Episode #35: Strategies for Successful Email Marketing

Today’s episode is all about email marketing, and how it can be an incredibly powerful and intuitive tool for entrepreneurs.  Today’s episode is all about email marketing, which can be an incredibly intuitive tool for entrepreneurs. Russ and Mika both have their own email lists, and they both believe in the power of email communication....

Today’s episode is all about email marketing, which can be an incredibly intuitive tool for entrepreneurs.

Russ and Mika both have their own email lists, and they both believe in the power of email communication.

On this week’s podcast, you’ll hear why they believe email marketing is important, as well as some strategies, information and best practices for how to use email the right way.

You’ll also hear all about their recent 2019 staycation, and how they made use of that time to help lay out their goals for the year.


In this episode, you will learn:

• A recap of our 2019 Staycation.
• Why email marketing isn’t dead.
• How often you should be sending emails.
• What makes people unsubscribe from email lists.


Mentioned in this episode:
Russ Perry on Instagram
Mika Perry on Instagram
The Sober Entrepreneur by Russ Perry
The Russ Perry Show
Episode #26: Why You Should Go on a Staycation
Episode #28: Understanding the “Core Four”
Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuk
Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk
Live Free Creative Podcast
3 in 30 Podcast
elfa Closet System from Container Store
Our Home : The Girls’ Shared Closet –
Anna Lunoe Apple Music Playlist
Bohemian Rhapsody
Constant Contact
Maggie Hancock
Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch
How to Make Sure You Hit Your 2019 Targets in All Areas of Your Life
The Hustle

Do you have questions, comments or suggestions for this show? Send us an email at!



Russ Perry: I’m Russ Perry.

Mika Perry: And I’m Mika Perry, and you’re listening to Good To Be Home.

Russ Perry: Good To Be Home is a weekly exploration of entrepreneurship, family, marriage, sobriety, and how we balance our business and life.

Mika Perry: From our family to yours, thanks for joining us and welcome to our home.

Russ Perry: Hey, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Good To Be Home. I’m your cohost, Russ Perry.

Mika Perry: And I am Mika Perry.

Russ Perry: Mika, it’s good to see you again.

Mika Perry: It is. I feel like it’s been awhile that we’ve been here in the studio, and I am really excited for recording today.

Russ Perry: Not for you but definitely for me.

Mika Perry: For you, yes.

Russ Perry: Yeah, we’re well into 2019, and I will not stop saying it, Happy New Year, everyone. I’m still saying it to people.

Mika Perry: Are you?

Russ Perry: I’m starting to get weird looks, but today we have a jam-packed episode. As always, we’ll jump into our reading, listening, eating, and loving list. Then we have a mini segment giving a recap of our stay-cation, which we just completed. And, Mika, you came up with topic today for kind of our main conversation. What is it?

Mika Perry: We are going into a business topic. I feel like it’s been a little while. We got into the holidays and some personal development, goal setting. So we are talking about email marketing, and the reason this came up was someone had mentioned, Russ, that your emails that go out for Design Pickle or your coaching were really good.

Russ Perry: Right. They’re right.

Mika Perry: And I think there’s a lot of strategy information to be shared on this, and we want to share how important it is to do it right. And I think that’s mostly going to come from you, but I’ll share a little bit of what I’ve done too and also what I am planning for this year as far as email marketing.

Russ Perry: And I have a question, I’m not going … You don’t answer it now, but be prepared. I’m going to ask you this question, are you ready?

Mika Perry: Yep.

Russ Perry: Is email dead? So be prepared to answer that.

Mika Perry: Got it.

Russ Perry: All right. Well, let’s jump into our list. Reading, listening, eating, loving. Mika, as always, take us away on the journey.

Mika Perry: All right. For reading, I am reading Crushing It by Gary V. He started with a book Crush it, which I always just got, but I first got Crushing It. Maybe he’ll come up with a Crush …

Russ Perry: Crushed It.

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Russ Perry: I Crushed It.

Mika Perry: I Complete It.

Russ Perry: That’s, if you know Gary V, his ultimate book. He’ll write that is when he buys the New York Jets. That’s his whole plan.

Mika Perry: His ultimate goal. He was recently in Phoenix and I wish I could’ve seen him. But I’m reading it. It’s a collection of stories about successful entrepreneurs in the online space.

Russ Perry: Nice.

Mika Perry: And listening, I discovered a new podcast called Live Free Creative. It’s a girl named Miranda out I think on the East Coast, and I discovered her through one of my favorite podcasts, Three in 30. I first listened to an episode called Whole Motherhood, and it was really good. So I listened to a few more, and if you’re looking for a new motherhood specific kind of parenting type of narrative, I highly suggest it. I really liked it.
Eating, anything minty. I’m noticing that I’m really loving the mint flavor. I always have. Growing up my favorite flavor was mint chocolate chip. And my favorite creamer has been mint. I just recently bought some mint leaves that are in the fridge right now, and I put that into my water. I love mint tea in the morning that I prep the night before. It’s from Tazo. And I love diffusing peppermint as well in the car and at the house.

Russ Perry: Is there a difference between peppermint and mint?

Mika Perry: Well, I think mint is the overarching umbrella of the mint category, and it’s peppermint, spearmint, and wintergreen.

Russ Perry: Is peppermint related to pepper? It’s like pepper and mint created …

Mika Perry: From my scientific knowledge of the plant species kingdom, no.

Russ Perry: No.

Mika Perry: I have no idea, but as long as it’s minty and fresh, I really like it.

Russ Perry: Now I know we don’t want to go too long on these but I have to say I was really disappointed this holiday season because what was missing from most of the aisles was the peppermint covered pretzels.

Mika Perry: Oh, like at Costco, the thin ones? They didn’t have it?

Russ Perry: Nope.

Mika Perry: Oh.

Russ Perry: I don’t like mint at all except for those.

Mika Perry: Really? Yeah, which is funny. You do not like mint. The rest of our family does. All the girls love mint chocolate chip ice cream. Yeah, you’re not a mint fan. Do you like it when I diffuse peppermint? Like right now upstairs in your office, it’s happening.

Russ Perry: I don’t know. I mean, there’s so many diffusers everywhere in my life. I don’t really pay attention.

Mika Perry: Finally, loving. The Alpha Closet System from the Container Store, which I install … I didn’t personally but I designed and had installed into recent pages Shared Closet. There is a blog post on You can take a full tour of the closet and how I have it organized. I love this system because it is adjustable. So what it is is like a wall system. You have hooks on the wall and you kind of plug in each shelf and rack and hanging rod and all that. And really create a customized closet. The price point is a little bit lower than a traditional custom closet. But I find that especially for kid’s spaces, it is great because it is adjustable. In a reach in closet, it opens it up because they’re not like cubbies. It’s almost looks like you’re creating a wall of free-floating shelves and hooks and bars. So I highly recommend it, and I really like it.

Russ Perry: And I highly recommend the professional installation service that comes with it.

Mika Perry: Absolutely.

Russ Perry: Do not try to do it yourself.

Mika Perry: No, you could, but I wouldn’t recommend it. And that really goes for anything in life I feel like. If you can find someone who can do it better than you, faster than you, I think it’s worth the investment, don’t you think?

Russ Perry: Oh yeah. No, I mean, I can’t think of how many paintings I’ve hung over holes not where I wanted them to be or things I wanted to mount and I had to like fix it because I had just terrible abilities to put things into drywall. I’m more of a computer guy.

Mika Perry: You are. You’re very good at that.

Russ Perry: But that’s weird because I’ll get into one of my items is here in a second, and it’s a building thing. So it kind of depends.

Mika Perry: All right. So that’s my four for this week.

Russ Perry: Awesome. All right. Well, let’s go with my list here. What I’m reading, The Online Manual for My FarmBot Configuration. Now if you don’t know, I’ve been a little slow to finish this project, but I bought a FarmBot, which is a CNC operated farm. You can basically construct this. It’s like a huge gigantic computer/construction/carpentry project to build a planter bed with a robot mounted over it. And it’s all complete except I can’t get it synchronized. I can’t figure out how to get it configured.

Mika Perry: After all that?

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: So let me paint a picture of this. It’s this big planter box in our backyard that Russ built, and then on top of that is almost like if you think of irrigation, like a whole rod that goes over it and slides left and right, forward and back to plant the seeds, to water it.

Russ Perry: I think our audience knows what a CNC machine is.

Mika Perry: I have no idea. I was about to ask you, what is a CNC?

Russ Perry: Well, it’s a multi-access device, X, Y, and Z access device that can move sideways like left to right, up and down, forward and back, all three axis.

Mika Perry: Awesome.

Russ Perry: Controlled by a raspberry pie controller.

Mika Perry: What? You’re getting too …

Russ Perry: I hope to finish it this month.

Mika Perry: Me too.

Russ Perry: What I love listening to … So I am a huge Apple Music fan. It’s where I get all my music, and every year, Apple Music puts together 24 hour mix of music, and it’s some electronic, some hip hop, some dance. This year was curated by one of my favorite DJ’s Anna Lunoe out of Australia. There’s an hour, there’s 24 hour long mixes that they compiled, and her mix specifically is awesome. This always is my go-to when it’s time work music. Like I need to work, I need to write, I need to construct a CNC planter box in the backyard. Whatever my tasks are for the day, dance music is my go-to, and this is a fun time of year because it’s like 24 awesome mixes. You’re never listening to the same song more than 15, 30, 45 seconds. So it keeps you going. So go check that out for sure.
What am I eating? I subscribed to this new prepped meal service made by Mika. Babe, I love all the meals you cooked. You really were on a tear this week, and they’re so good. My favorite one, and you can elaborate on what’s in it, is the rice one. What’s in the rice one?

Mika Perry: Okay. So this one actually comes from my hair stylist Maggie Hancock.

Russ Perry: Shout out to Maggie.

Mika Perry: Love Maggie. I was actually organizing her closet one day, and she was like, “Are you hungry?” I was like, “Yeah.” And no one has ever fed me while I’ve been organizing like at a client’s. It was so sweet, and she made me this turkey bowl. And she was prepping for a bikini competition, which she placed in by the way. So congrats to Maggie. But it was very, super healthy. And so since then, I’ve copied it, and it’s a bed of jasmine rice with ground turkey on top seasoned just very lightly. There’s chopped red onion, corn, avocado, hot sauce, cracked pepper. I think that’s about it. And then Cholula.

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: You have to have that, and actually Maggie’s a huge fan of Cholula, and for her birthday, I got her a gallon Cholula hot sauce with a pump from Amazon. Big jug.

Russ Perry: I think I need one of those here.

Mika Perry: You do.

Russ Perry: I love it. So very delicious. Babe, thank you again. I appreciate you cooking.
And what am I loving? The biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. We watched it at our hotel on our stay-cation, and I was mesmerized.

Mika Perry: Me too, and I don’t like movies.

Russ Perry: Yeah. As everyone may or may not know by now, Rami Malek won Golden Globe for best actor, and you know where he got his acting start?

Mika Perry: No.

Russ Perry: Gilmore Girls.

Mika Perry: Really?

Russ Perry: Yeah. 2004. But he crushed it, and I’m really excited for that movie. I also feel like the whole story of Freddy Mercury was powerful. There was a lot of critical, negative feedback from the movie because they downplayed the promiscuity of Freddy Mercury. But I think in terms of like honoring him and the band and the music and everything, it was just an A-plus, A plus flick.

Mika Perry: It was so good.

Russ Perry: Go check it out.
All right. So if you want to hear our whole lists that we’ve been compiling, you can always go to our website, Pop in your email, and you’ll get like a really well-organized compendium, links, all sorts of tidbits on what we’ve done.

Mika Perry: And I think it’s going to change actually, that format, and here’s why because it’s getting too long.

Russ Perry: Oh, okay.

Mika Perry: And we’re all about efficiency and being succinct. So last year we had a compiled as like a running, long link and list. However, that got kind of complicated. So to encourage simplification, I think it’s going to be a weekly send out, like a recap.

Russ Perry: Oh. Okay. I like it. Are you going to do that?

Mika Perry: Yeah, I’ve been the one that’s been doing it the whole time.

Russ Perry: Oh, okay.

Mika Perry: And I’ll keep doing it.

Russ Perry: All right. Well, you know what you also can do at the website,, is find past episodes. One of our past episodes, which was real popular, is our episode on stay-cations. So we’re not going to go into that. It’s a pretty common term nowadays, but we do one every year in January. And this January we did it again. It’s our third year in a row at this location, our fifth year doing it. We go to the Hyatt Gainey Ranch here in Scottsdale, Arizona. Mika, how would you rate this year?

Mika Perry: This was our best year. I think it was a combination of our kids ages. In the past, Maddy was really the only one that we could do the goal setting and planning with, which is the purpose of our annual stay-cation.

Russ Perry: Well, no.

Mika Perry: Well, no.

Russ Perry: Our purpose is to connect as a family.

Mika Perry: Yes, part of that is the planning for the year ahead, setting intentions. Our first stay-cation we did together, we came up with a family motto, “Perry’s to the top,” which Maddy helped with. Up until now, Maddy was really the oldest that could really get it, but this year, Reese participated, which was nice. Also, I think with coaching, with the work that we’ve done, the topics that we’ve talked about on the podcast, Core 4, strategic yearly planning, quarterly, doing all that, we incorporated that into our planning. And I think we were the most prepared this year. Came out the other side with solid, legit, concrete steps to accomplish our goal this year.

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: And how we can also reflect and do checkpoints throughout the year.

Russ Perry: Well, I have to say that moderator we brought in to guide us through those activities was awesome. Like he was really prepared and he really kept us on track.

Mika Perry: You.

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: I was like who are you talking about.

Russ Perry: But not to like get a little dust off, like brush my shoulders off here, but I think like you’re right. We’ve been having these conversations all year long. It was structured. We were like on point. We were really focused on that.

Mika Perry: Absolutely. So I think it turned out really well. Let’s share a little bit of our goals and also Maddy’s.
So for Maddox, it was really great because she’s a teen. So you got to kind of put that into perspective as far as her attitude towards things and eye rolls and all that. But I could tell that she was really into it. How we started is we brought a bunch of big poster boards, and I think from my teaching career, that’s where that came in from because it makes it more fun. You bring markers, and it might sound silly, but especially if you’re involving kids, that kind of mind mapping they’re familiar with at school. So to encourage that being brought into this, that helped. So I just had her make a bubble map of all the things that were good about 2018. Then turn it over and just brain dump what she would want to happen for 2019. And some of the good things were like trips we took. She got into honor classes. She got into like a cello event that she needed to do. And really sweet she said her acne cleared up, her skin’s better. You guys all gone through your teen years, and that can be very … Your self-esteem and all that can effect that.
So on the flip side for 2019, one of her goals was to put more effort into her health and clear her skin and exercise more.

Russ Perry: And her relationship with Reese.

Mika Perry: And Reese. Yes. So she brought up that she wanted to strengthen that. She and Reese butt heads. Reese has a strong personality. Maddy does not, and coming together between their ages, they definitely clash.

Russ Perry: Right. I would say Maddy has a … She has very strong preferences, but Reese has like a combative personality.

Mika Perry: No, just knows like she is not a pushover.

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: Lots of conviction.

Russ Perry: I guess coming from a six year old, you’re real surprised by the certainty in Reese.

Mika Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Russ Perry: And Maddox can’t just be like a bossy big sister. She’ll get pushed back on that.

Mika Perry: She’ll get hurt. Anyways, so those are some of Maddy’s goals, and for me, I know in a previous episode I shared some of the ideas for this coming year, but I have areas of body, being, balance and business to …

Russ Perry: Which, by the way, just to interrupt, if you don’t know what that means, go to our Core 4 episode.

Mika Perry: Core 4.

Russ Perry: Yeah, we’ll teach you all about it.

Mika Perry: So some of the things in there were to bring on an assistant or a person into my life for business, and for balance is to plan one date night a month with you instead of you planning them.

Russ Perry: Yes.

Mika Perry: So those are just some of the goals on mine. And then what about yours?

Russ Perry: Okay. Well, I’ll just jump straight into the balance, body, being, business framework, not in that order. For my body, I want to climb at least two 14,000 foot-ish summits. I really enjoyed climbing Mount Shasta last year, plus I own a ton of gear. So the more I use the gear, the more value I get out of that gear, the more that cost is divided by actual trips being used. My being is I want to kind of do two quick things is do an audiobook version of The Sober Entrepreneur, record that. A lot of people drive and listen, and they don’t have time for listening, and I’ve gotten a ton of requests. Also, I have these two numbers, 100, 5,000. So work directly with 100 people inside our expand coaching programs, and sell 5,000 versions or copies of our Online 30 Day Course that we launched in November of last year. The coaching/training stuff on all this Core 4 challenges and all of that.
For balance, Mika, I credit you for this term, our surf and turf summer. So having a beach plus kind of a country/farm …

Mika Perry: Mountain.

Russ Perry: Mountain. Pieces to our summer, parts to our summer. And then for all the business for me it’s always just our growth and to do $15 million or more in revenue this year.

Mika Perry: Nice. So the thing that I think that is really effective in this way that we plan is that we max at a year. We look at a year. What do we want to achieve at the end point? And then we reverse engineer it and decide what do we need to do each quarter, and so it is not like a, “This year I want to do this,” it’s, “Okay, in the next three months, I want to do this. Then the following next three months, I want to do this.”And then within those three months, what do I do on this week? The next week.” It is really broken down.
So, for example, in one of my goals, which is business is to hire someone is this week is write out the description, the job description. The second week would be put it out there. The third week would be start … If I get any interest to start going through those applications and so forth. So I really like it because it isn’t just like a, “This year I’m going to do this.”

Russ Perry: Right. And right in the tail end of last year, I did a training on this. So we’ll link to that. It’s a webinar. I don’t know, about an hour long or so, and I literally break every step down. It’s the same process we used at the stay-cation. So you can check that out, and it’s not too late to do it. Like if you’re wandering into 2019 with some less than exciting or lack of outcomes or targets, then jump on this webinar, watch it. I got a ton of great feedback. We had like 100 plus people, actually 190 people registered for it and watched it. It’s just a simple frame. Like Mika said, start for the year, and then work backwards. The acronym that has been thrown around in the coaching circles is reps, reverse engineer, production.

Mika Perry: I love that. And finally, to warp up this recap, we mentioned our word of the year and that we were thinking about it, we were brainstorming, and we did decide on it. I chose read as mine because I feel like if I focus on reading, that will eliminate electronic distraction, it will improve my reading, it’ll help like at nighttime, keeping the phone away. I’ll choose to read instead. I just think it’s a concrete, measurable word instead of something abstract.
For family, I chose the word healthy because Maddox said she wants to be healthier. I have a goal of helping our kids be healthier with their food choices. We all love exercising, and also with things like iPads and screen time and learning and homework, you can have a healthy mind too, and that’s a goal as well. So my intention, although I just said you don’t want to just think of like a broad for the year and one thing, but for a word for the family that’s easy. Something that I can mention throughout the year to remind them of their choices that they make.

Russ Perry: Right. My word was no.

Mika Perry: Not less. Just no?

Russ Perry: Just no. Pretty self-explanatory there.

Mika Perry: Exactly. Good for you.

Russ Perry: All right. Well, Mika, it’s the time. I hope you’ve been prepping for my question. Let’s kick off our question with this very direct question. Is email dead?

Mika Perry: Absolutely not.

Russ Perry: Okay. Please explain.

Mika Perry: I feel like you would be better explaining why it isn’t, but from my perspective, I think it is ingrained and part of our daily lives. It’s a method of communication we don’t even think twice about, and it’s a verb, it’s a noun, it’s one of the top ways we communicate with any group of people in our lives.

Russ Perry: Okay. How about is email marketing dead?

Mika Perry: No.

Russ Perry: Same?

Mika Perry: Yeah.

Russ Perry: Same feeling.

Mika Perry: Yeah. I think that it is extremely important for businesses to utilize. I think relying on social media too much, which I think has happened, is not the best move. Emails going to be there. Social media, we don’t know.

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: And social media is owned by the conglomerate of Facebook. They can do whatever they want, and that’s going to effect your results in your reach with audience you’re trying to target to, how you communicate, what you can put on there or not. Whereas email I feel like I know that you just have much more personal control over it, of how it gets distributed, how you’re wording things, who reads it. Also, tracking I think is easier with email marketing, and it works. I have bought many things via email marketing. I will say that I have bought plenty off of Instagram sponsored posts that come into my feed. For example, shoes, some kid products. Also it strengthens what you are already thinking of buying. So that goes for both for social media and email.
But back to email marketing, I think there is … It’s not going anywhere and it’s worthwhile and you should invest in it if you are a business owner.

Russ Perry: All right. Well, that wraps up this episode.
Well, are you curious what I think?

Mika Perry: I am. And I’m really interested to find out the specifics of how you get it out, what your thought goes into the words you choose, and things you’ve tried in the past that have and have not worked.

Russ Perry: Okay. Well, let’s go on a quick journey before we dive into those answers because I want to make sure our audience is kind of clear on the history and also where we’re currently at in the relationship with email marketing. So I don’t know when email was invented. I probably should look it up. I think it was probably in like the ’80s or something by a university. And it is been always evolving. It is ultimately, as Mika, as you said, we own it. It’s like an address for our home. It’s a place. It’s a thing that we own, and ideally, it’s private to us. It’s accessible. There’s always been things like Hotmail, Yahoo mail, Gmail that have been introduced that people argue kind of violate that. You see ads in it. I don’t think Gmail actually does it anymore. They’ve gotten rid of that. But it’s always evolving, and there’s been a couple attempts to oust email by the large providers by having different kinds of ways you’re receiving messages, and it just fails completely.
Social media has risen in terms of communication, but I’ve seen this almost like tidal wave coming of the fact that it’s an ad drive market. Meaning if I want to get in front of you, I’m going to have to spend money, period. If I want to get in front of you or get into your inbox, I just need to earn a little bit of your trust, and the symbol of that trust is you tell me what your email address is.

Mika Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Russ Perry: So just like dating. I don’t know dating is like because we’ve been married for so long. But you go to date somebody, if you trust that person, you’ll give them your information, an email, a phone number, whatever it might be. With social media, it’s kind of the opposite where like companies can get my info, maybe not specifically my username exactly, but I am anonymously sold to the highest bidder. My data, my information. So that’s why we’re seeing this like big backlash with the privacy and all these other things, which we’re not going to get into today.
But the two predictions, and I’ll get into the specifics of email. I think that Instagram and Facebook are going to kind of go by the ways of TV. They’re just going to simply turn into consumption channels fueled by ads, and the Instagram will be the new Seen On TV infomercial. “Hey, here’s the new cool thing.” I’ll use it. I’ll use it for entertainment, and I’ve actually started to curate my own Instagram accordingly. Like I follow less than 100 people. It’s basically brands that I like to consume. Like nature stuff, photographers, artists, and a few family members and friends. But because I follow so few people, I have an incredible high volume of ads, and they’re very well targeted. But I know if I go on there, it’s kind of like watching TV. I’m going to see what I like and then every little bit I get distracted by an ad, and maybe I do purchase something, like a new trimmer or whatever, which I actually did purchase from

Anyway, email on the other hand, we kind of got out of hand with it. I think for many of us our email inboxes are like we kind of need to declare bankruptcy. It’s like too many … We trusted too many people, too many opt-ins, too many cashiers giving them our email. But I do know that that’s not an insurmountable problem, and ultimately, at the end of the day, that is going to be the holy grail for marketing. And as a business, owning someone’s contact information because they gave it to you is the ultimate destination you want to go after with your marketing. It’s going to be way more valuable for me to go to an event and get people to learn about us and give us their contact information, even if that’s only 50 people, then to put an ad in front of 50,000 people hoping that they want to interact with us. And even if they do choose to, it’s very anonymous all the way up until either a purchase or an opt-in or those kind so things.

So this is a long way to say that I agree. I’ve been in email marketing for 13 years, 14 years, and I’ve seen a lot of things. We’ve had a couple great business episodes, and I think for today, I just want to give some best practices around it because no business should be without an email marketing strategy. And I think there are just some simple things I actually do know that I violated even in my time as an entrepreneur.

So the first thing is even if you’re not sure what you’re doing or selling, have a place for someone to go put in their email to build a list. Like this is something that so many people forget about. It’s like, “Well, I’m going to start a business, but I’m not sure what I’m going to do,” or, “I’m doing a blog but I don’t really have a product.” You always want a place, if it’s even the random person you meet at Whole Foods, it’s like, “Hey, go check this out and you can give me your email.” I’ve had my website be very careful. Don’t go to, you’ll find the other Russ Perry who lives in Las Vegas who I’m trying to buy the domain from.

Mika Perry: For years now.

Russ Perry: He’s in his 70’s. Him and I email about once a year. Basically, it’s kind of a morbid exchange because I’m checking to see if he’s alive. But I never knew what I was going to do with the I just had a place. So people would find it. I had it linked a couple places, but years and years and years went by and I had massed like thousands of emails on this between my businesses and speaking and all sorts of things. I owned every one of those contacts, and the thing that people get mixed up is that like people don’t necessarily care if you’re contacting them or not. “Oh, I like this person. I’ll give them my email.” If they don’t hear from you for two years, it’s not the end of the world.
So when I launched my book, I have this great list to launch it to, and that was powerful. So if you don’t … If right today, if you don’t have a place to give some a domain, a website, a URL, then you need to get that figured out and you need to be able to have just some location for that.

Mika Perry: Yup. And interesting fact, you all know me … Well, not all but many of you know me from Instagram and then also my blog, but actually my blog got started because of this, because I was running the professional organizing business, and I didn’t set out to be a blogger. I set out to have a website that I owned, that my clients can go to to put in their email. And so that I could have a direct contact with them because my business was under the umbrella of a larger brand. And so I didn’t own that website, but I wanted a more personal and intimate connection with my clients, and so that’s why Mika Perry was born. And when I wrapped up the personal organizing business, I kept that going. I didn’t shut down my website because I didn’t know what the next step was. And I just know the value of having a personal brand no matter what you’re doing.

Gary V in Crushing It, he will say, “Doesn’t matter who you are, what you’re doing, the next not frontier but a certain point everyone needs to have an online brand presence and having a website and a place that you can capture what an email or contact is just valuable.”

Russ Perry: Absolutely. And it’s, which I’m totally jealous of.

So that’s the first thing, make sure there’s somewhere someone can go to give you their email address. The next thing, which maybe obvious, but I definitely want to point out is have a database or a software to store the emails. You don’t want people just emailing a form and it comes into your business. So in the business world, this is called a CRM. Like a contact relationship management I think is …

Mika Perry: Customer or client.

Russ Perry: Yeah.

Mika Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Russ Perry: And the easiest, most popular free one is MailChimp. There’s lots of them. I use There’s …

Mika Perry: Constant Contact.

Russ Perry: Constant Contact. Click Funnels. There’s all sorts of ones. So the ones that are free and basic are just fine, and you can sync those up with any website that you’re going to be building.

Mika Perry: What do you like to use?

Russ Perry: I like

Mika Perry: I use MailChimp.

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: What do you like about that?

Russ Perry: Well, it’s better.

Mika Perry: Oh. Okay.

Russ Perry: Well, so it’s kind of a weird explanation. There’s a lot of automation involved, and I can create visually workflows. MailChimp probably has it now. I don’t know.

Mika Perry: MailChimp has improved.

Russ Perry: Yeah. They’re really good, and there’s the cool monkey hands and branding. But Drip, when I started, Drip was like you can almost like an org chart, where it’s like someone puts in their email. What do you want them to do? One day later, send them this email. Now, what if they buy something from your website, then send them this email. It’s real visual. And it’s just simple. But I think that’s like it’s six to one half dozen the other. They’re free. MailChimp is free. I would say when you’re starting, just don’t pay for one. Just make sure you’re using a free one, and then if you want to get the benefits and features, that’s a good problem to have because that probably means you’re moving along with whatever strategy that you’re moving along with.
So make sure you have a place for someone to put in their email, make sure you’re using another piece of software to manage that.

Now, the third thing is what do you do with these emails, and this could be a problem for people who don’t have an active business. Now if you do have an active business, the balancing act for you is how much do I communicate with my audience. And really email, at the end of the day, is to build trust and to keep a minimum viable level of awareness in your customers or audience’s minds so that when it is time for you to request an action from them, whether that’s buying from you, attending an event, signing up for something, supporting you with a book or whatever it might be that they know you, they trust you, and that you’re top of mind.

Mika Perry: And huge thing about that top of mind, you cannot assume that because your business is out there or you’re posting things on social media, that you are top of mind for your clients. You are for yourself because you’re thinking about it all the time, but it’s safe to assume that your clients and your audience is not thinking about you.

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: As much as you think they are. So getting top of mind is super important, and when I did my email marketing for organizing, I was the only organizer that was sending out my own city-specific newsletter, and because I wanted to be top of mind for my clients, my specific market, not generally nationally, and give them a little bit of a personal, behind the scenes. I think when you had a personal touch, it speaks volumes, and it’s important that you keep it on brand. I like to just kind of keep it classy, keep it short, include some visuals if it’s appropriate, and really use it as another touch point of your voice and personality, but then also you really have to have a call to action.

Russ Perry: Right. So there’s a lot of email writing courses out there. Here’s what I know writing zillions of emails myself. Do it in first person. You’re talking to your individual subscriber. You’re not talking to the group. You’re not talking to the list. Hi there, and you can use technology. Like insert their name. It’s called a merged tag. We’re not going to get into the weeds of email marketing technology, but that’s possible. But talk to them in first person, use tons of formatting and line breaks. Don’t just have one big block of copy because people like to skim. They like to kind of get the jest of things, and if you just have a seven sentence block of copy and there’s something important on sentence five, it will not be read or it will be read by a lot less people.
Also, readability stats say a plain text email is the best opened and read. Meaning all of those fancy formatting, colors, logos, pictures, inserts, all of that, while it may look cool and don’t get me wrong, I do tons of them. An email that looks like it was just composed and written by a person and not formatted and designed has a better chance of being read as well.

Mika Perry: Absolutely. And that is my goal for this year for 2019. I am coming back to the basics, and I’m focusing on my website, and part of that is continuing contact or actually really starting because I didn’t reach out to my email list this past year really. And to start a conversation with simple, quick, personal notes to them. Not a bunch of pictures, not these fancy like all sorts of linked products or anything like that, just a little like, almost in my mind I’m thinking like a note card.

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: Because I think there’s power in a handwritten note, and since I can’t do that, I don’t have people’s addresses, I’m considering this as kind of like my little note card. Like a, “Hey, thinking of you,” type of thing.

Russ Perry: Yeah. So and you mentioned … Related to that, you mentioned call to action. So you want just one per email, especially with this type of marketing. Now if you’re Banana Republic sending out your weekly newsletter of all the new clothes you have or I subscribe to the Gucci newsletter, and it’s like every day that I’m doing something crazy and cool. Then it’s a different kid of email, but for the personal connection, keeping in that mind and the top of mind for your audience, you just want really one singular point that you’re trying to get across. And you don’t have to pack it all into the email because often that call to action is then to talk, do, click, and take it to the next level.
So, Mika, you frequently will promote a blog post. “Hey, I wrote this. Now go to the blog and read all about it.” So you don’t need to cram your email of all the info if then there’s another destination. It’s a bit of a side tangent, but the same goes for advertising. If you had an ad online, you don’t need to put all the info. You’re just wanting to get someone to be like, “Oh, that seems interesting. Let me go find out more information.” Very, very Russ Perry thing I do. I don’t know if this is common or whatever is I always include only two links. A link in the beginning that is highlighting a phrase or a word that is not … It will just make sense. So if it’s like, “Yesterday I was writing about ….”

Mika Perry: Right, and it’s a hyperlink, not a button.

Russ Perry: Yeah. HTML hyperlink. And that will then link to the destination, like the blog. Then at the end of the email will be my second one, which is again not a formatted button. It’s a very specific call to action saying, “Click here to read more.” Like no one can miss it, and I’m very clear on that. And then I’ll link it to the same destination. So there’s only two clicks someone can make. It’s not a bunch of links, and they go to the same place. But one’s like a very clear call to action. One’s sort of like a nested, Wikipedia type link that you would read while you’re reading an article online. And I find that also increases the conversion rate because people when you have too many things, too many buttons, too much stuff, they can kind of get overwhelmed on that.

Mika Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And I think it’s important to keep in mind people’s attention span. I think people, us included, all of us, the tendency for us to have a short, limited attention span, not read everything super carefully. So it may seem like super cheesy or way to direct and like obvious to say, “Click here to find out more.” But you want to think that. You want to make it simple, and make it easy for them to know what to do.

Russ Perry: Now to throw out everything I just said, there’s a different kind of email that violates all these rules, and this an email in which you’re curating content for people. So there is a really hilarious daily email I get called The Hustle, and it’s imagine the Onion or the Daily Show combined with real news, not fake news, and it’s just real tech and business news but real funny, real punchy. And this emails long. There’s tons of lists. There’s tons of links. There’s ads. There’s all sorts of stuff. But it’s like a newspaper. So I subscribe to this because they curate information for me, and then I scan it and I can pick and choose what I want.

So this is what we do at Design Pickle, and we just launched the Creator’s Digest, which is our I think twice a month we’re doing it. We’re going to get to weekly eventually. It’s like all the creative news for non-creatives. So like if you want to be more creative, you want to feel like you’re creative, here’s a big dump of stuff. We don’t expect you to click every single thing. We just sort of … It’s like a buffet. What’s the value you want and then you pick it. And we’re just trying to be helpful. We’re trying to be informational.

Mika Perry: So I wonder if that’s useful for someone who doesn’t have a blog where they’re sharing a lot of information like that or a website that is informative. It’s more consumer retail type of thing. I’m kind of getting at like a newsletter, the pros and cons of like that newsletter format.

Russ Perry: A curation.

Mika Perry: Curation and information, providing that as a value. If you have a website where it’s just kind of like a … I can’t think of the word. Like buying.

Russ Perry: eCommerce.

Mika Perry: Yes. Yes. I don’t know why I couldn’t think of it.

Russ Perry: Shopping.

Mika Perry: Shopping site. If that’s what you have or like a service and there isn’t much of a story telling aspect or value providing or information education, if maybe that’s when a weekly newsletter that’s curated would be beneficial.

Russ Perry: So absolutely, and actually, if you’re not sure how to build an email list, you’re like, “I don’t even know what to do. I don’t even have one of those shopping websites. Those eCommerce websites, a blog or anything. I have nothing.” It’s like a well known sort of hack of building your email list. You’re like, “Okay. I know I’m going to do something. I want the build it.” Launching a curation email is so valuable to people because just think of how much you’re inundated with things. Like what if you saw someone and they were the oil diffusing expert email, and they would just like scour the internet and the news and all of the latest diffusers and all the things that you are into. And once a month you would get the best stuff. You don’t even have to track it. This is the expert person on that thing. It’s actually easier as a creator because you’re not writing anything. You’re just like an editor, and then as a consumer of the email, it’s really nice because you save a ton of time.
So doing one of those curation emails is a common tip for marketing. Just to build your list in the first place if you don’t have anything to start.

Mika Perry: But in order to do that, you have to get trust.

Russ Perry: Well, that’s how you build trust is you don’t curate garbage. You find a niche, you find some value on it, and you can kind of go from there. So there’s lots and lots of companies that do this now. There’s even whole business models around it that exist just as curated newsletters for any topic. I subscribe to a couple on artificial intelligence and on software and technology and Mac stuff. I just get them once a month or a couple times a month, and I don’t have to go to all the other sites to feel up to date on the things that I’m into.

Mika Perry: So let me ask you an important question that I think a lot of people have, which is how big should a list be and how often should you be reaching out to them?

Russ Perry: There’s no right number or answer. I would say your list size clearly depends on what you’re trying to accomplish as a communicator, as a marketer, as a business owner. If you are selling a very low priced, consumer-based product, you’re going to want to find that you need to build a big, big list, especially if that is a one time purchase. Now for a company like Design Pickle where we sell subscription graphic design service, we have a smaller list but we know if we get a sale, it’s like larger value. So it’s going to be okay to have a smaller list because a single conversion could be like a lifetime client where we’re getting paid every single month.

Now if you’re just a brand, a person, you’re launching a book, a product, a course, perhaps one day an organizing course on something, just saying, then you’re going to want to build a 100% value-driven list along that angle so that when it’s time to sell, these people are like, “I got so much value for free. I can’t imagine what kind of value I’m going to get when I actually give them money.” Because we assume we’re going to get more value. Like if I get the free sample at the food shop, taco stand or whatever, like I get the little taste, I’m like, “Mmm. Now if I pay for it and get it, I’m going to get the whole deal.” And that’s how you can look at your email list. A taste, a sample, this free, this free, this free.

So the list size doesn’t matter. There’s all sorts of theories that … I heard once that for every email address that could be $1 of revenue that you can make a month if you’re selling something. So if you have 1000 people, real opt-ins on your email list, theoretically you can make $1000 a month selling.

Mika Perry: I think too and for me to answer that question, I think you have to intuitively think about what’s the right fit for your business and your clients. Put yourself in their shoes. And similarly with how often you’re emailing. That too I think for me I try to think of like, “Okay. Who do I like that’s emailing me, and how often are they emailing me, and what’s my comfort level?” And it depends on what they’re sending me. Like I’ve unsubscribed to ones that it was too frequent and not enough value.

Russ Perry: Right.

Mika Perry: Whereas other ones that are frequent but they’re giving me value or it’s something I am deeply interesting in, then I don’t mind as much and I won’t unsubscribe. I will say that yesterday I unsubscribed to someone who has a podcast, who is a coach. I like her podcast and I will still listen to it. However, it was the way she worded her email did not sound like how her podcast went, and actually, when you brought up the whole like paragraph and breaking it up, here’s her one line each for the whole thing, and I found the readability … So she wasn’t doing anything wrong. But for me the readability didn’t match her voice, and it just didn’t work for me. I got no … It was weird. I got zero value out of her email but tons of value out of her podcast. So I don’t know if maybe she’s not writing it. But I unsubscribed.

Russ Perry: Oh, harsh.

Mika Perry: Yeah. And so …

Russ Perry: Got to be clear on what the email’s for. If it is to be an additional channel of value, like for this person for example.

Mika Perry: Now it didn’t … Her subject line says Tip Tuesday, and it always follows with a subject. And like a top. But I wasn’t getting a tip out of it. It was so hard to read for me that I couldn’t get to her point.

Russ Perry: Right. Well, you just don’t have to spread yourself thin, especially if you got a small team. And you should always think about what’s your primary thing for your brand, your business, whatever it is. For us, it’s this podcast, The podcast is the thing. The website is a place for us to host the podcast and we can collect emails. If you want to get our list, our tips, a notification on what we’re doing, that’s what we’ll do. But when we send you that email, it’s not going to be to rehash the podcast. It’s not going to be to add on a bunch more content around the podcast. It’s just going the be like, “Hey, here’s what we did today.”

Mika Perry: Yep. And also we have one that goes out that asks for information for suggestions, and I’ve been getting emails on topics that people want to hear. So the intention of email originally was a form of communication, and that’s kind of what it’s come back down to.

Russ Perry: Funny. Full circle.

Mika Perry: I know.

Russ Perry: So I think to kind of sum all of this up, it’s never too late to start, and if you’re not clear on where you’re at, then just get something rolling. There’s a lot of easy ways to get a site up and to be collecting email addresses, and it will happen organically and over a long period of time. It’s not something you can rush. You can’t buy email addresses in a scalable way with good quality. You have to build it, and I would say look at your email marketing, look at your email strategy as a conduit for people to access the value you’re creating, and if that’s in the email itself, great. If that’s linking to a podcast or a product or a video, a YouTube video, that’s awesome too. Just know it’s a stepping stone to that and one that you should treat with respect as well as use wisely and not inundate them with too many line breaks.

Mika Perry: Well, I hope you got a lot of value out of this podcast, and we do have a website, And we would love to email with you.

Russ Perry: Give us your email, please.

Mika Perry: It’s Send us an email on anything that comes up to mind as you’re listening to our podcast, whether it’s a suggestion, a question, a share of a personal story of yours as it relates to topics we discuss. We’d love to connect with you there.

Russ Perry: Awesome. And you can always subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play. We’re on all those items, and we’d love a review. So thanks so much everyone. We’ll see you next week on Good To Be Home.

Mika Perry: Bye.

Russ Perry: Thanks for listening to this episode of Good To Be Home.

Mika Perry: And don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes and give us a rating.

Russ Perry: See you next time.