“If you're kind of newer to email marketing, just get on like a weekly emailing basis if possible to start, and then you can kind of ramp-up. As you get more comfortable with it. Your list grows, depending on how you know the wide assortment you have, etc. but start with that once a week.”
Welcome to Thrive by Design, the podcast for ambitious independent jewelry brands, looking to profit from their products, get ready to make more and sell more doing what you love, without spending every single waking minute doing it. Hey, and if you're a creative fashion or product-based business, I want to welcome you to the show. I'll be dropping big tips on launching, growing, and scaling your business. Spend more of your precious time using your creativity to make you ready. All right, let's do this.
Tracy: Welcome to the thrive by design podcast episode 298. Hey there, it's Tracy Matthews, Chief visionary Officer of flourish and thrive Academy. And I'm so excited to be here today to be talking about email automation, because I think we can all agree that we would love to be making money in our sleep. And if you're someone who wants to do the same thing, the fastest way to do that for your jewelry, e-commerce or even product e-commerce business is using automated email sequences. No more manual what you store gonna send out manual emails. But this is a great way to really create community and build that know-like-trust factor. Why sleep pretty much for sure.
Today I have a very special guest on the show Jessica Totillo Coster, and she is from E-commerce Badassery And she is an eCommerce badass. I met her on Facebook. I was looking for some clay vo experts to talk to our momentum program. And I'm excited because we're going to be bringing her in to do some training on email automation, which is super exciting. And then we ended up collaborating in a few rooms on Clubhouse. And she's joining us for our weekly Clubhouse rooms on Monday. And we're just having a blast.
So if you're on Clubhouse, make sure that you come to our Monday room right now we're hosting it at 3pm Pacific and 6pm. Eastern at the time that I'm recording this audio is Clubhouse free, you can just join in and get some great value every single Monday.
And with that being said, if you are someone who would like to get some help, creating consistent daily sales or scaling your online sales in your jewelry business so that you have a strong, you know, eCommerce revenue stream, we'd love to help you with that. And the fastest way that we can do that is in one of our programs. So I'd love to invite you to apply for a free business accelerator audit. This business accelerator audit is perfect for people who are ready to get help now in their business, and they want to grow their sales and, you know, get fast results over the next year or so. So if you're ready to invest, and you're someone who really is serious about growing your impact, reaching more people, and making your business a lot easier, then apply for one of the business accelerator audit. All you have to do is head on over to flourishthriveacademy.com/strategy And what you're going to do is fill out a quick application. We're going to ask you a few questions about your business. And then if you qualify, we're going to get you on a call with our business accelerator specialist, Natasha.
Natasha is going to ask you some questions about your business, basically, like where do you want to go? Where do you see your business going? We're going to talk a little bit about where your business is now and any roadblocks that might be standing in the way of you reaching your goals. At the end of that call, you're going to have a clear path forward understanding, like what is it that I need to do and if it seems like a good fit, we're gonna invite you to participate or join one of our programs if it makes sense. And if not, no harm, no foul, we'll just send you on your way with some free value. So that's it. If you're interested in learning more head on over to flourishthriveacademy.com/strategy to book your business accelerator audit today.
I'm going to dive into this interview. It was so good. We had a blast. But before I do, I need to introduce the girl. The legend Jessica Totillo Coster. Jessica is an e-commerce and email marketing strategist for boutique owners and product entrepreneurs. She supports scrappy CEOs with actionable steps and strategies to grow and scale their eCommerce businesses after 20 plus years in retail, owning her own multi six-figure brick and mortar boutique, three years as the only employee of a seven-figure eCommerce store, and having the pleasure of learning from the top experts in the digital marketing and e-commerce industry. She's now sharing everything that she's learned the hard way so you don't have to. Alright, let's dive into this episode.
I am super excited to have Jessica Totillo Coster on the show today. I keep calling her the wrong name and I have called her the wrong game on Clubhouse now on the podcast and many other places, but I think we nailed it. So welcome to the show.
Jessica: Thank you so much, Tracy. I'm excited to be here with you.
Tracy: I met Jessica I think someone tagged me in a Facebook group where we were looking for a Klaviyo expert. I got on the phone with her several months ago about her company, Ecommerce Badassery, and let's just say she's a badass and I'm super excited. She's contributing to our weekly Clubhouse rooms. If you're not there, you can follow both of us on ClubhouseJessica, what is your Clubhouse handle?
Tracy: @ecommerce friend, I'm Tracy Matthews @Tracy Matthews, so find us both on Clubhouse to get access to the rooms that we are speaking and participating in. So tell us a little bit about your journey into E-commerce Badassery.
Jessica: Yeah, so my journey really starts when I was sleeping in my new shoes as a little girl. I know that's a little far back. But it kind of sets the stage for, you know, 24 plus years in retail, went to school for fashion merchandising, owned my own brick and mortar boutique back in the day. And then for the last seven years, I worked at a national retailer, I started out in their marketing department. And then when we launched e-commerce, I took over that division. And for the first three years, I was the only employee. I had a part timer who packed and shipped orders. So while it wasn't my business, it felt like it was my business. And I cried a lot during those first three years because it was so stressful.
But I learned so many amazing things along the way, and had the pleasure of working with these like super high paid consultants that like the average person can't work with, right. And I knew stuff about e-com when I started but I was really mostly self taught because digital Ecom, like that, wasn't a thing. When I went to college, you know, like, we were still on myspace, and you needed a college email address to get on Facebook, and there was no Instagram. So working with those people really fast tracked my success. And while I loved what I did, I was just tired of the corporate rat race, likely. And I spent a lot of time in Facebook entrepreneur groups, because I just loved being surrounded by that energy. And I knew I wanted to do something, I just didn't know what it was going to be.
And then MailChimp and Shopify broke up. And there were all these e-com entrepreneurs that didn't know what to do next. And I just started talking to them about Klaviyo because I had already been using it for about two or three years at that point, and really loved it.
And they started messaging me. Can you help me? I'm on Klaviyo. I'm struggling. My emails are going in the junk box. I don't know what's happening. And I said, Okay, sure. And like those first two clients, I was so lit up working with them, even though I was doing it on the side of this, like a very demanding day job. And my husband would be like, babe, are you getting burnt out? I'm like, No, I'm re-energized when I come home and work on their stuff. Like, this is the best job I've ever had. And, you know, I continue to do it on the side for a while. But I just went full time in September of 2020. And, you know, did I think I was gonna be like a podcaster and showing my face all over Instagram and like doing Clubhouse rooms and meeting people like, you know, I didn't. But it's been amazing. And I'm super excited. You know, just like what's to come and all of these scrappy entrepreneurs that I get to support. It's so much fun.
It's so fun. And we were talking about this before because small business is really scrappy. And you got to pivot all the time. And, you know, it is definitely not for everyone. You know, the constant changes pivoting last minute, last minute ness of it can be tough sometimes. And it's not. It's definitely not for everyone. We were just talking about that before. So let's talk a little bit more about email marketing. So what are some of the big mistakes that entrepreneurs and especially product based business owners make? What do they make when they're with their email marketing?
I think the biggest mistake is they're not sending emails.
Tracy: Yeah right?! Totally.
Jessica: I think we tend to project our own feelings onto our businesses. So we personally don't like getting emails, we personally don't like pop ups, right. But at the end of the day, pop ups work, and so does email marketing, and it still has the highest ROI of any marketing activity you can do. So that's the first thing is to actually just send them but I think what happens is and what I've seen is we we overthink what email marketing has to be and if you can just remember that it's a two way conversation with someone who raved their hand and said, I want what you have to offer, please tell me more. And you have a conversation with them and create a relationship with them, it becomes so much easier and will generate you more revenue.
Tracy: For sure. So I love what you said about that, because it's so true. One of the number one things that when we talk to our students in our momentum program or in our TYT program, the number one result that they get when they start sending more emails is more sales. And so like when people were having these massive growth in 2020, when COVID hit, and they were like, oh, shoot, all my shows are canceled, like, what am I gonna do? I'm like, sending more emails and their businesses like, like, blew up, like 440% increases all the things things were growing. So it is intense, so I totally get it. And one of the best parts about that is really, when you can set up automation in your business, email automation, in particular. So what are some of your favorite email automations that you'd like to set up for companies?
Jessica: Yep! I love email automation. You know, everybody wants to make money while they sleep, right? Like we all want that passive income and there's no real income, that's passive, let's just bust that myth. But email can help you. So there are like six main email automations that I start with as the base for any e commerce business. So you have your welcome series, you have a browse, abandonment, a checkout abandonment of post purchase, a never purchased series, and then a win back and we can talk more about what each of those are. So let's talk about the welcome series, because this is really one of the first things that you should set up. And this is where I like to think of it kind of like dating, okay, so they come they put their email in your pop up that I hope you have on your website.And now you are…
Tracy: That very thing at the bottom that says join my newsletter?
Jessica: Right. Because no one's gonna sign up through there. We need to like interrupt their experience to get their attention. So that this welcome series is where you kind of wine and dine them right and let them know who you are, how you're going to solve their problem, why you do what you do. And it's think about if you were in person, if you were at a show, or you had a brick and mortar, what would you say to those people who come in talk who don't know who you are, that's what you're going to put in your email.
So I think we think because like, because it's written and it's on the internet, that it's different. But it's not. It's just like you would talk in real life. So that's how I like to think of the welcome series, and ultimately, you're trying to get them to buy right. So what objections do they maybe have about your product? You want to overcome them? before they even have a chance to have them? What do they need to know about you and your product to make a buying decision? And that's what you want to put in that welcome series.
You've also got your abandonment emails, the Browse abandonment and the checkout abandonment. And just for quick clarification on what those are is browse abandonment is before they add a product to their cart.
Tracy: Hmm,I never really thought of that.
Jessica: Yeah, so if you're on Shopify, and using Klaviyo which are kind of my two favorite platforms, and other email platforms have this as well. But on Shopify, it's not until they hit that start Checkout button where it registers as a checkout, right. So that's your checkout abandonment, your browse abandonment is going to come before that step. So it's going to catch them, they just looked at the product, but didn't add it to their cart, or they added it to their car and didn't start checkout. So that's why it's important to have that. And this is where now you're really leaning into the products that they're buying and overcoming those objections, telling them about your wonderful return policy, telling them how quickly they're going to get it or how slowly just be honest right set the expectation. And one of the things to remember is a lot of the time, people just got distracted, like they still want to buy it. 68% of people are going to abandon their cart. But that doesn't mean they didn't want to buy it. Maybe they have a kid pulling on their leg or they got a Clubhouse notification on their phone because they come through like crazy, right? So that initial email just needs to be a little nudge to say like, hey, maybe you forgot this, like you don't have to be always giving away discounts. Yeah, just there. I think there's some confusion around that. And then my next favorite one is the post purchase. Yes. And this one Yes. You got this sale, awesome, but your job is not done. Right. So I like to approach this with actually two different flow. So I will usually create one flow, when they order. That is a personal thank you from the founder, I want it to be text based, make it look like you sat down at your computer and just wrote this to them
Tracy: That's so good. That's totally, that's an interesting strategy. And like it,
Jessica: As a small business, you are the thing that sets you apart from everyone else. And I will generally tell people, put as much of yourself as you're comfortable in your business and then do like a little bit more, push yourself a little bit outside your comfort zone. And email is obviously an easy way to do this, right. So I you know, it's all text based, and I have a signature like you would have in your regular email, maybe you've got a little picture of you, right, signing off CEO, founder, whatever you call yourself. But then there's a second flow. And I usually will base this off of when the order is fulfilled, versus when the order is placed, because you want to make sure to kind of spread these emails out. And in this email, what does your customer need to know and understand, to have a good experience with your product, so that they come back and leave you a good review? start there, and let that dictate the content. So if you are a jewelry designer, right, they need to know how to take care of it, how to store it, take it off, when you go in the shower, whatever it is,
Tracy: Don't go to the gym with your (inaudible) ring on.
Jessic: Like, whatever it is they need to know, because what you will find is if and if you're not sure, go look at your bad reviews, because it's going to tell you go look at your customer service inquiries.
Jessica: What are people saying and I'll give an example is at my previous job, we had this product that was new in this space. And it was getting rave reviews, it was like the newest thing out there. And we were getting all of these bad reviews about it. And we were just like what is going on. So when I started to look through them, what I realized was it was user error, because it had a little bit of a learning curve. And so what I did was I created a post purchase flow specifically for that item, really walking them through what they needed to know. And the battery view stopped because we used to troubleshoot it, you know, on customer service chats with people, and what kind of explaining it and so they would give it another shot and then come back and like email us and say, Oh my God, thank you so much like it was user error. I really appreciate all the help. So it's up to us to make sure that they have a good experience with it and emails are a great way to communicate that.
Tracy: awesome, amazing. I love that that's such a good example. So a lot of people listen to the show, it becomes really, really hard for them to stay consistent with email marketing, because they do have so much to do with their business. Do you have any tips to make this super easy for them?
Jessica: Yes, for sure. My number one tip is to plan ahead a little bit, which I know I mean, admittedly, I'm not the greatest planner, right? I'm still working on that for myself. So don't beat yourself up. If you don't, you know, get two months ahead.
Tracy: I'm not the greatest planner either. I'm here in the moment, which is normal for a small business. People need themselves a break. Not everyone can plan. And I just want to say this because in our programs like in momentum and in the TYC. And even in laying the foundation, our programs that we teach over here, we tell people to plan things out in advance, but also to allow yourself to pivot because things come up, right?
Tracy: And so it's good to have an idea of what you want to do. But you can't be so tied to it that you're inflexible. Because if you do, you might miss a huge opportunity of something that happens in the news or something that's current
Jessica: Yeah, such a great point. So what I like to do is I want to I look at like a month at a time and just give myself kind of a rough outline of what I'm going to talk about. So obviously the first step is to look at holidays like real national holidays, social media holidays, what are people going to be talking about? Is there something I can tie back to my business? Do I have any pillar content? If you have blog posts for your e-commerce business, write that stuff? Okay, I know I post a new blog post every Tuesday, so I'm going to email about that.
So just jot down all of that stuff and then look at where your blank spaces are. Because there's not going to be as many as you think. You really, you know, if you're kind of newer to email marketing, just get on like a weekly emailing basis if possible to start and then you can kind of ramp up as you get more comfortable with it your list grows, depends how you know wide of an assortment you have, etc. but start with that once a week. And when you have those blank spaces, if you have like a few core types of emails that you send, right, so you have a best seller that you want to feature, maybe you have something that's not really moving, they don't need to know that it's not moving, but you might want to feature it in the email to give it a little bit more visibility, right.
Tracy: Like this is our best seller.
Jessica: Yes. quotation marks. But think about to just to actually touch on that piece a little bit. You know, if you have a brick and mortar I, I had a clothing boutique, okay, so I had a lot of stuff in there, people can't see everything. So if something wasn't moving, maybe I now need to put it on a mannequin, or I need to put in a window, or I need to restyle it. So like don't give up on things, just re merchandise them, move them around, give them a little bit more visibility and your marketing before you give up on something. And so email is a cool way to do that as well. Maybe you're going to tell your story. So if you have a few of these basic emails, and you just cycle through them, like on a quarterly basis. My other favorite thing to do is, if you have an email that performed really well, in the past, just resend it to your new people recently to the people who even got it the first time if it's like six months ago, I promise you they don't remember.
Maybe you create a new subject line, you probably don't even need to do that either. So just like recycle what's worked really well. Even doing you know, roundups of your social media content, because no one is following you. And all the places no one is seeing all of your stuff. So just repurpose what you've already got keep it really simple. That's the easiest way. And like Tracy, like what you said, is leave yourself room to be flexible, right? You don't necessarily want to set all of this stuff up in advance. Because you know, sometimes your messaging let's just think about the roller coaster that was 2020. That was the beginning of 2021. Right? people's attitudes and mindset around things are constantly shifting. And so you need to make sure that your messaging kind of lands with them. And you know, I mean, in 2020, like there was a time you couldn't make a toilet paper joke. Like that wasn't funny, right? So you want to make sure that you're kind of paying attention to what's going around you as well. So being flexible, super important.
Tracy: Yeah, for sure. All right. So let's say someone buys from you. Awesome. All the good things. So earlier in the show, you talked about a lot of these different segments that you need email automations. For what I want to talk about is list health, like, Can you can you go into depth about what list health means? How to Clean your email list and why it's important. And then if there's any numbers or anything that we need to talk about? Let's tie that into them.
Jessica: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for asking this. Because this is so important. The first thing I want to remind you is to not get emotionally attached to the size of your email list. Because in this case, size does not matter, right? It is better to have a small list who wants what you're selling than a big list of people who don't care. And there's a couple of reasons for that. And the biggest one is something called deliverability. And all that means is it sounds like this crazy word, but all it means is your ability to land in someone's inbox. So let me explain a little bit how this works. You set up an email in Klaviyo, you send it out, and it tells you you know, 99% of them went out maybe a couple bounce something like that.
But just because 99% of them were sent doesn't mean that all of those landed in the inbox because it is up to the email service provider like Gmail, Yahoo, hotmail whether or not they're going to deliver your email.
So there's a couple of things that the email service providers look at to determine if they're going to deliver your email. And it's these kind of overarching metrics that you have. So what they're looking for is at your open rate, your click rate are people you know, marking us spam. So I'll give you some numbers write these down guys, is you want to have a 20% or higher open rate. Now, if you're hitting 17 18% Are you going to end up in the junk box? No, but if you are consistently getting single digits or 1011 12% you are a little get in trouble. And we'll talk about how you can fix that. Next up is your click rate. And a lot of the time, you're gonna see two different click rates, you're gonna see click rate, which is based on the total number of people you send the email to, you want that to be 3 to 4%. And then there's click through rate. Now that's based on the people who open the email. So you want that to be about 12, to 14%. So it just depends on how your email service provider reports it. But I want to make sure you know the difference, because that's a big difference. 2% 12%, it's a big difference. And then your spam rate is, you know, the number of people who marked you as spam. And you want that to be at point 08 percent. So not even or actually I might be lying, I think it's point 03. I'll confirm Tracy put it in your notes.
Tracy: OK, perfect.
Jessica: .But it's very low is the point is, it's very, very low. So if you are hitting all of those numbers, you're doing great. But if you're not, here's a couple ways how you can fix it. And the first thing is to think about how old is this list that you have, right. And if you've been in business for a while, and you got some of these emails, you know, five years ago, they may have just, you know, they turned it's normal, like there is a percentage of churn, that's going to happen naturally all the time. So you have to clean those people, you have to get them off your list, because what it's doing is it's just hindering your ability to get into the people who want to hear from you. And in most cases, you're paying for every person that's on your list. So why keep paying for them, if they don't want what you're sending them, like, just get rid of them, save yourself some money. So the first thing I would do is look at and it's going to kind of depend on how long you've been in business, right?
The longer you've been in business, the further back you can go. But at a minimum, I want you to look at who has not opened an email in the last six months, you want to make sure they've been on your list for at least six months, and maybe they've gotten five or 1020 emails from you, depending upon how often you send the hot, more higher your frequency, the higher, you know, you can make that number. And if they haven't opened or clicked or anything, just unsubscribe them, get rid of them, stop sending them emails, it's not worth it. Focus on the people who actually care about what you have to say. And yes, you will have less people on your email list. But all of your metrics are going to be better. And 99.9% of the time, your revenue from email is not going to go down.
Right, because those that were just dead weight, in a lot of cases, your revenue could go up, because now you're going to actually get into more inboxes. So that's the first thing to do. And generally, just like on a regular sending basis, I will usually create a segment of people who have engaged in the last 90 days, so they opened or clicked an email in the last 90 days. Those are the people who are going to buy from you. And then everyone else, if I'm having a big sale or new product launch, something like that, then I include the entire list. But in those standard weekly emails, just those people who have been engaging recently.
Tracy: Awesome. I love that. So many great tips here for general email automations. But also, most importantly, like list cleansing, I can't even tell you like we're in the process of list cleansing, and we are automation broke, and we didn't realize it and we are going to probably be cleaning like 10s of thousands of people makes me want to throw up thinking about it. But it's important because you know, we're always working on optimizing open rates. And once we got really super tight with our segmentation, actually, the revenue from our emails over time has really improved. So it's been awesome. Any other tips before we go that you have any last minute tips that you think are important that we didn't cover?
Jessica: Yeah. So like I said, email doesn't have to be hard, right? I imagine a lot of the listeners, right, have kind of built up their social media strategy. They kind of know what works, all that good stuff. They're creating all of this great content. It's the same thing in email, right? So I don't want you to overthink it everyone over things that I as an email marketer over think you know, that's normal. So just give yourself a little grace. And when you are sitting down to write an email, just remember that it's a human on the other side and you're just having a conversation with them. And the data, whether they open your email, click your email or buy from your email is telling you a story. So make sure you're paying attention to those metrics.
And for instance, like if you send an email, and maybe you're featuring that, quote, unquote, best seller, we mentioned that's not moving, right? Take a look at what people bought, did they buy what you featured? Or did they buy something else? And so that's going to tell you if they wanted that product, right, it's going to help you qualify that product. But if they came in, they bought something else. That's telling you that sometimes it's just about being in their inbox. It's not necessarily about the content that you're sharing, right? It's top of mind.
Because people are getting so many emails every single day and if you're not in the game, like they're just gonna forget about you.
So it's not always about the hard sell. Right? Sometimes it's just about continuing to keep on that relationship staying top of mind so that when they are ready to buy a product like yours, you are the first person that they think oh,
Tracy: Yeah, amazing. Just where can everyone find you?
Jessica: So I am @ecommercebadassery in all of the places, website, social media, and then like we mentioned @ecommercefriend, because badassery was too long on Clubhouse.
Yeah, I was very upset that I couldn't fit it. And I didn't want to abbreviate it. So you know, I just did it that way. But I'm also the host of E-commerce Badassery podcast as well.
Tracy: I'm so excited. And we're really excited to have you work with flourish and thrive a little bit more in depth in the coming months, which we'll be announcing soon enough. In the meantime, you can find Jess in our Clubhouse rooms on Monday nights on occasion and she is just dropping some value bombs right there every single weekend or week. Monday. It's not the weekend, but whatever.
Jessica; I got to tell you time on Clubhouse is starting to blur a little bit. It's an amazing platform though. I love it. It's such a great place to just Connect and Learn and it's just cool.
Same people like the connection happen so much faster there than it would anywhere else. And true when I'm hosting rooms like I encourage everyone to not only try and connect with the speakers but to the people around you in the audience, right? Because they're all in the same boat as you so it's a really great place to meet new people.
Tracy: Thank you so much for listening to the show today. This is Tracy about to sign off. But before I do, if you're interested in getting some support from flourish and thrive Academy in your jewelry or product business, I would love to invite you once again, to fill out a free business accelerator audit, all you need to do is head on over to flourishthriveacademy.com/strategy This audit is perfect for people who really are intentional and want to get help right now in their business, and are ready to take the next steps to invest in themselves and in their growth. So if that sounds like you, and you'd like to get some help from us, really see through all the details of what's going on in your business. Because you're kind of stuck inside it's hard for you to see clearly what needs to happen in order to move forward. We would love to help you. All you got to do is head on over to flourishthriveacademy.com/strategy and see if you qualify. Thanks so much. This is Tracy signing off. Until next time.