Beer lovers will enjoy our latest GetResponse customer spotlight as we focus on BeerSmith.com! Brad Smith is on tap with insight and tips on how he uses GetResponse email marketing to brew up success with email marketing!
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Can you tell us a little about your business and your experience using email marketing?
My business is BeerSmith LLC, and we primarily provide beer brewing recipe software for home brewers. My secondary business is providing content – articles, books, video, and audio (podcasts) to home brewers for brewing beer. I’m not experienced specifically in email marketing, but I’ve spent years developing web content and building a substantial audience online.
Tell us about the success you’ve experienced as a result of using GetResponse.
GetResponse has been very good for business. I’ve had a successful blog since 2008, and averaged an article on home brewing every week so I had a substantial collection of articles on beer brewing. Even though these were available online, relatively few people were aware of the earlier articles or had easy access to them. So I decided to use my email list primarily to publish a mix of these older articles along with some of my new ones.
The response has been amazing – I started the email list two years ago and it has now grown to 15,000 subscribers. They get a new home brewing article roughly once a week.
While I use my list primarily for providing good content to customers, this does build a relationship with them over the long term. Being able to reach out to 10,000-15,000 customers at any time obviously helps the business as well.
So, for example, when I launched my new podcast on home brewing in 2010, I was able to get on the “New and Notable” podcasts on the front page of the iTunes store the second week out, because I already had a large group of listeners I could reach via email.
A short time later I self-published a book, which was a collection of my brewing articles, it sold very well as the audience already liked what I was writing and was familiar with it. Last summer when I launched a new version of my software, the pre-orders alone were the equivalent of several months of regular sales, and the traffic at launch was so heavy it took my web site down for several hours.
Most of this success I credit to putting out good content on a consistent basis to develop that long term relationship.
What is the biggest mistake people make in email marketing and how can it be avoided?
I think the biggest mistake people make with email marketing is to put out ads. Let’s say I’m into fly fishing, and I sign up with a major fly fishing retailer’s email list. In 99% of the cases, they will send me a series of emails on all of their sales, specials, and other fly fishing discounts.
This is great if I happen to be looking for a new fly rod this week, but otherwise that email’s going in the trash since I don’t have time to spend more than a second or two looking at the front to see if my new fly rod’s on sale.
Now what if they, instead, send me an article on fly fishing every week? I might just open that email and read it now. I might even save it to read it later on or refer back to it when I have my next fly fishing trip. If I like the article I might forward it to my fly fishing buddies. Over time I now have developed a relationship with that store that is proving me great fly fishing tips.
Now when I’m looking to buy my next fly rod, where do you think I might look first? When they send me the occasional (perhaps once a month or less) big sale flyer or announcement, I’m much more likely to read it and use it than the business bombarding me with weekly ads.
If you could give one email marketing tip to others, what would it be?
My biggest tip, which I covered pretty well above, is to put out high quality articles (content) in your emails, and the business will take care of itself.
If you provide valuable information to people for free, you are developing a long term relationship with them that will turn them into long term customers.
I currently run an email list, a blog, a podcast (now with video), a web site, a discussion forum and several social media accounts. Many of these reuse the same content, but they collectively build a strong long-term bond with the customer that drives the business forward.
From my basement I reached about 1.3 million home brewers last year, and virtually all of that growth was achieved by providing free content to customers.