Episode 172 Featuring Connor Curlewis

Alex Gregoriades - The Email Bounty Hunting Strategy

Alex Gregoriades - The Email Bounty Hunting Strategy

In today's episode, we talked to Alex Gregoriades, an email list manager, copywriter, and deliverability expert.

Email marketing allows you to reach, connect, engage, and build strong relationships with your audience in a personalized way. As a brand, you have to make sure you provide entertainment, and of course, share valuable things with them. Your customers will surely appreciate it, they will trust you more and see you as the best solution for them.

Alex shared with us the importance of email marketing in scaling your business. He also talked about the first things you should do when you have a new domain, and also shared some tips in order to keep your email list healthy.


Technical email issues he usually encounter and how to solve them

Joseph: So you know, I've got a couple of emails that I have to look at. I look at the webinar email, I look at my own email and then like the 12 that I have, not related to this company. But I also look at the podcast email and we got to an opening email from you. And the first email didn't show up in our spam. And I replied to you and that was all fine. It was the replies that started showing up in the spam filter.

So I'm like, oh, I guess that fella must be busy. Well, I guess we'll hear from him someday going back to typing things, but then like, wait a minute. What's going on? And then it was my producer who noticed, by the way, Joseph, you haven't responded to that guy in like six weeks. Wait, wait a minute. What? So despite that email has been around for like I'd say like 15, 20 years, probably longer than that, it still seems to encounter some tactical issues.

What are some of the issues that you'd run into and if possible, what kind of solutions have you been able to drum up in response to them? 

Alex Gregoriades: It's interesting. You know, cause like it happens for new domains, so that was a new domain I purchased like in a week and being like so busy with my client work. I didn't even care about my own things. I just wanted to work on my plans things and I let the technical aspects of setting everything up so you can not hit spam. And again, that will happen for a new domain.

So what I did is I started warming up my inbox. That's what everyone should do with a new domain.

And not only that, like, for example, if you're looking to move from MailChimp to Klaviyo, let's say that's an odd thing you have to do as well. So I started warming up my inbox through an automated software. And then I set up all the technical things. So in the domain, you know, DMARC, SPF, just so I say to Google, I'm not a fishy spammy guy. I'm just here to send like normal emails to people. So yeah, hopefully that will make a huge change.

Other areas in email marketing that people can be an expert on

Joseph: So you said that you're a deliverability expert. And what I was wondering about is deliverability one of multiple characteristics that go into making good email? I'm just trying to think of like what other terms there might be like deliverability. I don't know, readability, like that's just something that comes to my mind. If somebody else was a different email expert, what other areas could they specialize in? 

Alex Gregoriades: Yeah, of course. So for example, there's email copy, writing good subject lines that will get opened and also like the body copy. So, you know, sharing some interesting stuff that people are interested in reading right on the typical discount emails where people at some point might get fed up with it's human nature. I mean, if you look at the same thing over and over again, then at some point you get bought.

So it's about mixing things up, making your brand look interesting and also strategic things like, you know, email marketers come up with some creative ways of doing like, let's say promotions on a holiday. For example, a recent one was Christmas. And then when it was the big one black Friday, you have to make sure that your list is healthy. How can I say, like, it's counter-intuitive like when you're sending to a bulk email to every single subscriber on your email list in the longterm that makes like, like harms your email list health.

So, I mean, you just have to be sending to your most engaged subscribers and I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but if you do that, you're going to make more money in the long term. So you're going to get more sales just because at some point, unfortunately, you're going to lose some subscribers on your email list. Some people just don't like getting emails from you that just, you don't have to worry about those people. And you just keep sending to people that are, you know, the ergo, they are your loyal funds. They just enjoy your emails and they keep buying from you. And that's how you get like repetitive customers. And you don't have to worry about spending money on ads and everything. It all like works like a machine.

So there are different components going into email. Of course there are different lines, areas you can specialize in, but that all work with each channel. 

The state of email marketing today

Joseph: One thing that impressed me early on from some of the earlier content that I had made for the program, you know, some of the first email experts that I had talked to, it was impressive and encouraging that emailing is still a aspect of business and from what I've picked up over time, one of the main reasons for that is advertising just continues to get more expensive, more competitive.

One of the things that I mentioned while I'm writing an introduction for another episode is that ads have to be looked at as an investment rather than a cost. It's not an incidental thing that you have to pay, you know, like keeping the lights on, even that can be argued as an investment. There are other things that we need to do now in order to even be sustainable, whether we're talking about influencing, or emailing, which is, you know, you don't get as much out of it.

I think at the beginning of the funnel before customers are really warmed up to it, but I would love to hear your expertise on that. But definitely towards the latter side, the remarketing providing content to people, notifying updates, new products, or just expanding on the brand, expanding on a term that I rarely use, but expanding on the mythology of the brand.

If there's an ongoing story, and people wants to continue to be engaged with the journey that the brand is going on. There's a lot that that can be done that, and that's just my point. How would you describe the state of emailing these days? Like have main advantages and drawbacks, have you noticed any say significant changes in what brands have to expect from emails? That's I'd say in the last year, a couple of years versus maybe the beginnings of e-commerce I would say in the last five to six years. 

Alex Gregoriades: Yeah. Well, a lot of things have changed. Most recent change was with iOS 15. That was a huge thing where business owners were very concerned about what's going to happen with, with our email list. Like, are we gonna be able to send emails to iPhone users? And as far as we know, like a lot of them are huge iPhone, you know, huge like market.

So then we needed to find a way around that. Luckily Klaviyo and all these ESPs were smart enough to find a solution to so. As you can see, like when something's changed in the market, people have an answer to it and especially in email marketing. Of course, email marketing has become more competitive, since like there isn't that barrier entry barrier for businesses to get into a market. Like a kid in the basement can start its own business, you know?

Joseph: Yeah. I've talked to some kids in the basement, so I'm not surprised. 

Alex Gregoriades: So, I mean, you can't imagine how many email a person can get into any day. So it's all about standing out in your inbox, sounding like a normal person being friendly, like talking to a friend, not trying to sell something because people are pretty much fed up with everything like in sales and so on. Like they're getting bombarded with sales emails every single day.

So you want to belong in that category and that's fine. But if you want to like, marketing and your business to the next level, then it's like, sounding like a friend shouting personal things. Like you have to look at it at an email, like it's entertaining to people.

So we have people that enjoy entertainment, as you can see, almost every single one of us are subscribed to Netflix. So we enjoy Netflix. It's a big thing. And if you manage to come like an entertainer with your emails and it's gonna create a huge positive impact. So email isn't dead. 

How to personalize your emails so people can relate with you and see you as a trustworthy brand

Alex Gregoriades: This is something I always recommend to brands. As soon as I start working with them is like, we send what I call a reply. It's basically asking them a question, getting feedback. And that will allow us to get some research, finding out what our customers need, if they have any concerns or anything. And that will also help the brands putting content on social media. And also it will help us create some, you know, emails that people are actually gonna read on are interested in since it's, it speaks to that problem.

So when you're sharing valuable things and giving tips to people that they appreciate, and they learn something out of it and they get value. Then you look like a trustworthy brand and people are going to trust you. You're more than that. They see you as the best solution out there to get, you know, buy a product from. So, yeah, it always helps.

Joseph: And I also think too, this is just a sub note. Before I follow up on my next question here, let's say that they either want to do product research or they want to stay on top of what's going on in the slavery improvement industry. They're getting additional value out of that work. Because that research is still helping them. It's helping them develop their products, helping them know what's going on. And then they just say, wait a minute, we just send our findings into an email to others and get some additional value out of it. Maybe hide a discount in there once in a while.

So people are more inclined to read it. So I think one of the things that you can really justify with emailing is to enhance the value of anything else as somebody's doing. If there's updates to your brand, to your company, things are changing. I don't know, a new CEO, whatever it is, everything that you can do can be enhanced and additional value can be extracted out of it if you also send it in an email. 

Alex Gregoriades: Yeah, of course. People will appreciate when you're sending like personal things that are happening in a company, especially when you're sharing, like behind the scene, things that people won't see from other brands. So, I mean, we've seen it time and time again, we've picked tall videos where people are sharing. Things are happening behind, let's say the curtain, and they'd get tons of engagement.

So yeah, always like when you're sharing these things with your subscribers, it will help you also like optimize your product that you're selling. Because if there is a flow that you don't know about and you believe that everything is perfect, let's say, but there's one thing, that little thing that, you know, a user has brought up with after using it. Then yeah, you're going to find it out with probably sending an email out to the customer and getting his feedback. So email is a two way communication and it's super personal, so never ever neglect it. It's super helpful for your brand to scale. 

What kind of emails and content you should be sending out to keep people engaged, and create a long-lasting relationship with your subscribers so you don’t have to rely on paid advertising to generate sales

Joseph: I'm going back a little bit here because one of the things that you talk about as well, when people are reaching out on behalf of a company, it's important for it to be personal, to have that genuine connection between us, the company and the consumer and the fan. I'm trying to condition myself to say fan, cause I think that's a better way of looking.

The issue, I think though is as the business scales up, it might be more difficult to retain that humanity. You know, it's one thing for like a one person operation to personally send out emails and, and, and thank their first wave of fans. But then you scaled up and now you have 10,000 fans on the email list and it's, I don't know. It seems like it's more difficult to, to maintain that because now it's an email sent to 10,000 people as opposed a couple of hundred.

So A, is this a problem? B, have you seen ways that people are able to keep that connection going and keep things genuine regardless of how high up and up scaling? 

Alex Gregoriades: That's a good question. It's not that much of a problem, actually. You just have to keep in mind that yes, you're sending a book chemo to let's say 10,000 people, but when you are. Writing that email, just imagine to yourself that you're writing to one specific person that way you're speaking, like when a person receives that email, I go and I see like, and read it and they feel that your personal personality sending an email to them. And also like it's a way of creating like content that sounds personal.

So in a business, an e-commerce store owner. Let's say, send an email out from his or her own personal name instead of the brand's name. That's another touchdown. It makes emails more personal sharing. Like a reason why you started this with this brand is a very good email.

You can, including a new customer sequence or your new subscriber sequence. Because people are interested in these kind of things. Like they want to listen to why you're doing what you're doing. I mean, is it just for you to make more money? That's what most people have in mind. You share your mission when you share like, the reason why you're doing this and why you're generally want to help people out, then people resonate with it. They get to know you and it builds brand loyalty.

So like when you're sending daily campaigns, you can shout like personal things where again, it relates to a product you're using maybe. It was a friend of yours that was using the same product and he experienced the XYZ results of their using it, or maybe another customer testimonials or something. You're sharing these things and sound them like personal, not sharing personal stories. And it's not a problem when you're scaling and it will resonate even more with your audience. 

‘Email Bounty Hunter’ formula that Alex used to help a brand go from making $7k/ month to well over $30k/month (and why he thinks any other brands could do the same)

Joseph: Well, I think this would be a good time to maybe inquire about some case studies. If there's any particular stories. I mean, as always I respect client confidentiality. So, you know, we never want to cross any lines here, but I'd love to hear about any particular cases that stick out in your mind as to how you were able to enhance and scale up the results. 

Alex Gregoriades: Yeah, of course. I can share like a few examples of some reasons, brands I worked with for example, there was this brand. It was that we're in a bad place with revenue was going down month of the month. Open rates were going lower and lower and so on. What are the clicks? And when they reached out to me, I believe that there was no turnaround that they lost hope that let's say so I just reassure them that everything's going to be okay.

And we're going to work with this on this, and we're going to turn this around. A lot of time they were having like maybe close to 8% open rates and I would say 0.3 clicks revenue was about seven K a month email. There we're doing like pretty much okay. On the part of, you know, the thing that aspect of the business, like ads and selling products in their buds the remodel list wasn't producing as much. And their emails were hitting spam, like every single time. So I started working with them. We made like some strategic changes with the. With the campaigns, the rate of the spam problem. There there's some time I would say in about a week or so. 

Joseph: We expand on that for a second. But it specifically what you had to do about the spam problem? 

Alex Gregoriades: Since there was a spam problem, I aimed for at least a 20% open rate. So what I did is I segmented the list based on engagement. So I only send to people that are open in the last 30 days just to get. The open rates at least 20% and improve the domains reputation with GMO normals companies. Yeah. And I fixed some technical things in their domain, some records they needed.

And I also like used software that increased engagement or like as a people, the warmup inboxing. I mean, as soon as you get more engagement with your emails, for example, it's the same with social media. Like we know Facebook loves engagement, so everyone who likes comments, shares your posts, then it gets even more engagement. And it just works with algorithm there.

And it's the same with the GMOs algorithm. Let's say. They want to see, like, if your emails are getting engagement, so they track this with the open rates and the clicks and replies. Maybe some, you know, like, let's say people are in reporting or email spam. They're not flagging. They're not like moving into spam folders and et cetera. So that's how they track engagement.

So we want to track positive, you know, scale. It was positive engagement. So that's what I did in terms of the spam problem. And it got better over time. And yeah, after that, I just send some emails that we'll get even more positive engagements and it will help people, you know, start opening the most time of the time. So it's not just like a subscriber or a fan, as you say, that opens an email and then they start opening it and they will. Reopen anyone after a month or so.

I wanted to make sure that people are consistently opening the emails and they're buying stuff. And yeah. Then I optimize the flows because one trend I noticed with a lot of e-commerce stories is that there are flows are optimized. So for example, in an abandoned cart sequence, they might have like two emails. If you want to get like maximize your cart recoveries. You want to have at least five emails in there. So, if you're open to these, you can also mix like SMS in there as most marketing. So send a couple SMS. And also like in the new customer sequence.

As I said before, I shared like the brand story, why they, the owner decided to do what he's doing, his mission, what he wants to achieve. And you know, it's also helps with upselling. I tried upselling people in the flows and there's another flow I like to use. It's called the VIP flow. So this is when customers buy from you more than months. So as you say, as the flow indicates, it's a VIP flow because you want to treat these people as your VIP customers. So here's gonna make them feel special. I mean, they are your best customer that they are your loyal fan.

So we want to treat them differently. That's what I read. Like it's not complicated sound. It's fairly simple. So after 45 days, we manage to Forex down anymore. There's only one from 7K to 28K and 45 days with these changes. 

Recommended softwares you can use for email marketing

Joseph: In terms of software, what software are you using and are you getting your clients to commonly use? 

Alex Gregoriades: So, I can shed a few. One I commonly use is to clean the list when I see sometimes like a huge bounce rate, which is a huge balance of bounce rate will be like anything above 0.2%.

So I use this tool called never bounced.com. When you go in there and they will clear, they will tell you if your list has a problem or not. And if it needs cleaning and they'll be like totally transparent with you. So I just import the list in there. They will tell me if it needs cleaning and then it will remove all the bounce to find out about deliverability issues with the most.

I run a test to mailgenuis.com. It's another great tool you can sell. Each show shows you exactly what's going on with your emails and what type of problems you're having. Another interesting one I use if you see a decline in your open rates and maybe you suspect there's a spam problem going on, I would suggest you send a test email to your own personal email address, and then you can find out if you're having a spam problem aware where your email alone.

You can use mailwarm.com. It's another tool I use to increase political engagement and gets you out of spam much quicker. What else do I use? I also like lockups. It's another pay tool that basically you just, you can run a test every now and then you just basically import their own. They have around 70 of their own emails and you send a test team to these email addresses and it has like a mix of Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail outlook. And it will tell you like where your emails landed. 

Why you shouldn’t be sending emails with discounts ALL the time

Joseph: So in the discount realm, what have you found to be the typical or the ideal times as well as values too? Like if 10% tends to perform well enough and you don't notice that 15 to 20% is worth the additional cost or anything along those lines. Yeah. 

Alex Gregoriades: So discounts you want to calculate them based on your profit margins for one business. Like maybe they're able to give like a 30% discount for some other businesses that will be like a lot and they will make like, they might even. Breakeven let's say. So depends on the business model. Of course the more discount you get, the more like people are more interested since they are, you know, let's say saving money.

So you just have to be aware. Other types of overs you can give, like, not only this time, you can do like flea free shipping. You can also gave like this one thing and you'll get this other thing for free or another bonus or something. So those along those lines, there are all these type of things. Or maybe if you want to be like more creative, I've seen that some stores can, for example, say that if you buy these sort of products, then some percentage of that is going to go to a donation or something. So that's some type of things I've seen. 

Connor Curlewis
Connor Curlewis

Former Content Producer

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