In today’s episode, we have Katie Guenther. Katie is the founder of Bela Blue Solutions. She believes that email marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be really simple. Her advice is to start with choosing the right email marketing platform to use. She recommended three platforms which she thinks are the simplest of all the other platforms available. These are Mailerlite, Awebber and Flodesk. Choose what’s the best that suits you and your business.
Visit Katie’s website: https://belablue.com/
Katie Brinkley 0:02
Hi friends. I’m Katie Brinkley, and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado based small business owners, entrepreneurs, realtors and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode.
Welcome back to Rocky Mountain marketing. I am so excited to have today’s guest, Katie Gunther, join us because she is going to tell us all about the importance of email marketing for your business, not just having a random email go out to a few people that you know your mom knows and that your cousin knows, but having a dedicated email list where you can turn those email subscribers into buyers. So Katie, thank you so much for coming on the show, Katie and I had the opportunity to get introduced on clubhouse. And she is just a wealth of knowledge. Again, Katie, Welcome. Welcome. Welcome.
Katie Guenther 1:00
Thanks so much. I’m super excited to be here. And you know, I always love to talk about, you know, marketing and marketing in general.
Katie Brinkley 1:08
Exactly, well, and like I said, we’ve had the opportunity to share a number of stages on clubhouse and get to know each other. And really what I do social media is only one piece of the online puzzle. And what you do is really kind of just keeping those people around. So before we dive into email too much, I would love it. If you just gave everyone a quick background on you. You’re up in Washington, and I’d love it if you just gave everyone a little brief background on how you got into email marketing. Yeah, for
Katie Guenther 1:40
sure. So yeah, I’m up in Seattle, Washington, I’ve lived here for about 20 years. I’m a California native and a California girl at heart forever. And my background is mostly in like video production and project management, I actually went to college for video production. and discover really early on that I preferred to be sort of behind the scenes, and producing, organizing, sort of creating and managing the different elements that go into a project, whether it was like a video project, a film project, or later on in like my tech career in webcast webinar, and website projects. So that’s sort of where my background really is. And I feel like, since I’m somebody who can take, look at the big picture, and then really organize the smaller pieces that can really be translated into anything. I’ve worked from home in those spaces for like 15 years. And so when I decided that I wanted to do something on my own, so I could create my own schedule, I kind of pieced together all the different skill sets I had and things I like doing. And one of those things was writing emails for a previous business. And I had several people comment on how much they liked them. And they would ask me for help, and they liked how much I was able to like simplify it and make it seem easy. And so then I just thought, Well, I mean, I might as well get paid to do this. A couple of years ago that I started this business where I’m helping entrepreneurs with their email marketing,
Katie Brinkley 3:17
You know, and I think that that’s one of the things back in my day, when I went to college at being a social media, anything didn’t exist. And it wasn’t until I was laid off from my second dream job. My first dream job was the sports report. But when I was laid off from being the marketing manager for the television station, I was kind of like, well, now what, what am I going to do now this is what I’ve been working towards, I moved up the ladder very quickly, I loved my boss, and then it was all just taken away from me or so I thought. But when I was laid off, it gave me the opportunity to really think about what am I most passionate about? What do I enjoy doing the most? What am I the best at it with social media. And sometimes I think it can be kind of a weird way that you end up starting your own business or you know, starting an email marketing company, because it’s nothing that you might have gone to school for. But you know, you are following something that you are extremely passionate about and that like you said, you’re you’re pretty good at.
Katie Guenther 4:16
Yeah, and I think that that is really the key, right? Because I had the same sort of mindset like I’m working towards this thing. I’m supposed to keep moving up from, you know, assistant producer, to producer to executive producer and it was like, Well, I don’t really want to and like working in the tech industry. There are lots of turnover. There’s lots of churn and layoffs and it’s like we can as entrepreneurs like taking really looking at all the things that you’re good at and there’s a lot like we’re moms were daughters where you know we’re managing a household or you know, maybe we know a lot about cars or sports or I don’t know, gardening Like, it doesn’t have to always be the track that you thought you were on, but pulling together when all your different skill sets are and figuring out what you can do with them, I think is like where that happy place usually is.
Katie Brinkley 5:13
I totally agree. Exactly. I exactly agree with that. And I think that sometimes it’s not the path that you expect. I mean, I don’t think, like I said, When, when we’re all little like, Well, what do you want to be in both I want to be a teacher or a vet. And no one says, like, I want to work on spreadsheets, you know, or things like that. So the path to entrepreneurship is always one that’s windy and not straight. But I want to talk a little Now, obviously, you are the email marketing guru, you are my go to whenever I have any question about email marketing, I want to do a deep dive on that today for our audience. And First things first, okay, let’s say that we have someone that’s listening right now. And they’re like, oh, man, wait, so I’m posting on social media, Katie. And now, Katie, at Cantor, also known as Katie, with a blue background on clubhouse, you’re saying I need to have more an email strategy to I don’t have a list? What would you say to that person that says I don’t even have a list of people to send an email to?
Katie Guenther 6:11
Yeah, so we all start from zero, I think that’s the biggest thing. And I also want to say like, even if you have a smallest smallest is still a list. So if you are, wherever you’re active, whether you’re active on Facebook, LinkedIn, wherever on social media clubhouse, is, the first thing you want to do is decide on an email marketing platform to use. And because there are so many options out there, and really, depending on who you ask, you’re gonna get different opinions. So research two or three and go with the one that works best for your brain. And it’s usually pretty easy to tell, like if you can kind of play around with it and look and see like, is this easy to use? Does it look fun to use? Does it make pretty emails, I usually recommend like Aweber mailer, light and flow desk are the three that I think are simplified and easy to start with. So you really have to start there, because that’s before
Katie Brinkley 7:12
you go any further. Yeah, I want you to say those three again, because Okay, you went over, I’m really fast. And if someone’s like, I’m driving, but what were they? They heard that because I think well, and that’s the thing is, until you and I started talking, I had never heard of those, you know, and I care a lot about MailChimp, I hear a lot about Active Campaign, you know, what was another one, I hear a lot of constant contact. So what are those three that you recommend and why?
Katie Guenther 7:36
Sure. So AWeber is my absolute favorite. And they’ve been around for 20 years. So they know what they’re doing. And they have a really good reputation and phenomenal customer service. So I like to recommend them. Because I mean, I’m one of their certified experts, like they refer people to me, and I know how to use the platform really well. So that helps. But they their customer service is so great that if you just are trying to figure out like how to use what seems like the simplest thing and you’re confused, you can just call or chat with their support. And they I’ve never waited more than a couple minutes to get somebody to help me out. And they’re amazing. So that one’s AWeber. Then the next one I usually recommend is mailer light. And it is simple to use. There aren’t a whole lot of bells and whistles, there isn’t a you don’t you have fewer options for customizing the look of things. But if you’re really just trying to grow your list and communicate with your list, it’s a great place to start. It’s super simple. The other one is flow desk flow desk is technically still in beta. And their customer service isn’t super great. But it’s again, easy to use, and it’s beautiful. So for people who have more of a visual product, you know, people I have clients who sell jewelry, or art prints, FLOTUS is great, because it kind of jives with that the visual appeal of it. So those are the three that I usually recommend.
Katie Brinkley 9:02
Well, I love that. And I think that too, they’re simple enough and where you could have someone like you come in and do it, or potentially they could do it themselves. Right,
Katie Guenther 9:12
exactly. And a lot of the other ones that you hear about, like Active Campaign and contact, those are all great, they just have so many bells and whistles and different plugins and templates and automations that if you’re you’re intimidated by the technology part of it, it’s easier to start with something a little bit more simple. But you know, a lot of people their brains work that way. Like they can dive into the back end of something, a piece of software, like Active Campaign and really catch it right away. I can go in there and do that. But a lot of times it’s it takes some time to learn it. And my goal is to just get people doing their email, just like keep it simple. Create a signup form, start collecting emails and grow your list.
Katie Brinkley 9:56
Well and that was gonna actually be my next question. If someone is what to zero, how do they get to one and then two and a three? How do you help someone, or what would be your advice to have someone just start their list.
Katie Guenther 10:07
So it’s really key to have a lead magnet. So a lead magnet is just an incentive to get people’s email addresses. So it’s value for value. So you give me your email address, and I’m going to give you this list of my top 10 resources for entrepreneurs. So then you are getting a piece of value from me, and I am getting your email from you. And that’s how I’m going to grow my list. And you want to make sure that you have a lead magnet that relates to the product that you sell the service that you provide, and speaks to your ideal client, it needs to either answer a question that you get a lot, or solve a problem that your ideal client is faced with. And it doesn’t need to be a big problem. I know we sometimes get stuck on like, how do I solve a problem, I sell books, or whatever it is, well, solving a problem can even just be like, I’m looking for a book to read. And I don’t know what I should read next. So maybe it’s a list of Top 10 summer reads for this year or something like that. So it needs to be easily digestible. I wish I could find another phrase for that. But meaning like it’s a quick win. So it needs to be something you can send them right away, they can use it to solve a problem or answer a question or work on something in their business. And they can do it quickly. It’s not giving away the farm, it’s giving them a little sneak peek of what it’s like to work with you what the value you provide, and leaves them wanting more. So you want to sort of like catch their attention, keep them intrigued, and then make them want to come back to either shop with you work with you, whatever your situation is,
Katie Brinkley 12:03
exactly. And I think that too, like if you are let’s say you’re I don’t know, let’s say that you’re a auto mechanic, it can be 10% off your first brake service, or it can be it can be a pop up on the website even or, you know, like, follow us on social media, you can have those QR codes that they can scan and opt in to have a 4995 oil change and they just scan it and give you their email address right there. So I mean, like there’s a number of ways that you can if you’re a service based industry or business that you can give someone you know, 5% off their coffee or whatever and you they can they get into your email list and you can continue showing up to them in their inbox. So I absolutely love that. And I think that that is one of the biggest things is just getting started and figuring out the right lead magnet because I know for me, it took a while it there was a lot of trial and error of figuring out what my audience would connect with me was the best and and once I did it made a world of difference to now I have an audience that I can talk to all the time, even when I’m not on social media. And I do just want to talk about that because Katie, you and I talk about it regularly on clubhouse. And as much as I love social media, I mean it’s it’s what I do, it’s my job. But unfortunately, you know, Instagram owns all those followers clubhouse, they own all my followers, Facebook, they own the followers, if I lose my password, if I get hacked, if I for some reason get shut down, or let’s say that Instagram just goes away tomorrow, all those people that follow me are not going to have a way to continue staying in touch with me. But the ones that follow me and are on my email list, I can still continue to talk to them. If I get locked out of an Instagram account and say, Hey, actually, here’s a new Instagram account that I’m creating. So I’d love it if you just talk to us a little bit more about what I was just saying with owning your followers when you have them in your email list.
Katie Guenther 13:57
That is so so so important. And I think that if anyone is hesitating to build an email list because you think you people won’t be interested, you don’t know what to write. Trust me when if you’re depending on a social media platform, to run your business to connect with your leads to make sales. Suddenly when that system goes down, you’ll have time so so do it now. And I used to mostly run my business on Facebook because I was in a lot of Facebook groups and that’s kind of where I started getting my referrals and things like that. And when my only communication with the people I was connecting with was over Facebook Messenger and Facebook would go down once it does, I literally had no way to connect with them. And so it was like okay, well Facebook will be back up later. And luckily it was back up later and my account was still there. And the messages were We’re still there. But I could have handled that a lot differently if I had had my email account set up at that time and had an email list or list running. So even if you do a ton of work on social media, if you are in clubhouse or doing Facebook Lives every single day, and then that system goes down, if you have your email list, you can reach out to your list and be like, Hey, if you’re not seeing me on facebook today, because we’re, it’s having technical difficulties, this is where you can find me today. And it’s going to save you so much headache. And like you said, Katie, people get their accounts shut down for the dumbest things like, we all know that Facebook has policies and procedures, and you can follow all those rules. And sometimes people will get reported just by a troll or something. And an account can get shut down temporarily or permanently. And it’s really no loss for clubhouse, it’s only a loss for you. So building that email list consistently over time is really just gonna save you a ton of headaches, because like you said, you own your email list. You don’t own your Facebook followers. And if Facebook goes down, you really have no way to reach out to those people. And they don’t have any way to reach out to
Katie Brinkley 16:19
you. Exactly. And well, you know, it also, like I said, I’ve You and I, it’s great speaking with you regularly, because we’re what we both do is so closely intertwined when you have a strong strategy, a strong email strategy, and a strong social media strategy. So I think a lot of people get frustrated or get a little overwhelmed about for both sides, what to put on social media and what to put in an email. And this is one of the things you and I talk a lot about is you don’t need to recreate the wheel every time that you send out an email that you post on social media. So I would love it if you just talked to us a little bit about repurposing content from social media into email and vice versa.
Katie Guenther 16:59
That is one of my favorite ways to get people started on writing their emails is to take a look at what you the content you’ve already created, and especially the content that has been successful. So let’s say you post on I mostly keep using Facebook as an example because I understand Facebook Insights more than the others. But let’s say you post in a Facebook group or on your Facebook page every day and you have some posts that get a lot of engagement, your audience finds a lot of value in it, those are the perfect posts to repurpose in your email. So a lot of ways or a lot of times I’ll suggest to clients that when they’re getting started is to take a look at the best performing posts and repurpose those and that can be as simple as reusing the exact same image copying and pasting the actual content in the in the caption and maybe editing it tweaking it a little bit that’s more readable for email and you can start even that small from there like as far as repurposing other content in social media another idea that works for a lot of people and this is kind of what I did in the very beginning when I was just sort of trying to incorporate email into a previous business was to take a look at the most important top two top three posts that I put out on social and I would do like an end of week wrap up or like in case you missed it kind of email and I would put those posts formatted differently in an email and then link to my socials in that post and so because in Katy you know the stats better than I do, but you know a very very very small percentage of your followers see what you post on social in their feed at the moment say it’s like two to 3% where you’ve got like 25% of your email subscribers are going to see your email so even if you’re repeating repurposing content that you had on Facebook earlier in the week, chances are the people who see it in your email didn’t see it on social anyway so rather than feeling like you need to recreate everything and you know create something new for each platform including email it’s just start off by thinking of email as like your in case you missed it bucket like put it all in there and repurpose it to your following and that’s just one way to start.
Katie Brinkley 19:26
You know, and I think that too that’s that’s a way that I really like starting but a lot of people think like oh well I have to have an offer or I have you know I have to do I have to be selling to them. And that’s really not the best way I mean like you can absolutely be telling them about like you’re special. But if you only show up in someone’s inbox, to have them buy from you, it’s you’re not going to build a very strong community. I mean, it’s what you said before about showing up and providing value for the people that are subscribing to you like give them the opportunity to get to know you. If you have a What your personality is a little bit. I mean, I know, you know, in mine, I like to try and use the shits Creek characters in some of the gifts in there. So I mean, like, showcase a little bit of your personality and it will help you one with your open rates because people are gonna be like, oh, what she has to say today, it’s not just gonna be like, What’s she going to try and sell me now?
Katie Guenther 20:19
Yeah, and I think that the personality part of it like if you hopefully when you’re creating content on social media, you’ve already sort of created that balance, right? You’re already balancing out the posts that are offers or asks or selling with the value content, the storytelling content, the education, I have an email going out this week that I was like, I tried to write my emails on Wednesday, so I have time before they go out and get scheduled on Friday. And I was like, What am I going to write, like, I just got back from vacation, I don’t really have email on my mind. And then I kind of thought, well, I’ll share something about my vacation. And then as I thought about it, I was like, Oh, I can relate this thing I did on vacation with creating content for your email. And so I just kind of like wrote it out. And total a little bit story about the people I was with and where we went and why we liked going wine tasting and whatever. So showing your personality, sharing who you are offering value in education in all of your content, including email, lets people get to know you. So they can connect with you. And emails all about building relationships. And so the more you can connect with people, the more you’re going to build that know like and trust factor, and loyalty and word of mouth and all of that. And those connections. That’s what builds your business.
Katie Brinkley 21:47
Absolutely agree. I absolutely love it, Katie. And I’ve got just a couple more questions because our time is already almost up. And I feel like you and I could probably talk about this for a much longer period of time. And for those of people that are on clubhouse that are listening, you can hear Katie and I talk about stuff like this on a regular basis. But Katie, if someone is just getting started with their email, you’ve you’ve inspired them to start taking their email strategy more seriously. What would you say is a good amount of emails to send per month? Should they send them every day? Should they send one a month? Should they send one a year? What’s a good amount for somebody that’s just trying to develop a strong strategy, right?
Katie Guenther 22:31
It depends. But what I usually recommend for getting started is try to shoot for once a week, if once a week seems intimidating, or you’re like I don’t know how I’m going to fit that in to what everything I’m already doing. Maybe do it every other week. The key is not how many emails, the key is consistency and expectations. So going back to the lead magnet situation for a minute, when someone signs up for my lead magnet, they immediately get an email delivering that lead magnet, telling them I’m gonna check in in a couple days. And then in a couple days, I check in see if they’ve used the lead magnet yet give them some other ways of connecting with me. And then I say, I’m going to be showing up in your in your inbox once a week with email tips and tips on time management and things like that. Now that means I have to show up every week. Because I’ve set that expectation. If I show up less than that my readers may forget about me, they may be like wait, she said every week. If I show up more than that, they’re probably going to be annoyed. So it’s more about figuring out what works best for you and your business, setting that expectation with your readers and then really being consistent with that timeframe that you set.
Katie Brinkley 23:54
I absolutely love it and I think that that is one of the best things is consistency is just like on social media you need to be consistent because consistency is what you are going to create that kind of expectation from your clients and your followers. So absolutely love it. And Katie, last question for you today is if someone is listening like this, Katy Gunther, she knows what she’s talking about. And I just don’t have the time to mess with email. What’s the best way for them to get in touch with you and learn more about you over on online.
Katie Guenther 24:27
So a couple places I am more active on Instagram these days because of clubhouse. So if you’re on Instagram, you can just shoot me a DM and I’m on there as email Katie and shoot me a DM and you can even just send me the word guide and direct message and I will send you a lead magnet guide that’ll help you figure out a lead magnet that will be easy and simple for you to use for your business. You can start growing your email list and then if you’re not on Instagram, you can just find me on On my website, I’ve got blog posts and all kinds of freebies over there. And that is at Bella blue calm. It’s BLABLU e.com
Katie Brinkley 25:11
Okay, thank you again so much for coming on the show today. It was a pleasure speaking with you and I could talk to you about email and strategies like this forever. So I think that would definitely have to have you come back on the show. And we can talk a little bit more about different email strategies and tactics again,
Katie Guenther 25:27
that would be awesome. I love talking about email and I love chatting with you. So this is perfect. I love it. Thanks for having me.
Katie Brinkley 25:35
Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at https://www.nextstepsocialcommunications.com/ connect with me on LinkedIn or check me out on Instagram. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.