Episode 8: Red Beard Conversions, Implementing an email and SMS marketing strategy that spurs curiosity

Retention Podcast Ep 8 Jesse

This week on Retention Chronicles the Malomo Sales & Marketing team hosts Jesse Bern, founder of Red Beard Conversions and overall expert in email and SMS marketing. This was such a fascinating conversation all about email marketing and SMS marketing. Jesse walks us through his process in capturing your audience in a subject line to spur curiosity and then rope them into a story in the body of the email copy. He is a master at using conversational, humorous, and even sometimes riskier language to entertain and intrigue customers. We also discuss how to pivot and bring new experiences to your work to keep things relevant and fresh. Jesse shares he is trying to focus on sharing more about himself and his story on social media to connect both with the brands he works with and their customers and his own following. Jesse and Spencer bounce off of each other about the concerns they hear from brands on the marketing side and on the sales side, which is fascinating to hear. Last but certainly not least, we discuss the differences between email and SMS marketing and wonder if and when boundaries that are native to SMS will be broken. Be sure to tune into this amazing episode and share your thoughts with us on your favorite social media channel.

Be sure to subscribe to stay up-to-date and checkout Malomo, the leading order tracking platform for Shopify brands at gomalomo.com. Try our free trial today!

Subscribe to Retention Chronicles on Apple Podcasts



Mariah Parsons, Jesse Bern, Spencer Beasley

Mariah Parsons 00:02

Welcome to Retention Chronicles, a podcast sponsored by Malomo, a shipment tracking platform that helps ecommerce brands turn order tracking from a cost center into a profitable marketing channel. This week on Retention Chronicles, we are joined by Jesse Bern, Founder of Red Beard Conversions and an overall expert in email and SMS marketing, as you will hear in this episode. We're also joined by Spencer Beasley at Malomo. This was such a fascinating conversation all about email marketing and SMS marketing. Jesse first walks us through his process in capturing your audience and the importance in that how he goes about doing that is doing so in the subject line. So, he tries to spur curiosity and enwrap readers with the body of the email copy. He's a master at using conversational, humorous and even sometimes riskier language to entertain and intrigue those customers. We also discussed how to pivot and bring new experiences to your work and how to keep things relevant and fresh to make sure that you're constantly learning. Jesse shares that he's trying to focus on sharing more about himself and his story on his personal social media to connect with both the brands he works with and develop those relationships as well as his own following. Jesse and Spencer bounce off of each other about the concerns that they hear from brands on both the marketing side and the sales side, which is fascinating to hear and be a fly on the wall for that conversation. And last but certainly not least, we discussed the differences between email and SMS marketing and wonder if, and when, boundaries that are native to SMS marketing, such as limited characteristics, and limited creativity will be broken. So welcome to Retention Chronicles and today we have Spencer and Jesse on with us and we're so excited. First, you know, I'd love for both of you to just enjoy yourself, but just give a background on, you know, what you do and your perspective and your position. So Jessie, we'll start off with you.

Jesse Bern 02:09

Ok, sounds good. Thanks Mariah. How's it going guys? Jessie here. Yeah, so basically, I work with companies, ecommerce stores, Shopify stores with their email and SMS marketing. I manage lists and look for ways to extract more product from the lists, either with different Shopify apps or you know, really fun cop- copy driven emails and SMS messages. I've been doing it for the last five years, love it, and see myself doing it for quite a lot more time.

Spencer Beasley 02:41

Thanks Mariah, thanks Jesse for being on today. So Spencer Beasley, I have been working in the E commerce space for almost a year and a half now working for Malomo, a software company helping brands drive, you know, turn the post purchase experience into the shipment tracking experience into a retention marketing channel. So we're really focused on working with a lot of Shopify brands, a lot of them using Klaviyo and, and really helping them get the most out of those platforms post purchase.

Mariah Parsons 03:09

Great, and you know, as both of you know, and our listeners know, this is a podcast all about retention. So first, I'd love to just get your perspectives on how you define retention and why you think it's an important thing to focus on in ecommerce.

Jesse Bern 03:26

So I mean, customer retention, when I think about it, I love it, we're defining terms because there's so many in marketing, like it, kind of can go over people's heads, like what are you talking about, customer retention? When I think about that, I'm thinking okay, so we've they've already made a purchase once, which is a huge first step in deepening the relationship between you and the customer. But then what's the next step? How do we get into the purchase again, that's at a pace that is still at its, it's a pace that you're not pressuring them, but at the same time, like the lifetime value increases? So I always think of lifetime value, I think of how many days until the second purchase, the third purchase on and on and on and and that's how you're going to really be able to build a sustainable business because it's not just the new customers that you're acquiring. It's what are you doing once you have these these customers?

Spencer Beasley 04:12

Yeah, I kind of like what you said first about you know, they already kind of made an action. So they are a customer you have a bought something or you know, in the software space, maybe they signed a contract for a year or are on like some sort of month to month agreement. And so yeah, what can you do to make them happy to make them come back? And I think there are so many things like that go into that. And so it's like communicating directly, communicating indirectly. And then just like for things that maybe they would interact with you or your brand on their own, making that like really seamless and easy for them. So I think you know, retention is all about making things about the customer, making their lives easier, making them excited to, to connect with you again, things like that.

Mariah Parsons 04:59

Yeah, that's great. I love that, that perspective of putting a timeline to it, and really working with the customer, you know, to make sure that their journey, whatever touch points that each brand is having is beneficial for them and adds value to their experience. And so with that, Jesse, because you work with, you know, so many different brands, what do you think that- have you seen a shift in focusing on customer retention more as the differences between acquisition and retention are more, you know, coming to light more often?

Jesse Bern 05:30

Yeah, definitely, especially with all the changes in like iOS 14.5, iOS 15. And the changes in the ad- ad base, you know, acquiring customers is a lot more expensive, it's harder. So more, customer retention is becoming a lot more important top of mind. And well, I think we'll talk about this, we'll maybe, we'll touch on this toward the end. But in terms of like, newer behaviors, that I'm seeing customers, gravitating more towards SMS than ever, and using that as another touch point for retention. Asking for a review, asking for a referral, creating their account if you have like a rewards program. So, of course, like following up with their shipping information and such an important part of that entire journey. Moving over there, and that I think, is a lot of value to a lot of parents I'm working with. So definitely.

Spencer Beasley 06:22

I like I mean, one thing you mentioned, people are shifting to SMS. Like, that's something as I talked with a lot of brands, more brands are asking about it. And you know, it's something that some brands are already kind of starting to master, they're early in the game. And then some people are kind of learning how, like, how can we take advantage of that. And I think, you know, how that ties into retention is like, you got to meet the customer where they're at, like, if they want to, you know, to have SMS, emails or notifications, you know, it's on the brand, or the organization, to really meet them there and make that experience and not kind of force them down, you know, their, their past their journeys, but meeting them where they're at. And I think some of the hard things that you mentioned is like, you know, privacy, you know, like, everything, there's, there's more restrictions around privacy, and so you can't necessarily, you have to meet them where they're at, you can't necessarily like take bits and pieces, if that makes sense. Yeah. Love that point, Jesse.

Jesse Bern 07:19

Yeah, cheers to that. It's interesting to see how the psychology of COVID, right, like, people are consuming, they have more time, electrically to like, look at email. And at the same time, people are sending more messages. So it's also a lot more additive. So you know, how you send out along the touch points, I think really matters. So it's really interesting to observe the strategies that like some brands like Magic Spoon, Recess, some of these bigger brands that we all are aware of, like how their utilizing channels.

Spencer Beasley 07:51

Well, I just want to touch on one thing is like, the COVID is- or has yeah, the last year and a half, has really changed how people interact with with brands and organizations. And I mean, part of it is like, they kind of want to be entertained a bit. Like, a big piece of that is like, okay, like, I have so many options. And I also have maybe, like I'm looking at so many things. Like, my attention might be a little shorter, I don't know, like you're with like scrolling, becoming more just common, like through different apps, that you have to really create these, like unique experiences. And that's not just acquisition, you know, it's like, you know, you have in the door, but then, you know, how do you create more unique experiences to make them come back more and more. And it, you know, it's it's kind of more of a burden, I guess, where you have to do more work to kind of create those experiences, but it seems like that is what helping a lot of brands like when these days.

Jesse Bern 08:46

Yeah. Oh, yeah, definitely.

Mariah Parsons 08:48

That's a really interesting point, Spencer, because I haven't thought about the impacts of COVID. And it hasn't come up extensively in previous episodes with just the entertainment and the attention aspect of needing to make sure that what you're putting out to your customers is, of course, like grabbing their attention. And so Jesse, I'm curious, you know, what have you seen with multiple brands that you're working with? Or just any brand at all have like, ways that you can grab onto that attention?

Jesse Bern 09:18

Yeah, we'll definitely work with when it comes to the, the pop up. I think I think pop ups on the first place to start right where you're interrupting the experience, but there are ways to do it where it's inviting. You can use like an emoji I like to use like the wave emoji or like with a dog client, like the dog emoji like things that like we would text each other, like email each other personally. That's how I always want to come across with the creative and it's like very conversational and fun. And with Spencer saying around it being entertaining, I think that's so so important. So I think that's the first, first step right there. And then of course, like in the email world, subject line, how are you grabbing their attention? They're using curiosity and benefits, those are always like the best- your best fit in terms of like a combination, or recipe for like a really great subject line. And then, I mean, that's your follow up, I like to think about one of my philosophies of email, which I learned from a copywriter mentor of mine, he talks about this idea that, yes, the subject was important, of course, but you didn't really make people attached to and fall in love with the brand name it was being sent from. And to get to the point where that the subject line becomes irrelevant and they're just excited because they got an email from Kevin Hart, they got an email from Oprah, you know, whoever it is, and that's, like, exciting. Like, I want to see what they have to say. I open email, you know, all day, every day. So there's, there's a few brands that, that happens with. Picture if you guys consume any email, you gotta nerd out over the inbox. So there's like, so many compliments and looking at and studying. So yeah, I think, I think there's, there's so many ways to stand out, those are the ones that do.

Spencer Beasley 11:04

I think that's an awesome point, like one of the brands I've worked with here at Malomo, and I've seen this with a lot of other brands that that I haven't worked with, is, you know, you know, they're they have like these messages that come from the CEO, or they're coming from like, someone from the team versus like, kind of just a general like, hey, I don't know, who's sending this email there. There is like an identity to it. And I mean, I haven't really thought about that a ton. Like I've like, wow, like, that's cool that they're doing that that's unique. But I wonder like, do you expect maybe that to be more of like a shift is like, email marketers to kind of have like an identity. It's not just an email address from the company, it's maybe a specific person or like, maybe like a persona. That's bill like, maybe not even a real person? I don't know.

Jesse Bern 11:48

I think it's a great question. And I've thought a lot about this because I haven't decided whether I want to be super hard line like yes, it needs to come from a person. I prefer that. I think we tend to yes, to fall in love with the brand and then in and the identity and the tone of voice of a brand like Nike or Apple, you kind of get their tone of voice even though it's like, I don't think it should be coming from Tim Cook or anything like that. Although he did that would be pretty sweet once in a while once- he would lose its luster over time. They'd be like, what are you doing, Tim? You're just sending emails every day like yeah, what's going on here, man?

Spencer Beasley 12:29


Jesse Bern 12:31

But I do think creating like a persona around the brand if you're going to send from a brand I think that's important and knowing like, what if they were a person like what kind of books would there be? What music would they listen to. There are these exercises that Nik Sharma, you guys know who that is, he's a really great email list. I highly recommend you check out his inputs, he talked about that recently, about like creating like this brand avatar and like, about that's a great next step. Like if I can send from a person, let's do that, let's build a persona around the brand. And then know how we communicate what are the rules of engagement with communication, establish that and then move forward. I think that that that helps stand out. Because, again, you're you're connecting to like something that feels like more real person. And let's be honest, we all want to experience deeper connections. Now more than ever, so I think I think that's very, very important mood board for sure.

Mariah Parsons 13:27

Yeah, that's something along the lines with the personalization aspect, too. And the connecting of it, you know, because I think why customer retention is becoming more of a focus is rather than just having like a disjointed journey or experience, and I think that like brand avatar is such a unique thing. And I honestly, I've seen it with some brands, but like Spencer, I'd never thought about the impact that it could have. And just like the consistency alone with the communication to customers, and then also that excitement and bringing those customers back in when they see an exciting email coming from Bill or whoever it is, I think that's a really interesting avenue that I that I hope becomes more common practice.

Jesse Bern 14:09

And it kind of makes me think of the story with Jeff Bezos, like I think this was like a commonplace thing with with Amazon at the board meetings, they would have like an empty chair to signify the customer. Like that's kind of like with a cat that comes wrapped or documented to me, it's like a virtual version. I don't have a boardroom. So that's like the next best thing right there.

Spencer Beasley 14:31

And I think it's like kind of a blend of like knowing your customer but also like kind of creating like unique things like kind of guide him and be like almost an influencer. It's like, hey, like, I know you like these things, but like, maybe you haven't seen this but like check this out and creating like really unique new experiences. And I have a feeling people who do take advantage of that are gonna be really successful. And then you know, it's always gonna be what's next. You especially I guess like when would you say it's more important for like growing brands versus like more established brands to like, kind of make sure that all of those touch points are like really unique, identical, identifiable? Like yeah, with Apple, it's like, you don't want it to be Tim Cook sending an email. But for like growing brands, who like have small teams, they have more liberty to kind of maybe put themselves out there a little bit more, and maybe push the boundaries a little bit more, I guess.

Jesse Bern 15:25

Yeah, that's a good question. I mean, if you don't have enough money to invest in like a fancy tech type of, you know, branding overhaul like, see, like one of these big DTC companies that the best way you stand out, it's through your emails and like, direct customer relationship, and like, you just scaling door to door sales, essentially, through email, like you're just, you're knocking on more doors by with, with every email, your email capture, and SMS, if you're capturing SMS opt-ins, I definitely think like that, like people, people, like, I think underestimate the power that email can have if you're consistent with it. And like, you get to like know your list, when you have like a feel for the email list. Like when it's gonna resonate or not, like, it's a pretty cool feeling. You can send something people are gonna reply back, I'm a big fan of these it is like reply emails, where people actually reply back and they give you data. So it's, it's cool. Once you like, get that dialed in. I think that early, you can do that as a brand. Even if you're making, if you just past six figures in a year, I think I think that better.

Spencer Beasley 16:32

Yeah. I love that concept of like scaling door to door sales, essentially. And so I guess like when you think the subject line is like, okay, getting them to open the door, and then sort of like the body copy is like, oh, like, we're actually talking now? I guess like, exactly shifting from the subject line to the body copy, like, can you tell us a little bit more about your strategy, like with like, kind of guiding them through the email and opening that door, I guess?

Jesse Bern 16:59

Yeah, totally. So I guess depends on the context. But generally, there's, there's a general flow of emails. The types of emails I write are primarily text based or copy based. And then I might include some creative images, or gifs, or just in there, again, like very conversational, what you would see text each other. Basically, I'll have like, some type of an exclusion or inclusion type of statement in the beginning that follows the subject line. So I'm using like a curiosity based subject line to get them to open, I don't want to give that away right away. Because usually, you can see like the first line of text, like in the in the inbox, so you want to be very mindful of maybe use the preview text to like, get rid of that option so that they there's still that curiosity. Because if you answer, like this question that like you're hoping grabs people's attention, and you answered the previous text, you're toast. So what you want to do is use something to include like, hey, like, I have an email in my post purchase sequence for one client, and they are getting invited to the SMS list. And I'm like, hey, like, I'm sending it out to him in the morning in this flow, I don't send at a certain time. But I sent it at 1am. And I say, like that subject line says 'you up?'. And then, and then it's like, I'm writing from the co founder of the company, like, like, I just had this crazy, like, late night great idea and I had to tell you, I thought of this like way to, you know, sweeten our relationship and make it a little bit more serious, join this list, here's a discount, and it's like, very fun. It's very conversational. And then I lay out some bullets of what they get benefit-wise. So I like to use the emoji checkmarks. I'm a big fan of the emojis right now, I'm like really into the emojis, guys, I don't know. But I'll throw that in there. And then CTA, throw a button in there. For CTA I've tested also just hyperlink text, because again, we're sending an email to each other. We don't like throw the button in there, we were just like hyperlink the text. So I'm trying, I'm trying like more conversational approach and seeing what's resonates more, because it's coming from a person. I don't know if that makes as much sense. But um, so that's, that's kind of the fun part of being able to test stuff live. And it's different for every list I'm sure. Does that, does that help answer? I think also, there's actually one bonus at the very end of the email, your side you're sending from a person there. Someone on the team, put a PS, especially if you're telling a story like this email with less of a story and more of just like, hey, this is this idea to invite you to SMS list, but you're telling like a story like you're about to launch a new product until the origin story, hey, this is what we had in mind. This is why we made it what we're trying to achieve with it, why we think it's different or better. And on this whole origin story, people love origin stories, whether it's for products, for brands, they're so so relatable. So yeah, I think, I think the the idea is to, you know, really communicate the exclusivity and P.S., you could do a soft sell if you're telling a story in an email.

Spencer Beasley 20:13

That's that was, I was also curious about like the CTAs. Like, is it? Is it always like a very clear like, hey, do this, like a clear ask or I guess like what like, what is an example of like a hard CTA versus like a soft CTA? In your opinion?

Jesse Bern 20:29

Yeah, that's a great question. Like, if, if you're getting someone to buy, I would consider that a hard CTA. And 'to reply', reach out to customer service, click a link for a survey, maybe it's something like that. And I would call that more of a soft CTA, you could you could technically, I guess, I guess I'm also thinking about like a soft close, which is like, it's a little bit different. This is against nuance, I guess. But soft closing in a sense that you can still sell your product, you can still sell your widget at the end of the story, email, it's just that's not the main idea. That's not the main point of the email, like, when you're sending more text based emails, you want there to be value just in the story of the email. So even if they don't apply, they got value from the email. This is concept again, another another copywriting mentor, I learned this wrong way. I didn't make this up. It's a great idea, though, around like this emoji think account that you have with a subscriber emails, or either making deposits or withdrawals.

Spencer Beasley 21:28

Like so in terms of like, you know, focusing on retention versus acquisition, would you say like, soft CTAs, maybe like are more effective on the retention side? That's kind of what my guess would be, but like, he does fit into buckets?

Jesse Bern 21:43

I think so yeah, if you're going into because the most the more units you make, generally as a rule of emails or good or emails you send and make, the more money you'll make the more money you're generally I mean, there's the cutting off, diminishing return to every list, maybe after five days a week, like they're hammered. It's just not worth it. In the long run, right? You might get people that unsubscribe that were buyers, that's obviously not a good customer. But I think if you're, if you're sending mostly emails with value, and then maybe a little selling, that's okay. Especially the biggest thing with email to set the expectations up front with a welcome email, if you get the welcome email wrong, like, that's your, you're gonna end up with a list that is either expecting discounts all the time, they're, they're surprised to hear from you, which they should never be surprised. I mean, they sign up to an email list, they should hear from you, I definitely have met quite a few founders. And a lot of founders that are scared of emailing the list, because they don't want people to unsubscribe, it's like, it's just the game fella. Like, that's just the rules that we have to play by and just send me an email.

Spencer Beasley 22:53

I mean, that's the biggest. So I hear that concern a lot, too. It's like, we don't want to, we don't want to like annoy our customers or whatever. And again, like talking about what I think a lot of really good brands are doing is they have really good content. And then they're- I mean, customers kind of know, it's like they can, you know, they can kind of just delete it. But if it's if you're sending them a lot of bad email, a lot of emails and a lot of bad emails that yeah, that's like a whole different story. But we definitely see like the brands who over communicate, and yeah, and it is what you're saying. So like, on the shipping side, since you know, we do work for shipment tracking software, the companies who, you know, see a lot of success or are over communicating, there's- they're setting really good expectations. And, and not doing that. I mean, you're you're more at risk of like, if you're not doing enough, maybe be worse than doing too much. It is it's a fine balance. But you know, if the content is right, and you're you're giving them kind of what they want generally, then, you know, that's that's the winning game I think.

Jesse Bern 23:56

Yeah. And you have to think about the fact that like, you're at the emails, there's hundreds of thousands- millions of businesses actually, probably hundreds of millions sending emails at this point. I mean, all around the world, right? People are, there's so much competition in the inbox. It's not like, you know, 20% of your emails are going to get read. Maybe if that if you're, well, 20 to 30 is like a good benchmark for open rates like and obviously now, I would say, we don't know about open rates, but not with standing, if you're in that strike zone, and you know, you're, you're worried that your content isn't up to par, the emails aren't good enough, maybe you don't have enough value to send, it's just going to be a straight sale. I still think it's better to send an email because at least you have another chance at a connection I wouldn't be worried about I wouldn't come in with like an attitude of like, what could go
wrong, ask what can go right. And you'll find a strategy around that like people I get that there's like risks in investment, long term investment owned asset. Look what happened to social media apocalypse this last, earlier this week. I mean, at the time of this recording, you know, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp went down for like, six, six hours or something. And what happened, it's just like this crazy glitch and it was great, I use that as an opportunity to send emails from my clients who made some money that day- it was great. And I just said like, hey, thank you for being on the list wasn't against like a soft sell like I thank you for being on the list. Grateful for you because you know, sometimes these platforms break and it happens, algorithm changes.

Spencer Beasley 25:31

I think I mean, like, like with talking about, like using really conversational tones and stuff in the messaging, and really building a connection with customers. If you think about, you know, like friendships or relationships, if you just talk to someone once a year, they're probably not going to be your closest friend or like, you know, if you're talking them, like once a month or whatever, but you know, your closest friends, your closest people, you're talking to them often, you know, you're communicating with them as much as you can ensure there's always a risk, but you know, no risk no reward.

Jesse Bern 26:01

Exactly. Yeah.

Mariah Parsons 26:03

And too, as we've been like talking about the conversational piece and the conversational approach, I'm curious, Jesse, do you see like, depending on the brand that you're writing these emails for, do you, you know, do certain brands give you more of a leeway with like sending that email that has more humor in it? Like the 'you up text' things along those lines? Or do you really recommend that no matter the brand name, or the brand image that you take that conversational approach?

Jesse Bern 26:31

That's a great question. I mean, if I'm going to work with the client, like they got to be willing to go there enough or at least test that because that's, that's one of my differentiators I think is just like an email marketer and marketer in general is that like, I like to get edgy with copy and be creative. And just make it as real, transparent, authentic, as possible. Like, if, if I'm talking in a way that the person that I like ghostwriting for doesn't actually speak like, I'm not going to do it, because that's out of alignment. There has to be an alignment there, for sure. But if they're willing, if a client of a company is willing to do that, I think definitely testing because again, back to Spencer's earlier point, entertainment, entertaining information together. Like that's like the best combination in an email, like that can be done in story, like a story. Just think about, like a comedian will say like, you know, earlier today, you know, I'm ready to level up like, they just launched into a little story. It's funny, and it's not that long. People think these emails have to be long, you don't have to be long, it can be less than 500 words, sometimes 300 words, and still make a lot of sales or again, make a deposit in that emotional bank account.

Spencer Beasley 27:41

Great question, Mariah. I was thinking same thing. Great question.

Mariah Parsons 27:43

Great minds think alike. Right? And along, you know, with that idea, of say like something doesn't go right with testing or isn't right for the brand, where then do like, how do you pivot the email strategy? Or you know, what can go wrong? If you know that email marketing strategy isn't super successful with customers?

Jesse Bern 28:04

Sure. Yeah. And, you know, there's a lot to that, I think the the simple answer is a, you know, it depends on traffic. Like, if you don't have enough traffic to like, no one test, like we're sending a campaign, for instance, that I like, want to send a few and just keep trying. And then if it still doesn't work, I'm not married to my my style of marketing, like for everybody, I think it's right for every, every brand. But I think it's a trying this approach, because it's also easier to write email, you can write down 30 minutes or less, you know how to do it well, and you can send it and make, you know, 1000s of dollars, depending on the size of your brand 10s of 1000s a day. And, again, making a deposit in the list helps and as well as you're making sales, like it's like this win win, but if it loses, I have, I have a pretty good understanding of how to treat these different design emails, a good structure for that I work with great graphic designers over the years, the agency I've worked at previously. So I'm not opposed to it, you know, categorically, I probably wouldn't take a- take on those types of clients to like do that right now. Because I just I don't want to, like build that process right now. But I can help like, you know, expedite that and like, oversee that for sure. Because I think that there isn't- an important thing is you need to have like your whole production process. When I was at Beats by Dre we had to talk about like, the production process and I was able to cut that time in half when I got there and it was like so convoluted. I mean, you would think a brand that is owned by Apple would have like more sophisticated systems but and I want to I don't want to like make it seem like I'm trashing them. Definitely not trashing them, it was a great experience. All I'm saying is it took three platforms to send one email and like hey, guys, what are we what are we doing here? There might be a better way. And by a better way do you, I mean to, also kind of I mean, always, you know, be testing things like, do you do a lot of A/B testing to make sure like, hey, maybe you know, I'm working with a new brand, I have my style, but I want to, like try marrying my style with some of the stuff they're already doing. Maybe like, I guess, like, how do you do A/B testing? I used to do that. Yeah, I used to do it, where it was a blend. And now I just go in purely how I think it should look versus what they've got existing. And if they don't have something existing, I'll do kind of like a vanilla, in my opinion, a vanilla version of like, how they speak, how the tone of voice of their brand is, because usually a lot of like, what I'm doing too is like helping like the brand developed from like a tone of voice perspective. But then that's important. Again, with customer retention, that's that's such an important thing. Like if you have a connection to that person or that team, you stand out, you stand out to people. It's like, when people think of search, they think of Google, for connection, they think of Instagram or Facebook. Certain words have certain associations, and you want your product, your brand to come to mind with associations made. So I think this is just another another reason to do that, especially with email marketing, especially with SMS.

Mariah Parsons 31:24

Yeah and I'm curious when you know, you mentioned when you used to do, like a blend, but now you just go in with your approach. Do you, like, if you could guess where was that switch? Like, was it just something like after you've been in this industry for a while, or like working with a certain brand?

Jesse Bern 31:42

Yeah, it was after, after I left Beats, I decided to create Red Beard Conversions. Yeah, I'd done some consulting and freelance work in the past, but I don't just like I topped it whenever I was kind of given and I was like, now like, I'm gonna do it. Like, I have like a POV, I'm just gonna go with my POV. So many great marketers can do that. Like, I would refer like this, that's no sweat off my back. I'd rather just, it's easy to like, if I don't have to, like sell the idea that hey, like, more tech space is the best way to go. For a variety of reasons. After I like, make clear what those reasons are. Like, if they're cool, that's great, if not, also great.

Spencer Beasley 32:22

Well, I mean, we were talking about earlier, I think, like taking a point of view is super powerful. And, and people, you know, there's always gonna be combating views. But, you know, sometimes, that- there's really strong impression when you're like, hey, this is my approach. And, you know, I'm gonna, I'm gonna run with it. And then you can let the results speak and speak for themselves, right? Essentially.

Jesse Bern 32:45

Right, yeah, exactly. Exactly. You got to know like, what a brand- they want to know, what you stand for and what you are fighting against. And it's not like, as I guess, cool, or whatever. Think about like, what are you fighting against? Like, it seems kind of aggressive, like, what are we fighting about, bro? Like, yeah, but there are times when you have like, a mission where it's like, you want to see the world a certain way- a certain way. Like, that's inspiring. But there's also the motivation, like, oh, no, we don't do this. These have consequences like that can also be motivating for different people. I think, if you can communicate that, you can communicate that with words, you can communicate with pictures and videos. Of course, I'm not opposed to any of those modalities, or those mediums, per se, I think they just have their place, you know, especially like, email, if you're like sending an email, an email with a video, you're going to like your website to you too, because from the website, like we can capture that information. There's a buy opportunity there. So yeah.

Mariah Parsons 33:43

As you were speaking, this just came to mind. So I'm curious, do you typically see, like consistent patterns in when brands, you know, seek your advice, further email marketing, like at a certain stage that they're at? Or is it really just across the board, you know, when brands come to you to help grow their retention strategy?

Jesse Bern 34:01

It's usually past like multiple, six figures, they just passed seven, and then seven to eight. Because usually, like when you're trying to get to your first like, you're just like, still, like, constant with a with the marketing and like, I used to do more work with startups. It's just currently, where I'm at now, like, I'd rather work with more momentum. And after that, what I do can just, it's like an accelerator, it puts gas in the fire, and then I had a lot more fun with it. When I was working the agency, a lot of these companies were startups, and it was great experience. I mean, I wrote for over 100 different brands in two years. It was awesome. It was a great experience, but they just didn't have enough traffic, didn't have their Bible. So we didn't really have good metrics. I wish I could go back and like look at the metrics and see how it follows. There's so much data there but it's like, hey, but what can you do? What can you do?

Spencer Beasley 34:56

Yeah, so I mean, if now like a pretty like proven approach, you've been doing this for a while you said you have some like mentors but like what are other ways you're really learning and like kind of taking from other people? Do you, do you sign up for like a lot of lists and you're like, you kind of take, what you like or like, what are you doing to learn and develop still?

Jesse Bern 35:15

Yeah, that's a great question. I never think that I'm like, I've like arrived there. When it comes to like anything like up like, I think I'm decent at email. And like email copywriting I've been focused on for the last five years. But definitely like on a lot of lists. A lot of marketers lists, Chase Diamond comes to mind, Robert Allen, they just hosted the Staple of Black Friday Summit it was great. They just completed it. Chris Orzechowski, and Ian Stanley, those are two email marketing, copywriting mentors of mine. Fantastic, really, really smart guys. And they just got back to the classics like rereading breakthrough advertising, Eugene Schwartz. It's an $150 book, like thats a ridiculous amount of money for a book. Like in my mind, when I see that price. I'm just like, the hell that that guy is like one of the best copywriters alive. It's so interesting, like, they talk about like when he passed away in the intro, or the prologue, they talked about how he didn't even have his obituary that Eugene Schwartz was a copywriter an advertiser, it said, like, he was like a collector, a historian, like all these different things like that, like, you know, last year, they'll be like, oh, like, maybe marketing isn't everything guys. Like, it's fun. I love it. And I could talk about it forever. But, hey, let's go live a life, you know. So experience is the next, is the next thing is just trying new things. Like someone asked me recently, when was the last time you tried something for the first time? And what was it? And I was like, I don't know, I don't remember. And he's like, I don't think that's a great strategy to move forward in your life. But you should switch that up. I was like, I agree. But just be like trying a bunch of new stuff, experiences, I think it adds a lot to the writing, if you already have been writing for a while, like new experiences, opens up perspective. I mean, it's, it's fabulous. I mean I don't need to tell you guys, Mariah's over here with 1000 pictures in the back and Spencer's a freaking Guitar Hero over here.

Spencer Beasley 37:22

I love that. And this, and for the listeners out there, I'm sorry, this is my first podcast. So I'm learning new things, still trying new things still. So if I'm rough around the edges, this is my try here.

Mariah Parsons 37:33

We love new experiences, though. And that ties directly into what I wanted to ask you next of you know, so as you're saying, these new experiences and changing and really trying to absorb and be a sponge, you know, how does then you're like consulting grow with different brands. So you know, how do you move forward with the new things that you're learning? How do you implement and rollout across multiple brands you know, those newly found experiences?

Jesse Bern 37:59

Yeah, that's a great question. I mean, it depends on what the thing is that I'm implementing, if it's email related, like, I'll just go straight to like, what's the strategy? Like how do I actually implement it? If it's just writing up an email or a new sequence? Like, I'll find out that what like, the cadence of the structure, emails look like, you know, confirm with the client and just go and build. I started creating emails, and there's a whole review process around that. If it's like, introducing, you know, other solutions, extract different Shopify apps, or what have you, you know, that that will take different plans, I guess. Think through things, ask more questions. So yeah, it kind of varies.

Spencer Beasley 38:40

And this might be a silly question, but like thinking about retention? Like, do you do anything unique with like, your clients, I guess, to kind of stick out to them, like, stay connected with them? Like, I don't know what that would look like. But like, are you? I guess, like, what does that look like with your clients? Is that just kind of results driven? Or anything else?

Jesse Bern 39:00

Definitely. Personality, I mean, I want to know what keeps them up at night, like feel that I'm working with, you know, what, what are their struggles? But also, like, where are they? Where do they see themselves in five years? 10 years? Like, just as people like, outside of the business, the business is important, but also just as people. I'm, like, known as the breakfast burrito guy. So anything with breakfast burritos, like they think of me. Yeah, they'll tell tell me things like around that. Or I started going into like ice baths more recently, like as a recovery tool, after like, different workouts. And now I'm like the ice bath guy, apparently. So there's definitely there's, I guess I'd like to do like some stuff around just different experiences.

Spencer Beasley 39:45

Your key-, you're communicating about yourself, you're kind of putting yourself out there and that helps kind of, you know, build that connection with them. So that's super interesting to you, you know, seems like you're really doing that really well in your personal business as well.

Jesse Bern 39:58

Thank you. Yeah. I learned recently, like an interesting strategy to test with on social media was to like talk more about my now myself, like, my story and my philosophy on things, which I never really use social media that much like, I'm a millennial, you know, kind of things. Yeah, I really do too much of the talking, or the TikTok or whatever, that one. But I will say, like being a little bit more transparent about my journey, my story has been really helpful to like, feel okay to like, communicate, and express myself more fully, like, with my clients, like, they're not just like, surprised that I'm dropping F bombs, you know, sometimes you can, just how I speak and like, I just don't want to ever censor myself.

Mariah Parsons 40:44

Yeah, and I'm curious to like, as, as you spoke to, like, different mediums, this is something also that popped into my mind, but as you were speaking about the email marketing, and like the differences between the subject line, and then the body copy, do you see a same thing with SMS? Because I know like, that's something that a lot of people are starting to roll out more of. So I'm just curious, how do you approach that aspect as well.

Jesse Bern 41:09

So this is interesting, because it's obviously a bigger character restraint, right. So just right off the top like, it's almost like a micro email in a way, but it's different because the inbox, the text app is a more intimate environment than the inbox. There's, I think, if I'm going to send SMS messages, definitely a lot more mindful, like the segment that I'm sending to, like, I'm okay with sending like, much smaller segments, if it's a very targeted message. That's like the biggest thing, like, it's just like that, going into it. It's like an email series, like a local series. Like, I think you can be a little bit more aggressive early on to like lay a foundation, I want to experiment with like, a longer sequence like a, like a two week sequence, I've only done like, one sequences for SMS. So I'm curious to see what it would look like, like, longer over term and like, are people gonna be like, held like this and unsubscribe? Like, I don't know, I have no idea anymore. So I want to test some of these new things. I'm very curious. I don't know what have you heard? Have you heard stuff from clients you've talked to or friends you've talked to you Spencer?

Spencer Beasley 42:15

On the- I mean, a lot for SMS, it's still kind of people are exploring they, I mean, people are always asking for best practices. One thing people, like one of their strengths, other restraints with SMS I've seen is like the the limitations around like, making it like branded or really just like delivering really good experiences within the text. Where email, I mean, it's, you know, easier to hyperlink, I mean, kind of do like, more unique things inside the email, or make like the body of the email look a little more tenable. So the two things is kind of, you know, how can we make these look a look a little better visually? And then, like, what are the best practices around the content? Like, what should that be? Should it be informational, should it be really fun? So I think people are still really exploring that, from what I've heard.

Jesse Bern 43:03

Yeah, that's, that's kind of what I've heard, too. It's definitely more of an exploratory phase. And you can tell it the brands that are sending like, very aggressively like, I cannot open those messages as much anymore. Like I've been on those. You're on the list long enough. I also, I noticed I don't unsubscribe too much like from any SMS list I have. But like, I noticed I stay on like, I'm pretty, like, maybe I don't need this one anymore. Oh, it's weird. It's weird to like text, like, stop, like, yeah. It's the psychology of that word. Like, please, stop.

Spencer Beasley 43:38

That's interesting. I mean, maybe that could be something could change, like, hey, like, like, changed instead of stop do something else.

Jesse Bern 43:45

But right, yeah.

Spencer Beasley 43:48

I mean, it's still very, like, I think people haven't done it, like from all of the SMS, like, likes lists, I'm on stuff there right now, they all do seem somewhat similar. And so I don't know, if people are going to start pushing the boundaries a little bit more, I think it's still kind of a, hey, we don't like going back to we said, we don't want to piss people off. Like this is a new space and so people are a little more cautious there. So I'm super intrigued to see how that develops. And you know, if, if Apple and stuff are gonna, you know, open up that channel more and do new things with the phone to allow brands to take advantage of them. We're very excited.

Jesse Bern 44:25

I think something recently that just dropped is a lot of SMS apps, I'm mostly use Postscript, but I'm pretty sure you can do this with like Attentive and SMS pump. They will like when you send your first message, like if you have like a contact card that you can fill out, people can say the contact card, so that way, because sometimes like the messages like there's no numbers, there's no name, you don't know what's coming from unless you open it. But he had the contact card, and it's like, oh, now I got the relationship with the brand it's more established. You can link back to your site, so that just came to mind like when you're talking about But that that's that's like all that part is part of the experience, it sets up the expectations. You know, like early on.

Mariah Parsons 45:06

That's super intriguing. The number aspect is sometimes I just got a text from a random number I'm like, Where's this coming from, then like you said, you have to open it and read it. So that's, that's just an interesting development. And I know we're coming to the end of things. And this has been so informative, let alone fun. But Jesse, what is one piece of advice that you just like to take along with you or that has been given to you from one of your mentors that you'd like to share?

Jesse Bern 45:30

I think I think the biggest thing to is just rehashing on that emotional bank account, stuff like that, like, understand, like, when you send emails, I you know, I don't want to exaggerate and say that inbox is like this very sacred space that like, you know, don't be a dick about you know, how you communicate to your customers, definitely, you know, be respectful of, but at the same time, don't be afraid to send emails, don't be afraid to communicate about your brand, communicate your story, talk about customer testimonials, there's so many ways, different types of messages you can send out there that builds trust. And then when you're setting and you're building trust, you've now been asset, no matter what happens outside of email, like they'll always have that list of people. And you can always take them with you, wherever you go, what, whatever happened to business moving forward. And that's such a big piece of customer retention. It's like setting the expectations up front with email, and just the entire touch point.

Mariah Parsons 46:26

I love that, Spencer, what would you say?

Spencer Beasley 46:28

One thing we talked about briefly, as just always be learning. And I think what Jesse shared that I loved was like, you know, go experience new things. Maybe it's not always like reading a book or like honing in on just your craft. But go try something you've never done. And I think you know, we always need that reminder to get out of our comfort zones. You know, don't be scared to try something new. Don't be scared to send that email. So always be learning and don't stop trying new things. I just want to rehash that.

Mariah Parsons 46:56

Awesome. Well, I love both of those pieces of advice. And thank you again, you know, for joining for the podcast and sharing all your wonderful perspectives, both of you. It has been so much fun. So thanks.

Spencer Beasley 47:07

Thanks Mariah, thanks Jesse

Jesse Bern 47:09

Thanks, cheers. Thanks Spence.

Mariah Parsons 47:14

For our fact check this week, we have a few hard facts and a good pool of references that are made. So with that, let's get into it. Jesse references Amazon having an empty chair policy in all their meetings and this is to represent the customer, which I found this cited in multiple sources, and some people even call it the one empty chair rule. So I thought that was fun. I had no idea that that was a thing that Amazon stood by, and a policy that Jeff Bezos believed in. So I loved hearing it. So that was just that was fun. And for the stats that Jesse gives, about having a good open rate for email marketing, having that be around, having that sit around 20 to 30%, I found similar numbers cited in publishing things such as HubSpot, digitalmarketing.org, and MailChimp. This he also references some of the mentors that he learns from in the space which are Chase Diamond, Robert Allen, Chris Orzechowski and Ian Stanley, as well as Eugene Schwartz and his book titled breakthrough advertising.