Email Marketing – with Bostjan Belingar

By Marki Richardson
Email Marketing – with Bostjan Belingar

Welcome to the Ecommerce Marketing Podcast everyone. I am your host, Arlen Robinson. And today we have a very special guest Bostjan Belingar, who is the founder and CEO of Hustler Marketing, one of the world’s leading ecommerce email marketing agencies. He’s been pretty much obsessed with the company and its now 60+ rockstars for the past few years. If you ask him about anything online marketing related, he’ll light up like a candle and talk till he drops. In his spare time he likes calisthenics, deep vocal house and lots and lots of fantasy books. Welcome to the podcast Bostjan.

Thank you very much. Thanks for having me. I’m excited.

Yes, I’m excited to talk to you. And when I was reading your intro there, you mentioned obsessed with deep vocal house. And I’m thinking that you’re talking specifically about house music that have more of a focus on not just the instrumental, but the vocal melodies.

Right? Right. It’s like the techno beaten. Then it sounds. Yeah.

Got ya. That’s awesome. Yeah. I’m a fan of house music. I’m originally actually from Chicago, Illinois, which I would say is the birthplace of house music. Some people can test that. I don’t know what your opinion. Where’s the birthplace of house music? What do you think?

Not so much an expert. I did a lot of breakdown, so I know about the origins of hip hop of the Bronx, and I know a little bit of culture and history and that. But the house is something I recently got into, but it’s amazing.

It’s just, yeah, it is. I grew up with it. There’s a lot of house DJs in Chicago, and I grew up going to a different house club, so it’s awesome. It’s just incredible to kind of see its journey where, like I said, I appreciate with the birthplace for Chicago, and it kind of evolved. And then I know over there in Europe, where you are, of course, in Barcelona. I know other places in Europe, it’s really just exploded. I never would have guessed that it would have just gone so big.

Yeah. Oh, man.

It’s a worldwide phenomenon, right?

Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Well, I’m definitely excited to talk to you. As I mentioned. And you’re reading your bio, you with Hustler Marketing, and your guy’s key focus is helping businesses with the email marketing, a lot of ecommerce businesses. So today we’re really going to be talking about email marketing, some strategies to make it successful for your particular brand. And really is it worthwhile? Because that’s also a big question that I get time and time again with ecommerce companies. I’m always hearing this chatter about always email marketing days.

Is there going to be a death of email? And I’d love to know your opinion about that before we do get into all of that, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your background and specifically how you did get into what you’re doing today? Sure.

Pleasure. So I think the first contact with Internet marketing was when I was a videographer for some sort of, like gurus. Basically, they were doing info courses in the health space and then also some in the dating space. So I used to travel around with them and do like, YouTube videos for them. And there I learned about copywriting and offers and video courses and how to structure it all. And then after some time of doing that, I just kind of focused to be a copywriter instead of a videographer.

And I would write pretty much whatever I could get my hands on. And then very soon clients would wanted me to actually send that email out, not just write it. So that’s kind of how I organically got an into email marketing. And then we have four years after there’s a bunch of clients, a big team, as you said. And it’s kind of growing.

So that’s awesome. Yeah. Good to know. And I think just from hearing your success and kind of where you came with it and your journey and building your awesome team there, I think just hearing that really is almost kind of answer to my first question, which a lot of people are always asking, is it worth it? And is email marketing still effective? What would you say?

I hear this a lot. And from the people who don’t know so much, they say, oh, so you send out those spams like you send a spam out like, no. So technically, statistics now we work with about 70 commerce stores now. And statistics say that on average, they make 25% from email of their Philip revenue. Right. So a quarter now it gets even better because email revenue is actually more profitable because you spend when you get those first to Facebook ads, Google ads, and whatever the profitability is not as high.

Email is mostly using your list, using your current customers to create more purchases. So it’s actually a lot more profitable. So yeah. I mean, 25% of revenue is huge.

Yeah.

I would say two more points here are pretty crucial now with the whole policy updates from Apple, and it’s all Privacy, this Privacy that email, it’s a zero party data, right. Once you have your list, you have it and you can can do whatever you want with it. So that’s pretty important as well. So definitely still.

Yeah, definitely. I think what it is and why people this whole chatter of the death of email and all that why I kind of continues. Its just because several years back, we don’t hear too much of it these days, even though it can be an issue. There’s a lot of companies that abuse it, and there’s a lot of people that abuse email. As far as, like you said, the spam emails, I think we all can kind of testify to being on these lists and then having our inboxes just kind of flooded with a lot of of garbage to put it bluntly.

And so it has kind of put a little negative thing when anytime somebody brings up email marketing, they immediately kind of go back to think of just being flooded with a lot of these marketing emails. But the bottom line is there are companies that, of course, like yourself that are doing it effectively and correctly and using it to cultivate a relationship really with customers and potential customers, because that’s really what you’re doing. You’re kind of engaging conversations, you’re providing valuable information and you’re growing a relationship via email.

And that’s really what it’s about. It’s really kind of if you look at it as more of a vehicle to empower people, your customers and potential customers, then you kind of conceive the true value of it. So that’s kind of what I think correct.

If I can just add this here, I listen to to play Vios this the email big software CEO on one of their events in Boston, and he had this really cool vision. We’re actually email marketing and then also SMS. Another retention strategies is basically how a brand can speak to all of its customers. Still on an individual level, right. Because now emails have all these powerful features of knowing all your purchases, your preference. Except that when they can give you recommendations or even tips and ideas based on that.

So I think if you do it right, it can be very powerful. But as you said, if you just don’t think about anything can just sense and send, then, of course, you’re going to have one.

That’s very true. And I think that really kind of leads me to my next question. And what I think a lot of businesses struggle with when they say, okay, they’re gonna explore email marketing. They’re gonna create a campaign. They’re going to get a platform such as Clevo to create a campaign. Then the next question, then, is, okay, content. What do I do? How do I come out with a great marketing email that it’s not gonna go straight to someone’s trash. It’s not going to get people to unsubscribe for my list.

What is kind of the process to creating these types of emails?

I’ll go first to like a golden nugget from one of my first mentors, Daniel Diet, who basically told me there’s there’s three things that lead to a success of any campaign email, even back in the day when they would do, like mailings and stuff. So basically strength of the list, strength of the offer and strength of the copy. Right. So this is really key to understand. So if you’re list if your customers, if it’s a good list, if it’s people that really like what you have, if they’re engaged, then even if your copy is pretty bad and your offer is for if you just say, hey, please buy, they will buy because they are so passionate about you talking about test line or whatever your favorite products, et cetera.

So that’s one its strength of the least or your audience. Then we have strength of the offer. When you have a good offer, again, you don’t need a lot of great copy, because if you have something that’s either ridiculously cheaper, you get a lot of items or it’s just a really great product like whatever. Like a great offer. Again, people will like they will buy everything they can because it’s such a good offer. And then the third piece is to copy. Right. Once you have, of course, a good list, ideally a good offer, then you think about copy.

And if we go a little further into the copy elements, things like time pressure that I mean, of course, what kind of copy will do depends largely on customer avatar is something like time pressure will be great for impulsive buys and consumers and stuff like that, whether it would be different in a different case. But I would say time pressure, pay attention to you, your subject lines. And then depending on the type of product you’re promoting, you can either go short copy long copy when there’s a lot of formulas out there.

Viking, the loss Raptor. And there’s a bunch of others where they tell you how to structure your message. They say, talk about the pain, intensify the pain and give them a solution, et cetera. So you can do that. There’s other ways. But I would say think about the strength of the least strength of the offer, then go into the copy and then make sure that the copy fits your target customer. I think that’s the key.

It really seems like the finding out what the customer customer ideal customer avatar is really the start of so many marketing strategies. I think you always have to first look at that before really doing anything, because otherwise, when you’re coming up with your messaging, you’re thinking of ideas. If you don’t have that idea customer in mind, then you’re really just going to be wasting time. You’re going to be kind of shooting at the wrong target, so to speak. And so that’s very true. And especially specifically with email marketing, because it’s all based on specific messaging.

What are you telling that person? What are some things that you’re saying that will hopefully resonate with that audience if you don’t do your homework first and figure out who is that an ideal customer is then yeah.

It’s so to be kind of wasting time there maybe to add to this because it’s really interesting, you know, now that the email is a tool has gotten a lot more new features.

Okay.

Now the email that I’m sorry. What was that tool in general, email has become like, you have Pavio. You have different things. I mean, the Gmail amps coming out, which is basically like you can literally click and open stuff inside of the email. You can play videos inside. But that’s kind of advanced.

Right.

What I wanted to say is that nowadays you can play with the designs to a huge degree that you just couldn’t do in the past. Right. So in the past, it was really all about the coffee. But now, especially with brands that have a lot of aesthetic appeal or something like that, the design has become really important and you might not even need a lot of coffee or a lot of text. And you just have beautiful design elements. And that converts a lot because, again, target customer that relate to that beautiful design.

Yeah. That’s all sense.

Exactly. The visual aspects now are really very important. Now, I think a lot of it has kind of been driven by the kind of leak that we evolved that we’ve had with these devices that everyone has. Now all of these mobile devices now are so I mean, the resolution on these devices is amazing. You know, I’m dating myself, but I grew up in the 80s or whatever. And back then, the only type of as far as watching TV and television, we watched everything on any massive TVs that had tubes.

You know, people are not familiar with that technology, but there was a huge cathode Ray tube. That’s what it’s called best. Basically. Yeah. Exactly. They were massive man. They were filled with gas and they were electricies gas and the so you see the images. But now, I mean, we have just in everyone’s pockets. We have technology, which is like would say the resolution on these devices compared to those large TV was like a million times better when you’re thinking about these platforms that people are viewing.

These VMs on. The visual aspects are very important because people are going to be accustomed to seeing really high death visuals. And you got to do things that are really going to stand out and pop. Now, that kind of brings me to another question I was thinking about because there’s also a school of thought from marketers where the less is better, more minimalist style emails I’ve seen be successful. There’s a lot of marketers that say if you see their emails, it’s nothing but text, that’s it no graphics at all.

And so what are your thoughts on those types of email campaigns and those types?

Great question again, I really think because we were doing tests on all these stores, we’re always doing tests, but there’s never a clear winner. It’s like it’s Tags better. It’s short and just like a big banner. Better. There’s never a winner because it really depends on the customer avatar. However, what we do see is that once we send out more emails for a particular brand, we start to see what the audience of that brand like. Some brands, they like more visual. Some brands actually do great with really long copy, like four pages of copy in an email, and they just really didn’t buy it.

And then there’s a little hack on the ghost in favor of plain text emails. I will maybe later talk about a little more about deliverability as well. Now, email is a great tool, but there’s all these field person protection and everything. So not all emails come through to reach the final receivers. So plain text actually has more chance to reach. So that’s why it’s also potentially a great tool, especially when we think about reengaging state list and things like that.

Yeah. I think when it just comes down to is it just depends on what’s going to resonate with your audience. That’s really, really it I think there’s really no easy answer. There’s no right or wrong as saying, those text emails long text emails are any better than the highly graphic visual emails because everyone resonates with something different. And so yeah, it’s really just a matter of trying to test these things and seeing what types of results that you get doing a B testing, trying, maybe a campaign that’s more heavy in the visuals and then another one where it’s just strictly text base.

But yeah, very good point, though. Also with these days, that is one concern is as far as the filtering is concerned, because we have all of these spam filtering and all these things with the graphic emails and all of the code behind it. Those are often a little bit more susceptible, can be more susceptible to, especially if it’s not coded right to end up in somebody’s spam folders. So that’s another thing to also definitely keep in mind now, of course, we talked about when you’re sending out these email campaigns.

Of course, most companies that have a few years already under their belt, they have a customer base. They have a customer list, and they already kind of have a base of people that they can send out emails, too. But on the other hand, the goal is, of course, you want to try to get new customers. And a lot of times, of course, that’s done through a subscriber list. And so what are some tips or some strategies for growing and building your list. So people that may not be your customers, but people may have some interest in what your brand is doing.

What I’ll say is primarily focused on ecommerce, but I think other niches could also apply some of the same principles. So the first and most important part is the pop up. And again, there’s a lot of people that still think that this annoys the customers and that it’s not a best practice and things like that. But we’ve here, at least, is from all of our clients and all the research and data that we have. I would definitely always 100% of the time support popups. Obviously, you can do flavor triggering.

So you’re not going to show ten different pop ups in the first 5 seconds. You’re not going to show pop ups to subscribers that are already on your list. Right. Two general best practices are that on mobile, you will show a pop up on a time delay because those little access are kind of hard to click. So if you a time delay, we say general best practice is about half or three quarters of your on page time. So if a person stays there for two minutes, you would show it after a minute or something like that.

And then on desktop, you would do an exiting ten. Now, this is the basic. Then if you want to employ some sort of Perilla marketing, referral based stuff, you can always do a giveaway. We’ve seen some of that. But honestly, most of our sources are not weak too much. Although I did hear great case studies. You will have a few good products, or maybe you have a big cash price, and then you can advertise all that on social media, Instagram, Facebook, wherever you can. And then the condition for that would be tagged to friends and drop your email in order to get qualified pick.

So that would be another. And then a nice variation of the pop up is a quiz. Actually, quite a lot of stores have been successful with this. So instead of a pop up, it would say, let’s imagine like a dock product store. Right. So a quiz will pop up. I’ve seen one just recently and it would say, you know, hey, like we have a young dog or an old dog and then long hair or short hair. So things like that that maybe four or five questions that usually are kind of fun.

Right. And then they get the person to subscribe, and at the same time, it will give you a lot of signals in your back end. So you’ll be able to target them based on different segments and factors. And then maybe the last thing here is a special type of pop up gamification. You know, the wellio thingy. Right. So my opinion and that is a little it’s a double edged sword. So what we’ve noticed is that the conversion of those types of popups is really high, so it could be 15 20% optin conversion, whether on regular popups, I would say 10% is really, really good.

However, the people who actually subscribe to that are later on less active and buy less. So in essence, you’re creating more of your list, but it’s maybe not as quality if we look back into, you know, we said strength of the least, strength of the offer and strength of the copy, then it’s basically your decision as a brand, what kind of email marketing strategy you want to employ to to build your list. And before I forget, a lot of stories still are making a mistake in collecting and building their list because this is just one entry level into the funnel.

Right. So one entry level is a person comes to the website. I subscribe to the list that get targeted. There’s two others. One is when they buy, and the third one is when they abandon card. So when those two things happen, you also have to have automations active that will send them some emails and then subscribe them on your emailing list.

Yeah. Very important. Yeah. Those last couple of ways. The abandoned cart is definitely something a lot of times when people forget about businesses are focusing so heavily just on the pop ups and just getting people to subscribe to the newsletter and just that aspect of it. But there’s a lot of other ways that you can get people into it. One other thing that I wanted to say because you mentioned the pop ups are definitely still very important. But I think the key thing, though, is you have to be creative because I’ve been to a million in one websites and still brands these days.

Just do the basic promotion with the pop up, sign up for our list, get 20% off your first purchase or something like that. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Those things can attract people. If people want to get a discount, it can. But I think the problem that you have with those is that since they’re so I guess you can say this point kind of over to use people. They almost get blind to it. You see those pop ups and your eyes kind of glaze over it.

They’re saying, okay, ask for your email. They’re saying they give you a discount on your purchase. But people get so used to seeing that. I think we’re so quick to just close that out and better what it says. It could be saying 80% off or something like that. I think people at this point are so accustomed to just trying to close it out. What do you think?

Not exactly disagreeing, but maybe an alteration. I would say when us marketers think about strategies like this, I think it’s a slightly different point of view. And somebody who’s not a marketer and thinking about this day after day, I think I mean, the numbers are clear, you know, like, if you put a pop up, you will get, I would say, between three and conversion rate right on your email. As you said, most offers are 1020 percent off. I’m not particularly proud of them. And, you know, if we can, we encourage our clients to play with that, because if they come up with a more creative offer, they could get a higher rate.

However, it’s better to have that than nothing, because once you have 100,000 people coming to your website and you’re not doing that, you’re literally wasting money that you spent on ads. And whatnot so yeah, it’s a little bit, but at the end of the day, it works. And it’s it’s just like it’s a no brainer to not have it. But yes, personally, my soul and artists and all that I would love to see more quizzes and more like cool pop ups. But yeah, most are not like this.

Yeah, I understand. And I understand where brands are coming from. They know they’re getting all of this traffic to their websites, and they’re trying to take advantage of they’re trying to make sure that they get these subscribers one way or another. And so the basic pop up with the offers something easy to put up. And it’s better than doing that than having nothing at all.

And also if we think about another angle, which is consumerism. And I’m not saying all brands here, but the way Facebook ads basically work is, I mean, in a lot of the cases, it’s an impulse buy, right? It’s like, oh, look at these yoga pants and a person that buys them. They’re not just buying the pan. They’re buying a feeling of I will get fitter. I will be sexter. It is for the person, right. That pop up. It’s like I will get that same feeling for 10% off.

And okay, let me get the 10% off. But that also means they will be on the email list. And in the future, they might get triggered again. Again, it’s a different mindset. But it’s also something to consider. I think when you think about the brand and marketing, I think you should wear many different hats. The business had what’s my goals and vision had, what I want my customer experience to be had. So after you put all that together, I think you can decide on what you want your direction to be.

Yeah. Very true. For sure. Robots can is we get ready to wrap things up from your experience, the different brands that you’ve been dealing with and just in general overall, what are the variables that really affect? I guess the main variables that affect the success or failure of in my marketing campaign that you’ve seen.

I’d say two things. One is if they have the automated setup. So all those card abandoned welcome flow post searches. So if you have all those automated sequences in or not, that’s one and the other when we talk about sending regular campaigns to the list, do you or don’t you know how to segment properly? Because the sand shouldn’t be just sent an email to the entire list. But now it should be sent an email to people who have opened an email in the last 60 days and have been on the website but did not buy.

For example, that’s a really hot segment where you can assume they are interested in buying something, right. For example, if they just bought something last week, you won’t target them with a hay by tomorrow. By now, you won’t do that because it makes no sense. Right. So I’ll say segmentation in less than having a strong automated setup.

Okay. Gotcha gotcha. Yep. That sounds good. That definitely makes sense. I think with the automation very important. And I think what I see those with a lot of brands, a lot of brands may not spend as much time as they should in creating all of these different automations is just because it takes a little bit of time to get set up. You do have to use the right solution as well. It just comes down to the fact that it’s not rocket science to create these things. But the bottom line is it takes time.

And so yeah, you definitely want to work with either somebody that’s familiar with doing it that can assist you, and then that can kind of own it and have it grow over time. Because I think we’re a lot of brands fall short. They may go ahead. They may set up these automations, they get it going, and then they kind of let it go and they’re not monitoring the results. They’re not monitoring the click throughs. And what are people looking at? It could be failing miserably, but they keep it going.

And so yeah. Yeah, you do have to have somebody on your team, even if it’s you know, even if they’re working with an agency such as your you guys, or if you have somebody in house who’s one of their main roles is to manage that whole automation and make changes based on the responsiveness and things like that. I think that’s kind of one of the key things.

Absolutely.

Definitely. Well, it’s definitely been awesome talking to your boss, John. I have learned a ton of email marketing, and I can probably geek out on digital marketing and email marketing for hours upon hours that I know you could as well, but at this point, yeah, I definitely encourage all of our listeners to make sure that they implement some form of email marketing and the campaign and get started because as we’ve said earlier, it’s not going away anytime soon. So you can forget about all of those click bait emails that say they’re predicting a death of email.

I don’t think that’s happening. So definitely kind of got to get going last thing before we do let you go. I always like to switch years just so our audience can get to know you a little bit better if you don’t mind sharing one closing fun fact that you think people would be interested to know about you.

Yes. So any less. I don’t know. Five, six, seven years. I stopped counting, but it’s been about 30 plus countries that I’ve traveled to perk of having a fully remote agency. That basically I take my laptop, and right now I’m in Spain. I was in private Republic Croatia in the last month, so I think that’s pretty fun and possible.

Yeah, that’s awesome, man. 30 countries, man, that’s definitely an accomplishment. You’re definitely little ways behind me ahead of me. Actually, I got to kind of get on the ball as far as by traveling and, yeah, it’s awesome. I mean, you definitely learn a lot on a personal aspect as well. He’s been on the professional and business aspect when you’re going to other countries, because different cultures, different countries. They relate to things differently as far as on the business side, you can see how people engage with businesses different or in other countries.

And you can take a lot of those ideas back to what you’re doing as its sun, right? Yeah, a lot of my investment. It’s fun seeing different scenes and experiencing different people and all of that for sure. That’s what it comes down to. All right, Boston. Well, it’s been great talking to you before we let you go. If you don’t mind sharing a way for our listeners to get in touch with you if they want to reach out to you and pick your brain anymore about email marketing?

Sure.

So you can simply email me so that’s B-O-S-T-J-A-N. Boston at hustler marketing. Com. There’s our website there as well. And if you type my name Boston Bulinger. You’ll also see in Instagram Facebook. Just pick whatever you like, and I’ll be happy to chat.

You gotcha gotcha. Well, that’s awesome. I definitely encourage our listeners to reach out to you and see how you can assist them any further. And thank you again, Bostjan for joining us today on the Ecommerce Marketing podcast.

Podcast Guest Info

Bostjan Belingar
Founder and CEO of Hustler Marketing

By Marki Richardson

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