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209: How To Do A 2-Day Email Overhaul

Posted by Austin Brawner on July 23, 2019


Email is one of the most trusted ways to drive revenue in ecommerce.

But I still see too many people leaving money on the table and missing out on low-hanging fruit.

Today I’ll walk you through how to do a two-day email overhaul that will help you increase your revenue.

We’ll start by making sure your email service provider and integrations are set up correctly, create a branded email template, ensure you have a great offer that’s capturing tons of leads, and identify the email flows to build that have the biggest financial impact for your business.

This is the exact email overhaul process I’ve used with my clients to help them bring in $10K from email in just one week after set-up.

Can’t wait to hear your results!

Episode Highlights

  • 5:06 How to ensure your email service provider is set up correctly.
  • 6:20 The importance of tracking viewed products.
  • 7:30 Other common mistakes Austin sees with ESP setup and integrations.
  • 10:20 Creating an email template for your brand (without a designer).
  • 13:45 Lead capture: the questions to ask yourself to make sure you’re set up for success.
  • 14:55 How to come up with a good offer.
  • 16:38 Deciding which lead capture tool is right for you.
  • 18:55 The email flows that have the biggest financial impact for your business.
  • 21:25 Simple tests to run that will improve your email performance and a tip for using profile properties to evaluate the success of your email sequences over time.
  • 25:25 Tips for improving your subject line copywriting.
  • 26:55 Using plain text emails to drive clicks.
  • 28:00 Adding animated GIFs to emails with Soapbox.
  • 28:50 Merging your content with commerce.

Links And Resources

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Austin Brawner: What's up everybody? Welcome to another episode of the Ecommerce Influence podcast. My name is Austin Brawner.

Andrew Foxwell: And I'm Andrew Foxwell.

Austin Brawner: Dude, welcome back to the podcast. We come out every single week, but sometimes you and I don't talk for a week or two. While we're in between episodes. It's good to have you back. It's good to chat, good to connect and yeah, man, it's always a pleasure to talk to you.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, absolutely. Same with you. Yeah, we've had some great feedback from recent episodes, so thanks for know writing in and telling us your take. I had some new iTunes reviews too, so thanks for that. Continuing to grow, continuing to be helpful. It's just a huge honor for us to continue to do this podcast, so thank you for listening.

Austin Brawner: It's a lot of fun and it's also good right now. It's been interesting, I'm in the middle of my rehab for Achilles Tendon tear and I'm back to walking with crutches but it's a huge, huge improvement and it's been wild. It's been a big mental kind of learning experience to go through because it's almost three months, where I could not put any weight on my foot at all. So now back to doing some rehab in the mornings, feeling good. It's been interesting because I had to move my whole schedule around to do one hour of rehab every morning.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, sure.

Austin Brawner: It's a lot.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. Yes, yes. Well, hey, I'm glad that you're feeling better and you're going to be back on the court soon. While you've been going on kind of your rehab, I've been training, warrior training. So now I just went on the longest run I've ever been on last week.

Austin Brawner: Nice.

Andrew Foxwell: When the invasion comes I'm ready to take over. I don't know who's invading but if they come, at least I can out-run them now, potentially.

Austin Brawner: When the war comes, hop in the... is it a Subaru?

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. Hop in the Outback. Yeah.

Austin Brawner: Hop in the Outback and go straight down here to Texas.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, that's right. That's right.

Austin Brawner: That's where we kick things off. Today, we're going to be doing an episode that was inspired by kind of a recent email workshop, Private Intensive workshop that I hosted. We're going to talk about email marketing and kind of, how you can run your own two-day email workshop for yourself to improve your email revenue results or if you're moving to a new platform.

Basically, we're going to talk about... because I have a lot of people that are in the Coalition membership who are always kind of asking about little nuances about email. Asking questions about how they should do things. When it comes down to it, the way I think about it is you need to get your hands dirty and implement fast and quickly to start getting results with email. You want to think about it like this, you want to build, you want to launch, you want to review, revise, and then launch again.

So today, I'm going to walk you through kind of exactly how I think about setting up a new email marketing account with a new provider, if that's where you're at. Or if you're already on Klaviyo or already on Omnisend or are already on some email ESP that you're happy with, I'm going take you through exactly what I did at a recent Private Intensive workshop with a client and talk about how you can get some of the same results that we're getting or how you can implement some of the stuff that's generating results.

Andrew Foxwell: Love it. I'm super excited. Let's rock and roll.

Austin Brawner: So let's kick it off with number one. Step number one, which I always focus on, which is to integrate everything and really, really double check that your email service provider is set up correctly.

I find that I've done so many audits on emails, email service providers. Mostly on Klaviyo because that's, I would say, primarily what I use and without fail, every single one I've gone through has something broken or not working correctly. It's not necessarily your fault because oftentimes, something will be working correctly and then, it'll break and you won't know that it's broken.

So the first step is kind of to double check your web tracking code. If you're using Klaviyo for example, you want to make sure you're tracking viewed products.

So really big mistake. If you're not tracking active onsite and viewed products, you can go to the dashboard, go to the far right, there's a dropdown for the activities and just check to make sure that you actually tracking viewed products. That's a mistake I see very, very often, especially with people who have new accounts. They didn't set the code up correctly.

Andrew Foxwell: Sure. Yeah, that's good. I mean, good that you're tracking that. Why does it matter that you're tracking viewed products? I mean, I obviously think I know the answer, but why does that matter?

Austin Brawner: So the reason it's important is because that's going to allow you to trigger emails based on the activity that people take on the site. If you're not tracking view products, or it's not tracking correctly, which sometimes happens where it's not pulling the images from the products and the images, title, all the correct information, then you're not able to trigger emails based on people's browsing history. Those are really profitable emails. So definitely recommend setting that up. You won't be able to trigger like a browse abandon email.

Andrew Foxwell: Okay, cool. So that's number one.

Austin Brawner: Yeah. A lot of what Klaviyo's doing right now is continuing to dive into data analytics and predictive analytics and they use some of those viewed products metrics in their algorithms.

Andrew Foxwell: Oh cool. Okay. So, it helps in just sort of a whole bunch of things.

Austin Brawner: It's something you should be doing for sure.

Andrew Foxwell: Okay. So number one, make sure you're tracking the viewed products. Or, I mean this is step one, A and so step one, B...

Austin Brawner: The common mistakes I see are not tracking viewed products, your newsletter is not connected at checkout. This is a really common one. They're checking out and they're clicking on the checkbox to be added to the newsletter, but it's actually not connected to the right email list, this is quite common.

I was working with a company in Austin and we went through and did our workshop and we found that they had connected their checkout checkbox to a list that they weren't emailing. So we actually found 40,000 customers that hadn't been emails from them.

Andrew Foxwell: Oh my God.

Austin Brawner: So yeah, really, really big. So we took that, emailed them, drove like $30,000 or something in one email. So definitely check in on that.

If you're using stuff like CartHook or ReCharge, a couple issues you might run into, I see a lot of people forgetting that with those platforms, they actually hijack the checkout page on Shopify. So when that happens, your email service provider will be treating the people who come through a Shopify checkout page versus a CartHook or ReCharge checkout page differently. So they won't be triggered the same way.

So if you don't integrate CartHook and ReCharge with, say Klaviyo, you might be missing out on abandoned cart emails because you'll only have abandoned carts from the events of people that are triggered by people checking out through the typical Shopify checkout page. Does that make sense?

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, totally. Makes a lot of sense, actually.

Austin Brawner: So, that's a big one. Just double-checking to make sure those are integrated. You also want to make sure you connect the Facebook integration.

Over the last, the two days during this workshop, we went in, we updated the tracking code, the web tracking code, we connected to ReCharge, we connected to Facebook audiences and we also integrated Justuno with Klaviyo and made sure that that was tracking the events of people signing up correctly. So those are just three things we just had to dive into before we could even build anything.

Andrew Foxwell: Cool. Okay. Okay, cool. So just recapping that, double check your web tracking code, your newsletter connected at check-out properly, integrate CartHook or ReCharge if you're using those, connect that Facebook audience integration and update that tracking code and connect Justuno, connect Facebook audiences, and connect ReCharge. So that's a recap of what we just talked about for step one.

Step two is centering on the email template, right? Is that where we're going next?

Austin Brawner: Yes. Yes. So this is really a first step and this is, whether you're switching from one email service provider to another one or you're just trying to send better emails from your current email service provider, it doesn't really matter, the first step is you want to dive in to creating an email template for your business that you're going to base all your emails off of.

What happens, I see people get really excited. They're like, "Oh my gosh, I just switched over. I want to send a lot of emails." They don't think about kind of future-proofing their email template.

Generally, you're going to want at least one plain text email and one email template and one email template that you can use for photo-heavy emails. This doesn't actually take that long either. It's one of those things that in the past, it was harder to do. But if you're using a service like Klaviyo or MailChimp, what you want to do is you want to go into their email template library that they have. Pick one that might be similar to something that you would like and then, take about 30 to 45 minutes and update all the brand colors and the fonts, so it matches your brand.

Literally, we did this in the last workshop. It took about 30 minutes. We sat there, we built an email template that reflected our brand colors. We focused on a couple of key things. White space, white space is your friend. If you have a minimalist email template and you know your brand colors and you use them, you keep it really, really simple, within an hour you can have an email template that you can use for the next year that doesn't involve going to a designer. It doesn't involve spending money.

A lot of the value from your email doesn't necessarily come from your email template. It comes from the content. So my rule is, just keep it simple, lots of white space, match your brand colors, font and just build one plain text and one photo template and then use that one.

Andrew Foxwell: Sure. Just trying to keep it nice and clean first, basically.

Austin Brawner: Exactly. Nice and clean. Nice and clean. Like, the white Air Force ones.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, right. Totally. That's exactly like what we're thinking. I mean, as a person that loves over-complicated design, that's something I need to hear too. 

Austin Brawner: I've actually never heard anyone describe themselves as a person who loves overcomplicated design.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. Well, like when I create graphics for certain things on Canva or something or Photoshop, I'll always put in more elements than I think I'll need and I have no idea why I do this. It's just some stupid thing I have in my brain. Obviously, the more simple they are, the better off they perform or do. So it's good for me to hear that as well, in terms of building an email template. Because I think a lot of people think, "Oh, I've got to make it look a certain way. I've got to hire a designer." You know? So, it's good to hear that.

Austin Brawner: Honestly, a lot of it comes down to font and text and spacing between the text. You want to make the text a little bit larger than you expect. Maybe, 16 points because it's going to be easier for people to read and then, look at the spacing of the texts and that's going to impact very much the feel of the email template. 

Andrew Foxwell: Cool. Cool. All right, well number three. What do we have on tap for number three?

Austin Brawner: So number three, where I kind of start next is increasing lead flow. So if you've built a new email template, you've got everything set up correctly. Well, the next step is gathering more people, subscribers and customers, so that you can email. If you're not capturing between 5 and 8% or more of the visitors going to your site, you're going to want to make some improvements to your email capture system.

There's really a couple of questions that I ask myself. Number one, it's do I have a good offer? And number two is, am I using the right tool?

So my first step, if I run some numbers and I find that I'm not capturing the percentage of emails that I would like, I try to make a better offer right away. That's the first step because regardless of what tool you're using, the offer's the most important thing.

Andrew Foxwell: Like a date night with you would be an offer.

Austin Brawner: Exactly. Put your email in, date night with Austin and Foxwell.

Andrew Foxwell: We'll pamper you. So, how do you actually... What's a framework to think about increasing and making that offer?

Austin Brawner: So, a lot of times people will start with a percentage off or a dollar off. That's a very common thing. I kind of categorize them into a couple of different categories. There's the percentage/dollar off type one. There's a giveaway as well, that I feel like can work really, really well. I've seen a lot of success with people giving away something like... If it's replenishable, like socks, for example. Give away a sock overhaul. You'll get a year's worth of socks. Once a month, we're going to give away a year's worth of socks, something like that.

Andrew Foxwell: Okay, so something that's like really compelling.

Austin Brawner: It's very compelling. Yeah and often, when you start calculating out percentage off versus dollar off or percentage... So if you calculate giving away 10% off on everybody's purchase, versus giving away one full sock overhaul every month for somebody, it's going to be a lot cheaper to do that.

Andrew Foxwell: Totally cheaper, yes. 

Austin Brawner: You see also sometimes people go and use the spin to win type model and that can really work. We've got some huge proponents that listen to the podcast. Like Mark Arruda has been on the podcast multiple times, been a huge spin to win fan.

I typically also will look at taking my offer and then, putting it into a two-step pop up, which is asking a question and then, following up with the email capture after people answer yes to the question.

But that goes to the next question, in my mind, which is asking myself, am I using the right tool? This has been a question that's been asked a bunch both on Twitter, in the Coalition membership. There are a lot of different tools you can use to capture emails, but I kind of look at it in kind of a threeway. There's that saying, I think it's in construction, "You can get things that are, was it cheap, good and fast" or something like that. It's something like that. "You can have something that's cheap, good and fast, but you can't have all three. You can have two of them."

So it's kind of similar to that with tools that you can use to capture emails. There's tools that are cheap, like Klaviyo and Sumo and then, there's tools that are really good, like Justuno and Privy, but they're more expensive. Depending on what you need to do, like we were trying to rebuild our email sequences. We tried using Klaviyo but I couldn't get what I wanted done, so I had to switch to Justuno.

I would love to be able to use the Klaviyo pop up for everything because it's included with your subscription. The problem, right now, it's still limited with confirmation pages. You can't edit those, you can't do two-step popups. So we had to switch over to Justuno.

But we ended up building two popups, one for mobile, one for desktop. Our first try doing kind of a giveaway offer, similar to what I was saying with the socks, we had 11.7% opt-in rate for mobile and 12.56% opt-in rate for desktop.

Andrew Foxwell: Nice. No big deal.

Austin Brawner: Great, right? We were super happy with this and that came down to the fact that the offer aligned with the audience and then we presented it in a way that was just at the right time with the right tool, which was, in this instance, it was Justuno.

Andrew Foxwell: Got it. Okay. Love it. Okay. So, kind of looking at the right tool. You needed to kind of reformulated it back into utilizing Justuno for the confirmation pages and obviously, created one for mobile, one for desktop on the popups, which is cool.

So step four, follow the money, is what you had talked about. What does this mean in terms of kind of getting started, the flows that you need to set up.

Austin Brawner: Yeah, so whether you are just getting started, meaning you're just moving over to a new email system and you're trying to build out triggered emails or you're looking at your current triggered emails and you're saying, "How do I improve these and drive more revenue?" You're going to want to start by building the flows that have the biggest financial impact and you're going to want to spend a disproportionate amount of time on the ones that are driving the most amount of revenue.

That seems obvious, but what I find is, as people are going through and they're spending time on emails because it's an email and each email requires you to build an entire email, it's very easy to spend the same amount of time on a sequence that has four emails that are not really driving revenue, as the amount of time you spent on an email sequence it as four emails that drive 80% of your revenue.

So, you need to change your mindset and think, the ones that are going to drive them, have the biggest financial impact on your business are abandoned cart emails, your welcome, or as I call it, buy or die sequence for new subscribers, your browse abandonment sequence, a bounce-back email or an upsell or cross-sell and then a replenishment sequence. Those are the ones that I'm going to dive into every single time and spend the most time on those because they all involve transactions.

Andrew Foxwell: Got it. Okay. This is something I'm famous for too, where I spend my time on something like, "Oh, why did I spend so much time creating this thing that didn't actually make the money?" So going on kind of abandoned cart, welcome or buy or die, browse abandonment, bounce back email, upsell/cross-sell, replenishment sequence. Those are the ones that you've seen make the most money?

Austin Brawner: Yeah. Basically, anything that involves transactions. There's a saying that, I don't know, somebody told me this at one point. That if you want to make a lot of money, get into the financial industry and be involved with the transactions. Somewhere on the transactions, right?

Andrew Foxwell: Right.

Austin Brawner: Work in payment processing and be involved with the transactions because that's where the money's at. Same thing with these emails. Any ones that involve transactions, you're going to want to spend the most time and you're also going to want to set the tests on those ones.

Again, you're only going to want to set up tests if you're a larger business. If you have a thousand or so emails a month going out in each one of these sequences. But very simple tests you can run would be like, take your abandoned cart email sequences, split them up and run 50%, that goes to no offer versus another 50% going to an offer.

A tip here that you can use if you're split testing a sequence, right? So maybe three emails with no offer versus three emails with an offer. If you're using Klaviyo, one thing that they added in the last year, is they added a profile property section. What you can do is you could tag that contact on each side, as they enter the split test and tag it and say, "abandoned cart, offer" or "abandoned cart, no offer."

When you add that profile property, what it allows you to do is it allows you to come back to these people down the road and create a segment with that profile property and look at the difference between the people who went down the no offer versus the offer sequence. You can export those and find out how much they actually spent over time.

Because, one of the harder things to do, you can quite easily split tests between emails and see which one's performing better. But it's hard to split test between email sequences and actually get a feeling for 30 days out or 90 days out, which sequence is actually performing better for you. That tag, with the profile property, allows you to pull it out later on and truly find out which sequence is doing better.

Andrew Foxwell: Got it. Okay. Love it. So, setting up basically intelligent testing as you start to do these things. Just to make sure you can and then tagging people that way, right? That's what it's kind of boiling down to.

Austin Brawner: It's just the key is adding the profile property to make it easier for you to test your sequences in the future. That has changed the way I've thought about split testing because it just made it so much easier. In the past, it was much, much harder.

Andrew Foxwell: Cool. Love it.

Austin Brawner: So yeah, we spent two days building all that stuff out and immediately, one week later drove over $10,000 in email revenue. Going through all these changes it took us about one week to drive $10,000 in revenue and you can go and do the exact same thing.

Follow these steps, make sure it's integrated correctly, build a new email template, capture more emails, go through the triggered email sequences and set those up. You can run it at home. You can either come work with me or do your own, take two days, really evaluate your emails and make some big improvements.

Andrew Foxwell: Okay. Love it. Well, I mean, I would love to make $10,000, so I love it.

Austin Brawner: That's all related to the size of their business. But really what it comes down to is, you can make significant improvements in a short period of time and that's my whole point with this episode. It's like, spend less time thinking about sending emails and spend more time building emails, sending them and checking in and seeing if they worked or not. The thing that I just continue to come back to is, you can get a lot done in two days. You really can with focus and effort and if you don't overthink it and you just get things built, build a simple email template.

There's four things that I'll share too, that are just really easy changes. Number one, improving your copywriting. Copywriting really does make a huge difference in subject lines. A lot of my best performing subject lines, I just think about what type of an email I would get from Andrew Foxwell, if he's going to email me. It'd be very simple. It was not going to be a long subject line. It's going to be like, "Hey, quick question." Or like, "Yo."

Simple, little, think about what a friend would put in the subject line for an email that they want you to open and use that. You really want to simplify all of your subject lines and try some of the more friend based subject lines verse, "Get 10% off this weekend." It's just, it's not going to work nearly as well.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, I like that model and that's something that clearly, I've seen in campaign too, like political campaigns, right?

Austin Brawner: Yes. They do a great job. Political campaigns, they need to drive... They're a great example because every email they send is based on driving fundraising. So they need more people to open, they need more people to click, more people to donate. So they're very much performance-driven.

Andrew Foxwell: Right. Totally. Totally. Cool. I love that advice.

Austin Brawner: A couple of other ones that you can use. So one thing we've been having a lot of success with is using plain text emails to drive clicks, especially like post-purchase. So you can replace a little HTML email with some text kind of transactional email and we've had success, driving it to... It's been kind of interesting, a very simple email, personalized, that gives people tips through a Facebook, like a MangChat bot.

So if you want to capture an email and then also capture a Facebook messenger, you can use a very simple, small short text email that goes out and says, "Hey, we want to give you information. Click on this link," and send them to a ManyChat bot that actually gives them the information. Then you capture both. We're getting a 40% open rate or click-through rate on this one, this one email. So 40% of the people will actually become messenger subscribers as well. That's been working quite well.

You can use something like Soapbox if you haven't checked out the Soapbox. You can record an animated little gif video and put that in your email. So it's like an animated... You know what? I'm going to put in the email that we're going to send out with this episode, so you guys can see what it looks like. It's a cool way to record a video and animate the thumbnail and make it moving. So that it's almost like Harry Potter, where all the paintings and photos are moving. It's kind of like that. We're basically there. That's where we're at, right at this point.

Andrew Foxwell: Nice. Okay, I like that.

Austin Brawner: The last tip is just, if you're struggling to do any content, always think about merging your content with commerce. You know this very well because it's the same way on Facebook. You want to send emails that are highlighting people using your products, either having success or using them in an interesting way. Those are great ways to merge content with driving more sales.

Andrew Foxwell: Love it.

Austin Brawner: So examples can be like, recipes, unique recipes, DIY tricks, success stories, case studies of people using your product that are both selling and telling a story at the same time.

Andrew Foxwell: I love it. I'm actually taking notes, that's why I was behind here. So, I like the money wins. I mean, first of all, setting up the flows is good to know. That's the baseline that we had talked about previously, but with some adjustments I like.

Then also the copywriting thing. Super huge. I think the biggest thing that you're saying here, to me that's important, is the simplicity of all of this. So, get creative but also keep it simple and see what can happen, basically.

Austin Brawner: Yeah and test things and don't worry.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, and just test.

Austin Brawner: I think there's sometimes a lot of fear around sending the wrong thing out right away. Rightfully so, there should be some fear around the first couple of emails you're sending out from a new email service provider. But once you get things warmed up, and when I say that, there should be fear because you don't want to switch to a new email service provider and blast out your whole list and get marked as spam because you haven't been emailing these people. It's not the right move. You really want to start with an engaged, small audience and move your way up.

But ultimately, like I said at the beginning, so much of this, like anything in marketing, think of it like this process, built your emails, launch them, review how they're doing, revise them and then watch them again and work quickly and start driving some revenue ASAP. It will work. It will work and you're going to learn a ton doing it.

Andrew Foxwell: Love it, love it. Well, I very much appreciate you going through this. This is super helpful and again, if anybody has thoughts or takes on it, we'd love to hear from you. But Austin, I appreciate your time, man, and this has been a crusher episode.

Austin Brawner: Awesome. Thank you and talk to you guys soon.


Austin Brawner: What's up everybody? Welcome to another episode of the Ecommerce Influence podcast. My name is Austin Brawner.

Andrew Foxwell: And I'm Andrew Foxwell.

Austin Brawner: Dude, welcome back to the podcast. We come out every single week, but sometimes you and I don't t...

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