Startup Lessons,

#StartupLesson EP012: 3 Step Automation Email Formula w/ Tom Tate, Product Marketing Manager at aWeber

May 21, 2017

This week, we bring you a very special episode.

Email marketing is still very much an important aspect when running your startup.

That’s why we thought it was so important to find a specialist in this area; Tom Tate [Twitter] who is a Product Marketing Manager at aWeber.

aWeber is an email marketing service, which has been in the business of providing email marketing tools since 1998.

Tom wears a lot of different hats at supporting aWeber’s successful growth.

Over the years, Tom has become obsessed with Email Marketing and the ability to connect with a particular audience through the use of Email Marketing.

In this episode, you will learn about Tom’s 3 Step Automation Formula, which is guaranteed to provide you with tools you need to succeed when connecting with your tribe.

Key Takeaways

Basics of Marketing & Creating the Incentive  [03:00 – 22:30]

“Marketing is getting someone who has a need to know, trust and like you.”

This definition exposes us to some challenges; finding the person that has a need, finding out what their need is, getting them to like you and finally, getting them to trust you.

Email marketing appeals to people of all ages, niches, shapes and sizes. It can be done with minimal effort and yet the results are astounding. The strategy you’re about to learn today is designed for people who are either just starting out or have reached some type of a plateau. You don’t need to be a tech wiz or have superpowers to do this, it’s really easy and it’s the perfect launchpad for your business.

Relational currency is the idea that people have an emotional bank account and like all bank accounts; there are deposits and withdrawals on it. Email automation can imitate relational currency withdrawals and deposits so people can get to know, like and trust you.

The formula you’ll be learning today is called the WHY formula.

Jabs are the value that you provide your customers with, the content you put out, the good things you do to show your appreciation. Right hook is the ask, it’s when you go in for the sale and ask for a subscribe, ask for a donation. You gotta throw some jabs before you throw your right hook.”

It’s all about giving actionable content; jabs are deposits. After you have made a few, you have now earned the right to ask for a withdrawal (right hook).

The WHY formula will help you deliver effective jabs and right hooks. Next to follow is having a system where new subscribers can get them in varying proportions.

Your subscribers need to know you, and a good place to start is at WHY. Why do you actually do what you do? “Fake-it-till-you-make-it” all you want but the truth is, if you cannot clearly answer that question to yourself then, there’s very little chance that you’ll be any good in trying to communicate it to someone else.

Before embarking on this 3 Step formula, start by setting aside a few minutes to an hour to figure out your true why, for some it may take even longer. Find a place of solitude and ask yourself the question, answer it  honestly and write it down somewhere.

Then you have to gain a clear understanding of who your ideal email subscriber is.

After you’ve determined that, you must step in your ideal email subscriber’s shoes and come up with a solution to the biggest problem they have. Anything that will be really valuable to them, and that’ll be your incentive.

Please, don’t try to build it and convince yourself that they will come. You must provide a reason why someone should sign up on your email list. What’s in it for them?

It’s advisable that you don’t start with writing 50 page eBooks, hosting seminars, or any other thing that will cost you either a lot of time, money or effort.

Simply go lean and provide your subscriber with a quick, actionable checklist. You may perhaps create three of these and only attach one to an offer that best suits the context. You can offer a free week-long email course, templates that they can copy and paste immediately, with an email that teaches how to properly use it and certain techniques to grow their email list.

The WHY formula [22:30 – 37:00]

  • W: Welcome Email

Be sure to tell the subscribers who you are, what exactly you’ll be sending them, when you’ll be sending it and how frequently. This gives the recipient an idea of what to expect going forward.

Keep it personal by having an email address that people can reply to. The reason for this is that it makes your subscribers feel like they have direct access to you and they’re worth your time. Always greet with the person’s name because, “To Whom Ever It May Concern” is lazy and just plain cold.

3 days is the optimum waiting period in between the emails.

  • H: How Can You Help Me?

This email is to be written as a response, only you don’t tell the subscriber; you show them. Use this email to actually help them by offering something they might need or by explaining the incentive in detail, how it can help them and how it’s to be implemented.

If have a lot of content built up over the years (or months), create a resource of the greatest pieces of content you have and drop 3-5 links of those in the email. Choose one you consider to be the best in the list and drive traffic to it by explaining what it’s about, mention how many shares it has on social media, share people’s testimonials on it (if available)

  • Y: YES

Get people to say yes; to commit to doing something. “You have to earn the right to ask people for a sale.” So at this stage we’re assuming that you’ve built up enough value over the two previous emails and now you have “earned” that right.

However, you’re not yet asking them to commit to buying something, attend a webinar, cash in on a special offer or some type of discount.

For now, you could perhaps ask them to sign up for your podcast, to share this email with a hashtag on social media, to type a review or perhaps take a survey.

Just make sure that the ask for a withdrawal is in proportion to the deposit. When the withdrawals you’re making are higher than what you’re depositing you’re basically, “Going into a restaurant, eating all their food, crapping on their table, and then sashaying out wearing nothing but a top hat and cane. You are violating expectations and abusing the situation.”

All these small asks trickle down over time and start a snowball effect; open email > read email > take action. Over time this will ideally advance to open email > read email (offers product) > take action (buy product).

The next phase on this step is to repeat and extend. The ideal place is having 3 – 6 months worth of email completely automated. Constantly reminding people who you are, delivering a lot of value, and then going in for the ask. On a practical level you would extend the ‘H’ of your formula to span 3-5 emails providing tonnes of value and then on the fourth or sixth email you go in for the ask.

The Bonus Email [37:00 – 45:00]

Constantly evaluate how your emails are performing. Pay attention to your open rates, click-through rates, data and all stats. The idea is if the results are not good then you can just edit it and improve on the content, headlines, CTA, etc.

Open rates are affected by a variety of other factors like, the niche, type of industry, source of traffic including (but not limited to), headlines, whether or not your email contains spammy keywords. In a situation where the open rate is 60% after sending the first email and then it drops to 10%, subscribers only wanted the incentive and lost interest. A 30% – 40% (or more) open-rate is the general sweet spot.

After you have sent the three emails, send a fourth one with the purpose of starting a conversation with your subscribers. Ask anything that will encourage them to engage. For instance asking what they would like to learn or what they are struggling with can help with content ideas for the future.

Asking something like, “What movie do you watch for motivation?” also suffices – you’ll possibly  have conversations with people from every corner of the globe and you’ll learn a lot about your audience.

Resources Mentioned

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Gary Vaynerchuk

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

TED Talk by Simon Sinek

Template for 3 Step Email Automation


Thanks for listening!

Are you already using email marketing to grow your startup, or are you still planning to? What practices have you been using? We’d love to hear your progress in the comments below!

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