60. Abby Hehemann: AI & Data-Driven Email Marketing For eCommerce

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The Brand Builder Show
60. Abby Hehemann: AI & Data-Driven Email Marketing For eCommerce

It’s no secret that a solid email marketing strategy is a must for any eCommerce brand that wants to maximize revenue and be successful over the long term.

But with the world of eCommerce changing so rapidly, how can operators utilize new data and AI technologies to stay ahead of the competition?

In this week’s episode of the Brand Builder Show, we’re joined by Abby Hehemann from Get Response – one of the email marketing industry’s leading tools – to talk through these issues.

We talked about how eCommerce operators can:

  • Leverage AI tools to speed up their email workflow
  • Interpret “big data” to optimize email marketing performance
  • Stay on the cutting edge to maximize ongoing opportunities

And much more!

Episode Links

Talking Points

00:00 Introduction to Guest: Abby Hehemann

01:00 Background of Abby

04:58 Abby’s favorite five

14:25 Data-driven approach to email marketing

19:46 Succeeding in email marketing for e-commerce businesses

23:45 AI Integration in email marketing

30:44 Can AI also help small brands in email marketing?

33:14 Utilizing personalization to grow the business

39:20 All about GetResponse and their services

43:04 Where to reach Abby Hehemann

Ben Donovan  00:00
Hey everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Brand Builder Show. Today we’re going to be talking about marketing your brand, specifically, email marketing, a massive topic and an incredibly important topic if you’re going to master the world of E commerce and to talk with us about that today, we’ve got Abby from get response. Abby, welcome to the show today. Thanks for coming on.
Abby Hehemann  00:23
Thanks a lot happy to be here.
Ben Donovan  00:25
Yeah, it’s gonna be a insightful episode. Because obviously get responses are a huge email service provider. And I’ve got a lot of knowledge in the space and you’ve been with them, I understand a long time, which we’ll get into in a minute. And so there’s gonna be lots of knowledge bombs in this episode for people to pick up and apply to their businesses. So before we do dive into the meat of talking about email marketing, give us a bit of that background. What have you been up to? And tell us it tell us about your story?
Abby Hehemann  00:55
For sure, yeah, yeah, I hope to definitely get at least some mini knowledge bombs out there today that I can share. But so yeah, so I, you know, kind of entered into the SAS world, in particular, the email marketing world back in 2012, which feels like an eternity ago. But you know, I was really in a customer facing role with get response. And that really set the stage, I think, for everything that I’ve done subsequently, because it gives you that essential foundation of like, the day to day experience, the bright spots, the low spots that customers are having both in terms of using a tool using a product, but then just what gets them excited, what actually, you know, motivates people to actually make progressive positive iterations on the way that they do things and the way that they market. So that was really foundational for you know, a young person right out of college to actually then see how professionals are all just trying to learn new things and try to figure out how to use the resources and tools that they have to be successful. And, you know, your email marketing, or your product is just one small piece of this human beings entire, you know, day, both professionally and personally. So that was like, super foundational experience. And in 2016, I made the pivot into product marketing, and definitely never looked back. And so I definitely always want to talk to people about product marketing and how to get into it, because it’s been kind of a, an emerging, I would say, unit, I would say, and marketing and product worlds in the last few years. And I think so many people come into it from customer success, customer facing roles, or prospects and sales facing roles, because you have to really balance these core pieces of dealing with humans and communicating in ways that humans respond to but also the knowing actually how a product actually works in a way that delivers value.
Abby Hehemann  02:09
So and from, you know, product marketing perspective, it really just helps you scale, what it is that you know, a lot of to more people in a more impactful way for like business outcomes, which is kind of an addicting piece for me for Product Marketing. Yeah. So then, since 2016, and, you know, I’ve been working for like Bootstrap, self funded organizations all the way to like, you know, series A venture, venture capital funded, wild west startups. And, you know, they’re both huge learning experiences that I, you know, have taken so much from, but it leads me back to where I started, get responses, Director of Product Marketing, to really focus on how to be super strategic with the way we position our products, and how we talk about them.
Ben Donovan  03:23
Yeah. And you say you’ve been over the two or the different spans of time with get response with them for a long time, quite a number of years, which is quite rare. Really, in today’s day and age. What do you feel it down to? What’s the what’s the secret to a long lasting? Well,
Abby Hehemann  03:41
yeah, it’s true, it’s very gave me quite some impostor syndrome, for sure to actually stay when I saw piers everywhere, like job hopping every year and a half or two years. But for me, it just really comes with the people that the people that you work with, in particular, and that you that you all feel you’re working together towards, like a common goal and that you’re there to support each other. And so that is a huge motivator for me to stay where I have really trusted relationships with people that I respect and admire that do really talented, good work and who are always looking to improve. So that’s definitely what, what kept me there for so long. But then I took a little foray out into you know, startup world, which was super cool, just because I wanted to, you know, stretch my wings and get to new experiences. But it then brought me back, I’d you know, I will actually return to get response after after leaving just because, again, I learned so much and I care so much about the organization that I wanted to just then apply the things that I’ve learned, you know, at this organization that I care so much about,
Ben Donovan  04:36
yeah, well, that’s a great vouch for get response as a company. So that’s good. That’s good. Okay, and just to round out the knowledge of getting to know you a little bit more like to do our favorite five slot our quickfire rundown of a few of your favorite things in the world of E commerce or the world of digital marketing. So firstly, do you have a favorite e commerce brand?
Abby Hehemann  04:58
I do and it’s relatively new, Whoop, it’s one that actually my, my husband kind of talked to me about, because he was looking at this t shirt that he was looking for, because it’s called thread heads. And it’s just like, you know, it’s an online t shirt shop, basically. But so he’s gonna get a t shirt next week for his birthday. But it’s kind of was taking custom t shirt printing operation out of Australia back in 2017. And they’re now like this global multimillion dollar success story.
Abby Hehemann  05:25
And so what, number one, I like them just because they’ve got really cool T shirts, but I enjoyed, you know, and purchased along with something for my husband. And I also really liked when I started looking into them more just after browsing their website and making a couple of purchases is, yeah, there’s a bunch of custom printing t shirt businesses out there, right, like, there are a plenty, but what I really liked and how they seem to actually scale their business without watering down the value that they were providing their first core set of customers back in 2017. And for me, that really was just, I’m just kind of a professional nerd who thinks about these types of things, even when they’re just buying a t shirt for a birthday present, with how it is possible to scale to actually enter new markets, grow your business without watering down what made you different and special in the first place. You know, and like, there’s so much of that weird instinct, I think, to just like, melt into a sea of sameness and just become some random generic t shirt printing company. And that’s what you have to do to grow. And I really liked how they have expanded, I think they have some other niches that they you know, are able to sell to and you know, those are the types of designs that they’re printing, but they really seem to not have abandoned their core supporters. And like the core reasons they were out there to originally provide like, kind of cool retro style T shirts. And so kind of like the way they’ve remained distinctive, well, massively scaling, I thought was pretty admirable.
Ben Donovan  06:51
Very cool. Yeah, I love your breakdown. You sound like me, and I just, whenever I go on a brand’s website, I kind of feel like I have to tear down everything they’re doing, take away these little bits of inspiration. I got this like one Google Doc, there’s just like, you know, ideas that I just see on different people’s websites. I just kind of no doubt I should try this. I should didn’t implement that. And I’m constantly doing that. And it sounds like you, you might be the same. So it’s good. I love it.
Abby Hehemann  07:15
Yeah, it’s like a It’s a weird addiction. And now I’m hoping you know, the, there will be some magical GPT type technology that will help me actually implement all these things that are saved on my mini platform to actually start putting them into into action. That’s the next big hurdle.
Ben Donovan  07:32
Yeah, hopefully, hopefully, that comes about if anybody’s listening for it can create that for us, we’d appreciate that.
Abby Hehemann  07:36
I’m sure it will.
Ben Donovan  07:39
That’s good. Okie dokie. All right, have you got a favorite software or tool that helps you run your business or life?
Abby Hehemann  07:45
Yeah, there’s two, the one I’ll mention is that you know, not to melt into my own sea of sameness. But chat GPT like, it’s open on my tab, since it’s launched every day. And I can’t imagine it now not being present and how much time it is saving me I feel so much more effective and productive, not wasting time on generating very replicable manual responses to things like, you know, working in a big organization, we do lots of lots of award. You know, we submit lots of awards, we, you know, context, so many different types of people. And, you know, being kind of at a director level of product marketing, we want to really make sure that our message is consistent and coherent. So a lot gets filtered through me right to make sure we’re really on point as we’re looking to reposition ourselves a little bit. And I would have spent a countless amount of days actually trying to wrack my own brain. Is this consistent? Is this the way to actually this first part, this first introduction paragraph is not specific to our tool, I just need help executing the first three sentences of this. And then I know the rest of it. That’s custom to us by heart. So it saved me time. But my Forever Love is my Google Calendar. I’m obsessed with my color coded system. I can’t imagine my life without my Google Calendar. I just love it.
Ben Donovan  09:04
I love it. I love a bit of color coding. That’s good.
Abby Hehemann  09:06
I can’t stop but it runs my life.
Ben Donovan  09:08
Yeah, yeah. Speaking of chat, GPT they just announced GPT four. Have you spin it?
Abby Hehemann  09:16
I haven’t. But I’ve read all the LinkedIn roundups that exists pop up. But it’s cool because you know, we’re, we’re doing a lot of you know, we do a ton of website work. We do a lot of mock ups with our team and new ideas. And I’m just like, so of course, that that big innovation, it’s like taking a sketch, you know, taking just a paper sketch of a website and creating a mock up is like what would change so much about the way that we’re actually speeding tweakers go to market Yeah,
Ben Donovan  09:48
it was even like a functional webpage. I think. I think if you click the button
Abby Hehemann  09:51
 it’s true. It wasn’t even a mock up.
Ben Donovan  09:53
Yeah, I think it is just crazy. Yeah, mental mental. Okey doke, what about favorite organic marketing channel?
Abby Hehemann  10:04
I would say LinkedIn. And that’s both for myself as a professional who’s looking to develop, learn from all these people who seem to have magical AI tools themselves to create all their recaps to help me digest all the news out there. But then also for, you know, as a part of a business that targets b2b marketers that targets people who are on LinkedIn directly, because there’s like countless tales of CEO driven organic strategies on LinkedIn or solopreneurs, to like, double down on their organic LinkedIn posting by being consistent and super valuable with the information that they’re sharing on LinkedIn. And that just turns around to be the most consistent customer attributed model or source for why they signed up for their service, why they signed up for their demo, or whatever it is gonna just, it’s being consistent and relevant in the right place. I mean, it’s that core marketing foundation that just be in the right place and say the right stuff to the right people. And LinkedIn is, I think, a big place for that, in particular for for b2b.
Ben Donovan  11:12
Yeah, I think it’s definitely a massively underrated channel for b2b, especially as you say, how about paid marketing? Do you have a favorite paid marketing channel?
Abby Hehemann  11:23
Yeah, and this is a new one, She’s new. But YouTube, she’s new for us in terms of doubling down on paid. We’re seeing lots of opportunities. So just from, like, Get Response specific around there, because our audience is hungry for bite size educational content in the form of video, and they’re on YouTube, that we’re definitely like doubling down on investments and related to pay on YouTube.
Ben Donovan  11:44
Nice. It’s good. Okay, and how it finally, how about a business book? Do you have a favorite business book?
Abby Hehemann  11:50
I do. And I’ve had, it’s been the same for a few years now. And I recommend it always. It’s April Dunford, obviously, awesome. It’s called How to nail product positioning. So customers get it, buy it and love it. It’s endlessly useful referenceable, I pull it off of my shelf like hard copies, if not once a quarter, every six months, because positioning of your product and your service of what it is you want customers to buy is not static, it needs to change as like one of the any one of the five core components of positioning changes, like your competitive alternatives, your target customer segment, you know, your value proposition as your tool develops, or whatever it is your product, your positioning needs to change. It’s not a static thing. And so that thing is as a product marketer, that’s so much of what we’re doing right, but didn’t take so much of how you go to the go to market. So it’s so useful. There’s, I just referenced it constantly. It’s a good refresh. And it really helps me remember how to be specific and not treat positioning of your product. And its value as like a one time exercise that you do. And it’s done forever. So yeah, really.
Ben Donovan  13:01
It sounds like it would be really, really good for ecommerce, business owners as well, you’d like to say product positioning is so key. And so yeah, that sounds like a great recommendation. I’ll be picking up myself. I’ve not heard of that before. Good recommendation.
Abby Hehemann  13:16
Yeah. It’s super helpful. Yeah, to be fully honest and transparent. It is bigger on b2b a bit, which, you know, unfortunately, most, a lot of my expertise is, but still it has foundations of selling any type of product there. Yes, it’s super valuable.
Ben Donovan  13:30
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Sounds good. Okay, well, let’s, let’s talk about email marketing. That’s obviously another area of your sort of expertise. And it’s going to be something that a lot of our sellers, particularly if they’re new to e commerce, they just kind of in the first year or two, email marketing is something that takes a while to grapple with, you know, how I do it, what are the best practices, et cetera, et cetera, we’re obviously going to talk about some of the more bigger picture Big Data AI stuff shortly. But just to begin with, you know, for any buddy that’s beginning with email marketing, or wants to level up that email marketing game, how should brands be taking more of a data driven approach? That’s I know, that’s a strength of yours. How do they do that take a data driven approach to really shape their email marketing strategy.
Abby Hehemann  14:25
Sure, yeah. And, you know, in this day and age, in particular, for using a marketing provider, if you’re using a, you know, an email marketing service provider, you have built in data once you have to start sending emails, and really what my opinion is, you know, data driven, you know, is a big broad term, but it really just means that you’re being intentional and specific about what you’re sending to who and when, and you’re just using information that you have. And the information that you have either is this zero party data so the customers your subscribers, give this information to you, they respond to a survey to a poll, whenever they sign up for your newsletter or purchase a product, they give you information that then, depending on where you’re located, you know that there’s various ways in which you have the consent to utilize that data and how you can use it. That’s a whole other podcast, exactly the topic for today. It is, yeah.
Abby Hehemann  15:20
So you have that data that they’re giving you. And then you have this first party data, right? It’s, which is basically the information about how they are interacting with your own digital assets, how they interact with your email, you went to your website with other assets that they are able to engage with, right. And so there’s two very important data sources that you have, that you have, as a result of having a customer or having a subscriber. And then as I mentioned, if you have an email service provider, and you send them an email, you have an inherent amount of data about what they did with that email, or what they didn’t do. And that should all just be giving you ways in which you can start experimenting or thinking about is this email having the result that I want, which is usually somebody opens it, they click a link that you have in it, and then they go and engage further with whatever it is that you’ve linked to your product, they download your ebook your offering, or they purchase your product, right?
Abby Hehemann  16:20
And so you should then just start looking at how your emails are performing. Like, are they opening? Are they clicking? Am I using and sending the information to people based on the information I have? Maybe your form, says, Hey, you want to hear more when they’re purchasing your product? Want to stay in touch with us? And then how often do you want to hear from us daily, weekly, monthly, that’s a prebuilt segment that you then should create to make sure you only email the weekly people, newsletter or whatever it is, right. So it’s as simple as that or as complex as making some predictive recommendations about what products they should buy based on previous products they’ve looked at. But getting the core foundations right of meetings, people meeting people’s expectations, or being irrelevant, using the data that they gave you is table stakes. So just like what information have they given you? And how are you using it to make sure that you’re being relevant? And then how are you responding to their behavior?
Ben Donovan  17:18
Are you finding it harder to get accurate first party data with changes with privacy? You know, obviously, Apple well documented to be making a lot of changes with iOS, is that impacting the delivery of this approach?
Abby Hehemann  17:34
It certainly is, in particular, with like, in, you know, with the, you know, Apple update related to like, you know, open, you know, pixel tracking, and then the changes that they make, to be able to track how people open your emails is a huge one, right? It’s, that’s a huge engagement metric that we were using for years to actually be able to effectively monitor and gauge whether your contacts are actually interested in the content that you’re sending them. So it’s greatly changing. Yeah, like email marketers, and all of us marketers are walking very fuzzy lines, very difficult pathways to know.
Abby Hehemann  18:08
Are we are we safe? Are we using this data effectively, I think it’s one way that using an email service provider helps you because we are required to adhere to all these policies, and make sure that customers do not, you know, overstep these policies. And so I think you also have a level of safety there by by working directly with a platform that’s required to do so and help you be compliant. It’s one particular thing. But it’s another emphasis of that, if you feel like you really are building a relationship with your customers and actually want to send them valuable content, you should be and then subsequently do provide them with valuable content and not just spamming them with your offers. If you build a relationship, and people see value from giving you data, they will give you more data that results in them getting better experiences or better content from you. So I think it’s really about coming at it from a really positive intention on your side about what the purpose of your emails are. And that’s why I think we’ll get into this subsequently about what successful people do, right? What successful ecommerce folks do with email marketing, but it’s just like, are you using that data in a good faith way to actually send better stuff to your customers? Because then they’re gonna give you more, and you can use it more effectively?
Ben Donovan  19:20
Yeah, definitely. Yeah. And you have asked my next question there, which is, you know, taking this together, obviously, you’ve got a lot of clients in a lot of different industries. But if there was like, you’re 80-20, of what ecommerce sellers are doing to be successful with email marketing, your most successful e commerce clients, are there some big picture, key things that everyone’s doing that’s helping them succeed with email marketing right now?
Abby Hehemann  19:46
Sure. And, you know, to be fair, I would say this is relevant, as you mentioned, for other industries, but it’s also hyper relevant for E commerce businesses. And it’s getting that first email, right, the first email that you send after they purchase your product, you know, and I don’t mean the confirmation message like your order has gone through, it’s, you know, most likely, then people purchase and they join your mailing list, getting that email, right, getting the first email that you send to your, you know, subscribers and your mailing list will make or break all of the future, like benefits or value that you’re going to get from emailing this customer. Because this is your chance, like we see open rates have the highest, excuse me, open rates, welcome messages, the first message you send to your new subscriber or customer always have the best and highest open rates, click through rates, click to open rates, lowest unsubscribe rates, because they’re most directly related to an action that that person just took either subscribing or purchasing. So this is your moment to actually prove to them and validate their behavior that they’ve done. And what you should use is use any of the zero or first party data that you have to make that email great. And to validate that they have done something good here, where they’re expecting this email from you. So they open it, and then you further delight them with relevant information about them about what other types of information may be, they may want were the type of products they may be interested in what other customers like them have seen value or actually, you know, done with this product to further be successful and themselves, you really have to subsequently prove yourself and not kind of rest fact that you just made a sale or you made a subscription. And like, here’s my deal, you know, don’t go into that first email about, well, here’s all about us and who’s all about me, it’s further validating why you made the right decision with that behavior that you just took subscribing or purchasing their product.
Abby Hehemann  21:36
Because if you miss this one, the chances that they open your next email, even if it’s got some really cool stuff in it are greatly diminished. If you don’t nail that first email that you sent them. And we work with a really cool, small like coffee shop that they you know, sell lots of cool coffees and teas. And that was their big focus was getting their welcome message correct. And like now 54% of their sales come from this one first welcome educational campaign that didn’t dictate over half of the E commerce sales, what they’re getting is from that first one, the first email that they sent, but it’s the opportunity that they have, right. And then if you miss it, if you you know, missed your shot on that first opportunity to get in their inbox and engage with them. You’re on the backfoot I guess really to get back in their good graces even if you have a ton of really cool automations and segments, a lot of cool content, the likelihood that they open your email on top of the 1000s of other emails they get or, you know, diminished.
Ben Donovan  22:41
First impressions are so key.
Abby Hehemann  22:44
It is for any brand, but definitely for E commerce rack. We all know there’s a lot of there’s a lot of emails in those inboxes.
Ben Donovan  22:51
It’s true, it’s true. I saw someone today on Instagram, they kind of having a competition with their friend and they posted a screenshot and their email app had like 200,000 unread emails. As I did not realize the number badge went that high. But crazy
Abby Hehemann  23:06
burn it down I think
Ben Donovan  23:09
literally, literally. Yeah, talking of big numbers, big, big data. AI is something that we’ve obviously talked a little bit about already in the episode. And something as a large email service provider get response, we’ll be living leaning into a lot. How are these aspects changing email marketing? How is it changing? How, how should the E commerce, email marketer be? You know, looking at the next five years, what’s taking place this is feels like quite a monumental shift that’s happening in the world of tech right now. Can you kind of speak to us about that a bit?
Abby Hehemann  23:45
For sure. And I’ll start on the the lighter approach, I would say just in terms of like time savings and efficiency, like what I kind of referenced with with me as a marketer, having chat GPT open all the time, because I think it was the CMO of Zapier, that said on LinkedIn, like, marketers won’t be replaced by AI, but marketers not using AI will be replaced by marketers that use AI, which basically means you’re going to be behind on your game, if you just kind of like turn your back on this tool that pretty much everybody that’s forward thinking is already adopting. So that saves them time on manual, repetitive tasks, and they can use their wonderful, actual human intelligence on other things that humans can do well, because like, you know, like Adobe did a big like, research already, like 62% increase in productivity for companies that use AI for content generation. So now I’m thinking about how brand builders how ecommerce owners should be saving their time on all of the content you need to create because we all know we’ve heard the title six requirements of generating relevant content for your audience. That is, you know, adjacent to your product offerings and value but is not directly selling to them. You have to create a lot of content all the time.
Abby Hehemann  24:59
It takes a lot of time to do that, like, you know, there was like 80% Decrease in content creation time was like another study 48% higher click through rates. I think HubSpot did HubSpot did their own reporting on that. So all the signs are pointing to use AI tools to create your content, it will save you time, and it will actually be better than a lot of the stuff that you can create. And so I definitely think the first most immediate way that AI is going to start improving this and it’s already starting to improve is definitely in the content of your emails, the content, that you’re actually sending your subject lines on the actual physical body of your emails, you shouldn’t be sitting behind your computer screen, brainstorming a new way to approach the topic of that week’s newsletter, or a way to describe this product from like scratch anymore, I think you should, as a business owner, you know, or a marketer, you should always use your human brain on these things and tweak it and validate it. But you should not suffer from writer’s block and staring at a blank cursor. Ever again, I would say it’s like the most immediate way that you should be introducing AI into the way you actually generate content and of course, your email content today, and there’s nothing blocking you from that.
Abby Hehemann  26:13
But I think when we think about the larger, longer term, picture of AI and big data, and all these types of things that there’s a few ways and you know, when you look at big data, there’s like the three V’s volume, velocity and variety, basically, you know, as a result, that now we all have access to more data more frequently and have a more varied type. That’s basically what big data means. And then what I think with email marketing, it will just continue to enforce like these three P’s, which is personalization, predictability, and precision. Because now, as we mentioned, with this zero, and first party data, you have information about these people, and you should be using it. And personalization doesn’t just mean, hello, Abby, I have an offer for you. That’s one core piece that we all should be doing for many, many years now to just, you know, when you see your name, you’d like it in your brain, and you’re more likely to click things, but it helps you just be more relevant that sending the types of things that I have now a ton of external data sources that I could get access to depending where I’m located, and the privacy laws that I can use to make some assumptions or make some predictive recommendations about what people will be interested in and when. And that’s like, so personalization just means being more relevant to what a human individual human being is more likely to be engaged with and want and the predictability part.
Abby Hehemann  27:38
And there’s new tools that are like embedded with these really smart AI solutions already that are starting to make these predictive recommendations of other products. So you’re not having to manually map or create any type of like, smart algorithm that if somebody liked this red t shirt, I should recommend these blue sneakers, we can take a confined amount of data from your customers or other customers similar to your type of offering, who engaged with looked at purchase this type of products, and based on any number of demographic and behavioral criteria, can make some fairly suggestive, trusted recommendations about other types of products they’re most likely to buy, and then automatically populate that in your content. I mean, this omni channel marketing was one thing that was being discussed, which is basically you know, there you have one human being that you market to from many different types of marketing channels, text messages, website, notifications, emails, direct like anything like all the channels of marketing, and you can gauge and monitor how one human being engaged with that to make some decisions.
Abby Hehemann  28:48
And now the next step after that is this concept of like, autonomous marketing, like, everything has to be self driving now, I think in the future, five to 10 years, where your emails, the content of your offerings, if your landing pages that represent you know, that present your products, the emails that market them will probably be pre configured, they will come populated with segments of customers already recommended for you pre configured with the content that we say that you should send to them with the products, you should probably have a look, make sure it’s legit, with your human brain and scheduled to send it. So I think that is probably really where we’re headed. Is this your campaigns based on all the data that everyone can gather and have and within platforms will be configured for you, the content will be there and you just need to check that it’s legit. And you’re ready, you approve of this message, basically, and then you proceed on I think that’s not far away at all.
Ben Donovan  29:47
A lot of what you talk about, and the examples you give are, they tend to lean towards and not just you specifically, but you know, other people that you speak to about it as well. This kind of thing really means towards bigger companies, you know, that maybe got hundreds of products and need AI to help with recommendations? Does this, do these developments? Because of the nature of AI? Do they lean towards helping big brands stay bright, big? Are they going to limit smaller brands? You know, because obviously, if I’m only selling two or three skews, is AI really going to help me with my suggestion engine of what I should be emailing my customers? Because I’ve got three products right? So do you see a world? Do you see a world where this helps big brands stay big and stop smaller brands growing? Or Are there advantages for smaller brands too?
Abby Hehemann  30:44
Yeah, that’s a good question. Of course, you know, seems like Unfortunately, much of technology is always directed at helping the big successful remain bigger and more successful than everyone else. And then, right, it kind of trickles down to how the regular people can actually use parts of this technology to support their own businesses. So I most definitely don’t think that this is going to be just relegated to larger brands at all, who have tons of data and you know, 10s of SKUs that they want to actually market to their customers. And I would go back to my previous my initial point about how I think AI is helping any marketer for any person who has something to sell online today is saving them time, even if you just have a couple of products to sell to your customers, you’re probably very busy with many other tasks and marketing those products via email, it’s just one small part of you being a business owner, and a you actually, you know, looking to sustain and hopefully grow your ecommerce business, I hope you would use the time that you’re not sitting behind a computer screen thinking and brainstorming how you can pitch this product in the best way to be talking with your customers to have actual human to human interviews and calls with them to learn more about what they’re interested in how you could better serve them in the future, what maybe future product lines you could go into. So this is the most basic way I think that it can help businesses of all sizes is to let these magical AI wizards do these things for you. So you can do the things that we’re best at which is human connection, and really making these types of relationships with our customers. So you can figure out how to grow, what’s the next product line you can go into. And you’re not, you know, bogged down with a lot of manual tasks that you should not really be wasting your time with anymore.
Ben Donovan  32:28
Yeah. Great. Final question just on. You mentioned when we’re talking about AI, you know, big data, etc. Personalization, segmentation, obviously, we know that that’s a big part of successful email marketing. Again, someone that’s new to the idea of personalization, hyper personalization, you know, lots of buzzwords here, but can you give us a little bit of a run through again, of how a how a brand owner can utilize that kind of personalization to help them grow their business, and then be taught, talk to us a bit about get response as well? What is it that you guys are doing that’s maybe unique in the market in solving some of these problems, we’d love to love to hear some more about that.
Abby Hehemann  33:14
Sure. So you know, the hyper personalization is really again, using the information that you have about your customers. And probably then creating relevant groups, relevant recipient groups, we call it segments is this the you know, little industry or specific jargon we’ve got, right, which is just a group of people that have some things in common and who ought to probably all receive this, some form of this email content that you’re looking to send that is promoting a particular product, it probably will have different color schemes, a different layout, a different tone of voice. And then what you can do to then make sure that each individual recipient gets the most personal experience that they can, is, you know, most, you know, email marketing providers will have very foundational table stakes, tools and solutions that help you automatically populate the actual text of your email and some content of your email with subscribers specific information. This can be, as I mentioned, as simple as somebody’s name that they provided you in signing up, but also a myriad of other data points that hopefully would now be these first party data points that you have about, Hey, I saw that you had a look at this product. You know, a couple weeks ago, I noticed you were browsing this part of my website, I think that you would be interested in these solutions from us, or this is what’s coming up for us next would you like to get on the waiting list?
Abby Hehemann  34:37
So it’s just about creating groups of people that all seem to be interested in a similar thing, a similar thing, a similar product would have something in common with each other. And then using a you know, it’s called sometimes dynamic content is a specific terminology custom field data. It’s just something that basically is automatically populated in the email with that subscribers personal detail once you actually send this email out to the group of people that you’ve selected, and, you know, we’ve all seen when this fails, even the biggest one professional brands mess this up where you see brackets Hello, first name and it’s from like Amazon or something it happens. So whenever you do decide to start, you know, wading into the waters of personalizing your content with subscriber and customer details that you cannot see when you’re actually typing your email, but you have to trust their config, they will be automatically populated, you have to just test it, you should definitely have yourself subscribed to lists in your neck email marketing provider, as a customer, you should actually create many different types of aliases for yourself and pseudo customers and test these things. So you don’t just like kind of throw a Hail Mary on a new cool personalization tactics that you’re trying out and then send it to you know, hundreds of your hundreds of your customers.
Abby Hehemann  35:56
Definitely create test environments, test lists, I’ve got 700, I think basically, aliases at this point that you know, account for a myriad of different languages and currencies and lots of different things that we’re testing to see, well, they have a bigger impact. But I’ve tested on myself and our team first before we actually deploy. So that’s a big recommendation, also, when you start getting into hyper personalization is that when you do that, you’re increasing the number of dynamic text fields that you can’t actually pre you know, see exactly how they’re going to be filled until you fully send a message. Of course, there are previewing options and things that you can do. But I always recommend real life testing by putting yourself in the different profile examples of the customers that you’re targeting and deploy a lot of tests for yourself before you actually fully go live whenever you’re testing out some of these new tactics.
Ben Donovan  36:42
Yeah, great tip. Thankfully, I don’t actively send too many emails now. Got someone that does that. Because I still get nervous every time you know, if I go into send one of the weekend and she’s not working, I’ll like go in and do one myself. And I’m I hope I’m doing this right. I hope I’ve remembered it. I’ve I’ve got the right people on this email, sending it to 1000s of people, I’d never gets easier.
Abby Hehemann  37:05
nerve wrecking. It doesn’t. And you should check it on your phone and desktop, right? I mean, like, there’s so many ways, like mobile optimization feels like it should be like, a default, since we all live on our phones. But I think even myself who, you know, unfortunately, on my phone way too much. But you get in your professional life, you’re used to working on your computer. And that’s so much of what you do. So you’re testing your emails on your computer and validating cool, it looks good. But then you forget to pick up your phone and maybe see if your friend who has a different type of phone issue. What is their experience, like? So that’s also another way, another thing that an email marketing provider can help you know, is what platforms are your customers using to open your emails? Like what mobile devices do they have? And what email service providers like you know, Gmail, or Outlook or whatever, so you can actually then validate, I know, 90% of my subscribers are using Gmail and 70% of them, open it on their phone. So you should definitely make sure you have a way to test how your phone’s look how your emails, look on, you know, the Gmail app on my example.
Ben Donovan  38:08
Yeah, I looked at our list the other day, actually, and it does our provider shows it talks about the email provider and it’s crazy. It’s crazy how dominant Gmail is.
Abby Hehemann  38:19
It is, it is I think, you know, like I mentioned aliases, like we also create many different aliases of our one Gmail account, as well. And there can be multiple people, multiple people on your list that are the same person, but they have many different Gmail aliases also, which can be over represented sometimes I think, but yeah, you should, when in doubt, I would say optimized for Gmail, and for mobile, to be honest, in particular, if you know more about your clients, like if your customers are, you know, if you’re in the b2b world, you can maybe make some assumptions that people are checking your business email when they’re working on their computers. But most of us we, I mean, I personally use email as like a distractor. When I’m in line somewhere, like I finally have the time to check my email. So definitely, I would default Gmail mobile, making sure emails look good there. If you did nothing else.
Ben Donovan  39:10
Yeah, for sure. That’s good. Good advice. Okay, so just to sort of round us up, then yeah, give us some thoughts on Get Response. What are you guys doing in this space?
Abby Hehemann  39:20
For sure, yeah. So I, you know, made my big spiel about don’t waste time creating content anymore. And that’s exactly kind of what we’re working on now is, you know, we do lots of customer interviews and surveys, like, all the time, and we did a big, big push back a couple of months ago. And the timing was really, really interesting. We’ve kind of wrapped it up back in early November. And a big recurring theme was our customers were saying, like, if I had an assistant, they would reshoot research my emails and write them for me because I don’t have time to create all of this content. Like many of our customers, they have a blog. They have several websites that they’re monitoring, they’re running their own businesses. It’s like solopreneurs.
Abby Hehemann  40:00
You know, of course, plenty of plenty of E commerce owners have a lot that they have to do with their businesses and email is just one more thing that they know is table stakes, but they don’t have time to do it, and then, you know, open AI launched chat GPT, and then opened up their AI, eventually, before that we had some other ways. And we actually decided to natively embed that technology into our email creation process. So you don’t have to go into open AI, you don’t have to have an open AI account and pay for it, we’re gonna do that for you. And so that when you’re creating your email on your septic line, it’s a part of your process. So you don’t have to start from scratch and we’ll generate the entire email for you do you just give us a few keywords, because another big problem, I think, are just not a problem, but a learning curve, to effectively use some of these AI content tools. It’s how to write good prompts, you kind of have to teach yourself, it’s a new skill to learn to get good high quality results, you have to spend some time learning how to write really good prompts for the tool to get what you need. And so what are really talented development team has done is actually found a way to actually on the front end, make it much easier for our customers to simply select different fields, different things that they want for their email, a few simple sentences about what the email is about. And then we will put together the email content, the layout, the color scheme, the images that they want, and the subject line that goes with it automatically. And then they can get started with customizing it and you know, tweaking it to their to their benefit. So they don’t have to learn a crazy new prompt, they don’t have to have an open AI account, a new tab opened, it’s a part of their process. And so definitely, we’re already seeing a ton of time savings with our customers and a lot of positive results. So it’s a big thing we’re coming out with to the you know, it’ll be global eventually as well, starting with English, of course, because I want them to use us the better translation tools as well to make sure that for our customers that speak other languages, and market and other languages have a higher quality tool than just like an automatic translation, which is what’s kind of out there. You know, by default, so yeah, that’s a big one coming coming out very soon for all free accounts and customers as well.
Ben Donovan  42:09
Yeah, very cool. Yeah. So that’s live now for English.
Abby Hehemann  42:15
We’re in beta for our English customers, right now. But then very soon, I hope keep an eye on I think in a couple of weeks, we’re going to be fully ready also for people can create a free Get Response account and try it, I think very cool by the end of this month, but we’ll see. Yeah.
Ben Donovan  42:32
Amazing. Amazing. Well, honestly, there’s been so much good stuff in this episode, so much to learn. And I feel like it’s almost like the seed that we need to go away and spend hours upon hours learning more about researching more about because the world is changing. And these are, you know, big, big shifts in the industry that are happening. So thank you for shining a bit of a light on them. If people do want to take you up on that and investigate more about get response, where can they do that? And also, where from there find out more about you as well?
Abby Hehemann  43:04
Sure, I definitely highly recommend following get response on LinkedIn, and Instagram and YouTube, they are churning out killer content on exactly what we talked about today. It’s actionable tips, its recommendations, super bite sized recommendations for how to be more effective with your email marketing. So it’s quick bite sized fast, I highly recommend it. So it’s just get response on LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube. And then, you know, I am not one of those folks who are doing a great job on my own organic strategy of posting on LinkedIn. But you can definitely find me as a human on LinkedIn. And then I would happily connect and support in any way I can for any email marketer who’s looking to looking to level up. Fantastic. Well, we’ll leave all of those links in the show notes and description below. Thank you so much for your time. I really, really appreciate you coming on.
Abby Hehemann  43:52
Thanks for having me.
Ben Donovan  43:53
No problem. Well, there you go, guys, a great episode on email marketing, check out all of the links in the description below. Check out get response and all of the content they are putting out. The world is changing, email marketing is changing, e commerce is changing. So don’t get don’t get left behind. Check out all the resources. And we’ll see you in the next episode. Same time next week.

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