Dec. 7, 2022

107. Elevate and Scale with Kyle Stout

107. Elevate and Scale with Kyle Stout
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Should I use email marketing? Is email marketing still effective today? Why is email marketing important for small business? We talk with Kyle Stout - the founder of Elevate & Scale, a leading email marketing agency that helps 7-figure product-based entrepreneurs elevate their brand and scale their growth. Kyle is an authority on leveraging email marketing to increase revenue by improving customer retention, increasing average order value, and driving repeat purchases.

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You can find Dana @adashofboss, @dana.dowdell and @hrfanatic
Dana DowdellBoss Consulting – HR Consulting
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You can find Russ @reliable.remediation
Russ HarlowReliable Remediation – Disaster Restoration


Dana Dowdell 00:00

This episode is brought to you by Boss Consulting HR. If you own a small business, you don't have to do HR alone. Boss Consulting provides outsourced HR services such as recruiting, compliance training and employee relations, visit boss consulting To schedule a consultation and download our white paper on the steep cost of not having human resources. 


Dana Dowdell 00:32

Hi, Russ.


Russ Harlow 00:33

Dana, how are you today? I'm good. How are you? I'm doing fantastic thinking about growing my business getting bigger, making more money? How can I do it?


Dana Dowdell 00:42

I think that's what everyone's question is when they start a business is how can I make the most frickin money as possible? We're going to talk about scaling and email marketing. And so, we're joined by Kyle stout. He's the founder of elevate and scale, which is a leading email marketing agency that focuses on helping seven figure seven figure product-based entrepreneurs elevate their brand and scale their growth. Kyle, welcome to it's just business.


Kyle Stout 01:09

Thank you for having me. 


Dana Dowdell 01:11

All right, so tell us about elevate and scale and how you got started as an entrepreneur.


Kyle Stout 01:17

Okay, so I got started in 2013 as a freelance copywriter, and just pretty much taking on any projects I could get my hands on. But I was mostly focused at the time on content marketing, so blogging, email marketing, doing a lot of copy, doing a lot of sales, copy for websites, and then doing a little bit of paid advertising copy as well. And then over time, so I was ghost writing for a few big digital marketing agencies. So, I got like, a lot of exposure. And I got to learn a lot of stuff pretty quickly, it was kind of like going through a boot camp with one of the agencies I was working with. And so, I wanted to start my own agency. And I originally went the route where I wanted to be kind of an all-in-one thing. And I quickly realized that it's very difficult to be really good at a lot of different skill sets. And you really, it's better to focus more on one thing, at least, that was the case for me. And email marketing was that thing, it was just, that's where I was tended to get the best results for clients. And it seemed like, for whatever reason, it just, I would get traction through email marketing faster than other channels. So, whenever I started, elevate and scale in 2019, I knew that that's what I wanted to focus on. So, we started that. And then I also do consulting, just helping people, you know, get better systems set up in their sales process.


Russ Harlow 02:43

I'm curious about email marketing, because I know there's plenty of ways to do it wrong. And it's just as an example, as a small business owner, I get hundreds of emails, let's say dozens of emails every day that are not well written or are spammy or so like, I have a block for using email marketing in my own business, because I feel like everyone just sees it like I do. But I know that's not the case. So, tell me how you kind of break down some of those barriers and make it work really well.


Kyle Stout 03:15

So, it's interesting you say that, because we all I think we all feel that way we feel we are definitely annoyed by the crappy emails we get. But yet, on the other side of email marketing, as someone who's seeing behind the scenes, I can tell you that there's absolutely no shortage of people spending money through email marketing. So clearly, IT people, you know, even though we all collectively seem to be annoyed by it, we also are all seem to be it seems to work on us, right? So, there's something there. So, for people, I think a lot of times people create this idea in their head where they don't like it. So, it's kind of hard to approach it proactively. If you are already thinking to yourself that you feel like you're annoying people. So, what I would say is, the first thing is just take a step back and think about have you really taken the time to get to know your target audience and what they care about and just give some thought to as long as you're being helpful. And there's something about the email, whether it's entertaining, whether you've given them a little bit of education, or they learn something, or you at least show the intent to help them. How bad can it really be right? And there's a lot of, tons of great resources to get started with that just by doing like learning basic copywriting is a great, you know, a great start. There's a book called Building a story brand that I often recommend to people that I find to be very useful for just learning a general framework for copywriting without having to, I always say like this, you could do all the work to learn copywriting and learn all these formulas and do all the practicing. And you would get to a point that you could get there just by reading that book and you might not understand all the techniques in detail, but it doesn't matter because you've developed a skill to create the end result, which is copy that just resonates with people and is engaging. So, I definitely recommend that because it's a pretty simple formula they have. And they really walk you through how to think about creating content in a way from the perspective of your ideal customers and not you. So, you're not thinking about how can I make my business look better? It's how can I make my customer look better, and through them getting better or looking better, or whatever I've somehow like they have to work with my business or buy my product to get that end result, 


Dana Dowdell 05:36

want to talk about the concept of copyright a because I think when I when I first started a business, it was not something that I ever really thought about, I really think I started thinking about it maybe over the last two years. And what I'm what I the state that I'm in right now is that I consume so much content, that my messaging was very much like a kind of copy paste or trying to be like these other entrepreneurs who were doing what I was doing or doing what I wanted to be doing. And so, my messaging wasn't necessarily my own. So, can you talk a little bit about the value of copywriting not just from an email marketing perspective, but from like a business? Perspective?


Kyle Stout 06:25

Yeah, so I think I was just very fortunate that, so I had, I was previously in a different industry before I got into copywriting. And I knew I wanted, I just wanted to have some sort of online based business, I was very interested in digital marketing. And I kept, I was just looking around to all the different options and copywriting kept coming up. And like you said, it's like when I would tell people I was a copywriter, no one knew what I was talking about, they thought that they thought I was dealing with copyright and trademark law. And I would try to explain to people, and they still would like they would picture that, and I would try to explain to them what it is. But once you see it, you can't unsee it because copywriting is basically it's just sales, but it's in the written form. So, every, whether it's an advertisement, it could be a commercial, you see, everything is based in copy how they script out videos, it's based in copy, and it's really just, it's just, you know, having the ability to persuade and influence. And it's, it's extremely powerful. And it's, again, it's like, what I what attracted me to it is because I kept noticing that, okay, if I can somehow get good at this, I will learn the other things, I need to learn about marketing and sales just by learning this by understanding copywriting because you kind of have to learn all these, you know, psychology and different sales tactics to understand it. So, I find that it really helps, you know, just improve everything you're doing across the board. It's really useful for business owners and consumers. We're just not even know that how common it is and how much it's affecting them. But you had a second part of your question, I want to I want to make sure I answered what was the second part about it was it about, like how to get started with copywriting?


Dana Dowdell 08:12

Well, just what you know how a business should think about it, because again, I was I was I didn't even think about it until two years ago, and the way that I was approaching the copy on my social media posts, and you know, the one email every six months that I sent out, was essentially the voice of other business owners because I was trying to emulate what they were doing, rather than finding my own voice through my copy.


Kyle Stout 08:44

So, this is gonna sound kind of repetitive. But I would say part of it goes back to what I was saying earlier about just really doing some research and understanding your target market, what makes them what makes them tick, figuring out those pain points that you know, the things that they care about the most. And so always having the North Star of your content be about your ideal customer and the things that they care about. But now it's like okay, but all your comp your competitors are doing the same thing. So how do you communicate differently? I think this is where we have rules set up for ourselves that we need to actually break those rules. So, with copywriting, you don't have to use perfect grammar. And you and you really need to it needs to be the opposite of writing a paper for school people think of copywriting and they're intimidated because they think well, I was never a good writer. But that's not the kind of writing we're doing. We're writing how we speak so you want to keep the sentences short. You want to be punchy; you can use humor; you can misspell things you can you know if it's like if you are intentionally using slang or something. You don't want to try to sound too smart by using big words you actually want to write dumb you want to you want to dumb your copy down. And so, if people realize that if they remove a lot of those barriers of Thinking you have to be a good writer, it's not so much about the skill of writing, it's more about the skill of being empathetic to the person you're writing for. And making sure that intention comes through and, and not being afraid to let your personality show up in your writing, like not being afraid to say something, the way you speak, even if you think man isn't quite professional, but that's going to resonate more with people, and especially if they're like, for example, if you're sending emails, and then you get on a sales call with them, and then they see oh, you know, she talks exactly like she writes in the emails, it's like, you instantly have a better connection than you would have if you if it was the stiff, you know, boring professional language in the email, and then you're just being normal on a call.


Russ Harlow 10:43

Well, what if I have a stiff professional tone all the time?


Kyle Stout 10:47

Well, so some people do, some people do and in that, you know, sometimes it might be better to just hire a copywriter, you know, if like, or, you know, I mean, there's an audience for everyone. So, if you're true to as long as you're putting value in there, and you're true to who you are. Some I mean, there are people who, like, for example, in the podcasting world, are you familiar with Lex Friedman? Yeah, so a lot of people, you know, he is huge podcaster, a lot of people will kind of, you know, make fun of the fact that he is, he's just not, this isn't as outgoing and charismatic as other people. But yet, he has a really, really insightful questions. And he guides the conversation in a very insightful way. So, it might have, I don't know what his history was. But I would imagine it probably took him a little longer to get traction than someone who's just really good at, you know, being attention grabbing. But he stayed true to what he does. And he's he, it's clear that he's trying to provide value to the audience. So that will resonate with people. And he's found his way. So, I think there is a way for everyone, you know, if you are kind of staying true to this is just how I communicate.


Russ Harlow 11:49

Yeah, and I can fall asleep to Lex. But I always learned something when I listened to Lex as well. So that's the thing he's so smart and add such know, adds a lot of insight is interviews. But so, with copy, I mean copies everywhere, whether it's in marketing materials, our website, or email or anything else, you're saying, we need to be conversational, authentic, but how else can we stand out? Because I'm guessing? We can't be like everyone else, like Daniel was trying to do we have to find a way to be different, and stand out? What are the best ways in order to do that? And I'm sure it's different for each of us. But what are some, some ways that we can be different and stand out? Yes, so


Kyle Stout 12:30

this lot of people probably won't like this. Truthfully, the best way to stand out is to be controversial, you know, doesn't mean you have to go that route, doesn't mean you necessarily should. But like, that's the quickest way to gain attention. And I would say to be polarizing, so to say things that are more likely to make people either love you or hate you and not feel in the middle. And so that, but it doesn't mean you have to necessarily say offensive things or be offensive, but it does mean things like taking a strong stand on something in your industry, or, you know, standing up against problems in your industry. And being someone who fights for your target customer, people will like that, they'll want to, you know, people like to rally behind the leader that's fighting for a cause they believe in. And it's also just like, there's a lot of psychology dynamics where, you know, you have a common enemy, that where it's just easier to find common ground. So again, you don't have to necessarily be offensive, but I would say, you know, intentionally doing things like taking a little bit of a stronger statement, and being willing to, you know, maybe back off that statement a little bit later. But so, whenever I used to have an online coaching business, and I grew that through Instagram, and this is where I would like I love to just take the things that I knew were wrong about the fitness industry and just go hard on and just bash them and tear it apart. Because I really believed in what I was, like, you know, it wasn't trying to be offensive, but I knew I was fighting for something that was right, and that I believed in, and that it would be helping people. And it helped me, you know, get more attention to my content quicker than just being strictly educational. 


Russ Harlow 14:17

Wow. I mean, did you just kind of blew my mind because like, I spent a lot of time trying to be an educational and help people and I'm thinking, and now you're giving me these ideas about things that I can start to make a stand on in my industry. And I want to start taking I want to listen to this later. And I want to take notes, because that's huge. Because being different makes it's so important and getting the message out there, right? Because if people you have a great message that people need to hear, and it just is white noise, they'll never get your message.


Kyle Stout 14:51

Yeah, and it's funny, like a lot of times you'll notice the people or the brands that have blown up. Maybe they even did it in a more subtle way and it and now you can look, and you will see how they did it. But you might not have noticed it along the way. Or maybe you just really, totally agreed with everything. So, you just didn't see any level of controversy and never ruffled your feathers. Right, but, but even with email, it's like emails are pretty boring topic. You know, and I like to, I like to say things like most emails suck, you know, I like to say stuff that I know is gonna kind of rub some people the wrong way. But it's not really like, like I say, it's not that controversial, no one cares. If you say emails suck, I'm not gonna get in any trouble or have any backlash over that, right? But it's just enough. And that's all it really takes is just that little bit more that other people aren't doing that's like just to get the attention and then give them the value. Because, unfortunately, you know, it's just a very attention based, short, form-based economy where like, we can't even focus on anything for more than 30 seconds. So, if you can't get their attention right away, they're not going to hear the good stuff you have the offer.


Dana Dowdell 16:01

I'm curious, when you were going from freelancing to starting the business and really trying to scale your own business. How did you use email marketing and copywriting to scale your business.


Kyle Stout 16:17

So, I didn't do as much email marketing. At first, I started off freelancing on Upwork through a platform freelancing platform. So that's how I got a lot of my clients. And then a lot of them was were coming from referrals. And then through a lot of the email marketing I was doing was actually outreach or outbound email marketing. So cold email, which is a very tough, it's definitely a numbers game, it's also way more saturated now than it was even just a couple of years ago. Like it's just so much more difficult now than it was a couple of years ago. But part of it was when sending those back then just being a little bit more personalized, like taking a little putting a little effort extra effort into personalizing the email. And because you know, business owners, we always get emails constantly. And it's always the same generic stuff over and over, just that little bit was enough to really stand out. Now everyone has there's these techniques with AI, and just pulling things from someone's LinkedIn profile, where now every email is like, a little bit personalized. So, if you don't go deep dive personalization. It's not enough to stand out anymore. So, I feel like that kind of that I mean, the game is not over, but depends on your industry. For my industry, that game is extremely saturated, because we're competing against other email marketers, everyone, like it's just, it's ridiculous how many email agencies are pitching email to people through cold email.


Russ Harlow 17:48

So, with the outbound just to kind of dumb it down for some of us, that would be like buying an email list and putting out huge email blasts to people or, I mean, is that what you mean by outbound marketing.


Kyle Stout 18:01

So yeah, and not even always buying the list necessarily. There's different sites like built with and there's these other sites where you can scrape email addresses from the internet, you can set up parameters, like I'm targeting this type of business that uses this kind of technology. And then you'll get that list of emails, it's kind of a long, like, then you can take that, and you can run it through another software that eliminates emails that are no longer good. Then you have some kind of software that's helping you automate sending these sequences out and, and then you have followed up that can be automated and everything and you have a CRM, so yeah, that's, that's the typical process. 


Russ Harlow 18:41

I feel like I'm on a lot of those lists.


Kyle Stout 18:45

Yeah, everyone is and a lot of them, they're not even really that accurate. Like, I get pitched on things for software. They're like, we see your businesses using this and we don't even I haven't used it in years, you know, like, I don't know how, why they think that or how what list I'm on but


Russ Harlow 19:01

even the inbound marketing, I found I've gotten inundated you know, through email through my website, not just using the email address on my website, but the email form. And it requires, you know, you know, I think we use a math equation. So, I mean, it can't be just done by a bot. And I got I got an email the other day from someone trying to sell me a pet harness, a dog pet harness. Well, in my inbound marketing, I kid you not I usually digital marketing. It's usually digital marketing. But this time, they were trying to sell me a pet harness. I'm like, wow. 


Dana Dowdell 19:38

So that goes back to Kyle's first statement of know your audience.


Russ Harlow 19:41

Yeah, I have a dog.


Kyle Stout 19:44

That's funny.


Dana Dowdell 19:46

It's funny. I just went on to LinkedIn. And I was like, going through my notifications. And I think I had three or four direct messages on LinkedIn where people were asking when would be a good time to set up a 15-minute call? And I was like, In my head never. So yeah, to that point, you know, is email marketing a way to build relationships and rapport with your potential customers?


Kyle Stout 20:13

So oh, absolutely, but I would say so. And I don't do that outbound email, email marketing. Now, I've never offered that as a service. By the way. That's not really where I find the value of email marketing to be, I find like, you know, a lot of the outbound things cold calling, whatever, like those things will always be there. To me, the ideal thing for a business is if you have at least one steady traffic source. And ideally, it would be paid ads, or organic social media content, something where you've got a steady traffic source, you can get people onto your list where they've chosen to be on there, right, they've opted in. And that's where you can really start the relationship. So, getting them into that initial welcome series for whatever your business is. And really, that's the key to me, in working with businesses and helping businesses scale is there's two main functions, you have your sales process, and just a lot of times a business, they're just not being efficient with their existing sales process. So that's usually where I come in, is trying to help them get more sales from their existing traffic, now that they've got more sales, and they're more efficient, and they've got this, this kind of automated machine that they can send traffic to, and predictably make more money from, it allows them to then invest more in their top of funnel marketing. So, spending more on ads and getting more traffic, and more people are going into that system. And that's those are really the two main pieces. So, and I'm not going to say that email is the be all end all you have to have both. But I will say that for there are so many companies where they they're so good at generating traffic, maybe they're just really good at social media. And they have no idea how much money they're losing by not doing more with email marketing, two, for one not having their sales process optimized with automations. But then to your point about building relationships, being very generic with the emails, because they just found out about some sort of, you know, Formula funnel formula. And I think it's just enough to have those emails in place. And the truth is, those emails will convert, and you will, you will convert some level of traffic into customers doing that. But if you take the time to do what we've been talking about, of just getting to know your people a little bit better speaking, you know, talking about the things that you know, they care about the outcomes they want to achieve their problems are dealing with right now. And just showing that you actually care also showing you understand them, because there's a level of professionalism. If a business can speak to me, and they can like really explain exactly what I'm going through, this could be a consumer business or whatever, I know that they know what they're doing, or else how do they know that like, how could they read my mind if they are not good at what they do. So that goes a long way, and people might not be in the market to work with you right now. But you at least left a good impression. And they're like, you know what I'm gonna stick around in this email list, I'll continue to hear what they have to say. And a lot of times, especially when it comes to services, they might have went with a different service for whatever reason, but a lot of times it won't work out, and then they will be back and you will be the first one there that's on their mind, because you didn't push them away, you at least even if you didn't close the deal, you at least maintain the relationship there.


Russ Harlow 23:24

This episode is brought to you by reliable remediation where we honor the trust our clients placed with us to restore their property from disasters like mold contamination, and water and fire damage. We do it by performing our service with expert care and precision, we seek to establish our client's confidence and rebuilding comfort and ensuring the health of their environment. Our team takes pride in providing a level of service that's unparalleled in the industry, throughout the entire process. Find us at reliable So, is this maintaining a relationship with anybody who gets on that list? But what about existing customers as well? And are we you know, kind of maintaining that relationship? So, they continue to think about us? Like, for me a service-based industry. I mean, they don't always need us. We don't always have to come back. We're dealing with disaster restoration. But God forbid, it happens again, I want them to think of us again. So, we're nurturing that relationship and keeping it going.


Kyle Stout 24:22

Yeah, I think with service-based businesses, you it's there's a little bit more of a lighter touch to maintaining that relationship over time, just because a lot of times what services, they might not need your service. Very often, like you might have a service where they only needed a few times a year. And so, you don't want to be too aggressive, because you just annoyed them and until they you know, you want them to stick around so that when they when they need you again, you're there and they are there to see you. But then with product-based businesses. What's interesting is that a lot of businesses don't email enough, and the engagement of their emails will improve as we start emailing more Frequently, and again, that's assuming that we're emailing them or sending emails that they want to receive. But we find that a lot of times people are sitting on a big customer database, they've got all these emails of past customers, they're not really doing much email marketing, and they might do the occasional holiday sale or something. And that will generate a spike in revenue. But because there's not this consistent communication, so it doesn't feel like there's any kind of ongoing conversation, they're not really doing much to build that relationship. And it's kind of the opposite of what you think a lot of times, because a lot of businesses email too much. So, you think like the idea of increasing emails for a business would be a bad thing. But a lot of times a business will go from emailing once a month to once a week or even twice a week. And the engagement keeps going up and up, and they start getting more and more sales from their emails, because, again, it's just part of the conversation. It's like they, they just weren't as familiar with you, and you hadn't really won them over. So, for a lot of people, it's going to take many communications to really win them over its and if you're only doing it once a month, you're not staying on their radar long enough for them to remember the last thing you said to care more about the thing you're saying today.


Dana Dowdell 26:12

I hear a lot of noise about building out your email list. And I think to Ross's like original point around like the ick factor, like I, I hate when I get automatically added to an email list without like giving my explicit consent. And I know, in the UK or in Europe, there's specific regulations around that not necessarily here in the United States, but any kind of honest and authentic ways to build an email list.


Kyle Stout 26:47

Yeah, so I mean, I definitely, honestly, the thing is, I can tell you like what happens on the back end, anytime you do, anytime you trick people onto the list, or you put them on there, and they didn't want to be on there, it just doesn't play out. It doesn't play out like you think you might get a little bit of sales early on, but you're gonna get the negative engagement you will get will harm your email deliverability. To the point that it's just not worthwhile to do that, because Gmail on the other inboxes is very sensitive. So, I find that when businesses are running ads, specifically to generate email leads, versus trying to just attract customers who happen to opt in, going after the buyers who happen to opt in are even though you will get fewer of them. And they might cost more per lead, they tend to be they tend to stay on the email list and actually buy and make repeat purchases. So, a lot of times, and this isn't always a bad thing. It's something you have to test. So, there's kind of a middle ground, I would say that doing things for massive freebies like giving away massive freebies to try to attract people onto your list usually doesn't play out very well it will help you build a bigger list. But those people often unsubscribe, hit spam and just stop engaging, which just hurts your engagement. More so than others, I have seen certain types of giveaways that have worked well. And those are when brands do partnerships. So let's just say one brand sells dog toys and other brands sells dog food, neither one of them sells the products that the other one does, they clearly have the same customers, they do a joint giveaway that that is part of it is like Company A has to their people sign up for company B's email list, and vice versa. I haven't seen those who very well actually, those people like me, I just didn't know about this brand. This warm recommendation from a brand they already like and care about is enough to win me over. And a lot of those people do if they don't win the giveaway thing, or whatever it is, that's part of the initial, the initial deal, they still stick around and buy and make repeat purchases. So that's one way that I that, I would say it's kind of common, but I don't see it talked about a whole lot. Really, the big thing is you got to have some kind of offer to get people on the list. And you've got to be able to get attention to that offer. So, I find it when people are doing social media content, they're getting a bunch of views, they're growing their channels, but they're not really directing people to their email list or directing them to their website or to other stuff. And I would say, man, it's so much easier to you have a direct line of communication with them through email. And it's not as predictable online because you could post something, and the algorithm just might not show it to them. So, I would suggest for people to be very open or just to put a bigger emphasis on getting people to the email list as quickly as possible from social media. And then having the conversation there as opposed to having the pressure of like constantly having to keep the conversation up on social and just convert them directly to a customer from social it's just it's just a lot harder because there's so many distractions on social media.


Russ Harlow 30:04

So, I'm curious if people are trying to do email marketing, and they're trying to do it on their own. Now, I know this is something you and your organization does, how big of an email list to can I handle on my own, and when should I start looking to outsource some of these responsibilities to, you know, to Kyle and elevate and scale?


Kyle Stout 30:26

Okay, so it's, it's more about how much people are like the average order value. And so, a small list for a high ticket, product offering or service offering company, you know, you could be generating hundreds of 1000s of dollars, you could have another list where they sell cheap products, and the list isn't engaged, and they've got 10s of 1000s of people. And you know, they're only generating a few 1000 a month from your list. So, it's, it's kind of the combination of things but I would say, so, just starting out, if you're doing this yourself, you should get some automations in place for your sales process, maybe try to do a regular email that goes out. If you want to keep this in house, you're likely going to need a copywriter. If you are selling to consumers, you're likely going to want to do some graphic design and get some nice, you know, designed emails at some point. But b2b, I recommend just keeping it plain text, it's easy, it's simpler, unnecessarily easier, because there's more pressure on the copywriting. But it's simpler from a from just logistics of getting them created. And then, you know, if it's to the point where you're getting great results, and you do want to keep it in house, and you've got those skill sets in house, I really always suggest to people for things that where they feel like they're going to have a strategic advantage to try to keep them in house, if you just know that you don't want to mess with it, or you don't have the skills, you can usually for your money, get more for your money by going with an agency assuming they know what they're doing. Because you'll have three or four people working on your account for the price of hiring one person. So it's gonna come down to how much control do you want to have, if you are a business owner, and you're a creative and like you've always driven the creative and the marketing of your business, you're probably going to want to have control and you're probably going to want to have to be more involved in the your vision coming to life. Whereas a lot of our clients, they don't like email marketing, they don't know anything about it, they don't want to mess with it. It's like this, it's always been a burden to them. It's you know, it takes up so much time for them, because it's not something they enjoy. So, it takes for them to sit down and do it takes them three times as much because it's like pulling teeth right as it would for someone who enjoys it and is good at it. So yeah, I don't necessarily always say people should go one or the other. It's more about finding that fit. And I also work as a consultant with businesses who want to do it in house, and they just want you know, help getting in the right direction. So, for me, it's like, hey, I like to just try to find a way to, you know, how can we? How can we get aligned? Like, what are you actually trying to accomplish? What am I trying to accomplish? Can we work together? So that's why we work in both capacities like that I'll consultant and we also do the done for you is the majority of it as well.


Russ Harlow 33:18

What about things that I should avoid doing or not do that'll either get me in trouble or shrink my list? Because people are reporting it as spam? Or just unsubscribing? You know, like, snowballing, what are some things I should avoid?


Kyle Stout 33:33

Okay, so one thing you mentioned earlier about buying lists, just, it's just no point, it's just not, it's not worth it. If you are going to do outbound email marketing, do not do it front, don't send emails from your domain, you will ruin your domain reputation to the point where you won't even be able to send emails to your employees and everything, and everyone received them. Then, of the common things. If you don't email too frequently, like this, don't email everyone on your list every time. Every time you send an email out, you should not be sending to your entire list. This is where segmentation comes into play. So, you can create segments for different there's three different types of segmentation I recommend starting with one would be engagement groups. So creating a 30 day engaged group, which just means that these are people who have opened an email, clicked an email or visited your site in the last 30 days, and then having a 60 day engaged group and a 90 day and you can go out as far as you want, you know, usually will do to like six months. And the idea here is that the people who are more engaged, they likely want to hear from you more the people who are less engaged want to hear from you less. So, for the just the generic emails that go out. Just anything that's not specifically targeted to someone based on purchase history or anything. I would hit those engagement groups and so you start with 30 days. Look at your engagement. If you see you've got good open rates, click rates, all of that. The next time maybe try going out to that 60 Day group and you want to go out until you see where your engagement falls off, like you're just not getting, say your open rates are below 20%, your click rates are like, you know, below half a percent. Okay? dial it back to where you're going to a more engaged group. And the reason why. Because people will say, well, but then I have all these people, I'm not emailing on my list, and I, you know, I paid to get them and I'm not getting the value out of it. The reason why is because those people are unengaged for a reason, they either don't want the emails anymore, they don't need them right now, they might not need your service right now or your or your product. It doesn't mean they don't like you; it doesn't mean they would never buy from you again. There are a million reasons why someone could not want your emails right now, and still would want to do business with you later. So, if you keep emailing that person, they will, they will either hit spam, unsubscribe, or they'll do what I call the invisible unsubscribe, which is where they just ignore your emails, which just kills your engagement, and doesn't really give you anything to learn from. And then the reason why this engagement thing is so important that I keep stressing this is it's not just a vanity number like it used to be, it's not just oh, I feel bad, because my opens and clicks on his high. It's because Gmail sees your opens and clicks aren't high. And they think, oh, people don't want these emails. So now we're not going to put them in people's inbox, we're going to put it in the promotions tab, and then we're going to put it in spam. And you're just you're doing more harm than good. Now, when you do have a big holiday sale, a big new product launch, then send it out to everyone, because a lot of those people I mentioned to, they don't want to hear from you all the time. Oftentimes, they do at least want to know when you have a big sale when you have something new and exciting going on. So, it doesn't mean NEVER email the full list. It's just that you want to email more frequently, the people who are showing you, they want to get that they're more engaged, and they want more frequent emails, and then go to everyone else less frequently.


Russ Harlow 36:52

So, when you say from my domain, like not my G Suite, or my Outlook account, or anything else, I should probably using some kind of service like Constant Contact or MailChimp or, you know, something like that, I'm guessing, right?


Kyle Stout 37:05

Yeah, definitely. It would be very, very difficult to at this point, you know, as your business grows to avoid that, yeah, so a good email service provider, and they're not all created equal. You know, so like, for example, MailChimp, MailChimp, because they are so popular. And it's like the number one recommendation on every on every blog, you go to, I find your deliverability isn't as good as other platforms. So, but this is kind of, if you're a beginner, I wouldn't worry too much about that, I would say just get on one platform and start building your list. But as you grow, you're going to want to go to plot you're going to be want to be a little more thoughtful of okay, like, what's what, how is the quality of sending from this platform? Does it really have the functionality I want and that kind of stuff?


Russ Harlow 37:49

How important is the subject line?


Kyle Stout 37:53

Okay, not as important as people think, really, really. So, I was especially like this, the colder the audience is, the more crucial it is. So, if you're sending out an email, or the emails that people get when they initially sign up, it completely makes or breaks the emails, because if they never open the emails, and they don't get the content, they don't get any of the value, they don't, they don't build a relationship with you. So that they don't like they have no reason to care or be interested or anything. It all starts with a subject line. But here's the thing, once you've built up your list, as your list grows, and as you do more email marketing, the overwhelming majority of people are not these cold people anymore. And when I would, what I have found and we have I have tested this like extensively is that the more engaged they are, you can, they're just going to open whether they like you or not, it's really more about that than it is about what it says Now, there are tricks to increase the opens that will always work. So, using their name, keeping the subject lines short, doing anything that creates curiosity, using emojis, these are all things you can do to increase the opens. And I'm not saying you shouldn't ever, you shouldn't try to increase your openings. But what I find is that people they get so caught up on the subject line and getting just the right subject line, but they didn't put the effort into having a good email. And if you trick them into opening and the email sucks, they stop opening and here's the thing, those all those little tricks you can do to get people you know, like, last chance, you know, Ross, you know, like all caps and everything. Okay, the first time you're opening that like Whoa, what a nail but then 10 times later, it's like okay, yeah, you always say that. So, you that's the thing is people it's like, people find a trick that works, and they think you can use it forever. No, I would rather be not do that most of the time, and then pull out the tricks for the really big sales and everything. But don't lean on that. So, I don't like to start the relationship with new leads. Using all those little tricks to get opens, I really want them to get the content and to stick around because the content in the email is effective.


Russ Harlow 40:11

I feel like we've only scratched the surface of the psychology and science of the importance behind email marketing, and, more importantly, good email marketing. But we didn't people have an opportunity to touch base with you. But I wanted to ask you a couple of questions, we're going to hit our lightning round and ask you some things that we'd like to kind of wrap with. And that's, what's one thing you wish you had known before starting a business?


Kyle Stout 40:38

Man, it was a lot of things, I would say one that really comes to mind is just how difficult emotionally and how lonely it can be at times. There's there were times early on, like all through the whole period of struggle. I remember seeing friends, because we all graduated college, they go off and they get these nice cushy jobs. I'm thinking there will be time, I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. So, there was never a second guessing. But I was like, man, they don't realize how nice they have. They go home and they don't have to worry about their work. You know, it's like as an entrepreneur, it feels like it's just 24/7 stress and anxiety a lot of times and it's worth it. But I definitely think people should know going into it that it's not going to be easy.


Dana Dowdell 41:28

I feel like this next question is a trap. But what's your favorite way to market your business?


Kyle Stout 41:33

Okay, yeah, well, so email obviously, is great. But, but that's actually not, I would say my favorite thing, because you really have to get people to the list in the first place. So, my favorite thing is social media. And that's specifically for me as video content. So, I actually hadn't been doing much video or much, you know, digital marketing, or sorry, much social media marketing for this business. Up until just recently, I was really focused more on just getting the systems built out and refined and really getting our, you know, our service fulfillment, refined. And now I've started to actually, I've been doing podcasts and then creating YouTube videos. And those are actually my two favorite ways. I love having the conversations on podcasts, and I find that business prospects, they, they get to know you a lot more. So, I'm finding that when people hear these podcasts, and then we hop on a call, there's already so much familiarity. And man, it makes it so much easier. And the same thing if they've, if they've watched your YouTube videos, it's just it's just the starting the conversation is just so much easier. And they already know a lot about you and your business and what you do. So, you don't have to do as much convincing and educating. It's like now we can talk specifically, we can really jump into what's going on with your business, and how can we help and all of that.


Russ Harlow 42:48

I'm gonna definitely start following you and subscribe to your YouTube channel. Because I want to learn a lot more about this. Is there one business platform that's changed your life? Yeah,


Kyle Stout 43:01

I mean, looking back throughout my career, I have to say Upwork, just because that's really where I got my start. And, you know, I think, man, I'm very fortunate to have grown up and the time I did because just starting a business was so much different in the past and you weren't able to, you'd have you are really stuck with your immediate network when you're getting started. If you had no money, and no, you'd really had to just knock-on doors and, and network and go meet people. But so, for me, I had the ability to immediately start working with people all over the world. And because you know, and I was basically taking on any project I can get and doing everything for really cheap just to get experience. And it was like it was like a masterclass. I mean, I learned more in the first year of freelancing than I learned from all the time I spent in college. Just because I was able to work with so many different people with so many different types of businesses, that it's just stuck with me to this day.


Dana Dowdell 43:59

When did you feel like you have made it?


Kyle Stout 44:02

So, you know, I don't actually feel like I've made it yet. That's the thing I still, I think so one goal of mine, so I have elevate and scale. I want to continue growing this I definitely intend to keep this business; I have a goal of creating another business that I am building it to sell. I think that would be a fun thing to do one day to build a business and have it get acquired. But there's a lot out and then also there's like there's things I want to do beyond business in terms of just I want to get to a point in life where I can really give back and you know, I'm not sure what that looks like exactly yet, but, but a lot of the things I think about are the things I'm kind of going for I don't feel like I'm anywhere near them yet.


Russ Harlow 44:49

That's, that's a more common response than you might think from a lot of our business owners and entrepreneurs.


Kyle Stout 44:54

I would imagine you know, it's just kind of thing as part of like, that's the mindset of gets you into starting a business in the first place. I'm sure


Russ Harlow 45:01

in the last one is there one business book that's changed your life or business?


Kyle Stout 45:09

Man, there's, there's a lot, it's hard to point to just one, I would say, The Four-Hour Workweek was one that first put the idea in my head of this whole working online. You know, having a business that for you. So, for me, it was like I want I knew I wanted to have a family at one point, I knew I wanted to have flexibility with whatever business I created. And this is, you know, back just 10 years ago, the idea of being able to run a business and work from home was kind of for and our people didn't really believe it. I would tell people; I was going to do that. And no one believed me I remember even like dating a girl I was dating, she just told me like, that's, that's not possible, like what you're trying to do, it's not going to happen, you know. And it's kind of funny, because, you know, obviously, it played out, we're where that did happen. But there was, there was that one. You know, one that's interesting is War of Art. If you if you deal with procrastination, or writer's block or anything like that, there's a book called War of Art by Steven Pressfield. There was a time when I just needed that book at that time. And it really had a profound impact. And it's a very, very simple book. But the whole book is just about the idea of resistance, like mental resistance. And he kind of like positions, the resistance as this evil force against you. Just the way he just the way he framed that really had an impact on me at a time. Like I said, when I just was distracted, I just needed that. And it really helped me focus and really push through and be a lot more productive at an earlier time in my business.


Russ Harlow 46:47

Cool. You know, and it's, and I thank you for that. Because honestly, I'd really use that question to build out my, my, my book list. So, I'm going to check those out. Where, where can people find you? Where can they learn more about you and what you do?


Kyle Stout 47:04

Yeah, so if you want to contact us directly, then you can go to elevate and Otherwise, I would say the best place to find me is on YouTube, because that's where I'm putting my most time and energy right now. And so, putting out tutorials on everything from you know, beginner, just getting started with email marketing all the way through advanced stuff like segmentation, and you know how to think about crafting your content and planning, planning, monthly emails and everything. So, I'm going to keep putting out more videos there. So definitely subscribe.


Russ Harlow 47:37

Awesome. Thank you for your time today. And thanks for stopping by the podcast, sharing with us sharing with our listeners. We're gonna thank our listeners from being here. Thanks for listening. If you've learned something valuable, like I have, like, share it with somebody else who needs to hear it. Leave a great review. Let us know how we're doing. Remember, it's not personal. It's Just Business.