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So What? Email Marketing

So What? Marketing Analytics and Insights Live

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In this week’s episode of So What? we focus on email marketing. We walk through cleaning your subscriber list and re-engaging your audience. Catch the replay here:

So What? Email Marketing


In this episode you’ll learn: 

  • Evergreen list hygiene best practices
  • New year, new jobs
  • Re-engaging subscribers

Upcoming Episodes:

  • SEO (1/10)
  • Social Media & SMM (1/17)
  • Consulting (1/24)
  • Change Management (1/31)

Have a question or topic you’d like to see us cover? Reach out here:

AI-Generated Transcript:

Katie Robbert 0:25
Well, Happy New Year. Welcome to the first episode of 2022 of SWOT the marketing analytics insights live show. I’m Katie joined by Chris and John. guys. How’s it going? Happy New Year.

Christopher Penn 0:38
Happy New Year,

John Wall 0:40
New Year, same dumpster fires. That’s where I’m at today.

Katie Robbert 0:44
Always the optimist John, I love it. Um, on today’s episode, we’re talking about email marketing. And so the reason we wanted to talk about email marketing, it’s one of those topics that is, number one is always worth revisiting, because there’s, you know, no shortage of things to be thinking about with your email marketing. But today, we’re talking about email marketing, because with the new year comes lots of new jobs, people are moving, you know, they’ve changed their email address. And we wanted to talk about some list hygiene, best practices, we want to talk about, you know, sort of a new year new jobs, what does that mean for your subscriber numbers? And then how do we engage those people? And so that’s where we’re going to focus today. So again, feel free to drop comments and questions into the channel. And we’ll definitely try to get to all of them. But So Chris, with email marketing, knowing that email is the thing that you are the most excited about when it comes to digital marketing? You know, what do we need to know about, you know, New Year new jobs, you know, everyone’s changing jobs, you know, emails are bouncing, how do we reengage people? Where do we start

Christopher Penn 2:00
this, there’s three things that we need to do, in order to make email marketing effective. Number one, is, and this is something that’s really important, this is the Trust Insights newsletter, which you can get at trust And you will notice that the in the production version is on the right, there’s a big red unsubscribe here, right, we put this very near the top, and there’s also another one we put down at the bottom in Gale, for people who are looking for that make it easy for people to get off your list. When you’re sending out emails to folks on your list, and someone’s moved on for a not a shorter period of time. What happens a lot of organizations is that email is then forwarded to you know, that person’s boss or whatever. And, again, we want to make it easy for people to get off the newsletter list. So if somebody’s boss is getting his newsletter, I don’t really want this thing. We don’t want him to hit the spam button, you know, we don’t want to hit them hitting the report spam, we want to make it easy and obvious for them to just eat themselves off the list. And to the extent that they can do that, with big, obvious calls to action, that’s the way we’re gonna go. That that is by far. Number one, I think the easiest thing to every email marketer every marketer should be looking at.

Katie Robbert 3:15
It’s interesting, because I think we definitely approach it differently than a lot of other email newsletters, you know, and I can’t, you know, I’m not gonna think of any off the top my head. But as someone who gets a lot of email newsletters, and sometimes ones that I didn’t sign up for, I struggled to find the unsubscribe button. And I feel like there’s some fear and insecurity with making it easy for people to opt out. Because then you’re because then the idea is like, well, then people will start to opt out. Well, guess what, that’s okay. It’s okay. If people say I don’t want this, because it could be for a variety of reasons. One, you may need to produce better content to bring people back in. Or to, to your point, Chris, maybe they’re leaving their job, and it’s just not relevant to them anymore.

Christopher Penn 4:02
Well, think about this every week, what do we do? One of the things that I report to you as the CEO is the number of email newsletter subscribers, right that is a a marketing metric we pay attention to and in an organization that is perhaps not as collaborative as we are. You’d be afraid to publish a loss like, Hey, Katie, I’m going to go clean the list and I can guarantee you we’re going to lose 1000 subscribers, right? You probably would not find that welcome news, particularly in a in a less collaborative organization.

Katie Robbert 4:32
You’re absolutely right. And, you know, to be completely transparent and honest, we do see, you know, a loss of a couple of 100 people week over week because we do very diligently clean the list and we know that a lot of the emails are that are being lost or people who have switched jobs. You know, emails that have bounced emails that are invalid. A lot of you know test at test comm which we don’t want you In our database anyway, because then the number of bounces will then affect our deliverability. So I’m, I’m of the opinion that I would rather have the right people reading the thing, and a smaller number than this mass, you know, newsletter that goes out to a bunch of anonymous people who never really understand what the content is.

Christopher Penn 5:24
Exactly. So that’s number one is make it easy for people to leave number two, and probably I think one of the most important things that again, we forget to do is take a look at your metrics. Right? So this is the attribution analysis. This is our the December analysis for Trust Insights. And when we look at the top channels that create conversions for us, and for us conversion is typically a FORM FILL, because we’re a B2B company. email is is a sizeable chunk of those top conversions, right? It’s it’s 75% of our conversions. And so for us, then list cleanliness, and reengagement are top priorities, right? If email was 2%, like, yeah, okay, you know, maybe we, you know, that goes on the we’ll get to it list, but when it’s, the majority, or the vast majority of your conversions is like, Yeah, you can’t get to it whenever you it’s a priority. So you know, step two is take a look at your overall metrics. And then once you’ve looked at your raw metrics, go into whatever email marketing software, you use. This I use, for example, and we use this company, AWS, we use Amazon Simple email service. And one of the things that they tell you is that you can look at your bounce rate and your complaint rate. And these two numbers tell you about the health of your list, your bounce rate is the number of emails that you have just says that this email no longer exists, you know, stop sending email to it, and your complaint rates and other people who hit that Report Spam button, and Amazon gives us this data in real time as we send out emails, so we can look at and go okay, you know, how are we doing? So our rates here, point? Well, it basically is almost zero, across the board. So from a health perspective, this is good. This is what we want to see. The if you look at their their basic dashboard, they tell you, so for bounces your at a warning level of 5%. Right, if 5% your list bounces, you’re you’re in danger of 10% your lists bounces, Amazon may suspend us from Nielsen emails, do I look at a complaint rates, you know, point 1% Is your warning. And point 5% Is your account at risk. So again, these are sort of a nice little dashboard. And most marketing automation software, most email marketing software will have something like this. But the onus is on us as marketers to check and say, Okay, how close are we to that line?

Katie Robbert 7:58
You know, so it’s funny, because you started by saying that the number that you report to me, as the CEO is the total number of subscribers, which I think is you know, an important metric. But this information, to me is much more valuable, because again, we could have, you know, 100 million subscribers to the newsletter. But if all of these metrics are saying that we’re doing it wrong, we’re reaching the wrong people. It’s bouncing, we’re spamming people, that’s more important to me. So for I always put quality over quantity.

Christopher Penn 8:35
Exactly. And so again, these these measures, your bounce rate and complaint rate are two things you very much want to look at, to understand the hygiene of your list, right, because these are things that are either the address is bad, or the person just not only do they not want it, they’re not willing to go through the process of unsubscribing. They’re, they’re they’re attempting to punish us, the marketer for emailing them. So we want to keep an eye on these things. So those are the the diagnostics. The next thing that I’d suggest that you do for cleaning your list is there’s sort of two stages to the cleaning process. One, there’s easy stuff that you can fix, right? So if you are if you look in your email marketing software, we can’t show this obviously could be showing people’s identifiable information on screen. It could be that there are things like when someone’s typing in their email address, like you know, writing GMI a Elsanna And yes, silly misspellings from major ISPs. Part of your cleanup, and it’s something that should be done on a regular and frequent basis. Go into your software and clean your list of the easy stuff, right. So the spelling, Hotmail misspelling, AOL misspelling, any of those things where you know, there are known variations that are wrong, go in and fix them. With our stuff, we actually have a piece of software it’s automated that That doesn’t automatically so it auto corrects it. But you can you that’s one of the things you can do in an Excel spreadsheet, right? You can just look for bad domains and fix them as you go through.

Katie Robbert 10:11
All right, John hotseat? How many of these things are you doing with the marketing over coffee email list?

John Wall 10:17
Yeah, we’re actually the marketing over coffee list is pretty solid, I have to put out there that digital is our support on that front. So we have a reputable vendor. And I think that’s one of my biggest complaints based on what we’ve kicked out so far. As you know, it’s not 2006 anymore. If somebody unsubscribes they should be off the lists within a day or two. Like, I’ve seen too many of these systems still where you unsubscribe, and you get some kind of thing that says, okay, yeah, the mailings will stop in about a week or so, maybe longer. And that’s just ridiculous. And that will go straight to your complaints. Because you know, that if you unsubscribe and you keep getting emails for over the next five days, your odds of getting spam reports go through the roof on that kind of stuff. But yeah, we were pretty solid on that front. The bigger problems, we’re just not creating the content fast enough. That’s the bottleneck for us the interest, like many marketing organization, we’ve spent all we need on the tools, we’re just not doing the hard work of actually taking advantage of the stuff. So but yeah, no, compliance is not a problem at least.

Katie Robbert 11:23
So we know your 2022 goals now. Yeah, right,

John Wall 11:28
content calendar and actually execute.

Christopher Penn 11:33
And then the third thing you can do, and I think it’s a good idea to do is on a regular basis, but not necessarily a frequent basis, consider using any one of a zillion different services to audit your list and see what condition it’s in. So this is one I use one called Million verifier. But there’s zero bounce, never bounce Hobbico there’s so many different vendors out there. And what you do is you load your email list to these services, and they test the addresses they see, okay, is this working is this, an address that looks like a roll address, like info at, for example, be a catch all or roll address is the deliverability status unknown. And then the most important ones, which are the ones that are invalid, or just flat out not working, I would say, depending on going back to your attribution model, when we look at that, that model, if you’re under 10% of your conversions are coming from email that may be clean your list like once a year, right? Because your software should be doing some cleaning throughout the year. So maybe you just do a big health check once a year. If your conversions from email are over 50%, you probably want to be doing this like quarterly. You know, doing big cleans quarterly because even though again, like somebody’s address, may or may not may stop working at some point, it may not result in as big a notification, or a certain error type that would tell the software, hey, take this off. So a cleaning service is likely to help be able to help identify and go, Okay, it’s it’s probably, let’s remove this address, again. Because of the frequency that we send email and how much of it we rely on, we actually clean our list every week. Every week, it gets a clean to make sure we’re knocking stuff out. But again, 75% of our conversions come from it. So it’s, it’s kind of a necessity at this point.

Katie Robbert 13:27
Hmm. Makes sense. So the next, you know, part of this conversation is sort of new year new jobs. Which brings us to a question from our friend Brian, who covers up John’s face. Happy New Year, when is the right time for a new business to launch an email newsletter? How big an audience should you have? Or how much existing content do you need to have on your site? Um, you know, I think when we launched the Trust Insights newsletter, you know, we didn’t have baked in subscribers, we created the newsletter, and started with a very small pool. And then that’s grown over time. You know, if I recall, we launched our newsletter not long after we launched the company. And so it was probably, you know, mid April or something. So I don’t think you need to wait for a specific time, much like you know, starting your fitness journey or learning a new skill or whatever. You don’t need to wait for the calendar to say January 1, I think you can start whenever it makes sense whenever you feel ready to do the thing, but Chris, again, where this is your bailiwick? What’s your advice here for Brian?

Christopher Penn 14:43
It’s exactly what you just said. The best time to start a newsletter was a year ago, right? But today, today is a great day to start an email newsletter. Even if you have five subscribers, right? It’s still a great day to do that. Because one of the things and this is kind of Have a fun little tidbit. One of the things that you’re creating content, right, and that content can be repurposed. In August of last year, we sort of had our own duck, why are we doing making things harder than they have to be? And we started putting every issue of our newsletter on our website on the blog, right, it was just getting into the blog post. And then we modified the View in Browser snippet to basically just go to the blog post. So if people want to read it on the web, they did look around on their phones was tap through. And you would think, okay, everybody’s reading the newsletter, great, you know, just check that box. Our website traffic went like 40%, literally, overnight, right? On a weekly basis. So I said that fast, because actually, a lot of people do want to be on the web, instead of, you know, in whatever email client they’re writing. So if you are starting with a small list, right, that’s fine. If you publish to five people, and you then repurpose the content, put it on your blog, or maybe you read it aloud, and you put it on YouTube, whatever, you will get a lot of mileage out of it. And because it’s available on your blog, you will continue to get mileage out of it. And when people new when new people join your community, if the back issues are available, then that you will drive even more value on older content, because people want to check to see, you know, what were you writing about last year and things like that. So as long as your contents good, start that newsletter as fast as you can.

Katie Robbert 16:30
I would also add to that you don’t need to have a big giant newsletter, you can start smaller and build on it. So maybe you know, your first quarter of newsletter issues is this one blog post that you wrote, and you want to share it. And then here’s a small announcement of like, what’s coming next, great, that’s all you need. Just keep people informed, and then start building on it and build out more sections as it’s being asked for. And as you’re finding that that kind of content on your website is being shared. So, you know, we look at our newsletter as an opportunity to reshare a lot of existing content, or, and or we take the content, as Chris said, from our newsletter, and turn that content into blog posts. So the cold open that I do becomes its own separate blog post, the data diaries that Chris does becomes its own separate blog, blog posts. So we’ve now used it four different ways. One is an email newsletter to the email newsletter in its hole is a blog post three, the cold open becomes a blog post to be shared a few weeks later, for the data diaries becomes its own blog post, he shared a few weeks after that. So we’ve done the work once and we now get four pieces of content out of it.

Christopher Penn 17:48
Five, if we’re really clever, and we put it all together as an e book at the end of each year, too. Which is on our to do list. At some point. I was gonna say we’re not that clever. Yeah, well, we’re that clever. We’re just not that well resourced. I’ll have the other list. Exactly. The other thing that I think is really important about this content is something that Ann Handley says, and I think it’s absolutely brilliant. She says when companies talk about newsletters, there’s an overemphasis on the news part, and an under emphasis on the letter part. And even if you don’t have a lot of content, or a lot of like, you know, big flashy stuff, you can still write a letter to a friend, right? Everybody can write a letter to finish writing an email to a friend, a lot of your cold opens, Katie essentially read like that, like you’re writing a letter to one of us. And so you can do that today with nothing else, no other prep, just write a letter to a friend saying, Hey, here’s what’s going on. We’d love to know what you’re thinking and what’s working for you, and so on and so on and so forth. And that is a totally appropriate type of newsletter. It actually resonates really well. Some of the best responses we’ve gotten on our Trust Insights newsletter is from people saying, you know, Katie, I really enjoyed that call opener, it really resonated with me. So that’s, that’s a great starting point.

Katie Robbert 19:10
Thank you, I always try to you know, think about that hold open. As you know, that’s exactly it if I were talking to one person, and telling them a little bit about what’s going on in my life and a little bit about what’s going on with the company, and how and the and then the reason why I’m telling you them and why it’s relevant. So it’s not just me just talking about myself, but here’s the reason why I feel like you would benefit from hearing this information about what’s going on.

Christopher Penn 19:40
Exactly. So those those would be the things to look at so of what to do with a new newsletter, right? It’s it’s relatively straightforward stuff. Again, this is not rocket surgery. We’ve been writing letters to each other for centuries.

Katie Robbert 19:55
So John, when you do the marketing over coffee newsletter, are you going to start writing letters to me and Chris.

John Wall 20:03
Now the the pattern there is solid, it’s the big thing that it’s made up of is the same thing that you guys are talking about, you take the quality content, you know, over the case of the month, we’ll pick the two best things, we found a feature. And that’s the cornerstone of that. It’s really just too big links. And, you know, there’s the intro, which is the personal note, there is kind of a, here’s what’s going on this month, and where you need to be. But the big thing is to just kind of give a quick menu of four or five links, that, you know, this is what we think the best stuff of the month was. And so it’s really staying in front of people every month, you know, you want to have something out there, so that you just become top to mind again, and you know, just get another one of those impressions. So when the time comes that somebody is thinking about, who do I call about analytics, or podcasting or marketing, attribution, you know that, hey, just last week, I was reading this thing from Trust Insights, or I just heard this podcast. You know, this guest on marketing over coffee and you stay involved in someone’s life on a regular basis. It’s really all about that. Just continued touch.

Christopher Penn 21:08
The other thing, I think it’s important there is repetitions. Okay. Right. One of the things that we have found, I’ve certainly seen this in my own newsletter is people will write back and say, Oh, I missed this, you know, this thing. I’m like, it’s been in the last seven issues, if you possibly miss it, but because our attention has gotten so fragmented, you know, you have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and stuff. And then you have Hulu and Netflix and Disney plus, if you have so many things vying for the audience’s attention, and so many recommendation engines filtering out everything people see that, just because you posted it on Twitter, or Facebook or LinkedIn or whatever doesn’t mean people saw it. Even putting in the same newsletter doesn’t guarantee people see it. I have seen really good results, you one things we do is we track different links being clicked inside newsletters. And I’m amazed at the number of people who will click on a link deeper down in the newsletter for something that was featured at the top of the newsletter because it’s the same piece of content just and it’s like, was the first one not clear enough, I was on top of the newsletter in big bold letters. But no, that’s the way attention works. There’s so little of it. That if you’re worried about like, Oh, should I put this in my newsletter? You know, people seen it. No, I wouldn’t see it.

Katie Robbert 22:29
Well, and you know, to your point, Chris, where we started, you start the newsletter after the cold open with an unsubscribe button. And then further on down is the where the traditionally an unsubscribe button is. But you’ve repeated it so that people can’t say I couldn’t find your unsubscribe button or I missed it or I didn’t see it.

Christopher Penn 22:51
Exactly. You can’t find the unsubscribe button, you may want to see a medical professional. Okay, Katie, what’s the third thing on our list?

Katie Robbert 23:01
reengaging subscribers. Um, you know, so much like building your subscriber list, as you’re cleaning your list at like we do week over week, or if you’re doing it less frequently, you’re going to lose subscribers. So the question then becomes, how do I get those people back? And so there’s a couple of things to think about one, did they leave? Are you giving them that exit survey of why are they leaving, they don’t like this content, it’s not relevant on leaving this job. So if you have that exit survey data, then you have a better idea of who you can reach who you can try to be engaged with. And then the other side of that is just making sure that people have a really easy way to subscribe to your newsletter. You know, making sure it’s not an overly complicated URL, like trust know Chris Penn slash John Wall slash Katie, slash newsletter, subscribe, plush, thank you, you know, like, make sure it’s not something that people can’t figure out. Even if you have to just create one of those vanity URLs. Make sure it’s something simple, like newsletter. And so the other thing you want to do with that is as people move around the internet, so if they move jobs, if they’ve moved, you know, email addresses, whatever the thing is, making sure that you are reminding them of the newsletter across all different platforms. And so even if it’s a quick Hey, did you know that we still have a newsletter? Here’s a super easy way to subscribe to it. Or, hey, it looks like you change jobs, how’s everything going? You know, we miss you around, you know, Trust Insights, you know, you can still catch up with us on our newsletter and it doesn’t have to be a pressured thing. But you know, as people are switching jobs and having life events, the last thing they’re probably thinking of is oh, I unsubscribe from newsletter. Let me make sure that the first thing I do is we subscribe to it. So it’s your job as the owner of the content to remind people that you exist.

Christopher Penn 25:08
Exactly. I think that point you made is really important. So this is my personal newsletter. And one of the things that I have here is that why are you leaving? Right? Are you getting too much email? It’s not valuable. I don’t work in marketing anymore. I can’t do it on my device. I didn’t subscribe the first place. You know, all these things are things that you’d want to ask somebody and then from time to time, you don’t load up the stats software of your choice, Excel, Tableau, whatever. And just count up. How, what are you getting? Now if you’re getting a whole bunch of people saying like, I don’t, I don’t want to work in marketing. Okay, no, it’s that’s job change. If you get I don’t find the content valuable. That’s probably a pretty good clear sign that you need to do some work, right? If I’m all interested in the content, okay. Yeah, that’s, that’s a topic change. So some kind of exit interview is useful, and not everybody’s going to fill this out. Right. I also recommend, and as something I actually need to do on my own site is put a dummy variable at the front, it says, like I was attacked by a duck. Because what a lot of people will do is they’ll just choose the whatever the default first choices. And you know that if someone chooses, I was attacked by a duck that they didn’t actually read the question.

Katie Robbert 26:20
All I can think now is those like, now, ducks are gonna get a bad rap for suddenly attacking all kinds of people across the internet.

Christopher Penn 26:30
And then winning the back again, one of those things that if you are approaching marketing as sort of an integrated thing, you can run social ads to people who’ve been to your website, you can run retargeting ads to people have been your website, you can run YouTube ads to people who’ve been to your website, and remind people that you’ve got this newsletter and what it’s about, you know, you can put together a quick 32nd spot or 15 Second pre roll for YouTube or whatever, something that will remind people that the newsletter exists, and that there’s something in it for them. And you may not get back everybody, right, you may then get back, you know, 10% of the people. But if you can get back 10% of the right people, great. If you get back 10% of your decision makers, that’s not a bad thing to do. And the other thing that is super important, is ask people, again, going back to the Trust Insights, there’s one thing that we fixed last year, because you know, Cobblers kids have no shoes is, why don’t you subscribe? Hey, if you really liked this, please share it with a colleague, right and telling people hey, here’s, you know, if you think there’s value in this, share it with a colleague, and being able to help people help you. I am amazed at the number of newsletters my own included. They don’t, they didn’t do this, that that is like, Okay, this is a kind of an obvious best practice, but yet it’s not obvious or if it is in there. Again, it’s not prominent, it deserves the same billing as your unsubscribe, right? There’s, I really don’t like you, and I’m leaving, I really like you how can I bring my friends and those things should be on equal footing?

Katie Robbert 28:07
I want to go back to something you said as you’re me engaging people is the value what are they getting out of it? And so this is true of any kind of content that you’re creating. A lot of times, sort of to go back to Brian’s question about, you know, when is the right time for a new business to launch an email newsletter? Well, why do you need an email newsletter? What is it going to do for your company? What is it going to do for your customers? It’s the same question you should be asking yourself about your social media channels, what’s the purpose is the same question you should be asking yourself about your blog, what purpose does it serve, that’s where you should start before you launch an email newsletter. So for us, we want to engage, we use it as our engagement part of the funnel. And so it’s people who know of us they know a little bit about us. And so we use it as an opportunity to maybe educate them a little bit more about what we do who we are. And also the things that we find interesting. So we share with them. Here are the articles that we think you should be reading this week about this particular industry in this particular topic. So we try to make it not completely about us, and what we’re doing, but also what’s happening in the industry so that we can share those resources that we think people should care about. And that’s the value that we try to provide through our email newsletter. And so for you, it might be something different, you know, it might be just like, hey, here’s what’s going on with us. Thanks, bye. And that’s it. Or it’s an opportunity to feature partners or it’s an opportunity to do you know, whatever the purpose is, but make sure you’re clear on what that purpose is, and then it becomes easier to reengage people.

Christopher Penn 29:49
Exactly. And if you’re not clear what the purpose is, ask people send out a one question survey saying, hey, what would you like to get from us in your inbox? What extra value can we provide? What are some burning questions you have that that we can help you answer, and then give people what they asked for it. Again, none of this stuff is like secret or rocket surgery or anything like that is just a question of being having the capability of doing it, and then actually doing it. So a lot of the time, when companies fail to do it, it’s because they don’t actually want to talk to the customer, because the customer will tell them that actually, they suck. And, and less collaborative, more fear driven organizations. Nobody wants to hear that they suck, they just want to hear everything is is sunshine and roses. And surveys typically don’t get floated to the audience unless to a select group of people who you’re guaranteed to get a response for so that you don’t get fired. If you work at an organization that is honest, then sending out those surveys is really important, because you will get a glimpse at Oh, people actually want to hear more about this. Right. You know, last year when we sent out our one question survey, there’s a whole bunch of folks who said I need to know more about Google Analytics for so we spent a lot of podcasts and live streams and stuff on Google Analytics for we’re doing a premium course with MarketingProfs next week on it this year, and we send out our surveys, we’re gonna be asking the same thing like what do you want more out of and, you know, we’ll see what people say, but we’ll see what’s on people’s minds and then do our best to give it to them.

Katie Robbert 31:32
So John, question for you marketing over coffee organization, collaborative or fear based?

John Wall 31:38
Oh, absolutely fear based, I got everything motivated around, you know, you’re gonna end up in a dumpster next week. So what are you? What are you gonna do about it today? You know it on the other end of that spectrum, is I have to give a shout out for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s newsletter, he’s done an email newsletter, that is just ridiculous. It’s like really good. It’s a full on magazine about and it’s obvious that there’s like a PR team of 12 that are putting this thing together, because there’s like, 10 custom YouTube videos in the thing. But to tap a point that you hit Katie, and Chris, mention to, you know, about the third one I got, I was like, you know, my brother will love this, let me forward it to him, and there’s no link in there to forward or to pass on or, like it took, I couldn’t even figure out how I signed up for it originally and couldn’t get there. So it’s, you know, yeah, even with a team of 12 doing it, there’s still gotchas in there that you got to look out for.

Christopher Penn 32:37
Exactly. And I think, you know, one of the things that a lot of people do sort of cleanses of all kinds this time of year. And one of the things that I’ve seen people mentioned is, you know, doing a digital detox and unsubscribing, from newsletters that they don’t want to read anymore. You want to make sure you’re not on that list. And the easiest way to make sure you’re not on that list is to make sure that people find value in what you send. If you were to this is a fun thought exercise. I think it’s an important one, if you were to close your inbox and stuff, and then remember, try to remember the newsletters you actually enjoy reading, you know, how many of them of the ones you get, how many of them actually make that list, I can think of not counting my own and the company’s three, right? And I know I get MAE, many more than three, but they’re three like, okay, when this comes in, I am going to read this, right? Because this is really important. And the rest is like if I have time, we’ll get to it. But if you took away my inbox and said, Okay, go re subscribed to all the newsletters you want, you can remember, I’d probably only have you know, the company’s mind, and then these three others, and that would be it.

Katie Robbert 33:43
Yeah, that one off the top of my head

John Wall 33:47
that you liked and you get it. And because that is very interesting that goes into reading behavior. Because I know the ones you love. There are newsletters, like, as soon as they come in the box, you read them and you hit them. But there’s others that usually pile up and like I know, on some Mondays, I’m like, yeah, no, let’s just delete all these because I need to get my email box back in shape. And there’s other ones where you’ll stack up four or five. And that’s what you’re talking about with, don’t be afraid to share a link across multiple issues of it, because maybe they’re only reading every third one or they’re doing the high speed scroll. And so, you know, taking all that into your reading account is a big deal. And knowing the half like to do look at your half life as far as you know, when those go out, how fast are they opened? And do you have a spike on around weekends or holidays like try and get a feel for when the stuff actually gets read? Because you may find that, you know, a lot of the trickery or stuff that you’re doing is just not worth taking the time because, you know, it doesn’t have to go out at 4pm on Thursday because you know, stuff is just distributed so widely, it really doesn’t matter.

Christopher Penn 34:49
Exactly. And another trick I think is really helpful for creating that in sort of engaging content if you like if you know back to Brian’s question if you’re not sure what to put in Go to twitter right now, this is an excerpt from Twitter’s API, but you can do this just in Twitter itself and go to your at the hashtag of the topic or industry that that you’re focusing on. And for a lot of companies that will be Twitter be the right choice. Some companies may be Instagram be the right choice. Some companies, obviously, you know, the there’s really is no digital footprint, but look at so this is the last day’s worth of tweets. This is from my pandemic newsletter. So I look at last 50 ish tweets. From a specific list of credible authors, not just any monkey, these are all people with multiple doctorates. And I just looked through and see, okay, what are the most engaging pieces of content that these credible experts have shared? And that’s what goes in my newsletter, my daily newsletter, because I don’t really write it, I just copy and paste a lot of stuff, the things that I think are important, and from a strategy perspective, if you need to create a newsletter that’s valuable. Look for the stuff that other people have already identified as valuable these are you have credible sources, you have their content, and you just you cite them appropriately. You follow all the the publication was, and you share it. And of all the newsletters I published that one has the highest readership rate, it is a 56% open rate. And it’s just absolutely insane. Because unfortunately, it’s it’s highly relevant. And it’s about something that’s, you know, people are correctly very worried about. But it’s valuable content, when you read it. And the value I add, besides pulling it together is saying okay, well, here’s the things I think we should be doing more of or these things should be doing less of do the same thing for your industry, whatever it is, if you’re in higher education, taking your top 50 or 100, higher ed leaders on Twitter, or LinkedIn or whatever, look at the most the top performing content and then start putting that into into your newsletters. That’s, you know, when we started the Trust Insights newsletter, it was there was actually a lot more curated content, because that was what we had at the time. And then as, as we’ve matured, the balance has changed. But in the beginning, it was a big pile of links.

Katie Robbert 37:05
Because you got to start somewhere. And I and you know, again, it’s fine to have the newsletter evolve over time. You don’t have to change everything all at once, you know, change one thing once a month, but be sure you’re testing things, be sure you’re tracking things appropriately so that you can, you know, look at the results and test things and remove things and add things and you know, to Chris’s point, ask people what they want and give them what they want. Because that’s really the whole point. You know, and if you’re John and you live in a fear based organization, don’t do any of it.

John Wall 37:40
Just steal the office supplies. Pray for the best

Katie Robbert 37:45
see you leaving with like rolls of paper towels.

Unknown Speaker 37:51
Just real size.

Katie Robbert 37:53
If you want to subscribe to the Trust Insights newsletter, we’ve made it pretty easy for you. It’s trust, you get content from myself and from Chris, every single week written by us, you know, a little fingers typing on the keyboards with some original content. And also you get curated links of articles that we think are important for you. And also just some news about what we’re doing.

Christopher Penn 38:17
Exactly right. So I think that’s probably a good place to leave it. Any any final thoughts?

John Wall 38:25
If anybody’s got great newsletters, throw them out. We always love to hear, you know, other stuff that’s out there. If there’s anything exciting again, I would also throw martec out there because it’s not just Arnold Schwarzenegger all the time here.

Katie Robbert 38:39
It’s 100%. Not

John Wall 38:41
here. It’s a 0% shorts. And

Christopher Penn 38:45
I don’t know two out of three of us get this newsletter. So

Katie Robbert 38:49
yeah, but I’m the decision maker

John Wall 38:51
bias. That’s bias.

Katie Robbert 38:55
Right, great place to end it.

Christopher Penn 38:57
Thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you next week.

John Wall 39:00
We’ll be back.

Christopher Penn 39:04
Thanks for watching today. Be sure to subscribe to our show wherever you’re watching it. For more resources. And to learn more. Check out the Trust Insights podcast at trust AI podcast and a weekly email newsletter at trust Got questions about what you saw on today’s episode. Join our free analytics for markers slack group at trust for marketers See you next time.

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