70. Israa Alrawi: Email Deliverability Keys For Hitting The Inbox

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The Brand Builder Show
70. Israa Alrawi: Email Deliverability Keys For Hitting The Inbox

Every savvy brand owner knows that email marketing is key for long-term success.

We spend time, energy, and financial resources on building an email list of our target customers then creating emails we hope they’ll engage with.

But, if those emails land in spam folders, it’s all a waste of time.

In this week’s episode of the Brand Builder Show, we’re joined by email marketing expert Israa Alrawi to talk about improving email deliverability.

We talked about how you can build a good email reputation, send the right signals to email service providers like Gmail, and how to get more of your emails read by your subscribers so you can make more money with email marketing.

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Talking Points

0:00 Introduction to Guest: Israa Alrawi

01:18 Background of Israa

05:06 How Israa started in eCommerce using a dropshipping model

06:10 What makes customer service so important

09:42 Customer service and copywriting as key areas of focus

12:17 eCommerce email marketing strategies and best practices

15:03 Understanding customer journey and lifecycle

17:32 Conversion vs Email Opt In

19:47 Why is email deliverability so important?

20:12 What causes email deliverability issues?

24:37 Most common email service providers

26:59 Is setting up your own sending IP recommended?

29:16 Common mistakes to avoid in email marketing

31:31 Static List vs Dynamic List

32:59 Do you recommend creating a win-back campaign?

34:30 Strategies for increasing email engagement

40:23 Israa’s favorite five

45:18 How to reach Israa

Ben Donovan  00:00
Hey, guys, welcome back to another episode of the brand builders show. And listen, if you want more of your emails getting in the inboxes of your customers, today’s episode is a must listen, we’ve got that topic and a whole load more to be shared with you today in this episode, and I am joined by my new friend Israel, Israel. Welcome to the show today. Thanks for coming on. 

Israa Alrawi  00:21
Thanks, Ben. Thanks for having me. 

Ben Donovan  00:22
I’m looking forward to hearing more about your journey. I’ve read about your journey, but it’s gonna be great to hear it from you as well. It’s been an exciting journey, and obviously really working on email marketing, email deliverability, specifically, which is a massive issue. You know, I’ve been looking at this a lot recently, myself as well. So as well, as keen is trying sort of focusing on this topic, because I think email marketing for brand owners savvy brand owners is becoming more and more important for a plethora of reasons. And so making sure that your emails, then end up in the inbox, of course, is of utmost importance. And so we’ll dive into that. But before we do, yeah, give us the give us the quick maybe like, you know, sort of 60-second overview of your journey. And then a first little bit the episode will kind of unpack that a bit just to learn more about your journey. And then second bit, we’ll talk about email deliverability. But yeah, give us a quick summary, just to give us a 10,000 foot view to start with. 

Israa Alrawi  01:18
Yeah, absolutely. So I actually dove into E commerce in 2017, I started my own e commerce Store. Before I was an e commerce Store owner, I was actually working as a safety specialist for the US Army in the government. So I had my kids and I didn’t want to travel anymore. And I knew I wanted to jump into the online world. So that’s where my journey started in 2017.

Israa Alrawi  01:46
And I started my own eComm store. And it was kind of I came in during the time of like the dropship Gold Rush, if you want to call it that, where everybody was making millions overnight with dropshipping. I really didn’t, it wasn’t about making the millions, I was just really curious, I wanted to get on and learn a new skill at that point. 

Israa Alrawi  02:07
So I started my ecommerce store, I followed a bunch of pro marketers who, you know, had success overnight. And I struggled a lot because I thought I was failing, because I wasn’t doing the millions overnight either. But then I shifted my focus from there, I had a mentor for a little while, who kind of guided me through like setting up the store, figuring out your suppliers, getting your Facebook ads up. And I kind of shifted my focus on let’s you know, focus on the customer, what they want to buy and all that. So through just working through some of that stuff, I was able to finally get my couple of my first couple of sales. And by the end of the year, I was able to scale the store to mid to mid six figures quickly within like less than two months of doing it. And then we had the issue of Facebook breaking down, which then turned me into using email marketing to help basically stabilize the store. 

Israa Alrawi  03:09
And then I kind of shifted and pivoted into email marketing because I enjoyed it so much and people were just coming to me saying “Can you help us?” I ended up you know, selling the store, merging it with a bigger store. And then I just went on full email marketing in 2019. 

Israa Alrawi  03:09
And I was also bootstrapped. So I wasn’t like taking any loans or anything like that, or credit cards on. So I needed to basically make the payments by the end of the month. And email marketing really helped. What I found out though, as I was doing email marketing, I was kind of like guided towards using like big brands as examples for email marketing. And I realized that a lot of big brands are like one of the bigger offenders of email marketing. They do it wrong, basically. But they have the cash and they have the capital to spend that money, right? where small businesses don’t. So that’s when I kind of got introduced into deliverability is like how do you get your emails by doing it the big way? I was actually ending up with low engagement, low drive revenue, and then eventually spam. And then I was like, “Well, how do you get in the inbox?” And that’s how I was introduced in deliverability. And I kind of looked everywhere. I know there’s a lot of deliverability experts out there, but none really focused heavily on E commerce, which kind of caused me to like become a self learner and use my store as a basically as a what’s it called – A test? Yes, a guinea pig, a test case to figure out what works well for small businesses – how to Use Email Marketing to drive. And by the end of that year in 2018, I was able to do 100k easily with my store, just tying in the ads and then using email marketing to really drive that 25 to 30% revenue.

Ben Donovan  05:06
Nice, awesome, great story. Yeah, no great journey. A few questions just from that. To start with, if that’s okay, just because I love just understanding how you kind of got there. And it’s really helpful, I think, for our listeners as well. So this was a like a dropshipping model.

Ben Donovan  05:24
Business. Yeah.

Israa Alrawi  05:24
Yeah. So I started it as a dropship model, because that’s all I knew when I came in. But then I quickly realized that I had to differentiate because what was happening when people found out you know, there’s tools to find out what’s best selling on stores, they started basically copying the products. And what I actually did, I had a very tight customer service, like relationship with my customers, I made sure that was like the number one. And through them, I kind of find out, okay, they liked the product, they’ve kind of don’t like several things. So what I did, I ended up going into private label and recreating the products. A little bit unique, can’t find them, you know, in dropship. store. So we kind of went from dropship to private label pretty quickly within like the first couple of months. 

Ben Donovan  06:10
Yeah, nice. Yeah. And you talk I’ve seen in your content, you talk about some of those things like customer services, a few things that you really built onto that, you know, a typical dropship business model that really helped you stand out customer service was, of course, one of those things. Can you talk to us a little bit about what that looked like? Because you’ve mentioned even a couple of times already how important that was to you. Your Why is it so important to you? And what kind of impact did that make on the brand? 

Israa Alrawi  06:37
Yeah, absolutely. So customer service is kind of like email, people are afraid to send out emails because they’re scared to talk to their customers. I take that a step further, when I started, you know. When I first turned on my store, I sold, I think within the first three days, I got a sale, and it was like, you know, it’s your first sale, you get so excited. And then there was nothing for like, once were like two to three months, you may get a sale here and there. But I had, you know, people were checking out. So I had emails, and I had phone numbers. And what I actually ended up doing, I just picked up that phone and I started talking to my customers, as painful as it was to do because you know, you want to kind of stay anonymous online. You just want to make that money and you know, move on. But that’s really not how you build a brand. You know, if you want to make money, if you want to be profitable, you need to talk to your customers, because those are the people that are buying from you. And I actually spent a whole good month of just serving and talking to them, and calling them and getting feedback. 

Israa Alrawi  07:39
So I dove deep into there until like the whole like customer service side. I would stay in touch with some people. I mean, I only had like 10 customers at that point. So why not? But they you know, they bought for a reason. So that really helped. And what what ended up happening is I would drive customers to my ads, and have them basically submit that we are a legitimate business we do well we deliver our products, because there was a whole like thing of scamming back then as well. And I didn’t have the greatest ads because I was running the store by myself. But the fact that customers and people social proof vouches for your business. And I knew that if I can just get that things would take off. And they did that, you know, I spent a good four or five months just working on getting social proof. And then when you launched the product, it just, you know, it did well, because people, you know, trusted you at that point. 

Ben Donovan  08:37
Yeah. So yeah, definitely. That’s good. That’s good. Okay, so customer service was one of the key areas, which is obviously really impacted it. What were some of the other things that you felt that you did, that really stood stood out and helped you build up that revenue? Because you made a comment right at the start that you followed the advice of the pro marketers, I like that. And it didn’t really work. What were some of the other things that you did that was maybe a bit different, that helped you to quit? 

Israa Alrawi  09:01
Yeah. So when I say pro marketers, there was a whole, like, every day somebody was popping up; every day, somebody had a dropship. You know, within a week, they scaled but nobody tells you how they scale. Nobody told you about profitability. It was just kind of.. 

Ben Donovan  09:13
Usually unprofitably 

Israa Alrawi  09:16
It’s very sketchy, right? So like, we were just like, “Okay, how did he do this?” But then you realize, I mean, after having all this experience and working with real clients and looking at their accounts, you realize their margins are very thin or not exist existent. You know, they’re scaling, they’re showing images and then, you know, the internet is a whole facade, people are out there, making things look bigger than they are. But at the end of the day, profit is king, right? 

Israa Alrawi  09:42
So I actually focus on customer service and copywriting. Copywriting was huge. I actually, I was just tweeting about this with another email marketer. I use infomercials. You know people don’t realize that infomercial sell. And it’s not just like the pretty, like, it’s a whole human psychology, right. So I actually spent a lot of time like I have books, like hundreds of pages just written out different angles of selling like one to two products. That’s it, like my entire store sold, you know, a lot of stuff, but the main two that made up, you know, about 70% of the revenue were two products. 

Israa Alrawi  10:23
And the reason I did that is because I exhausted like the angle copy, I would write and write and write. I’ll mention the business book later. But you know, I read a lot, I focus on like, how do you sell this? So like, you know, I wouldn’t focus too much on the imagery, because, honestly, that’s like, kind of my weak spot graphics and imagery, but I knew that, you know, copy speaks to people, headlines speak to people. So I actually tested a lot of that through my ads. And that’s really what got, you know, one of the items went really viral just because of one of the headlines that you know, took off. 

Israa Alrawi  11:01
So copywriting was huge. Understanding, you know, critically thinking about, like, how the person decides or makes like that journey from finding your products, you know, trusting you, buying your products, vouching for you. It’s all like, it’s a process and it takes time. And I think that was missing at the beginning, because I thought, “Oh, I’m failing, because I didn’t go from, you know, zero to a million over seven days, like these guys were”. And then you realize, like, you’ll read about these guys are posting case studies and stuff, and you realize they’re been in the business for like, 10 years. It’s not an overnight success. So, yeah, those are the two major ones I focused on. 

Ben Donovan  11:44
Yeah, nice. Yeah. And you can hear the passion for that in the way you say as well. So it’s, it’s clear to see that obviously, it was something that you majored on. And I think copywriting for any entrepreneur is so key, it doesn’t matter whether it’s eCommerce or you know, services or anything, you know, whether it’s raising money for your business, there’s always going to be an opportunity to grow your business with good copywriting. So it’s I think it’s a skill that every entrepreneur should should learn and devote time to improving for sure.

Ben Donovan  12:17
I’d love to spend some time on email marketing, then. And and talk about, obviously, deliverability is an area you specialize in. But before we even get to that, eCommerce email marketing, there’s a lot of content on the internet about email marketing in general, but not always as much about eCommerce specifically. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on that as it’s I mean, it’s an area I’m really trying to improve on as well and improve email collection for our brands, but then also what you do with it after that. So you’re right, that first point, what are some of the things that you’ve done, that have really helped you number one to grow that email list? You know, are you just doing a basic pop up? 10% off on your website? Or are there some other strategies you can share with us? 

Israa Alrawi  13:04
Yeah, so I want to mention that email marketing is just the channel just like Facebook ads, or Google ads. It is a channel, it’s a channel. But the nice thing about email marketing is you can get very personal. And that’s kind of why I chose it, because it’s very heavily target. You can target your audience and get very deep down into like this human psychology and talk to your audience at a level that you really can’t on the front end. And honestly, when I go into a lot of clients, so a lot of eCommerce clients just, you know, handoff their email to an agency, or maybe a freelancer and say “here, this is what we’re doing, send out these emails”. And that’s great. I mean, you’re gonna make money that way, that’s fine. But if you truly want to, like harness the power of email marketing, there are a million strategies you can use just through email marketing. 

Israa Alrawi  13:57
So like, when I come into a client’s account, I look at all their front end traffic, whether it’s organic, social, paid, whatever it is. If they’re writing a blog, I make sure there’s an opt in somewhere on those channels. So if you’re on TikTok, I’m driving people to your email list. If you’re on Instagram, I’m creating something for them to drive them to an email list. And then we nurture through automations. Same thing with ads, same thing with blogs, SEO, all of that. And the reason is, it’s better to capture an email than to get a conversion on the first touch. And the reason I say that I mean people are gonna come at me

Israa Alrawi  14:37
Conversions are great because you still capture the email but with with capturing the email before the conversion, they are opting in to your and subscribing to your actual email and not just buying and saying “hey, maybe I don’t want to hear from you”, subscription-wise. The reason that is great is because you have them for a longer period of time to nurture like I’ve had, I’ve had clients that you know, people opt in, and they wait like a whole year before they buy. So like understanding your lifecycle understanding, like your customers journey, where they’re at, you know how long it’s going to take them to convert. That’s all it takes patience. But email does really well. And, you know, people say, if you’re doing like, 60, 70% of your email, you’re not driving enough traffic. That’s kind of true for some circumstances. But like, a lot, say, like, you have a launch month, right? Like you have a big, you know, promotion coming up. How do you capture that audience and how do you drive them to purchase and create that hype? 

Israa Alrawi  15:37
Well, email marketing is how you do it, you bring them in, you nurture them, you make them anticipate, and then when the drop happens, they’re all ready to buy. And that’s kind of when you see like those big spikes in email, or it’s like 70% of your revenue this month was from email, it’s because you took all your front end effort, like your ads in social, and you, you know, put them in a bucket, and got them ready to buy from you. So like, their email can be very powerful, if used correctly. And this requires a lot of strategy and a lot of time, but it can be done. 

Israa Alrawi  16:09
And this is why like, when I work with a client, it’s never just, Hey, what are you guys doing? I sent out an email today, it’s more of what’s going on this month?, how can we hit our goal?, let’s create a strategy, drive that traffic in, nurture them, get them ready, and then you know, send them the time to buy. So it’s a whole like funnel 

Ben Donovan  16:31
It’s interesting that you mentioned about the ability to be able to get the conversion or collect the email. It’s something I was thinking about, funnily enough, literally just today, because we’ve got a new product we’re launching soon. And I want to advertise that, we get a lot of our traffic through SEO. And so I’m thinking where can I put those advertisements for that new product, but a lot of them are going to have to replace areas where we collect an email address. And so I was thinking about that, do I want to collect an email address? Or do I want to get that sale? But I agree with you on that, that I think more people are going to convert to an email address than are going to convert to the sale? And whilst “Yes, I’d love that sale upfront”. It’s way more likely that I’m going to get the email address and then because of that ongoing rapport is building so yeah, it’s a very interesting, interesting thought. And I suppose, a lot of it’s about the traffic source that you’re you’re sending and the purpose you have for it. But yeah, really, you know, lots to ponder there in terms of collecting emails. Go on, sorry, yeah. 

Israa Alrawi  17:32
Sorry, I was gonna say like, so if you if you are debating between conversions, and like an opt in, I mean, the thing is that people think about like, email a lot, like let’s set in kind of forget, especially with like opt ins to automation, like never, you know, never change it once it’s set up. And what you can actually do there is you can get the conversion, but also remind them to subscribe, because something new is coming. And they want to stay in the know, like, it’s okay to do both. But like at the checkout, make sure like they are subscribing because a lot of people don’t realize that just because somebody is buying from me doesn’t mean they’re subscribed to your email list to hear from you. So you can have those message there. But like make it enticing enough so that people sign up. So like for me what I do, a lot of times to keep to get people on the list, I always say you know, even if you don’t want to hear from us email marketing wise sign up, because we might have like shipping updates, or we might have like a hiccup and your order, and we want to reach out to you. But if you’re not subscribed to our email us we can’t like we cannot email you, right? And especially if you have a huge list, like if you have 100,000 people on your list and 20,000 of those people are not subscribed, but they still need to be you know, you need to reach out to them to get them information about their order or something. Or like maybe your supplier or anything, anything to do with like a transactional, I wouldn’t call it and I know you can do is transactional emails, but this is more of like from the marketing side. Just get them on there. And you can always exclude them from the marketing aspect, but use them when it’s necessary. So like I try to give them a reason to stay on, regardless if they want to hear marketing emails or not. Because, you know, communicate emails first. The first thing of email is communication. So we use it as a communication channel first and then marketing second. 

Israa Alrawi  19:24

Ben Donovan  19:24
Yeah, yeah, okay, good. Good. So lots of potential obviously with email. I think our audience would be sold on that for sure. But the key obviously, is getting that email in the inbox. And this is a growing challenge for a few reasons, you know, different spam filters and things getting more complex and more sophisticated. Let’s start with the obvious sort of question, why is email deliverability so important? 

Israa Alrawi  19:52
So email deliverability is important is because if you can’t reach the inbox, you’re not getting any sales. So that’s like the whole connection for ecom. Like, most people use email for revenue purposes, you’re not reaching the inbox, you’re not getting that revenue. That’s the end of it. 

Israa Alrawi  20:10

Ben Donovan  20:12
What is it that about an email or someone who’s sending it that causes an email to not be delivered? So listening would think, well, I’m gonna send an email and it’s gonna go to the inbox, and they maybe don’t even consider that it wouldn’t go in the inbox. So what are the causes? 

Israa Alrawi  20:27
Absolutely. So for E commerce, and I say ecommerce are one ecommerce businesses haven’t the easiest with email marketing, because most of the time, people are willingly subscribing to your businesses, because they want to buy something physical from you. We’re not talking here to affiliate marketing, we’re not talking in cold emails, which are a little bit harder, right. So like, the steps to get into the inbox are cleaner and easier for you. 

Israa Alrawi  20:56
So the first step is, you know, setting up your authentications. Make sure your know your signature is passing, which is the SPF, your DKM, your domain key is passing. And then there’s a DMARC, which is another layer of protection for your emails from people who can spoof or spam through your domain. And those are authentication records, your ESP should have a way, they should have it inside of their ESP, where you can take those records and put them in your DNS records on your hosting site. So like, if you’re used godaddy.com, that’s where you kind of host it. Setting those up allows, like Gmail and Yahoo, when you send out an email, know that you are the sender, you know, they can verify. So that’s like the first step. Like, if you have those three setup, you should be able to inbox fairly easily. 

Israa Alrawi  21:16
And then like not using a no reply, in the from email, make sure you use a from @domain, at your domain.com like email where they people can reply to you. Using a clean template, a lot of people go with, you know, a one image template or a heavy image template or too many fonts and colors and stuff like that, if you make it hard for somebody to read and engage with your email. And again, like we’re going into hundreds of inboxes, right, and they all render differently. you have to make sure that link, you know that color the link that changes the unsubscribe button, a lot of people will like use black or something as their background, and then the link button is blue. And you came and see it because it’s not contrast. And they can’t, they can’t find it. So that helps people hit spam on your email. So making sure that there’s a clear way to opt out of your emails when people want to. So they’re not hitting spam, because spam complaints is what’s going to get you really in the spam box quickly. Making sure your URLs are clean, don’t use like Bitly or you know that Google dot whatever shortcut URLs, make sure they’re clean as short as possible. And then again, your images should be very clear. 

Israa Alrawi  23:34
And then finally, making sure you are sending content that people want to sit want to hear and see and click on and buy from. So don’t send email just to send emails, make sure that you are including that element that you know engages your customers with it. And the last thing is a lot of E commerce stores go for the open but they don’t go for the click and clicks are very important for Gmail, Outlook. You know, they look at your engagement. Are people clicking? Are people replying are people you know, moving on from the email and not just staying inside the email or clicking out? After opening it that all determines where’s your placement? How high is your domain reputation, all of that? So just making sure you send clean engaged emails that go beyond that email with a click or some type of reply. 

Ben Donovan  24:27
Yeah, that’s fantastic. I mean, that’s a whole wealth of information. Now I’ve got about 17 follow up questions that I’ve been trying to remember the head from, from all that. Starting with, just for beginners, you mentioned EMS email management system, so they’ll be like Klaviyo, however you pronounce it. Is that the most common one you’re using? Do you work specifically within certain tool? 

Israa Alrawi  24:54
So I’ve worked with a lot I’ve worked with MailChimp, Active Campaign, but most of my eComm clients have rushed to the Klaviyo side. I am exploring a new one called Sendlane. It’s not new, but it’s up and coming only because of deliverability issues. Klaviyo is great, it’s great for E commerce, but I have some issues with their deliverability. And this is why I say deliverability is important because even if you do everything you can, you can still end up in spam. And that’s because like Klaviyo is built on SendGrid. SendGrid has allowed a lot of affiliate and cold, you know, email marketers to use their platform, which kind of drives down their reputation, their IP reputations. 

Israa Alrawi  25:39
So you know, if you’re sending from Klaviyo and you’re getting into that mix, you have a chance of ending at spam. So like I do a lot of my deliverability practices are done manually, I don’t rely on like, okay, you know, we got 50% open rates, I check almost on a weekly basis, if we are in boxing, just to make sure that things are still consistent, because when you hit it, you can hit like spam quickly. And if you don’t realize it, your reputation can go down, you know, quickly and like, the longer you go, the harder it is to come back into the inbox, it’s gonna take us a while. And most eComm stores, you know, one or two days without email is a big hit to them and revenue wise. So we try to stay on top of things so that we never, you know, have the deliverable issues, especially like around big promotional periods, like Black Friday, people don’t realize that you don’t even have to hit spam, you can end up being just you know, your email just doesn’t get delivered. And that’s because Gmail will hit like a limit amount of emails during that day, and they’re just not going to deliver your emails. So like you have to be very strategic with your domain reputation, and you’re sending practices to make sure that “Okay, they’re gonna let me in and not the other person”. So yeah, it’s a whole process. 

Ben Donovan  26:59
With something like Klaviyo, is the domain sending reputation? You talked about deliverability with them, Can you set up your own sending IP with them? What do you have to use? What are some of the solutions there? 

Israa Alrawi  27:13
Yeah. So you can, you can create your own domain dedicated domain on Klaviyo. So like, you can actually build your domain reputation with like Gmail and Outlook and Yahoo. However, I don’t, I don’t recommend, you know, going on and creating your own IP. And the reason is, is that you have to be, it takes a lot more work, it’s more expensive. Most people are unshared IPs. So what Klaviyo does is it actually rates your sending practices, and it pulls you into the IP with other people who have the same sending practices as you. So like, if you’re doing great, you’re probably on a good IP. If you’re having really bad, or, you know, your practices are very, like get very low engagements, or you’re not doing what they’re asking you to do, at the very least, because you know, all ESPs, which are email service providers, Klaviyo, and MailChimp. They all have best practices for people who don’t know a lot about email to keep them safe on their platform. And if you’re not following those, you’re going to end up on probably a bad IP. But before you even get there, I’m very positive ESPs will warn you, because they don’t they don’t want anybody on a bad IP either because it affects their platform. So you are in risk of being kicked off that platform for having bad practices. So the IP part, I mean, everybody’s on a shared IP, because let’s face it, I’m like, unless you’re sending, you know, you have a 500,000 list, or a million list, you know, you don’t really need that dedicated IP to yourself. But, again, it matters on your sending practices on whichever IP you’re going to end up on. 

Israa Alrawi  28:56

Ben Donovan  28:57
Those best practices for the sending practices you mentioned, to recap, they are engaging. They’re obviously, the stuff you’re talking about before, right? The simple images, the clear text, encouraging the click, those are all things that are you refer to there as the best practices. 

Israa Alrawi  29:16
Yeah, and one last one is one common mistake I see is either over segmenting their lists, or they’re not cleaning up their list at all. So cleaning up your list is a big one to making sure that the only people are on your list are people who actually have been engaging. And you know, a lot of people say Oh 30 Day engagement or 60 or 90 days what I say is look at your open rates as long as they stay above 20% with the with the application clavey allows you to weed out the false Apple opens. So you know you can delete those out from the list. And also look at your lifecycle of your product. So is your product something that people can buy every 30 days? Is it something they need, like 90 days, so don’t just go with what’s recommended. Look at your business and figure out where does that segmentation of the list happens?

Ben Donovan  30:08
Yeah, no, definitely, that’s, that’s really helpful on that front. There’s so many things to try and be aware of isn’t there. And I think it is a big mindset shift for especially new digital marketers, new ecommerce brand owners, this idea of pruning a list, it almost feels a waste to collect those emails, and then get rid of them. But actually, that’s one of the most healthy things you can do. Because you do not want to be carrying people on your list that don’t want to be there. I even, there’s an email newsletter that I signed up to. And in the first paragraph, or two of every email there, they say, “Hey, by the way, if you don’t want to receive these emails, unsubscribe here”. That right at the top, front, and center. You talked about burying the unsubscribe link earlier, it’s like the complete opposite of that, because they realize A – they’re paying, you know, per subscriber or, you know, threshold of subscribers. And also those deliverability stats are so, you know, so important on the so it’s, it is quite a mindset, a mindset shift for for new brand owners, isn’t it? 

Israa Alrawi  31:09
Yeah, absolutely. So like, a lot of people will have, say, like your take your opt in on your website, you know, they have a static list where they’re collecting emails, and they’ll use that static list to send emails all the time. But like, if you’re three, four years in, you’re including everybody from those three, four years. When I say like when we go into Klaviyo, we never use static list. 

Israa Alrawi  31:31
Static lists are there to collect emails, segmented lists are dynamic, we use those because those are based on behavior. And you know, that’s the list that you want to do. So you take like you say, like, somebody who has opted into my master list, which is the opt in and has engaged in the last like 90 days, that’s a segmentation of your master list. Whereas your master list is just anybody who’s on that list and you don’t want to send to that list. Because again, you probably have people, there’s dead weight, people who don’t open or click on subscribe or hit spam, they’re just deadweight on there. And they affect your deliverability on engagement. People who have unsubscribed and you’re sending emails again to them, the nice thing about Klaviyo is if somebody hits unsubscribe, they suppress them, they take them off the list. 

Israa Alrawi  32:23
The catch there is Google does not have a feedback loop to Klaviyo. So if somebody’s hitting spam in Google, that report is not going back to Klaviyo. So people are hitting spam, and they’re on your static list, and you’re sending emails again to them. You can read you can put to that. So it gets a little complicated there. So yeah, you need to use dynamic lists all the time to make sure that you have a very clean list and you’re not engaging with people who don’t want to hear from you.

Ben Donovan  32:59
Would you recommend then sending or creating a sort of win back campaign or a inactive subscriber campaign to try and re-engage them? And then if you don’t delete them, or do you just leave them there? 

Israa Alrawi  33:11
Yeah, so win back campaigns are typically campaigns for people who haven’t purchased in a while, and then there’s sunset campaigns where people who don’t engage, we just kind of remove them off the list. We do but we have both of those setup as automations. One thing I do want to mention, don’t ever delete anybody from your email lists. So like Klaviyo will host all your emails, like say you have 100,000 people, you’re only using 30,000 Those people you know, sending emails to but you have 60 or 70,000 people that aren’t engaging, but they are still people you’ve collected over time either bought from you or you know, opted in. The reason I say don’t delete them, they’re still in data for you. You can use those that you can actually extract that data and use it in your ads, use it to get some insight on your customers. Don’t ever delete emails, just make sure that you’re not using to send to them and like Klaviyo again, you’re not paying per user, you’re paying per cent. So like if you have 30,000 people, out of that 100,000 you’re only paying for the 30,000 you’re sending to per email. So like choose your choose your tier pricing based on that sent, the amount of people you’re sending to per email, not the amount of people that are actually on your list over overall time. Yeah. 

Ben Donovan  34:30
Okay, good. Final question on this. But then the signals that you said about, obviously engagement with the email opening is a big one. But then clicking is another one. What are some things there that should be done? Aside from having great products that you want to click on, what are some of the strategies that you would encourage brand owners to do to make sure they’re getting that level of interaction? Yeah, so a lot of times you’ll see like, the biggest the biggest issue I see is there’s too many layers.

Israa Alrawi  34:59
links inside of an email. So confused buyer doesn’t buy or doesn’t click. And then there’s the opposite where there’s no call to action anywhere, there’s no button to buy anything. So like you have two opposite ends. So make sure your call to action, your link, the click is clear. And it’s easy to access, I’d say. And then like, when we create emails, we stick to one main idea first. So like, if I want to include more things, I would include it like below a fold. But most of the time, our emails are 1.1 idea. We’re trying to get across to the customer, we’re not writing, you know, new arrivals and clearance and feature product that’s too much. And I’m part of the school of sending emails every day, because if you’re not landing in your, and again, like this is with segmentation and understanding your list, but I send emails every day for my clients when I work with them. And the reason I do that is we want to make sure we’re sending the right message to the right people at the right time and keeping it to one message at a time. Instead of having like a Thursday newsletter where you have like 10 clicks, you spread it out over, you know, seven days and you have a click each day and you’re targeting a certain segment each day that you know, are is clearly more interested in what you are what you have to say. And that actually, there’s a correlation. The more emails you send, the more revenue you make. And that’s, you know, as long as you keep your deliverability clean, there’s no reason for you not to do it. 

Israa Alrawi  36:41

Ben Donovan  36:41
Yeah, yeah, lots lots to be working on. They’re really helpful. I assume Klaviyo and other ESPs, I think. I call them EMS is awesome however. ESPs, they have the guidance for the like SPF records. DKM records like Klaviyo would have all of that documentation.

Ben Donovan  37:01

Israa Alrawi  37:01
Yes, yeah, they do have it. And actually what’s nice about Klaviyo, they just upgraded. So you have a deliverability tab inside your campaigns that you sent, they will give you your deliverability report. The only thing I want to mention is because Gmail doesn’t have a feedback loop, you can go to postmaster, I think it’s google.postmaster.com and set up an account there. And that’s where you can find your Gmail feedback loop for your domain so you can monitor your Gmail stuff over there, your IP reputation, your domain, your spam rates. Because there is no, it won’t come back to Klaviyo, you won’t see in Klaviyo.


Ben Donovan  37:40
Good. Last random question. But have you ever tried Privy for email because we use privy a lot for pop up email collection and stuff? And they’re trying to rile Klaviyo now. Have you looked at it much? 

Israa Alrawi  37:51
I have not looked at it. So I did use Privy on my store when they first came out, I use them for pop up. They did not have email yet at that time. I have not used them for email. No, I’ve never had a client that actually worked with them. I’ve worked with Omnisend. I think Omni sent is probably the other channel that rivaled Klaviyo at the time I started working. 

Ben Donovan  38:16

Ben Donovan  38:17
What would most of your clients be using for email collection then like widgets and pop ups and stuff? 

Israa Alrawi  38:22
We use Klaviyo’s pop up forms. They have their own forms on there. And it’s nice because you know, it’s all integrated. I even you know I tried to integrate SMS with email on Klaviyo and the reason is having your SMS and email on one platform is better than having them separated. Just the data comes in at the same time. You can target them better through automations. So we try to unify all those into one platform. 

Ben Donovan  38:53
Yeah, nice. Good. Okay, any other final common mistakes you see brand owners making with email that you feel just, uh, worth sharing before we finish.

Israa Alrawi  39:03
Not common mistakes, but I feel like a lot of brand owners and this is like my mission is to make sure that especially D2C businesses are online, are aware of deliverability and email, you know, email marketing and making sure that they know the educational aspect of it so when they hire in house or a freelancer or you know, even an agency or work with an ESP, they’re asking the right questions to get the best for their, you know, for their money that they’re paying for. And that’s like one of my my biggest mission right now, because I feel like everybody focuses on you know, I got you 30% I got you this revenue, that’s great. But in the long run, deliverability is king here and if you can’t get into the inbox, you know, and that’s like, that’s most of my clients. They come to me after they’ve worked with a lot of these people. And you know, they asked like what’s going on? Like we’re not doing as well as we did. And it was like, because deliverability. And you know, there’s not a lot of information out there in the E-commerce world, you know, or anyone speaking on it a lot. 

Israa Alrawi  40:09
So, a lot of times, you know, it’s about when we talk about deliverability, everyone says, you know, make sure you segment your list, make sure you send engagement content, that’s great. But there’s a technical aspect to that you need to keep an eye on as well. 

Ben Donovan  40:23
Definitely. Good. Okay. This has been super helpful. For me, I’ve got lots to be working on. And I’m sure our listeners do as well. Love to finish with our quickfire lightning round. We didn’t find time for it yet. So if you’re up for that, just your favorite five on a different few topics. If first for you. Are you ready for that? 

Israa Alrawi  40:43

Ben Donovan  40:44
Good stuff. All right. So first of all, do you have a favorite ecommerce brand? 

Israa Alrawi  40:49
I do. My favorite ecommerce brand is it’s called soap box soaps. And the reason is, they’re a shampoo brand conditioner brand that’s out there, the, you know, those clean products. The reason I like them is because I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the US in a grocery store. But the shampoo aisles are like anxiety attacks, especially for me, like I’ll go in trying to buy a shampoo. And I’ll be there for three hours. It’s madness like every day, there’s something new. And I think it was by chance I was trying to find like a bar soap and I ended up accidentally I think ordering them. And I tried them and they’re amazing. And I looked up their products. And what I like about I love the E-commerce space. I do I think people are very creative, and they’re trying to do well for the world. And I love I love businesses that give back and they’re one of the businesses that you know, work with organizations too. I believe they deliver soaps and clean water around the world. And that’s like one of the biggest thing like if you’re going to start an E-commerce brand, how are you going to better our world. And that’s probably one of my favorite brand, because our products are amazing, but also because they have that mission to keep our environment clean as we move forward. 

Israa Alrawi  42:08

Ben Donovan  42:09
Yeah, love it mission, I love it. Good. Okay, what about favorite software or tool? 

Israa Alrawi  42:15
You know, it’s funny, my favorite software tool is my Apple notes. And that’s because I feel like my brain never stops working. And I just, you know, my phone’s always nearby. I always open it up. I have tons of notes and ideas. I have lien off tabs for each client. Like if I think of something in rather than I wake up and I write it down. So that’s my favorite. It’s with me anytime. I have tons of information on there. And you know, it’s like my brain on notepads. 

Ben Donovan  42:45
So yeah, no, that’s good. That’s good. Okay, what about our favorite paid marketing channel? 

Israa Alrawi  42:51
My favorite paid marketing channel is probably Google ads. And the reason is I said as because it’s very consistent. I love it because there’s predictability and consistency. Facebook is great for scaling. But when things crash, you can rely on Google ads.

Ben Donovan  43:09
There was a crazy time of recording it was yesterday or over the weekend. I don’t know if you saw it crazy. Facebook ad overspend? 

Israa Alrawi  43:16
Yep, it was on Sunday. I believe it was my son’s birthday. So I was offline. But when I came on, I just saw all the all the tweets about it. It was crazy. 

Ben Donovan  43:25
Literally, it was all anyone was talking about on my Twitter feed was just how much money they spent on Facebook ads. Okay, last couple, then your favorite organic marketing channel.

Israa Alrawi  43:38
I think I’ve come to realize I think my favorite is probably Instagram. It’s very stable. I think it’s moved a lot towards like business owners has a lot more stability. I’ve been trying out Twitter, I’m not really too happy with Twitter. So I think like I’m thinking, you know, I’m actually launching and building on Instagram, the Winbox there, because I feel like that’s where I can attract more stable, like ecommerce brands that are looking for that email marketing channel, you know, and the revenue. 

Ben Donovan  44:12
And then finally, do you have a favorite business book? 

Israa Alrawi  44:16
Yes. My favorite business book and it was one of the first I’ve read was Cashvertising by Drew Eric Whitman. He taught me how to write for marketing. So him and his book and infomercials one of the reason I actually was able to get my ads to work so it’s one of my favorite I think every you know, everyone who’s starting out can you know, really benefit from just the simplicity of it too. And learning how to copyright.

Ben Donovan  44:48
Yeah, great recommendations. Thank you for those. And thank you for this episode has been like I say value packed. Email Deliverability seems like such a narrow niche topic, but there’s so much we haven’t even scratched to surface, I feel like this is going to be great for beginners. But there’s so much more advanced stuff we could definitely go into in time. But if people do want to find out more for it, obviously, this is your business. This is what you do. And so where can people find out more about you, about what you do and how you could potentially help with us? 

Israa Alrawi  45:18
Yeah, you can reach me at our website is the Winbox th e w i n box.com. We have a resource library. I’m constantly adding, you know, information on there, like blogs and articles that you guys can use in your business, about deliverability strategy, anything, you know, email marketing, and then we have a work with me section as well. And we have several, you know, several packages that people can reach out to get help. Or you can just get in touch with us with the there’s a form down there, if you just want to directly contact me. 

Israa Alrawi  45:54

Israa Alrawi  45:55
Nice. Awesome. Well, we’ll leave the links to that in the show notes and the description, etc. I love the name by the way, the wind box is good.

Ben Donovan  46:05
Yeah, very cool. I love it. And yeah, we’ll leave that for people to connect with you. And thank you again, Israel for taking time out and sharing your knowledge with us. It’s been really valuable. 

Israa Alrawi  46:16
Thank you for having me. 

Ben Donovan  46:17
It’s been a pleasure. Awesome. Well, thanks, everyone for listening. I hope you’ve got as much out of this episode as I have, and have got as many to do items that I’ve got to take away from this episode. I’m sure that you have and it will help with your emails getting into the inbox and making your brand more money. If you have liked the episode, be sure to like and subscribe, etc. And I will see you in the next episode same time next week. Take care bye

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