How to Grow an Email List Faster and Make More Money from Subscribers with Matt Mullen

The importance of email marketing in today’s digital landscape is front and center in this excellent podcast episode.

Matt Mullen is an expert in email marketing and shares his background and experience in helping content creators grow their email lists.

And the conversation is particularly timely with the changes in Google’s algorithms and the disappearance of cookies, highlighting the need for building a brand and owning your audience through email marketing!

Three avatars are identified:

Those not doing email marketing,
Those doing the bare minimum,
And those making a go of it but not seeing significant results.

The key to growing your email list is to identify your biggest source of traffic and create lead magnets that address their specific problems.

And Matt emphasizes the importance of using existing website traffic (be it SEO, Pinterest, etc.) as the source for list growth and suggests creating targeted lead magnets that solve specific problems for visitors.

Lead magnets can include quick start guides, PDFs, eBooks, calculators, quizzes, and more. Even repurposing existing content and making it relevant to the audience landing on your page or post can help improve email list growth.

The success of lead magnets depends on the message and solution they provide rather than the specific conversion tool used. Segmenting your audience allows for more targeted and personalized email marketing, leading to higher engagement and conversions.

Monetizing your email list requires serving your audience with relevant content and building trust before presenting offers. Consistently sending valuable free content helps establish trust and credibility, making it more likely for subscribers to purchase paid products or services.

Other successful monetization strategies include creating communities, courses, physical and digital products, affiliate offers, and getting sponsorships.

It’s important to create a sense of urgency and scarcity in your email offers to encourage action. To grow your email list faster, consider using tactics like pop-ups, calls to action, Facebook or Instagram ads, YouTube pre-roll ads, and partnerships with other creators.

Trial and error is necessary in email marketing to find what works best for your audience.

And Matt also dives into the best tools he believes can help with email automation campaigns as well as the biggest mistakes people make in email marketing!

Hope you enjoy!

Watch The Interview

Topics Matt MUllen Covers

Why email is so important today
‘Owning your list’
Important factors to add email marketing
How important email will be when cookies leave in 2024
Lead magnets
How long (or short) emails can be
Repurposing content
Evergreen content
Tools he uses
Monetization tips
Power of promotion
Sponsorship programs
Trial and error
Common mistakes
Key tips for success
And a whole lot more…

Links & Resources


Jared: ​All right, welcome back to the niche pursuits podcast. My name is Jared Bauman. And today we are joined by Matt Mullen with email crush. Welcome Matt. 

Matt: Thank you. It’s great to be here. 

Jared: It is great to have you always a good day. And we’re talking email marketing and it’s been a little while. It’s been a hot minute as they like to say, right?

Um, super excited about this topic today. We’ll get into some of the reasons why it’s maybe more apropos or more current culture today, right now. We’ll get into that a little bit. I know we want to talk about it, but as part of the reason why I’m really excited is this feels like a well timed interview before we, um, before we get into all the, all the, all the stuff that we’re going to talk about today with email marketing, can you give us some background on yourself?

Maybe catch us up on who you are. 

Matt: Sure. So I have been involved with small to medium sized businesses for the last 25 years. And email has always been a big, important part of that. Um, we’ve always been, for whatever reason, it’s always been, because they’re small businesses, low budgets. And so we have, out of necessity, used email to build a brand and to build an audience.

Um, prior to doing what I do today, I was Chief Marketing Officer for a Daily Deal website. And, uh, back in the day when there were a lot of Groupon clones out there, well, we had a Groupon clone and, um, we had no budget to speak of. So we learned affiliate marketing and email marketing really, really well.

And we had, we were doing, um, for our small company, we were doing 10 to 30 million a year off that I could attribute directly to the email campaigns that we were doing. So it was an important part of our business. And as part of that, organically, I just. Learned and you know, what worked, what didn’t work, what didn’t work.

And then I had the privilege of, it was almost by accident, of starting to work with some content creators. Specifically bloggers that were looking to grow their presence and, and they were saying, well, what, what works in email? So for the last five years, I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the largest bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters, you name it, to help them to grow their lists, know what to send that will actually get opened and clicked.

And how to use Automation and smart strategies, um, to grow and, and, and send stuff in not an autopilot, but, you know, so you don’t have to break your back doing the whole process. So, um, that’s been my background and right now I agree with you timely, um, timely topic because I am getting, I’ve been doing for this for five years in this space.

I have never been busier. People are wanting to know more about email right now than they ever have before. So that’s either good or bad, depending on how you look at it, I suppose. 

Jared: I mean, email marketing is a timeless sort of endeavor in the, in the world of marketing, I’ll say like, I know I’ve been running businesses for 20 plus years too, and I’ve pretty much grown my previous company on the back of email marketing.

So I totally side with you on that, but let, we can’t ignore the elephant in the room that. A lot of people listening to this podcast probably have built websites on the back of maybe a more SEO focus, right? Getting Google’s organic traffic. And so, for many people, email marketing is a secondary or a tertiary add on, right?

And, um, however, with a lot of the changes in the Google landscape over the last couple of months, um, you know, it might be a higher priority now. I mean, I’m kind of, we were talking about this before we started recording and kind of joking about how, you know, the helpful content update, if we just put it in brass tacks, has really…

Put the onus on websites, whether they need to because they got hit or they don’t need to because, uh, but they want to start thinking this way is put the onus on building a bigger brand and email marketing comes into play there. Maybe give us an introduction into what we want to talk about today as it relates to content creators today, website builders today, people who have a website.

Are generating traffic, maybe set the stage for what’s on the table for our 

Matt: agenda. I think that you are talking about topics that every is on everybody’s mind with the helpful content. But even before that, in fact, um, I was mentioning earlier when you and I were chatting that I launched a, I created a series, a free series.

called Why We Need to Grow Our Lists Now and I launched that in August. And the reason for that is because of the freak out factor that was coming to me from people that were worried about Google getting rid of cookies. What’s that going to mean for their ad revenue? Uh, ChatGPT, BARD, other AI tools are now making it easier than ever before to create content.

What does that mean for added competition? Uh, Google’s using its own AI to answer people’s search queries. So what does that mean for… Um, for search traffic and what if people stop using Google, uh, altogether. So that has been, um, that was the backdrop for which I started thinking about if I knew that I had six months of status quo with my current business, the type of business that you just described before major changes were going to happen to my traffic, what would I do?

And I, and at that point, it’s not going to be any surprise from the email guy. Um, I would double down on growing my list. And I’m talking about aggressive list growth, as big as possible. And the reasons go beyond the obvious. I mean, anybody who’s listening to this, has been in business for some time, probably has heard, but all stated anyway, the old adage that you own your list, and it’s one of the few assets that you have that you can control.

When your traffic is primarily generated by algorithms. Um, controlled by Lord Google, Lord Zuckerberg, whatever, whoever it may be. Um, you know, you’ve probably heard that one before. So beyond that, I think that there are some interesting things. happening in the space, reasons to grow your list that go beyond even just, I need more content or actually be more eyeballs on my content.

Um, and so those are the things that have been top of mind for me lately. 

Jared: I don’t want to scare people, but you’re exactly right. Like if you, I mean, yes, the HCU is the topic du jour and we’re recording at the end of 2023. Um, so that’s the topic du jour, but prior to this. We were dealing with chat GPT, and a lot of folks very alarmed by the Google search generative experience, taking away traffic, and prior to that, we were worried about cookies, and cookies disappearing, and the impacts that was going to have on our website’s ability to earn revenue, certainly from ads, and, and, so we’ve, like, I don’t want to call it a triple storm, or the perfect storm, but there have been a building number of reasons why.

You know expanding beyond the current cultural norm of how you build traffic. There’s been a lot of reasons for that I mean, are there any other ones that we’re missing any other factors or reasons why people should add to the list of Adding email marketing. 

Matt: There’s one that falls into and I probably just start here.

This one falls into the category of Brutal truth and this is where Matt turns into a jerk for a minute And this has been the case. Seconds. Is that all people have to deal with this for the next 60 seconds? Because anyone with a laptop, a wifi connection and access to Semrush or HRS is trying to elbow in on your SEO positions.

This has been the case for a long time. And so my question in jerk mode is if your business is built on a high Google ranking, you’re making money from ads or you rely heavily on SEO. Do you really have a brand? And so this comes down to marketing 101, probably, but that battle for SEO, as we’re seeing the pain points that are happening with H the H C U right now, it’s unrelenting.

It never stops. Um, how do you make your mark? So I work with a lot of content creators. Um, imagine a food blogger, what separates a, you know, a cat, a food blogger from another one. If you happen to rank for jalapeno quinoa corn dogs, congratulations. Does that mean that you actually have a brand? The reality is, and your bounce rates will show this, that people are hitting that recipe or that article or whatever.

And then 80, 90 percent are bouncing and they’re not coming back. Statistically speaking. I know we love to use the words like my audience, this, my audience, that, um, and I hear that all the time, but the reality is your audience. The people who know anything about you, if that’s your business model, is actually pretty small.

And so, building a list allows you to stop shouting into the void and hoping that someone hears you. With an email list, you can start to stand out. You can explain. Why you’re awesome how you’re different you can deliver on an ongoing basis this top tier content that you just that’s what you’re good at This is about building a list to create a brand sharing your voice sharing your values in every email serving your Subscribers every single week or even more frequently and becoming their go to Expert and whatever topic that you’re awesome at you know you go from being a hey Answer, you’re my answer to this Google search to becoming a trusted authority.

Somebody that, you know, Hey, you know, when Jared sends me an email, doggone it, I’m going to pay attention to it because he has delivered me great value for a long time. So we want to start it there. I mean, just brutal truth. Let’s be more than just a search result. Let’s build a brand through direct personal communication.

We can speak to individuals and not masses. We can push our content and not pull people into it. And it’s your brand and it’s your rules. There’s no algorithms. There’s no changing hacks to trick the system. You just simply get to drive traffic to where you want to go or where you want your audience to go and create a brand journey.

And through that process, you get to explain why you’re different and what makes you special. You’re not just another craft, finance, travel, parenting. That’s 

Jared: quite a craft 

Matt: finance traveler. That one is not as popular as you might think. But, uh, but yeah, so bottom line, it’s time to become a real brand, I think.

And email is a starting point there. 

Jared: I’m going to haphazardly. segment our audience into three buckets. And I’m sure there’s well more, many more buckets than this, but there’s the person, I’m going to guess most people, to all people have heard about the concept of adding email marketing to what they’re doing.

And I’m going to guess the audience falls mostly into one of three buckets. It’s not doing it just hasn’t made it to the list yet. Super busy side hustling, you know, got an hour or two a day and it just hasn’t made the list or super busy because they have a successful brand and they haven’t gotten around to it because it hasn’t made sense.

So not doing it. Number one, number two, doing the bare minimum. Maybe it’s, they threw up, you know, signed up for a free mail light account, threw up a pop up. They, they, they got a, uh, maybe a free ebook download. They’re collecting email addresses. Maybe they went as far as to set up an auto responders says, Hey, thanks for downloading while you’re here.

Check out my. Best of blog posts, right? And so they have it, they’re generating emails, but they’re not using it, right? It’s not nurturing a list, all that sort of stuff. That’s, that’s, we’ll say bucket number two. And then bucket number three is people who are making a go of it, right? They’ve got maybe a, uh, uh, an autoresponder sequence set up, or they’ve got a kind of welcome, meet me, get to know the brand, they’ve kind of got uh, maybe some items they’re trying to sell via email.

Uh, but you know, maybe they’re not doing it very well, right? Like they’re kind of looking at their numbers and saying like, man, I don’t really make a lot on this. Thank goodness. It’s on autopilot. I don’t do much for it, so it’s fine, but I don’t make much on it. Um, I just wanted to give you those three avatars and, and, and kind of ask you about, um, what, like, what could, what could we talk about today to help each of those different avatars?

Matt: Okay. So let’s start with the first one. The person who’s not doing it. Well, hopefully we can give you, I’m going to give you a real quick laundry list of reasons why you want to do it. Besides the ones that we just hammered on, probably too much spent too much time on that is owning your list, building a brand.

Additionally, with the, with the changes that are happening in, um, With cookies, Google cookies set to disappear in 2024. That’s going to affect our payouts for your web advertising Learn about first party data and then follow the money with what the big Advertising companies are doing raptive media vine.

How are they investing in tools related to? Email capture it’s not trivial. They see email as an important part of Of the answer to keeping your payouts high when cookies go away Additionally if you can control if if you have other ways that you want to monetize your your business If you want to ever sell anything, if you want to get into sponsorships, if you want to get into, um, uh, affiliate, you need to have a big list.

And the more targeted list that you have, the money is actually in the email. I actually think that newsletters are kind of the next blocks in the, in the way that brands as cookies go away, they are going to look for more targeted ways. It’s already happening. Um, more targeted ways to reach an audience.

And if you have a big list of a target group, then there is going to be a brand that fits that. And it’s going to be harder and harder for them to do it en masse, the way that they used to. So they may be coming to you and do it at a more micro level. And your list of 25, 000 people, or 100, 000 people, or whatever it may be, is going to become very, very valuable.

So the money’s in the list, is what I’m saying. So, for, so, for avatar number one, I’m trying to convince you. And probably number two, um, it’s time to double down, let’s go, let’s grow this list. The question that most people have is, okay, great, how do I do that? Yep. Well, that’s my, that’s my area of expertise, and that’s what I help people do.

And I will give you this not so secret secret for list growth. Your existing traffic is your best source of list growth. The person who is visiting your website today. And is landing on, um, I don’t know, whatever, whatever post they’re interested in that solves their, their particular problem, their query from Google or Pinterest or whatever.

That person in that moment is your opportunity. Now the reason for that is you have them, but they’re going to be fleeting and gone. So here’s why things like never miss an update, sign up for my newsletter, those just don’t work. If you have those on your blog, you already know those don’t work. Those are not growing your list very fast.

However, if somebody goes to Pinterest, by the way, a little sidebar, my wife and I have a hustle website that we started in 2016. It is a Disney related website. Ah, okay. We have, we have some Disney Cruise content on there. If somebody… Disney people on. Good, good niche. Yeah, for sure. It’s a lot of fun and, um, you know, it allows you to write off some travel and, you know, do some other fun things.

But she has, um, she has some content in there that’s, um, all about Disney Cruise tips. So the person who Googles… Disney cruise tips. What do I know about him or her? Well, likely going on a Disney cruise, and it’s probably the first one. Otherwise, why are they Googling Disney cruise tips? So our opportunity with that person, we use something called a quick start guide.

And my, in this particular case, it’s what to expect on your first Disney cruise. Now notice how that’s different than sign up and learn more about Disney cruises or get my Disney cruise newsletter. It’s none of that. It goes to the heart of their particular problem. I have been running that particular lead magnet since 2017 and I’ve never got one complaint.

In fact, it crushes. The conversion rates are sky high. Why? Because it solves their next problem. So if you are in the mode avatar you’re in the mode where you’re not growing very fast. Because usually that’s the problem when your list starts to grow everybody gets excited to do all the other things if it’s not growing Then we don’t have them We don’t have the motivation, but it’s fun when the list starts to grow so Identify where’s your traffic coming from?

What’s their motivation and then create smart lead magnets like a quick start guide or if you want you can do a PDF and E book and they’re not my favorites, but I get it And and put out more of those You may have to do seasonal opt ins and then change them up, but if you’ll do that one thing, identify your biggest source of traffic and then just create a, an answer to their problem, your list is going to start to take off.

Jared: What are the highest converting kind of opt in magnets, you know, calculators, eBooks, uh, quizzes, you know, maybe what are all of the different kind of high level ones that to consider and then which ones convert the best, you know, is it something that people can. Maybe they’re just using the wrong type of 

Matt: conversion tool.

My guess is that it’s not the, it’s not the conversion tool, but it’s the, it’s the message it’s the, it’s the, it’s the solution to the problem. So any one of those can be fantastic. I’ve seen recipe quizzes or, you know, here’s what to make tonight in the finance space or, you know, um, uh, Excel. If you hear spreadsheets, you know, a calculator, a tool.

Um, those work great. You, you can dangle a free spreadsheet. There’s almost infinite, if you’re in the craft space, a, you know, a, a, a free blueprint on how to do something in cricket, those, those things work fantastic. The, what most people aren’t doing. is they’re not taking the time to make it as relevant as possible to the person that’s landing on that particular page or post.

Because we’re chasing other, and I understand it, I get it. We’re chasing other, um, opportunities, whether it’s SEO or paid ads or whatever it may be. The opportunity for email list growth, though, requires a little bit of hustle and granular. depending on, um, uh, what that, what your audience serves. Like in the case of niche pursuits, you probably have people that are hitting you at different times on different podcasts for different purposes.

If you truly want to grow your list as big as possible, you create a lead magnet that’s relevant as often as you can for those particular search 

Jared: circumstances. And that’s it. That’s a great segue, actually. That’s a great next question would be. If I’m hearing you correctly, because I’m looking over like niche pursuits, for example, and, you know, niche pursuits covers a wide array of topics from SEO to side hustling, but even inside of side hustling, right, there’s like, uh, arbitrage, um, there’s FBA on Amazon, there’s Amazon Influencer, and I could go on and on, right?

And so, where’s the ROI? Like, how deep should I be looking at, um, how deep? Should I be going in terms of the number of kind of offers I create? And is there ROI in that? Like how far down should I go? 

Matt: Let’s reverse engineer it for a second. Do you mind if we just, just go through the niche pursuits example?

Sure. So let’s, let’s pick, give me two, two right now, this month. And I know that this might come out whenever it comes out, but this month, what are some highly popular, um, posts that you’re getting hit, you’re getting traffic for or, or 

Jared: podcast episodes, how to start a website.

Let’s just take the other one, the Amazon Influencer Program, because it’s something Spencer and I’ve been talking a lot about on the podcast lately as a side hustle. 

Matt: Okay. So let’s get specific. The Amazon Influencer Program. If somebody’s landed, what are they searching? How are they finding you specifically?

Jared: I would be guessing that they would be looking for a side hustle or an opportunity to earn spare money on the side. 

Matt: Okay. So my guess is that you and Spencer have content. Whether beyond that one post that is driving traffic that is related to the Amazon influencer program. Probably on you have extensive content, right?

So if somebody lands there our opportunity for the ROI downline is More traffic back to our other posts It is serving them and turning because we’re solving their problems as super relevant as we can They’re turning into a devoted super fan. And then when you launch that course or you sell that ebook or you have the webinar, whatever they’re attending, they’re buying, they’re purchasing.

So let’s go through that real quick. The fast, I could give you a quick start guide concept right now for the influencer, um, stuff. I don’t, are you currently doing, do you have a lead magnet related to the Amazon Influencer program? Not that I’m aware of. Okay, so let’s just say somebody lands there and Amazon Influencer Side Hustle, that’s what brought them there.

What do we know about that person? Well, this is a side hustle. Number two, they’re interested in the Amazon Influencer program. Number three, they’re not an expert in it. Otherwise, why are they searching that? All right? So, five steps to launch your Amazon Influencer side hustle. That’s your lead magnet. Now, do you have to go pay somebody to write this beautiful e book?

No. It’s, we just use your existing content. This is the glory of it. So, five days, five emails. Hi, Matt. Welcome to day one of five steps to insert title here, whatever it was. I can’t remember what I said. The number one thing that that holds most people back about the Amazon Influencer program is they don’t have a Amazon Influencer account.

Here’s our three step guide on how to set up an Amazon Influencer account. Day two. Hi, Matt. Welcome to day two of insert title here. Many people get stuck on the Amazon influencer content because they don’t know what products to, to, to select. Here’s our… It’s like 

Jared: you’ve been reading our mail here. 

Matt: So, you see how simple that is?

We can bang, I mean, I did that in 30 seconds. Yeah, you could do that, that for every one of your topics. And these emails are not long. They’re just pointing you back to your articles that already exist on your website. And 

Jared: you’re speaking to the person who’s already developed a lot of this content, but perhaps isn’t going nuanced enough with their email marketing.

Cause again, I’m going to imagine that if you haven’t, many people have not set up an email marketing strategy, but even if you have, you probably have one, maybe two. Right. High level, very generic opt in opportunities. And so you’re saying, um, a great strategy is to expand the number of opt in opportunities you have, making it more relevant and then cater the actual content around that.

Matt: And don’t over engineer it. What I just described to you, hit, hit, hit pause, go back and hear what I just said. As far as what the hell I just wrote the email for you. They can be that short. They can be as short as a tweet. They do not have to be these big, elaborate, beautiful emails. They can be plain text if you want.

I’m not saying that everything needs to be plain text. Your brand is your brand, okay? I’m just illustrating the fact that we, we, most of my clients, most of the people that are listening to this are thinking about email marketing in a way that it’s too big, too, I don’t get it. When the reality is, we just had this conversation of, all right, what do you, what content do you already have about the Amazon Influencer Program?

Boom, that’s your quick start guide. 

Jared: Let’s segue into number, the person, the avatar number three, someone who’s doing it. And, and we can kind of hopefully assume that at this point a lot of people who are in buckets one and two will have the tools now to kind of get going and, and maybe be in bucket three here in the coming weeks or months.

But the, the third bucket, which is people who are doing email marketing, and I, I’m using air quotes because perhaps you would say they’re not doing it well enough, but they’re, they’re, they have set up an autoresponder. They, they are trying to engage there. Let’s get into the weeds now on how to… Improve these, um, these, these email marketing techniques, how to make money or make more money off that.

I mean, this is probably where the real meat and potatoes of the interview comes into play. 

Matt: Yeah. Let me give you a couple of things I’ve learned over the years. You can send more emails than you think. So let’s start there. What’s your general, what’s your overall frequency? Now, the second thing that I’ve learned is that you can repurpose your existing content, just like we did for that quick start guide example.

We can do that on your blog as well. Um, let’s talk about email math for a second. Everybody’s math is going to be different. I often get, what’s a good open rate? What’s a good click rate? Well, The more narrow your niche and your focus, the higher your engagement rates will be. That’s just, you know, a general Disney site does not get, or a newsletter does not get as many opens and clicks as a Disney cruise.

Um, a newsletter does because the people who are going on Disney cruise are invested in big dollars in it. They want, they want to, uh, to benefit from that more than Mickey Mouse coloring pages. So, um, understanding that you can email more often than you think, and you can repurpose your existing content.

So going back to the email math, let’s say a good open rate is 50%. And let’s say a good click rate is 10%. That means that upwards of 90%, 90 percent of people who got it never clicked on the thing that you were sharing. Why? Because they hate you? No, of course not. It’s just, there was something good on Hulu.

There was, you know, there, there were, they were reading it on the, in, in, waiting to pick up the kids at school, whatever. Um, they just didn’t have the time to really dive in or just didn’t hit them at the moment. So, you can reuse that content, whether it’s evergreen or seasonal. One of my food blogging friends, Rachel, from Rachel Cooks, she and I worked on an email back in 2018, 2019.

Seven super snacks for the Super Bowl. It arrives right before you get the, the Super Bowl, uh, you know, you had to, had to, had to Costco to get the stuff for the game. And it’s the, it’s, it’s, it’s the, it’s the sliders and it’s the salsa and all this stuff. She has repurposed that and sent that same email every year at about the same time with zero complaints and fantastic results.

The question nobody is asking in that is, Hey Rachel, when did you originally publish these, these sliders? When did you originally publish the salts recipe? Who cares? The fact is that they need it right then and they need it right now. So that’s another paradigm is stop thinking about what’s new on the blog or the, the channel.

Because it’s all new to your audience. It’s even your diehards. The people who should have restraining orders against them, they love you that much. They cannot consume all of that content. So if you shift your paradigm to sending what people need when they need it, seasonality, that matters a lot. There’s also some really super cool tools where we can use email marketing automation.

I coined a phrase years ago for a nurture sequence called a forever series. And the forever series is just a nurture sequence that could go on forever if you had that much content. One example of that is my friend Jansen from Raising Readers. She serves parents with content that helps them instill a love of reading in their kids.

She’s been blogging for almost, I don’t know, 15 years. And so Harry Potter has come and gone in vogue, right? During that timeframe. When you’re teaching a kid how to read and at different stages over those 15 years of Her content about Harry Potter is evergreen, it doesn’t go out of style. And so when she delivers that in this forever sequence, like in week 45 or something, she wrote that email once, five years ago, and everybody through their journey, when they hit email number 45, they’re getting that Harry Potter.

Even if Google isn’t giving it a lot of love, it’s performing very, very well for her. And it resonates with the reader when they need it because you’ve created a journey with email. I went through that part kind of fast, but I hope that, I hope that understand the general concept there. I mean, 

Jared: and it’s Brad’s tax.

What does a journey over email look like? I mean, am I just basically sitting down and saying like, okay, what are my top 25 most trafficked posts? And then every two days I’m going to send a quick little email teasing the post and get him to go over there. Like, what does a journey really look like for people?

Matt: I would say that that’s a decent place to start, but I would change it a little bit. You are the subject matter expert about the Amazon Influencer program. You had somebody come in. Now, let’s go back to the Disney Cruise and I’ll come back to the Influencer. Somebody goes through my Disney Cruise Quick start guide, what to expect on your first Disney cruise.

That’s not the extent of my, of our infinite knowledge about Disney cruising. So in our forever sequence, we have thought through what should a new, uh, Disney cruiser need, you know, want to know. So email number one is the most powerful Disney cruise tip I ever learned. Email number two is what to pack.

Cause everybody needs to know what to pack. Email number three is what happens on the private island. And this is all regardless of how those rank, regardless of traffic, because I know that journey. That they all need to know that. No, it could be for, let’s use the example if you’re, this is a silly example, but let’s say you’re a food blogger and you happen to rank high for pineapple coleslaw.

Who cares about pineapple coleslaw? I mean, only a handful of people. Maybe if you went and looked at your Google search results, uh, your Google traffic from that, you would assume that the world loves pineapple coleslaw. And I’m here to tell you that they don’t. Um, so you wouldn’t lead with that in the journey.

Think through the journey as if you were an offline business and you got to put your arm around their shoulder. This is how we can use email for branding is think through powerful tip, private island, what to pack in the right order that’s serving our audience and we can create these email automations to do that.

You could do the same thing. By segment with the influencer program, you can do the same thing with people that are coming in through a lead magnet about how to start a website 

Jared: and deliver it that way. You’ve teased tools a couple times. So I have to ask, man, people love hearing about the various tools out there.

Um, you know, we’re tool junkies. And so I have to ask, you know, like, what tools do you recommend? Do you think are necessary? Do you think are advantageous? And how should we be thinking about tools? Um, where tools can help us best when it comes to email marketing. 

Matt: Well, as far as an email platform, most of them are pretty awesome.

These days, there’s a lot of great features. Um, it’s a trade off of price and, um, focus. Usually I always tell people that the email platform that’s best is the one that you can actually get to work for you. I’m a big fan of convert kit and I have been for several years, um, almost to the point where I’m probably got blinders on and I haven’t seen some of the other cool stuff that maybe the other, other programs are doing.

So I don’t want to. I don’t want to, um, say that they’re, they’re bad in any way, because most of, pretty much all of my tactics can be implemented regardless of platform. You need these sequences and the ability to do segmentation or tag or label people within the software, but I love ConvertKit for those purposes.

As far as other tools that I’m, I’m using, um, I, I do pop ups, certainly. I love ConvertBox. It’s my favorite right now, as far as a… Um, opt in software, opt in monster is great, except you have to take out a second mortgage on your house to afford it. Um, and so I’ve found that convert box usually fits the bill for me and people who are serious about getting started.

If you’re just getting started, I would probably just start with whatever. Um, forms or pop ups come with, come with the box, you know, whether it’s MailChimp or ConvertKit or whatever, they all have one, they’re not awesome, but they’re, they, they have them, they’re getting better, but, um, but yeah, then I’ll graduate to something like ConvertBox.

Um, is that what you mean by tools? Is that the kind of stuff? Yes. 

Jared: Yeah. Open ended 

Matt: question for sure. Yeah, no, so those are the, those are the, the key things. And, and, um, of course thinking through, of course your stats, you know, like you were talking about, Google analytics gives you a better sense or that, you know, search console gives you a better sense of how people are finding you in order to create those lead magnets, what’s happening right now.

And that’s where a lot of people just kind of ignore that. And I think we’ve got to go, we’ve got to, we’ve got to build them. Let’s, let’s build this list. 

Jared: But going back to some of the niche pursuits examples we talked about, clearly there’s a need, I’m going to say, clearly, but maybe not, but you tell me one way or the other.

Clearly there’s a need for segmentation of some sort. Um, how much power is there in segmenting your audience and how deep do you recommend people go in segmenting their 

Matt: audience? The question on how deep you want to go is how well do you want to serve your audience? It’s that’s the, that’s the core example.

So with niche pursuits, we could have, it just depends on what do you want to do with the Amazon influencer content? You would spend, you mentioned that you and Spencer talking about it. You’re strategizing over it. That implies to me that there might be products down the road, or maybe you just want to rank higher for those.

And so having an audience that comes there as a Google signal to Google by directing people to that, that’s also a strategy. Um, so that, the answer is that like it is with most things in marketing is it depends. You’ll figure out what your ROI is. I have found, and sometimes it’s just built off of what can you reasonably do right now.

With my Disney Cruise example, I also do have things like Mickey Mouse coloring pages. So I’ve only got, it’s a side hustle, so I’ve only got like 30 weeks of realistically of Disney Cruise content. Plus by then they’re probably going on the cruise anyway. So then I dropped them into my general Disney. Um, my general Disney stuff because it’s, you know, it’s highly related.

You could be doing the same thing with the influencer side hustle because you know that that avatar is looking to build an online business and probably in the space that you have, you have carved out for yourselves. And so you give them everything that you can with Amazon Influencer. What are they going to do with that?

They’re going to open it more. They’re going to click it more. It’s going to be more relevant to them. You’re going to become a subject matter expert in their eyes about that topic. And then when you’ve. Exhausted that and you can drop them into your general content. They still already love you. You’ve been well established.

Jared: If we can, let’s touch on a dicey topic for a lot of people. And, you know, I’m gonna even make sure I tease this in the intro because it’s so valuable. And that is monetization. Like, for a lot of people, um, they… I’ve heard a lot of stories, and I have one myself, where… Um, started an email list, built out some autoresponder sequences, uh, you know, not gone to the levels that you talked about, but certainly got a, a, an engaged list and we’ll present offers in it.

Um, and they just don’t convert. And so you’re left with a list that you’re building. You have maybe a lot of traffic, so you’re adding to this list. This list is growing, but you’re struggling to find ways to monetize it. Um, and, uh, maybe walk through the different successful ways you see, uh, email lists monetize, and then maybe I’ll ask some more detailed followup questions.

Matt: Yeah, that’s an interesting one. It reminds me of a story I had. Um, I was tagged in a Facebook group. A couple of years ago by a food blogger and she’s, she said, I don’t think email works. I’m growing my list and then I try to sell them something and they’re not buying it. And I’m like, okay, so I get on, I get on the horn with her and we have a zoom call and she is, she ranks high for comfort food, fried chicken and stuff like this.

I’m like, great, that’s fantastic. Um, she’s growing her list pretty good. And then how often are you sending to your list? Oh, once a month. Okay. Um, and then what’s the product that you’re selling? Oh, it’s a, it’s a eat healthier ebook. I’m like, okay, let me get this straight. You build the list with off of, off of fried chicken.

You barely ever can send anything to them that serves them. And then you’re hoping that they’ll buy your healthy eating guide. Now, obviously that’s an extreme example. That’s not what you went through. That’s not what you’re going through. And that’s not even what you’re talking about. But I use that to illustrate the point of how are we serving our audience?

Growing the list is one thing. And we have been, you know, through the last decade, there’ve been plenty of stories. where there’s a funnel, you get them on board, you send them to a landing page, you’d use a tripwire, whatever, and then you sell them something and then we all get rich. Well, my experience has been as far as building a brand that is lasting and then being able to sell them something going forward, that is done through serving them with relevant content.

The first time that you send them an offer through email, it might just be that only the first time. They don’t know you any different than they know anybody else on the internet. We’re a little skeptical of that. And so, and so part of the trust building happens through more consistent sends where you prove that your solutions, your free stuff is awesome.

And so your paid stuff must be that much better. And so, number one, I would look at what are we sending? How frequently are we sending the free stuff? Is it actually serving them? Are we nurturing a long term potential customer in the food space? A good one to look at is Maya from Wholesome Yum. She has lots of different products from, from eBooks to actual physical products, but she also has recipes and she has figured out how to share her content, uh, on a regular basis.

It’s, it’s, it’s low carb recipes for the most part. And once you start to discover her recipes taste great, well, all of a sudden the paid products become much more enticing. So maybe it’s just one of those things where we’re just trying to get too much out of it too soon, and we’re not investing the time to really build this as an asset.

Jared: What are the most successful examples you see of people monetizing an email list? Let’s say that people have gotten the nurturing done properly. They’ve really focused, and I’m sure there’s always improvements to make, but by and large, they are nurturing. You know, going back to your original example, um, they are staying in touch with their list in a consistent basis.

They’re personalizing the experience that people feel like they’re talking to another human. They’re getting content from another human. The frequency is we’re on point. The content is good and they’re not monetizing very well. They’re not earning as much as they’d like to. What are some successful monetization stories you have?

So maybe people can just kind of wrap their mind around one that might make the most sense for them. Sure. 

Matt: There’s all sorts of different ways that you can do it. My eyes, one that I just mentioned from wholesome young, um, in terms of, uh, creating products that then. Serve the audience that you’ve been serving for free.

Um, uh, Jansen, I go back to that. Jansen has actually, uh, created a, uh, a SAS product. Her and her husband have released a SAS product that help that actually tutors, um, kids and, um, helps them learn to read. And so it’s a fantastic service there. So they’ve just taken and leveraged it into the right, um, into that.

So I think step number one is understanding when you are truly serving your audience through email. It’s understanding what resonates with them. And then you’re able to create communities, courses, physical, digital products, affiliate offers. You can go get sponsorships. Um, uh, you know, I’m a very, very large food blogger that had a, I can’t say the name because I haven’t been given permission here, but had a, um, a huge sponsorship with a nationwide grocery chain.

And, um, that came about because of the sponsorships between the newsletter. And the website posts. So putting that all together as a package, um, she was able to make quite a bit of money by doing that. One of the things I learned doing the daily deal website is that this is the power of promotion. Many people are in this space are not pros at marketing and understanding the concept of scarcity and urgency as it relates to any type of monetization that you’re going to be doing if you’re going to sell anything at all, you know, have it go away, um, modify it, change it up, do, you know, launch new products, do end of life products, even if that just means that you’re just doing the 2020, you’re killing the 2023 version of your launch in the 2024 version.

Thank you. Um, reasons for people to take action are really important in email, just like they are everywhere else, um, so that it doesn’t just sound like another email offer, just another, um, just another, uh, uh, spammy type of ad that shows up in their inbox. Um, so I, I, I don’t know if that’s what you’re looking for, but, uh, there’s certainly, it runs the gamut depending on what you’ve got going on and what your particular niche is, there are infinite.

Opportunities to, to monetize the last one that I’ll mention though, this is happening right now is that more and more email providers are trying to get into the sponsorship game. Yeah, I’ve seen that. So ConvertKit’s one of them, but they’re not alone in this. There are other companies that are raising money specifically to try to match brands with the newsletter publisher.

So because the news as a newsletter publisher, usually we have other businesses and it’s, it’s a, it’s kind of a pain to try to go track down sponsors. They’re out there, but it’s a lot of work to find them, especially if I have 25, 000 subscribers waving my hands. Hey, pay attention to me. Um, and so if ConvertKit or whomever, um, is able to match you to a brand, that can be pretty exciting.

I, Paved is another example of a marketplace that will match newsletters with brands. And they take a cut for facilitating that, that action. Um, Substack, Beehive. These are up and coming platforms that all have this as part of their strategies as well. Another reason to grow your list is because this space is getting much and much more exciting.

Like I said, I think newsletters are becoming the new blogs in that perspective. Oh, and then spark spark loop. I think you’re familiar with spark loop, Jared, but um, spark loop is a. Um, they provide, um, a recommendation engine where you get paid for recommending other newsletters. So you can monetize that way.

Um, uh, the other newsletter likes it and is willing to pay for it because your subscriber is a newsletter reader. And if they like your topic, then it’s well worth their time to get a qualified subscriber. So they’ll pay for that. Cool stuff’s happening. 

Jared: I have a lot of questions and I’m starting to be mindful of the clock.

So I’m going to, I’m going to jump topics if it’s okay with you because this is something I want to speak to. Um, the person who’s lost enough traffic lately, going back to this darn Google environment we live in, who’s lost enough traffic that they don’t feel like they’re going to be able to grow their list fast enough.

And you teased it perfectly with spark loops. So that’s kind of why I’m just like, okay, moving that question up to the top of my list now. Talk to the person who wants to grow their list faster than their organic website traffic can handle. Now, I agree with you. You already said that’s the best way to do it.

But for the person who’s not getting enough traffic from their, say, website to get an email list growing fast enough. What are techniques you see working today that you recommend to people to grow their list in addition to pop ups and calls to action on their website? 

Matt: Yeah, that’s a, that’s a tough one.

I’m, I’m not going to sugar coat it. You’re up against, you’re up against some, some trial and error there and probably spending some inefficient money to figure it out because if it’s not your existing traffic. Then you have to create traffic sources or pay for traffic sources. So that means something like spark loop.

That means, um, heaven forbid, uh, Facebook or Instagram ads that there are some people who are, are doing some really cool stuff on pre roll, uh, YouTube. Um, as a, as far as a, you know, offering a lead magnet relative to the. To the content that they’re going to be, um, consuming on the, on the YouTube video, um, offering that free giveaway.

Um, there’s plenty of, um, experts out there that are, are leveraging, trying to create audiences in other spaces like X or LinkedIn and using those tactics, using other channels to grow. It may not be just your website traffic. It may also be if you’ve got a big Instagram following, are you holding up your phone and saying, Hey everybody, Um, so winter’s here and you know, here’s how to travel light in winter.

It’s my free travel light guide, boom, you know, give me your email address and sign up here. I think it’s a, it’s, you have to start getting, you get guerrilla tactics and, and attack all any and all of those. It’s still for me comes down to what’s the offer, what’s the, what’s the problem that you’re solving?

What is that lead magnet? Cause once you have that, then you can kind of figure it out. What, you know, what audience do I pay for? Who do I put this in front of? Can I partner with another creator, um, and have, and put this in front of their audience? Um, I’ve seen that work quite well too. If you already have connections in the space is to call in some favors or to make a personalized version of, you know, of a guide for that other creator.

But it’s in your name. There’s lots of, lots of ways to go about it, but that’s not an easy one. 

Jared: Ads to newsletter subscribers. Have you seen that work very well? Um, I’ve, uh, I’ve heard of people trying that. Um, uh, they’ve often complained about the type of subscriber they’re getting. Right. The engagement from that subscriber.

How active that subscriber goes on to be. Uh, and yet I’ve also seen people say that it’s massively grown their list so that they’re more attractive to things like sponsorships and brand deals and the other things. So a bit of, okay, maybe I’m sitting here hearing this stuff and I’m like, man, what do I do?

Like, uh, I don’t want to get a list full of people who aren’t very engaged and are expensive to buy. But I’m also having a hard time monetizing my, my, my email marketing. Maybe this is a step I’m missing. Maybe I grow that list from 5, 000 people to 20, 000 people. And even if they aren’t as engaged, brands are more interested in me.

And I’m, so how do we solve that? What do you think of that conundrum and any tips around that? 

Matt: I think that’s an interesting one to me. That is, that’s a business model question. That’s not an email question directly. I mean, I know that that’s important and important aspect of it, but the business model that you’re talking about there.

There, you can have, you can spend. And get email subscribers and you can do it if like, unless if you’re selling a thousand dollar course, then what’s your cost of acquisition need to be? Um, it’s much less than if you monetize off of, because you have a travel website and, and Mediavine is, you know, is your source of income.

So again, it kind of just depends on what it is that you’re offering, how closely. Can you mirror or match the targeted Facebook or, or digital ad subscriber to what you have to sell? And I, I’m no expert in that particular case, and I know that that’s a lot of time and energy people spend to, to figure that out.


Jared: I want to underscore something I keep hearing you allude to or say directly. And I, I just, from my experience in email marketing over, you know, many, many years as well, I know I, I’ll echo this. And if I. If I don’t echo it, I’ll feel remiss. And that is that you’re going to have to sign up for a healthy amount of trial and error.

Um, and this goes all the way back to even just what lead gen magnets work. Like, all the way back to the beginning of the conversation. Like, at every step that you’ve brought up, you’ve kind of mentioned, like, hey, you’re going to have to try this out. Like, you’re going to have to see which, um, offers convert the best.

You’re going to have to see which emails convert the best. Which type of emails convert the best. On to monetization, you’re probably going to have to try a couple different monetization methods and see which ones work the best for your audience and for your offer. Uh, in terms of growing your list, like, yeah, you might need to carve out some money and make some mistakes and that’s okay.

Like, I just want to make sure people are hearing that general theme for this interview, which is there’s a lot of great tips you have to share, but I keep hearing you say, but you’re going to need to test to see which one of these ideas at this stage works the best. 

Matt: That’s 100 percent right. I would invite you if you’re wanting to grow your list, go back and if email marketing is important to you, list growth is where it starts.

My guess is that very few people are listening to this podcast where they’re just so satisfied with their list growth. Otherwise, you’re skipping this podcast altogether. So if that’s you, go back to the part where I said, right, where I explained how to create these faster. Think, give yourself permission to try and fail and do it a lot.

Give yourself permission for it to be quick and dirty. All right, you know, in this case, perfection is the enemy of done. We need more out there. I’m, you know, I’ve had situations where I created the pop up before I ever had the lead magnet behind the scenes ready because I wanted to know what would resonate.

And then I would create the, if I got enough subscribers, I would create the lead magnet. Nobody’s out there going, Oh my gosh, you didn’t send it. You know, if they do, you know, you’re onto something. So I’m not advocating that everybody go do that, but it is a, that’s kind of the point. Is we need 

Jared: more of these the famous story of Timothy Ferris and the four hour workweek He had the top from what I remember it’s been a while But from what I remember I think he talked about this in the book that he wrote But he had the topic for the book in mind But he didn’t have the title in mind And so he I think he ran ads for like 10 or 15 different titles and topics to see which one Performed the best and the four hour workweek Performed the best by a long long long ways and then after that testing that kind of shaped that I think the direction that he took The core content that he’d already put together, but the direction that it was going to be put together and displayed.

Matt: Absolutely. Yeah. There’s a lot we can do faster, simpler. Don’t overthink it. Get something out there. Let’s go. It’s kind of my, kind of my rally cry today. 

Jared: Throw it against the wall and see what sticks. The old pasta methodology. Yeah, that’s right. Okay, two final questions here from me. What are the big, what are big things?

Like if you and I were just having coffee. And we just had like 15 minutes and we’ve been trying to catch up for a while. I’m like, Matt, I don’t have enough time to really, we can’t get into a big, long conversation. Like, tell me what are, what are the, what are the big things I’m probably missing? Um, what are the big things you see people missing continuously when you work with clients in, as it comes to email marketing?

Matt: I’m going to sound like a broken record, but you’re just not creating enough lead magnets. You’re just not, you’re not, you’re not being relevant. Like, I mean, Jared, we just described it. You’re, I can tell you, you are not, um, just based off what you told me about how to start a website, Amazon influencer program.

So if you and Spencer ever want to sit down and talk through that, let me know. We can come up with 20 different lead magnets in 10 minutes. Um, but that’s what I would say for some more work 

Jared: here. Yeah, exactly. Um, second part of that question, and I understand that, you know, in many ways it’s similar, but maybe unpack it for the people who are knee deep.

In email marketing and they’re not happy with the results, whether they’re not making enough money, they’re not getting enough engagement, their list isn’t growing fast enough. What are the biggest mistakes you see people making? 

Matt: Um, you don’t have the right, you know, we, in our parlance is the product market fit, right?

You’re not solving the right problem. So you, you may, you may think you are 

Jared: like that. You had a fried chicken example 

Matt: from earlier. That’s right. You’re not solving the right problem. You haven’t, you haven’t really dug in. Here’s a dumb example. I had, we created a, uh, uh, uh, I had a client that ranked very high for pie.

We, I was like, Oh, well, we’re going to create five secrets to making the perfect pie and we launched that. And guess what? Crickets. No, we start when I went back, I’m like, why? This should work. They’re landing on a pie website. Why aren’t they signing up for this? Well, if you think about it, how often does somebody actually make pie?

Like, once a year? You know? It’s not something we’re always making. So, do they need the secrets to make the perfect pie? Guess what? When we switched it to, um, general baking, that thing took off. So, sometimes we’re just not solving the right problem. We’re not being patient enough with, and we’re not serving enough.

Like, in the example of the fried chicken again. If she had even got them on fried chicken and had consistently been sending them content about eating healthy, people would have unsubscribed, but those that it was stuck around would have been more likely to buy her healthy, you know, book, um, down the road.

So, um, more, more lead magnets, nail the message, be consistent in your, in your, in sending your stuff, send more of it, and be a little bit more patient in the, in, in the process and building that audience.

Jared: Matt, thank you for coming on. I’m just, my mind’s already gone. Uh, I have a lot of notes here. Thank you for coming on, uh, and joining us here today. I think it’s such a timely message for people. And again, I, I don’t want to over summarize, but I think that a lot of people listening are going to fall into one of those three buckets.

And I think you had great thoughts to share for each of those three buckets, um, and great steps for people to take. So, a lot of tactical ways people can take. Um, today’s interview and kind of go get started right away. Um, you do offer help though. Uh, tell us how people can learn more about what you do and, and maybe the services you offer.

Matt: The first thing that I would suggest if you are interested in the topics that Jared and I were talking about today is just go get the free series where I dive deeper into this. It’s called why we need to grow our lists. Now it’s free. Um, it’s on email crush. com. That’s my website. You’ll see my overly photoshopped face, um, on that website there.

And it talks about my consulting services. I have a course called email on autopilot. Um, that teaches you basically how to do all the things that I talked about on, uh, on this podcast today. So, um, email crush. com. That’s the, that’s the best place to find 

Jared: me. That’s a great domain name. I gotta 

Matt: be honest.

It was personalized paths, which I really thought was sophisticated, but it was just really hard to say. And I say, I couldn’t even say it there or to type. So email crush was much easier. 

Jared: I agree. I agree. Paint a picture. I won’t tell you my first ever company name. There are a lot of jokes that come out of what I named it.

So it could, it couldn’t be worse than that. I 

Matt: see. We all, we all, we all learn, don’t we? Well, I’ll leave 

Jared: it there. Thank you, Matt, for coming on. Really appreciate it. Thanks for inspiring us to do more with what we have as it relates to email marketing, and I’m sure we’ll, we’ll talk to you again soon until then.

Thank you, Jared.

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