Nov. 13, 2020

How To Write Emails That Customers Love Opening with Val Geisler

How To Write Emails That Customers Love Opening with Val Geisler

Email is one of the very few direct channels of communication that you have with your customer. When done right, emails can help you to stand out in a mountain of spam while also making you money. Val Geisler joins Katelyn Bourgoin to explain:

  • How to pull customers towards your brand
  • How to write emails that your customers are going to love opening
  • The difference between Features and Benefits (and which is more important to your customer)
  • And so much more

Val Geisler is the Co-Founder and Chief Email Optimizer at Fix My Churn.

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Val Geisler: [00:00:00] I think about email as the best way for our customers to experience the brand without. having to show up on the website if you're using emails solely to convey features, the bits and pieces of what makes up your product, then it's kind of like walking into someone's living room and.

[00:00:18]Giving a monologue about yourself 

[00:01:08] Katelyn Bourgoin: let's talk about email, whether you love or hate going through your email inbox. There is no denying it. Email marketing works. One study. I read showed that every dollar businesses invest in email marketing will on average generate $44 in return on that investment. That's huge, right. Email is one of the very few communication channels that you can actually own.

[00:01:35] And that's why so many brands go to huge lengths to build and nurture their email lists that said doing email well, okay. Can be tough. Just look at your own inbox for proof. Right? How many brands send the kinds of emails that you, I actually want to open for me? It's like three or four at best. Okay. That means there's lots of money being left on the table.

[00:01:58] My guest today has made it her mission to rid the world of spammy boring and downright dumb email campaigns. She's widely considered the queen of email and is the go-to expert for top sass and eCommerce businesses, businesses like Stripe envision and buffer. I am speaking with Val Geisler today and I am so excited Val's the founder and chief email optimizer at fix my churn. And as you may have guessed from the name of her business, that is all about helping subscription companies to get, and most importantly, keep more happy customers. So if customer attention is a priority for your business right now, this episode is a must-listen.

[00:02:40] according to marketing Twitter, you are the undisputed queen of email. So like, why so passionate about email?

[00:02:48]Val Geisler: I don't know. I've loved email for a long time. I. I'm one of those people who, like, I opened my inbox and I started to critique things instead of just like reading through my emails, like a normal person.

[00:03:03]I I've been involved

[00:03:04] in email and, and cause really it's like the customer experience. to me email's the center of that, right? Like we, As brands, we rely on one of two things. Either our customers just love our brand and show up on our website from, you know, either they remembered it or they heard it on an ad or something like that.

[00:03:24] So they either the customers come to us or we go to them and the way we go to them is typically through email. now we have SMS in the mix. Where we can text people. but that's still a pretty private channel for most people. And email is a little more accessible. It is still very personal though. you know, you have to think about the fact that  a single person is opening an email and experiencing it.

[00:03:48] it feels like the most personal and direct way we can reach out to customers. And it's the best way for our customers to experience the brand without. having to show up on the website, you know, so, It's like, it's our way to go to them and meet them where they are. And that's why I like email so much.

[00:04:06] Katelyn Bourgoin:  Oh, I love that. And I'm excited to talk to you a little bit SMS, cause I know that that's something that you have some experience with and you have some thoughts on, but before we get there, so your company is named fixed my churn. So you know what you do and you know, the problem that you solve. And so first of all, for any of our listeners who are outside of the subscription world, what the heck is churn first?

[00:04:25] Tell me. Yeah.

[00:04:26] Val Geisler:  Yeah. So churn is the number of customers that you have. Minus the customers that are leaving every single day or divided by actually the customers that leave. if you get a subscription of any kind, it's, you know, you're making this purchase every single month.

[00:04:44] Well, if you decide to leave at one point, then you attribute to that brand's churn. Um, Churn is the number of customers who are leaving a brand, typically measured on a monthly basis.

[00:04:55] Katelyn Bourgoin:  Right. So you're talking about software companies or like, you know, like jam up the month club.

[00:05:01] Val Geisler:  Yeah. Yeah. All of it.

[00:05:02]so software, most of the time runs on subscription. and then more and more e-commerce brands are running on subscription. Traditionally it's been consumables. So, you know, jam of the month club, makeup, skincare products, razor blades, things like that. but more and more brands are, are jumping on this subscription bandwagon.

[00:05:22]you see brands like Bombus is a great example they call it membership. so some brands will call it membership. but it's essentially a subscription every month you get a pair of socks. Mandy's another great example. Every month you get new underwear. And so those aren't.

[00:05:40] Consumables, those aren't items that, I mean, eventually, wear through socks and underwear and you need new ones. but not yeah. In the like, Oh, the tube is out. Yeah. Or something like that. Right. It's there is a threshold on right. Other items that are non-consumables where a customer could consider, Hey, I'm.

[00:06:00] My sock drawer is super full. I'm good right now. All right. So, so there, there's a challenge there for non-consumable brands, to have a subscription and then figure out, okay, what's the cadence for our subscription. and then what is that threshold for our customers? And. What can we, as a brand do to keep customers right around a little bit longer, extend that customer lifetime value, to not, to like force customers to stay around when they're softer.

[00:06:29] Yeah. But what kind of value adds are we providing? Are we talking about gifting, socks? You know, what are we talking about. other options, you know, there are other people in your family that, that need new socks. Yeah. There are all kinds of ways we can keep customers around. and it's just about, you know, Knowing more about your customers so that you can, you can serve them what they need.

[00:06:51] Katelyn Bourgoin:  It's funny. This is probably too personal, but my husband, his mother buys him new socks and underwear every Christmas, and I've never bought them for him. I don't think he has his life he's ever bought them for itself. And so, you know, a subscription like that could be really interesting for him. Cause it's like, Oh, you mean there's more than like Hanes that came from winter.

[00:07:11] Whoa, I'm really upping my game. .

[00:07:14]Val Geisler: Mandy's is fun for couples. Too. Cause they do like matching sets. So that's cute.

[00:07:18] Katelyn Bourgoin: Okay. So churn, we know what churn is. We understand why companies might want to keep customers longer. So like what, tell me about email. Like where does email fit into this whole churn equation?

[00:07:30] How can email help you to stop losing your subscription customers or your members?

[00:07:36] Val Geisler:  Yeah. So, I don't think email is the place to start actually. email's a, a tool. it's a means to an end. So it's kind of like when I talk to any brand SAS e-commerce, even brick and mortar, typically they're all selling features, so.

[00:07:56]our gym is made with fresh, picked berries from bushes in Maine. And, you know, we, we're a family owned business and all of these things. but those are all features. They're things that make your product. but the benefits is truly where we have to start and. The benefits are what make the product right for your customer.

[00:08:21]. I think about email as the it's it's like the tool we use to convey those benefits. so if you're using emails solely to convey features, the, the bits and pieces of what make up your product, then you are showing up in a, it's kind of like walking into someone's living room, someone that you just kind of know, and.

[00:08:46] Giving a monologue about yourself, you know, it's, if you think about it in that way, like you go to like friend of a friend's house, and you're meeting them for maybe this is the second time you've met. You've met more socially in another place, and then you're all getting together. So now you're at their house and, you walk in and without invitation.

[00:09:10] You just start talking about yourself nonstop and those people. Yes, we have. and it's obnoxious, right? Like if you think about that experience with that person, that real life person, you can start to realize. That's pretty annoying. And who do they think they are? And, there are other people here, you know, I want to get to know you and getting to know you as a couple, and it's not, you just.

[00:09:41] Running over me with your co you know, words about like words of grand jury about yourself. and unfortunately though, that is exactly how most brands are showing up in email is you are walking into people's digital living room in the being their inbox and giving monologues about ourselves and how great we are.

[00:10:02] And, you know, the. The cotton that we use for our tee shirts and, the, you know, whatever it is, the features of our product, instead of talking about the benefit to them Oh gosh, I can't remember what apparel company it was, but they, they made fitness apparel. And they, I remember seeing an email from them that said something about like, never worry about.

[00:10:28]tugging on your clothes during yoga again,

[00:10:31]Katelyn Bourgoin:  Ugh. That resonates so much. There's nothing more awkward than when you're in a group of people. You're trying not to be the bumbling one. And like, you can feel like your shorts are riding down or like your shirts writing up and it's so uncomfortable.

[00:10:45] Val Geisler:  Well, you're like mid workout and your bra strap strap is itchy or , you're. Shorts or leggings or writing down and you have to like, stop what you're doing and fix that. And then you're thinking about it. And you're not thinking right. The yoga pose or is that dates that you're lifting or whatever it is.

[00:11:04] Well, it's incredibly effective as a brand to say like, Hey. We know, this is the thing that you're constantly struggling with and we fixed it with our product.  then they'll care about whatever, fabric you have or, you know, your seamless technology or any of those things that are features.

[00:11:23] They will care about them because you've told them why that matters to them.

[00:11:28] Katelyn Bourgoin:  This is fantastic. So it sounds as though, as you've said, like email isn't necessarily the place to start, you need to be at a higher level. You really need to understand the benefits that you as a company can provide to your customers.

[00:11:39] And email is a way to communicate that message. And so looking at what you do and how you help your clients, like email might be like the mechanism. Is there other ways, like, do you help them figure out what their benefits are?

[00:11:51]Val Geisler:  we at fixed my churn and me as a person, have this reputation around email and email is the second step in our process. and so most brands who come to us we're, you know, they say like, Hey, we need these. Welcome sequences or post-purchase flows or onboarding. and I say, great, what kind of customer research have we done?

[00:12:17] And they say, Oh, we talked to our customers all the time. We have support tickets. And we sent this survey about, you know, where they buy our product. Are they buying on Amazon or are they buying from our website? Or, you know, we sent, we've sent these really, you know, product centered surveys. We'll give them all to you.

[00:12:37] And that's great. I love all of that. I love looking through customer support tickets. I love reading responses to product surveys, and I need more. I need to talk to the customers them, right? If they're coming the support tickets. Aren't about them. It's about the product and your product surveys are about the product.

[00:12:59]you know, what flavors do you want to see that's about the product. whereas we ask questions, from a jobs to be done standpoint, we're trying to get to what is the job that your customer has for your brand? Is it, I don't want to be worrying about my clothes when I'm doing yoga. Great. That's the job.

[00:13:19] Now we can sell that. And, talk about features in relationship to that job.

[00:13:25] Katelyn Bourgoin:  I love this. And as the listeners will probably already know, because I talk about it all the time, I'm a huge research nerd. I am a big fan of the jobs to be done framework and the theory behind it. And one of the things that I often say is that like empathy doesn't travel through osmosis, right?

[00:13:40] Like even if the founders that you're working directly with. Have a good understanding as to who their customers are and why those customers come and what their struggles are and what benefits matter to them. Like you, as the marketer, that's going to deliver the work. You also need to develop that empathy.

[00:13:56] And so oftentimes like having a couple of conversations with actual customers is like the shortcut to getting there. Right. That could all, if you didn't do it that way could probably take months of kind of like, okay, that message didn't really land. Let's try another one. Like, okay. So that didn't really land.

[00:14:11] Let's try another, it's like this massive shortcut. How many companies that you work with push back on that part of the process? Like do, do they always understand why that's important?

[00:14:21] Val Geisler:  They don't not, not usually at first. and so. That's a lot of what I do is talk to people about why it's important. And, and you know, the biggest benefit that past clients have lived.

[00:14:36] We've done this research for I've seen is like, We've seen them take the research that we do for the purpose of what kind of emails are we going to talk about? And they redesign all the copy on their marketing site or the sales team takes it and redoes the way that they would do their decks for pitches.

[00:14:56]they. They use it in ad copy. so having that true voice of customer of, you know, these are the problems that they're trying to solve in their life, and this is why they're trying to do that. And, and this product solves it for them. Or in some cases it didn't solve it for them. we love to talk to customers who have never purchased from you, but are like in your

[00:15:19] ecosystem. So they're on your email list, but have never made a purchase. Or we like to talk to customers who were subscribers  for a while and then canceled.  what was that about and what wasn't working for you because then the brand gets to address those objections and those problems. And a lot of times.

[00:15:38] It's like, okay, well, we can't really address that objection because we actually need to fix it. So then the brands get to go and make meaningful change to their product based on what the customers are saying.

[00:15:50]Katelyn Bourgoin:  do you see any patterns and what companies tend to be doing wrong that is leading to customers canceling?

[00:15:57] Like, is there, is it always different depending on the company or are there some kind of like higher level patterns that brands can look out for?

[00:16:04]Val Geisler:  It's definitely different based on the company, but there are some things like. one would be, just not, not ever talking to them. so a lot of times I see a lot of brands say like, Oh, well, they're on a subscription and they're giving us their money every month and we just want to leave them alone.

[00:16:21] Katelyn Bourgoin:  I don't want to bother them is such a common. Yeah. Objection. It's almost like they're afraid that they're going to realize that they're on this subscription and can't,

[00:16:30]Val Geisler:  and that's just it's that comes up a lot in the software side is like, well, they're not an active user, but they're on this subscription.

[00:16:36] And so if we talk to them, they're going to remember that they're not actually using this short term thinking. And also, especially like, if I'll say, Hey, let's actually talk to them, the people who aren't using the software and say, Hey, we've noticed that you haven't been active for six weeks. I'm like, we want to help you with that.

[00:16:57] And, you know, I get a lot of objection to that because. Pointing out the fact that someone has been inactive, in, in a founder's mind, is often like, well, they're just gonna, why would they not just walk away? But you know, talking to customers, you know, Talking to them about, Hey, it's been a little while since we've seen you around.

[00:17:19]maybe we get ahead of that six weeks points. We say like, Hey, it's been three weeks since you were last active. We know that, you know, your monthly billing is coming up and we want to make sure that if we're going to charge you where we're charging for something that you. Are you using, so like, do we need to have a call?

[00:17:38] Do you, do you have specific questions we can help with, like asking for those replies to emails? so I think that there's a couple of things it's like not talking to customers, causes them to churn. so. Not emailing them other than here's your invoice or your, your receipt for your monthly payment.

[00:17:58] If all they are to you is a credit card. that becomes very frustrating as a person, you know, they're, they are a person they're not just a credit card number. when I talked to service based businesses and when most people used to do billing through PayPal, I used to tell people like they're people, not PayPal accounts.

[00:18:17]we have to remember that. So there's, that element is like, Please talk to your customers on a more regular basis. And then,  also getting ahead of it and saying, Hey, you know, we noticed that, I think is it. Maybe it's Oh, book of the month club.

[00:18:34] They do this really well. so book of the month, yeah. A book every single month. and you get to choose from a list of five or six books that they've kind of curated. And, and what they'll do is when it's getting to be like the beginning of the month, they'll say, Hey, new books are up, go pick your book.

[00:18:49]and then. If you don't pick your book within a couple of weeks, they say, Hey reminder, going to pick your book before the end of the month. And here's some, here's some additional details about the books and here's what's most popular so far this month. and then at the, towards the end, end of the month, they'll say like, Hey reminder, You got to pick your book or tell us you want to skip this month and we'll skip it for you.

[00:19:14] And we'll, you know, you get the credit for a future month, but, you have to tell us. And so they, you know, they do a really good job of encouraging people based on where they're at in their selection of saying like, Hey, you haven't chosen your book. Get the month is almost up. We're going to have all new books next month.

[00:19:33] It's totally cool. If you want to skip this month. Just let us know.

[00:19:37]Katelyn Bourgoin:  I think that as a consumer, getting that email would almost feel like it would feel like the right kind of poke. So it's like, this is something that you've committed to.

[00:19:44] You wanted to be reading a book every month. Like we know, you know, stuff happens. So like, it's okay if you want to skip this month, but , it's  a subtle enough.  poke  I like that. I think as a consumer, I would be really frustrated if that just happened automatically.

[00:19:58] Right. If it just by default, I got to skip it and then I just, my subscription just kept growing and growing. I love that they're reaching out.

[00:20:05]Val Geisler:  I think it's a great example for a lot of brands to do more outreach  I think the biggest problem is that it takes. It takes time to sit down and think through, , the customer's experience.

[00:20:19] And it helps if you talk to them, because then they tell you, but also just to think through, okay, what are these touch points? And, and then how can we use the data that we have and send messaging in relationship to that. So staying with that book of the month, feature, or, you know, as an example, They will, they have this data on?

[00:20:41] Did you choose a book or did you not? Because if you chose a book, they know that they're shipping it and sending it to you. So there's like there are processes happening because you chose a book. If they, those processes aren't happening, that means you didn't choose a book yet. And so being able to take those two very distinct categories of customer and send different messaging based on.

[00:21:06] What they have, or have not done that is, it takes time to sit down and think through how are these messages different? w what are we saying to these customers who are not choosing books versus the ones that have chosen, you know, all of those things. Are it's it's time consuming and it's, it might challenge you in a way that you haven't really thought through before.

[00:21:30] So, you know, segmenting your list based on activity is it's super important and it's what makes customers feel like they matter and that they, you know, they have, they feel seen and heard by you because you're acknowledging. The actions that they've taken or, or haven't taken, or even the interests that they've expressed.

[00:21:54] Oh, well, you haven't chosen a book in three months. are you, are you still reading the last one what's going on? Like, we, we want to talk to you about that. Do you need shorter books? Do you need lighter books? Like, are these too heavy? there's all kinds of ways that we can approach it, but just.

[00:22:10] Noticing what our customers are doing and then talking to them,

[00:22:14]Katelyn Bourgoin: looking at the companies , especially e-commerce comfort and I'd love to kind of dig in on those, the ones that are doing it really, really well. The ones who you see, two that are just getting. Fierce loyalty from, from their subscribers and members.

[00:23:57] What are they doing? That's working so well, like who are some examples that our listeners should emulate?

[00:24:02] Val Geisler:  gosh, That's a great question. Cause I'm like there are so few really great examples. and, and there are people, there are brands that are doing unique things in different ways. but one that comes to mind is bloom. so Blu, M E it's a skincare line for gen Z. and what they do really well is that they really know gen Z.

[00:24:27]and they know what their particular customers are struggling with. they know how to talk to them. They know what they want. So one thing that they've built is in their, referral program.  they don't just have this, like, Hey, Give give $20 get $20 thing that kind of everybody does in the eCommerce land.

[00:24:48] If you use your referral link and their friend uses it, then you get money added to your account. And so did they, so a lot of people use this,  way of doing referrals. Bloom does something really different that they have created a whole, like space. They call it bloom Topia. And when you've referred somebody to the brand, you become a member of bloom, Topia, and bloom, Topia includes things like a.

[00:25:15] Private Instagram account that only bloom Topia members have access to. And they do a lot of private stories in that account. And that's like, that's where gen Z is all the time, you know? So, they, they really listen to and understand what their customers want more of and they deliver it. And in really unique ways, you know, could have just done that.

[00:25:41] Yeah. As like here's our. That could have been open to all customers, but they kept it just for people who are doing active referrals to other cause like that's a free marketing channel for you.

[00:25:52] Katelyn Bourgoin:  You just have to be so excited because we've been talking about internally at char boys, my husband's company that we we've been talking about creating a, we, we try to have a referral program in our last month launch and it went well.

[00:26:05] But one of the things we've been talking about is like, there's definitely this element that our customers want to be in the club. Like they. Yeah. Most funny memes that we can share on social media, because they know that we're always sharing them. And like, they'll  write my husband and  ask him like specific questions or , they'll see  a really cool salt.

[00:26:19] And they'll like, pick it up for him. And like there's already this, this element happening of like, they want to be tighter into like a unique community. That is just for the people that are passionate about barbecue. So we've been talking about like, well, how do we create that club? And what does it look like?

[00:26:35] Is it a Facebook group? Like how do you get into it? And like, how do you get, you know, what type of content will be shared there? I love the idea of using your referral program as the way to get people in the club, because obviously the people that want to be in the club are probably the ones that are doing the referrals naturally.

[00:26:52] Anyway, like that's, that's what we've seen. And so. But being able to reward those people was something bigger than just money is a genius idea. I love, love, love that.

[00:27:02] Val Geisler:  Yeah. I mean, it's like thinking through again, it's just, you know, doing a lot of customer research to talk to customers and understand where their values are and what's important to them.

[00:27:12]you know, I was, there was a. a Twitter conversation that I was reading the other day, ironically, while putting my toddler down for a nap. and the conversation was around, you know, is creating a daily email. maybe it was a sub stock, like creating a daily sub stack, of tips, short little tips for new parents.

[00:27:37] And, so. Okay, well, not, not everyone sub stack isn't necessarily readily accessible, so maybe it should be an email. And then somebody said, what if it's a text? What if it's like, if it's going to be short anyways, what if it's delivered through text? And here I am on my phone, I'm putting my toddler down for a nap and I thought that's genius because a new parent needs.

[00:28:05] That they need quick delivery and they need to not be asked to do another thing. So by having to go into your inbox, which is like typically a fire, a dumpster fire, you know, like all your guilt is in the inbox. It's like with them and get back to them. Yeah. And it's all right there versus, I mean, text is still very much like a.

[00:28:28] A place where we communicate with our friends and family. And it's also just way more accessible than email as far as like the number of steps to get into it. and so if you are sending this kind of like daily. Tips thing, try understanding where your customers are. If they are new parents, maybe text is the best way to send it.

[00:28:51]because they are sitting there nursing a new baby and looking at their phone or, walking up and down the hallway with a crying kid and needs some kind of distraction or reminder . You have to think about that. I talked to a company a couple of years ago who realized that those heavy designed template emails.

[00:29:12] Are beautiful. And their customers were all in New York and riding the subway most of them. And so they would open their email and they couldn't, it wouldn't load like enough for in time before, like between subway stations. So they started delivering these more text-based emails with just inline links and they got a lot of more click throughs and a lot more activity from their email because.

[00:29:35] They changed the, I mean, they didn't change anything else. That was what they change the big change. And they realized it was that, you know, a lot of their customers were on mass transit and had. you know, changing cell reception and they needed to be able to download the email really quickly, between stations and, and be able to click through to the website.

[00:29:56]Katelyn Bourgoin:  , Oh, that's so smart. Like we've all been in that situation too, where you like want something to be able to pass the time throughout the different stops. And so yeah, you own like emails is great. One that you can scroll and you can get gather all that information, but yeah, if there are these. Highly visual emails and it's just going to look like nothing.

[00:30:15] Val Geisler:  You're just going to skip it forever. Like there's a take for, and it, yeah, it just looks like a bunch of empty boxes. you're just gonna skip over it, but if it's texts that you can read through really quickly, like on something you're interested in, it's more likely that you'll take action on it.

[00:30:30]Katelyn Bourgoin:  So that brings me to another question.

[00:30:31] So like getting into kind of like the actionable stuff, I'm sure that there's probably not a hard line in the sand around like, you know, the pretty beautiful visual ones versus texts, but like where do you sit on it? Like, if you're a brand, who'd be, let's say you're just getting started. You don't have an in house designer.

[00:30:47] Like what is it okay to send just text-based emails? Are people expecting that, that beautiful brand? I guess that's my question. Like what's kind of the standard.

[00:30:58] Val Geisler:  Yeah. This is a, the basic email answer for everything is it depends. You have to test it. so everybody hates, but often the truest it's true.

[00:31:11] It is a frustrating answer to hear. but it is also the truest. and, and also maybe both. the other answer, because you know, some of the most successful campaigns I see are aware, you know, maybe you send the, the product drops, right? Like you have your new t-shirt design. And so you send this like beautiful stylized email with the pictures of the shirt and, you know, a little bit of text to go with it.

[00:31:42] And you're a big call to action buttons. And so you send that on the product drop day. And then maybe, and maybe it's to people who didn't click through, or you maybe resend to everyone, but, you know, preferably doing some kind of segmenting where the next day or the day after that you send more of a text based email where you're using more of the, like, talking about the benefits of this product.

[00:32:07] Hey, you know, we heard you wanted, T-shirts are with this, a particular design, like you've said, why you, why it matters to you. And so we went ahead and made it and, and using those like inline links to get people to click, I think like doing that kind of combo makes it really accessible to everyone.

[00:32:28]it helps deliver the product in different ways. It's kind of that, Something we learned in school about how everybody learns in different ways. Like some are visual, some are auditory and some are kinesthetic. And we have to remember that with email too. Like not everyone is going to, receive it.

[00:32:43] Yeah. Visuals in the same way. And sometimes people just need to be able to read about it.

[00:32:47] Katelyn Bourgoin: ] Okay. So let's say that somebody has bought your product and you're not Amazon. You can't ship next day. It's going to take a little bit of time to get it to their doorstep. Is there anything that you can do in between that buy button is clicked through to like that thing is showing up on their doorstep to get them excited, keep them engaged.

[00:33:05] Like, what are you seeing companies doing?

[00:33:07]Val Geisler:  I love a really good post-purchase sequence. And this is one of the biggest opportunities for eCommerce brands is to create an email sequence between the moment that the purchase happens and when it's delivered, a lot of brands are leaving customers. kind of high and dry.

[00:33:25] And I actually, I, sharing some examples of this, pretty recently on Twitter, I'll send you the link Caitlin, so you can include it, but just to kind of give a again, because we all learn differently, you might be able to listen and understand it, but you might need a, something to look at to understand, but, you know, sending emails in between that prepare your customer for the product to arrive.

[00:33:46]I have seen everything from a makeup brand sending like, Hey, you ordered this multi stick. Hmm. And here's all the different ways people are using it. and here's what to expect. Brooklyn in sh they make sheets. they send what to, you know, to expect that like the second year sheets arrived, don't go put 'em on your bed, take them to the washer.

[00:34:08] And here's how you should wash them the first time. and then, you know, That just prepares them for what to expect when the product arrives. I've seen food brands. Give recipes. So here, go get these other ingredients that you're going to want when your bone broth arrives and you're ready to make soup.

[00:34:28]and you know, getting them excited about their purchase because they've just spent money on the internet, which feels like very intangible. and there's, there's often a lot of buyer's remorse.

[00:34:38]Katelyn Bourgoin:  so you mentioned SMS, which for anybody who's listening, who that's a new term, like what is SMS and like, How would you use that, especially for like maybe eCommerce companies.

[00:34:48] How might you use that in combination with email to create a really great experience to kind of like, keep that customer excited as you're, as you're delivering their product?

[00:34:58] Val Geisler:  Yeah. SMS is, text messaging it's and it it's it's SMS and MMS is the technical term, but we all know it. I was getting texts.

[00:35:09]the. SMS is text only. And then MMS is where it includes some kind of image. So just as a, if you see those terms around, they are incredibly useful for a lot of things. but typically you want to keep marketing to a minimum on that channel. So everyone loves an SMS. A shipping notification, like when you want to know, Oh my my thing shipped.

[00:35:40] Great. I love it. I got that quick text that said it shipped. Here's a link if I want to track it. it's almost better than email though. I think, you know, in that case you want to have both, if they signed up for SMS, so, SMS and MMS text messages are, they are an opt in. Thing as well, they fall into the same category as email, where your customers have to opt into it.

[00:36:03] They have to give you permission to text them. so you have to be really explicit about that too, don't they? Yeah. And your terms and conditions that, because the, they gave you their phone number in there, their order processing, right? Thinking like, Oh, this is, I'm giving you my phone number in case there's problems with shipping or something like that.

[00:36:21] And then you have it buried in your terms and conditions that this means that there, that you're allowed to text. That's a great tip. Cause I think that people would get very annoyed by that. Yeah. I mean, I've, I've had that happen and it's obnoxious. and. So I think, email and SMS are friends.

[00:36:39] They're not, SMS is not going to replace email in any way. I think they work together. SMS is a really great tool and all four things that are, are quick, that, you know, like shipping notification, your. Hey, we saw your product arrived yesterday. Is everything the way that you thought it would be?

[00:36:58]here's how here's, who you contact if it's not, or maybe you're running a special program. So I've seen brands, do things like. Hey, we're gonna, we're gonna do 30 days of self care. And so every day for 30 days, you're going to get a text with a little, like self care to do or a link to something to watch or listen to.

[00:37:21] And so it's like a, that's just kind of an add on like, maybe you're a. maybe you make essential oils are so for, you know, something that falls in that kind of category, or maybe like even a fitness brand would do something like that. but think those kinds of things is like challenges or, Add ons that aren't related to your product necessarily.

[00:37:41]those kinds of things are really great to send through SMS.

[00:37:45] Katelyn Bourgoin:  I like that you made that distinction because like, as a consumer, when SMS became Mo you know, as I started to hear more and more about companies using it, and as I became the recipient of some of these campaigns, Some of them are doing it right.

[00:37:57] Like you're saying, you know, it was very intentional. It was, the texts were helpful and others were just treating it as though it's a new email channel and I can just blast you with promotional content. And so, you know, same thing with, I find like with Facebook messages or with DMS anywhere, it's like, that is a sink like that is a sacred place.

[00:38:16] And if you're going to let a brand in, you really want that brand to be respectful of. What type of communications are appropriate and what ones are not. I love that you made that distinction.

[00:38:28] Val Geisler:  Yeah. It's really important that SMS feels like a friend reaching out. So a friend reaching out would tell you, Hey, I'm showing up at your house in 20 minutes.

[00:38:40] That's what a friend might text. And so that's what the brand is saying. Like, Hey, your, your product shipped we're on the way. and a friend might text like, Hey, how are you doing today? it bloom at that, the example I gave earlier every now and again, they send a text with a link to a barcode, and that barcode has a certain amount of dollars loaded on it for Starbucks.

[00:39:03] And they send it to everyone on their SMS list. And so it's kind of first comfort. It is first come first serve, but like here's a Starbucks drink on us. And remember that it is, you know, first come first serve. And once it's gone, it's gone, but we'll send another one and they send it like every, every week or two, you get a text like that.

[00:39:22] And if you. I happened to be by a Starbucks and in need, then you can go get a drink on them. not that I need to follow that. It sounds like they're doing really fun, brilliant things they really are. Yeah. I think they're, they're worth paying attention to, to see, you know, How is what they're doing apply to your brand and your customers?

[00:39:43]obviously not everyone is serving gen Z and particularly female gen Z, or, you know, that's, that's really what they are built for is female identifying gen Z customers. And that's a very specific group of people, but you can take what they're doing and apply it to any group of people.

[00:40:03] Absolutely. And so kind of wrapping things up, like the world of eCommerce has obviously changed a lot.

[00:40:09] Katelyn Bourgoin:  We, we see it in the shipping times. We see it in our attention, more brands coming along really great offers. Like what are some of the trends or opportunities if you're in that space, if you want to serve customers through eCommerce, like what are some of the things that we should be paying attention to that are exciting and interesting.

[00:40:28]Val Geisler:  You know, eCommerce is like such a fast moving target and there's all kinds of brands doing really interesting things. I've seen memberships have been a, a really big. Push lately. So not just creating these like, Oh, well you subscribe, subscribe and save. You know, where subscribe and you get 15% off your standard.

[00:40:53] One time purchase price. That's great. But people or brands are taking this even further and saying, Hey, let's give you a whole membership where now you have that 15% off, but you also have. Access to a secret podcast or, a, you know, you get product releases a week before everybody else, or, you know, those kinds of things where it's like this whole package of.

[00:41:23] Activity and interesting things to do, as a, it creates community. And I think that that's actually really, what's probably the most important and, you know, in a world where we're also very disconnected, especially right now, we brands are creating community and really unique way is, and it's happening in.

[00:41:45] Email it's happening in SMS. It's happening in Facebook groups and, Instagram, private, Instagram channels, and, you know, lots of places and you can do it in whatever way serves you and your customers. But, I think just thinking through that, how do we connect people who are. You know, think about your customers.

[00:42:07] They're all over the place, like all over the world, physically, but they're also connected by your brand. And so how do you connect them even on a deeper level?

[00:42:15]Katelyn Bourgoin:  that is gorgeous. I love that. Then I love that you talk about, you know, email's a channel, SMS is a channel Facebook groups. It's less about the tool set, but it sounds like it's really about understanding how you can bring those people together in a way that matters.

[00:42:28] That's. Such such great insight. And so Val, if people want that to follow you, if they want to learn more about what you do, if they want to hire you to help with their email or their SMS campaigns, where should they go?

[00:42:40] Val Geisler:  Well fix my is the first place to go. You can join my email list there and you'll get a email, all onboarding tear downs.

[00:42:50] So kind of that, that welcome email sequence, tear downs of how other brands are doing it, where the opportunities are and where, how you can apply it to your business. And then, you can also connect with me on Twitter. I'm at love valgeisler and you can, come find me there and have a conversation about I'll.

[00:43:09] You know, I'm happy to answer any questions that anybody has that, you know, if you're listening to this episode and you have a few questions, feel free to reach out. And, you know, I'm pretty much an open book and I could talk about this stuff all day, every day. And I do. Yeah, you get so much value on Twitter.

[00:43:25] I follow Val on Twitter and I learn a ton from her. So definitely take her up on that and go and follow her. Thank you .  We really appreciate you being here.

[00:43:33] Thank you for having me.


Katelyn Bourgoin Profile Photo

Katelyn Bourgoin

Host of Customer Show & Founder of Customer Camp

Katelyn is the founder of Customer Camp, a training and research firm that helps growth-ready product teams to get inside their customer’s heads so they can market smarter.