Email Marketing Software: Episode II

Hey. Good morning, Internet fans. It’s Ryan Perry with Simple Biz Support. It’s Thursday, it’s Internet Marketing Thursday, therefore, I have Virginie Dorn with Business Website Center in Petaluma, and yes Virginie, I forgot my name, too. So I just put it down there at the bottom of the screen. So feel free as you’re talking, to click your buttons and put your name in there.

Virginie Dorn: Oh I can’t find it. Anyway, my name is Virginie. I’m glad to be on board with you today. How are you?

RP: I’m doing wonderful. It must be sunny outside ’cause the window blinds are open. Well, yours are open, not mine.

VD: Can’t complain, little bit of rain last night, but now it’s nice and clear.

RP: Yes. It should be a beautiful day. Last week, we talked… Specifically, we really talked about MailChimp and Constant Contact. I think we were pretty much in agreement that MailChimp was… Out of those two, MailChimp was kind of the preferred way of going for the basic user. And then, we also talked about some advanced systems such as Infusionsoft which is much more than just email automation. And the other thing that we talked about was actually creating your own custom email program much like MailChimp where you actually have a template, you can put information in, you can select different databases on who you want to send emails out to.

And I think a lot of times, any business owner, regardless of how big or small your business is, whenever you hear custom, you automatically think “Ka-ching ka-ching ka-ching. And this is really going to cost me a lot of money and therefore it’s not affordable.” And so we were talking off air and the fact is it sounds like it’s very affordable.

What that price point is or where the break-even point is is going to really be dependent on each company depending on how many people they have, how many times they send emails. But if you have thousands and thousands of emails that you’re sending out on a monthly basis, the basic plans for MailChimp or Constant Contact go from very inexpensive in the beginning, 20 bucks a month or so, to a couple of hundred dollars, to $500, $1,000. So at some point, it does become cost-effective to actually build your own email system. So why don’t you talk about that a little bit since it’s something that you’ve done for clients yourself?

VD: Yes. Having a custom email marketing campaign inside your own content management system is a great option for people who already have a database in their CMS. And by this, I mean, maybe they run a membership website. So they have thousands and thousands of members or they have an e-commerce website, so they have lots of buyers that have created accounts in order to purchase items on their site. So that database is on that website it’s hosting and also in their content management system. They don’t have to go elsewhere and update that contact list. They can stay with their own website, log in, and send an email directly from their own server.

What works well is that… Because it’s, again, you don’t have to update the data, the data is as fresh as it can be ’cause you’re on your own CMS, is you can customize it any way you want. You can have your programmer customize a template that looks identical to your website. You can customize maybe a different types of campaign per season and then it’s easy for you to just go there, open a template that you like that looks just like your website, fill in the fields, and decide who to send that email to based on your database. Maybe anybody that bought shoes and they also bought T-shirts. So you could check mark the little categories you want and it will email only those individuals.

RP: Okay. Now because I’m sure scared half the audience out there when I mentioned custom, and everybody’s going, “Oh, so it’s going to be horribly expensive,” can you give us just like a general ballpark range of what an email system, a custom email system might run?

VD: Sure. Typically you’re looking at about $3,000 for a standard email campaign system integrated into your website. Thus assuming you have a strong website with new code. I mean, if you’re looking at an old site that was done 10 years ago, then your Webmaster will have to rebuild the website to support that type of technology. So it again, depends on the age of your website. But $3,000 gives you something you get to own. It doesn’t have any maintenance fees, it’s yours to keep. It becomes an asset for your company as well, so whenever you want a business loan your website with that new functionality has a value. And I’ve had clients use their website as an asset for their company therefore being able to get the larger business loans, just as a site note.

But if you’re doing for instance, I don’t know, three… Let’s say you have 300,000 members. And it could be a simple membership website that has lots of members. If you going with MailChimp which is one of the most affordable and easy-to-use, third-party email system, we’re still looking at $1500 a month to have that many subscribers. So $1500 a month, after two or three months, you have paid for the cost of something that you won’t have to pay again for.

RP: Right.

VD: And that programming is good for many, many years especially if it’s done well.

RP: Sure. And if you look at it even from the lower end, if you’re paying $100, a lot of times, people look at return on investment within two to three years. If I can justify paying for that and I can recoup it, and I’m going to be in the business a long time. Even at a $100, if you’re paying $100 a month, in three years that’s $3600. It’s paid for itself. If you’re paying a $150, $200, that time frame for that return on investment is very quick.

So that’s the part I think that really surprised me and it’s one of those things, you just assume that Constant Contact who has this huge database, this huge company, is going to be able to keep the cost down for you and that it would be prohibitively expensive to have something custom done. And I think the other thing that’s important as you said is that once the code, the base code is built, and you’ve got a couple of templates made, there really isn’t any maintenance that needs to be done to it. So, there isn’t really any ongoing cost.

And then of course, my other concern was, it’s like, Let’s say I’m sending out 10,000 emails or even just 5000 emails every single month. With spam laws, with all those other issues, is your hosting company going to allow you to send that type of volume or they’re going to black flag you and say, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. You are obviously spamming because you are sending out so many emails out of your account.” So, what’s kinda the rules I guess, when it comes to how many emails you can send and what your hosting company will allow you to do?

VD: It’s a great question. It depends on your hosting provider. If you have someone like Good ID or HostGator, typically on their cPanel server, which are the newer servers, they average about 500 emails per hour when they like to process if you are on a shared account. So, those are usually the very cheap hosting $8 or less per month. It’s not like it’s going to stop you, so if you have 10,000 emails to send, it’s just going to send 500 at a time every hour until it’s done. So you are not restricted. So, if you have a large database, it might take you a few days, but it’s not a bad idea. You don’t want everybody hitting your website anyway, at the same time.

And even MailChimp and Constant Contact, don’t send all your email at once. You can actually see the progress if you’re on their dashboard. It will show your files unsent and then nothing and then two files unsent. It’s showing you that they’re not doing it right at the same second because their server can’t even handle that.

So Again, it depends on your server. If you are a very large company and you can afford your own dedicated server, you can do a digital or virtual server with again, Good ID, Bluehost, any of those companies offer host services and then make dedicated server much more affordable. They range from a 100 to 400 a month and with that kind of servers, you pretty much have no limit to what you can do. It’s like you’re owning your own computer with a hosting company. Of course, it has to be set up by an IT person, but once you are set, it’s done. Still would be more affordable then paying a third-party email campaign company.

RP: Right, and that 100 to 400 that you talked about, that’s not just for an email campaign, that’s also for hosting your website and if you are generating that type of volume through email, you’d probably have a lot of visitors going to your website. So, you are going to need a more robust server, anyhow for your website, right?

VD: Yes. Otherwise, your hosting company is going to flag you or charge you more for bandwidth or if it don’t do that’s going to slow down your website. So, the 1000th person on the site is going to be stuck, the server slowdown. So. Yeah. At that level, you need your own dedicated server and the company that we’re referring to, they would know that too.

RP: Okay. Let’s shift gears a little bit from some of the technical backend stuff to the actual end-user interface. When you are building out something custom, you need to create a custom template, I’m assuming that’s part of the initial cost. Obviously, people want different templates, maybe seasonal type of templates, something for Christmas, something for fall, all that can be added on for an additional cost. It really isn’t that much more, but from the actual end-user’s interface, they’re going to log in and… I’m used to Constant Contact, MailChimp that backend. So, It’s just a matter of filing out the title, filing out the body and then picking which database you want to mail to. Is it that simple?

VD: Yes. It’s as simple as the site owner wants it to be. For people when sending a newsletter for instance, we like to create a pre-made newsletter template and all they have to do is fill out the field; the titles, this is where you put a photo, this is where you put text, this is where you put testimonial. It’s just a bunch of field boxes the site owner can fill up very easily. They can preview it, or we can even add a function that will automatically PDF that new email template. So, you can send the email that looks like your regular monthly newsletter, but at the same time you can generate a PDF from your CMS, that automatically goes into a certain landing page that archives all the newsletter.

VD: So, that’s one extra step Custom Programmer could do for you, so you can just… Very simple, everything is done for you. All you have to do is enter the content of your newsletter and then select who you want to send it to. Do you want to send it to all your active members? Do you want to send it to past members, to try to entice them back into your system? So, it’s very cool. It has no limit to what it can do. It’s based on what the site owners wants and what the business goal is.

RP: Right. And then speaking of custom programming and those type of things, what about data merge for, say websites that are actually selling a product, and maybe they just bought a black pair of shoes. Is there a way of data merging something that would send an email out that would say, “Hey, thanks for buying your black pair of shoes, by the way, we just got this new pair of black shoes in today”?

VD: Yes. So if you have a custom email campaign inside your own CMS, you don’t even need to merge any data, it’s automatically done for you. When you use MailChimp, you will have to tell it to put “Dear Joe”, mail merge the email, mail merge maybe, you’re sending user name and password to all your members, but in your constant, your own CMS, whatever mail merge you want is already in place. Does that make sense? But you could create…

RP: Yeah, well, ’cause you’re saying that the database, your MailChimp, you’re in a separate database from your website that you’re collecting information in. By combining those two together, now, what I want to know is, if let’s say, I’m selling shoes, one, I should be able to… There’s that default email that says, “Hey Betty, thanks for buying your black pair of shoes, they’re on their way.” But what if I get a new shipment of black shoes that are similar to these other black shoes that I’ve been selling and I go, “Hey, I want to send and email out to everybody that’s bought this style of black shoes because I think they’re going to like this new one.” So we can mail merge, or database merge, those two together, so that the email only goes to… Let’s say in the last six months or year or whatever it is.

VD: Yes, it’s all possible. So, “Dear Susie, thank you for buying the boots. Just to let you know we have a new style of sandals available for you,” and yes absolutely possible. Again the same functions that MailChimp and Constant Contact have, you can have in your own content management system.

RP: Right and I think the key thing there, though, is because the database is all in one place now, it’s very easy to access that information. There’s no export/import or anything like that. Alright, perfect. Alright, well very good. If people have questions, interests, comments about how to build, create, a custom email program, what’s the best way of getting a hold of you, Virginie?

VD: Well they can email us 24/7, so the email is info, I-N-F-O, at Petaluma website dot com. Petaluma is the town we’re in, P-E-T-A-L-U-M-A, website, W-E-B-S-I-T-E, or they can call us, it’s Pacific Standard Time here, so it’s 707-794-9999, and we’ll be happy to help.

RP: Alright Virginie. Well, that is our time for today. As always I appreciate your time and I think a lot of people if they understood the cost value of actually integrating their own email system into their website would be very interested in doing so. I can just see if you’re spending $100 or more a month, it seems like it would be a smart idea to at least consider.

VD: Yes.

RP: Alright, well have a great day, it’s always a pleasure. Take care.

VD: Thank you, bye.

RP: Bye.

About Ryan Perry

Ryan Perry has taken his 10+ years of business ownership and hands-on marketing skills and focused them on online marketing. In April of 2009, he started Simple Biz Support with an emphasis on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Ryan is propelling local business websites to the top of Google, Yahoo and Bing resulting in increased market exposure and revenue for his clients using a variety of internet marketing tools including blogs, article submissions and video. Additionally, Ryan speaks and vlogs (video blogs) about internet marketing, educating business owners how to effectively use various SEO tools and techniques to promote their business on the internet. Ryan currently resides in Santa Rosa, CA. Connect with Ryan on Google+

How To Advertise On Google Plus

Hey there internet fans. It’s Ryan Perry with Simple Biz Support. It’s Wednesday. Therefore, it is Social Media Wednesday. On the other side, I’ve got Sarah Giometti with ICT Marketing. Good morning Sarah.

Sarah Giometti: Good morning Ryan. How are you?

RP: Struggling a little bit. As you can tell, you’ve got the up-your-nose camera view. Unfortunately, my main PC’s having some issues right now. So, I had to break out the laptop. That’s why we started a little bit late and that’s why I’m looking down on everybody which I normally don’t like to do unless I… I guess I can talk like this at a hunched level throughout this broadcast. So, it is what it is, but we’re going to make it work one way or the other.

SG: Yep. I’m sure that’ll be great for your posture anyway. You can just work it out at Power Fit.

RP: There you go. We were… Typically, we talk beforehand. We had to break out the old technology, the cell phones, in order to nail down our broadcast today. We were talking about the fact that you can actually advertise on Google Plus. So, not Google AdWords, although, it is through AdSense, but it’s a way of promoting your Google Plus page, your social media business Google Plus page and for me, from an SEO point of view, that’s an important feature simply because Google… You always want to play in Google’s playbox, stand box, if you will, in the sense that if you play under their rules, their terms, your chances of being found, becoming more visible, first page placement is more important.

So, having good social engagement on Google Plus especially if you’re in a competitive market space, can be very, very helpful. So, you’re going to kind of talk about what that looks like and also, you kind of talked about kind of a unique program of tying the Google Plus ads along with Facebook and I forget… Oh, Custom Audience. So, I’m going to let you talk.

SG: Alright. So, yes, Google Plus does allow you to run ads promoting your Google Plus posts. It runs very differently from things like Facebook and Twitter. First off, you, unfortunately, do have to have 1000 followers on your Google Plus page for your business before you’re allowed to run these ads. Second, you are promoting the Google Plus posts. However, you’re not promoting them within the Google Plus platform. You actually promote them through the Google AdWords campaign, program, platform and then you send it out on their Displayed Network.

SG: So, the ads show up on third-party networks like XYZ.com and people can see the post and interact with it from there without having to come back to Google Plus. So, this is where it’s kind of a game changer is your posts are being promoted to a possible audience throughout the internet, off of the social media platform and they can interact with it from there. They can click the link to go to whatever article you’re posting, maybe one of your blog articles or one of your videos. They can plus one it from there. They can comment from there and so your engagement increases.

SG: Some of the bigger brands who have already run these, they’re reporting a 50% increase in their engagement by running these page post ads. The other beauty of it is traditional Facebook advertising is within the Google search pages. It’s a headline and some text. So, there’s no picture. There’s no pretty. In the Display Network, you can have a picture ad, but again, it’s not interactive as much as…

RP: Okay, so, let me just… ‘Cause I think we’re taking it to a place that really hasn’t been talked about a lot. So, just to give clarification… Sorry. Just to give clarification to the audience, let’s take them through a scenario. Let’s say you’ve got a shoe store and you want to sell shoes. If you’re on Facebook and you do Facebook advertising, you are restricted to be within the Facebook network. That is, if anybody is not on Facebook or they’re not logged into Facebook, they will never see your ads because they’re only going to show on Facebook.

RP: What you’re saying with the Google is that because it goes through AdSense and the ads actually go out through their… What is it? The Display Network is that the ads, you do not have to be in Google Plus like you do have to be in Facebook in order to see an ad. It might show up on… I don’t know some of their… But they have some big agencies. I don’t want to say MSNBC News, but they do have some very large websites like that that they post ads on.

SG: Correct.

RP: And you’re saying that instead of it just being an ad with a bolded title and two lines of text like we would normally see for pay-per-click, we can actually have a picture ad that’s a little bit more engaging, more visible, more attractive?

SG: Correct. It would be the… The post that you post in Google Plus is what people would see throughout the Display Network. So, if you include an image in your Google Plus post, either just a straight image with some text or the image that goes along with a link to a blog article or whatever page you’re promoting. That imagery… So, it could be beautiful, colorful imagery [05:42] ____ text. Obviously, the text you still want to keep shorter ’cause it is still an ad, but that… You have a lot more control over the visual part of the ad and yes, it’s displayed throughout the Google Display Network throughout the internet.

So, as long as people are logged into… Actually they don’t need to be logged into Google. They have to be logged in to interact with it so that their name shows up in everything but it gives people the opportunity to interact with your post through out the internet versus just having to be on Google Plus. The ads actually are never on Google Plus.

RP: Okay, so it’s always on the display network so even if people are logged into their Gmail account, they can actually like it, share it, those type of things. If they’re not logged in, they are still going to see the ads, so there’s still value they can click on it, it will take them into Google Plus. But definitely from a brand point of view, I love the fact that you can incorporate images because I think images are so important these days with your audience, think about Pinterest, Instagram, how popular those social media platforms are and that’s strictly, all they do is images for the most part.

SG: Absolutely, with these days, we’re very visual people and so we like images, we like video, as you know that’s a giant part of your speciality, and so this is where the images are big and beautiful, and well they are of various sizes but they stand out in the ads, and they’re interactive which a lot of ads really are just, they are dead picture where you click through, you don’t really know where you’re going.

SG: This gives you the opportunity to tell people what you are trying to show them versus just a picture, it’s a blog article about Facebook custom audiences for instance, so you can tell them ahead of time, like a news article to entice them to click the link and go read the article but read the blog post and so it makes it more interactive, more human to them than just a picture ad that says your name, a couple of words about what you do, and hope that they click through the picture to whatever random place you’re sending them ’cause they really don’t have any idea.

RP: Okay, so then the kicker bonus that you had talked about before we started the broadcast was the fact that is integrating the Google Plus ad with the Twitter, or excuse me, the Facebook custom audience.

SG: Yeah, so this is why people are thinking might be a bit of game changer with lead generation is, Facebook custom audiences, you can use tracking pixels on certain pages of your website if that, so if you went to my website and read a blog post that I had a tracking pixel on for Facebook and you were logged in in your Facebook account, Facebook would grab your Facebook information and the next time you log into Facebook, my ads in Facebook would be delivered to you. And so you see this a lot more often, online shopping use this the most, more than small businesses do and so have you ever noticed you are doing online shopping looking at a product, you are back onto Facebook and all the time you see that product everywhere?

RP: Right, and it’s not just, it’s not like, if we talk about shoes again, it’s not just a picture of a shoe, it’s a picture of the shoe you were looking at.

SG: Yes.

RP: And it’s that specific, and so that’s called re-branding.

SG: That’s re-targeting.

RP: Re-targeting, I’m sorry. Yes, re-targeting, which is very powerful. So you are recommending that this type of marketing is probably best suited for people selling a product, versus service-oriented businesses.

SG: Not necessarily. They’re just the ones who have taken advantage of it the most. Service organizations, there’s no reason that a service organization can’t utilize it the same way. It is a little bit harder with the images, you have to be a lot more creative with your imagery that you are going to use for these ads but the scenario could be potentially, you put a post on Google Plus, you run that ad on the displayed network, someone clicks on the link, goes to your website, reads the blog article that you’re promoting, you have a Facebook tracking link on that blog article and the next time that person’s on Facebook they see your ads again.

So here’s somebody that’s already shown interest in your content because they’ve been on your website to look at a blog article, a video, they may have stayed, looked at more information, and now you get to touch them again on a second platform, third platform really if you count your website, and pull them, draw them in on Facebook as well. Now you’ve touched them on multiple platforms and you have an opportunity to grab them as a follower and keep putting your content in front of them and nurturing them into that sale.

RP: Right, and if you think about it from a branding point of view, what’s the touch now? Is it seven to 10 approximately? You need to have seven to 10 touches before people really recognize you?

SG: I still think it’s closer to 20. Everybody has a differing opinion of what the number of touches is but people are kind of in content shock, there’s so much content out there, we’re being driven a ton of content every time we log into every single social media platform, there’s a huge amount of content that is fighting for our attention.

RP: Sure.

SG: So I think it’s even, it would be higher for your brand to stand out in that mess of content, so you need a lot of touches and so this is an opportunity to touch them in multiple different places, they’ll start remembering you and then when you hit them on Facebook they have the option to follow you, and get more and more of your content, so you just keep touching them and touching them, and that’s all based on activity they took somewhere out in the internet because they saw a different ad that you are running.

RP: Right, now you may not know the answer to this, one of the things I am thinking of is that, okay, so I run a Google Plus ad, I do the Facebook and I’m forgetting everything today, I apologize, the custom audience ad. Somebody goes to my blog, they read an article, they get tagged by Facebook, they log into Facebook, they see my ad. Do you have any ideas, if I keep on paying every single month as the business owner, if I keep my account going with Facebook, how long that ad will show to that end user?

SG: That I actually don’t know…

RP: Okay.

SG: How long that goes. It may be until they convert. So they like the page, things like that, it might end it. That, I actually don’t know the answer to.

RP: Okay.

SG: But I will look that up.

RP: I’m sure Facebook will take your money, one way or the other, though.

SG: Oh, absolutely. They are more than happy to take your ad money, and they still are the cheapest form of advertising around, hands down.

RP: Right. Yeah, and actually, Zuckerberg needs more money. I just read an article yesterday. Apparently he has… People have been working on his house for over a year now, construction, building all this new stuff, remodeling everything, and the neighbors are getting a little annoyed with the noise, the dust, the blocked roads, the No Parking, and then, of course, there’s security on top of it all. But can you imagine remodeling a house for over a year?

SG: No. It sounds horrid. But he also bought like four houses surrounding his house.

RP: Yeah, he spent $30 million on four houses around his house. I dont’ know if he’s going to tear all those down so he can have just one big property…

SG: No, he wanted to control who moved in…

RP: Right.

SG: Which is smart. I mean, I…

RP: Yeah. Sure.

SG: That’s smart.

RP: Right, because as he starts having kids, he’s going to have four kids, apparently, and so now each one of ‘em will have a house…

SG: Correct.

RP: Right next to Mom and Dad. I don’t know. There was… I was watching the show the other day, and then we’ll get going ’cause we’re past our time, but it had to do with people and big pools. And this guy bought the next door neighbor’s house so he could tear it down to put a pool in. And this is, he spent a million dollars on the house, the property just so he could put a pool in. I’m like, “That is some serious dedication, folks.”

SG: That is, that is.

RP: Alright. So, for people that are interested, though, I really like the two-part approach using Google because there’s so much reach with Google as far as advertising, and then bringing it in to Facebook where that… And I’ve got re-branding stuck in my head… Re-targeting, to re-target the ads so you get multiple impressions is very, very powerful. What’s a good way for people to get a hold of you, Sarah, with any questions?

SG: They can find me across all social media sites. So ICT-Marketing.com is our website. Facebook, we’re ICT-Marketing, I think, ICT Marketing, one of those. Someday, I’ll get that one right.

On Twitter, we’re ICT_Marketing. So you can hit me up on the social media platforms, I’m there personally as well. If you want to reach me personally, I’d say go for Twitter, not Facebook. I lock my personal Facebook down, so you’d have a harder time reaching me, but you can reach me through my company pages as well.

RP: Alright, perfect. Sarah, as always, I appreciate your time, and we’ll be talking next week.

SG: Thanks, Ryan. Have a great day.

RP: You too. Thank you.

About Ryan Perry

Ryan Perry has taken his 10+ years of business ownership and hands-on marketing skills and focused them on online marketing. In April of 2009, he started Simple Biz Support with an emphasis on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Ryan is propelling local business websites to the top of Google, Yahoo and Bing resulting in increased market exposure and revenue for his clients using a variety of internet marketing tools including blogs, article submissions and video. Additionally, Ryan speaks and vlogs (video blogs) about internet marketing, educating business owners how to effectively use various SEO tools and techniques to promote their business on the internet. Ryan currently resides in Santa Rosa, CA. Connect with Ryan on Google+