151 FS Building Email Lists for Freelancers with Josh Earl

00:00
Download MP3

01:35 - Josh Earl Introduction

02:17 - Getting Started

05:17 - Format

07:44 - Promotion and Getting Subscribers

11:40 - Sharing Content

23:58 - Lead Magnets

  • Courses
  • Free Report
  • Content Upgrade

27:00 - Driving Traffic: Website or Email List?

35:13 - Is This [Concept] New?

42:07 - Strategies for Growth

46:38 - Facebook Ads?

49:15 - Survey Subscribers

50:09 - Marketing From the Stage (Public Speaking)

  • Texting Opt-in Services Picks

Nathan Powell: Jobs to be done, and jobs that are simply done (Eric)FlipBelt (Eric)Ez Texting (Jonathan)Perry Marshall: Look Over My Shoulder as I Craft Living Soul Connections via Email, The World’s Most Intimate Marketing Medium (Josh)Autoresponder Boot Camp (Josh)RumbleRoller Beastie Ball (Josh)TextBlade (Josh)Gumroad (Reuven)

Transcript

REUVEN: Why didn’t they just say that before?[This episode is brought to you by Audible. Audible is the first place I go to keep my business skills sharp. They offer over 150,000 books on business, finance, planning and much more. They also have a great selection of fiction that keeps me entertained when I'm just not up for some serious content. I love it because I can buy a book, download it to my iPhone, and listen while running errands or at the gym. Get your free trial at freelancersshow.com/audible]** [This episode is brought to you by Code School. Code School offers interactive online courses in Ruby, JavaScript, HTML, CSS and iOS. Their courses are fun and interesting and include exercises for the student. To level up your development skills, go to freelancersshow.com/codeschool]****[This episode is brought to you by ProXPN. If you are out and about on public Wi-Fi, you never know who might be listening. With ProXPN, you no longer have to worry. ProXPN is a VPN solution which sends all of your traffic over a secure connection to one of their servers around the world. To sign up, go to ProXPN.com and use the promo code tmtcs (short for teach me to code screencasts) to get 10% off for life]****REUVEN: Hey everyone and welcome to episode number 151 of the Freelancer show. This week on our panel we have Jonathan Stark. JONATHAN: Hello. REUVEN: Eric Davis. ERIC: Hey. REUVEN: I’m Reuven Lerner. We have a special guest this week, Josh Earl. JOSHUA: Hi there. REUVEN: So Josh, welcome to the show. Tell us a bit about yourself. JOSHUA: Sure, I am a freelance copyrighter and iOS developer. I live in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. I’m also the author of two eBooks about Sublime Texts. I run sublimetexttips.com which is an email newsletter about Sublime Texts. We have about 61,000 subscribers right now. I also run two other mailing lists which are smaller than that. One for a site called deskhacks.com which is a site to help you switch to a standing desk. The other one is my personal blog, joshuaearl.com, it’s mostly about marketing. REUVEN: Let’s ask you more about these emails. Everyone talks about having an email list as a really important, good thing to have. Could you tell us about how you started your lists and how have they been useful to you. JOSHUA: I first started getting into email marketing and email lists a couple of years ago when I was writing my first eBook about Sublime Text. I started this book on a whim after reading a couple of blog posts by Nathan Barry and Jarrod Drysdale and got inspired and started banging the thing out. I was getting to the point where I thought I should release it, and I was like “I probably need a plan to sell this thing.” So I started researching and reading books about how to launch a book. I kept seeing over and over, you’ve got to have an email list. For my book I was using a site called leanpub.com. They let you publish your book out of Dropbox basically. They publish a coming soon page for you. So without realizing it I’ve been collecting email addresses of people who were interested in my book, they were just stumbling across my page on leanpub.com and signing up to get notified when I released it. So I ended up collecting around 150-180 names on that. When it came time to do my release, I sent an email to that list with a discount code and said “Hey, here’s the beta version of it.” I think 40% of them bought the book. Then I also talked to Peter Cooper and of course he has a bunch of huge lists. He put in an announcement of my book in one of his newsletters. I sold another 50 copies of my book from that. At that point, I realized; this is where it’s at. I had a small Twitter following for my sublime account, I think I only sold like five copies of the book from that, I had several thousand followers. So the ROI on email and email newsletters, it was really obvious to me that that was the place that I needed to be. From there, I was like; “I want to keep marketing this book.” I just found several different ways to continue to build the sublime list. Mainly using Twitter, some kind of like blogging, like a content type of marketing strategy. Then where I really hit is big was over the summer I ran a contest for a free copy of Sublime Text that went bananas. It blew up all over the internet. I ended up getting 187,991 emails from that. I’ve since paired that down to people who are super interested in what I have to say. So I’ve got now about 61,000 subscribers on the Sublime Text weekly in my email newsletter. So that’s my story on how I got into it. REUVEN: I realize there are different kinds of email newsletters, but the Sublime Text newsletter as you said is like a Peter Cooper kind of newsletter where its once a week with tips and links for people who are users of Sublime Text. JOSHUA: Yeah, I’ve done several different formats. I started with like what you’re describing; more like a Peter Cooper style where it had links. I have also experimented with like a tip of the week type of just a single email with one tip. Those were really popular but they were too much work to write every week. So right now I’m back to doing more of the Peter Cooper style content, curation type of email/ that seem to work pretty well, people like that. REUVEN: When you say it works well, does it mean you get feedbacks from a lot of people, that you can sell advertising, that you can get consulting work, how does this work? JOSHUA: For that particular list, the main thing I look at is open rates and click through just to see how people are liking the content I’m putting out. Those are not always the best metrics to use. So for that newsletter, I’m not pitching often. We do run for an ad here and there for our weekly newsletter and then every once in a while I’ll do a bigger sale over on cyber Monday last year. I got together with a guy named Wes Blast who also has a book about Sublime Text and we did this kind of ultimate sublime bundle. This was the first time I’d done a sale; I did a big sale on it like 65% off. That ended up going really well. We ended up selling almost $20,000 worth of books in two days. I was happy with how that came out. Mainly I’m promoting Wes’ book and video package right now in my list. At the moment Wes is helping me; he’s putting together most of the newsletters. I’ve handed that off to him because I’ve been busy with some other projects. I just keep a pulse on the list form week to week and see are people responding to the content that we’re putting out. REUVEN: It sounds like also that a big part of this was getting the list promoted. It’s not enough to have a list, you need to have someone or some places or variety of places getting the word out so that people subscribe. Then at a certain point I assume it reaches critical mass and people just keep telling their friends and colleagues. JOSHUA: Yeah, right now I get around 300 sign ups a month typically. I’m actually not doing any promotion on that at all. That’s just organic traffic I’ve built up over the last couple of years. There’s a lot of different ways that you can start to get people coming on to the list and the way you do it really depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with the list. For this I was just really trying to promote a particular product. So if you’re promoting something that’s more of a topical product like what I have or if you’ve got a book on web development or web design that you want to promote then this type of newsletter can work really well. The contest that I did can work really well to jumpstart things. You can also do the typical guest blogging on your own site to start to drive traffic to that. I’ve had a lot of luck using Twitter. Before the contest my main strategy for building the sublime list was to curate good content on Twitter. I was getting a lot of followers from that and I periodically tweet out an invitation for people to join my mailing list and you convert people that way. So that’s a really effective way to do it. For my freelance business what I’m doing right now is actually I’m going to be using LinkedIn primarily as my way of reaching out to people. LinkedIn is great because whenever somebody connects with you, you get their email address. You can’t just go import and stick them in a mailing list, but you can go to them and say “Hey do you mind if I add you to my email list?” REUVEN:**Okay, and so where do you see this going? By the way guys, Eric and Jonathan if you have questions too [chuckles], I monopolized this.**JONATHAN: I have a bunch of questions but they’re not all a 100% related to the email specifically. So I guess I should probably –. JOSHUA: Well, fire away. JONATHAN:**I’ve had the same experience with Twitter, I’ve got a decent chunk of followers but the conversion rate is insanely low for anything you put out there. It’s almost a waste of time, I’ve actually backed away from Twitter because it’s a time suck and it doesn’t hold a lot of benefit anymore. It used to be a little bit more useful when there were fewer people in it but it’s so noisy now. I’m not a real fan. I’ve been actually been moving really strongly in the direction of building up a list. I haven’t had a ton – I’m curious about this, I have the same opinion you did about the “Geez, I see the difference between the email results and the Twitter results,” but I haven’t executed on the email part of it. So I guess if I was going to ask a question it would be; what advice would you give someone who’s just starting out? I’ve got a thousand names or 5,000 names but [crosstalk 10:58] regularly sending information to those people.**JOSHUA: Okay and this is for your blog then? JONATHAN: Not necessarily, more for my business. So it’s like trying to attract – let’s say specifically attract people to web development classes for mobile. JOSHUA:**Okay, alright so is your question mainly about how do you get subscribers or what do you do with the subscribers you have [crosstalk 11:22].**JONATHAN: How do you – I mean do you think the Peter Cooper style is the nvALT because I see a lot email courses where give you an eight day free email course or give you basically a blog post in your inbox once a week. So there’s a balance between how much effort you want to put in to it every week and what the ROI is. I’ve typically done the blog post every week but I don’t keep up with it. JOSHUA: I’ve got two different things going; with my personal blog joshuaearl.com the main thing that I’m using that for at the moment is an email course that I wrote about the giveaways that I did over the summer that got me all those email subscribers. I’m selling the product that let me do that as an affiliate. What I did – I used getdrip.com which is fantastic. I tried several email vendors including Ontraport which is one of the biggies and they’re like 300 bucks a month. Drip far and away the easiest to use, I highly recommend it. What I have there is I got like what you describe the seven day – I have the five day course that walks people through the whole process that I did to run this giveaway. It shows them from not knowing anything about the idea of running giveaways through your email list; it builds up in their mind the desire to buy this product that I used. So I’m a big fan of auto-responders; these sequences that you can put in place once and then reuse over and over. So that’s what I got going over at my personal blog. So happens is; people go through this five day course. It’s five days and then at the end they get a pitch for the product. Then I continue to hit them every few days with more information about the product and how to’s and success stories then another pitch or two. Those gradually taper, they space out further and further if people show a lot of interest throughout that sequence, like they’re clicking links and stuff. I use a feature in Drip, it’s called lead scoring where you tag people. You can say “These people shown that they’re clearly interested in learning more about marketing, so I’m putting them on this other list that’s just going to go on indefinitely.” So they’ll get emails from me spaced out indefinitely as long as I keep adding to the end of that. So you write it once and it just runs. I would highly recommend that. It sounds like for the type of thin that you’re doing, where you’re selling a course, something like that would be a really good way to go. I’m not a big fan of the weekly write a blog post, send it out once a week type because people coming on to your list later don’t get the benefit of that content, unless you queue those up in auto-responder like I’m describing. JONATHAN: Yes, that’s actually what I did is I think I have 18 months of weekly emails and there’s a few that I’m writing just in time; someone just got it today and I wrote it today. There’s people that are subscribing now that I won’t get it for like two months on. That’s worked really good because it’s less stress and I can skip a week if I need to. JOSHUA: Exactly, you’re less on the hamster wheel. People won’t notice if you miss a week and they’re on toward the end of it. They’re not going to really notice. It’s important to get people – when people first come on to your list, ideally you’d like to hit them about ten times within the first two weeks. Again, this depends on the type of list you’re building but if you can hit people about ten times in that first two weeks then you really have imprinted on them. They’re not going to forget about you in the future. What a lot of people do is you get that welcome email and then three months later, you get another email and they’re like “Who is this person?” I like courses so much because people are expecting to get an email from you every day for a week or ten days, whatever the length is. It sets an expectation, they’re not going to click the spam button. It lets you get your name familiar enough that they’re used to seeing it. After that you can taper things off, they’re not going to forget you in the course of a week or two weeks. JONATHAN: That makes a lot of sense. ERIC: There are some advance stuff you can do with that too. Josh, I was looking through your site and looks like you might have done some of this or seen some of this; the train like Perry Marshall has that you can do things with like – JOSHUA:**Yeah, I’m a huge Perry Marshall fan [chuckles]**ERIC: Yeah, you can do things with open loops, where I’ll start one email, I’ll talk about – we’ll say iOS development. So I’ll talk about getting started and then at the end I’ll leave a cliff-hanger of like you started this process, we started building something and we stopped right when we had a bug. Then next week, I’d pick up from that point and continue on but I’d wrap, add another cliff-hanger where it’s not quite resolved. The idea is from week to week, email to email, they didn’t get a complete from a to z. So in their mind its waiting for that completion psychologically so it makes people want to read the next one when it comes out. You can get really deep in that. I have a couple where I put a thought in their head in one email and I don’t actually close it out till six months later. So they want to keep reading to see if I ever close that thought out. It’s pretty interesting to see that over a longer term. JOSHUA: That’s great. JONATHAN: Eric, how much work would you say in set up did that take? Did you take a training class that you already had and you sliced it up or was it something like you sat down and say “I’m going to make this monster 18 month trip campaign” with a lot of thought into these arcs that you’re describing? ERIC: Arcs is a good word because, story arcs this is actually what I heard someone said; “Do you like what filmmakers do, make a story board where they have little sketches of each scene in the movie? I do the same thing for email, I have like; in this first email, I want to talk about this and I want to open the loop about this. The second email I want to talk about this topic and then close this other loop, and just plan that out. For me it’s like one text document and it has one line per email. I think I planned out 20 or 30 at first, and it was like what topic do I want to write about. For mine, it was actually freelancer training so I went through; when you start freelancing, anything about it, anything about this, what don’t know, what do you need to know. Just walk through the different steps someone would go through. Did that, and just added in the open loops and stuff where they would fit or where I think it’d be a good cliff-hanger. Sometimes I’d be writing a blog post about something or a newsletter and it’d be 3000 words and I would just say “Well, I’m going to split it into two emails and find a good point to make the cliff-hanger and open loop to connect to. So it’s not really that much work, if you’re writing a decent sized blog post that’s basically the same thing. Maybe a bit of forethought or if you could do any kind of content planning or a content calendar for your blog, it’s the exact same idea. JONATHAN: Really interesting. I have tons and tons of content, I do tons of webinars and I just have tons of sample code, slides and example files, definitely have the content. It’s a question of “How do I split this up in a way that’s not going to take me a week of slicing and dicing and editing and rewriting.” But the way that you described this, it seems pretty manageable. ERIC:**Like I said a month ago, I hit a [inaudible 19:05] block and I ended up just figured what’s one training course I could write, what’s one me topic I can write about? And just wrote 3-4 emails about it and just linked them together so it’s in a main sequence but it’s like its own little built in training course. I’ll probably go back and take that out and make it a public thing and jump right into there before they get into the main stuff. I’m going to be doing a lot of slicing and dicing things to make it like – if you’ve ever had them; the Choose Your Own Adventure books from back in the day.**JONATHAN: Heck yeah. REUVEN: I think Eric said that it was actually on your list that I saw. I think it was you, it might have been someone else, I think it was you, you asked a question and I saw that by clicking on it, I got different responses. It was really fascinating to see. It was more interactive than a regular email list. ERIC:**Yeah and part of that [inaudible 19:54] I was using AWeber, I’m on Drip now. AWeber, just I had to do a bunch of hacks to make it work but it would be like – I actually tell people upfront if they like a particular topic in a series of link there, click it because you get an additional bonus content, you’re showing an interest in something. One thing that I actually use that for was like if it’s the main topic of the email is about getting started and if I’m talking about fear, then you can click that or you can make it this own private training course about overcoming fear. Or if you have fear, here’s how to get around it. So you can actually segment out the subscribers; “Okay, this group over here is getting started, they have problems like overcoming their fear.” I can send targeted message to them or reach out to them directly.**JONATHAN:**These people are scared [chuckles]. Actually that segment if you wouldn’t mind me segueing off the segmentation thing. I have a list that I’ve built up overtime, it’s got a mishmash of people that have been interested in different things and I’ve like to segment them into different interests. Is that what you do, send out an email that just had three or four different divergent topics; like “Hey, if you’re into web development, click here, if you’re into mobile strategy, click here, and if you’re into playing guitar, click here.**ERIC: I’ve done that, I’ve merged a lot of other lists together into one. I used to have a couple of dozen and I sent out an email that had a bunch of that, that would tag people based on what they clicked. Like “If you don’t care about anything I want, click here to unsubscribe. If you care about this, click this, if you care about this other thing click this. Have a note, you can click as may links as you want. That’s what I did. JONATHAN: Yeah, awesome. JOSHUA: You can also go depending if you’re on Drip or I think MailChimp has a clumsy way to do this too, but with Drip you can set it up so that you can actually go in and for me; I’ve got these weekly emails that I’m sending out for sublime list and each of those links that I include has a topical slant. So it might be for JavaScript developers or CSS developers. You can go in and just apply the tags after the fact. This is a brand new feature that they just added in the last few weeks. I went in and just tagged a bunch of people; “Oh, these people are probably web designers.” That’s what you do when you’re describing the email like choose your own adventure thing. Another way to do it that I like is to offer more courses. So if you got not a responder set up and don’t have this implement just yet on my joshuaearl.com site but I’m working on a course about using Twitter to build your email list. So I’ve got people that are already on this giveaways track, they’ve demonstrated that they’re interested in building their email list with giveaways. I’ve got another course that I’m working on that I’m going to offer them. When they click that, if they click to Opt-in I’ll know that they’re interested in this other thing. Then I’ll give them another five to ten day course about a slightly related but different topic. I like to do it that way because you can – people can start to sort themselves out as they go through your auto responder sequence. JONATHAN: Do you find that you discover – are you surprised to discover that whole bunch of people are interested in one thing and not so many are interested in another thing that you thought they might be? Or is it pretty much mapped to what you guessed? JOSHUA: You can have a feel for it over time but yeah, I do get surprised from time to time. With sublime, for some reason I was thinking that it was going to be more HTML, CSS interest but JavaScript is far and away the most popular topic on there. Which in hindsight, I guess shouldn’t be too super surprising but surprise when I first discovered it. You definitely get a feel overtime for what people respond to. People love themes for example, changing the colors. JONATHAN: Wow. You mentioned lead magnets a couple of times and I think you’ve exclusively talked about courses, are there other things that you found really good as a lead magnet? JOSHUA: Yeah, I do. The courses I think that are really good. You can also do a free report, that’s been overused to the point where it’s a little bit less effective now. I mean some people even just say, get free tips. You’ll get some people that way but definitely it’s got to be something more than that if you want to build your list quickly. One approach that I’ve used a couple of times that worked really well is the content upgrade. Where you actually go in for each – if you have a really popular blog post, you can do this after the fact or beforehand. You make the blog post deliberately incomplete, and then you offer them some kind of tool or further information if they Opt-in from that specific blog post. It can be a little clumsy to set up but it can work really well. For one of my most popular blog post on the Sublime Text site, I think I was getting an Opt-in rate of close to 15% on that. I’ve also found that instead of doing a big huge honking ebook which takes a lot of time and effort to create, that something that’s a lot more focused, it solves one very specific problem works a lot better. So you can save yourself a ton of time and just put together a one page, like a cheat sheet; something really short, easy to absorb. If people downloaded an ebook, chances are its just going to sit in their hard drive and they’re not going to read it. JONATHAN: Great point. ERIC: That’s something Clay Collins from Bleak Pages, he basically talks about – I’ve had good results of that, not a huge amount of numbers but I would actually go back to old posts and add him in. It’s the kind of thing – I had a blog post talking about deploying a Rails app to a server. The free thing you would download are the three host site I would recommend for Rails hosting. It’s like maybe two sentences of content per each of the three. It’s nicely designed. That’s all you have to do. It’s pretty simple, anyone can get it, digest it take the actual recommendations and get value from everything in like five minutes. JOSHUA:**Lead pages actually, I have Lead pages as well and that’s actually the main reason why because with Lead pages you can make these like one up sign up forms that let you just send out something like that like just the one up freebie. Versus like if you’re on MailChimp, oh my gosh it’s such a pain. I don’t even know if it’s possible to implement this on MailChimp because you got to figure out a way to make your welcome email different for different Opt-in forms. [Crosstalk 26:44]**JONATHAN: That’s the problem in AWeber you have to make a whole new list for each one a new welcome email. That’s where I had dozens of list because I had a bunch of these different ones. JOSHUA: With Drip you can do different campaigns and just make it a one email campaign where they just send out that one welcome message. JONATHAN: So let me ask you guys a philosophical thing because you’re obviously way more into this than I have been. Are you trying to drive people to your website or using your website to drive people to your email list? What is the website even for? JOSHUA: In my opinion the list is the ultimate destination. Everything I do, I try to point at my list because that’s the only place I can reliably build a relationship with people. My main goal with the website is to put content out there that is going to be SCO friendly. Because you get this problem where if you’re trying to really build a relationship with people, the type of content that does really well in SCO is often not great for relationship building. It tends to be these really long detailed how to blog post. You can bond with people through that type of thing, but it’s much more effective if you can use that kind of thing to bring people in. get them on your email list and then send them emails that are a little bit more emotional content and that’s where the relationship really forms in my opinion. ERIC: Yeah, that’s the same for me. Naomi Dunford from IttyBiz, she had a – I don’t know if it’s around but she had a course about figuring out your blog and part of that is you really sit down and there nine different options you can choose of “I want my blog to do this.” You want to build a community on a blog with tons of comments. And for me the primary purpose of my blog is to get newsletter subscribers and the reason why is like Josh is saying once our newsletter subscriber, it’s easier to build a relationship, it’s easier to build trust. So I took off comments, I put a lot of Opt-in not boxes, I made it easier for someone to find a way to Opt-in. the purpose of the list is, depending on what the list is for, like help people out, establish my authority, and then increase product sales. That’s my focus, and my website is just the public tip of the ice berg as far as the content I produce. REUVEN: So it sounds like, correct me if I’m wrong that your goal is to get people on the email list because then you’ll be able to have this ongoing relationship with them. And somehow or other they will then connect with you and want to buy your products and services. The website is a way, as you said SCO, letting people find a lot of different ways onto your list. ERIC: Yeah, it’s to turn the anonymous visitor that you see in Google Analytics into an actual person. JONATHAN: Exactly, the website is not two-way, it’s anonymous. When I look at the analytics, I use the MailChimp right now but I’m switching to drip because you guys are not the first ones to tell me how great it is. When you look at your Google Analytics compared to even MailChimp; “I know exactly who clicked on what, that’s crazy.” Compared to Google where you’re just flying blind, you’re like; ‘Okay, there’s five people on this page right now, what am I supposed to do about that?” Nothing, you can’t do anything. I’m sold. JOSHUA: A lot of people tend to think that “This organic traffic I’m getting from Google is really great, high quality traffic.” But that’s not, I’ve not actually seen that to be the case. Google is consistently my worst, one of my worst traffic sources in terms of getting people onto my email list. If three percent of the people, you’ve worked your butt off to get people to come to your website and then only three percent even enough care about what you’re doing to hear more about it on a regular basis, that’s just not – I want to put my effort into building relationships with the people that care about what I’m saying enough to want to stick around. REUVEN: I’ve been sort of fascinated with – I have an email list now for, I’ve been taking it seriously for about 3-4 months, maybe even less. Even during that time, I’ve been fascinated to see how much more interactive it is that people respond to me. I think I’ve mentioned on the podcast before, I’ve been writing a column every month in Linux Journal for 20 years now. I think that I have received more responses to my email newsletter in two months than I have in 20 years of writing a column. Part of that I think is I’ve adopted some of the techniques that people have taught about always have questions and encourage people to write you and so on and so forth. They’re right there in their email program so they can. But I definitely think there’s something more intimate and something more special about the newsletter that people feel like “Yeah, I want to respond, I want to tell him what I think.” I feel like I know much more about what people want and beyond that. I was always skeptical about these email sending programs. I use AWeber, whether it’s AWeber, MailChimp and so forth then I said “Come on, I could just send an email list with the mailman; Google groups.” I see the massive difference; that you can see the open rights, you can see what people are clicking on, you can see what’s interesting to people, what’s not interesting to people. It sounds to me that drip is as far ahead as AWeber and MailChimp as those are ahead of standard email list programs. JOSHUA:**Yeah, it’s pretty far ahead. I think for me so after I switched to Drip, MailChimp came out with a bunch of automation stuff, so I haven’t looked into that too much. For me Drip takes a lot of the feature, it has some features that the others don’t have. But it really – for me the biggest difference is the UI and that I can actually get, it’s easy to use and I can talk to Rob [chuckles]. Rob actually will build features based on user request versus like ignoring them and falling into the black hole.**ERIC:**Yeah, [inaudible 32:33] best feature and now [inaudible 32:35] the founder.**JOSHUA: Yeah, he’s awesome. They’re whole team is awesome. REUVEN:**I’ll just say also I’ve been listening to Startups For the Rest of Us, Rob’s podcast for a while and I remember listening to it while he was going through the development of Drip. I kept rolling my eyes saying “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me. He’s doing this thing for email automation, how serious is this [inaudible 32:58] could it be.” It seems to me while he actually explore this business pretty well and everyone I heard talking about Drip is just raving about it. So it sounds like he did a good job of listening to people and putting in features they need and continuing to do that.**ERIC:**One thing that’s really interesting intrepidly is that I know that there’s other ones that you do this to so it’s not just a Drip show. It is the Lead scoring, I think it’s beta right now in Drip. I was talking with Rob, he says he’s just rolling it out. I actually just seen a few bugs here and there. But the idea is it’s basically a score for him I think zero to a hundred but it can go above a hundred. And it’s when someone signs up they get a score of forty and how they interact with you and your list, that score goes up or down. If they subscribe but don’t ever open your emails, don’t even do anything, it goes down like say three pints a week. But if someone replies opens you emails, clicks your links and all that, the score goes up. The idea is this is kind of a sales foresee sight; that if you have a limited amount of time you can go and say who are the people that have a Lead score of 60 or above and you could send them like a personal email or you can give them a special coupon code or you can treat them as your better customers because they are interacting a few more and they have more of that engagement. The nice thing is Drip has that – it’s pretty well integrated in there and a workflow problem, the automation stuff. There’s a lot you can do in there, I’m pretty sure you can even do triggers like once this subscriber hits a Lead score of 80 or above send them a special email automatically. Or I think [inaudible 34:30] do is have them email the sales person. So what I’m going to do, the idea is I have two training course for my freelance business stuff [inaudible 34:40] product. I’m going to build more of those and hook it up so that as people get interested, their Lead scores are going to go up and it’s going to tell me “Hey, this person’s engaged.” I can follow up with them, so I don’t have to go out and chase leads. They can sign up in my list and then I can practically reach out to them. In fact just yesterday, I got someone who’s subscribed to my list and contacted me about a project so that’s already starting to pay off. I’ve only had it in place for a week or so.**JONATHAN: This is really wild, the whole thing is flipping. Is this new or am I just starting to notice it? JOSHUA:**It’s not new [chuckles].**REUVEN: It’s funny you mentioned that Jonathan. I’ve also heard a ton in the last say year. It seems to be JONATHAN: Yeah, it seems to be growing now or at least in my community as it is. REUVEN:**I [inaudible 35:31] email list and so forth. Suddenly really in the last year, I feel like everyone saying “What, you don’t have an email list? You must do this.” It was years ago that a friend of mine told me about AWeber, I was like “Come on, what could they really do?” I started to see this, I’m also wondering though – I mean Eric and Josh do you think we’ve reached peak email list? Have we reached the point where there’s a limit to how many email list people can subscribe to and how engaged they can be.**ERIC: Here’s the question, have we reached peak book, have we reached peak learning, have we done everything there is? The real question isn’t like have you subscribed to too many list? It’s have you subscribed to the list that are giving you value when you want to open versus just the junk list? JOSHUA: There’s also – another component is that; maybe there’s ten email lists about Angular JS. People get to know you and they want to hear your take on it. So I could go off and on where I’m on a ton of internet marketing type list then I’ll unsubscribe from a whole bunch. There’s a handful that I’ll probably never unsubscribe from. People come and go but no, I don’t think we’ve hit the peak yet. Google keeps trying to kill this by the promotions tab was their latest – they rolled that out last year. They started to filter out a lot of the mass emails we send but the people that want this stuff it’s growing definitely. ERIC: As far as history wise Infusionsoft is – they’re a huge software company, I don’t remember – you’re paying multiples of what you’ve paid anyone else. They’ve been doing this email automation, sales automation stuff for a long time. AWeber’s been around I think since the 90s. I think what’s happened is, this is internet technology in general, most of the internet innovation starts in the porn industry and the internet marketing industry because that’s where the money is. Then it slowly leaks through. The stuff I’m talking about now is from a training I took two years ago that was I think three years old at that time. It’s more main stream at least than the developer, text circles now but internet markers have been using this stuff for several years if not a dozen years already. JOSHUA: At least ten for sure. ERIC: The general public might start using it and another five or six years it’s where you’re at kind of on the adoption curve and what industry to JONATHAN:**I believe all that but it’s kind of a Sea Change for someone like me who has a web development background because it positions your website which is the main thing that you think about as a fairly low value endeavor and that is something that is really not worth spending too much time on. Just put something out there in WordPress, put your content out there and try to feed everybody into this email list which is, it’s almost counter intuitive because it’s invisible content to everyone who’s not on the list. So there’s always something about the web and I’m 46 so when the web came out, I was already well into my adult age range. I was like “This is the most awesome thing ever.” This coming from a guy who used to go around with paper flyer stapling the telephone poles to get people to come to my shows. The internet was like “You got to be kidding me, the internet is the best thing ever.” Because it’s like someone in Japan can see this, but someone from Japan is not coming to my show. On the one hand it was like so awesome and so new and different and powerful compared to what we had before it. But now I feel like the pendulum is almost flinging back a little bit, being like yeah I have a place holder page here and there. It doesn’t really matter if it’s host in your own domain or on [inaudible 39:25] who cares? Just get them on your email list so you can interact with them directly. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing but it’s definitely a shift. Then it calls into question all the – I’m assuming that you guys don’t bother with the HTML emails other that just for click checking. I’m assuming you’re not doing these big huge image heavy design emails, is that correct?**JOSHUA: Yep JONATHAN: It calls the whole notion of web design into question, like what’s the value of spending a ton of time on web design when you can spend ten bucks on a WordPress theme and be done with it. ERIC:**It also depends. For myself, I’m not good at design and I don’t want to spend a lot of time on it like learning it either. I care more about the content and the writing and that aspect. Like I said the stuff from IttyBiz, my blog is like a generic WordPress theme, it’s a good one but it’s very generic-y. It’s even just like a single column. I have it so I can choose basically any website I could use. I use actually the default WordPress themes for a little while just different colors to match my branding. I was fine with that, that’s my choice because I want people on my list and I want to build a relationship and all that on there. But look at Groupon or Kickstarter, they have very nice websites but they really [inaudible 40:41] their email list to get you back to their very nice website. So it all depends on what strategy to want to do, if you could still do – you’re are talking about where you have a very good very well put together, very well designed site and your email list could just be basically the more socially acceptable version of the RSS; I have a new post about X, Y, and Z click here to go there, and that’s all that it.**REUVEN:**I was going to ask you what you thought about that because there are definitely some email list I’m on where they say “It’s my new weekly newsletter, I have a new posting on my blog.” [Chuckles] Is that acceptable?**JOSHUA: I think there’s nothing really wrong with it. If you’re doing that though you’re not really using the power of what you got. At that point, you’re turning your email list into another traffic source for you blog, that in my opinion is backwards. It still gets people engaging with you regularly, so there’s definitely benefit to that. I would do that over not doing anything. ERIC:**I like that for people who are getting started with email. They’re not ready to make a separate email strategy but they want to get people on the list and they want to keep people slightly engaged. That’s a good interim step or regularly feed or have the time to do stuff. Actually have a certain segment on my list where in addition to the weekly training [inaudible 41:57], new blog post I put out. You can mix and match them but I would agree, it’s not the best use of the email list and your resources but if that’s all you can do that’s all you can do.**REUVEN:**I don’t think we really talked about this too much, what’s a good source? Let’s say I want to start an email list, let’s say I wanted to grow my email list. My list has been growing but not by leaps and bounds. What are some good strategies I can employ to get it to really grow, and not just [inaudible 42:23] but people who are really interested in what I’m doing?**JOSHUA: For me, aside from the giveaway thing that I did; the most effective ways that I found have been Twitter, I was basically curating content. Tweeting out stuff several times a day actually and picking up a lot of new Twitter followers form that and then periodically pushing those people to go sign up to my newsletter. That has worked really well for me. Another strategy that has worked really well and not all blogs will let you do this; if you can get guest post on a really good blog that’s high traffic, and they will allow you to link to your newsletter, or ideally to some premium that’s related to the topic of the blog post, that can work really well. That’s actually the main way that I’m growing my joshuaearl.com blog post. I wrote a blog post about the giveaway that I did and I convinced Pat Flynn from Passive Income to let me post it up there as a guest post. He was kind enough to let me link back to my site. What I did was I got a coupon code for that plugin. So everybody that reads that blog post on Smart Passive Income is offered this coupon code it clicks through. They sign up for my newsletter, and I send it to them via the newsletter. Then I also Drip out more content about that WordPress plugin. In the future, that’s probably the main thing that I’m going to be doing is looking for high traffic blogs that are going to let me actually link up to my site and my newsletter. ERIC: In the interest of giving a strategy and instead of stuff that might not work, say and SCO and the SCO stops working. Any kind of marketing or any kind of way to get quote traffic to your site that has worked or can work. That’s basically how you can build your newsletter stuff. As long as you provide enough value on the front end and you give people ways to joining your newsletter. Those can work, and they’ll work differently. I have very poor success to getting Twitter to product sales, like getting Twitter to sign ups really worked good for me. I haven’t been doing guest stuff but regularly blogging it’s a small trickle but that works too. I’ve even done ad works for six months and I think six months and that works recently well. I don’t think the people were as engaged because they didn’t know me they didn’t have a little bit of trust. But that worked really well, I stopped because I didn’t have time to manage it but it was well worth the cost of getting the subscriber on at that point. I mean any traffic strategy could work. So if ten years from now if there are no more blogs like whatever is current at that time, it’s probably going to be able to work for email. REUVEN: What do you put on Twitter to get people to subscribe? Do you just say “Subscribe to my mailing list,” or is it link to the latest post? JOSHUA: I use Twitter Legion cards, they were developed for Twitter ads. It’s a special tweet that you can send that has a one click subscribe option. I think 75% or 73% of Twitter users are on iOS client so these people are on mobile. They do not want to click through to a website and fill out a form. So if you can give them a one click subscribe option, that works really well, and you can set that up with Drip or MailChimp or any other email provider. REUVEN: That’s really neat; I had no idea that was possible. And that actually has a reasonable ROI or a reasonable response rate. JOSHUA: Yes, actually I tweeted out. I did an accidental experiment a few months ago, I had like 13,000 followers and I tweeted out a link to an Opt-in form and then a couple of hours later I actually getting these lead cards set-up so I think I tweeted out to 13,000 people and I got like five sign up. So that kind of gives you an idea on what the “Power of Twitter.” So I did that and a couple of hours later, I was setting up this lead card for the first time and I accidentally tweeted it out and I got 50 sign ups within five minutes, it was insane. So it was a much higher conversion rate on those. You can use them for free you can also pay Twitter to put them in front of people if you don’t have a big following. JONATHAN: What about Facebook, it seems like Facebook is more similar to the Facebook ads because they have these – I’ve never used them but it seems like you’d be able to more directly target them so if you’re trying to sell Sublime Text tips book. Presumably people would mention on Twitter and their profile that they’re JavaScript developer and you’d be able to target that group specifically, have you ever tried that? JOSHUA: I’ve done a little bit with Facebook’s ads, they can work really well for some business. I didn’t have a lot of luck with my Sublime stuff with Facebook but they can work really well for business. It tends to be business that are more identity driven, if you had a book about how to eat Paleo, oh my god that would be killer on Facebook. Technical stuff, it can work, it cannot work it depends. Facebook’s also gotten – Facebook and Google lately have gotten super strict about letting you promote Opt-in forms they try to – they will just ban your account if you’re not super careful. JONATHAN: They don’t want you to advertise a way of their platform. JOSHUA: That’s my opinion. Yes, basically if it works and in the long run it makes you less dependent on them, they are eager to ban you. JONATHAN: I think another side of it is if you’re jumping to a product from an ad Google or Facebook they can see the entire thing they could see what you’re trying to sell them if you send people to an Opt-in and then have off the web of how you’re selling the product. Someone might sign up for a Paleo book and then the marketer has a list, ends up sending all these really spam-y emails, that’s going to reflect bad on Google. But Google will never know that, their spider can’t crawl into your – well, I don’t think it can, get into your email and see what it’s doing. So I think that’s the other side of it, it’s clamping down on the content, clamping down on the misuse of it, or the misleading of advertising. JONATHAN:**I think I’m echoing Reuven saying that this is completely fascinating trend. I mean, I get you guys that it’s a decade – I mean its direct mail [chuckles]**JOSHUA: Which isn’t dead by the way either. JONATHAN: Yeah, it’s not dead either. So it’s not new but it’s probably just in my circles. It’s a sea change for people like me, when you put it like that. It’s a major shift. To say that your website is basically – my website for me has always been a final destination. Push everybody to the website, now it’s more like the very lame top of the funnel. REUVEN: Yeah, it’s really been fascinating for me. I tell you one more thing. I’m taking baby steps with my email list but I wasn’t really sure what people wanted me to write about and I wasn’t really sure what sort of topics people were interested in terms of future products. So I got this Great suggestion, “Why don’t you do a survey?” So I sent out, I put up a survey on SurveyMonkey and I sent out a link to my list and I said “Hey, please tell me what you want to hear about.” People responded, with extra comments. It was amazing, basically people wrote for me what my next product should be. Then I said “What do you think of this new product?” And they said “Wow, what a great idea.” “Well, I didn’t come up with it, did I guys?” But that sort of interaction is just amazing and see that it provides a really tight loop with the subscribers and they feel more invested. It’s just great for everyone. JONATHAN: Do you guys have any advice for people who do a lot of public speaking or like this podcasts, what’s they called action if I’m on stage talking about something? Do I just push them to a landing page on my site or do I go for it and say email me at, or do I say text me at? JOSHUA: You want to get fancy about it, I have not looked into this myself because I don’t do a lot of public speaking at the moment but there are services you can get where people can text their email address to a number and get automatically opted in. You give them some kind of give away. If it were me, I’d try to come up with something specific to the talk I was doing and offer that as a giveaway instead of something like that. The less friction there is, the more people are going to follow through. I’ve heard of people getting 60%, 70% of the room to sign up. Those are really high quality people because they travelled some distance to hear what you have to say. JONATHAN: Yeah, my experience with convergence in a live speaking engagement is very high. ERIC:**I’m probably not going to do public speaking in the near future, but if I did I would have a custom [inaudible 51:23] at the end for the pupil. I would give away my slides for free, but I would say if you Opt-in you can get a talking head video plus the slides of me during a practice session going through the content. So you get a recording of the similar content right away. Maybe give a PDF transcript of what you said and then if you can figure out some kind of bonus, I could talk about mobile stuff; a PDF about different mobile. I think at MicroConf a couple of people had – one guys was just launching a new training course on a certain topic that was targeted towards business owners at MicroConf. He had a very good presentation, very good content and I think everyone in the room when he put up the page, everyone put their head down; everyone was Opt-in in. That’s 400 Opt-ins in a span of two minutes. [Crosstalk 52:15]**JONATHAN:**I love the talk [inaudible 52:16] because you had to do that in preparation anyway. Why not just record it?**JOSHUA: Yeah, you could even do director’s cut or bonus features because from what I understand a lot people cut things and if you’re recording the video you don’t have to do that. REUVEN:**That’s great [crosstalk 52:34]. If we don’t have any more questions or comments I think we should wrap up and move to the picks. Alright, so Eric have you got any picks for us this week?**ERIC:Okay so one pick is from Nathan Powell, it’s an article called Jobs to be done, and jobs that are simply done. It’s a really good article it talks about – I think everyone gets this feeling of when you look back over the past week or month, sometimes even a year, it feels like you didn’t do much. So he talks some experiences of that and how he shifted his mindset around it. I’ve done something similar this year alone, so I recommend reading it and trying it out. The second pick, I’ve been scaling up my running to get ready for a couple of races. I’ve been trying to figure out how to carry food and water. So a couple of weeks ago I bought something called a flip belt. It’s an elasticized piece of fabric that goes around your waist that has four little pockets. So it’s like a tube that you can put stuff in it, put it all around your waist. It’s actually working really well this last week I ran basically a marathon distance. Almost a six-hour run, just with this and two water bottles. So you can carry a significant amount you don’t have to have a big pack on or worried about [inaudible 53:49]. The marketing for it, it’s very focused towards females, but if you get the black one it actually looks fine on me. Obviously I’m not a female. It’s nice it’s very comfortable, it’s the one thing I found that doesn’t actually ride up or fall off when you’re running. I highly recommend it, I’ve been testing it for a while.REUVEN: Excellent. Jonathan, any picks for us? JONATHAN:The rose gold apple watch for $17,000, I think that that would be mine for the week [chuckles], no. Since we are talking about marketing from the stage, I’ve been experimenting with a product called Ez Texting, eztexting.com which in my research is the easiest one for doing the kind of from the stage called action. Where they give you a short code, my short code right now is hamburger because I’m about to do a talk for a chain restaurant industry conference. So when they tell everyone in the room to text hamburger to 313131 and they’ll get an automated drip series which is just for example that I’m going to demo for them. If you did that to your listener you would see that it automatically responds and you could automatically sign people to a list ask for an email address. So I’m experimenting with that, I think it’s pretty interesting enough. I’ve tried several different products so if you’re into trying to do different kinds of SMS marketing which I think is incredibly powerful, eztexting.com is a great place to start. I think it’s the best one, it’s the best one I found.REUVEN: Very nice. Josh, do you have any picks with you for the podcast? JOSHUA: I do, yeah. I’ve got a couple here. So we mentioned Perry Marshall early on. He’s one of my favorite marketing people, and I really connected with him because he’s an engineer. So he tend to take – he’s an internet marketing type but he does not have a lot of scam-y hype-y feel to him. He’s got two courses that are really good. They’re expensive but if you’re serious about this type of thing, they’re definitely worth checking out. One is called the Look over Perry’s Shoulder email writing course. It’s about $500 but it is like a three hour walk through where he sits down with people and picks apart their business and writes email for them. It’s fantastic, it’s great it’s like a copyrighting crash course. Then going up to an even more expensive product, he’s got – it’s called Autoresponder Boot Camp. The cheapest package I think is about 997 but it’s a two day seminar that he did of all about how he sets up his email list and covers most of a lot of the stuff that we talked about here. Those are both worth checking out. They’re expensive but that’s the type of investment that can really pay off in the long haul. So on a more personal level, I have had a problem for a long time ever since I was a teenager where I have a severe pain under my left shoulder blade. Basically I’ve come to find out that it’s been caused by trigger points and knots in my back muscles and I discovered this really cool massage ball called the Beastie Ball. This hard as a rock little nasty thing with spines on it, you put on the ground and you lay on it, you put pressure on the pressure points. It’s like giving yourself a massage. That definitely has made my week a lot of fun. I’ve been experimenting with that. Last one here is something I don’t have yet but I’m excited about – it’s called a TextBlade. It’s a new keyboard for iPhone, iPad. It’s pretty amazing, I don’t know how it’s going to work out in practice. They basically have this keyboard that snaps apart and fits in about the space of two packs of gum side by side. They’ve really rethought the keyboard experience and I’m a sucker for writing in good keyboard. It’s worth checking out. That’s at waytools.com. REUVEN: Excellent. I got one pick for this week. I’ve been involved in re-launching my book and printing other packages. As part of that, I got a recommendation form a friend of mine to use Gumroad for handling the purchasing. I was using getdpd before and they were fine, they were nice but oh my goodness, Gumroad is over the top amazing both in terms of their – if you’ve bought anything online in the last year or two, I don’t know how long they’ve been around but you’ve almost certainly used Gumroad at some point. Their interface is so nice and so easy for users and it turns out for product creators it is similarly easy and nice. I emailed their support people and they got back to me right away. I was very impressed, so for this week I’m going to pick Gumroad. I think that wraps it up for the show. So thanks josh so much for joining us. I certainly had learned a ton. Hope our listeners did too. JOSHUA: Thank you for having me. REUVEN: We will see everyone next week when hopefully Chuck is back. Bye everyone. [This episode is sponsored by MadGlory. You've been building software for a long time and sometimes it gets a little overwhelming. Work piles up, hiring sucks and it's hard to get projects out the door. Check out MadGlory. They're a small shop with experience shipping big products. They're smart, dedicated, will augment your team and work as hard as you do. Find them online at MadGlory.com or on Twitter @MadGlory.]**[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at BlueBox.net]**[Bandwidth for this segment is provided by CacheFly, the world’s fastest CDN. Deliver your content fast with CacheFly. Visit cachefly.com to learn more]**[Would you like to join a conversation with the Freelancers’ Show panelists and their guests? Wanna support the show? We have a forum that allows you to join the conversation and support the show at the same time. Sign up at freelancersshow.com/forum]

Sign up for the Newsletter

Join our newsletter and get updates in your inbox. We won’t spam you and we respect your privacy.