AskPat 68 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey. What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here. Welcome to Episode 68 of AskPat. I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.
Today, our sponsor is AWeber, A-W-E-B-E-R. This is a service that I love using, I've used for the last five years, and I only wish I used it sooner. This is a service that will help you collect email addresses. Yes, you could do that on your own, but it helps you create web forms and allows you to collect all these emails so you can send broadcasts out later, as well as use an autoresponder sequence, which means when people sign up to your list, you can have a prewritten set of emails that gets sent out sequentially over time, which is really important and something I love to do to keep in constant contact with my audience so that when I do send a time sensitive email, they are more likely to open it. That's why my open rates are nearly 50%, because of the autoresponder that I use, which we are going to be talking about a little bit in today's question from Timothy. Again, AWeber. If you go to AWeber.com/askpat, you'll get to try it out for one month for $1, so check it out. AWeber.com/askpat.
Now, let's get to Timothy's question about email.
Timothy: Hey, Pat. This is Timothy Moser of MasterofMemory.com, and I'm loving your new show. Obviously, as a blogger and podcaster, there's almost nothing I like better than hearing from my audience, so I'm looking for creative ways to connect with them in person. I really like the suggestion you've given about reaching out to people spontaneously through email, and I think this would be an awesome gesture to show them. But my question is, how do you write an email like that so that the person realizes you're actually talking to them in person? My autoresponder emails, of course, are personalized so that users feel welcome when they read those, but what's the best way to tell a reader that I'm actually reaching out to them personally and individually? Also, I'm curious about what kind of response rate to expect from this type of email. I'm really interested in anything I can do to connect with my audience in a positive way. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Thanks!
Pat Flynn: Timothy, thank you so much for your question, and I loved the music that was playing in the background. I couldn't quite decipher what it was, but it added a nice touch to your question, so thank you for that. I really love that you picked up on the idea and the method that I use to sort of reach out to just random members of my audience through email. The reason I do that, for those of you listening who might not have heard that before, I do that to get direct feedback from my audience for a number of different things, how their first impression was on the site, and also, I think it's just a nice gesture for some people. Even though I know I can't reach everybody, sometimes those quick little gestures can turn into somebody who becomes a raving fan or somebody who will ultimately share what I do or share some of the products that I have or recommend.
It really goes a long way, and it doesn't take very long to just reach out to … Every week or so, I try to reach out to maybe 15 to 20 people in my audience and just say, “Hey, what's up? How are you doing? What are you struggling with?” I also get some great answers and feedback directly from my audience for what I should be doing or writing blog posts about, or perhaps creating products about in the future, but it's also just a nice way to build on those relationships. Like I said, even though it's one at a time, it does go a very, very long way. It's not passive at all, but I think the returns are much higher than the amount of work it takes.
The question Timothy's asking, if you're sending these autoresponder emails, which are automated emails that you've prewritten and they are personalized, where you can personalize them, you can include people's names in them, how do you make these individual emails that you send out to people on your lists, how do you know that they're not being sent to everybody? Now, that's a fantastic question, something I've actually never really thought about. So, I think the first and most important thing is, based off of my experiences, I wouldn't worry too much about that. I just kind of make the email kind of sound very natural. A lot of times, what I'll do is on those email addresses, I'll see the URL of a website that they're from, like Timothy, you have MasterofMemory.com. So, what I might do when I send that email to you, Timothy, is say, “Hey, Timothy. Love your site at MasterofMemory.com. I checked it out today. I saw your recent post about such and such,” that alone will show that I took a little bit of time out of my day to know something about you, and in turn, most likely because of that extra effort that I took, you're going to take a little bit of extra effort to read that email, to understand that it's real and that it's from me to you, not me to everybody else, and you're going to help me out if I ask you for some feedback or something like that. So, I think, first and foremost, that's the best strategy you can use. Just see where those people are coming from, perhaps you've been in a conversation with them before and you didn't know it, so check back in your email archive or just look at their URL and see what site they are on and check it out and just leave a little quick comment. It doesn't even have to be that long—just one or two sentences: “Hey, Timothy. What's up? How's Master of Memory coming along? I hope it's going well. Anyway, this is a personal email from me to you. I wanted to ask you a quick question about what you thought about my site. I'm just kind of random—” and that's another thing I would say. I would just say, “Hey, I'm kind of randomly selecting a few people in my audience.” I think it's a cool way to just make connections with people, and also, I want to get real answers from people and have a conversation.
And also, I think another great way to, another great thing to add, which you can add onto the autoresponder email is, “Timothy, come reply. Let's have a conversation about this.” I think that alone is something that a lot of people are afraid to do in autoresponder or just aren't, aren't used to seeing in a type of email like that. And I do include those types of calls to actions in my auto-responder sequence, which I love, because I'll ask people, “What are you struggling with, you never reply,” or “What do you think I should write a blog post about next?” or things like that, and that goes a long way with making my auto-emails sound very personable and relatable. But yes, tagging people based on something that they're doing, just mentioning that you are doing this individually and also just sharing why you're doing it, I think will go a very, very long way.
In terms of response rate, 'cause Timothy, you're asking, well, how often are these emails replied to? These emails, like I was saying earlier, my auto-responder emails are often 40 to 50% which is quite high just in general. Typically, you can expect between 10 to 15% if you don't email your list regularly. If you do, that should go up higher because people are used to seeing your emails, and it should go even higher than that if you are providing content and valuable content and actually helping people out and people are expecting that. If people are expecting those emails, yes, those are going to be much higher, but if they see an unexpected email like this, it could be through the roof as far as the response rate and the reply that you get, especially if it's personalized in a way where people on the other said no, that there's no possible way that this could be automated or mass-produced. The response rate with these emails are about 80%. Sometimes, all it takes to get that extra 20% or even an extra 15% sometimes is just a follow-up, and I think a follow-up is also a great way to show, “Hey, Timothy. I sent you an email earlier. It was an email from me to you asking for this. I was just wondering if you got it; maybe you missed it. If not, I'm sorry to bother you. I just wanted to check one more time.” I think that goes a long way as well. I reached out to a number of food truck owners when I first started my site at FoodTruckr.com, and it was interesting because I got more replies back after I resent an email to the people who didn't reply. So, it was the follow-up that actually allowed me to grow my list even bigger and get a lot more responses for the questions that I was asking of these food truck owners.
So, just some things to think about when it comes to email. Great question, Timothy. Thank you so much, and I hope that answers your question. Best of luck, and I hope everybody out there uses this strategy, because it doesn't take very long, and it's sort of like asking somebody on Twitter, “Hey, how are you doing?” But doing it through email is just surprising, and whenever you can surprise your audience, that is what turns people from a casual audience member to an active audience member to a raving fan. Those little special moments that are different from the normal experience that they have on your site, that is what helps people become raving fans and fans for life. So, Timothy, thank you again. An AskPat t-shirt is going to be head your way. Just look out for an email from myself or an assistant very soon. If any of you have a question you'd like answered here on the show, head on over to AskPat.com; you can see all the other shows there and also ask a question using the widget right there on that page.
I also want to thank today's sponsor, AWeber. If you go to AWeber.com/askpat, you can get started with building an email list with the same service that I use right now. My list is about 75,000 people but you've gotta start somewhere, and I only wish I started sooner. I started my list for SmartPassiveIncome.com about two years or a year and a half after it started, which was a huge mistake, and I didn't start a list for my first business at GreenExamAcademy.com until after I sold my first product. Again, a huge mistake, because when I came out with a second product, I didn't have a list of people to sell to. I just sold it just straight up on the site and that was, again, a huge mistake. So, AWeber.com/askpat. Start building your email list if you haven't already.
And, of course, I want to end today with a quote from Orison Swett Marden, and that is, “The golden rule for every businessman is this: Put yourself in your customer's place.” Always think about the customer first, and do what you can to put yourself in the customer's place. And I know that's really hard to do online. The reason I put this quote here is because it's related to Timothy's question, which, if you want to know what's going on in your business, it's hard to put yourself in your customer's shoes sometimes. So, why don't you just ask your customers and reach out and just show that you care? And they're going to be more than willing to give you feedback and tell you the true experience that they've had with you and your business, so that you can make changes and pivot the way you need to. So, thank you so much for listening to this episode of AskPat, and I'll see you in the next one. Cheers.
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