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behind the scenes of the dailyish email : aka mailing list advice from cas  RSS feed

 
Cassie Langstraat
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My favorite part of my job is writing the dailyish emails.

Just like Paul and I get asked A LOT of questions about how to market kickstarters, we often get asked about general marketing stuff as well. To address this, I thought I'd do a quick post about how vital a good mailing list is to your business/website/whatever, how awesome the dailyish email is, and how we got it to be that way.

Why it's so vital:

- Social media marketing is absolutely ridiculous. It works sometimes, but you literally have to have one whole human running it FULL TIME, and that still doesn't guarantee success. The mailing list is where you need to focus your attention. I'm serious people. I know you want to share cool links on your organization/business's facebook page and get tons of likes because that somehow weirdly boosts your ego, but it just doesn't convert into real traffic and money. Shares and likes raaaaarely actually mean anything. Often people don't even click the damn links!

So unless you have gobs of money to pay for an entire social media coordinator, I HIGHLY suggest spending time on mailing list efforts instead of trying to conquer the monster of facebook.

- Being in someone's inbox is a huge privilege, usually people's inboxes are less chaotic than their facebook newsfeeds. However, the mailing list ONLY works to your advantage if you listen to my next point, about how to actually get them to read the damn thing once it's in the inbox.

Why ours is awesome and people like it and ACTUALLY read it:

- It's informal as hell. It looks like an email you got from your friend showing you cool links. People get SOOO bombarded with advertisey looking emails with "professional" language that their BORING alert rings the alarm and they move on without even reading it.

- SIMPLICITY is probably the ultimate factor of success in our emails. I'm about 99% sure that's the reason. Also, I'm not pulling this outta my ass. I've gotten SO much feedback about that here and here. Not to mention countless personal emails from people telling me they enjoy the writing style aka simple and informal.

- Also brevity is really important. I struggle with that one, because I like to talk and write. But it really is crucial. Again, because of the overstimulation our current society endures.

How we got it so huge:

It's currently at 28,788. I think that's big. In our field at least.

- This is ALL about that content. It has to be a not-so-balanced mix. It has to be mostly free stuff. And it has to be GOOD free stuff. Valuable information that you actually believe in and think people would want to know about.

- It's hard to put out that much amazing free content all the time by yourself, so use the shit out of other awesome people (trust me, they want you too). Share their uber inspiring stories and projects. Then, every once in a while, weasel your own products in there. People will be thankful for all the fabulous content you've thrown their way and your simple, no bullshit approach. Then, they might not buy your stuff, but they will probably take more than the 3.2 seconds they usually take to consider it because they know you are a REAL human from the way you communicate.

- Important: We use Aweber as a mailing list server. This is a HUGE reason why we make it into your "primary" folder in gmail. Aweber does all sorts of fancy stuff to mark the emails as "not spam" so this plays a huuuuuge role in contributing to our "email from a friend" persona I was talking about earlier. You'll notice lots of your other newsletters end up in spam folder or in the "promotions" folder on gmail. Not us though. Thanks aweber. There are TONS of other reasons why aweber is awesome too. They also have a badass support team who has helped Adrien, Paul, and I with all of our questions super quickly. get a free 30 day trial with aweber here.

Okay I think I've gabbed enough. I hope some of this helps someone someday. May all of you be successful in your mailing list adventures!
 
Rebecca Norman
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Sorry, I've unsubsrcibed because my poor connectivity most of the time means I have never clicked on one of the links in the dailyish email. ... Never. Not even once. And there doesn't appear to be any information in the email itself, just cheery enthu. So it's just clutter when my connectivity is poor.

But I guess that means I am not eligible for the book giveaways or the chickens ebook. Oh well.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Rebecca Norman wrote:Sorry, I've unsubsrcibed because my poor connectivity most of the time means I have never clicked on one of the links in the dailyish email. ... Never. Not even once. And there doesn't appear to be any information in the email itself, just cheery enthu. So it's just clutter when my connectivity is poor.

But I guess that means I am not eligible for the book giveaways or the chickens ebook. Oh well.

Hm, even when I don't click on the links to follow through to the meat of the information, I still find skimming the topics and the promotions as informative.

Things I might learn are that there is a book giveaway going on, or that folks are talking about mushrooms or elderberries, or there's a new podcast out, or sea silk - what's that? - folks are talking about it on permies! Sometimes, just these little announcements help me feel like I'm still a bit connected even if I choose not to follow or read the links.

 
Cassie Langstraat
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Rebecca Norman wrote: And there doesn't appear to be any information in the email itself, just cheery enthu.


Yeah, I'm definitely not the permaculture genius and would never claim to be. All of the people here on permies are though, and that's why I send the emails, and think they are of extreme value. Because I DO wholeheartedly believe that the links I'm sending are full of rich content.

Even though I'm just the cheery messenger, I think that that role is very important, especially in a society where so many people are trying to instill fear and anger in us to debilitate us. But yeah, darn, I am sorry you have connectivity problems that interfere with you experiencing the positive, good information that the dailyish provides.
 
Marilyn Paris
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Hi Cassie,

I am new here and I just signed up for the dailyish email last week. I already look forward to them. I am very good at skimming and know in an instant if I should take the time to click the link or not. I even took a look at the prickly pear forum just in case they might be a possibility in southern Michigan. LOL So I know opening your emails will not take long. I appreciate their brevity.

I really appreciate your mailing list advice because I didn't know where to begin. If kefir grains sales ever cool down a bit and I get some extra I will definitely consider starting a mailing list. I have other things to offer, maybe even plants in the future or seeds. My head just spins with all the stuff I learn from permies.com and the books people recommend like Mark Shepard's Restoration Agriculture. So I am gathering tons of information my kefir grain customers just might appreciate. These people are all about health and we know health begins with the soil, not kefir grains.

Just for fun let me share what fell into my lap last month. Two acres I didn't know I had! It was mine the whole time but it seems extra since I just learned about it.

I bought this ten acre farm last November and the realtor didn't know about and therefore did not show me the two acre field behind the woods. My next door neighbor told me about it and just last month! It is all weeds naturally but could be a great alfalfa field if I was so inclined. With no hay equipment and not willing to hire help and I already have six acres of alfalfa/orchargrass mix I planted this spring, which is enough for the 40 goats I have, I knew I didn't need another field of hay. But I also knew I had to take care of these weeds. So... with my zero turn gas mower and as I have time I make the rounds at a two foot cut going <2 miles per hour because the weeds are so tall now. I am laying down the mulch on the edges. I didn't know what I would be doing with this field at first but at least I knew enough to give back to the soil. My mower has a grass collector. 9 bushels at a time. It takes me a half hour to make one round. Before I made it 15 feet in from all sides it was taking a whole hour to make one round. That gives me lots of time to think. So a week into this mowing project I figured it out.

This will be my forest garden. I am going to lay a hedge, have Hazel Nuts and Chestnuts and all the kinds of fruit trees I love, peaches, apricots, apples. I will set up strategically spaced little buildings (10 X 10 or 10 X 20) with gutters for water collection for all the new trees and shrubs I will be planting. And eventually sheep, which will keep everything looking like a golf course. I have everything in the works already. Got seeds and plants coming. I am taking the advice of Mark Shepard who when asked the question if he knew twenty years ago what he knows now what would he do differently? He wouldn't do a little at a time. That's what I needed to hear.

My ultimate goal is to be able to feed my neighbors, not to make money. My plan is to exchange naturally raised food for labor, not fed notes. I will need lots of help. That will weed quite a few people out (pun intended) since it is hard to find people with work ethic who have extra time and would rather have food than fed notes. Most people think they need money, but they really need food. I will have it. And already do.
 
Sanda Everette
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Marilyn, I loved your post and your vision. I bet it would be cool in another part of the forum where more folks would see it. I am new to the forum myself and so far have only posted replies rather than starting a new thread, and one of them probably should have been a new thread.
 
Upgeya Pew
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Thanks for this awesome summary!
 
Estar Holmes
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Hi Cassie. I agree. The names on an opt-in email list are like gold. It's the best way to reach people who care about what you have to offer. Thanks for the tip about Aweber. I think the idea is not to have FB likes be the goal, but that all social media marketing should lead to the list. I find socialmediaexaminer.com useful for advice. I also have some idea of how much diligence it takes to reach 28,788. Congratulations to permies and I'm glad that many people care about permaculture. What percentage on average open the emails?
 
pete host
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Hi Cassie,

Been reading the letter for some time, decided I'd chime in on this one (hence created forum account).

You're right on so many counts. One often overlooked and important characteristic of email marketing done right, is that it helps bring to life what i'd call for lack of a better term, the web 0.0
The web has become a friggin nightmare when compared to the nineties / early 2000 as comes to finding relevant / interesting info. Yes there's never been so much stuff in it, but the noise to signal level has seriously deteriorated.
Whenever I come across a website where :
1) there's no social media stuff whatsoever
2) attention is given to content over form (one of my favorite being Leo Babauta's Zen Habits)
3) the author knows how to write and does not waste my time telling me a 800 words story about her gran making pancakes to sell me a new forex investing scheme.

then it gets my attention. And I don't switch much, once I'm settled.

I work in different fields and for each one I try and find a curated letter like yours. That's a total of about 15 to 30 informational emails a week, which I can manage. I cannot read / monitor a full forum (except if I get paid for it, and even so it better not gob up more than 1h of my daily time), even less the whole network. But I can be pretty efficient at casting my nets at new info with 20 or so good curators.


Have an excellent day,
best,

Pete
 
cd shahan
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Cassie,

I really enjoy the newsletter format permies uses. I think I was subscribed around #10,000...Memory check!?!

It's like having a guide, instead of trying to tackle the mountain on your own.

I have a few questions:

What was the born-on-date of the daily-ish?

What did the format look like in the early days and how has it changed? (Maybe you could pull one from the archives)

When did it experience the most growth, was there a tipping point?

Some other random figures would be cool; click-through rates, total links posted, etc.

Thank you and keep on keepin' on!

Chad

 
Justin Rhodes
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I just got more than 700 emails in 5 days folks.

"the smiley one" is right, email is where it's at.

And, social media is NO place to sell (but it's a killer place to collect emails).

28K is very impressive BTY, great job (I look up to you).

Ok, back to my story of 700 emails. I call it the "social butterfly tour":

1. Join every single (related) FB group and participate a little.

2. Join the top 72 (related) FB pages and participate a little.

3. Write an epic article. I mean 3K - 5K words on "how to" do something (with lots of high quality photo's). Take a week to do it. It took me several weeks to post the ChicShaw article.

4. Create a leadmagnet for that specific article that the folks may want to download to complitment that article (like a checklist or plans)

5. Use LeadPages.net to create a "leadbox" to collect emails from those who want the lead magnet.(the get send the download automatically and you have a new subscriber)

6. Now, when the article is done, go and post it to your groups and pages (most of them will love you for it).

7. Be sure to reply to comments (it's the kind thing to do: speak when spoken to).

8. Celebrate! I posted the ChickShaw article to my list and through the "social butterfly tour" and got more than 700 emails in 5 days (more will come for years to come) and over 2K shares on Facebook.

9. If you don't have "daily-ish" content, set up an automatic "drip" campaign with Aweber (mentioned above) or Active Campaign. Active Campaign, if you want to get a little more sophisicated and move folks around in email campaigns based on actions.

10. Give, Give, Give (then sell). Give 3X as much as you sell. Like Cassie, give great discussions, photo's, resources, then pitch something. Or like me, give 3 informational emails and pitch something on the fourth. Giving builds trust and authority, then folks are much happier to do business with you. And, if you have a great product/service then everyone's happy.

P.S. Take a lesson from Cassie by reading her emails. She's a most excellent copywriter (sales writing). Two things to look for and "copy" from her writing:

1. She writes like she talks.

2. She emphasizes benefit to you (the reader).
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Estar Holmes wrote:Hi Cassie. I agree. The names on an opt-in email list are like gold. It's the best way to reach people who care about what you have to offer. Thanks for the tip about Aweber. I think the idea is not to have FB likes be the goal, but that all social media marketing should lead to the list. I find socialmediaexaminer.com useful for advice. I also have some idea of how much diligence it takes to reach 28,788. Congratulations to permies and I'm glad that many people care about permaculture. What percentage on average open the emails?


Thanks Estar! I will definitely check out that website.

We use plain text so because of that we can't track link clicks and open rates unfortunately.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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pete host wrote:Hi Cassie,

Been reading the letter for some time, decided I'd chime in on this one (hence created forum account).

You're right on so many counts. One often overlooked and important characteristic of email marketing done right, is that it helps bring to life what i'd call for lack of a better term, the web 0.0
The web has become a friggin nightmare when compared to the nineties / early 2000 as comes to finding relevant / interesting info. Yes there's never been so much stuff in it, but the noise to signal level has seriously deteriorated.


I think you hit the nail on the head here Pete. Navigating web 0.0 is not an easy task for even the people who grew up with it the way that it is!
 
Cassie Langstraat
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cd shahan wrote:Cassie,

I really enjoy the newsletter format permies uses. I think I was subscribed around #10,000...Memory check!?!

It's like having a guide, instead of trying to tackle the mountain on your own.

I have a few questions:

What was the born-on-date of the daily-ish?

What did the format look like in the early days and how has it changed? (Maybe you could pull one from the archives)

When did it experience the most growth, was there a tipping point?

Some other random figures would be cool; click-through rates, total links posted, etc.

Thank you and keep on keepin' on!

Chad



Chad, you sent me on a super fun investigative mission, looking back to the very beginning of the dailyish (because I was not there for the very beginning) and I can now answer some of your questions.

born-on-date: 04/07/11 was the date of the very first email, which was titled "Masanobu Fukuoka rice and orchard techniques". It was about Paul's youtube video of larry korn talking about fukuoka. It looks like it was actually sent in html if I'm seeing this correct, so not the typical plain text we use now. And it also seems like someone other than Paul wrote it, so I am not sure if that was Adrien, or what was going on there.. But then the next one was sent a few days later and Paul wrote it:

"I uploaded two podcasts in one day. I made so many mistakes, I
doubt I will try that again.

The podcasts are here: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/

I think that this is my first proper email on this email stuff.
Please give me feedback that it is or is not working okay here:

http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/7597_0


2120 s reserve #351, missoula, MT 59801, USA
Unsubscribe | Change Subscriber Options"



So.... MUCH has evolved, but we still try to keep it simple, as paul's first email exemplifies. It's cool to see. A lot of the first ones were just simple announcements of paul's new podcasts and new videos, and that's all that they'd have in them, as far as content goes. There would only be one thing being announced. Now, as you know, we put about 3-5 things in each one. It looks like the 3-5 mentions didn't really start until the very beginning of 2014.

As far as when were the biggest growth periods, it's not letting me see the history of that past one year. So in the past year, the big bumps have been when we give away free stuff. Obviously.





 
Cassie Langstraat
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Justin Rhodes wrote:

Ok, back to my story of 700 emails. I call it the "social butterfly tour"


YES! I love this!

1. Join every single (related) FB group and participate a little.

2. Join the top 72 (related) FB pages and participate a little.


Yes, Yes, YES!

3. Write an epic article. I mean 3K - 5K words on "how to" do something (with lots of high quality photo's). Take a week to do it. It took me several weeks to post the ChicShaw article.

4. Create a leadmagnet for that specific article that the folks may want to download to complitment that article (like a checklist or plans)


Brills. (short for brilliant) I was so proud of you when I saw you set that up on your website. Kudos!

5. Use LeadPages.net to create a "leadbox" to collect emails from those who want the lead magnet.(the get send the download automatically and you have a new subscriber)

6. Now, when the article is done, go and post it to your groups and pages (most of them will love you for it).

7. Be sure to reply to comments (it's the kind thing to do: speak when spoken to).


number 7 is key.

8. Celebrate! I posted the ChickShaw article to my list and through the "social butterfly tour" and got more than 700 emails in 5 days (more will come for years to come) and over 2K shares on Facebook.

9. If you don't have "daily-ish" content, set up an automatic "drip" campaign with Aweber (mentioned above) or Active Campaign. Active Campaign, if you want to get a little more sophisicated and move folks around in email campaigns based on actions.


thanks for pointing out the drip campaign - we don't use all of the fancy bells and whistles that aweber offers, but we probably should!

10. Give, Give, Give (then sell). Give 3X as much as you sell. Like Cassie, give great discussions, photo's, resources, then pitch something. Or like me, give 3 informational emails and pitch something on the fourth. Giving builds trust and authority, then folks are much happier to do business with you. And, if you have a great product/service then everyone's happy.

P.S. Take a lesson from Cassie by reading her emails. She's a most excellent copywriter (sales writing). Two things to look for and "copy" from her writing:

1. She writes like she talks.

2. She emphasizes benefit to you (the reader).


<3 thank you SO much for sharing all of that Justin. So exciting you are having success in your adventures! Can't wait to see all of the success that the movie permaculture chickens brings you!
 
cd shahan
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Cassie Langstraat wrote:




"I uploaded two podcasts in one day. I made so many mistakes, I
doubt I will try that again.



That was worth a giggle.

The free stuff stimulating growth makes sense.



 
paul wheaton
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A few notes of my own....

First, I gotta thank jack spirko for pushing me to create the dailyish email. Second, I gotta thank Jack again for giving me the following advice: Create the list the way you think will be great. People will tell you that you have to change or else everybody will unsubscribe - don't listen to those idiots.

To expand on that a little, I went with something that I told folks in 1995: an online service that offends nobody is of interest to nobody.

I had some people tell me that I put out too many: Well, it is called "dailyish" and on that day I went and looked and we had put out 15 in the last 30 days. Frankly, I think that the rate is perfect.


We have learned that about 70% of our kickstarter income comes from the dailyish email.


- Important: We use Aweber as a mailing list server. This is a HUGE reason why we make it into your "primary" folder in gmail. Aweber does all sorts of fancy stuff to mark the emails as "not spam" so this plays a huuuuuge role in contributing to our "email from a friend" persona I was talking about earlier. You'll notice lots of your other newsletters end up in spam folder or in the "promotions" folder on gmail. Not us though. Thanks aweber. There are TONS of other reasons why aweber is awesome too. They also have a badass support team who has helped Adrien, Paul, and I with all of our questions super quickly. get a free 30 day trial with aweber here.


Jack also recommended aweber. It is the best. The most professional. The key is that when you send stuff out, it is pretty pointless if it goes into spam folders. Aweber puts the big work into the crazy world of spam to keep emails out of spam folders. This is a nearly daily task to figure out what are the latest spam algorithms. Plus, a lot of spam stuff knows that if it comes from aweber, aweber has very strict rules about mailings.


 
paul wheaton
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I've unsubsrcibed because my poor connectivity most of the time means I have never clicked on one of the links in the dailyish email. [...] my connectivity is poor.


First, the dailyish email uses plain text: the tiniest email format possible. Second, nearly all of the links go to permies.com threads. And it looks like you have a rich history here. So I think the total impact to your bandwidth is about zero.

On the other hand, I think you are one of those people that spend so much time on permies that there will never be anything new to you in the dailyish. Even if cassie starts a thread and then puts it immediately into the dailyish, it probably won't get to you for ten minutes, and you will have probably read her new thread within the first two minutes. So, for you: good point.


 
paul wheaton
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Before I forget ....

A lot of people come to us asking for promotion. And I think we are really good about promoting our peeps. At the same time, we give some people 40 times more promotion than others. Often times that's because "they are one of us" and "they give us something in return."

If they have a mailing list, a lot of times we will see a spike in our stuff due to their effort. That just makes us want to do more for them.

So the first step in having a big mailing list is to start a mailing list that has zero people.

 
cd shahan
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paul wheaton wrote:


We have learned that about 70% of our kickstarter income comes from the dailyish email.

Thanks for the insight, very interesting indeed.

And the Aweber recomendation. Great Thread!


 
I want my playground back. Here, I'll give you this tiny ad for it:
FT Position Available: Affiliate Manager Who Loves Permaculture & Homesteading
https://permies.com/t/69742/FT-Position-Affiliate-Manager-Loves
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