Big Jason Henderson on Email Conversion Optimization Strategies
Susan Bratton

Episode 186 - Big Jason Henderson on Email Conversion Optimization Strategies

Big Jason is an email marketing consultant who drops in, optimizes your process, gives you perfect advice for conversion enhancement and sets you up so you can run your business moving forward.

You can also hire him to get elbow-deep in your entire process, auditing your email practices and tweaking copy with split tests.

There's no depth to which Jason won't go to wring more cash out of your email marketing.

And some of the most savvy online marketers use Jason's experience to continue to give them that competitive edge that sets them apart as experts.

On this in-person show, we discuss:

  • deliverability enhancements (some of it is technical server-side management you may not know about and need to address!)
  • current industry standard open rates
  • response enhancement ideas for click-throughs and conversions
  • how to leverage your list via affiliate marketing to increase revenue
  • copy treatments for enhanced clicks
  • perpetual vs real-time launches
  • auto-responder strategies
  • creating trust



Susan Bratton: Welcome to DishyMix. I’m your host, Susan Bratton. And on today’s show you’re going to get to meet Jason Henderson. Jason is an email marketing consulting with a company called Big Marketing Online, and he’s here with me in the studio live. You know that’s my favorite thing is to look them right in the eye and talk about what we’re going to talk about, which is email marketing, deliverability, open rates, click thoughts and conversion response, affiliate marketing using email, and all kinds of other late and great strategies for making your email marketing work better than it ever has. So welcome Jason.

Jason Henderson: Hey Susan. Thanks for having me.

Susan Bratton: It’s my pleasure. I’m really, really glad to have you here. You have been doing some amazing work for some mutual friends bars, and I have been spending literally weeks writing email auto responders and broadcasts for various of our products and services, so this is right in the heart of what I care the most about right now, so I’m really glad you showed up today.

Jason Henderson: Great. Lets do it.

Susan Bratton: So as a levelset, the first thing that I’d like to do is talk to you specifically about your consulting business. There’s probably a lot of people who do email marketing consulting and I’d like to know what a typical engagement is like for you.

Jason Henderson: Typically I go in and I basically see whatever they’re doing, what they’re doing wrong, what they’re not doing, and I go into their email service provider, which typically is like Lyris, Get Response, iContact or if they’re using a solution that they use on their own server I check that out. And then also see what they’re doing as far as their reputation – are they on any black lists, are they getting poor deliverability rates. I look at their past emails - see how they’re writing them, see the data, the responses, the open rates, and just get a general feel what they’re doing, what they’re not doing and how I can help them.

Susan Bratton: How long is a typical engagement for you. Is it a kind of thing where you come in and you audit and give advice and then move on, or is it something where you are working in their business on a daily or weekly basis, or is it across the board?

Jason Henderson: It’s across the board. Typically it’s an audit and a consultation. I might do a few things, but I’m generally giving them, you know, a list and the details and all the information. Sometimes they fly me in and I train their, you know, onsite person that does that stuff.

Susan Bratton: From your perspective, if you were going to have your own brand and run an email marketing campaign, are there any particular platforms or technologies or server side solutions that you particularly think have the competitive edge right now?

Jason Henderson: I use Lyris a lot for my clients.

Susan Bratton: I’ve never even heard of Lyris. Of course I’ve heard of Get Response, I’ve used it very unsuccessfully, but I haven’t heard of Lyris. Is that the name of the company…

Jason Henderson: Yes.

Susan Bratton: as well? Okay.

Jason Henderson: Yeah, Lyris and their main platform is Lyris HQ. They’re a higher end company, so if you’ve got, you know, 10,000, 100,000, you know, hundreds of thousands of emails, you want to meet with someone like that. Get Response is on the lower end, there’s like Get Response, AWeb or iContact, those are at the bottom of the barrel. They’re decent, but once you get a significant amount of emails you want to be going to somebody like Lyris, Exact Target, Silver Pop.

Susan Bratton: Got it. I know Bill Nessie from Silver Pop for a long time. He’s a friend I’ve met at Ted and…

Jason Henderson: Wow, great.

Susan Bratton: I think Exact Target is an awesome company and I really like some of the acquisitions they’re making and some of the work that they’re doing on ratings and reviews integrated into their consumer experience, so a very impressive company. All right, so second question. When you come and work for a company where have you found, maybe in the last year or so – lets keep this pretty timely, I want it to be like the church of what’s happening right now – where have you found that companies are most often leading opportunity as a revenue opportunity on the table? What are you doing wrong most often?

Jason Henderson: Well one, when they send a prospect, a prospect come to their website, they send them to the order page and they don’t collect their first name or email address. And so a large percentage of those people are going to go to the order page or they’re going to pass the order page and they’re going to find things that’s going to turn them off. And it’s not the product, they want the product but, you know, it’s going to happen. You can’t optimize your order process 100%, so they’re going to see the shipping rates or something’s going, even just a baby crying or they get a phone call and they’re going to abandon your shopping cart and you’re never going to hear from them again. Whereas if you did have their first name and email address, or just their email address, you could automatically follow up with them. And that’s one where it’s the prospect coming from the search engine or an affiliate and going straight to the order page, they’re not buying and you just lost then forever. But also the second one is that people that are already on your list, you have their information, you know, email at the minimum, and you’re just sending them to a new product offer without using some kind of technology to actually register that they were actually interested in buying. So you’re not following up with them and saying, “Hey, you know, I see that you were interested in product X but you actually didn’t order, you know. Is there a problem? Did you have any questions?”, you can send them a survey to find out, and that’s, to some companies that’s tens of thousands of dollars every month that they’re recovering by contacting people that go to order but don’t complete it.  

Susan Bratton: Yeah, the first part of our shopping experience on our site is to capture their name and their email address, and when we get essentially a cart abandoned we fire off an email that says, “What did we do wrong?”, you know. People tend to open an email, that has very high open rates for us, and we get I think it’s between 15% and 18% purchase conversion on those people who started the cart experience…

Jason Henderson: That’s great.

Susan Bratton: So it is a, I think it’s agreed with you that it’s a really smart idea. What else are some of the other things that you see companies doing wrong or not as, that companies aren’t optimizing and leaving revenue on the table?

Jason Henderson: Right. I would say they’re really not up to date on the latest information on deliverability, particularly plain text versus HTML. They’re actually limiting how they’re talking to their prospects and their customers based on bad information, such as, “Oh I need to send plain text only because that’s better for deliverability”, which is, you know, ridiculous. That has, I don’t think that’s every been true, but definitely not within, you know, five plus years.

Susan Bratton: So HTML should be your preferred method, even if it’s text only or text in an image, it doesn’t necessarily have to have a header or be fully designed. It doesn’t have to be a beautifully laid out HTML; it just has to be in HTML format, rather than plain text, right?

Jason Henderson: Correct. And you can split test it. Every single split test that I’ve run using HTML – and like you said, that could just be a phrase linked to your blog – has converted higher than just simply a plain text.

Susan Bratton: That was one of the pieces of advice that you gave me earlier when I was pumping you for insider information prior to the interview, and I’d love for you to share that, that highlighting the text little piece that you just mentioned with more detail so people can understand what it is you were saying.

Jason Henderson: Sure. Typically I see people spelling out the full URL in their emails o they have a paragraph of text and then they have a space and then they just spell it http, their domain, dot com, you know, name of the file. Whereas possibly a much better way to get response and get a click through is actually link a power phrase, you know, like psychology, you know, that action phrase that, you know, you can blank or you will blank, you know. Get them where their though process is, that’s, I’m a twice certified email marketing optimization specialist but I’m marketing experiments, and their main thing is don’t optimize emails, don’t optimize web pages, optimize their thought process.

Susan Bratton: So any kind of action words, you would essentially make those the clickable links using HTML. Okay. What other kinds of things are companies doing if they’re leaving money on the table? What are the other big egregious errors that you often come in and fix and look like the superhero that you are?

Jason Henderson: I typically can increase their open rates by a considerable amount because they’re usually using a third party, which is good because they’re managing deliverability, their relationships with the different email services providers, so that’s good. But they get complacent with what they’re doing, their website. Last year at the Marketing Sherpa Email Summit we found out that actual domain names are really huge as far as reputation. Typically it’s the IP address, but now it’s the actual domain name. So if you’re using your domain name in your emails you’ve got a bad reputation that can hurt your deliverability industrial open rates. So typically the things you can do is Return Path. If you Google that there’s a free reputation checker, and if you go to your website you’ll want to have your address, a phone number’s really optimal, it builds trust, and stop hiding the unsubscribe link. If they want to leave, let them leave…

Susan Bratton: Absolutely.

Jason Henderson: Because if they can’t find that unsubscribe link or if it’s broken, not working they’re going to hit the spam button. And the more spam complaints you have the lower deliverability and the lower your open rates.

Susan Bratton: It’s really amazing to me how many emails I still get with no unsubscribe information on it.

Jason Henderson: Right.

Susan Bratton: I mean, just, you know, from real live companies that are just idiots. What do you think about the idea of putting the unsubscribe link at the top of the email, like the beginning? Like, “You’ve subscribed to this; if you don’t want it click here” versus putting it at the bottom?

Jason Henderson: I don’t like either of those.

Susan Bratton: What do you like?

Jason Henderson: I like towards the top where it’s visible and it’s easily accessible. I don’t like the very first think you’re seeing…

Susan Bratton: Is a negative thing.

Jason Henderson: yeah, is negative.

Susan Bratton: I know, I don’t like it either.

Jason Henderson: So with one client that you know, what I’ve done is they have a header typically in some emails – there’s some emails that don’t – but I right align it underneath the header, so it’s…

Susan Bratton: I’ve seen that.

Jason Henderson: Right. And I…

Susan Bratton: So you’re using a visual graph, like you have a visual header and then you have a very small point unsubscribe link kind of off to the right.

Jason Henderson: Right.

Susan Bratton: I remember that. And that’s the most effective you think?

Jason Henderson: Something like that. People have a table of contents, they have like, underneath their header they have a few links, White Listing, Contact Us and then you can have unsubscribe. And that’s reduced their spam complaints considerably. And yeah, the other point is that it’s going to lower your spam complaints if you allow people to unsubscribe if they no longer want your email, but it’s also going to improve your stats because if you have a ton of people on your list that don’t want your emails, they’re not reading them, they’re not opening them, it’s going to skew the data.

Susan Bratton: Yeah. If they want to go let them go.

Jason Henderson: Right.

Susan Bratton: They’re not going to be your customer anyway.

Jason Henderson: Exactly.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, no amount of conversion. Deliverability; there are some things that you recommend that people do, whether they’re using a hosted solution or running email on their own servers that have to do with, you were spouting off a bunch of words and I was like, “Okay, tell us what those are.” So go ahead and go through them again.

Jason Henderson: So even if you’re using a third party service, optimally you want to use a solution such as Lyris or one of the higher end ones that offer a dedicated IP, because shared IP is shared reputation. So your deliverability is going to go up and down, you know. The, say Get Response or iContact they might detect that one of your neighbors is doing something bad and their on a black list but they have to get them off and your deliverability is going to go down, then they’re going to fix it and go up; whereas if you have a dedicated IP it’s just you. You’re not going to fall based on what everybody else is doing.

Susan Bratton: yeah, or they’ll just shut your business down before they even ask any questions. We’ve definitely had that experience.

Jason Henderson: Right.

Susan Bratton: We had an email that was sending people to a video, and I guess, you know, whatever, some people signed other people up for it or who knows what happened, and Get Response literally just shut us down and then sent us an email.

Jason Henderson: Right, some companies will do that. Other companies, such as Lyris with a company I’m working with right now, and actually they’ll have two different services; their high end service which has got all the amazing features and all the marketing things that you can do. Then they have the lower end one and if you get too many spam complaints they don’t ban you but they just kick you off the good stuff and put you on the redheaded stepchild service where you’re distanced from their IP’s, they don’t want you near your reputation affecting any of their customers. And I just recently put things in place to allow them to get back on their main service. So yeah, you definitely want to watch out for that.

Susan Bratton: And I think one of the things you were talking about was some kind of authentication…

Jason Henderson: Yes.

Susan Bratton: That people are, if they’re using outsourced service providers, they’re not thinking about managing that themselves…

Jason Henderson: Sure.

Susan Bratton: So tell us about that.

Jason Henderson: Yeah, it’s important to be using some companies such as Lyris or iContact that does the white listing, and then also what we’re talking about is authentication sender ID, SPF sender domain keys, which is amazing for Yahoo, and it basically authenticates you as you’re not a spammer and it improves deliverability like nothing I’ve ever seen when you don’t have that in place. And so people that are using a company like Lyris or iContact that has that done for them think, “Oh, you know, great, I’m done.” But if they’re putting in any of their domain names – you know, – now not only are Yahoo, Hot Mail and Gmail looking at the IP, they’re actually looking at the domain. So what you need to do is you need to consult with someone that can set up the authenication sender ID, SPF domain keys on your actual domain as well. So there’s two parts; there’s what your email service provider’s doing and then it’s what you’re doing as well.

Susan Bratton: On your own website. So essentially the stuff that’s going out in your email needs to match the stuff that’s on your website so that they match up, so the ISP can deliver the email to the end user.

Jason Henderson: Correct, and typically you want to search for someone that can, you know, search for, you know, setting up authentication on my server, something like that, to find someone that can do that for you. Or companies like Host Gator, you know, different hosting services that actually have that built into their control panel where you can actually just click a button and activate it.

Susan Bratton: Okay. Anything else on deliverability that you want to talk about or should we move to open rates, what’s going on with open rates now?

Jason Henderson: Yeah, I think we covered that, you know – authentication, let them leave if they want to, reduce your spam complaints, and then I don’t know if I mentioned this is that put your address and, optimal…

Susan Bratton: And your phone number.

Jason Henderson: your phone number on the footer of all your web pages. It builds trust and it helps with your reputation.

Susan Bratton: Footer of web pages or footer of emails?

Jason Henderson: Both.

Susan Bratton: Uh huh. Everywhere.

Jason Henderson: Right.

Susan Bratton: Just put it everywhere. Take the phone calls. All right, so open rates. I’ve always heard that there’s, you know, some kind of a general number, you know, that’s like a benchmark number, an industry standard open rate for email marketing. Is there one? Do you believe that it’s a relevant number or how do you think about open rate metrics?

Jason Henderson: I do think there’s a, the number that I keep on seeing over and over again based on different studies as it varies, but I think the average is 20%.

Susan Bratton: Okay. That’s pretty high.

Jason Henderson: Yeah.

Susan Bratton: 20% is pretty high. I would say in general do you think most emails are getting that or that’s an average. So more emails are getting a lot more. Is it a mean number or…?

Jason Henderson: I don’t see that a lot with a lot of my clients initially. I think some companies have I’ve heard of out of this world, like 65%, 80% deliverability. It’s based on how targeted your list is. If you’re just gathering a bunch of unqualified leads, you’re open rate is going to be much lower. So the more targeted and the better relationship you have the higher your open rate’s going to be.

Susan Bratton: When you go in and do split testing for companies, is most of your work done in subject lines split testing, or are you getting multiple levels deep? Are you testing multiple subject lines, and then once you do that are you also testing body copy? How’s the world of multi varied email testing going these days?

Jason Henderson: Typically you want to, when you split test the subject, depending on if it changes the meaning, you need to change the copy as well. So it’s got to be congruent. You can’t like try to shock them and then have a totally irrelevant…

Susan Bratton: So you have to either test two completely unique strategies or two subject lines that both relate to the body content.

Jason Henderson: Right.

Susan Bratton: All right, so is that what you’re typically doing or are you going a level deeper than that?

Jason Henderson: If they have the same relative meaning, then I will go ahead and split test the copy at the same time. And so I definitely mix and match them sometimes, and what I’m seeing is the more unique the subject line is, the more, like, just trying to get into the psychology of what, knowing what your prospects are interested in. That’s why surveys are so good ‘cause you know what they’re actually thinking about and this is really going to hit their hot button.

Susan Bratton: So are you talking about what I would call an ask survey? Is that a term that you use at all?

Jason Henderson: No, I’ve heard that but most people I don’t think would be aware of that.

Susan Bratton: So what kind of a survey, when you’re talking about doing a survey and collecting data, tell me more about that.

Jason Henderson: All right, okay. So say I’m collecting emails for a email marketing list, I would survey them, like, “What is your greatest weakness? You know, what do you need the most help with”, and they would say, “Okay, deliverability”, and “Okay, what about deliverability”, “Open rates response”, I’d find out exactly what’s their biggest problems. So you want to find out what their biggest problem, their biggest fears are.

Susan Bratton: And you’re using primarily some multiple choice but also open ended questions to grab the content as, grab the words that they use to describe their own problem and then mirror those words back to them in the subject line copy.

Jason Henderson: Exactly.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, that’s what we call an ask survey. I think I learned that from Evan Pagan. He’s been on the show.

Jason Henderson: Right. And that’s definitely, and also you can use that for creating products as well.

Susan Bratton: I’m trying a new thing that our mutual friend Craig Clemens maybe even invented. He took the Frank Kearn 40 Cash Machine and merged it with a survey strategy, where it… Do you know about it? Have you heard what he’s doing with that?

Jason Henderson: Vaguely yes.

Susan Bratton: So I think it’s a really interesting thing. We just started doing it and I haven’t executed it yet, so I don’t know what my response rate’s going to be. But about 4 and 7 days into, you know, an email to a prospect, a hand raiser whose come to the site and gotten a free e-book and, you know, now they’re on my list, one of the things I do is I tell them, I give them a bunch of free content and each day that I give them free content I tell them that I’m going to be asking them to fill out a survey ‘cause I want to know about then. One of the things that I learned from Joseph Carabas, who is, he’s a neuro economist essentially. He’s many things. He’s indescribably delicious, but he’s really into neuro economics. He says that you have to let your prospect know that you trust their judgment before you ask then to trust your judgment. It’s almost like a reciprocity thing…

Jason Henderson: Right.

Susan Bratton: There’s like an acknowledgement. And so what I’ve been trying to do is with the survey let them know that the reason that I want the information is because it’s true, you know. I’m not saying that’s what it is; it is what it is. I care about their issues and their problems. At the same time when they take the survey they’re telling me what their problems are and then I’m offering them at the end of the survey potentially one of my products as a solution to that problem. So, and I’m giving them a discount to repay them for taking the survey, which helps, I hope, increase my sales. So Craig tells me that that’s a thing that works really well on his list, and since we have a very similar business I think it’s probably going to do pretty well. I hope to both collect some great data, collect the ask information where people give me their exact verbage of their own pain points so that I can use that in my own subjects, as well as at the end reward them for giving me that information by buying my product at a discount, which makes us both happy ‘cause then they got the product and I’ve moved them through the sales cycle at a more accelerated way.

Jason Henderson: Right.

Susan Bratton: Right. So tell me, what were you thinking? What did that trigger for you?

Jason Henderson: So segmentation.

Susan Bratton: Yeah.

Jason Henderson: The more targeted your email, you know, logically the higher response is going to be.

Susan Bratton: Right.

Jason Henderson: So if you do the survey, you want to be using a solution where, I mean, if you have to do it manually fine, where you’re reading reports on subscribers information, you update their information with, you know, what their interest is, but optimally something like Lyris will have integrative survey solution where you’re basically pulling all that data, all the answers and now you can set up a follow up email, sometimes even automatically…

Susan Bratton: Wow!

Jason Henderson: to people that are only interested in X.

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Jason Henderson: So instead of sending a general email to everybody on your list, you’re targeting it to their specific needs.

Susan Bratton: Their problem.

Jason Henderson: Right.

Susan Bratton: Lets just say that you’re not using Lyris and you don’t have that ability right now, and you have, you know, a database of whatever, a hundred thousand, a million people, it doesn’t really matter. You have this big database and it’s not segmented; what do you do when you go to a customer and they say, “Huh, Jason, I need to segment my database and I have no idea how to get that done in a way that will scale and be useful for the long-term.” What’s the recommendation that you give to someone like that?

Jason Henderson: It depends on what their solution is, but typically you do a survey and even if it’s through someone like Survey Monkey you collect that data, and then you would create custom fields with that solution, and then you would reimport the subscriber information, update them fields with their interests and then you can send out emails to specific people that match that criteria.

Susan Bratton: And what’s the best way going in to do segmentation? If you can do segmentation on the collection of the name…

Jason Henderson: Right.

Susan Bratton: how do you like to do that best? What works best?

Jason Henderson: I like to segment them based on where they came from.

Susan Bratton: Oh, so traffic source.

Jason Henderson: Yes, exactly.

Susan Bratton: Really? Not age, gender, demographics, issues, any of that kind of stuff?

Jason Henderson: You can do the follow up survey or maybe after you collect their first name or email address or just their email address, maybe on the second page of the welcome email, get them to fill out the survey. But initially you don’t want to ask them for too much information, ‘cause you’re going to have higher opt-in rates the less information you require. But you can do things behind the scenes. So that would be awesome if you knew that you were getting 50 subscribers a day from a specific blog post or a specific video, what is that video about, what is that blog post about. That would be some really useful information. So are they coming from Facebook, YouTube, are they coming from a specific affiliate who you know what, he’s got like a really targeted niche, you know what his subscribers want.

Susan Bratton: You know I want to switch right over to that affiliate marketing using email subject that you and I wanted to cover, ‘cause I think it’s a good time to do that. Why don’t you describe that part of the business a little bit, and then talk about how you optimize it.

Jason Henderson: Sure. You’re basically promoting other peoples products and you don’t want to be what I call an affiliate whore, where basically someone comes to you, they have a great conversion rate and it’s like, yeah, that’s awesome. And it’s maybe, you know, you have a good feeling that it’s maybe targeted to 10% of your list and you just blast it to everyone and you burn your list, you get lots of unsubscribes, you don’t get that many sales, it’s not what you want to do. It’s a waste of money. And what you want to do is actually use the product or at least get access to it and you want to build your relationship. You want to be actually offering them something as valuable that’s actually going to help their lives or their business. And not only will you make more sales, but you’ll actually build your relationship.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, what we’ve been doing lately is product reviews. So if we’re going to promote something for someone else we never promote anything unless we actually review the product and do a blog post with that review. And it’s interesting to me that we have reviewed products poorly. We’ve done reviews where we’ve said, “You know what, this is really a mono dimensional product. It’s not very good. The advice isn’t great. Here are the three things we like about it”, and we’ve sold as much product with bad reviews, sometimes more than we have with good reviews. And so that’s been a very interesting experience for us. Now our affiliate partner has gotten quite pissed at us for writing a review that dinged their product because pretty much they’re all glowing, but then when he saw that we were moving product for him, he was like “Well all right, okay. I guess that’ll work.” So you’re absolutely right that you have to have some integrity around what you promote to your list. But one of the things that I also know if you’re doing, if you’re an affiliate for other products to your list, that you can actually promote a fairly wide range of content to a list. It doesn’t have to be just in your niche; it could be a lot of different products. It could be, you know, something around health, wealth, relationships, it could be a business opportunity, it could be anything as long as you think it’s beneficial to your list and you’re behind the product, right?

Jason Henderson: Sometimes…

Susan Bratton: You have to know your list.

Jason Henderson: Yeah, you’re getting into a little gray area because when people opt into your list you have to give them expectations – you know, what are you going to be sending them, how often are you going to be sending them, and then if they opt in for expecting emails about email marketing and then also then blast them about real estate. You know, a lot of people are going to be upset and unsubscribe ‘cause that’s not what they signed up for, so you got to be careful.

Susan Bratton: Lets talk about frequency of email. What are you seeing the most effective ranges, maybe for different kinds of businesses? I know there are people who mail out twice a day and there are other people who mail out twice a year. So of course it’s all over the map. But lets just talk about the very heavy email marketing people, you know. They’re really pushing a lot of email. What’s working and what’s not? When do they get slapped by their customers? When is it too much? What have you seen?

Jason Henderson: Relevance. How relevant are the emails, so it really doesn’t matter how many, it’s just how relevant are each email to that person’s needs. And the thing is that you never know what kind of mood or state your subscriber’s, you might catch them on a bad day. So there’s really nothing you can do about that, but the more relevant the information is the better, and how much do they need it. I mean, say stock quotes updates; I mean you could get those as much as you want if you really, you know, are into that and you want to be buying or selling, you know, you want to get that all the time. But just, I think the key is setting that expectation when they first sign up so they know what they’re getting and keeping the information relevant and not just doing it half ass.

Susan Bratton: Can you mail be twice a day?

Jason Henderson: Sure. If it’s relevant and it’s what they want, definitely.

Susan Bratton: What are some of the most popular categories of types of emails that are very effective? Is my question clear? I know it’s a little mushy.

Jason Henderson: It’s a little mushy.

Susan Bratton: You want me to tighten it up?

Jason Henderson: Yes.

Susan Bratton: So one of the things that the core piece of information that I’m trying to ask the question around is that I’m under the impression that when you have an email relationship with a prospect that what you’re doing is sending them email and trying to give them a lot of values. So you might be sending them, you know, a free report, a discount. It’s not sales oriented so you wouldn’t even send them a discount. I stopped when I said discount coupon ‘cause that moves into sales, that’s asking for the order. The non-asking for the order content rich experience, what are some things that you’ve seen people give to their lists to create reciprocity and increase the lift in ultimate sales conversions? What works out there?

Jason Henderson: What you’ve heard before is “What’s in it for me?” So it’s got to be of, you know, value, and it doesn’t have to be a lot. It could be that one nugget that’s going to help improve their website, their business, their life, their relationship, which I know you talk about a lot. Just, you know, something that benefits them, something that is not, you just pulled from someone’s website or you just willy nilly, just cut and paste something from Wikipedia. You just really want to engage with them. And sometimes it’s not even something of value. It’s like just engaging them, it’s talking with them, and it’s building that relationship. I’ve done emails where it’s just, I’m giving them a blow by blow replay of a conversation I’m having with my bunny rabbit, and I’m putting in the conversation, discussing what the target of my email newsletter is so it’s relevant to them. And it just fills repertoire with your audience and, you know, they just love engaging with you and seeing you as a real person.

Susan Bratton: Right. That’s a transparency, authenticity piece of the marketing conversation, which is be your real self and develop a relationship with them. Share and open yourself. Vulnerability.

Jason Henderson: Right.

Susan Bratton: Again, Joseph Carabas and I just talked about that. I did two one hour interviews with that man. I mean he has so much information to bear, and what I kept noticing in the conversation was that what he was really saying was open yourself up, show yourself a little bit and people really respond to that. And I just find that that works in so many situations, including email marketing, right?

Jason Henderson: Right.

Susan Bratton: So creating trust, I know that we can do things like be authentic, sharing ourselves, have unsubscribe links, put our address and our phone numbers and our emails. What are some other ways that you can create trust with a customer?

Jason Henderson: Include images – images of yourself, your family, your pets. Again, you know, engaging them, making yourself appear as a real person and not someone that’s just trying to get money out of them. And again, the affiliate marketing, don’t promote crap. That’s the biggest way to turn someone off is they buy it and it’s just the worst product ever purchased in their life and that’s going straight back to you. So that’s what I would say.

Susan Bratton: What other things are happening in the world of email marketing that take up a lot of your time, that are kind of the most onerous and laborious pieces of what you do for your clients but that are totally worth that effort?

Jason Henderson: Using two different email service providers for certain things, depending on the content. If there’s, you know, there’s the porn sites but then there’s also the more, just the adult sites, just adult conversations, not necessarily porn. And with something like that, there’s a high intensity to get spam complaints if you’re just getting, you know, some 17 year old college kid on your list. So you could have two lists. You use one for the first engagement and once they’ve put up their hands and say, “You know what, I really like your content, I really like your information. I’m here for he long haul”, then you move them over to the what I would say better email service provider, so that’s kind of laborious sometimes depending on the technology you have at your disposal, how technical you are, how willing you are to outsource. We know how important that is. And so that’s one of the things that I think is worth it sometimes. I say that because you know my main client is in the adult variety, not porn but adult, and so the conversation…

Susan Bratton: Education, adult education.

Jason Henderson: Right, so the conversation gets a little racy sometimes, sensual. Just segmenting that data, really targeting the emails. You think, “You know what, I’m just collecting emails and I’m sending out one message, that’s the easiest”, but is that going to make you the most money? So I think it’s worth the time to target emails to specific segments on your list. You’re going to get a higher response, you’re going to make more money.

Susan Bratton: Are there certain kinds of emails that men versus women prefer?

Jason Henderson: I wouldn’t necessarily, I mean put a picture of a hot woman, you know, such as yourself, I think that would work.

Susan Bratton: Flattery will get you everywhere.

Jason Henderson: Yes. So I think that appeals to men.

Susan Bratton: Uh huh.

Jason Henderson: So basic male psychology, but it’s just basically the way you talk to them. So you’ve just got to know your list, you know. Some markets are going to be, you know, men driven, some are going to be women driven, some are going to be both, so you just got to know and tailor that conversation and play to their, you know, egos, fears, you know, whatever’s specific to that gender.

Susan Bratton: Are there any subject line don’ts?

Jason Henderson: No. I would not say there are no don’ts. Test everything. You never know. I’ve been seeing a lot that the shorter emails are better. It’s something to be unique. It’s like, “Hmm, really”, and asking questions is always good. And controversy is good as well. I think…

Susan Bratton: Oh yeah.

Jason Henderson: I was working with one of the top copywriters in the world, Million Dollar Mike Morgan, and he loved this subject line I did. It was advertising his headline course, and I put “Your headlines suck”.

Susan Bratton: Mm hmm.

Jason Henderson: And I got a lot of response to that. It was like a little like, “What? My headlines don’t suck.” But hey, you know, it got me to open the theme, like they could use a little work. And so a little antagonization sometimes, you know, really gets like “Hey, wait a second”, and they want to see what you’re saying about them. So… And then the personalization I see a lot.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, how do people feel about that personalization, in the beginning, in the middle, in the end of it, you know?

Jason Henderson: I think you just have to talk to them like a normal person. I mean typically when you talk I’d be like, you know, “Hey Susan, how’s it going” or “How’s it going Susan”.

Susan Bratton: Mm hmm.

Jason Henderson: “What are you doing today Susan” or something like that.

Susan Bratton: Mm hmm.

Jason Henderson: I think the standard default “Dear Susan”, “Dear Jason”…

Susan Bratton: No good anymore.

Jason Henderson: Typically not. I mean you can test it, but I typically just including in it, just in the headlines something that just really grabs your attention. But I would say stay away from, unless you test it and it works, stay away from the “Dear John”, just the typical stuff. Make it conversational.

Susan Bratton: Okay. All right, good.

Jason Henderson: That’s like general personalization. More advanced personalization, if you have their purchase history in the database, which is amazing, and if you’re doing a follow up email you can say, “So I know how much you enjoyed X product. Well this new product is going to build upon that and increase your expertise in blank or help you make more money by saying this”, so you reference their purchase history and it just makes it even more relevant.

Susan Bratton: Well you just look smart. You just look like you have your act together as a company, you know. That’s just good business. Perpetual and real time launches; in the information product marketing business there are a lot of launches, the strategy of getting a number of joint venture partners or affiliates who have lists to mail all at the same time in the hopes that the person might be on multiple lists and hear about this product and hear about it from so many people that they respect that they take action, the bandwagon, you know…

Jason Henderson: Yeah, social proof.

Susan Bratton: Social proof and bandwagon persuasion tactics, right. Do you see more launched now? Less launches now? How have launches changed in general?

Jason Henderson: I don’t see it slowing down at all. It just depends on, you know, which lists you belong to or, you know, who you run with in the marketing circle, so I run with pretty much everybody so I see it’s not slowing down whatsoever. But I do see the perpetual launches coming yet, because you know, you have the big cash windfall and everything, but then what do you do? So I see a lot more people doing perpetual launches where they’re making it really targeted for certain individuals and just launching to one list or they just have a ongoing and doing the perpetual launch to new prospects on a continual basis so they have that, you know, constant stream of income coming in versus the, you know, the one offs.

Susan Bratton: Exactly. They get tiring. So how do people find you? How would you like people to contact you if they’d like to hire you to help them make their email marketing work?

Jason Henderson: Sending me a message on Facebook is actually the best. It’s, all one word.

Susan Bratton: Oh, okay. So not even going to your website or anything, huh?

Jason Henderson: Yeah, they can check out my blog on

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Jason Henderson: But I’m pretty big on Facebook. I got 5000 plus friends so…

Susan Bratton: And what about Twitter? Are you a Tweeter?

Jason Henderson: Not as much anymore. I mean it’s the same,, but Facebook is the place for me.

Susan Bratton: That is.

Jason Henderson: Yeah.

Susan Bratton: And is that where leads, do you generate leads from Facebook?

Jason Henderson: Oh, all the time.

Susan Bratton: Great! Well that’s good. Well I definitely am going to check out your Facebook page. I’m not sure I ever have. All right, well Jason Henderson, thank you so much for talking to me about email marketing. I really appreciate it.

Jason Henderson: Thanks Susan. My pleasure Susan. Thanks for having me.

Susan Bratton: All right, I’m your host, Susan Bratton. I hope you enjoyed this update on email marketing and I hope that you have a great day and you’ll tune in next week. Take care. Bye-bye.