Dylan Kelley is a sought-after ecommerce expert who helps top Shopify stores stop leaking revenue with done-for-you email marketing. Dylan is the founder of the ecommerce email marketing agency Wavebreak and host of the Wavebreak Podcast: Grow Your Shopify Store.
Welcome to the podcast Dylan. Thanks for having me good to be back. I'm excited to do this. Yeah, not a problem. Yeah, as you mention, of course you were on the podcast previously about a year ago, and we're definitely excited to have you on this is we're going to be talking about something very timely, you know, all our listeners are out there by the time that this goes live it'll probably be mid-october.
So and this podcast we're going to be talking about going to be talking about black. Write a emails and email marketing via Black Friday emails, which is going to be on people's mind pretty soon because we are we're getting to that time of year. It's you know, almost end of the year 2018 and approaching Black Friday and it's exciting time for email marketing and for e-commerce businesses.
This is really kind of the push push season to get all those deals out and to try to get the influx of customers. But before we get into all of that Dylan, why don't you tell. Us a little bit about yourself your background how you got into what you're doing today. Sure thing. Yeah, and like you said like Black Friday, it's gonna be here before we know it.
It's crazy. How time flies especially once we start getting into Q4 here in e-commerce. It just everything just flies. But yeah, once again, thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. And yeah just some background on myself like like you said, I'm Dylan. I'm the founder of a company called wavebrake we help we work with e-commerce stores, and we basically take.
Off their plate and turn it into a top Revenue driver for them. We do one thing one thing well and and that's email and I shared my story when I was on last time, but for those who haven't heard I'll touch on it again. So when I started wavebrake we were actually doing conversion rate optimisation, and we were optimizing landing pages for Facebook ads traffic and things were going really well until a summer.
I guess. It was like it was years ago now feels like yesterday but a couple summers ago something. We're working with this really awesome client and and something bad happened. And what happened was all of their Facebook ads traffic dried up pretty much overnight. And this was because bigger Brands entered the space like think Brands the size of like Nike like that scale like billion dollar companies enter the space and basically drove up the cost of their ads and it was bad.
So this client went from spending six figures on Facebook ads every single month and I'm reaping massive profits and it just basically all disappeared. And from a traffic standpoint, it looked like they had just started their business and I kind of started to hear stories like this over and over again, like whether it was Facebook ads getting more expensive or just totally like bombing like in this case or a lot of businesses, you know years ago were built on SEO and search in like with the ever-changing algorithms there like things change and just your traffic could just disappear in in times have really changed you used to have minutes to capture somebody's attention.
And now you have a. Seconds and these marketing channels just keep drying up every single day. I mean if you think about what we're doing now versus what we're even doing like two years ago, like things are very very different. Facebook ads are getting more expensive every day Instagrams new update.
It's not even a new update anymore. But the way Instagram is now is like organic growth just doesn't really work. You gotta pay to play there. Google's ranking factors. Like I mean, they're changing all the time. I don't even I don't even know what's going on in the Google world. I used to do SEO stuff, but I mean like, Things change so fast not to mention all of the other marketing channels that have just come and gone over the years and I was watching all this happen and I knew there had to be a better way to consistently get sales without having to be depending on your Facebook ads or your other marketing channels and that's when I discovered email because it's this list that you own and nobody can really take it away from you and email I found is one of the most powerful and profitable ways to grow your e-commerce business and it has the highest return on.
Paired to like every other marketing channel in existence and this is email we're talking about which has been around for 20 years like as a marketing channel over 20 years and it's still performing great and that's why it's the only thing I do now gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah. That's that's quite a story and you know, the customer that you were dealing with that had the.
You know the unfortunate incident where their Facebook ads were just kind of you know, no no doubt by that competitor, which is a tough story and I'm glad you mentioned the fact that emails in a subscriber list is actually a really big asset and you know, it was only a few years ago when I really it really kind of hit home to me.
I was listening to a podcast and it was a business broker that goes out and he purchases he helps people purchase businesses and he. Imitates the deals of the buying and selling of businesses and one of the things that he mentioned as far as their kind of checklist items is the number of email list subscribers that you have.
And so that's that's something that they look at because that these days especially its it really is a true asset that can go along with the business and you know, you have to think of it though. Customers that are in your list are potential or those people that are on your list, whether they've purchased from you in the past or they're considering purchasing from you.
It's you know that they have a potential to do more business. And so that's why there's you know, that's why it's a it's really a big thing these days now, you know, like I said at the beginning this is a timely episode because we are approaching the holiday season where in the October month of 2018 and we're approaching.
Black Friday and for a lot of retail businesses. This is kind of where the magic happens so to speak. Yeah, they're you know, they they really do all that they can to put as many deals out there and maximizes many customers sales that they can especially you know retail businesses. So why do you think email marketing is important on Black Friday?
Yeah, that's a great question. So Black Friday, like you said, it's a big deal. This is your biggest opportunity of the. You're as an e-commerce business or your bottom line is going to suffer and that fact it might make you stressed. It might make you anxious. You might think you know how I just don't have enough time for this.
I'm not going to get the results. I want you're worried about customer support and all of these different things then on top of that you have these email marketing campaigns that you know, like it's a no-brainer right? Like you have to send these things but it takes forever to write these campaigns.
You might not know what to say and all these things are true. Like all these thoughts you're having. Are true it can because if you don't have a plan for Black Friday, you're kind of screwed and the numbers won't be as good as they could have been and depending on the size of your business. Like you could leave tens of thousands of dollars on the table over the course of these few days and this isn't extra money that you're just like uncovering like this money is there.
All you have to do is put in the work get things set up and then just collect it. And that's why today I want to teach you guys how to put together an email marketing campaign that Rivals the top internet retailers and how you can do it without wasting a bunch of time because I know especially this time of year, there's just so many things going on there.
This is the busy time so I want to help save you some time and help you not miss out on that money. That's just sitting there waiting for you to take it because it but if you don't ask for it, you're not going to get it. That's that is so true. And one of the things also that I was just thinking about is it's something like you said that you definitely have to plan for because you know, you could be leaving so much money on the table.
If you don't take advantage of the Black Friday and the potential that's out there. And the thing is that happens every year is that these holidays just it just seemed to come quicker and quicker every year and that's before you know it the summer is over Variety in October and you're like, you know crap.
I've got to get my plans together. So. How does an e-commerce business begin to put together a Black Friday email marketing campaign? Yeah, totally. So first things first like this is what I'm going to share a super simple, but this isn't a straight jacket to get the best results possible. You're going to want to modify adapt and twist this strategy and the idea is that you want to start nurturing your email list as soon as possible.
I know we're kind of running out of time here because it is already mid-october. You don't want people to just randomly get an email from you. You want them to be engaged with your emails already which means about a week or so before the sale start getting people excited start hyping it up. Like I like to send an email letting people know that the sale is coming and if you do this really, well, you're going to get emails from people on the day of your sale asking like hey, I didn't get the link yet.
Did you send the link and you because you want people to be excited about yourself because when they're excited about your sale, they're going to be even more. To convert and come November December. You should really be emailing almost daily just because you can't afford not to the competition is fierce, which means you want to be like a great subject line is awesome.
But if you send your email and then 20 other brands just you know, send right after you nobody's going to see that no matter how good your subject line is so you want to be in the inbox often that's kind of like the first part of the first part of the strategy which is like don't just send one email.
That's that's a big mistake a lot of retail. Make like you get to Black Friday and they fire off one email. Here's our sale. That's it. They wait till Cyber Monday to send the next one and just like hmm. The reality is like it doesn't matter how great that email was. Not everybody's gonna see it and the volume is already increased and you're like people if you've built your brand the right way people love your brand they want this deal.
They're looking forward for it. They can't wait for Black Friday because they get to get more stuff from you. But this time they get them for special offer. Right that is so true. And I think one of the things also that I think is Rings true is you've got to send multiple emails because at this time you have all of these other companies all these other retailers doing the same thing.
So it's going to be a time where you know, maybe somebody. Is not really, you know an email person they don't do a lot of emails but this is going to be the time where they're going to get an influx of emails. And so if you're not sending, you know, a larger volume of emails, you could get lost in the shuffle, you know, it could get buried behind everybody else's emails and you know, you never know people could look past it.
They could delete it. They may not really even ever get to it. Now. You talked about the volume of emails how many emails should they actually these e-commerce business is actually. Sin, and what really should they say in these emails? Yeah, that's a great question. And yeah, it follow-up is very important with these because like you said like you just get lost in the shuffle like not even trying to like you might think.
Oh, I'm doing my customers a favor by not emailing them but then they didn't even see your email in there actually frustrated because they're going to buy it. They want to buy a Christmas gift for you know, Uncle Bobby or whoever they don't know. They don't want to pay full price, but they're going to order like whatever double their normal quantities.
But because they never saw your email now they have to order full price and you're going to customer service email. They're all ticked off. You don't want to deal with that. Right? So don't just send one email announcing a sale. This is a big mistake. And if you run a seven-figure eight-figure e-commerce business, like that's thousands of dollars per day that you're missing out on maybe even tens of thousands of dollars per day depending on the size of your business.
So as far as like how many emails to send like, it's really important that during Black Friday and like Cyber Monday weekend that you're in your subscribers in. Almost daily and sometimes twice per day and here's what that might look like. So for example, you might announce let's just this is just a very generic example, but let's say Black Friday morning you announced your sale.
I'd actually recommend doing it a bit earlier. So maybe on Thanksgiving which is the Thursday before the day before Black Friday or even in the beginning of that week just so then you can kind of beat people to it your competitors, but. The ideas like okay send that first email announcing the sale and then follow up like don't just stop there.
So if you're announcing your sale Black Friday morning come Black Friday evening. It's like Hey, listen our sales ending like this is Black Friday. This is it. This is your last chance. Okay. Yeah, that's true. So we are thinking is. Maybe start that week Thanksgiving week, possibly. I mean, of course, maybe it's Thanksgiving Day, of course definitely send out emails then how early is too early and when you thinking of announcing that you're going to have a Black Friday special, is there is this is it a too early time period what do you think?
Yeah. I think I mean you just gotta you have to remember two things like one. You don't want to overuse your offer. So if you. You don't want to start November 1st and say hey, it's Black Friday all month 30% off because if you send that same offer all month long. It's going to become ineffective.
Like it'll work. Well at first but it's gonna die, right and so you can start a day before I think that most I would do I would start like the week up. So for example, maybe the Monday on the week of Black Friday. I might start there. I've seen some brands do that and perform really well also keep an eye on your competition and look at what they're doing.
Like don't like obviously you want to be better than your competition. So ideally try to try to one-up them somehow not by giving away your products, but just look at their strategy see find the holes it. But some brands do start in the beginning of November, but they do it differently. You don't want to like I said, you don't want to overuse your offer.
That's the last thing you want to do because then it becomes ineffective. So a good Baseline here. I'll give you guys a specific example like for this campaign idea that I'm talking about which is basically like let's say we're going to announce the sale on. The evening of Thanksgiving. So Thursday, we're going to announce the say like hey Black Friday Happy Thanksgiving.
We're feeling thankful for you as a customer or a subscriber, whatever we're going to launch our sales launching early shop it now whatever. So that's Thursday. I would probably send an email out on Sunday beforehand. I maybe even Monday or Tuesday and say Hey, listen our Black Friday sales coming you guys know, this is our biggest sale of the year.
You're not going to want to miss it stay. Thursday evening God and then that just gets people in their head, even if they don't realize and they don't mentally like force themselves to remember like it's in there. It's bouncing around like think about all the things in your head that you're worried about and then you're brushing your teeth.
And you remember that one thing like, oh, yeah, that'll that'll get in there. Right and like I said, if you do it, right people are going to email you on Thanksgiving like people in different time zones and things are gonna be like Hey, listen, did you drop your cell yet? Because it sounds really awesome.
Hmm. Yeah, exactly. Yeah thatthat sounds like a great time frame like you said. Monday announced that you've got a sale coming so, you know, you kind of plant a seed into and people's head. And so you already know they're going to get bombarded by a lot of other me emails. But if you planted that seed early enough, they'll be on the lookout for it and they'll you know, especially if you know, you're going to have a decent offer that that's something that they will you know, they'll be able to look out for and like you said if they don't get it they'll follow up with you if you say hey what's going on with your life Friday deal.
I never got the email and you know, they'll be a little bit more. Attentive then, you know, if you didn't send out those early emails now we're talking of course a lot about Black Friday. It's it really is a big deal for retail businesses and you know a lot of businesses these days even those aren't retail take advantage of Black Friday in the sales that you can offer in the deals.
But aside from Black Friday when else should in e-commerce business really be sending emails on a just kind of an a general basis, right? That's a great question. So I would say all the time and. Buyers like if we just start with Black Friday, so I kind of shared one to send things for Black Friday.
So you announce yourself that on Thanksgiving evening Black Friday you send an email in the morning letting people know like hey, here's a reminder the sales still going on and then Black Friday evening us like listen the sales ending get in before. It's gone. One thing. I like to do here like before we even get past it is like on Saturday.
Maybe you extend this sale in the morning. Like Hey, listen, we got such a good response. We wanted to make sure everybody got a piece of the action so works. This out one more day ends at midnight for real and then you follow up that night and let people know like listen. We're serious this time like this is the last chance and we're going to close the sale.
Okay, so following up once again, like extending the say, oh that's super powerful. Sometimes these emails do better than Black Friday themselves, right which is crazy and then Monday and then Sunday, I like to give my email list arrest typically just because even emailing them like crazy last few days and just give him a break and then Cyber Monday follow a similar sequence.
Announce your sail in the morning the Sun a last chance email at the end of the day, maybe Monday or Tuesday you extend the sale just make sure you're in their inbox as much as possible. If you sell out of something like a main product. You can follow up that afternoon and say Hey, listen, we sold out of our bestseller before we run out of everything else.
Just reminder Cyber Monday sale Ends Tonight get in while you still can while we still have our products and we still have our discount or whatever they offer is and then beyond that as far as December goes 10 12 days. Smith Styles and email do really well where you feature a certain product or like a product category.
So like 10 days of Christmas like day one is this like you don't even need a discount and if you're concerned about the volume and you don't want to email daily you can Clump those together. So like every three days you send no three products or something like that one thing that's huge our shipping deadlines emails, okay.
So coming up on Christmas everybody wants to get their gift in time, but I don't know about you Arlen, but I'm a procrastinator sometimes wait for the last minute, but then I got an email that lets me know like Hey listen, like today's your last day to get free shipping or it's not going to come in time.
These emails convert extremely well, and if you create these for all your deadlines like for your your free shipping your express shipping your overnight shipping and if you even upgrade people there free shipping options, you'll see you don't even have to do that. You don't have to throw in a discount.
You don't have to upgrade. Shipping for free but if you just let people know when the shipping deadlines are that can be huge and produce some amazing results. Yeah, that that that really is especially with Christmas. He's you know, everybody is the hot the holidays are always a busy season and busy time for everyone that everybody's running around, you know, you're juggling vacations, you're juggling these end of year parties that people have to go to you thinking about your family your gifts.
And so, you know, we're running around and so a lot of times like you said people wait to the last. Many like you said you do I do. I know everybody usually waits the last minute and then if you're if you're not careful, you know, you may miss these deadlines. And so I think those are key emails because if you say okay, you know, this is the last day to get free shipping that's going to you know, spur somebody along to say, okay.
Let me let me go and get my act together. I want to make sure I get the free shipping. And go ahead and get the deal. Absolutely. Here's a Christmas a magical Christmas Eve email that works really well for people who forgot a gift is if you have gift cards for your store on Christmas Eve send an email to your list saying like hey, I hope you have a Merry Christmas tomorrow.
Whatever. Did you forget it? Because if you forgot a gift you can order a gift card right now and will email it to you and it's like oh crap. I did forget a gift. Boom. You just got you just got a gift card, which now maybe that person converts into a loyal customer who comes back in orders two or three more times, right?
That's another good email you can do that is yeah. I hadn't thought about that but you're right if you really ran out of time. You hadn't thought of all right. What am I going to get this person then? Yeah. The gift card email is is excellent because people like okay, you know, it's not it's a little late but they I can still get him something have them choose.
From this from this online store and you know, they'll be happy with it. But I kind of shift gears just a little bit. We talked a lot about retail businesses and the taking advantage of these Black Friday specials and emails for retail businesses. But in your experience, I know you deal with a lot of businesses a lot of Shopify businesses, but in your experience overall, Are these Black Friday emails appropriate for other types of businesses and it for example, let's say a service-based business where all use our company as example.
We start affiliate software which provides a hosted affiliate software solution, you know, there's a lot of sass companies out there these days what's your take on that? Do these type of emails make sense? Because you know, we don't have inventory. We just have web-based software Solutions and there's a lot of other service based companies like ours that you know, Seen take advantage of these Black Friday deals.
What do you think? Is it is it worthwhile? Absolutely. People are in a buying mood this time of the year their wallets out their credit cards in their hand. Their phone is in the one hand and maybe you just switch up the strategy a little bit. So Thursday and Friday, maybe they don't want to be thinking about work as much so you hit them with your Black Friday offer, you know a week before or the week leading up to.
But I definitely think it can be huge because you have this email list and so many people aren't taking advantage of it and you don't have to give away your product like sometimes I mean just think about your customer isn't and their objections for not buying or not upgrading then just like take one of those away like a person is not a customer yet.
It's just like, you know, I'm just I'm not really sure like this is an expensive piece of software and expensive pieces service. Maybe just get, you know, give away a free straight like if you're an agency give away free. Session or something if you're a software company like you guys maybe you just like I don't know what like, maybe someone just afraid to invest in the software.
I'm not sure if this will work for me. It's like hey, here's you know some sort of Solution that's going to combat that objection. You definitely make it work for you and. Remember that this time of the year is on your side people are trying to spend money to for like tax purposes to so you can definitely get away with some things there as well.
Gotcha. Gotcha and great that appreciate that. That's some good advice because I know there's a lot of listeners out there that are service-based businesses or software businesses like ours that, you know aren't in a retail space bar. Wondering, you know, is it worth while I can they take advantage of Black Friday?
And and finally I wanted to ask you. You know with email marketing there's a ton of tools out there that you can send emails out to your list with what what tools do you recommend that you use on a daily basis? And what what's your experience? Yeah, so I would say it depends on your business. If you run an e-commerce brand and you're selling products direct-to-consumer.
I can't recommend anything other than clay vo, it's just I've used MailChimp. I've used basically every other ESP in the world. And ESP stands for email service provider, which is just like the software used to send emails and I've used it on for e-commerce. Klaviyo is basically like the Shopify, right it blows.
It kind of blows the other platforms out of the water with its ease of use an integration that it has with Shopify. It's just you can tell it's built for e-commerce. If you're just starting out though. MailChimp is a great option and if you don't run an e-commerce store, I'm a big fan of drip.
Okay? Okay great. Great. Yeah, I um, Bit familiar with clever of course of 900. Klaviyo and I've talked to some of our customers that I've used it. I haven't personally used it myself too much but I've heard people speak very highly of it. So yeah, I appreciate that and drip is also another another good one and then to MailChimp, of course, I know a lot of people have heard of very, you know, very easy to use software.
They're pretty widely distributed. So now they integrate with what the ton of things. So yeah. Those are some great recommendations and you know since. Of course, we're now approaching the holiday season things are getting a little lighter and people are starting to think a little bit less about business and about spending time with family and friends.
So I got to shift gears here and just ask you one final question. What's one thing that our audience would be surprised to know about you Dylan interesting fact about me is that I used to hate burritos. Okay, but now they're legit my favorite food. I remember going like, I mean it was years ago, but I remember having my first burrito and being like.
Like that was that was okay. But like I would rather eat a hamburger or something else, right? And then I remember like like Chipotle started blowing up in my friends were always like hey, let's go to Chipotle and I'm like, all right. I didn't even know how to order back then. So I just like give me what he had.
Like, I didn't even know how the order process worked at Chipotle. But like now they're seriously one of my favorite foods and I go to Chipotle multiple times per week. There's a place locally here called Neato burrito, which is like one of the best burritos I've ever had in my life and I used to live in San Francisco which has some of the best burritos in the world like literally ranked on I forget what website but like food website literally rank them and like the Taqueria in San Francisco is usually ranked number one, like really good burritos.
I've had and this burrito from this place locally called the cowboy crunch. I'm gonna. The say it's a top five in the World Burrito. That's a pretty bold claim. But yeah, I'm Gonna Stand by that. Wow. You guys want to debate me? You can't you can come at me. But I'm gonna I'm Gonna Stand Tall here.
Okay, that that sounds awesome. I definitely looked at place up and our fan of Chipotle Burritos. They are they are really good. You know, I don't. I'm in the Orlando Florida area. So I haven't frequent a lot of different places that sell burritos. But yeah, I will definitely definitely check out that place that you mentioned for sure when I do get a chance and yeah, and so, you know, lastly I know you've got a lot going on in your end with your business.
I think you had mentioned that you got a little something special that you wanted to offer our listen listeners as well. Yeah. So one thing I really like to do as you can tell is talk about email and I love talking about email specifically with people. Have who have businesses and I'm giving away a free strategy session.
It's not it's not a sales call. I'm not going to try to sell you. I'll just give you actionable advice on how to apply this Black Friday email marketing strategy to your business and to be completely transparent the people that I talk to that. I think I can help I do invite to work with me, but I'm very picky and we're kind of running out of time and I'm not going to do that unless I know I can make you back at least 10 times what you pay me and whether we end up working together and now.
You're going to leave that conversation with an actionable Black Friday email marketing plan and you can reserve your call at wavebrake dot KOA / strategy. Okay, great. Well, that's awesome. I wish I you know, I hope the listeners out there death and take advantage of that because I know you can impart a lot of knowledge which whichever way they decide to go if they decide to, you know, look into your services or not.
I'm sure whatever information that you want part will be beneficial to them and and Dylan. Yeah, so it what's the best way? To get in touch with you for the listeners. I want to actually get directly into in contact with you. Yeah, so if you don't want to hop on a call, you don't want the free strategy call.
I only have time for eight. So once I get 8, that's all I'm going to be able to have time for but if you want to reach out to me, if you ever have a question about email, I'm happy to help you out. Just email me Dylan. I wave break.com. All right, that is awesome. Well, thanks again Dylan for joining us here on the e-commerce marketing podcast.
We appreciate all the information on Black Friday emails, and he Mark email marketing in general. Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me. It's great to be here. Thank you. Thank you for listening to the e-commerce marketing podcast. You need to get more feedback and reviews from your customers and improve your customer retention.
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Founder of Wavebreak