sign up for it is we segment people into, are you interested in food blogging, do you have a blog or do you just want recipes? Well, there’s probably more than this, there’s two different ways that we use for segmenting, one is like we talked about before based on the website behavior. If somebody goes to a food photography page on Pinch of Yum, we say, “Add this tag to them,” so we know that they’re interested in food photography, but the other way that we segment people is we do it by having them literally click on a link. What happens in that scenario is an email goes out and the email is from Lindsey and it says, “Hey, one of the things that’s kind of crazy and kind of cool is that I do this blogging thing and it’s full time.” Sometimes, we talk about blogging. We have blogging related email that we send, but we know not everybody is interested in blogging, so we’re just curious, which one of these statements applies to you?

It’s like, “I’m interested in blogging and I have a blog,” “I’m interested in blogging and I don’t have a blog,” and then “Just send me the recipes.” What happens then is if somebody clicks on the link that says, “I’m interested in blogging and I don’t have a blog,” that triggers one of those things that we were talking about before, an autoresponder series that we’ve built out. The next email that goes out is, “Hey, you don’t have a blog, but you’re interested in blogging, here are some places that you can start.” We redirect those people to these different areas on Food Blogger Pro as well as Pinch of Yum. It’s so cool, like it just all happens in the background, literally while we sleep, all of this stuff is going on and we’re able to be really helpful to people while at the same time not bugging people with other content.

I’ll say there’s one exception to that is we have the RSS emails and occasionally we’ll do a blogging related post on Pinch of Yum and because you can’t, if somebody subscribe to the RSS feed, we can’t say like, “Don’t send an RSS feed to this person.” Occasionally people will get blogging related emails, but not the like autoresponder emails. I think that’s just such a powerful thing that we never would have been able to do with our previous setup. It was just so restrictive and in cool. All of that to say thanks for helping us get that setup.

Barry Moore: What it sounds like is you’re sending the right message to the right person at the right time.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, which is you tag line, which is perfect. Here’s one question that I want to ask you and we can kind of talk about this a little bit, I think probably there’s people that hear this, they’re excited about it, they’re may be a little bit confused and it’s high level stuff, but it’s also ground level stuff that you have to implement. Let’s take a step back and say, if somebody is just starting their blog, let’s say they’re in year one or year two, they’re maybe not super technical, they’re just starting to get to understand stuff, what are the first few steps that people should take in order to set themselves up for success?

Barry Moore: I would say the very first you need to start with is getting people on to your list. I know that sounds kind of obvious.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s great, no it’s important.

Barry Moore: So many people just don’t do it and then how would you do that? Well, we talked about lead magnets a little bit, but you want an opt-in offer, what’s commonly known as a lead magnet, which is just some piece of value that you can exchange for someone’s name and email address and ideally relevant to a journey you want to take that customer on. I kind of talk about a lot of the time train tracks, if your signature series let’s say got a $5,000 product or whatever it is that’s Grand Central Station. That’s on one end of the train line. You need to get people down the tracks to Grand Central Station, but a lot of people are starting off from not knowing you at all. It’s a big call to go from not knowing you at all to giving me $5000, so there need to be a number of stops on the train track. One end of the train track is Grand Central Station and the other is way out in the boonies somewhere, so that’s cold traffic, people never heard about you before. Let’s give them something that is of value and solves the problems, solves the very first step of their journey to Grand Central Station. We’re not trying to get them from the Sticks to Grand Central, just trying to get them from the Sticks to the next stop on the train line.

I have like a 5S framework that I talk about when I talk about lead magnets. It needs to be simple and that means that they can consume it very quickly. I made the mistake myself, with the first lead magnet that I did years and years and years ago, wanting to put so much value in it, to just give the customer so more, give this leads so much value. It was like a 1700 word ebook, nobody read it. It was just too big, it’s too big to consume. It needs to be something that’s simple to consume and they can consume it in 10 minutes. For you guys, it might be like the top 10 things you need to be a good food photographer and you might talk about cameras and filters. It’s a little 10 item checklist I can consume in five minutes.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, we actually have, it’s like exactly that for Food Blogger Pro, specifically we have one that’s called 10 Mistakes that Bloggers Make and How to Fix Them. Only because we’re talking about it, if you’re interested in it, it’s foodbloggerpro.com/ebook and then that actually enters you into the Food Blogger Pro autoresponder series and segments. That’s exactly what you’re talking about. You see that on the blog, the Food Blogger Pro Blog, we occasionally mentioned it on the podcast. We don’t as much anymore, but that’s an example of what our lead magnet is.

Barry Moore: Yeah and it’s a great one because it’s simple, it’s easy to see, it’s specific, it’s targeted. It’s not targeting everyone. It’s targeting those people who are interested in food photography. It’s specific to where you want to get them to. You want to get them to your workshop for example. Well that’s the first step. The first step is they know how to take a basic picture. It’s specific, the third S is solve, it solves some problem. It solves the very first problem someone’s going to have on that journey to Grand Central Station. If I want to be a cool food photographer, the very first problem I have is what kind of kit do I need. It solves that problem for me. Fourth S is that it sorts, it sorts your best customers or your ideal customers from all the other people, who may be just kind of hanging around your blog.

Your customers are people who want to become food bloggers and want to take pictures of food, so you’re sorting those out from the people that are just there to get the recipes. Not that they’re bad, but we’re sorting them out from the rest of the herd so to speak. Then, the last, fifth S is the sequence, so you want to follow up. It’s like you said, an autoresponder sequence, you want a follow-up sequence behind that. If you’re talking about the 10 pieces of kit, they need to take great food pictures. Then you’ll have a follow-up sequence that talks more in-depth about those things and has sprinkled in there, you want to add value sprinkled in there. You want to have calls to action to take them to the next station on the train line. Does that make sense?

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure and if you’re listening, whoever you are, wherever you are and you don’t have any type of lead magnet or opt-in incentive, I think it would be great to think about what are the things that people email you questions about a lot or maybe what are the comments that people leave when they have questions about? Maybe it’s in the food space, maybe it’s not, but that would be a good place to start is try to answer that question. Then, if you want to take the lead magnet concept a little bit further and we haven’t done a good job with this, but I feel like we should mention it for people that want to do a good job with it is doing specific opt-ins or lead magnets for a certain posts. One of the things that has been on my list for a long time that I haven’t done, not because I don’t have time but just because I haven’t done it, no excuses is making specific opt-ins for the highest visited pages on Pinch of Yum, so like a chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Right now, we have an opt-in where it’s like Get the Top 25 Recipes from Pinch of Yum. That doesn’t really solve the problem for somebody that wants to make really good chocolate chip cookies, so if we brainstorm specifically around something for that specific post, we’d have a lot more people signing up for the list when they visit that post, but we haven’t done it. We need to get around, do it. That’s the first step. You’re saying, “If you don’t have that, implement that and take some action around some way to encourage people to sign up and join your list.” Then, what is the next step after you have that? You’re like, “Okay, I have this basic opt-in or lead magnet, what do people do next?”

Barry Moore: Then, the next step would be figure out how, when and why you’re going to communicate to those people. You’re gathering, like I said the common thing everybody does is they gather all these names and email addresses and they don’t do anything with them. “I just told you that I’m interested in your stuff, I just downloaded your thing, I gave you my coveted email address, I let you into my inbox,” which is precious, so take advantage of it, not take advantage, but “I’m asking you for content, so give it to me.” You want to start some relationship building. If they’re a cold traffic, start warming them up. Typically, it’s called an indoctrination sequence, so start telling me about you, telling me about your business, telling me about your brand and just like you would with a normal person you met again at the networking event. You would start talking about you and your business and them and their business, what are they after? What are your common problems when it comes to food photography?

Like you just said, “Are you trying to start a blog or you just want to learn how to be a better photographer?” Start asking questions just like you would in a normal human conversation. It’s not rocket science.

Bjork Ostrom: This is real quick.

Barry Moore: This is who I am.

Bjork Ostrom: It is so important with any of this stuff is to remember like it’s all human stuff, like if you’re trying to build a blog or a business, think about what it’s like to talk to somebody and how can you be a good conversationalist and how can you make other people feel good? Not as like a way to manipulate or like twist somebody’s arm, but like that’s just generally good practice. It’s what’s at the core of human behavior and work within that to or at least start with that as you’re thinking about, “How can I build an email list?” Well, it’s like how can you help people? That’s a great way to start.

Barry Moore: How would you talk to a roomful of people if you’re in a roomful of people? The good thing about this stuff is … I guess the bad thing is that it can be very intimidating, thanks to the analogies you’re sitting in a cockpit of an airplane and there’s a million little switches and it’s something like, “Ah I’m afraid to touch any of this stuff.”

Bjork Ostrom: Which wouldn’t be because you have your pilot license, you’re a pilot, right?

Barry Moore: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: As a quick aside.

Barry Moore: The good thing is you could just start simple and build on that. My advice is just to start simple and build on that. If you don’t know what to put into that sequence that follow up your lead magnet, so someone’s just downloaded your PDF on food photography and you don’t want to take three months to write out an autoresponder sequence, start simple. It can be just as simple as “Hey, Barry, noticed you just downloaded the 10 Tips for Better Food Photography, let us know if you have any questions and I really would be interested in what’s your biggest challenge when it comes to photography, to see a reply and let me know.” Simple as that.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s a huge tip. One of the things that’s great about that is it gives people the first step that they can take if they don’t know what to write about and then the second step is writing about the things that people reply to or reply with like food photography, “I’m really struggling with artificial light.” Somebody else says, “I just can’t figure out how to shoot when there’s no natural light.” It’s like oh you start to notice a theme and then you can create content around that. It’s not fully automated. The content doesn’t create itself, but it’s automated and that question goes out and then you can build that next step in the autoresponder sequence. I think that’s great.

Barry Moore: Absolutely, there’s that. It’s automatically giving you content for your blog posts, number one. Number two, you’re starting an actual human interaction with a human being, so how often does that happen online? Not very, so people just normally assume that when they sign up for your list that it’s some faceless website and then it’s all going into the machine and they’re never going to hear from a real person and as soon as you reply to one of those, they’re like “Holy shit.”

Bjork Ostrom: This is a real person.

Barry Moore: Bjork replied or Barry replied or whatever and now that you’re putting your deposit in the karma bank, the goodwill bank with that person. Then, thirdly, the below the surface ninja trick is that Google and outlook and all those other kind of email providers see a reply as an expression of interest from the recipient in an email. If you can get the recipient to reply, then the filters, the overlord email filters see that as a human interaction and your next email is much much much much much more likely to make it into the inbox as opposed to the promotions tab or the spam folder.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, which is such a good point because that was such a huge change that Gmail made specifically was this idea of like breaking things out into your like actual inbox versus promotions versus … I forget what all the different tabs are, but what I hear you saying is that by engaging and interacting with people that moves you out of this idea of like generic promotions tab and potentially increases your chances to getting into the actual inbox, which is like you said such an important place to be if you’re wanting to be intentional with how you use email.

Barry Moore: Yeah, to the filters that looks like a real conversation between two people and hey guess what, it actually is.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes, right for sure. That’s awesome, so after you get to this point, I’m guessing that the next steps and we don’t have to get into what this looks like is let’s say that somewhere down the line you have something, you talked about kind of getting to Grand Central Station, you have something that you say, “Hey, I have this product, I have this workshop, I have this new book that I wrote, I have this new sale for my jewelry, whatever it is that your business is and then you can intentionally and thoughtfully email those people. It’s not out of the blue. You have a connection with them. There’s maybe even a human element of interacting and replying with those people, so hopefully that email is well-received.

Barry Moore: Yeah as we said at the very beginning, you should be doing these emails, your broadcast or your RSS, whatever that is on a regular interval, so whether that’s every day, some people do it every day, some people do it every week, every month, whatever it is because you don’t want to be a stranger. When the time comes around for you to make an offer for your workshop, but now I’m asking you for some money, I’ve been giving you valuable content away for free, putting deposits in the karma bank for the last three months or whatever. Now, when it comes time to asking for some money for my workshop, I’m not a stranger. It’s not like you haven’t heard from me for three months and now I’m saying, “Hey, pony up some cash.” We’ve been having this ongoing relationship for three months or whatever and now I have this thing you may be interested in. I know you’re just interested in because I’ve been tracking your behavior.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah for sure and one of the basic concepts that I think is so important and there’s an analogy by social media guru, outspoken keynote speaker Gary Vaynerchuk, where he talks about jab, jab, jab, right hook and the idea that you are not just asking right away, right off the bat, but also if you’re going to build a business that you’re not just giving stuff away forever. There has to be a point where you say, “I have this thing and I would love for you to,” whatever it is purchased the book or attend the workshop or all those different examples that we could use. The balance between giving, being authentic, helping people and then occasionally coming and saying, “Hey, we have this thing, would you be interested in it, we’d love for you to,” all those examples, I don’t want to go through them again. I think that’s great. I think that’ll help people give kind of a high-level understanding of how they can kind of up their email game, which is what we’ve slowly, but surely started to do and all back to that first conversation that we had with you, which I so appreciate.

We could really dig in here and go in depth with all of these different areas and we could probably break it down into podcast just for segmenting and just for tags and all of that stuff, but we’re coming to the end. I want to know is there are any last thoughts that you have Barry or any last tips or tricks that you’d want to share with people as they’re thinking about ways that they can be more intentional with their email?

Barry Moore: The most important one is something we already kind of touched on is that remember this is a human conversation between two people. It may be a one to many conversation, but you’re still talking to an individual, so talk to them. You might be sending out 1000 emails, your case like 80,000 emails that person is not receiving 80,000 emails. They’re receiving one and that’s one email that’s a conversation between you and them. When all else fails, just treat them like a real person and talk to them like you would talk to them if you were just standing in the same room.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome and I want to say this quick. I’ll mention it in the intro to the podcast, but I’m really really excited because within Food Blogger Pro, we have a course that you’ve done and we are able to take that and you’ve been willing and kind enough to have that offered as a resource within Food Blogger Pro. It’s super intensive. It’s really deep dive into ActiveCampaign. I’m really excited because it’s the first course. This is a new one that you just revised. It is the first course that as a Food Blogger Pro member, I’ll be going through, which is really exciting.

Barry Moore: Awesome, awesome.

Bjork Ostrom: First time that’s happened. It’s also available as a course on Udemy if you want to check that out and really dive deep into ActiveCampaign and learn it, but Barry where can people find you and follow along with what you’re doing? I know that you also have a podcast too, so can you talk about where people can listen to that?

Barry Moore: Yeah, the website is just TheActiveMarketer.com as you said so, don’t forget the at the beginning, TheActiveMarketer. The podcast is just the Active Marketer Podcast, where we talk about sales funnels and marketing automation and all the groovy stuff you can do. I mean we’ve only just scratched the surface as you said here. If you want to learn more, then just go and pick your poison. I’m just finishing the editing on episode 54 and there’s tons of different topics there, so you can just pick whatever you’re interested in, dive in. You know what, you’re going to get tagged when you do it.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, right exactly. Barry, really appreciate your time and insight and your expertise on the podcast, but also as we’ve personally started to figure this stuff out a little bit more, really appreciate it.

Barry Moore: My pleasure brother and thanks for having me out.

Bjork Ostrom: Hey thanks Barry. Hey that’s a wrap for episode number 41. I hope that found some takeaways from this episode and if nothing else, I would say, “Let your next action step be finding out some way that you can offer some type of incentive for people that are coming to your site that you can offer to them.” We talk about as a lead magnet or an opt-in, but that would be great first step.

One more reminder if you’re a Food Blogger Pro member, keep an eye out for that course that would be the coming out on April 14th and be sure to check the deals page. That’s FoodBloggerPro.com/deals, where we have that exclusive offer on ActiveCampaign for Food Blogger Pro members. If you’re not a Food Blogger Pro member, you can check out that chorus from Barry on Udemy. If you want to someday be a member, you can go to FoodBloggerPro.com and sign up for the waiting list and we will send out an email. Funny enough, you’ll be tagged as interested in Food Blogger Pro, so we will be sending out an email when we open the doors in a few months here. Thanks for tuning in this week from St. Paul, Minnesota. This is Bjork signing off. Make it a great week guys, thanks.

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