ASHLEY: Welcome to Outgrowth: A Slice of Pro Beauty with your hosts, Ashley Gregory Hackett.
JAIME: And Jaime Schrabeck. For many beauty pros, marketing your business in 2021 is time consuming and often frustrating.
ASHLEY: While many struggle through an algorithm to reach clients, one constant remains: the inbox. Email marketing may not be the newest kid on the block, but its results speak for themselves. Let’s grow together.
JAIME: Ashley, if there’s one technology that makes me feel really old, it’s email.
ASHLEY: I agree. It’s been around since the 80s, but the cool thing about email is that it has outlasted every other type of digital marketing.
JAIME: It has, hasn’t it? And It’s one of those things that I feel most comfortable with. And that may be exactly why is that maybe we grew up together.
ASHLEY: It’s one of those things where it is a form of communication that is reliable. And it’s something that we have learned to rely on. It’s, it’s something that we all do every day. We check our email. We look at our inbox and sort through to find the important stuff. But it is a place where we know if we send an email, most of the time it is going to reach the recipient and we don’t have to worry about hashtag strategy and all of the other things that come with our other digital marketing efforts.
JAIME: Like so many things that are reliable, it’s underappreciated.
ASHLEY: I totally agree. And I think that in the beauty industry, it is a tool that we are underutilizing, or we’re not using it correctly to its fullest potential. I know Instagram is hot and sexy. Everybody loves talking about Instagram and Instagram strategy, but your return on investment is really in email. And so I think we could all do better to spend a little bit more time in making our email programs a bit more robust.
JAIME: One of the things that you point out repeatedly in your excellent email class, I might add, is the fact that email gives us control that we wouldn’t have using other social media platforms.
ASHLEY: Definitely. I mean really the worst thing that can happen is that you end up in the spam filter, but there are ways around that. And honestly, it helps you maintain control of your message and it ensures that more people are going to put eyes on important communication than just throwing something on to Instagram.
JAIME: What I don’t believe is that this is the first episode we’ve actually devoted to email. What took us so long?
ASHLEY: I actually had to go back through and look at all of the synopses of all of our episodes to make sure, cause I’m like it had to have come up before, right? But that’s the thing about COVID that’s so crazy is all the things that we had planned on talking about when we started this podcast, we’re just getting to now.
JAIME: Well, you’ve been incredibly patient because I know this is one of your favorite subjects and you’ve been holding out on us, Ashley, Please share your wisdom with us because this is something that you teach specifically at beauty shows.
ASHLEY: I do, and I am one of the only people that talks about email just because. You know what? I also teach Instagram. I feel like Instagram coaches are a little bit of a dime a dozen these days, and we all have our own special spin on how we approach things like social media. But email is one of those things where we don’t love talking about it because it feels like old technology. And side note, I hope our listeners love the sound of my voice because you’re going to be hearing a lot of it this episode. But I feel very strongly that we should utilize all of the tools we have available to us in order to build our businesses, and create a great customer experience, and email is one of the ways that we can do it. For those of you who are not fully on the email train, it is my goal by the end of this episode to get you on board because we all know, especially if you’ve watched The Office, when Ryan goes to business school, he teaches Michael that it is 10 times more expensive to find, and court, and book a new client than it is to retain a client. So I guess I would just pose this question to you. Would you rather spend time trying to entice new clients with social media, or discounts, or things like Groupon, or would you rather communicate with and encourage your existing clients to visit more often, or to enjoy an upgraded service, or to purchase retail from you? I think almost all of us, I hope almost all of us, will say we would rather encourage our existing clients than spin our wheels and hope that we get new clients through things like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, whatever. Email is tried and true for a reason.
JAIME: I get tired just thinking about recruiting new clients.
ASHLEY: It’s a position a lot of us are finding ourselves in because we have lost clients due to moving locations, or reduced capacity, or not wanting to spend 40 hours a week with the public. I completely understand that. It’s now, well it’s been time, but it is now a great time to help your current and existing clients understand that you’re still here, that you’re still available, and ensure that that messaging is being seen and not necessarily the, you know, six or 10 or whatever percentage it is that see things on Instagram. The great thing about emails is that nobody takes a break. We’ve all seen those people say, oh, I need to take a little social media break. The news is too much for me right now. I’m just going to log off for a while. Nobody does that with their email.
JAIME: It’s this thing that sort of runs in the background.
ASHLEY: Yeah. It’s always, I mean, every day you get an email.
JAIME: Oh my gosh.
ASHLEY: There isn’t a day. I can’t imagine.
JAIME: Or 400.
ASHLEY: Yeah, exactly. So, I think that this episode is really just about converting the masses to email. But if it’s something you’re already doing, I know you’re going to get something out of this too because there are different ways to use email that maybe you hadn’t thought about. But the thing that I think is really important to understand is most of us are using some sort of client management software. We’re using some sort of online booking system. I would say 99.9% of those services have some sort of email integration. So if you’re just using it for automated purposes, I would challenge you to try something different in addition to appointment reminders and review solicitations. There are different ways that you can get the word out there about your business and connect with your clients in a way that you haven’t before.
JAIME: On the receiving end of an email, I can’t think of anyone I know, regardless of their age, who does not have an email address.
ASHLEY: Yes, I think you’d have to be in your late nineties to not have an email address, or have an email that you don’t check very often. It’s just the way of life with online bill payment and all of those other things came the necessity for having an email. And even if you’re using AOL, or Hotmail, or one of those old and crusties, but they still work and they still receive email so we can’t count them out.
JAIME: And that’s so much easier than encouraging your clients to join some new social media platform in order to hear from you.
ASHLEY: Yeah, definitely. I mean, unfortunately, social media excludes people just by its nature. Regardless of the algorithm, you have people that aren’t on Facebook. They aren’t on Instagram. They aren’t on Snapchat, whatever. And so if you are continually broadcasting this way, you are missing people by the virtue of them not being on those platforms.
JAIME: So the question would be, Ashley, what warrants sending someone an email beyond if you happen to use them for appointment reminders?
ASHLEY: There’s several reasons and I love that question. I think that we need to understand, first of all, the client mindset around email, and knowing that there really isn’t a bad reason to send someone an email, especially coming from your business. But when it comes to social media, client attitudes are they want information. They want to be entertained. They want a bit of an escape, which especially Facebook is getting harder and harder to do because Facebook has become more of a news outlet. Whether that news is accurate or not, that remains to be seen. But when it comes to email, our clients know that they’re going to be solicited in email and they allow us to be more salesy or their attitude allows us to be more salesy in email than on social media.
So use your social to inform your client, educate your client, and entertain your clients, and then use email to kind of close the sale. So you can welcome of course. You can send out a welcome email when someone subscribes to your email list. You can use it for new client information, you know, the nuts and bolts of where you’re located, where you can park, all of those sorts of things, what your COVID protocols are, all of the important info that they need. Answer some frequently asked questions that way. The email newsletter is making a huge comeback. I think we’re being a little bit more nostalgic in how we use our digital media and an email newsletter just kind of feels like home for a lot of us, I think, especially from our late twenties to early fifties. That’s something that we are used to seeing. Of course, you can announce new services. If you have a new retail product launching, things that happen seasonally, if you bring in a new staff member and you want to intro them, that’s a great reason to send an email. And then of course, if you want to solicit a review, or if you want to head off a negative review, you can send a follow-up email that just asks how things went, rate us on a scale from one to five, or whatever. They click on it. It takes them to a page where they can explain more about their feelings or leave a review. But the thing about email that is really important is consistency. And that’s where I think a lot of us fail because we just go, I just emailed everybody last month. I don’t have anything new to say. So I’m just going to wait until I have a big announcement or something that’s really worthy of sending out an email to all of my clients. And unfortunately, that’s just not the right way to think about it.
JAIME: That definitely is a trap because when you say the word newsletter, I think that every major media outlet and even smaller podcasts do newsletters. I mean, almost everyone comes up with a newsletter and I think they think that they have to have a certain amount of content in order to send it out, right, like they need to have 3000 words or whatever the magic number is, that there has to be some volume of content to include rather than the quality of the content or the relevance of the content to the recipient. I think that’s a trap that we fall into, and I hope that we get to talk about building our email lists in a different episode. But I do think that a lot of us feel that we have to develop the list before we actually get into the habit of sending the emails.
ASHLEY: Well, you’ve nailed really two of the biggest misconceptions about using email. The first one being that you have to have this huge volume of information. And secondly, that you have to have this huge volume of people on the list. Both of those things are misconceptions for a reason. It’s that when you overwhelm someone with this huge amount of information, first of all, you’re not going to want to do it because it’s another thing you have to do in your marketing life as opposed to creating an email newsletter out of the content you’ve been churning out for Instagram all month, which I’m sorry, but I see you. I know you’re doing that. So why not repurpose it and put it into your email? And secondly, it doesn’t have to be this huge piece of homework. It is something that is meant to supplement what you’re already doing, or it is the star and what you’re already doing is the supplement. However you choose to see it, you’re already creating content. So why not just put it in this other vehicle where you’re going to reach more people? You’re going to have a higher ROI and you’re going to keep people engaged with your brand. And then secondly, your email list could be six people and four of those people could be family members. It doesn’t matter. It just helps you create good habits by getting into the habit of communicating with people via email. It’s not just for offices and huge Fortune 500 companies. Everyone has access to email and your business should be at the top of the list. If you use your powers for good really and you create content that’s interesting, informative, entertaining, and you put it directly into their inbox, I don’t think there’s anything more powerful than that out there for us as business owners and marketers.
JAIME: Ashley, how would you want someone to respond to the email other than opening it up and actually reading through the entire length, no matter how long it happens to be? Is there some sort of call to action that’s necessary to understand whether or not you’re accomplishing anything with your email?
ASHLEY: That’s a great question. Honestly, I think you should just assume no one’s going to read your entire email. Not everybody’s even gonna open it, but you’re putting the information out there. So that at least you’re doing your part and getting the info to the client. It’s up to them how they receive it. So I wouldn’t put the additional layer of pressure on yourself to say, okay, now I need to make sure that everybody opens it and everybody clicks on it. Whenever you send an email, you should have a goal in mind. And so you need to create some sort of call to action. However, we all fall into what you call the trap of wanting to just like barf everything into an email that we’ve ever said, or did, or thought about in our salons. Ideally, we want to keep it to a single call to action, whether it’s book now, follow us, respond. Whatever the call to action is, it needs to be clear. It needs to come with a button that they can click and it shouldn’t just be lost in the shuffle and jumble of a ton of information. Keep it bite sized. Look at emails that you have really responded to favorably in the past, or look at like what large companies are sending. They’re not sending these huge 3000 word missives and blog posts to you in an email. They’re putting a couple of cool images in it. They’re putting, you know, a paragraph of text and a button and that’s it. This isn’t some big ask. We’re not asking you to now have to create this whole additional layer of work to do. Really, it’s just reformatting what you’re already doing and sending it in an email versus putting it in an Instagram Reel.
JAIME: One of the other conveniences of email is that it can be forwarded so even if you were sending it just to a limited number of your existing clients, the possibility of having them forward that information to someone they know who may become a client of yours, I think it’s really exciting.
ASHLEY: It’s incredibly exciting. It has much larger reach than I think we’re even really willing to admit. And if your call to action is forward this to a friend, hello? What a great way to encourage word of mouth marketing. So the sky’s really the limit with email and I think the more creative you are about how you use it, the better your results will be, but that’s, you know, some level 200 stuff. Let’s just get our feet wet and start emailing people beyond what our online booking software allows us to automate. Dip your toe into the pool of email and you will see that you have much bigger reactions. People will start talking to you about your emails when they come in. I mean, I’ve even seen some businesses that will like hide something at the end of an email and say, hey, next time you come in, if you say this word, you get this free service just to see who’s listening. It’s a pretty low risk with a pretty high reward and your customers will only feel good about that.
JAIME: Ashley, is there any ideal time of day or frequency of email that you would recommend to someone who’s just getting started and may not even realize how frequently they are receiving emails from some of their favorite brands?
ASHLEY: I don’t even think that there’s a perfect time of day. I would just say, think about when you open your emails or are looking at email, that’s probably the norm, you know, early in the morning, late at night, whatever, And as far as frequency, honestly, I think there’s definitely too much and there’s, of course, too little. But that line is really blurry. If we think about around Black Friday and holiday time, we’re hearing from some brands multiple times a day. Now you don’t have to get that zealous, but I would say that once a week is absolutely not too often. If you sent out an email, if you had something to say once a week, I think that’s really the sweet spot. Now that’s in a perfect world. Even if you’re talking to them once a month. I think that that’s great. Just understand that if you’re only sending something once a month and they don’t see it, you may have missed the window. So I would recommend just starting out, try for every two weeks and see how that goes. See if you can start creating the habit around reaching out every two weeks. And if you don’t have something to say, then skip it. It’s not huge stakes here. This is only positive and it can really only have positive results for you.
JAIME: And it’s relatively free unless you’re using a service and even some of those services for the number of recipients you have, it may still be free.
ASHLEY: Yeah. I mean, there’s so many great programs out there that are on the freemium model that you start off free. And it’s like, I think under 2000 or 5,000 contacts, which is most of us, and then you have to start paying. But there’s so many great services and features and benefits out there that you really can’t go wrong. If this is something that you are committed to and you want to really get behind, just start updating your client profiles. You know, each time they come in or call, just let them know, hey, we’re updating our client profile. We realize we don’t have your email address on file. We’d love to get that into your profile or whatever. People are used to giving their email addresses. They understand that with email there’s gotta be some kind of benefit to them, right, whether it be some type of spiff, or freebie, or VIP experience, whatever that is, in exchange for knowing that they’re going to be receiving promotional material from you.
JAIME: I think that’s a fair trade.
ASHLEY: I agree. I mean we’re so willing to give up our email address for a 15% off coupon or free shipping from retailers. There are going to be people who are going to say no, and that is fine. As long as you make it the norm and with every new client you start collecting email addresses on the intake form or on their first visit, and make sure that your email list is treated like the VIP list. They should get access to things first. They should hear about things first. Social media is really like a shot in the dark a lot of times. You’re reaching people who may or may not be your client already, but with email, you know these are people who have already spent money with you. These are people who are warm leads. So these are people that we want to nurture and encourage to come back more and more often. They’ve already bought what you’re selling, so why not nurture that relationship and continue it through email? There’s no reason not to.
JAIME: As part of that relationship, I won’t be selling the information to a third party.
ASHLEY: Exactly. That is the covenant of trust that you have to take on when you take somebody’s email address. Selling an email list is just really one of the dirtiest things you can do. And in a lot of places, it is not legal.
JAIME: I think that’s another episode, Ashley, about the legalities.
ASHLEY: Yes, there are some legalities around email for sure. And if you go through one of these like things like MailChimp, Constant Contact, et cetera, they are going to guide you through the legalities of that. You’re not exposing yourself to some kind of crazy lawsuit. In Canada, things are a little bit different and there are things that you need to make sure that you’re doing. But to send an email to someone, you just basically need their permission. And if they give you their email address, that is the permission. So we can get into the mechanics of it and some more advanced techniques in a later episode. I am dying to do that. But right now, I just want to kind of get everybody in around this email campfire and help them understand that this is something that no matter what happens with Instagram, no matter what happens with social media, email is something you own. Your email list is yours and no algorithm, no corporate buyout, none of those things can take that away from you and so this is where you want to build.
JAIME: That’s a perfect ending to this episode because construction is a whole ‘nother project when it comes to putting emails together and I know that we’ll be covering that in a future episode.
ASHLEY: We absolutely will. So I am very excited to hear what everybody thinks about email. What are some of your struggles? What are some of your obstacles and what are some of your wins? I want to hear about some wins. So feel free to connect with us on Instagram at @outgrowthpodcast.
JAIME: If you’re enjoying Outgrowth, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. It definitely helps us reach more listeners like yourselves. You can do that with just one click. Visit bit.ly/outgrowthpodcast.
ASHLEY: Yes, please consider leaving us a review. It does really help us with yet another fun algorithm. In the meantime, everybody, be smart.
JAIME: Be safe.