What I Learned Working with an Email Marketing Strategist

A year ago I had an email list that didn’t even pay for itself and as it grew it was starting to get expensive.

I also was sporadically sending out emails (something I’m still working at getting better at).

So I finally leaned on my friend, Allea of Duett.co, an email marketing strategist and hired her to help me.

I did what she calls a Clarity Call and boy did it provide a lot of clarity….

But before I dive into what all I learned from working with an email marketing strategist, I want to back up a second and talk about the “grow your list” mentality that exists in the online world.

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The “GROW YOUR LIST” Mentality

The first blogging course I ever took and many courses I’ve taken since then, all talk about growing your list.

GROW YOUR LIST, GROW YOUR LIST, GROW YOUR LIST!

But there is less talk about what to do with that list once you’ve grown it.

I became an expert at quickly crafting content upgrades and marketing them, my list sure was growing alright!

But I struggled to really make good money from that list. I also didn’t want to be always spamming them with sales emails. I love to connect with my subscribers. It makes my day every time I get a reply to one of my emails.

But, email marketing services aren’t cheap and I fully believe that your email list should at the very least, pay for itself, if not turn a profit for you.

What to do with Your Email List

So how do you find that balance? I started focusing on courses that taught that side of email marketing, and they helped a lot.

However, I still felt it wasn’t enough. I wanted to better automate the welcome series and sequences to be more personal without having a gazillion different sequences set up.

In short, I wanted to:

  • be more personal early on,
  • send better emails after they completed the welcome sequence, and
  • have it not be insanely complicated on the back end.

I wanted to take my email marketing to the next level.

Enter Allea….

Hiring an Email Marketing Strategist

Early this year (I think it was February) I signed up for one of Allea’s Clarity Calls.

Allea is a friend I met at FinCon in 2016, but this was all business. Because I fully believe that if you want professional help from friends you should pay them. Paying them is supporting their business and I’d want the same from friends asking for my professional help.

The Clarity Call did exactly what it was supposed to do, it was eye-opening.

I should note, that when I started with email marketing and “growing my list” I didn’t really have a strategy. So my tags and segments and everything else were a mess, adding to my frustration.

Allea helped me to make sense of my mess and get clear on what I actually wanted to do with my list. She then walked me through what I needed to do to set up my email marketing to hit my goals.

Cleaning Up My Convertkit Mess

Allea walked me through the steps I needed to take to audit my Convertkit account.

What forms were still being used, what sequences still sent out, what rules still applied. Basically, what I had I completely forgot that I’d set up three years ago?

I used Airtable to help me make sense of it all. And there was a lot to look at, here is a sneak peek:

Because before you can move forward with a better email marketing strategy, you need to make sure your systems and automations are aligned and working with where you want to go.

Getting Clear on What I Wanted to Do with My List

Once I had my mess cleaned up it was time to make sure I knew what I wanted to do with my list so I wasn’t just emailing aimlessly again.

Talking it through with Allea helped me realize, I had 5 main segments (segments = groups of people) that I wanted to help with my list.

This meant I wanted to personalize the welcome sequences towards 5 different groups of people.

But I had multiple opt-ins for each segment, which meant I needed to better use tags. So I could make sure people in the same segment but different opt-ins got access to the other opt-ins available.

Hopefully, you can start to see why I was struggling with this on my own, and chances are you’ve struggled with it too.

Fortunately, I had discovered what Convertkit refers to as conditional emails, meaning I could put different content in the same email that only people with certain tags would see.

I now had a solution for crafting custom welcome sequences that didn’t require me to create 20-30 different sequences each with 3-5 emails in them.

But I also needed to make sure what I set up I could continue to maintain…

Lessons I Learned About Email Marketing

If only I knew this when I started email marketing, I wouldn’t have had nearly the headache I did trying to fix it all. Please learn from my mistakes.

Segments are Recipes, Tags are Ingredients

If you’re struggling to wrap your head around the difference between segments and tags, Allea dropped this explanation gem on me.

Think of segments as recipes, you use the ingredients (tags) to make them.

Have an Easy to Implement System for Naming Tags

Tags do you no good if you can’t find the one you’re looking for and the ability to really segment your list based on details can greatly help conversions.

So you need to be consistent in your naming of tags something I used to fail miserably at.

Now my tags use the following format:

Product type (webinar, freebie, etc) – title ( name of the product)– level of interest/engagement (clicked, attended, purchased)

Here are some examples:

  • FREEBIE – Legal Page Checklist
  • WEBINAR – 7 Things to Legally Protect Your Blog – Attended

Regularly Audit Your Email Marketing Systems and Automations

This is something I’m about to do again. Because somewhere there is an automation that keeps triggering, but for the life of me I can’t figure out where it’s coming from.

Regularly checking in to make sure your email marketing system is up-to-date and align with what you’re wanting to do is key to success.

Another reason I need to audit? If you’ve been around a while then you may have noticed that I took down about 90% of the opt-ins I had made available.

I realized those opt-ins weren’t serving my goals anymore, though I do still have some plans on how I can use them.

Taking them down means, going through and checking all my automations to ensure they are working towards my goals.

How to Automate Self-Segmentation

This was perhaps the biggest thing that Allea helped me with, automating my subscriber’s ability to self-segment.

Because nothing makes it more personal than if they can choose what they want to learn about, rather than me just sending what I think they want to learn about.

Due to some tech issues, this meant a little back and forth and an additional call (for her usual hourly rate) with Allea to help me actually get it set up.

Fortunately, Allea was super flexible and was able to jump on call with me within a matter of days so I could finally move forward with my plan.

How Much Does an Email Marketing Strategist Cost?

After reading all this, you’re probably wondering how much it costs to hire an email marketing strategist.

The Clarity Call I did cost $250

But she also offers more hands-on packages. Like if you don’t want to do the audit yourself or if you are really struggling with what to write, she also as a package to help you craft your welcome emails and sequences.

Is Hiring an Email Marketing Strategist Right for You?

I think the return on investment can be great but that is only if, email marketing is your actual problem, not something like you aren’t getting enough subscribers because you have little to no traffic.

You also should have a monetization strategy in place so that the cost of the service can pay for itself, once you implement the strategies and lessons learned.

Bottom Line

If you’re struggling to make your expensive list pay for itself, then hiring an email marketing strategist could be a good move for you.

I learned a TON working with Allea and as I further grow my business and pivot and adjust, I’m so glad I invested the money to help me see how to translate my vision into an email marketing strategy.

BTW, Allea did NOT pay me to write or say any of this, she is just that awesome to work with!

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