Is Your Email Marketing Strategy Spray and Pray? Learn to Craft Emails That Get Opened

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Is Your Email Marketing Strategy Spray and Pray? Learn to Craft Emails That Get Opened with Keith Monaghan

Everyone has email these days, especially company email. Email has become the preferred method of business communication. No one uses a phone much anymore. This is why email continues to be a great form of prospecting with both new contacts and existing customers. To be successful, they have to open them!

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About Keith

Keith’s mission is to simplify marketing and help businesses of all sizes reach their customers with good, solid marketing that gets results.

His work as a Market Researcher helps creative teams with projects for Nike, The CW Network, Lucasfilm, Upworthy, Specialized Bicycles, Trek, and other companies you’ve probably heard of (and many you probably haven’t).

Previously, Keith created and managed email marketing campaigns to millions of subscribers for companies like NBC Television and Lucasfilm (yep, the Star Wars people). 

To his surprise, help with email marketing is still a common request from clients and friends. So he wrote ‘Easy Email Marketing: 10 Simple Steps For Creating And Sending Email Your Customers Will Love’.

Read Easy Email

Keith Monaghan Website

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Full Transcript Below

Is Your Email Marketing Strategy Spray and Pray? Learn to Craft Emails That Get Opened with Keith Monaghan

Sat, 5/29 9:05AM • 54:04


email, people, email marketing, image, marketing, customers, product, buy, business, stock photos, talk, template, work, book, Keith, put, step, simple, computer, subject line


Keith, Roy Barker

Roy Barker  00:03

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the business of business podcast. I’m Roy, your host. We are the podcast that brings a wide variety of guests that talks about a diverse group of topics related to businesses, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, small and large businesses alike. And today, we’ve got an awesome guest lined up. I’ve been waiting for the last couple of weeks to get to talk to Keith Monahan.

He’s the author of easy email marketing 10 simple steps for creating and sending email your customers will love. Also, he previously he created and managed email marketing campaigns to millions of subscribers for companies like NBC television lucasfilms Yep, those are the Star Wars people and many technology companies. To his surprise, help with email marketing is still a common request he gets from his clients and friends.

That’s why he wrote the this latest ebook. Also, he has previously to that he wrote an E book called 15, cost free marketing ideas how to engage customers and spread the word for free. So, Keith, thanks so much for taking time out of your day to be with us. We certainly do appreciate it.

Keith  01:24

I’m happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

Roy Barker  01:26

Yeah, you know, email marketing, I think that’s one place. It, it’s difficult. We want to write good, you know, concise emails, but I don’t know that we always structure them. And so that’s one reason why, you know, excited to have you on as a guest. And I think it’s also it’s become an overlooked art of how to grab people’s attention and get them to actually open those emails up.

Keith  01:49

I think you’re right. And, you know, that’s, that’s why I wrote the book again, that’s why I’m getting the word out on it. So maybe I’ll back up and start about why, why I think email is so valuable, why maybe you want to consider it before social media, which is also valuable. But you know, consider the fact that the research shows that approximately 58% of adults open email first thing in the morning before social media. Before were stuff before they open the news, they check email. That’s pretty profound.

You know, I can’t think of another medium that people are checking first thing in the morning, you know, other than maybe their alarm clock, right? Secondly, we all have it. Everyone has email, even my kids who are young and in college and hate email, they live with it day by day, because their instructors insists they do. They’re always in the inbox. And thirdly, it is really effective. Right? So so there’s the old adage in business, it’s easier to sell more to your existing customer than it is to get new customers, right?

Well, email marketing is really, really effective for that. You know, there are various papers out there showing the return on investment, what you get, for every dollar you spend in email marketing, it’s roughly between 30 and $40. back for every dollar you spend. And now that’s that’s probably the ideal case, you know, it’s not going to happen every time. But on average, over the course of a quarter or a year, you’re probably going to look at a pretty good return on that. And I’m here to show people that it can be done very easily 10 simple steps that are super easy to understand. Each step in my book is, is like talking to a friend who knows marketing, that’s me.

You can read the steps in the in the less time that it takes drink your favorite beverage, so you’ll be up and running, you’ll have better email than your competitors, your customers are gonna like it, it’s going to be valuable to them. Most of all, I’m going to show you how to do it for free without paying anything. And I think in a time like this, where businesses are really challenged to reach customers email, this ideal way to do that. Yeah,

Roy Barker  04:02

I think you’re right. You know, I think we well speak for myself, I’ve become kind of desensitized to the social media emails, because it’s typically some kind of a scam or funny, you know, cat video where, you know, it’s it’s more personal than professional but with emails, you know, I’m always more attentive to them. Let me put it that way. So, you know, speaking for myself, I’m much more much more apt to open an email from you then, if you sent me that same message through social media some way?

Keith  04:38

Yeah, you know, I think you bring up a really good point. And that’s that’s something else that research has shown since Gosh, since I got into this way back in the late 90s. When the internet was new and shiny. People people take their inbox personally, we take it very seriously. We take it personally. It’s a reflection of who we are. We’re very specific about what we let in who we let in Brent, and if someone lets you into their inbox, my feeling is that they’re willing to have a relationship with you and your company and what you do. Yeah. And that is that is so valuable.

Roy Barker  05:11

Yep. No, and I think that’s a good point that you make, because the next step, you know, that kind of leads us into is that you’ve given me that opening. And so we need to have respect for that as well, we, you know, as as the sender of those emails, we need to respect that somebody has led us in, and we really need to take care, and nurture that relationship, because it’s just about as easy for me to, if if you don’t, when I see your name roll up, you just get the Delete without even looking at the body of the email, or worse yet, get on the block list where I don’t see them at all.

Keith  05:48

Right, right. And that’s, that’s another great point that you bring up is, you know, a lot of people think marketing and especially email marketing is kind of a spray and pray strategy, right, I’m gonna blast this out. Millions of people, they’re all gonna love me, they’re gonna buy all my stuff, I know that people will hate people block you, they will delete you, they will mark you as spam. And then you are in deep trouble because you can’t get past the spam filters.

Like we talked about before, like you brought up before an inbox, someone’s inbox is very personal, I want to invite you and you need to think about it that way. in it. It’s no different. I believe in a customer’s mind and you sitting across the table from them. And saying, here’s how I can help you. Right, providing value. Here’s my thing helping What can I do for you? I’m listening. Yeah, spray and pray is never never the way to go with email. And related to that you never want to send emails to people who have not explicitly opted into your email.

Yeah. And your existing customers have, they’ve already indicated they like you maybe even love you and want to spread the words that well, your marketing email is a perfect chance to give them something to spread and talk about about how great you are.

Roy Barker  06:57

Yeah. Yeah, the the other part, and I think, too, is thoughtfulness, not only on the, the sheer volume that we send people, but the message and I just, this was a jumping off point on one of my pet peeves is the message goes similar to this. Well, you know, besides the ham, you know, Captain, so and so from England, and you’ve got a ton of money, I’d like for you to come claim ready?

Yeah, we’ll just put that one aside for a minute. But we don’t mark. The, but the one that gets me is that, you know, we mean, you, we had a conversation about my product a week or two ago. And so I, you know, the email is reached out said, Hey, Keith, this is Roy circling back with you, you’re ready to buy yet? And, and yeah, you know, those are the ones that, you know, they get the instant delete, and unfortunately, I really don’t pay. I may not block them, but I don’t pay attention to them with anything coming forward.

So that’s the other thing, you know, we have to, we have to think that message out. You know, I’m a, I feel like I’m an educator. And so that’s one thing. And you know, I’ll let you tell some tips, I don’t want to, I don’t want to even pretend to be the expert here. But you know, one thing I like to do is deliver value is not always and we have to sell at some point, we have to ask for the buy, I get that. But I think we have to educate. We I guess in the the old agrarian society, we planted, we cultivated, and then we read.

And in the, the internet age, I think we’ve gone from sometimes we don’t even plant sometimes we throw a seed out somewhere, and then we’re trying to reap a harvest. It’s not that easy. And so instead of coming at me, you know, initially with Let’s buy, let’s buy, let’s buy, educate me, why do I want to buy from you what why do I want your product? You know, there’s a lot of ways that we can go with a kind of let you talk about that, if you don’t mind?

Keith  09:08

Well, you know, that’s if I’m if I’m an expert, in any sense, it’s because I spent the last 20 years learning the hard way. Yeah, right banging my head against the property. So I’m here to help you and your listeners gain the benefit of that without having to hurt their hand like I did, or not going to get rocks and certain things out. You know, so as far as your example goes with the salesperson, so coming back around, and to push the hard sell, I would just offer real quick off the top of my head.

But solution to that if you’re a salesperson or you’re you’re following up is to not mention the product at all. Maybe send a link to an article that’s kind of related to what your customers going through. Hey, if you’d like to see this, keep providing valuable information. Maybe it’s related to the sale you want or not. But I truly think that’s worth a few minutes every week over time. Yeah, far more than circling back around and pushing for the hardest save.

And your excuse me. Your, your agrarian metaphor is great, because I think you’re right in that social media tends to be the strategy tends to be kind of like a. Here’s the point. Yeah. Like a dandelion right grows in your yard, the wind blows, the seeds dispersed everywhere, and the daily land hopes that maybe one or two land and plant and brand new produce. Whereas email is cultivating a relationship, right?

You’re sowing you’re planting individual seeds, you’re being thoughtful about where you put them. You’re taking care of them, and you’re nurturing that list your list of customers along the way. And, yeah, there’s a little more work upfront. If you’re lazy and want to just throw your seeds out there, your message marketing messages out there and hope for the best Well, great, you’re playing people who take your money to do that, right. But don’t expect a lot of good results. Yeah, once it’s not going to result in a magic, sales, achievement. It’s not going to happen, but but cultivating all your marketing, social media, but especially email.

And the rewards just multiply exponentially when it comes around to harvest time to push the metaphor even further. When people decide to buy, either implicitly or explicitly, they’re gonna remember the way you treated them and then nurturing and you providing value, maybe they don’t read every email you send out. But you’ve got startup, that’s all going to add up to a positive experience a positive impression of you being helpful. And at some point, one of those coupons or sales or how to emails you send about your products is going to click, and the people will literally click over and make the purchase.

Roy Barker  11:49

Yeah, because the other part of that equation is that we don’t really, sometimes we don’t really know where the people that receive our email are in that buying process. And it’s not that I have anything against you and your product. I just don’t need it today. And so if we burn that relationship today, because you had to have the sale, you’ve lost me in three months from now, when I do have a need. And I’m and I’m going to be a purchaser and you know, I say that exactly, you know, it’s Go ahead. No, no, no, you’re fine. Go ahead.

Keith  12:26

I, you know, it’s a scary proposition, right, especially if you’re a small business or side hustler, and you’re you’re you’re sending out social media posts, and marketing email, and you’re making phone calls, the thought of seeing one wrong thing or kind of pushing too hard. And losing a sale is terrifying. Your numbers aren’t big enough, your audience isn’t big enough to lose that many sales.

Yeah, I would counter that and encourage people to feel positive about what they’re doing. If the focus is friendly, and helpful, and encouraging, and no pressure at all, the companies that I follow the newsletters that I read every day that I can’t wait to meet are the ones that offer me valuable information on whatever topic they’re about. And they don’t push me for anything, they offer the rough. And I often have to look for the pitch at the end, hey, you know, if you like what we’re doing, or something that sort of 20% off rate, right?

It’s not a hard sell. And I think that’s just as much indicative of email in the end that personal nature of the inbox as it is some cultural shift that we’re going through, that they use car salesmen is out the soft touch, hey, how can I help person is in Yeah, if you can do that, in any of your marketing, especially even?

Roy Barker  13:44

Yeah, and so what about the theory that some of this is also based on the complexity of our product or service or, and or the cost? I think that if if sometimes, if you’re pushing a $5 item that people use all the time, you can be probably a little more aggressive than if you’re selling a complex system, you know, where people need to be educated, I want, I need to know more about what this does what it is. So again, it kind of kind of helps us develop our time horizon, and our messaging that we want to structure and how we send that out.

Keith  14:24

There’s a there’s a real value in, in educating people and doing it selflessly. Right? You know, I mean, who are you to buy, buy a complex product from the guy who gives you the hard sell and says, You got to buy it before the price goes up? Or the guy who says, Well, look, let’s see if an option or have you bought your problem. And let me show you what we do and show you how the complex product works. And take it from there. Well, me I’m a sucker for the ladder. I wouldn’t. I would go for it. Yeah.

Roy Barker  14:53

Well, it’s funny. The note I’d written down before the complexity was scarcity. And so I think I think that there’s a there’s an angle to be had there is that, hey, you know what Keith is my product may not be for you. And then it’s like, why are you talking about? Yeah,

Keith  15:10

yeah, well, scarcity, you know, to get out of the email marketing Arena in some way, you know, marketing in general man, I love scarcity. It works. It works wonders Exactly. If you can make something desirable if you have a desirable product, putting an artificial limit on it. And not not cynically, but saying, well, this is series one, you know, we only have so many. When they’re gone, they’re gone, you’ll have to wait until next month for series two or six months for seriously whatever. Man that there’s no denying human beings love that.

And you know, limited edition stuff. There’s a there’s a practice in marketing called bookending, which is very similar. If you’re noticed, we had gone to a restaurant and looked at, say, the venue where the wine list is a really cheap bottle of wine. And there’s a medium price bottle of wine. And then there’s an outrageously priced high bottle of wine, right? Well, the idea of that is to drive you to the middle one, right? They want to drive you to the median price, because we make most of the money. But there’s also an exclusivity kind of things going on there. Right? There are a lot of people who will see that crazy, expensive bottle of wine.

And especially if there’s some kind of messaging that it’s limited. The winemaker only sold his five, that kind of thing, it tends to drive people up to that more expensive iPhone. Correct. So it’s, it’s it’s a really powerful marketing tool. You can’t abuse it, because people will get wise, you know, in short, I did pretty quick. But if you’re, if you’re honest about it, and upfront about it, I think it’s a truly valuable technique for marketing. So

Roy Barker  16:59

yeah, it’s a little off the email subject, but you know, kind of on the marketing is that’s, I think it’s the same way when you see on people’s web pages. Typically, what I’ve heard in the past is you have three offers, you’ve got the this is the cheap one, do it yourself one, at the far right, you put the crazy expensive one where you know, I’m going to engage more with you and spend more time, then you have that one in the middle. That’s just right priced. And you know, typically, they say, you know, he tend to drive that traffic to the middle. So interesting concept for sure.

Keith  17:33

Yeah, yeah. All right, dad, or the countdown clock, right? You’ve only got so much time to get this right. Or even just putting a limited time limited date on your product. Yeah. can really, really drive sales? Even if it’s artificial?

Roy Barker  17:50

Yeah. So can you give us a couple samplings of your 10 simple steps for the email marketing?

Keith  17:57

Sure. Sure. Let’s see here. I’m going to focus on step number four, which is keep your message simple. Okay. You know, often often, when people who don’t market a lot, start marketing for their business, is that desire, an understandable desire, a tendency to want to cram as much information as possible, right into my Instagram, post, my tweet, and my email, and it becomes overwhelming, right? I know, you’re excited about it, you’ve got a great product and getting great service.

That’s wonderful. But we have, you know, most of us don’t have the time or the desire, or the ability to read your 400 word, email, we’re not going to do it, we’re going to see a block of text and we’re like, oh, man, I got I got a delete. So keeping your message simple, keeping it highly focused on one of the great things about you and your product is going to get you far more results than dumping everything in one email. And what you can do is, is over time break all those amazing things that you wanted to include in the forerunner weren’t enough in the individual email.

That’s going to give you a week, a month, five months worth of marketing emails, and you don’t have to do much thinking about it. You’ve got point a point B point C point, you know, and once a week you send an email doing that. If you have a call to action below that simple message, one or two sentences, maybe a picture one or two sentences of why we’re great. And then a button that says click here to find out more. Yeah, that’s it. That’s it.

Roy Barker  19:35

Yeah. I’m gonna I’m gonna, this is a this is stated as a question. It’s not a statement. So I’m gonna look for your feedback on it is that you know, part of the part of the, the messaging is we are not trying to explain every minute detail about our product or service. I think the bigger thing is to its generate the interest But then have them reach back out to us in order to make that connection where we can have a one on one conversation is that? Is that kind of correct?

Keith  20:11

Absolutely. And I’ll get a little nerdy in the book here. And I explained this a little bit that even the subject line aid or email is important, right? That’s the thing we see first, and it can’t be higher there, or Hey, or something vague like that. It has to tell me what’s inside the email, right? Otherwise, I’m gonna delete it. I’m gonna live an old old copywriting trick, which I learned from a book about copywriting for newspapers.

When I first started in World, that’s how, what a weird late overlap that was, is that if you think about your ad, or your I say, marketing email, as you know, a column on a post, or a newspaper article, your subject line is the headline. That’s what’s going to grab attention. If you look at headlines in newspapers or on articles online, they tell you in very few words, exactly what’s happening in the article. And they do it in a way that makes you want to read the article. And then when you read the article, it’s an intro. What I want to tell you, I remind you what I just told you. The end.

Roy Barker  21:15

Yep, that’s it. Yeah. I think there’s even a regression article be can be can be compressed down. Yeah. Yeah. And I think there’s even I don’t know how good they are. But I think there’s even some services out there that you can plug your headline in. And it’ll return a score, not based on your subject, but more based on the words that you use in that language for that headline.

Keith  21:38

Yeah, yeah. And I wish I could remember some off the top of my head, the basically keyword generators, and they they analyze your headline and your email, or in your article, and compare that to Google searches of what’s popular based on that topic when we I haven’t used them, but I know people who have and love them. And that’s a great day, usually free, you can google around and find them.

Yeah. Yeah, and also, you know, we’re kind of getting into a nerdier area of email marketing. And that’s a, it’s a good thing to bring up. Because I want your listeners to know that easy email marketing doesn’t get into the nerdy stuff. Right? I know that you as a small business owner, or a side hustler, or someone who’s making something to sell, you’re a jack of all trades, you’re super busy, right? You can worry about everywhere in your subject line, or you can get most of it right? Send an email that’s gonna do pretty darn well, right. And that’s the focus of the book is 10 steps, you can read in just a few minutes, get you up and running.

And if you want to know more about subject line optimization, again, my website at the end, you can people can email me and I’ll send some links to some some resources there. There’s all kinds of articles online, if you want to get really nerdy. My book is to encourage people to start simple. And that’s the old 8020 rule. Yeah, right. If I put in 20% of the effort, I can get 80% of the result. And for most small businesses, and myself included, that is perfect, right. So

Roy Barker  23:13

yeah, because I think it can lead us to the analysis paralysis, sometimes we can get so bogged down in trying to figure out if this is perfect or not that we never end up taking any action, which is more detrimental than

Keith  23:26

having a story about that. Sorry, interrupt. I had a client years ago software company, they had a good security software. And I would design their emails went out to their customers, which were all corporations and fortune 500 companies, that kind of thing. The founder of this company, really nice guy next wanted all of his emails to have red, white and blue in them really patriotic guy.

That’s great. But he paid me more money to fuss over switching text from blue to red to white to make it look the way he wanted. And I would tell him flat out big. I know it’s important to you. And it does look kind of neat. But I sincerely believe that anyone reading this email is not going to matter which order the conference room. They’re not right, get it 20% right. Just do it at all read do it all black, it doesn’t matter.

Get the words right. And let’s send it out. And so it took me quite a while to educate him on that but but he finally saw the light and you can have a lot of fancy ideas about things but I like to tell my clients clear is better than clever. Right? Always be clear. If you can’t think of something clever to say just say hey, we’re having a sale and 10% off. Here’s your vacation. Goodbye, right that’ll get you huge results. Topic my rant a little

Roy Barker  24:52

Yeah, no, no, no, no, I think you’re right that you know sometimes we can’t make up for the quality of content with gimmicks. And so we have to be sure that I work on that, you know, just getting our message out there. That’s what we really want to do.

Keith  25:06

Right. And it goes back to what you were saying earlier, you know, you’ve got a full inbox. I just want to know what the darn email is about, right? I want to know what you’re asking me? Or if you’re helping me and I want to know what I’m going to do with it. And then I’m done. Brett, right, keep it simple. Yep.

Roy Barker  25:20

So that was number four, have you got another another step four, I

Keith  25:24

do I do. Let’s go with number five, Step five, use a hero image. So that’s kind of a nerdy insider term. But you’ll notice, any time you get an email from a company, not always, but most of the time, there’s only one image in the product. Okay. Or if there are more images, there’s one big image at the top, that’s the hero image, and then maybe a couple small ones down at the bottom.

And that’s a long time practice, from the print world. And the idea is that, you know, along what we talked about earlier, keeping the message simple, you want to keep your images simple, right, you don’t need, you don’t need a shot of every angle, you know, for your new tool, on a desk, and then on a workbench and then on the car that you know that that takes bandwidth, it’s hard to download.

Now you need the one hero image the best looking at the pictures you have. Start with that, put that at the top of the email, maybe if you’re you’re able to explain how to win the book, you can put some wording on the on the image, you know, our new hamburger or buy one, get one free over the tool, put that image at the top of your email, it is the hero that’s the thing, when people open the email, they don’t even have to read your email, boom, visually, they see what it is they can they make up their mind right there, right. And make that image linkable, and your email service, we’ll show you how to do that it’s super simple.

You just copy and paste the image into the software, or the link into the software. And as soon as people open an email and see a big, beautiful image, and they’re not bombarded with, you know, your social media badges and all the other images and stuff, they see the hero image with a simple message and a call to action link. That’s the Holy Trinity right there. And so in the book, I show you how to a couple resources online, there’s one called Canva ca NVA. It’s absolutely free.

You’ve been there, you know, you know how great it is. It is I mean, there are other services like you upload your image, you can edit the size, you can add all kinds of bells and whistles and numbers and fonts and make it look really professional. And you can download it again for free. Drop it in your email in a week ago, your your hero image and your email are looking better than 90% of the ones that are out there. Instead of dying. Yeah,

Roy Barker  27:51

yeah, I definitely use that for some email marketing or not email, but for some social media posts, and also for a YouTube cover for some of my videos, and it’s it’s very simple, very simple to use, and you can make a really good quality image, you’d be surprised at what you can do with that.

Keith  28:09

It’s shocking, it’s really shocking how good it is. So I highly encourage even if no one is going to go through the email marketing is listening to this, go to Canva sign up for free, use the free account and and mess around with your the images you already have and see if you can do with surprise.

Roy Barker  28:24

So a another thing that I talk a lot about that there’s some sometimes there’s a little disagreement, but it’s a I’m not a big fan of stock images, if we can take a real image of me my product, something in real life, but to me, I think that always portrays a much better image. And it’s also part of that building that relationship of getting you know, if if I see Keith on that picture instead of a crazy, you know, stock image of something then, you know, it kind of lets me know who’s behind this personable or, you know, we talk about sometimes too, if you if you’re a big dog fan, if you dog you know you have a nice to be relatable for certain but you know, I guess you know, I’m an old timer.

I don’t mind admitting that but you know, back in the day it was button up su ta Don’t ever let your personal life seep into this internet thing. You know, this is a really controlled and I think luckily I think we’ve gotten away from that because if we’re going to build relationships with people through the internet through email, and that are you know, that’s where the seed or the Colonel’s planted for that relationship. They need to know who we are and they need to know more about us when you know when it’s relevant. We don’t want to go overboard But anyway, I’ll just get your take on you know, stock versus taking

Keith  29:50

actual. Absolutely, absolutely. So for anybody who’s listening and doesn’t know stock photos are photos you can buy or you can get for free online that are uncertain time. thinks that you can use an Ole or your marketing media. So, odds are, if you’ve looked online at a website, you’ve probably seen some stock photos, anyone can buy them, anyone can use them. And you may have noticed some used over and over and over again to keep wrapping around. And what you’re seeing right is right on.

I would, you know, rarely do stock photos as good as they can look, or as bad, some of them are pretty bad. Rarely do they directly relate to who you are and what you’re doing. Right? If If I’m having a conference, to educate people on how to use a particular piece of software, I mean, find a stock flooded with some beautiful people in a perfect corporate conference, setting all the nice suits and a man on the stage and be like, perfect. But you know, is that you are, it’s not you, it’s not your audience. It’s not where the venue is the venue that you’re going to be using. I totally agree. There are plenty of quick YouTube videos online to show you how to take a decent picture with your phone and tweak it to make it look good.

And use those Yeah, you know, personally, in my philosophy is when I’m buying something, I’m buying it from you, right? I’m not buying it from some big corporate image, I’m buying it from you, right. You know, I want to know, I know ROI. I know, that’s his dog. And I know his dog isn’t a lot of pictures. And I love it. Because I’m a dog guy to Brett. And I know boy, look what he’s doing, oh, Roy’s got a new, you know, new truck at the shop, whatever. Right, I can see that in the in the photos. So real, is much more important than perfect. I totally agree. Yeah.

Roy Barker  31:46

And the other will just relate that back to Canva for just a minute. Because the perfect thing is you can upload your own images, to Canva, like you said, you can put your company name, website phone number, you know, we don’t want to clutter it up. But you know, because like, for some images I use, I’m able to just put the www down on the bottom, very clean. So the nice thing is you can manipulate these personal shots of yourself to, again, come out with a great message and

Keith  32:15

to put anybody who’s listening at ease, sorry about this. But um, you know, Canva has templates, they’re pre done templates. So you don’t have to know Photoshop, you have to you don’t have to have any graphic knowledge whatsoever. If you want to have, you know, a beautiful Instagram post and your product, they’ve got the template there for you. And some of them have filters on them make it look even better. Upload it make it look great, it’s going to look better than you know, again, I keep saying this, but better than 90% of your competitors, because they’re not doing this right. And you took five minutes to do it. And it’s great.

Roy Barker  32:46

Yeah, the other thing, just as a side note on the whole image thing is, typically somebody owns pretty much all the images that are on the internet. And so some are free, some are not. And the only reason I bring this up is because I have a friend that ran into this problem. She had a website, she just been pulling down all these images off of, you know, wherever she found a cool image and pulled it down and then been doing it for years.

And then all of a sudden one day she got a bill for seven or $800. From from Getty Images saying, Hey, thanks for using our images. Now. Here’s the the bill. That’s you know, that’s, that’s a really good point. Getty Images and a lot of the other ones have got. I don’t know how to turn this. But But basically, there’s a little something in those pictures. They can call back to the Getty computers and say, Hey, this, this image has been put on this website. Right. And they track how it’s done.

Yeah. So you’re far better off taking your own pictures. There is I’m going to try to look it up here real quick theory. I’ve just spent all this time saying don’t use stock photos. But there is a great website and maybe you know the name of it. I can’t remember off the top of my head. Let me look here. It has great free stock photos. Yeah, there’s some while you’re looking it up as to say that you get it.

Keith  34:26

I got it. It’s called unsplash. Okay. u n SP, la SH. They’re, they’re just beautiful, beautiful pictures. They’re very particular about who they let the pictures on there. But they’re all free. And they say explicitly on them, you’re free to use them. So if you if you have a newsletter going out and it’s a product for tats, and you don’t own a cat, yeah, yeah, you can probably find a beautiful picture of a cat on unsplash and use it trouble free.

Roy Barker  34:54

Yeah, yeah. And I think there are excellent arguments to use stock photos and don’t want to ever Put that message out because there are they do have their use. I just always more of, you know if we can do something more personable about a certain

Keith  35:08

product and much of istockphoto is not going to get you that personal connection. Yeah. And we’re talking about here, with email and your social media, it’s all about the personal connection

Roy Barker  35:18

brand. Exactly. The perfect picture. Yeah, right, right. So do you want to share before we transition, because I just want to ask you, the floor, we have to wrap it up, I wanted to ask you about a couple of your cost free marketing ideas. But before we transition, is there any another step or two, you want to mention off of the email?

Keith  35:41

No, I’ll just make one more. Okay. And that is, you know, when you’re on the email software, MailChimp, or any of the ones that I recommend the book, and there are many more, you’re going to be hit with a lot of different templates that you can use for your email, double columns, triple columns, fancy stuff, just like you wouldn’t when you open up a Word document or a Google Doc. In the spirit of the 8020 rule, I will tell you in that book, and I’ll tell you now just use one of them, there’s only one you need for all of your emails.

And it’s the mobile friendly one gets a single column is mobile friendly on all phones, only use that for a couple of reasons. One, it saves you a lot of time and headache, because when you get in these fancy your templates, you’re going to things are going to break you’re going to you know, it’s not gonna look good, right? The mobile friendly, one will always look good on computer on a tablet on any phone. And most people these days look at email on their phone, right? Or if they don’t, at some point in the day, they look at their email and that phone. Mobile is where it’s at, right? I mean, worldwide, there are, I think there are 2 billion people in developing countries who have skipped the entire computer generation that we had then gone straight to mobile phone, right.

And we’re gonna find that and that trend is increasing in the in the United States and other Western countries. More and more, we’re going to find people who will straight to mobile devices or who give up the computers or limit their daily computer usage. So that step is simply stick to the in the spirit of easiness. And having a simple step, choose the mobile phone template, it’ll look great on your computer, it look great in Outlook in Gmail, you don’t have to do anything, and look great on my phone. simple and effective.

Roy Barker  37:34

And I’m not sure if the if they provide these stats of who’s looking at it and where on all of them are for that’s a step up package. What I can tell you is that on one, on one of my platforms that I’ve used to do a little bit of, of advertising, you will be surprised that 80% are open from a cell phone, it floored me.

You know, I mean, again, I’m the old guy that needs to be in front of a computer because it’s got the bigger size screen, and I can actually put my fingers on some keys, I don’t type well. If we think about society, and how mobile we are, and when we do things like if I’m at the tire shop waiting on my linemen or tire to get fixed, that’s when I’m on the phone, taking care of a lot of business. So even, we just had to think about where people are, even though some people still do have the computers at home. We do a lot of stuff like that, while we’re out in between other activities.

Keith  38:36

Absolutely right. How often do we grab your phone and look at stuff in the course of the day? I’m sure it’s hundreds of times a day, at least mine is I’m constantly looking at it. And you know, that’s a good way to look at it. There’s definitely I think a lot of people are hybrid users, both the computer and the mobile device. Here we are talking about computers, I spend a good deal my day in front my large screen computer because I have bad eyesight and I need to see things. But at the same time, like when I’m out and about and things happen, and I need to get back to somebody, I’m checking my email on my phone, and I’m taking care of business.

So kind of like the Canva tip, your email marketing service provider is going to have a mobile template that will get you 80% of the way there, it’s gonna look good on any device. It’s never going to break is you’re never gonna have formatting issues because it’s maximized to look good on mobile devices. It’ll look great. No matter where it’s like and that’s part of the game. You’re busy running a business. Yeah. Focus on that template. Be Done. Yep. Good.

Roy Barker  39:43

Well, you bring up a good point about things break in is that you know, we’re not going to break anything if we don’t do this right. And most of those email services, they have a way that you can send a test email to yourself and so, you know, it’s kind of like the analysis Alice’s thing is just get on there and do it, you may have to tweak it two or three times to get it the way you want it, but you got to start somewhere. So just get on there create one, send it to yourself, and then you can work on, you know, optimizing it as you go.

Keith  40:15

Absolutely, you know, those, the email marketing services are very good at educating you and onboarding someone who’s a new user, right? And you hit upon and I think it’s step number eight, test your email, send yourself one. So that’s, that’s in the book, too. I tried to do that. Super simple. Send yourself a test, you can do it multiple times, click everything, make sure it works with your friend, Hey, does this work? missing anything? and away you go?

Once you do it once, it’s like anything else, I think, you know, as a small business user, you’re probably overwhelmed for thought of doing this. But once you do it, and realize how simple the steps can be, we’ve read nor all the advanced stuff, you’re going to be looked at and see how quickly you can probably literally do it standing in line with your mobile phone. Yeah, you’re done.

Roy Barker  41:01

Yeah. And we have to realize, too, it’s like anything else. If you go back and look, after you’ve done this for 10 years, if you go back and look at some of those earlier emails, you will, you know, totally be embarrassed and like, oh, gosh, I can’t ever send that out. I can’t believe I ever sent that out. But it’s just a practice. And what I will say for us, for I’m a non writer, you know, I’m a spreadsheet guy. So I’d rather do numbers in a spreadsheet. I have this, I have the my expectations of myself as I can, I can sit down at a computer and write out a message the way I want it the very first time and one thing, I’ve tried to be more aware of myself. I’ve realized that I know I can’t do that.

And so the other thing is, you know, do it and let these things set, send it to yourself. Then you know, take some time, maybe an hour, maybe a day, whatever. And then go back and look at it. And you will be able to make those adjustments more easy. We just shouldn’t put the pressure on yourself that you’re going to sit down, write this out and be done and have it run the way you want it. Yeah,

Keith  42:05

yeah. You know, my favorite quote, as a writer is someone for whom writing is very difficult. It is right. It’s not easy for anybody. My this this book, easy marketing has probably been through five drafts, I had it professionally edited by a guy from the New York Times. He’s with New York Times as an editor. And even after editing it myself five times in a day in all kinds of embarrassing. Yeah, it’s just human nature, it’s hard. So I totally agree, set it Do what you can massage it. And then you know, don’t don’t overthink it.

And I would also add that don’t be too self conscious about the marketing emails, or any marketing you’re sending out there. As far as your writing skills go. Most people think what you’re doing by running a small business is magic. We already look up to that a lot of your customers already look into that and think that what you do providing them the service they can’t do or knowledge, they don’t know. That’s magic to them, right? They’re not going to take your copyright brat anxiety at all. Unless it’s really long and meandering, then they’re gonna nitpick. But other than that, if it’s simple and short, nobody’s going to get it. Right. Get it out there.

Roy Barker  43:17

All right, if you don’t mind before we, before we start wrapping this up, if you could, would you mind giving us two or three of your cost free marketing ideas?

Keith  43:27

Sure. And I’ll add that at the end of email marketing is a link to a free copy of the 15 cost free marketing ideas. Okay, okay, great. It’s in there, you can grab it. Or, you know, maybe you’ll have the link in the description of the podcast, too. Okay. So I’m going to go with one of my favorites. It’s number eight in the list, and it’s let customers know you appreciate them. Right. I mean, yes.

So often, after we make the sale, we’re done. Yeah, hands off. You know, maybe they’ll come back. Maybe they won’t. But I’m a firm believer that customers who feel appreciated give the love right back in the form of loyalty. Right? Right. They because they’re happy, they’re happy and notice that have you followed up? We always need happy customer. Yeah, right. I mean, that’s the bottom line. I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head. Any companies that Call me after me to purchase even small ones, right? We have a really good wine shop here. Maybe half mile down the road. Provide the only beer and she’s amazing.

Amazing. And I love her because when we go in she has a lot of things we’re talking about. She has all the information she can’t you know those would be want she helps you super helpful. We’re not pressured at all make it by a bottle of wine. But every once in a while at will buy something. So send an email afterwards. Maybe a week later. Hey, did your your guests at the dinner party like that wine was a good one. Even If my friends hated the wine, I would still be thrilled that Aaron took the time to email me and asked how it was right. But that’s just that’s just builds Willy.

Roy Barker  45:11

Yeah, I think those, that’s a nugget of gold that we often overlook is the follow up, even if it’s a one, even if it’s just a one time purchase, that they’re not going to be purchasing over and over the referral, the referral aspect of our customers, we just can’t overlook that. So, absolutely keeping in touch with them following up and, you know, it’s funny, you mentioned that because I made a hadn’t, we bought some little backpacks for my grandkids off of Amazon not long ago for a birthday.

The, it wasn’t through Amazon, it was through their platform, but it was another seller. And the guy actually reached out to me a couple days later and said, Hey, I’m just checking in to see, you know, did you get it? How was it and I sent him back an email. I’m like, Well, thanks so much for checking in. I said, he made two little girls extremely happy, they love them. And he was like, Oh, I’m so glad to hear stories like that. But it like you said it was so surprising that he took the time, but I will definitely be a repeat customer for him because of that.

Keith  46:20

And here you are telling me about it. You’ve probably told other people, you probably continue to read a few of them are gonna want to know who this guy is and want to buy it back.

Roy Barker  46:29


Keith  46:30

It’s, it’s an it’s a no brainer. It really is. And related to that, I’ll go back to step number 13, which is go back to old customers, customers who stopped buying from you. Yeah, it sounds hard. And it is it can be. But I truly think by emailing or calling customers who used to do business with you, but don’t anymore, alright. And under friendly, unfriendly way saying, Hey, can we get you back?

What can we do to get you back? If not, tell me why you left. And you know, what can we do differently? It may be uncomfortable. I’ve had a few clients in the past that I’ve had to, you know, it was initially agreed to separate but boy, you know, you’ll learn some stuff. And five minutes of discomfort on the phone with an old customer is going to give you insight that will make your business and your marketing soar for the next few years.

Roy Barker  47:26

Yeah, especially if we’ve got employees under us. We you know, we can’t monitor and don’t want everybody to be under our thumb all the time. But we may find a process or something that was going wrong that we have no idea about. So it can help us improve our processes.

Keith  47:44

Yeah, yeah. Let’s see. Here’s another one. I’ll say number 14 is a good you can cost free marketing technique is put your good reviews front and center, on your website, in your shop. Everywhere you can, right? Because they’re social proof. You know, we’re all we’re all monkeys. And we’d like to deal with the monkey see, monkey do. And if we, if we see other monkeys who love your service, and love what you do, it sounds simple.

But I talked to so many people so many businesses who are embarrassed to put their positive reviews on their website, or, you know, they they’re a little self conscious about it. I want to tell people how great I am. Well, you’re not Yeah, your customers are telling people how great you are. And if you can get one person to do that is absolutely worth its weight in gold is social proof. And working, you know, mouth to mouth marketing is the best. Everything we talked about is good email, social media. It’s word of mouth.

Social media, by far the best marketing out there. And your your good reviews, whether they’re you put them at the foot of an email, right you’ve got your marketing email, maybe at the bottom you put or maybe you highlight some of them, right maybe you’ve got a sale on a product and you put a quote right right over here it says this is the best gosh darn. window cleaner I’ve ever bought. Yeah, such and such customer and then you’ve got your, your picture one or two sentences, and then I click this link, it’s a click to buy in a way you go. Don’t be ashamed of or embarrassed by people singing your praises. It can be much believe me?

I’m an introvert. And you know having any attention call to me in a crowded room is the last thing I want. Right? But, but there’s no denying how much people are influenced by that. Yeah. And how far can take your business in your company?

Roy Barker  49:41

Ratan run? Well, Keith, thanks so much. Again, appreciate you taking time out of your day to be with us. And before I let you go a couple things. Number one, what is a tool, a habit or ritual? What is something that you do in your daily life it could be professional personal that you use Feel adds a lot of value?

Keith  50:02

Well, I’m going to tell you, I just started this last week. I’ve got this post and stuck to my computer monitor. And it says I make one unreasonable request every day. Okay, interesting. And I’m not sure where I saw that. But I tell you it is it is really made a difference for me. And and the key to this is they’re not saying be a jerk, rather than be demanding.

They’re saying ask for something that you feel uncomfortable asking for. Yeah, right. Hey, can I be on your podcast? is an example. Yep. You know, is there? Is there a discount for the service? I’m a new business just starting out? Yep. Whatever it is, Hey, can I talk to you about your product? Hey, can I? Can you ask to ask you a few questions about something? Whatever, whatever it is, that makes you a little uncomfortable, and sounds unreasonable to ask about for you. force yourself to do it.

Because if you’re okay with people saying no, and not taking it personally, then at some point, when you do this enough, someone’s going to say yes to something pretty amazing, that you otherwise would not have asked for. And I’m finding that slowly to be true. It’s a challenge. I won’t deny there. There are days when I want to sit here and drink coffee and work and right now. But every time I’ve done it, it’s paid off, you know, and that’s the tool I’ve been using every day.

Roy Barker  51:37

Okay, that’s interesting. You know, it’s the old adage, we never know, unless we ask. So yeah, that’s a good one. I like that. I’m gonna mark my mark one of those down myself. So why don’t you tell us who’s your customer? What can you do for them? And of course, how people can reach out and get a hold of you.

Keith  51:54

Yeah, so So my main work these days is I do market research for companies like Nike and banks, and I’m doing stuff like trek bikes for a lot of their creative projects. And they’re doing stuff like that. I’m commercials, new buildings, that kind of thing. I’m doing a lot of market research for that.

But my other half is marketing, and writing about it, and doing stuff to help people like this book. So you can read Easy Email Marketing, email marketing for free online at You can download it for free. It’s also an apple books and Amazon Kindle. You can find a link there to 15 cost free marketing ideas, which I’m working into a book at some point, too. And you can always find me at my website, The link will get you right to my website. So you don’t have to try to spell my last name.

Roy Barker  52:52

Okay. All right, great. Well, y’all reach out to Keith, he can be a great asset on your email marketing campaigns on your regular marketing. Go, at least go check out the list. They are very helpful. And

Keith  53:05

I’m happy to answer questions about any of this stuff anybody might have and just say hi. And if you read it, if you’re reading the email marketing, let me know what you think. You know, give a review to give. I’m more than happy to, like I said, put it on the website. And

Roy Barker  53:20

yeah, and we’ll be sure to put all the links in the show notes as well. So All right, thanks a lot. All right, Keith. Thank you. Alright, that’s gonna do it for another episode of the business of business podcast. Of course, you can find us at we own our own our major podcast platforms, iTunes, Google, Stitcher, Spotify, and many more. If we’re not on the one that’s your favorite, don’t hesitate to reach out I’ll see about getting us added. So we are also on all the major social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and a video of this interview will go up on YouTube once it gets posted. So until next time, please take care of yourself and take care of your business.

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