EP #31 How to collect subscriber-related data and design the perfect email signup form

EP #31 How to collect subscriber-related data and design the perfect email signup form

About this Podcast

In today’s special episode of the “For The Love Of Emails” podcast, we welcome George Adamidis, a digital marketing and ecommerce veteran with 19+ years of experience. He has been the driving force behind three start-ups, one marketing agency, and three corporate Email Service Providers assisting in the deployment of over 18 billion emails. Currently, George is the Founder and President of Rosedale Digital, an agency focused on email and digital CRM activities, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada..

Join George Adamidis and  Matthew Vernhout, Vice-President, Deliverability at Netcore Cloud, as they  explore how to collect the correct subscriber information and create the ideal email signup form.

Quick Snapshots
The podcast covers:
How to build personas into your data collection and forms to ensure you supply the right messages to the right customers
What is the difference between soft preferences and hard preferences
With regards to data collection, should you go for single opt-in or double opt-in?
How to make your email messages valuable
What are Apple’s MPP changes and how do they affect collecting extra details from customers via forms
Episode Transcripts

Intro (00:06):

You’re listening to the “For The Love Of Emails” podcast, powered by Netcore, a weekly show dedicated to helping email marketers, marketing enthusiasts, and professionals of all walks engage, grow, and retain customers through reliable, innovative, and effective email communication and engagement. Discover actionable ways to increase ROI and deliver value through email innovations, personalization, optimization, email deliverability, and email campaigns. No fluff tune in to hear best practices and tactical solutions from the best thought leaders and practitioners. Master your email communication now.

Matthew Vernhout (00:43):

Hello and welcome to another edition of,  “For The Love Of Emails” podcast. I’ll be your host, Matthew Vernhout, VP deliverability for net core cloud in North America. Today, I have an exceptional guest, a long-time friend, and colleague, George Adamidis, the founder and president of Rosedale digital marketing. George, welcome to the show.

George Adamidis  (01:03):

Thanks, Matt. Good to be here.

Matthew Vernhout (01:05):

So George is a digital marketing and e-commerce veteran with 19 plus years of experience as a strategic leader in CRM, marketing automation, e-commerce data segmentation, relationship management, forecasting, and reporting in the last two decades. George has spearhead three startups, one marketing agency, and three enterprise email service providers, helping to deploy over 18 billion emails. He’s generated more than 500 million in online revenue in the capacity of service provider, as well as the marketer. Currently, George is the founder of Rosedale digital; the company is focused on email digital CRM activities. And it is based here in Toronto, Ontario, not too far from me. So today’s episode, brought to you as always by grade my email.co Netcore’s newest community-based site, offering free email tools and advice on configuration for your email authentication and including BIMI lockless monitoring and validating your email configurations so that you’re not getting in your way of getting mail to the inbox. George, why don’t we start by telling us a bit more about the things that you do at Rosedale digital for your clients?

George Adamidis  (02:17):

Sure thing. We are an email marketing agency, as you said. We typically help clients navigate their technology and create custom development work, even manage their day-to-day email marketing activities for clients based typically in Canada with a handful in the US. And as I said, start to finish anything to do with email marketing.

Matthew Vernhout (02:42):

Great. That’s where we wanted to start with email data collection and email form. So when you and I were talking about, you know, what are we going to talk about? We could talk about so many things in email. We’ve both been doing this for a long time. We got our start in email working at the same company. That’s how long we’ve been around together. You know, it all starts with data collection and the email form. So when you’re working with your clients, what are the type of things you look at? Right? There are a lot of people that say more fields on a form equals less conversion. So how do you find that balance, and what do you put on a state to make it successful?

George Adamidis  (03:17):

Great question. The first thing you always have to ask yourself is, what will I do with this data? If you don’t have a meaningful reason to collect the data, don’t collect it. You don’t need someone’s birthday just for the sake of having their birthday on file. If you plan to use it for some sort of messaging around their birthday or because there’s a Legal age requirement, then sure. That makes sense. So you want to make sure you’re collecting only the data you need to execute against your marketing. You also don’t need to ask for everything upfront. Your needs may change when it comes to the data. And also, when you send your first welcome email, it allows you to ask for some more information and get people to engage with your email right off the top.

Matthew Vernhout (04:07):

That’s yeah, I think that’s one thing. I do not believe enough brands, even in this day and age, still don’t do well as a welcome program. How do you convince them to start when you’re working with clients who may haven’t created or implemented a welcome program before working with you? And what types of things do you put in a welcome program?

George Adamidis  (04:26):

Wow. I tell, you know, loaded questions.

Matthew Vernhout (04:30):

Yeah, lots of loaded

George Adamidis  (04:32):

If someone’s not doing a welcome program today, they need to ask, look in the mirror and ask themself if they’re in a suitable space; a welcome email is your most open email. You’ll get 60, 70, 80% opens on that welcome email. And everyone knows that you’re most engaged with an email program right after you sign up, you know, that that engagement can happen over time if you do a good job, not so much. But you have to get a welcome program out there because people are going to open it. They’re going to want to read it. And that’s your opportunity to communicate even more about some of the benefits of why they signed up with you; talk to them about what they can expect, how often they might hear from you. You might want to restate the benefits of why they signed up, you know, and you don’t necessarily want to make it one and done, you know, as I said, your engagement is really at its peak, right? When you start. So you have a few emails off the start to set expectations and get people on the right foot from an engagement perspective.

Matthew Vernhout (05:37):

So take time to get to know your customer. Oh

George Adamidis  (05:41):

Yeah, absolutely.

Matthew Vernhout (05:42):

Yeah. Let them get to know you.

George Adamidis  (05:45):

It’s precisely right. It’s almost like it’s the first date.

Matthew Vernhout (05:49):

Right? I remember there was a welcome program from an airline that probably both of us are customers of that used to be four steps. And the first step was like, thanks for joining. Here’s your, here’s your digital card. Collect right away. Right. So the immediate value you’re in here’s your, your point number, your plastic cards in the mail sort of thing, right? The second one was, you know, how to collect points. The third one was how to redeem points. And the fourth one was here are all our partners that you can collect points with outside of our program, which I think, you know, speaks volumes to what you were saying about how to build a proper welcome program. It’s not just thanks for subscribing. Here’s a bunch of marketing messages.

George Adamidis  (06:31)

I engage immediately, not only from a deliverability perspective but also to leverage the fact that they want to hear from you. That’s why they just signed up. I think the airline example is perfect because it speaks for a loyalty program. It sounds like your time with a loyalty program where what are the actions that people take, they want to collect, and they want to redeem. And that that program you just defined is a great example of hitting the right notes with why customers want to hear from you and how you’re going to benefit them. The benefit is the redemption of points and to get to that benefit. Perfect example, lovely. A plus two stars

Matthew Vernhout (07:20):

When it comes to you know, we, we talked about sort of the number of fields on a form, but you know, how important do you think it is, you know, to collect you know, geographical information maybe so that you can do some better segmenting or better targeting, especially being here in Canada, obviously CASL applies to most of your clients. Still, when you’re looking at, you know, your American customers, is it essential for them to understand if they have subscribers in different geographical regions where maybe they need to comply with other legislation and how would you recommend that they need to, to go about collecting that information?

George Adamidis  (07:58):

Oh boy. Another great question. Yeah. I mean, the thing about email marketing and digital is that it’s international today, and you are bound by rules that may not be applicable in your country. It’s a tough one. I think most legitimate markets flow the same basic principles of CASL and can spa, and even GDPR and GDPR, as you know, has got that additional layer of, you know, data deletion and things. Still, at a high level, all of these laws are basically the same, you know, ask for permission, provided that people can unsubscribe. So obviously, it’s important to know where your customers are coming from. It’s essential to collect the information, I think. But I think it matters more concerning what kind of company you are in. Do you have, you know, regional offers? Do you have different product offerings, different service offerings, and different parts of different countries? I think that’s where it makes the most sense. Most platforms today can do primary IP look-up and provide information. Should there be some kind of imperative where you weren’t able to collect the geographic area otherwise? Yeah, I think it’s nice to have, but it depends on what you need that data for going, going back to my first point, right. Only collect it if you need it.

Matthew Vernhout (09:19):

I love hearing that as a privacy professional, only collect what you need, keep what you plan on using. So that’s an excellent message for both my deliverability and my privacy hats. I love it. And that wasn’t designed so that everyone knows this is not planned. So you know you’re speaking a bit about geolocation and determining, which leads right now to the hot topic of Apple’s most recent update. And as part of the mail protection and mail privacy protection solution within iOS 15, one of the features is geo. So they’re not giving you the exact location of individuals anymore. They might give you an approximate location of the individual. Do you think that’s going to be enough for marketers to say you are in Southwestern Ontario, you are in Southern Manitoba, or would you say, you know, that might change recommendation to say collect city so that at least you can get some more specific when it comes to a national marketing campaign, but local marketing needs.

George Adamidis  (10:35):

Yeah, so there are two things there. One is the need to collect it because of MPP male privacy protection. And the other is the impact of the MPP. So managing the data, we recommend clients not ask for a city but a postal code because that provides even greater targeting abilities. And you can infer all the other parts of where that person lives based on a postal code. So, that one is the one we often recommend clients request from an MPP perspective. Yeah, I mean, anything that will make the data harder or less accurate will impact business. If that is true, if with what you are marketing about. So let’s say it’s, Hey, these stores are available in your area then yeah, you’re going to have to start collecting that data.

George Adamidis  (11:28):

And that might be a good way to collect more data than you weren’t maybe looking to order a year or two ago before this came into effect. So perhaps it’s a, Hey, thanks for being our subscriber due to recent changes at apple. We need to collect this now to make sure we’re compliant with the laws in your area. That might be a great way to get that information without making it seem like it’s intrusive. It’s about benefiting the customer to make sure that you’re following the law that’s applicable where they live. It definitely will impact some of those real-time email engines because if they can’t detect exactly where you are, they may not be able to serve the right offer or recommendation. So I think that’s probably the bigger fall here and what’s going on. I’m actually wondering, even if someone were to complain to their local government, that this company was not following the law, if that company could then go back and say, well, the service provider’s been upscaling the location information. We weren’t able to satisfy your local laws. I wonder if there will be any impact from something like that coming down the pipe, basically blame take.

Matthew Vernhout (12:37):

It’s an interesting take. I hadn’t quite thought about that. I guess I have to; I’ll have to dive into that one offline a bit more and think about how that would work. Cause there are certainly examples where if a provider breaks, breaks the unsubscribe link by rewriting it or something like that, it would potentially remove some liability from the sender because when it left my network, it was working when it arrived, an intermediary broke it. I wonder if that’s certainly an interesting thought for someone way deeper in the legal realm, and yeah, and myself, but I only play. I like it. I like it as interesting; it’s the balance of privacy and necessity, I suppose. So yeah, I’ll have to put that one on the back burner. Maybe I’ll bring another guest in the future, and we’ll talk about that.

George Adamidis  (13:27):

Oh, there you go. Helping, helping in all sorts of ways today.

Matthew Vernhout (13:32):

How do you feel about the idea of like personas when crafting your messages and deciding you know the different types of audiences or segmentations you should need. But I also like it, you know, I guess tying this back into the form, right? So if you’re trying to, if you’re a retail and I, for my personal experience, most retailers don’t do an outstanding job with this in regards to targeting the message to the recipient. I get way more clothing that would benefit my wife.

George Adamidis  (14:09):

For example, we’re talking about the same company. I’m sure. Thinking,

Matthew Vernhout (14:14):

I feel like that’s a lot of retail, but maybe we’re talking about the same company. You know, I guess personas are essential, but how do you build that into your data collection and your forms to make sure you are supplying the right message to the right customer?

George Adamidis  (14:28):

So years ago, I worked in a large department store helping them with their email marketing, and you know, they had preferences on their signup form. Tell us what you’re interested in: tools, kids, toys, clothing, you know, it was a department store. They had a lot of departments. We found that people didn’t engage with the content they said they wanted to contend with. So, they’d say I’m interested in tools and kids’ toys, and they ended up browsing clothing. And so what we did is call those soft preferences versus hard preferences, a hard choice being what I select a soft preference is based on my actions. A couple of things, one, I never want a form to say, tell us what you want. And we’ll send you stuff only on that because then you’re sort of handcuffing yourself to say, I’m only if this person only selected automotive tools. Now I’ve just on my form said, I’m only going to send you stuff on this. I’ve sort of handcuffed my ability to market them on other products. As I just said, people don’t often engage with the content they think they want to engage with. And so we prefer to use soft preferences. So what we typically do to score based on click activity and purchase activity on categories, and then assign those values to create the personas because those perform a lot better than the stated preferences that people provide.

Matthew Vernhout (15:51):

Yeah, I think I would, gosh, and though, sometimes those also are misleading. Right. You know, there’s I’ve purchased things in, in the past for my niece and nephew and then end up getting nothing, but children’s offers for months afterward you know, or purchase something for my wife and end up with, you know, women’s retail for, for months later. So I think you’re right. It has to belong to the tail with the odd understanding, and there’s going to be outliers as you, as you move forward, that you can maybe time-specific events.

George Adamidis  (16:23):

Yeah. And you know, that’s a great example of you purchasing for your nieces and nephews and getting a bunch of stuff there. That’s probably the only data they have for you at that point, a company. I like that it’s done a great job. This kind of thing actually is a trip advisor where you browse a destination on their site, and now they’re sending you emails about that destination. It can be a little annoying, but the good thing they’ve done is a link that says I’m not interested in this destination. So you can just click and stop that journey or stream about that specific location. It’s a great way to stop getting emails that may not be as important to them anymore without actually unsubscribing.

Matthew Vernhout (17:05):

I like that. I think I’ve used that for a couple of other clients, too; I have different verticals where it’s like, I’m just not interested in this particular content, this topic right. At the moment, right. Then you can either direct them to a preference center and say, well, tell us what else you’re interested in. Or you can just put them back into a less focused stream and watch for the next event to sort of scoring them on. I like both of those options.

George Adamidis  (17:27):

Yeah, I mean it, sorry, just very quickly, just on that point, you know, emails like a giant funnel, you send your email with, you know, 5, 6, 7, and topics, whatever that number makes sense. They click on that. Now I’ve got a little bit more information and the following email, wouldn’t it be great if I talked a bit of what they just were doing and then if it’s not essential, they bought something already, or they’re no longer interested, Hey, I’m going to click and stop this constant harassment from, from the email program. I find a lot of the really big companies are starting to do that more and more. Anyways, I Interrupted.

Matthew Vernhout (17:59):

No, all good. I’ll take that one even further, then. I like that chain of thought, you know, if you’re going to put the same five or six pieces of content in every message, just as an example, depending on what you’re marketing, even changing the order based on past interaction and past user preference, you know, maybe they’re reading story four in the last three newsletters. So, you put story four as story one in the next one. Yeah.

George Adamidis  (18:24):

It’s from the center. Yeah. Let’s talk about the order of the content. So this is a great topic. And I said earlier that we scored people and assigned them soft preferences based on that really to reorder those five or six topics that were going to be coming out. So, if I got clothing tools, I’m always going to do the same things here, clothing tools, Toys. And I know you’ve clicked on toys five times in the last two weeks that go to the top, and the other two go below it. That kind of ability is great because you’re surfacing the best content to the top. And it provides more value to the customer because they get immediate value from it. The flip side of that years and years ago was working for an automotive publisher publishing a story about the Ford Mustang.

George Adamidis  (19:15):

And at the time, it was like the hot new release the new Mustang was coming out. And so we would mention it in the subject line, but we would put the article at the bottom of the email, essentially forcing people to scroll through the whole thing to see it. It still got the highest click-throughs of all the articles in that email because we knew it was such a hot topic, but it was a little bit underhanded in that we made people scroll through the whole email to get to it highly effective. I mean, my preference is to put it at the top, but sometimes you need to be a little bit sneakier and put it at the bottom. Don’t bury it in the middle. I’ll put that as a rule to know.

Matthew Vernhout (19:50):

So it’s either first or last

George Adamidis  (19:53):

First Or last, that’s right.

Matthew Vernhout (19:53):

That’s right. I still see that a lot in publications like publishers more so where there’s, there’s maybe eight or nine stories, but the subject line story is, you know, subject, you know, nine in the list. Yeah. So you do have to scroll through and see the other stuff in the content when it comes to the message, and that’s the thing I would say, you know, even like you, you’re right when it comes to my preference is tools. Still, it doesn’t stop you from maybe marketing other things alongside those that are either, you know, adjunct or perhaps lifestyle that are similar without being creepy. Yeah. You know, that’s always the mantra. Don’t be creepy in email.

George Adamidis  (20:35):

And I call it the happy coincidence email. I hate when people say, Hey, we saw you browsing this cause that’s a little creepy, but if it’s just a, Hey, have you seen this product before? You know, not, I’m not a copywriter, but it’s, it’s getting the personalization there. It’s super pertinent and personalized, but I’m not telling you. I’m creeping on you to know that you are interested in it. The happy coincidence is such a potent tool in email if you do it. Right.

Matthew Vernhout (21:06):

Yeah. I think the one caution I always have with happy coincidence is if I bought it, you should make sure that you know that I actually bought it and don’t send me the happy coincidence email afterward. So I bought it yesterday. Don’t send me the email today saying, Hey, we noticed you were browsing X, Y, Z. Yeah.

George Adamidis  (21:22):

If they are doing that, they’re failing. They should not. They’re the platform; I’m sure that’s not their strategy. It’s just that they are doing a bad job of executing against what they should be doing.

Matthew Vernhout (21:32):

24 hours late. That’s the only, yeah. Sync up your data quicker, I guess, is the answer to that. Yeah,

George Adamidis  (21:36):


Matthew Vernhout (21:38):

Looking back, I know that this is always the hot topic today, and depending on where you are, people have different opinions on it. Are you a single opt-in or a double opt-in kind of voter when it comes to data collection?

George Adamidis  (21:52):

I am a single opt-in voter. I think double opt-in is a couple of things just to throwback to our history here in like 2002 or three. We built this into the platform that we were working on at the ESP. I don’t know if anybody actually used double opts often. I think there were murmurs in the early two thousand that it was going to become mandatory. It was going to be law. And so everyone started scrambling to do it. It never, it never came. The people who do ask for double opt-in are those who have platforms or use platforms on a shared IP. So they’re doing it to manage the ESP deliverability, not their deliverability because they’re on a shared IP. The clients we work with are all enterprises. They all typically use enterprise-grade platforms, and it’s their IP. And so they are the only ones going to be mailing on it. They know that they need to manage it properly. And we just do a single opt-in because double opt-in, you know, it’s good, but you’re going to lose some people because of that. And so I’m, I’m a single opt kind of guy, people want to unsubscribe welcome email, have the unsubscribe. Did you accidentally type your information in and hit submit? Like, I, you know, it’s one of those things that’s really to protect the E P I feel more than to preserve your ran as a marketer. That’s just my 2 cents.

Matthew Vernhout (23:13):

I’ve kind of seen the gambit being on the deliverability side for a while when it comes to single opt-in versus double opt-in. I think there are certain data points for both that make sense, you know, call center stuff. When you are collecting stuff over the phone, maybe double opt-in is better because there’s a higher propensity for type. So I’m not in either camp, but I always like to gauge and see where people are and their reasoning. But yeah, definitely, there are use cases for both. And I would say it’s probably way more common than it was back in the day when we first started building these solutions for companies. So are there any you know, are there any subscription forms out there that you would recommend people go and look at? If they’re looking at redesigning a script subscription form, you know, this is a good one versus avoiding something like that. I know there have been several hot or not articles in the past on subscription forms, but you know, there are any that you particularly like or would recommend someone use as a reference point. It’s okay if you don’t.

George Adamidis  (24:25):

I don’t think I, I don’t think I do, but I’ll tell you what one we’ve recently built for a retail customer of ours. It was the preference center, not the full signup form. The way it works is you sign up, you’re signed up to all four of the newsletters, but then you can go to the preference center and deselect individual newsletters if you want, the reason why I love it. And I think it’s so great. We created these sliders that say, send and don’t send, and if it was green, it says, sends. If it’s red, it says don’t send. And it sounds like such a simple, small thing, but we were getting tons of complaints before. Cause people would say, I clicked unsubscribe. I’m still getting email. It’s like, well, you didn’t uncheck the checkboxes letters. You don’t want to receive checkboxes are great, but people don’t read form. They wish to unsubscribe. They just want to click the button, be unsubscribed. But we, by putting in these little sliders with green and red go and stop, made it so easy to understand what you’re actually doing that our complaints are basically zero now, which is fantastic. I always say design for the lowest common denominator. Do you think it’s simple? No. Make it simpler. People will complain. Nobody reads forms. Nobody reads it.

Matthew Vernhout (25:33):

I think that’s why I’ve always loved radio buttons. One of the other, they’re clear it’s on, or it’s off. You have to choose one. It has to be in that status of yes or no. There’s no obscurity with the checkbox means I want it does the checkbox means I don’t want it. Am I checking the box to say stop this? Whereas with a radio button it’s yes, no. Or, in your case, green. Red.

George Adamidis  (26:00):

Yeah. Don’t send simply.

Matthew Vernhout (26:04):

Make it as clear as possible. I, yeah, I like that. I like that as well. When it comes to forms, are you a fan of the popup, or are you a fan of somewhere on the form on the page? Like what do you think drives the best results?

George Adamidis  (26:19):

Well, I think, okay. So, I love popups. The problem with most pop-ups is that people will put it up within like three seconds of you coming on the website. And that usually only pops up the first couple of times you hit the website. I don’t like that because you haven’t earned the right to ask for my information yet. I only just got here save 10%. Okay, great. Suppose I’m going to shop, not giving me a discount without even putting any effort in on my part. So now I’m signing up just to get my 10%, and you’ll never see me again. So I think the methodology isn’t as impactful as the messaging in that signup form and the timing. So a popup form comes within three seconds of me visiting the website. Probably not a good idea.

George Adamidis  (27:08):

It probably won’t get a lot of great leads, and you might annoy many people. The problem I have with the page is people have to find it. You know, sometimes it’s at the bottom. And sometimes it’s at the very top, which, you know, I think people are conditioned now to sort of understand that. But it’s often also just an effortless email. Still, what I do like about the ones on the page, if I enter just my email address when I click submit to load a new page, carrying over my email address and then having maybe two or three more things that you need to collect, that’s a, I think a really great customer experience because it’s quick. It doesn’t clutter your page where the signup form was located.

Matthew Vernhout (27:48):

Yeah, and I’ve seen the argument between the web management side and email marketing side when it comes to well, that real estate on the page is significant. I can’t put your web form there. I can’t put your subscription form there. I will give you a popup, though, and then you’re right. I think the timing on the popup. I’ve seen different options even with my own research of, you know, don’t pop up until you’ve scrolled 50% of the page. Yeah. Then it can pop up or, you know, wait 30 seconds. Cause if someone’s invested 30 seconds to read your article, you pop it up then and say, did you find that valuable right there? There are undoubtedly different options there. I also like the idea of how both, why limit yourself, put it, put it in both places to pop up, and then test the language on both.

George Adamidis  (28:36):

Yeah. So the retailers that we work with typically have both because they don’t want to leave any stone unturned. But I have them. My concern of having the popup show up so quickly, and they get it sometimes. It’s just a function of the technology platform you’re using. It just can’t have rules around that. But yeah, I’m with you both. I think they are great. If I had to, if I could only choose one, I would prefer a popup timed properly versus on the page. But I do think you can do both.

Matthew Vernhout (29:09):

Okay. Well, why, why don’t we switch gears a little bit? We’ve talked a lot about forms. We’ll talk about the actual messages being sent. Any thoughts around people considering, you know, we talked about the order of content and a bit about subject lines. When you’re working with customers to drive value and conversions, there’s a lot of clickbait out there that also happens in email trying to get people to engage any advice for making messages valuable versus just that like top 10 list or, you know, what did the celebrity do now kind of bait click links.

George Adamidis  (29:59):

Yeah. Good question. I mean, I understand why people use clickbait. They want to get clicks. You can’t be too cute because then people start to get annoyed by it. You know, if you provide meaningful content based on the information provided or inferred based on the engagement, previous engagement, you’re going to have happy email subscribers. And so the best way to keep people happy is to give them stuff they want. And to your earlier point, don’t send me women’s dresses. I don’t wear them. So that’s the kind of stuff where if you do an excellent job of knowing your customer, you’ll do right by them. They’ll do right by you if you don’t invest the time. And I don’t mean time like you’re calling people up. Still, the time to take the data, evaluate it, mark people down properly, they’re not going to take time shopping with you or reviewing your content either because you’re not putting any effort into it as well.

George Adamidis  (30:56):

So, you know, listen, I get the clickbait stuff, but you shouldn’t need it. If you’re doing a good job and have something to say, I think one of the biggest problems most marketers have today is getting into this cadence of three times a week, four times a week. And it’s like, oh, I better. I better find something to say. It’s like, well if you don’t have something meaningful to say, don’t say it. People aren’t going to be upset. If you don’t send them a crappy email, they’re going to be upset if you send crappy emails over and over again. So listen, I understand people want to have consistency, and consistency is essential. You know, every Monday, I get this email every Wednesday I get that email. But if it’s not meaningful, it’s just a waste of everybody’s time.

Matthew Vernhout (31:39):

yeah, absolutely. You know, though, I’ve seen the, our, the, I skipped the didn’t send my Monday email, and people complain. They didn’t get it right. Oh yeah. Yeah. They assume it got lost. So to me, when you get those types of complaints, you’re providing a ton of value to at least those subscribers that are complaining of what happened to my Monday email.

George Adamidis  (31:57):

So I don’t know if you remember, but we used to have to manually sort through replies way back in like 99, 2000, 2001. We had to remember, remember we had a whole team dedicated to reading email. And at that time, I was working with a publisher, a huge American publisher who was doing daily free recipes. And one day, the technology had a brain far and didn’t go out. And the next day, you had like, probably not thousands, but 30, 40 people saying, where’s my recipe. It’s like the internet set your fingertips, Google something like people were so upset. They didn’t get their recipe email today.

Matthew Vernhout (32:34):

It’s an example I get. It’s a good problem to have as a brand.

George Adamidis  (32:36):

Yeah. Listen. How many brands would love for people to say? I want to hear more from you. What the hell? I mean, that’s a significant problem too.

Matthew Vernhout (32:44):

Have. So actually, that leads to my next question. How do you determine the cadence for a brand? Right? When do you look at it and say, you know, I have enough content to send you something every day of the week now, but you know, six months down the road, you’re struggling for content? When do you make that call to change the cadence, and how do you do that?

George Adamidis  (33:04):

Oh, great, great point. I mean, your email engagement is a great indicator. If you’re doing a good job or not as you see that trailing, you know, it’s going to be one of two things. Either your list is getting a little stale, and you’re not getting enough new blood in there. As I mentioned, you’re most engaged at the beginning of a relationship or that the content is just not good. And so, you know, if you’re the New York Times, you’re sending an email every day, there’s always news to say, if you are a Ford motor company and you’re selling cars, do you need to send me an email every day? Problem? Not, I’m sure you don’t. So I think it depends really on who you are, what you’re marketing, and what value you bring. You always have to answer what’s in it for me and me being the subscriber, not me being the marketer.

George Adamidis  (33:55):

There are too many times I’ve dealt with a company where they say. This is the greatest thing ever. We have to say, and it’s to everybody on our database. And it’s like, well, everyone’s not interested in weight sets. I’m making it up. But they feel it’s the most important thing out there. And so they want to communicate. If it’s not essential to your recipient, they’re not going to engage. So if you start to see your engagement waning and you’re struggling to pull content, I’d say it’s probably okay to hold back on your email. This is why I’m always hesitant. When clients say, I want to tell people in the welcome email that every Tuesday, they’re going to get their email about this and that because you’re very specific. And so, if you don’t meet that expectation, you’re going to suffer. I’d rather say we will communicate with you a few times a month or whatever the case. So you’ll give yourself a little bit of leeway to not upset people when you haven’t met that specific objective. I don’t think I answered your question, but I’m going to stop there.

Matthew Vernhout (34:52):

No, it’s good. It’s good. It’s good. Definitely, I think where it should be, because it kind of leads into my next question and the things you were saying at, at what point do you say goodbye to a consumer, right? So you sunset them, right? So it does lead. You’re maybe reducing the frequency of talking to some individuals, but at what point do you say this is now a lost customer or someone who’s clearly not engaged in our email anymore? It’s time to say goodbye to

George Adamidis  (35:22):

So I’m a proponent of putting people on the ice. I am not a proponent of just deleting and removing them together because you just never know. They may open an email eight months later, and it’s going to be tracked on your platform. And now I know they’ve been open in the last 20 days. But that being said, it depends on the cadence and the type of marketer you are in terms of what you’re selling for our retail clients. We typically, and it depends if they’re seasonality as well. You know, if you’re a store that is all about Christmas, you don’t want to remove people in March because they haven’t opened an email in three months, just as a silly example. But we like to run accurate re-engagement campaigns before deciding, okay, for sure these people are not engaging with us and just have at it in terms of turning them off sometimes.

George Adamidis  (36:18):

And this happens less. So today, you’ll get pushback from executives who say, what do you mean these people ask for it? Why aren’t we sending it to them? And when you explain that, listen, they’re going to hurt our deliverability. They’re pulling our metrics. And the easiest way for us to prove it is we’ll remove these 300,000 records, and you’re still going to get the same net number of opens and clicks. And when they see that, then they start to say, Hmm, and I’m spending less money because I’m not sending an email that is not gonna be opened. That’s when the little light bulb goes off when they say it’s okay, but typically we wait at least for two re-engagement campaigns and we run re-engagement pretty much, you know, every day, people who fell off usually between three or six months, depending on the cadence of the email marketing.

George Adamidis  (36:59):

And then we’ll rerun it a second time. Cause they still may not be engaged if at that second time we’ve run that re-engagement, then they’re basically gone. They’re on permanent ice. Again, until they maybe decide to open an email or something or make a purchase show, some sort of engagement with us, that’s the one thing I think people don’t do a great job of is someone may not be opening our email, but if they’re subscribed and purchasing not a bad time to maybe get back in front of them,

Matthew Vernhout (37:31):

I like it. And you’re doing this re-engagement through automation. So that’s what you’re saying is you’re running sort of every day, and it’s fives and tens and not five hundreds and five thousands and 50 thousands at a time. It’s much smaller, easier to chew numbers.

George Adamidis  (37:47):

Well, and you know, once that six-month window hits, mine will be different than yours and different than other people. So that’s when we go back and start hitting them up. And the thing with re reengagement campaigns is you can go pretty wild with crazy subject lines. You know, these people have got their foot halfway out the door, so don’t be shy to push the envelope because they’re going to leave potentially anyways. So why don’t we try some really outrageous things? We can get them back. I know we did this a while ago with a very, very, very large beverage out of the US. And one of the subject lines was rather abrasive, and that one performed the best probably because it was abrasive, but we were okay with it because these people hadn’t engaged with us in six months.

George Adamidis  (38:33):

So what have we got to lose? And it was a great opportunity to test offers and see what’s really meaningful to these people because they lost interest. What can we do to bring that interest back? And if I can’t figure it out, so be it, but I’m going to try, and I’m going to put everything I can at it. It’s easier to recoup a customer than to get a brand new one. You know, that’s just a tried and true marketing principle: easier to extract the dollar of revenue from an existing customer than to get a new net new dollar, the same idea in email.

Matthew Vernhout (39:06):

What type of advice would you give to customers that are maybe experiencing an increase in, in bulk folder or spam for holder delivery to change in their program before it becomes a significant problem? So it’s maybe just the beginning; where would you direct them to change things for their program?

George Adamidis  (39:30):

That’s such a big question. I mean this, a lot of this just goes back to content, and if your content is not resonating with people engaging, you’re not going to be bold necessarily. You always, always, always want people to try and click, not just read an email, but actually, click. So do what you can to improve engagement. You know that the website that that’s super important. And, and if that’s happening, what I would want to do is get more aggressive on testing, subject lines, content, cadence, whatever we think, maybe the issue maybe it’s not one thing. Maybe it’s a combination of things but just have that. I mean, you should be testing really every day anyway, if you can, but once it starts hitting the fan, you really have to be had at it and really start testing things properly to make sure that people are getting what they need and that you’re putting there, what you need in front of those people.

Matthew Vernhout (40:34):

Okay. As you know, as we start to come to an end here with the conversation, what is there, you know, if you could give one tip to the people listening out there, like go forth and do this tomorrow, what type of advice would you give them? Is it just like, go if you’re not doing a welcome program, go do that tomorrow. Go look at abandoning the cart, go look at the right.

George Adamidis  (40:58):

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, those are two great programs. The most important programs that you’re going to have from an ROI perspective will be your welcome, and any behavioral type of triggers abandoned cart, brow abandon, automated. Those are the ones that are going to be your money makers. The volume of the engagement is high. The conversion is high. So if there were one thing I would tell people to do, if they’re not doing it today, I’d say do a browser abandonment. That’s more of a retail thing, but browser abandonment typically converts about three quarters, as well as an abandoned cart, half, two, three quarters. Still, the volumes are substantially higher than an abandoned cart. And so that for me, one of the most significant aha moments when I was actually running my own program is that the brown abandonment would far exceed any other program we would have with regard to revenue generation because it was very pertinent. It was in the moment, and the volumes were high enough to generate a good amount of revenue, much more than an abandoned car program would. So if you’re not doing browser abandonment, start tomorrow.

Matthew Vernhout (42:12):

Awesome. And thanks very much for that, George; if there was a way for people to reach out to you, how would you want to have them connect and talk to you and Rosedigital?

George Adamidis  (42:22):

Yeah, this is where I dropped my IG and Twitter handles, which I don’t do, frankly. Listen, visit our site, fill out the contact form, or send me a note [email protected]. I answer all my emails, happy to talk to anybody about anything.

Matthew Vernhout (42:39):

Awesome. George, thanks for joining us for the love of email podcast today. It’s been a great conversation. I love chatting with people who love email as much as I do, and it’s evident that you are one of those people. So to everyone out there, thanks for joining us. If you are interested in learning more about Apple’s mail, Netcore recently did a webinar, Privacy protection changes. Our webinar is available on the net core cloud website as a replay. So definitely go check that out, and you know, we’ll continue to monitor what’s happening with the Apple mail protection program so that as people do see changes and do see the impact to their open rates and the behavioral performances of their email you know, I would say, go out and look at your journeys. Now, if you’re triggering on opens, you may want to consider changing that to beginning on clicks, especially if you have a large apple install base for your users. So definitely do check out our webinar. We’ll make sure we put the link in the show notes and thank you all for joining us on for the love of email podcast.

George Adamidis  (43:52):

Thank you.

Outro (43:54):

 You’ve been listening to for the love of emails, podcast powered by Netcore, hit subscribe in your favorite podcast player to make sure you never miss an episode to learn more about effective email communications and engagement through AI-powered email solutions, visit Netcore.com, the only global email engagement leader, delivering marketing ROI and value to 20 plus global unicorns and 5,000 plus brands for over two decades.


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