[00:00:37] Matthew Vernhout: Hello and welcome to another edition of, ForTheLoveOfEmails podcast. That’ll be a short, yet action-packed series to close out the year of 2020 that dumpster fire that we’ve all participated in as a group. Today I have a very special guest and a time friend of mine, Bob Frady the CEO of Hazard Hub.
As always I will be your host, Matthew Vernhout, the VP of deliverability for Netcore Solutions here in North America. And today’s episode is brought to you by Netcore’s newest product grade email.co. Netcore launched this site to offer free tools to the email community, to help configure your authentication, monitor, block listing, and validate your overall email sending practices.
[00:01:20] You know if you need help getting to the inbox. GreatMyEmail is a great place to go and see what you need to fix. Bob, welcome to the show.
[00:01:28] Bob Frady: Thank you very much for having me. It’s nice to chat.
[00:01:34] Matthew Vernhout: It has been a while since we’ve chatted in person. We trade emails every once in a while, but it’s nice to see your face on the screen here. Even though our audience isn’t going to see it.
[00:01:43]Bob Frady: Yeah. We’re kind of happy about that. Yeah,
[00:01:46] Matthew Vernhout: MIne too. I didn’t get all dressed up today.
[00:01:51] Bob Frady: So I got a radio face.
[00:01:55] Matthew Vernhout: Let’s start a little bit. I always like to let my guests introduce themselves and their businesses. So give me a bit of background on yourself and Hazard Hub and how you work with the community that you serve.
[00:02:08] Bob Frady: Sure. I’m the CEO and co-founder of Hazard Hub. We are a company that tells you all of the bad stuff that can happen to your property in the US. So the risk of wildfires, floods, wind, hail, tornado, all of those things, how far you are from the fire station and the fire hydrant, all those things we put together in a single API and combined that with some consumer-facing tools to let people know what the risks are of their property.
[00:02:37] Matthew Vernhout: Very interesting. And I think it is very important having seen the excessive growth of things like the wildfires across the United States over the last half-decade or decades, and things just seem to be every year, a little bit larger and understanding what your risk factors are, is important.
[00:02:54] I think that relates to email, to understand how far you can push the envelope on things and, you know, tying it all back into the whole point of the show.
[00:03:02] Bob Frady: Oh yeah. Yeah. It’s funny, you know before I started Hazard Hub I worked extensively in email marketing. I built Live Nations or rebuilt their email infrastructure.
[00:03:18] I was the global director of communications for Expedia for awhile. That was a trip. And then I worked at Zito media doing billions of emails per day. So I have a deep and abiding love of all things, email.
[00:03:36] Matthew Vernhout: Fantastic. And that ties super nice into my next question.
[00:03:40] So as the CEO of your own company, right? Understanding your background, where email has been a huge success driver for many large businesses, right? Where do you see the importance of email and it fits into a business, you know, whether it’s a, you know, giant multinational or even a small privately run business like yours?
[00:04:04] Bob Frady: It’s interesting.
[00:04:06] I think that I’ve always had this belief, even when I was running the billion-plus email programs that email is a chance to communicate with your customers. Now I see people sort of divide the world in two – where the first world is email as a monetization tool. To me, that’s a tremendous missed opportunity to understand what email does.
[00:04:40] And the reason why I changed my methodology because I came from a company where it was very focused on what your marginal value to email is. I had, I took over a program and it wasn’t working very well. And the changes that we made is we thought what’s our brand promise, you know, why are we communicating with people?
[00:04:59] And when we aligned our email program with our brand promise, coincidentally, the results took off. Our engagement went up, our revenue went up, everything went up because a business has a brand promise. Our brand promise as Hazard Hub is we will help you to determine the risk of a property. And when we deliver an email to people with their risk scores on it, that’s what we’re doing. When I’m talking to my customers, I don’t care whether the email generates dollars. What I care about is keeping my customers aware of what’s going on inside the company? Am I fulfilling my brand promise? So to me as a CEO, the CEO must get on board with understanding what their email program is all about. And are they delivering on their brand for first of all, do they know what their brand promise is?
[00:05:52] Because it may differ by channel. And the second is, are they fulfilling that brand promise? Are they forcing their teams to fulfill that brand promise? And that’s the CEO’s job, that’s not some marketing manager’s job that has to come from the top down. So CEOs who don’t take advantage of the channel to fulfill their brand promise are making a humongous missed opportunity to deliver exceptional results from your program.
[00:06:21] Matthew Vernhout: Is that why you put your name and photo in every email you send, every email I’ve received from you has your name and photo in it.
[00:06:29] Bob Frady: Our brand promise is that our customers come first. We always try to do what’s best for the customer and you can’t make that promise without some level of personalization. Now, the fact that we’re small, does it make a difference? Yeah. Yeah. I think it does make a difference because it’s coming from me, it’s coming from our company. I mean, I write the emails. I work with my team, to create the message that we’re gonna spread out there.
[00:07:00] But I want to make sure that people know that part of our brand promise is that when you call us, we’re going to listen. Putting my name on there is a way I think, to help get that across. Can I measure that? Can I quantify it? No. I mean, I suppose I could AB test it, but what’s the point, you know?
[00:07:19]I just it’s part of the belief in our brand promise.
[00:07:22] Matthew Vernhout: No, that’s, that’s great. And I think when it comes to what we’ve seen over the last year, I would say before 2020, a lot of marketing was, here’s the message I want you to see. When we saw things impacted by COVID and people losing their jobs.
[00:07:40] A lot of brands have switched to the idea of how do I provide more value? How do I provide more to make the dollar go farther for some of our customers? I’ve seen the messaging shift as opposed to there are still people just sending out, like, here’s my weekly flyer.
[00:07:57] As opposed to building that relationship. But I have seen a lot of brands shift to try to build that relationship with consumers to make that more sticky. And I think that’s something that is a great piece of advice. And I think building that into your program from day one, you know, as you’ve done with your business is, is key because I think it’s in the cultural view on email or on messaging?
[00:08:24] Bob Frady: Well, you know, the thing is, is not a binary question. It’s not either your catalog or your personalized messaging platform, because one of the things that and this goes back to my live nation days, one of our strategic goals was every customer every week we had the, we had the touch, everyone.
[00:08:47] Every week. And the reason is that every seat that goes unsold is a lost revenue opportunity for the brand. So, and you know, if Pearl jam is in town or the Pixies have a surprise show, and you’re a Pixies fan, I want you to know about it. That’s, that’s what we wanted to do. So we developed a concert calendar that every week would tell you all of the shows that were upcoming and the shows that were happening in a short period.
[00:09:18] And that was coverage for everything. If you’re a retailer or if you are a supermarket, or if you’re a company that has a lot of products, sending out a catalog email is not a bad thing. I know everybody bashes. Batch and blast or whatever, you know, spray and pray, but there’s a role for that because when people sign up for your emails, what they’ve done is they’ve essentially shaken hands with you to say, all right, show me what you got. And part of what you want to let them know or things that they may not be aware of.
[00:09:56] Because if you’re smart, what you can do is then harvest that catalog email to find out what specifically. People are interested in, and it’s just, it’s, it’s an amazing way to build personalization by saying, okay, here’s the catalog email. I checked the blue widget and now I know that and I know, from testing all this stuff that people who click on the blue widget or four times as likely to purchase a blue widget, the people who don’t. And now what those numbers are inside your organization will differ.
[00:10:30] But that’s what you want to be able to do. So there are roles for both. That’s a very long-winded answer, but it’s a very, I’m very passionate about it. You should be doing both.
[00:10:40]Matthew Vernhout: No, I agree. I think one of the things that drive me crazy as a consumer of email, beyond just being in, you know, working as a service provider and a consultant to brands is that whole idea of every week, you know, I get a retail email.
[00:10:54] And it has advertisements for women’s clothing in it. And every time, the only thing I click on is to send me to the page where it’s this week’s men’s promotions. That’s what I’m interested in, but next week I get a catalog email. That’s our women’s flyer for the week. And I click on take me to the men’s clothing every week.
[00:11:14] You know, every time I open it, basically, except maybe once or twice a year when it’s a gift-buying season
[00:11:20] Bob Frady: gift time, I’ve got to say
[00:11:23] Matthew Vernhout: so there, there are, there are certainly passive feedback items that your clients are giving you, that you have a choice to listen to or ignore.
[00:11:33] Bob Frady: Oh yeah. It’s immensely valuable.
[00:11:36] It’s so easy to do, you know, especially now with some of the new technologies that are coming out, it’s like, okay, if I know that you click on the men’s email, that I just rearrange the category so that instead of women’s at the top, it’s been at the top and women’s are down at a different level or vice versa.
[00:11:53] It’s like, harvesting the email for knowledge and using that knowledge to create a better handshake with your customers. It’s not that hard. The machines do a good job at that these days.
[00:12:06] Matthew Vernhout: I was just about to say, right? Do you see that as the play of AI and email in regards to making those even content ordering decisions per individual?
[00:12:17] Bob Frady: I think it’s AI is like, it’s got this weird – listen, link harvesting is something and link tagging is something we’ve been doing for, you know, 15 years and email. To the extent that you can do smarter link harvesting. Yes. Then of course there’s a role for that. But if you don’t, if you’re afraid of AI or you don’t want to go down the whole AI path, Put a tag.
[00:12:43] If this link, if somebody clicks on this link, they get tagged, and then there are your tags. And there’s your next round of interests for specific categories? I think AI can make that easier, but a lot of people seem to lock up a little bit when it comes to AI. So yes, there’s a role for it, but you can also do it without using AI, just using, I, without the A
[00:13:05] Matthew Vernhout: Absolutely. I think that’s something that I, you know, I think you and I have probably talked about that over the years. We’ve known each other as just simple ways to do things that are oftentimes overlooked or underutilized or, you know, just. Ignored in many cases, which is, which is completely unfortunate.
[00:13:23]Bob Frady: It’s like when you’re, I almost look at, I look at people on our email list as our friends – they may not be our friend friends, but they’re, they’re our friendlies if you will. And if you were to your friend and poke them in the shoulder and they said, I don’t like when you do that, and you did it every time you saw them, then they probably would be like, I don’t want to be your friend anymore.
[00:13:45] And in the email world, that’s an unsubscribe. Instead, you have the opportunity to say, okay, I’m sorry. And you know, poke ’em the other shoulder or whatever. You have the opportunity to react and email allows you to react. If you’re listening to the signals that show a reaction, just like you would with your friend react accordingly.
[00:14:08] Matthew Vernhout: Right. Which is, you know, I think something that, you know, leads into things like. Email nurture. Right? How do you nurture someone down a path or how do you sort of determine the path that they’re already on within your business, within your journey? You know, and, and I don’t know, I don’t know how complicated your email program is currently, but I’m sure you’ve worked on extremely complicated programs in the past that have done things like lead nurture and email journey and things like that.
[00:14:36] Can you give us some insights into how that has helped the business change their practices or even change the bottom line for a business or the importance of it. I guess your opinion on nurture is really what I’m, what I’m trying to get to.
[00:14:54] Bob Frady: It is really hard to unbundle all the ways that people make decisions.
[00:15:02] Like for example, I was just on a car site looking at inventory. If I sent them an email, email wasn’t responsible for that lead. The inventory and the search capability was responsible for that lead. And you get into all sorts of attribution questions after that, you know, what was, what drove the lead.
[00:15:22] So when I look at lead nurturing, I think that it’s always a good idea to keep people informed about what you’re doing. Until they tell you, I don’t want to hear this anymore. So we don’t necessarily see it as lead nurturing as much as client education. You may catch something that they weren’t aware of.
[00:15:47] You, you may catch them in an unexpected sort of mindset and you want to be there when they’re thinking about that stuff. So like at Expedia, half of our business came from bulk, just spray and pray. And half of our business came from triggers and triggers or along the whole lead nurturing thing.
[00:16:10] And it’s like, they’re already in the stream. You know, what’s the value of that additional trigger. Well, a lot of times you just cookie steal or attribution stealing, you know, I sent this email right before the purchase. Therefore I get credit for it. And it’s this nonsensical approach to marketing or marketing attribution, especially in larger programs that screw the pooch because it’s like, what are you doing?
[00:16:39] You know, it’s like, what are you doing? So I guess, I feel like I haven’t answered your question. I think lead nurturing is overblown. I think that communicating with your customers on a regular or even semi-regular basis lets them know, Hey, here’s something you may be interested in. You’d never know when you’re going to catch that right moment.
[00:16:59] And so you don’t try to predict the perfect moment. You have to try to predict some of the imperfect moments and that’s what we do. And we love our email program. You know, our unsubscribe rates are tiny and it’s usually somebody new who signed up for something and they weren’t prepared for it.
[00:17:19] And we welcome unsubscribes. They’re fine. Better than the spam button. That’s for sure.
[00:17:25] Matthew Vernhout: I love saying that to unsubscribes, to your friends
[00:17:28] Bob Frady: or your friends, self-select
[00:17:29] Matthew Vernhout: they no longer want to hear from you in this channel. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to work with you anymore. Like I’ve unsubscribed from lots of newsletters where I still shop with those businesses because I’m going to go there
[00:17:39] Bob Frady: anyway
[00:17:40] if Amazon thought I wasn’t valuable because I don’t get their emails then they haven’t looked at my shopping cart because it’s freaking full this year. It’s just, people get all butthurt about, about unsubscribes and it’s like, they’re your pal? The spam button is your real enemy.
[00:17:59] And, and just so you’re not lead nurturing, you’re educating and you’re getting people to understand why they should be an even closer friend of yours. If that results in a sale, great. If it doesn’t, that’s great too. You still establish that channel of communication because you never know what it’s going to have.
[00:18:23]Matthew Vernhout: That’s an interesting take. And is that, do you think mainly because you’re not necessarily in sort of that retail vertical anymore, so you’ve changed your opinion of that or is that, you know, is that simply because the program you’re running now or programs you’ve run recently compared to say someone like a live nation. that’s like, Hey, we know you’re in Chicago. We know that you’re into hard rock music. We’ve got these shows coming up and then like two days later, while you looked at tickets for the Pixies, right. You looked at tickets, but you didn’t buy them. Right. That’s a nudge. That’s lead nurture.
[00:19:01] It’s one-step lead nurture almost.
[00:19:04] Bob Frady: Yeah. It’s listening, it’s really hard to unbundle the shopping from the purchasing like Southwest airlines sends me reminders about the fact that I’ve looked at flights to Hawaii. You know, I’m just curious about how much it costs to fly to Hawaii right now. And I get emails from them.
[00:19:21] Yeah. Hey, it’s still available. I’m like, I know you know, it’s.To me, that gets it down into a company that may be over-focused on attribution and not focused enough on the whole boat being raised, which is customer satisfaction. So to me, if you’re too far down that well, to me, it’s an attribute, it’s a cookie stuffing attribution, and then getting, you know, cookies, whatever, but it’s an attribution stuffing role, which is I think a terrible role for email to be in.
[00:20:00] Matthew Vernhout: That’s fair. That’s fair. I, you know, I would say you’re not the only one that has that opinion, so I’m.
[00:20:04] Bob Frady: Okay, good. I always wonder
[00:20:06] Matthew Vernhout: I’m kind of in between you know, and maybe that’s a little self-serving, but I’m sort of in-between, I get both sides of the equation.
[00:20:13]But I guess I’ve also never been sort of on that client-side retail. I need to make my dollar. So I’m going to send this email today to, to hit that target, but
[00:20:23] Bob Frady: you know, one of the things that I learned way early, And by live nation days was that people’s interest in the artist increased dramatically after they bought a ticket.
[00:20:40] So everything is focused on email on getting that transaction, but what happens to your car? And it may be different for other companies. Well, what happens after that purchase is made? What are some of the things that you can do to spur more purchases? Now that is the kind of post-purchase nurturing, I think is critical to maximizing that the value of that relationship, you know, let’s say you, your goals you’re on your twice-yearly shopping for your wife and you buy a nice pair of slippers and it’s like, you may get a post email that says, Hey, Here are some other things that people are interested in and, and nurture the purchase rather than nurture the pre-purchase.
[00:21:23] I’m much more of a fan of nurturing the post-purchase than too much of the pre-purchase. Pre-purchase it looks like badgering, but post-purchase, it’s like, Oh, this is cool. I didn’t know that.
[00:21:36] Matthew Vernhout: Right. No, I think that’s fair. There’s a, there’s another well-known travel site where I know the marketing team.
[00:21:41] And once you buy a trip from them, they changed their entire messaging strategy to you. And maybe I’ll see if I can get them to guest on another episode and we’ll talk about it. But basically, they changed their messaging stream to, now that you’ve purchased, what do you do when you’re there?
[00:21:54] Bob Frady: Yeah, exactly.
[00:21:55] Matthew Vernhout: the highlights, a top 10 things to see here are the restaurants to eat at here are the sites to see, and those types of things to make you excited about your trip or even, yeah. 30 days out. Here’s what you need to pack for your trip. Those types of things. Yeah.
[00:22:10] Bob Frady: For example, if you send a message saying, here’s the thing that you should pack for on your trip, what good does that, do you.
[00:22:19] As the trip marketer, the answer is not a whole lot, except that it binds the customer to you. What’s the value of that? So, so much email gets lost in this. Well, what was the CPM of this email? And it’s like, or what was the RPM of this email? It’s like, it could be nothing, but it could be extremely valuable in cementing the relationship.
[00:22:42] Right. As a CEO, I’m interested in cementing value. I’m not interested in transactional value. I’m interested in overall value. And so kudos to that team. I wonder sometimes how they justified that that would be that’d be very cool to me, easy peasy, but to a lot of people, if like, especially the high finance people who can be cold-hearted calculators.
[00:23:09] How do you, how do you get that sort of message across if you’ve got a cold-hearted calculator for a CEO?
[00:23:17] Matthew Vernhout: That’s actually, I have no idea. That’s great – I’m going to make a note and I’m going to ask them that question. I’m going to invite them next year in 2021 to talk about this and how their program’s evolved.
[00:23:27] I’ve seen the case study, but I don’t want to steal their thunder, but it’s, it’s pretty incredible how they did it. And they started as one piece at a time. Like they did one trip and that was their AB test was to see how this works. And then. You know, they’re sort of an adventure travel company. They have 300, 400 exotic locations.
[00:23:46] You can go throughout the year and that’s how they do it. They built this out for their entire platform.
[00:23:51] Bob Frady: Yeah. And that’s, that’s an interesting conundrum is the episodic purchase. You know you don’t get to go on these big trips every three months. Does that mean you stop communicating with people?
[00:24:01] It’s like no email is a chance for them to explore what you have to build that engagement. So when they do come ready to launch, they come to you first. And I think that sometimes that’s kind of what I’m getting at with the whole brand promise thing. It’s like if you have a certain thing that you do. And people don’t purchase it all the time.
[00:24:23] You want to use your entire email program as a lead nurturing program. And so I guess I do agree with you on the whole league. Nice. It just depends. I guess it just depends on how you define it. Right? Its email is a wonderful opportunity to cement relationships with people who said, I want to know more about you and if you pummel them, with sales and discounts and don’t do anything else to cement that relationship then you’re like the guy who’s like, Hey, want to go out? Guess what we’re going to do every single time. You know, you’re not going to be a long-term guy. Right.
[00:25:06] Matthew Vernhout: No, that, that’s a great way to say it. I think, you know, we kind of just touched on it that some businesses started to pivot towards that this year.
[00:25:13]Because they had to look at how to build those relationships so that it’s not just moved onto the next guy selling the same product. Yeah. Right. Yeah. I think there’s, there are lots of industries that would play in that similar space. Right? Like I bought a car last year. What was the next email? The automotive dealer sent me cars on sale.
[00:25:32] I just bought a car yesterday, not buying a car today. Again, I just bought it yesterday or last month or whatever it was, you know, send me an email in three months. This is your first oil change. Here’s a coupon.
[00:25:43] Bob Frady: Yup.
[00:25:44] Matthew Vernhout: Thanks for being a customer
[00:25:45] Bob Frady: Or, you know, here are some of the things about your car that you may not know
[00:25:50] Matthew Vernhout: Here’s a feature that
[00:25:51] Bob Frady: has a million things you can do. And they
[00:25:53] Matthew Vernhout: have exactly the specs of what I bought. They know everything about that car better than I ever will. They could’ve sent me a tip of the week, every week for five years and I still would have been like, I didn’t know that that exists.
[00:26:06] Bob Frady: Yeah. I mean, you know, I got it to a certain extent back in the early days of email, it was expensive to send an email, you know, if you’re at a $5 or $10 CPM, You know, you were, that was about the ballpark. And now I don’t even know what the CPM is already, but I imagine it’s down to 20, 30 cents and you can do a lot with a 30 cent CPM.
[00:26:26] Oh, I don’t want to steal it. You can cut this part out if your CPA is above 30 cents.
[00:26:31] Matthew Vernhout: Well, honestly, I’m not in sales. I don’t know what our CPR, some examples,
[00:26:37] Bob Frady: your CPM from five years ago, should be lower than. Oh, it should be higher than what you’re paying now. And that’s just room for you to play. That’s room for you to experiment, send more, email more and more and more and more and more, send more, but use them, take the opportunity to use the intelligence to fine-tune the high level of cadence that you want to send to people.
[00:27:03] Matthew Vernhout: So more intelligent email.
[00:27:05] Bob Frady: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
[00:27:08] Matthew Vernhout: I love intelligent email, as opposed to just like you said, it’s full-time spray and pray.
[00:27:13] Bob Frady: Yeah, it doesn’t, it doesn’t help you. Dela Quist was right. Dammit.
[00:27:20] Matthew Vernhout: I might cut that. So he doesn’t get Duke.
[00:27:23] Bob Frady: Can’t get any bigger. I think the lion’s head is big and his head is huge.
[00:27:28]Matthew Vernhout: So with the, with the shift and with sort of the change and even how you approach your customers in regards to you know, building those relationships, what type of advice would you give to a brand or to a marketing team right now to say, you know if you’re not doing. Yes. Like, is it go out and create your brand promise, like a vision board, your brand promise and work towards that?
[00:27:53] Or do you have another piece of advice that you would say start focusing on this in 2021?
[00:27:59] Bob Frady: I would say there are a couple of things. The first is there’s probably if you’re a company that’s running this probably already some level of the brand promise, you just got to figure out what it is and adapt your program to it.
[00:28:15]That’s hard to do. adapting your program to it is the hardest part because you may have internal controls that are difficult to change. But if I were coming in like part of what I did, and the reason why people hired me was to rebuild email programs, that’s the first thing I would do. The second thing I would do and that COVID has changed and accelerated some people have a lot more time now with their email.
[00:28:43] So link to videos. You know, make the experience more immersive. You know, you’ve seen our, the little mini-series that we’re putting out. It’s a chance for us to speak our voice to our customers. Does it work or not? I don’t know, you know, do I care? Yeah, I do. Because now when people talk to us and they’ve watched this stuff, they know what they’re dealing with.
[00:29:06] And that to me is the biggest thing that I’ve seen differently is people spend more time engaging. With the things that they’re interested in. And so having a push to video, especially video that helps to sell the experience of the product, I think is incredibly important. And then the third thing is to coordinate your channels.
[00:29:30] You know, you listen to face, excuse me, sorry. I like talking to my kids. That instant chat thing you know, Insta or Twitter or any of these things, give you an enormous amount of signal that can help you to better target or better intelligently design some of your email programs. And pulling all that data together, I think is the future of the platform.
[00:29:59]Matthew Vernhout: So better understanding, better targeting, better focusing on your customer that is listening and then in exchange, providing better content.
[00:30:10] Bob Frady: Yeah. Yeah. Providing to make friends with your customers, treat them like you treat your friends. You know and communicate with them. I should say communicate cause fifth, some people have very bad friendships, communicate with them in a way that you would communicate with somebody who you’d be courting.
[00:30:27] Always be courting your customer. Don’t take them for granted. Don’t forget that they may forget you. So you have to give them a reason to remember you and
[00:30:39] Matthew Vernhout: or that your competition is courting them the same way. And right. People are like fish. We have a very short attention span.
[00:30:46] Bob Frady: ABC Always Be Courting.
[00:30:48] You know, that’s the, I think of all the things that we’ve talked about, I’m going to remember this one, the most ABC always be courting your customers. Do not take them for granted.
[00:31:01] Matthew Vernhout: Okay, that’s great. Now we’ve seen. I love that. I might try to figure out how to use that too. I will credit
[00:31:09] Bob Frady: royalty-free from me to you.
[00:31:13] Matthew Vernhout: I will try to use that somewhere. I think it’s a great way to put things. It’s it, it resonates with people that love the old Glen Gary, Glen Ross, and in my house, it’s the Saturday night live skit where what’s the, I am cobbling when they’re in Santa’s workshop building toys, because
[00:31:32] Bob Frady: it’s the ABC’s of email always be courting.
[00:31:36]Matthew Vernhout: You know, do you see budgets, like in your email program, are you going to send more, are you going to spend more on email in 2021? Or are you looking at,
[00:31:45] Bob Frady: I’ve already upped my budget this year? Because we’re growing, so I don’t mind if we’re growing we’ll take the extra.
[00:31:54] one of the things that we’re doing is, in a small company, you would think you have all this stuff nailed down, and sometimes you don’t because you’re wearing many hats. We’re redesigning our website to be a little bit more capture friendly. We have a free site where people can run free reports all the time.
[00:32:14] And we just sort of look at it as a public good. But now we’re going to loop them into the communication stream as well. And I’m going to have a little video that says, Hey, you know, congratulations, if you’re this. Great. If you’re that great. Look over here and try to help them through the process to grow because of that segment of our university’s growing the fastest.
[00:32:39] So a lot of times it’s, well, I got to grow my email list. How do I do that? Do you know? Well, here’s, here’s a couple of ways and you try them out if they don’t work well, that’s no big deal. Yeah. That’s what test and learn is all about right now. I will, I will expand quite a bit, although I will not buy a list because you’ve told me not to in the past.
[00:33:01] Matthew Vernhout: Thank God. You’ve probably been in many of those discussions where you’ve seen the dumpster fire that happens when someone buys a list. Maybe not the first time they use it, but the second or third time and repairing your reputation is exponentially more expensive than ruining it.
[00:33:17] Bob Frady: Yeah, I just. We have between my co-founder and I think 25,000 or almost 30,000 now contacts on LinkedIn.
[00:33:26] We could download that and add it to our email list, but I’ve seen what happens when people do that. And it’s like, man,
[00:33:36] Matthew Vernhout: It offends people in more ways than you can count. I’ve had that conversation as the recipient of many of those emails in the past. And knowing that I use tagged addresses for everything I can tell exactly where someone got it from too.
[00:33:49] Bob Frady: So yeah. It makes us like guys like you that give you headaches.
[00:33:54] Matthew Vernhout: No it’s guys like me that keep you honest. Maybe that’s true. That’s true.
[00:33:58] Bob Frady: I kind of look at it like, yeah. We hope to massively grow the program, but to. But to a scale that still fits within what we want to do, you know? So not to. Not too much.
[00:34:15] Matthew Vernhout: Now, now, are you focused on like individual homeowners looking for insurance that they might need to answer these questions? Are you looking at insurance agents looking to set pricing? Are you looking at disaster response, people that are looking to set you to know, targets for where they deploy in the next predicting where to deploy?
[00:34:35] Or is that like, or do you. Service all three of those verticals, I should say
[00:34:40] Bob Frady: yes to all of those. What’s interesting is that our free site freehomerisk.com. Anyone in the US can type in an address and you get a report that gets an enormous amount of traffic. And it’s from all three of those. But it’s also from people who were test driving us, you know, what did they say?
[00:35:00] And they always put it in their house. What do they say about my property? And if that’s correct, then I’ll grant them the next stage of engagement. And, and so there’s a risk associated with that and that, you know, if we happen to get something wrong, then they will let us know and we go and check it out.
[00:35:18]But yeah, we have three different markets that we’re servicing and so the trick is to be able to separate those because a lot of times people will work for XYZ insurance company and their address comes across as Gmail. So you or Yahoo, you know, America’s junk drawer. sorry, I didn’t say that out loud, did I?.
[00:35:37]So you can’t just say that these are consumers and ignore them. You have to have messaging that touches everybody and then try to figure out the sub-segmentation below that and that there’s a nuance to it. And we’ll work on that right now.
[00:35:49] Okay, well, from the technology side of you, are you staying up to date with technology services?
[00:35:55] Matthew Vernhout: Like. I know you and I have talked in the past about DMARC, but what about things like AMP for email, where you can have the interactive messaging right in the email client or services, you know, like the brand identification for message brand identifiers for messaging identification or BIMI which is sort of the new-hot Gmail pilot program. Just things that you’re, you’re looking at?
[00:36:16] Bob Frady: No, I, think that. If I were still in what I’ll call the big leagues then yeah, it’d be all right over that stuff, you know, again, it’s how do I develop a more intelligent message for my customer? Do you know? And sometimes the answer is I can’t, and that’s okay.
[00:36:35] Don’t, don’t worry about it. Like, if you’re Audi, you have one thing and that’s a car, or maybe a truck, you know, and you’re not going to have and then you have services and all that stuff. There’s lots of post stream stuff that you can do. But in the beginning, people don’t come to Audi to buy a hat. They come to buy a car.
[00:36:53] And, and so there are certain limitations with certain parts of your program. And sometimes you just have to accept those limitations. For example, as tall as I am, I cannot dunk a basketball. You know, I just have to accept that about myself. I don’t have the hops anymore to dunk. And, and so you have to realize that about your program too.
[00:37:15] There are certain limitations. It’s like, okay, we’re going to just leave that right there,
[00:37:20] Matthew Vernhout: but I’d take it off the table. Just like as for later when I’m bigger.
[00:37:23] Bob Frady: Yeah. Yeah. Well that, and when I start to get into more testing than, yeah, I’ll put so the answer is to use the appropriate tools for the time that you’re at that appropriate stage.
[00:37:34] Those, those are sort of. A little bit bigger tools for us right now,
[00:37:38] Matthew Vernhout: right? That’s fair. That’s fair. Just before we wrap up, I had one other question. So, you know, as someone who’s been sort of on the front lines, leading the charge as a marketing director of marketing CMO, whatever that happens to be right now wearing your CEO hat, right.
[00:37:54] What’s the message that you would give to another CEO to say, you know, when you want to focus on email or pay attention to your email program, like what is like one or two things, you know, CEO to CEO that you would say, if you’re not doing it, start in 2021 or start tomorrow?
[00:38:14] Bob Frady: I would say you have to go look at your email program. And if, and if it’s only about lead gen, you’re missing the boat. If it’s transactional, you’re missing the boat. And if the way that you generate emails is by hiding content behind a paywall, then you better make sure that your post communication streams are on point.
[00:38:37]This is the opportunity for people to secure relationships with your business. There is nothing more important for a CEO to focus on. So if you’re not focusing on it, and you’re concerned about client retention, guess what? It’s a problem of your own making? You know, this is the ultimate client engagement and retention tool.
[00:39:04] Now other tools are out there that are great. Well, you know, the social media channels are great as well, and you don’t want to ignore those, but if you’re paying more attention to social media and you already email you. You’re focusing too much on the new and not enough on the car. So it is, it belongs.
[00:39:23]If it, if it doesn’t have an equal seat at the table with your other media channels, then it needs one. And you’re, you’re an idiot. If you don’t do what, I’m sorry. I’m too direct.
[00:39:37] Matthew Vernhout: No, don’t pull any punches. It’s fine. Probably. I want to thank you for being part of the Netcore ForTheLoveOfEmails podcast.
[00:39:44]You know, is there a spot that you’d recommend our listeners reach out to you if they have questions if they’re interested in hazardhub?
[00:39:51] Bob Frady: Yeah. Hazardhub.com is our website. If you want to reach me personally, it’s [email protected] And listen, I’m always happy to chat about that stuff.
[00:40:03] I’m also happy to chat about email. I have like I said I have a Lump here that will never die with email. So always happy to help, however we can.
[00:40:14] Matthew Vernhout: Great. Thanks again. So we hope that this episode has helped our listeners gain some clarity on the importance of email for business. If you have any questions about email, when you’d like to reach out, please head over to netcorecloud.com to learn more about our AI-powered email delivery and campaign platform.
[00:40:30] Don’t forget to subscribe on all of our different social media platforms we’re available on Spotify, iTunes, Google play, and Stitcher. Also please do visit our website. You can see all of our past episodes and all of our past guests, everyone, please stay safe. Enjoy your holidays. And Bob, once again, thank you very much for joining us today.
[00:40:52] It’s been a pleasure catching up and having this conversation with you,
[00:40:56] Bob Frady: Mary Christmas. Well happy holidays to you, and it’s been a great pleasure for me as well. Thank you.
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