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Episode 104 – Marketing Plan: The 4 Emails You Should Be Sending

Aug 5, 2019

This Episode

Mark Stephenson & Marc Vila

You Will Learn

  • Why should you send emails
  • How to send emails
  • What kind of emails you should be sending

Resources & Links

Episode 104 – Marketing Plan: The 4 Emails You Should Be Sending

Show Notes

Now that you have gotten someone’s email address. what do you do next?
 
We have compiled a list of 4 very important emails you should be sending … and WHY.
 
We will go through what the emails mean, why you would send them and some methods for delivery.
 
Email 1: Intro/Welcome
 
After someone gets on your email list, the basic first email should be an introduction. This would include:
 
  1. Delivering information you promised (if you promised something.. like a free download or coupon)
  2. Thanking them for visiting you, purchasing, signing up.
  3. How to contact you in the future
  4. A very brief summary of who you are and / or what you do.
  5. Links to your website, socials, etc

 

Email 2: New Product
 
This is an email that goes out to your list in a batch and blast. This is to gather interest and catch attention. You might send out things like:
 
  1. There is a new style of shirts you like from Fruit of the Loom you think works great with your decorating method.
  2. You just added an Avance embroidery machine or DigitalHeat FX Printer or Compress UV Printer.
  3. You never offered hats before and now you do.
  4. You have an online store and have new designs that came out.
 
The frequency of the above email depends on your store.
 
If you mainly do customized apparel, you may only announce things with the season. e.g. long sleeve apparel for the winter, or sports based on their season.
 
If you sell designs online, and they update weekly. You probably should send an email every week with new designs.
 
Email 3: Sales/Promos/Events
 
The only way your customers will know if you have a sale, promo or event is if you tell them. Examples of these emails:
 
  1. You are offering a promo buy 10 shirts get a customized hat free
  2. Your apparel supplier has specific shirts on sale and you can pass on that savings to customers (save 10% on all XYZ brand shirt orders the next 2 weeks )
  3. You have free shipping offer on your website this week
  4. BOGO offer
  5. Your business has a booth at the Jazz, Fishing and Noodling Expo
  6. You are having a grand opening for your store.
  7. Bring your kids to make shirts event at your store with pizza
 
Email 4: Infotainment
 
This is entertaining your customers with information. Educational content they will want to read or watch. This could be:
 
  1. How to wash apparel for the best life of shirt video
  2. Do’s and Don’t of picking sizes for shirts
  3. How to properly design a t-shirt
  4. How to manage a fund raising event for shirts at your school
  5. Watch me make 100 hats and how yours could be next.
The above emails are generally a batch and blast type of email. Meaning that as the idea comes together you email your list. You can easily plan some of these out (like events). Others might happen on the fly (your apparel supplier offers a flash sale).
 
Lastly you will put some of these into an automation. Meaning “when the person signs up for the list, they get the intro email”
 
Dont get caught up in making your emails look like they came from a fortune 500 company. Also make sure they dont look like they were put together sloppily.
 
Two styles beginners can do:
 
Graphics and Text:
  1. Heading text
  2. Main image
  3. Body Text
  4. Link
 
Text Only:
  1. Personal letter signed by you
  2. Call to action to click a link, reply or call in

Transcript

Welcome to the Custom Apparel Startups podcast, your best source for information, news, tips and tricks to get you off the ground running, and earn success with your custom apparel decorating business. So, get ready to soak up some knowledge!

Now, here are your hosts, Mark and Marc!

Mark S: Hey, everyone! Welcome to episode 104 of the Custom Apparel Startups podcast. My name is Mark Stephenson, from ColDesi.

Marc V: And Marc Vila here, from Colman and Company. We are continuing on with our Marketing Plan episodes. Today is The Four Emails You Should Be Sending.

Mark S: Last episode, we covered kind of lead capture or email capture, and how to do that. How to get peoples’ email addresses, why you should get peoples’ email addresses. This episode, it just makes sense. We’re going to tell you what to do with those.

Marc V: Exactly. It’s the tricky part, isn’t it? Because when somebody – we just had a conversation with a customer this week. And many of you are thinking this, listening to this. “I got somebody’s email address. I don’t want to bother them. I don’t want to be that person who bothers people via email,” that type of a thought process.

Hopefully, this episode about emails will help to ease that for you, because what everybody doesn’t want to be, all the things that people sometimes don’t like about different shopping experiences, are actually things that work really well. Nobody wants the pushy salesman, but the pushy salesman is the person who makes the most money.

And nobody wants to bother anybody with emails. But if you send out some emails, you’re going to make some more money. Nobody wants to get a soliciting phone call, but companies who make soliciting phone calls make money off of those phone calls.

So, all of those things work. We’re going to show you, I think, a way that you can uphold the values of not wanting to be an email harasser, and still make money from them.

Mark S: I love the way you said that. That was great. We also want to, one of the reason that we want to do this kind of “four email” strategy is to remove the excuse that you’re thinking of right now in your head, for not doing emails.

That was a long conversation I had just the other day. We were talking about different marketing ideas, and “Eh, I don’t really want to do that.” And three or four times, that customer came back with different rationales in their head, why they didn’t want to send emails.

Let all of that go, okay? We’ll make an agreement with you that you should send emails on our recommendation, until someone tells you to piss off. Okay? How about that? How about the worst actually happens, but you send emails and you make a lot of money, until that happens?

Marc V: Anybody who tells you to piss off, from an email, is probably 99% sure never going to have given you any money anyway.

Mark S: Yes. We get those responses, here at ColDesi.

Marc V: Yeah. Then, I look it up, and it’s never somebody who has ever bought anything. Every once in a while, it’s going to be one of your customers, but they were a jerk in the first place, probably. That’s really just honestly what it is.

Mark S: I love it when we tell the truth!

Marc V: Because normal people don’t respond like that. Most of your customers are normal nice folks, and what are they going to do with your email? They’re gong to read it and enjoy it, delete it, skip over it in that perpetual 14,000 unopened emails, or click the Unsubscribe button. That’s 99.9% of people.

Mark S: I agree.

Marc V: So, give them that choice.

Mark S: I think I’ll give my tip up front, if you want to go way out of your way. So, you feel really bad about bothering people. In other words, when you used to go trick or treating, you would just stand outside somebody’s door, until they opened it. You wouldn’t actually say “trick or treat,” because you didn’t want to bug them.

If you’re that kind of a person there, if you’re using MailChimp or Constant Contact or any good email software, there is an Unsubscribe link that’s required in those emails. All you have to do is move it to the top of the email, so the first thing that person sees when they open up the email, is the opportunity to never hear from you again.

Marc V: And there’s plenty of rationale to do that. I think maybe we could probably do a whole episode about those type of thoughts. But the purpose of our last podcast, one of the main takeaways was that you want to get people on your email list, who would be interested in receiving some emails from you.

These are going to include potential customers, customers, people within your niche. And now that we’ve got their email addresses, let’s go ahead and dive into four different emails you’ve got to send.

Mark S: I agree. I think the email number one is one of the most important. Because the first time somebody hears from you, that’s normally when they’re going to make the initial decision, like “Wow, I really regret signing up for that list.” Or you’re going to capture their attention. They’re going to learn a little bit more about you, and maybe become a customer.

Marc V: Yeah. The first thing to do is you do that introduction email. This means when they first get on your email list. How did they get on your email list? We talked about lead magnets, about signing up customers, people being at your booth at a show, or something like that, or a table at an event you went to, a signup form on your website, a Facebook signup form.

They ended up on your email list, and you’ve got to send them a welcome email.

Mark S: And this first email is somewhat, while your list is small enough, it’s going to depend on how they got onto your list, to a certain extent. In other words, if you promised them a guide to washing t-shirts so they’ll last forever, then that should be in that email. You should reference it, or make sure that they get it.

Other than that, we’re going to go over these five points that should be in all of them.

Marc V: Yep. The first one is delivering the information you promised. You promised a guide, a link to a video, you promised a coupon code, something like that. You promised a special offer. That’s going to be in that email.

Mark S: And this is a trust builder right here, really. You can’t promise them something, and then when they hear from you, you don’t mention it. Right? Because then, they don’t trust you anymore.

Marc V: Yeah. We’ve got a coupon signup on the Colman and Company website. When you sign up for it, within a minute, you’ve got “Hey! Thanks for signing up! Here’s the coupon code.”

Mark S: Yes.

Marc V: In addition to delivering what you may have promised, you also may have not promised anything, and then you could just obviously not include that.

Mark S: Anything, right.

Marc V: You may, instead of that or in addition to that, thank them for visiting your website or seeing your store in person, or signing up for a newsletter, or purchasing something from you.

Mark S: Because what you’re doing there is you’re really just acknowledging that they trust you enough to give you the correct email address. You’re saying “Hey, thank you for trusting me. Here’s what I promised I would do, so you can still trust me.”

Marc V: Yeah. It’s relationship building. It’s also just being kind, in a weird way. It’s electronic communication, but if you purchase things online or you’ve signed up for email lists, we know the difference of when you buy something from a company and you get an email that says “Hey, thanks! We really appreciate you,” whatever it might be. So, that’s what you’re trying to do there. You’re just building a further relationship with your customer.

Mark S: Agreed. And what you really want to make sure that you put in there is, don’t overlook, even if they found you on your website or your social media page, or came to your event, still remind them of how to contact you, because there may be some time. Maybe they were busy. Maybe they didn’t remember giving you their email address. Maybe they went to 15 websites that day, and they signed up for all of them.

What you want to make sure of is that you say something like “Hey, this is Mark from ColDesi. Thanks for coming by the booth at the trade show, or thanks for visiting the website. Just as a quick reminder, here. This is my website address. This is where to go.”

Marc V: Yeah. “If you want to call me, here is my hone number, or the phone number to our store.” If you have any other methods you want them to communicate; “A great way to reach us is via Twitter.” Whatever ways you want them to communicate, let them know all the ways they can communicate. And this could be in whatever format you want.

Mark S: I would say except for Twitter.

Marc V: Some people, that’s what they want.

Mark S: That’s not true!

Marc V: We go to these social media conferences, and none of them want you to email them.

Mark S: None of those are real people, though! I don’t know.

Marc V: They’re robots.

Mark S: They all have beards like yours, but they’re wearing sweater vests and round glasses.

Marc V: Round glasses. Those are all true. They all want to be tweeted. But if that’s what you want, or if you like to communicate on Facebook messenger, you can even say “Go to my Facebook page, and you can PM me.” Whatever you want to do, just say it. “This is how you reach me.”

Because your customers are, at any given point in time, they’re going to want something from you, whether it’s a question or a thought or to buy something new. And if they’re struggling to reach you, especially in the method that they would prefer, they might go somewhere else. So, make sure they know how to reach you in the future.

Mark S: I agree. And definitely, make sure you’re not just giving someone your email address or your Facebook profile, and you assume that they’re going to click on that, and learn everything about you. You’ve got to include some of that in your email. A really brief summary of who you are and what you do, at that point, is great as an addition to the reminder.

Marc V: That brief summary, I think, can go a lot of different ways. It could just be “Your custom t-shirt source,” and it’s just a sentence. Maybe that’s enough, and it explains enough. It might be very relatable to your niche; “All apparel for fishing and boating.”

Mark S: Or it could be something that‘s very personal. Like the first email that you get from us normally is an email from Scott Colman, the President of the Company. It kind of tells the story about he and his dad worked together in the embroidery business, and then he went out on his own. Kind of the history of the company. And that informs the rest of the communication between us. So, you could do something like that, as well, if your story is relevant.

Marc V: Yeah. You could have a paragraph of information, essentially, whether it’s a letter from you, telling your story, or just “Here’s a list of all the different things that we do.” These can also be followed up with lots of interesting ways to do that. You can link to them on your website.

We have some of that stuff in our Colman and Company emails. It’s like “And by the way, here’s a bunch of our most popular products.” And we list five or six products, and we have links, because we know folks who signed up are likely to want, need or be interested in those products.

If you don’t tell them it’s there, they’ll never know.

Mark S: Right. And a couple things that we didn’t cover in here that I just remembered, is that two of the most important parts of your email are going to be the first sentence, to make sure that they read more, and your signature line, and what’s under it. People will always look.

So, don’t feel bad – I thought of that – don’t feel bad for writing that paragraph about your store or your business, or something that will make you more relatable, because people are going to skip that anyway.

Marc V: Plenty of people will.

Mark S: A lot of people are going to skip that. The ones that are interested, though, will read it, and they’ll buy in more.

Marc V: What you’ll do with an email is if you’re trying to reach somebody, you open up an email, and you hit Reply. Right? That’s one thing you do. Or you scroll all the way to the bottom real quick, and you’re looking for a phone number you can tap or an email you can tap, or a website you can click on.

So, having a little signature for whether it’s your name or your company. Then, right there at the bottom; phone number, email, Twitter, Facebook, whatever you want to do. You can have a short little list under your name.

Mark S: Or what you could do is you could copy and paste the URL for this episode of the podcast. Put that in your signature. That’s what we do here. If you’ve got an email from Colman and Company or ColDesi recently, in the signature lines, there’s typically a link to the Custom Apparel Startups podcast.

Marc V: I like that. I hope people are clicking it.

Mark S: I think they are. I mean, both people are listening now!

Marc V: So, we’ve got our first one; your intro and your welcome email. It’s like a no-brainer.

Mark S: Yeah. It’s the easiest one.

Marc V: But I have signed up for emails, and never gotten anything.

Mark S: Oh my gosh! It’s sacrilege!

Marc V: So, it’s important to remember to do that. So, email number two. Go ahead.

Mark S: Email number two. The following are kind of examples of other emails. The intro and welcome email, you’ve got to do that. The others are examples of other emails and topics that you might send to keep people interested, to make money from their interest, and just to stay in touch over time.

Marc V: And I think that the next few emails, no matter what your niche or business is, I can make a case that you have to send all of these.

Mark S: That’s right. And by the way, if you struggle with any of this, you can drop us a note.

Marc V: An email?

Mark S: Yeah, an email. You can send us an email, or you can actually write a note and put it in the mail. I’ve never gotten mail here. I’ve never got like a personal letter here. It’s weird.

Okay, so email number two is going to be about a new product. Do you want to flesh that out for us a little bit, Marc?

Marc V: Sure. A new product email typically is going to go out in like a batch and a blast type, as we refer to an email. Some news arises that you have a new product. You’re going to go to your email list, pick it, write an email and send it to all of them. These can be planned, because you know new products are coming out. Or they might happen on a whim.

But this is different than that welcome email that’s automated. That welcome email typically can be automated. In the beginning, you might be manually typing it out, or something like that. But when somebody signs up for that coupon, it automatically is going to go out. You’re not going to get a list of all of the people who signed up for your coupon, and go and send them an email.

Mark S: And then write the emails one by one.

Marc V: You could do that automated for free, nowadays. The new product email is going to be something like there’s a new style of shirt that you like from Fruit of the Loom, that works well with how you decorate, and you want to tell folks. It’s a new style and new colors.

Mark S: Yeah. I would recommend that you’re on the Colman and Company email list, and that you look at new product emails from Colman and Company, because I think those are structured really well, and they look really good. So, you can follow that kind of a formula.

If you’re on our email list, you know if we have a new machine or a new color of vinyl, or any new embroidery supplies that you can get from ColmanandCompany.com. Those are emails that we will send out immediately. It’s great news, because it gives somebody another reason to focus on you and your business.

Marc V: You might also have a new technology brought on board. So, if you’re listening to this and you’ve been doing vinyl for a while, and you just got a new embroidery machine or a Digital HeatFX printer or a UV printer or something like that, then you need to let all of your customers know that you offer this now.

Mark S: You’ve got some great examples, with Fruit of the Loom and the shirts. Their Jersey brand, there’s a really cool heather shirt that’s been floating around. We used it in a few of the spangle and vinyl videos. It feels great. It looks really beautiful.

If I were bringing that in as one of my shirts, I would definitely maybe do a quick little video or description or something about that new material, and send it out to people.

Marc V: Yeah. You talk about it, and talk about the benefits. “Are you sick of just buying t-shirts with your company’s logo on it, that are just a square box t-shirt? Some folks want fitted or fashion style, and here’s a couple of new ones that we’ve brought on board, that we’re happy to put your logo on.”

Mark S: Also, you don’t have to be Home Depot, or you don’t have to be Apple, when you’re sending out these letters, and be very formal. If you have a small business and you’re in a niche, you speak their language. Like “I just got this new wicking vented camping shirt. I wore it. It’s amazing! I think you might want to take a look. Here’s a link to my website.”

Marc V: Sounds great! Any new product offering falls into this. We mentioned if you have a new technology you brought on board to decorate. If you’ve never done caps before, and you’ve always just embroidered on polos and woven shirts. Then, you finally decided to learn how to do caps, and now you’re excited to offer it. Let your customers know that you do caps.

“I can put all of the logos I put on your polos on caps now.”

Mark S: Right. That’s a big one. New technology allows you to do a couple of different things, because normally, if you had a decorator method, you’re also adding capabilities. You used to do vinyl, and now you have a Digital HeatFX system. So, you can advertise “Hey, I’ve got this great new ability to do full color!”

Things like that are a big win for your business.

Marc V: Also, if you have an online store, you might actually sell individual designs. Like you actually have a store where you have new t-shirts, and you’re selling just t-shirt designs or cap designs. You know, fashion funny shirts, whatever they might be.

You can send out new product, and you should be sending out new product emails like this, every time you have a new design, or if they’re regular, every week. If you have new designs that go up every Sunday, then every Sunday you should have an email that goes out, “Here’s all the new designs.”

Mark S: I agree. If you are a branded shirt company, like you do inspirational sayings or funny stuff, or you do biker shirts, or if you have a specific thing like that, where you’re coming up with the material, then yeah, you should be cranking out new designs all the time, and relying on the buzz that comes from that. Because if you do a new design email, you have an opportunity that someone will share that, and that’s a great way to get a new customer.

Marc V: Yeah. I know what this reminds me of. Maybe one day, he’ll listen to this podcast. This guy that I went to University with, in my fraternity, I just found out yesterday that he has an aviation t-shirt company he started. Because he’s been a pilot for I don’t know how long now. Not very, very long, I think. Years, maybe.

And he decided to make some cool designs, and stuff like that. He has this little store. So, I’m going to tell him to listen to the podcast.

Mark S: That’s great!

Marc V: Maybe in like 100 hours from after I tell him, he’ll get to this episode, and he’ll hear me.

Mark S: Tell him to start at like episode three, and say “We mention you in one of these episodes.”

Marc V: So, good luck with that, Mike. I’m going to check on his website after this. I meant to do it. It just reminded me. But when I’m thinking of him in that example, is if he has a limited number of designs, and he comes out with a new design, he’s got to have people when they come to his website, like I did last night, receive a popup or something like that, receive a notification to sign up. So, when he comes out with that new design, “Hey, look what just flew in!” That’s terrible.

Mark S: No, no! It’s good stuff. Also, maybe that’s one of the motivations for people that signed up for your email list in the first place, is “Hey, we’ve got a lot of great t-shirt designs. I’m sure you’ll love them. But we come up with new things on a regular basis. Sign up, and we’ll send them to you. This is it.”

I added one at the last minute here, and that was because it’s kind of new product related, but it’s not announcing that you have a new product. It’s asking your customer base what product they would like you to develop.

Marc V: So essentially, you are asking your customers, “Hey, winter is coming! What are some things that you would love to have your logo on?”

Mark S: Yeah, that’s great.

Marc V: Then, they’ll respond back, “I thought it would be cool to have a scarf or a beanie cap, or long-sleeve fitted t-shirts,” whatever that might be. They’re going to give you some ideas.

Mark S: What’s great about it is if you get more than one person that replies, and they have the same suggestion, you kind of have a built-in customer for whatever you do. You know they’re going to sell.

Marc V: Yeah, if three people say a scarf is a good idea. You can even suggest ideas. “Here’s a list of ten ideas. Which ones are good?” If three or four people out of maybe, even if it’s a small list, you send it out to 100 people, and four people say scarf. Then, there are a lot more other people who didn’t respond to the email or bother to participate, that would agree with them. You kind of look at them as a sample size.

Mark S: I agree. Just in this email number two here, the new product email, we do have people that come to us and they just don’t know what they’re going to say in their emails. Like “What do I send?” You could just do this section, and it should keep you busy.

Marc V: I struggle with this part, too, because at Colman and Company, we have lots of different new products that come out. But sometimes, they don’t feel relevant. Like we got in three different sizes available now in like a bottle of oil.

Mark S: Yeah. That’s a tough one.

Marc V: It seems like boring. So, look for inspiration within your product lines. Sometimes, you can struggle, like “I don’t have anything new.” But I will say that you, as an apparel supplier and a custom apparel maker, you do, because wherever you buy your apparel from, they come out with new stuff every season.

Mark S: Right.

Marc V: So, they’re going to come out with new styles of polos, new styles of t-shirts.

Mark S: SanMar does these amazing seasonal and niche market catalogs that you can see online, or you can order. I’m telling you, you could tear a page out of one of those every week, and find something else to talk about.

Marc V: Of course, you want to make sure you can decorate on that item, with your technology. It also could just be, sometimes you go look at their old stuff, too, because it could be new to you. If you’ve always used one brand of t-shirt, look for something that’s completely different, whether it’s a V-neck, maybe, or a different material or a different thickness, or whatever it might be.

Maybe you’ve never decorated on it before. Get a sample from the company you buy from. Decorate it, make sure it looks good, take a picture of it. Then, you could say “Hey, I just brought on this brand new long sleeve V-neck shirt, a little bit of a different style that might be perfect for your organization!”

There’s tens of thousands of products that you can decorate, and you’ve probably only done a really small number of them. So, if it’s not something new to the world, it could be something that’s been around for a while, that you’ve never used before. Take advantage of those.

Mark S: Agreed. That’s good. In the note you have here, the frequency of the email depends on your store. I also wanted to say while you should be doing all of these emails, the world will not crumble if you don’t. You know what I mean?

If you want to send out four emails a month or five emails a month, and you are struggling, looking for new products and things like that. If you just don’t have it for that month, then that’s okay. You’ve got other things going on.

Marc V: It might be seasonal for you. If you do a lot of sports stuff, it might just be every time a new season hits; baseball, football. If you do fishing, maybe it’s a different season, different times of the year, when different fish come out, different designs.

Mark S: But it is important to do these emails, and to stay in front of your email list on a regular basis. Because if too much time goes by and you haven’t emailed, they’ll forget you. Then, you’ll be starting over again. You don’t want that.

Marc V: Absolutely. So, that’s it, just new products; new products to you or new products to the world, whatever it is. Those could be designs, all of that. I think this is a great one. It’s an exercise for your creativity, and it keeps yourself in front of your customers.

It also lets them know that you enjoy innovating, in a way. So, you’re not the t-shirt shop that’s going to offer the same stale square t-shirt, that same Gildan style that’s been available since 1990. Which is fine to have that and sell those. Plenty of people want them.

Mark S: If you want a shirt that weights eight pounds.

Marc V: Plenty of people want that stuff. If they see, then they’re going to think of you, like “Gosh. I know there’s a few shops in town, but that one, they’ve always got new stuff coming out. I’m going to call them up, because I’m sure that they’re going to have something that I really want, because I don’t just want the plain t-shirt that I’ve always seen. I want something that’s a little nicer or different.”

Mark S: If you’re lucky, everybody else in town will use crappy t-shirts that don’t feel nice, and you’ll be the one that does!

Marc V: You win! So, email number three.

Mark S: Sales, promotions and events. This one I like, because now you’re really into kind of the traditional marketing. You know, sales, promotions, advertising, marketing.

Marc V: The only way your customers are going to know if you have a sale or a promotion, or an event, is if you tell them.

Mark S: Yes.

Marc V: If you don’t tell them, then there’s no way for them to know.

Mark S: That’s true, and email is a good way to tell them things like that.

Marc V: Email is a simple way to do it. You can reach all of your customers at once. You could literally do it just by typing out a few sentences and hitting Go, so it’s really quick. It’s free, depending on your email size. You might not be paying anything for your email service, if your list is small enough.

So, in the beginning, this is a great free way to let people know what you’ve got going on.

Mark S: I like that. I’m going to work backwards a little bit.

Marc V: Okay, work backwards.

Mark S: Because most people understand sales and promotions, and things like that. But the events is a different story. So, if you are, especially if you’re in a niche market and you do their events, you go to their shows, it’s super important that you add that to your email list.

If you are in the fishing niche and you are going to have a booth, you’re doing shirts for a tournament that’s happening in Tarpon Springs, then you want to make sure that everyone on your list knows that you’re doing that event. And maybe you even have some pictures of the shirts there. So, they’ll know you’re there. They’ll seek you out.

And it will do a couple of things. If they like what you post, that you’re going to sell at the show, maybe they’ll pre-order, and maybe you’ll get some business from people that are not going to that event, because they see “Hey, the Tarpon Springs big fishing event” in your email, and then they realize “Oh, it’s the t-shirt guy that’s selling there. I was going to go. I can’t make it, but I’ll buy the t-shirts.”

Marc V: The event thing is cool, too, because it keeps you relevant to them. There are so many events going on everywhere, every weekend, that it’s really hard to even know all of the things that are happening. So, if you sell like those fishing t-shirts that you mentioned, and you’re in that niche, and you email to let people know, you might be the one that told them that that event is happening.

Now, in addition to a custom apparel provider, you’re a source of news.

Mark S: You’re their friend, now.

Marc V: “I didn’t even know that was going! That’s so cool! I’m going to show up.” Then, maybe in thank you, they’ll come and buy something from you, because they’re grateful they found out because of you. So, there’s a lot of cool things that can happen with that.

Mark S: Absolutely. Really, at ColDesi and Colman and Company, sales and promotional emails, these are in our wheelhouse. What you’ll notice is you’ve got some great examples that I love, that you actually have developed a promotion; buy ten, get one free. You’re following the advice in probably 80% of our other podcasts, and you are going to include something free with an order, or a discount with an order for something that they wouldn’t normally buy, or that’s a new product.

Marc V: So, get a dozen koozies if you spend X amount of dollars. Get a free hat with every ten polos. Things like that. You can offer these little promos. Get creative with them. Try them out. You’ll see which ones seem to make sense to your customer base.

Mark S: And the point isn’t to give away a hat or give away a polo or koozies or anything like that. The point is to train them to order those things the next time they order, and to make sure that they’re aware that you do these other things.

Marc V: Yeah, and generate some excitement for them. The classic thing would be that they see this email. They’re at their office, because you do some corporate wear. The one guy looks at the next guy, and sees his shirt’s kind of old, and the color’s all wrinkled up. He looks down at his, and he’s like “You know what? Let’s buy a round of shirts. They’re doing two free hats for every ten. Let’s just get ten shirts, five apiece, and then we’ll get a couple hats.”

Then, boom! You inspired somebody to do something that they weren’t thinking they were going to do at that moment. Especially if they needed it, they’re going to jump on it.

Mark S: I like this one that you put down, where your apparel supplier has specific shirts on sale. This is great for if you’re like me, and you don’t have a lot of imagination. What you can do is whoever you use for your wholesale blanks, they have closeouts all the time. They have too many in the warehouse. Styles are changing, and they’ll discount the price.

For example, a shirt that was normally $3.49 for a case might be down to $1.95. And you can use that as an excuse for a sale, and pass on that savings straight out.

Marc V: Yeah. It might only be two bucks you save, but if your customer is spending $20 on a shirt, and you can pass on a $2 savings, it’s 10%. Times 100 shirts or whatever it might be, it can add up to them. 10% is a reasonable savings to talk about.

Mark S: And you’ve got a built-in scarcity, because what you can say is “Hey, my supplier has a certain number of these closeout shirts, or is running a short-term sale on these items. If you order while they’re in stock, I can save you 10% on your overall order.” So, you didn’t even have to think about that. The company that is providing you with blanks is going “Hey, we’re having a sale.” And you’re going to your customers, “Hey, we’re having a sale.” It gives you another reason to be in front of somebody.

They may try out a new item that they would have otherwise not tried, and you’ll get the chance to sell a few shirts.

Marc V: And they’re going to have these sales every few weeks.

Mark S: All the time.

Marc V: It’s like a freebie idea for you. Every time they do it, you pass it along.

Mark S: I really like that.

Marc V: Then, there’s some other kind of standard things that you’re going to do. Offer free shipping on particular shirts, if you sell shirts online. Do like a BOGO or a buy two, get one type of thing. Or buy two shirts and get a hat for $5. Any of these typical sales that you see at regular retail stores, you can do those same types of things.

Mark S: Just do yourself a favor and make sure you do the math, to make sure it works out to your advantage, too.

Marc V: For sure. With that math, go back and consider like customer lifetime value. Because if you have an opportunity to get a brand new customer to buy from you once, maybe you’re not making very much money on that initial shirt, but you know that over the course of a year, your customers will by X many shirts, so it’s worth it. Another reason to go back and listen to some of those customer lifetime value episodes.

Mark S: Yeah. And we had talked about maybe you do something in combination with an event announcement. Like you have here, if you’ve got a booth at an upcoming event, maybe you don’t just send an email out that you’re going to be there, but that you’re offering the show discount there.

Marc V: Great. And you could have local events, too. Store grand opening, grand re-opening. We put an idea down of “Bring your kids to make shirts at the store,” where you could bring kids in and they can watch getting their shirts made.

Mark S: They can find out how hot the heat press really gets!

Marc V: Yes. So, anything like that; sales, promos, events. Get creative with them. This is something that you can send out almost as frequently as you want, as makes sense.

Mark S: By the way, it used to be that there were a certain number of emails that were recommended per week, that used to be there. The latest research found that there’s almost no limit, that people just don’t unsubscribe to things anymore. And even if you subscribe to any of the magazine email lists, you’ll notice the E-news now comes every day or every two days, where it used to come like once a week or once a month. No downside.

Marc V: You can go as often as you want. I think the simple rule on that is that you go as often as your emails can make sense with the content to share.

Mark S: Yeah, and the quality.

Marc V: And the quality. You don’t want to send something out that doesn’t make any sense, because that’s when people will take the time to unsubscribe and delete. But if you’re providing valuable content and information to them every time it comes out, like you mentioned in the last episode. Even if today’s email wasn’t that valuable, they’ve gotten valuable emails in the past, and as long as you eventually deliver some more value, one out of every so many emails, they’re going to love.

Mark S: Funny you should mention value.

Marc V: Sure!

Mark S: Because type of email number four is infotainment. Did you do that on purpose? That was great!

Marc V: That was a segue. So, speaking of value, infotainment. Tell me about that word.

Mark S: It’s the kind of TV shows I like to watch. It’s something like I watched Blown Away, a Netflix TV show, with a glassblowers’ competition.

Marc V: Oh, okay. Different than I thought.

Mark S: I learned a lot, and it was very entertaining to watch. That’s kind of what we’re proposing here, on a business level, is that one of the types of emails that you send out are designed to inform your audience.

Marc V: Inform, entertain, both.

Mark S: Yeah.

Marc V: Here’s a few that we’ve got. “How to wash apparel, to get the best life out of it.”

Mark S: Yeah. We had a podcast with Monty Mims from SanMar, and he shocked the inhouse audience, when he said that the need to separate darks and lights when you wash, is not as important as separating synthetic and naturals, which I thought was really interesting.

Marc V: And how fabric softener is going to ruin a synthetic shirt, pretty much. Fabric softener is going to make a synthetic shirt stink badly, which you wouldn’t think that.

Mark S: That is a great tip. That’s something that would be really valuable to your customers, you send out. If you’re using Digital HeatFX and you’re doing like breathable golf polos, then you’re going to want to make sure that your customers know how to wash that properly, so it will last forever. Send them an email.

Marc V: Find things that are going to make sense to your niche group. If who you sell to is mainly leaders, like coaches and teachers, and people within a company that buy all the shirts for everybody. If all of your customers, the person you’re dealing with is the person who handles the bulk sales, then you could do a little article or video on do’s and don’ts for picking shirt sizes and working with bulk orders.

Give them tips on how to collect sizes from everybody or how to collect money from everybody, or whatever it might be.

Mark S: Now, I want to divide things up here, because you don’t have to be a writer, and you don’t have to do a long-form article for these things. That’s great, and that’s very engaging, and you should do that if you can. If you can’t, I just told you the story about how the guy from SanMar told us about washing synthetics. You could put that in an email.

Say “Hey, quick note. I was just listening to a podcast, and I learned something really important I wanted to pass on. If you have gotten any of our synthetic material shirts; polyester, whatever it is, then don’t use softener with those, and they’ll smell better long-term.” That’s a great email! You’re giving a lot of value to your customers, but you’re not spending three weeks trying to pick the right picture, or if you spelled “their” right.

Marc V: You don’t have to put a massive amount of effort into it.

Mark S: Right. You should put some, but don’t not send an email, because you can’t find the right picture.

Marc V: Yeah, definitely. Just put something together for them. If you do custom t-shirt design, you could do “How to properly design a t-shirt,” “How to manage a fundraising event,” if you have some experience with that, and you deal with customers that do fundraising t-shirts.

Mark S: That’s a great kind of thing, depending on your niche. You participate in your niche, and if you have information that will help with that, then pass it on.

Marc V: Others, a little bit of a different thought, but “Watch me make 100 hats,” and how yours could be next. Maybe you just shoot of video of you just making a bunch of hats, and you put it on YouTube.

Mark S: I love that. Have somebody point the phone, or you point it at yourself, while you’re heat-pressing a transfer onto a shirt. That would be dangerous, one hand.

Marc V: I’ve done it!

Mark S: So, you could do that and say “Hey, a lot of people have been asking me how do I make my shirts. This is one of the ways. I have a commercial heat press unit, and all this stuff. Here’s a shirt! Congratulations! Buy from me.”

Marc V: The one you mentioned which I liked a lot is just news, like actually sharing news or something like that.

Mark S: In your niche.

Marc V: In your niche. Like fishing, we talked about. If there’s a new law that comes into play in your state, or something like that. You can email them, “Hey, fishermen and women! By the way, if you didn’t know, here’s a new rule. It takes effect in September. Here’s a reminder, you have to update your fishing license. Here’s a link to the state website,” or whatever it might be.

So, if you can provide them news, this goes back to the events, too. Local events, laws, things that are happening within the community, that might affect them. Reminders of when the sports season starts, or when the first day of school is.

Mark S: That’s all great. If you can give people real useful information, then what you’re doing is you’re also motivating them to open your next email. Right? I really like this infotainment section, because there’s so many possibilities. You have the opportunity, really, to be useful. That’s kind of a watchword here at ColDesi, is we try to be useful to our customers, not just sell stuff.

If you do the same thing, I’m sure like us, your audience will grow.

Marc V: Absolutely. We’ll finish off with maybe some just design concept stuff, because we mentioned it.

Mark S: Yeah. I love that.

Marc V: What you don’t want to get caught up in, when you’re making emails, is making your email look like it came from Lowe’s or Home Depot, or you mentioned before, the White House Black Market store.

Mark S: You don’t need the Ann Taylor and Ed Hardy style emails.

Marc V: Yeah. Those emails are really branding vanity plays. They are looking to come up with the most impressive looking email that – they have teams that work on this. A friend of mine works on the Lowe’s email team. It’s a whole team of people!

When you get the email, there’s like – I don’t even know – 14 employees that work on these emails! So, you cannot put yourself to that standard, because you do not have 14 people.

Mark S: You don’t want to hear the story about when they tried 13-point text instead of 14. That was just a disaster!

Marc V: Yeah! So, what can you do? If you’re working with a MailChimp or one of these types of software; Constant Contact, any of them. There’s a ton of them out there. Just jump on the internet and search for “email marketing software,” stuff like that. But nowadays, they’re all going to have little templates that you can build in, you can drag and drop things in.

Pick two that you like, that are simple. Start with the easy ones.

Mark S: Thank you for saying that, because we’ve been using MailChimp for at least eight years.

Marc V: Something like that.

Mark S: For at least eight years, we’ve been using MailChimp. And still, the templates that I use have like the image box, the text box. That’s the template that I use. What you don’t want is you don’t want to pick a complicated template. Now, you feel like you have to fill in all of those boxes. So, I agree.

Marc V: You do. Otherwise, you feel incomplete. Here’s the two formats that I recommend you pick, whatever place you’re using. One is a simple graphics and text. It typically will go with like a header text, “New shirt styles.” An image, with a picture of those. Some body text, “Here’s all our new shirt styles that we’ve got coming out, blank blank blank,” and then a link or multiple links, to where they can see them online or whatever it might be.

Or the link could be your phone number, or any call to action. Email me, call me, something like that.

Mark S: CTA. That’s what the business calls it.

Marc V: Yeah. Just a call to action down there. And you get that picture in the top, it’s great, if you do graphic arts and you can make a cool little montage of your products, and stuff like that. But if you don’t have that ability, you take your phone out of your pocket. You take a shirt that you just made, or a picture of your shop, or a picture of a shirt coming out of a heat press.

Mark S: You, standing next to something.

Marc V: You, standing next to something. You at an event. Whatever it might be. A picture of a team of people wearing shirts you just made for them. Take a picture of it. The picture from your phone will be a high enough resolution to look good in an email.

Take that picture, put it into the email software. They have editing tools in there where you can crop it if you want to, or something like that. But don’t get too complicated with it.

Mark S: No. And don’t err on the other side. If you have to flip your phone to take the picture, then that won’t work. You’ve got to have a relatively decent phone. No flip-phones, no Blackberries, really. You’ve got to have something that does a good job. In fact, those pictures will probably be too good. They’ll be too big. The file size will be too big, and your email software will help you automatically.

Marc V: Will automatically help you size it down. Those pictures will always look good, and you’ll get better at taking them, with understanding the lighting and all types of things you could do. Take the shirt that you just made and bring it outside, and put it on the table outside. If you have a mannequin, put it on the mannequin. If you have a standup light, use that. Try it with the flash on and off.

Mark S: Google “how to take interesting pictures,” and do that. Really, pictures aren’t even mandatory.

Marc V: No. The next one is just text only. All of these email ones, typically, they’ll have 20 different templates. If you scroll all the way to the bottom almost, because they’re usually at the end, it will just say “text.” You click on that one, and that’s just writing a regular email.

“Hi. This is Jane. I want to let you know that we’ve got some new shirts on board. Here is a link to my Facebook page.” You can keep it really simple. “Here’s a link to my Facebook page, where I just uploaded pictures. So, if you click on there, you’re going to get to see pictures of the new styles. If you’re interested, give me a call,” whatever it might be. You can keep that simple.

That is a personal letter. Usually, it’s signed by you, a person, with text only.

Mark S: I would do that.

Marc V: Usually, it comes from a person. And then, some sort of a call to action at the bottom. “Call me, click here, here’s a link to my website, here’s a link to my Facebook page.”

Mark S: Honestly, when you throw in the ability to just do the text emails, you have to realize that’s okay. Because depending on the marketing study that you look at, text emails either perform slightly better than emails with images, or slightly worse. So, you just pick the study that you want to follow.

Text and these graphical kind of emails perform, most of the time, very closely. And I don’t want you to let the idea that you have to take the perfect picture stop you from doing the email. We’re always looking for those opportunities. Don’t accept any opportunity to give yourself an excuse.

Marc V: I’ve been in that trap where I want to put six different products in an email. Then, “Now, I’ve got to get a picture for each. Now, I’ve to go take all those pictures. Now, I’ve got to look at all of those pictures and upload all of them.”

Mark S: “This one’s too dark.”

Marc V: “This one doesn’t match.” You get sucked not this black hole where you’re three and a half hours into an email, and you’ve gotten nowhere.

Mark S: Are you ragging on me, because it’s taken us like two months to still work on the new ColDesi bling site?

Marc V: No, not at all!

Mark S: I feel like that’s what’s happening right now!

Marc V: But it’s true, though, because we get into those things.

Mark S: It is, yeah.

Marc V: That’s why I recommend simpler is better. Then, as you get better, and you want to go deeper and deeper and deeper, then with experience, you’re going to get better at it. But if this is your fresh start, pick one of those two things.

Mark S: Yeah. I think that the show notes, if you are just getting started, or if you haven’t implemented a real email program into your business yet, these show notes, you should print them out and pin them on the wall somewhere.

So, every time you’re sitting down and you’re trying to think of what you can do to generate more business, or you’re looking at your marketing from scratch, like we do every once in a while, you’ll look over there and say “Oh, here are the four types of emails that I can send. I’m already sending my intro email, because that’s mandatory. What else do I have here?”

Marc V: The great part about this is if you’re really working on a tight marketing budget, this stuff is really – it’s essentially all free, and that’s great.

Mark S: Yeah. You’ve paid for the email with your time or with advertising, or something like that.

Marc V: Exactly. You’ve already paid for their email. You’ve gotten it. Now at this point in time, you can put in a little bit more time. And this is something that in less than an hour, this whole thing could be done.

Mark S: That’s true. Just like this podcast!

Marc V: Yes! There we go, then. We should wrap that up.

Mark S: We should. Okay, guys. Once again, I think this is a great episode to print out the show notes and keep them handy. If you’re not sending email out, you should.

Marc V: Sounds great!

Mark S: Thanks, everybody! This has been Mark Stephenson, from ColDesi.

Marc V: And Marc Vila, from Colman and Company.

Mark S: You guys have a great business, by sending emails!

Marc V: There you go! Thanks!

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