The 10 Best CRM Tools for Small Business

Practical Marketer - Reading Time: 5 Minutes

The 10 Best CRM Tools for Small Business

Read More

Latest Posts

6 Ways To Make Your Cart Abandonment Emails More Interesting

6 Ways To Make Your Cart Abandonment Emails More Interesting

Practical Marketer • October 14, 2019

Online shoppers are notoriously fickle, and why shouldn’t they be? There are so many options and avenues at their fingertips that there’s no sense in wildly committing to the first products they see. The multi-step checkout process allows them to toy with potential purchases — chalk certain items down as likely buys while they look around for alternatives. From the standpoint of a seller, of course, this can be extremely frustrating. Just when you think you’re on the verge of making a sale — a site visitor having heaped their cart with products and taken the first step in the checkout phase — it all goes up in smoke. The interested party disappears from the site, leaving behind all those items. To combat this, every sensible online merchant automates cart abandonment emails to trigger when this happens. The goal? To tempt back the near-misses and turn those abandoned carts into sales. But they’re so common that they easily get dull and predictable. If what’s on your site didn’t do enough to hold someone’s attention, you won’t get anywhere with a boring email. So, if you want to optimize the results you get from your cart abandonment email campaigns, you need to make them more interesting. Here are 6 ways to do just that: Reiterate the Main Selling Points Very commonly, cart abandonment emails will simply list the items left behind and advise that they’re still on offer — handy for prospective buyers who simply got distracted and forgot to finish their purchases, but not much use to those who actually decided against buying (for whatever reason). It makes no sense to simply repeat a failed tactic. Regardless of the reason behind an email recipient failing to complete their order, you’re best served adding the big selling points for the listed products to their email. If they were already sold on them and simply had to leave for some emergency, the extra rhetoric won’t discourage them from continuing, and if they left because they decided otherwise, seeing the benefits clearly restated might just convince them that they were wrong to leave. Throw In Some Small Incentives There’s no shortage of competition in the eCommerce world, so retailers need to work extremely hard to stay viable. This tends to result in similar prices across the board — going too high will run you out of contention (people can easily shop around to find cheaper listings) while going too low will destroy your profit on items with razor-thin margins to begin with. The good news about that is that even a very modest discount can often be enough to convince someone to complete an order, particularly when it’s offered out of nowhere in a cart abandonment email. Or you could provide a different kind of incentive: a free gift included with the order, for instance. Be sure to make your presentation optimally appealing! Tell a Creative Story Most eCommerce site copy comes across as fairly generic. You have basic product details, key features, customer reviews, warranty details, and relevant images. The persuasive burden for a given listing is placed on the visual presentation in combination with the innate appeal of the product — which means that two websites offering the same item will have very similar pages. But you don’t have to settle for that, particularly in your cart abandonment emails. Even if you’re reluctant to get too creative with your on-page copy (perhaps fearing the consequences for SEO), you can easily get more relaxed with your email copy. Allow some whimsy to creep in. Tell them how sad you are that they didn’t complete your order and that your adorable office puppy is looking heartbroken. A little humor (executed well) can really get people on your side, leading them to want to support your brand with their patronage. Lean on FOMO Elements Someone looks at the products on your site, nearly buys them, then decides against it. There’s clearly no rush driving their actions (at least pertaining to your site in particular). If you email them to say something that effectively amounts to “Hey, these items are still here! You forgot them!” then you’re not changing that. You can change this using FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), the rhetorical powerhouse that readily compels us to take action because we’re worried that something great will pass us by. Instead of just listing the left-behind products, show their stock levels too, or simply note that they’re going quickly (even if they’re not). Lead the recipient to believe that their opportunity to buy isn’t indefinite. If they don’t act soon, their time will run out. Alternatively, Play It Cool FOMO is strong, but it doesn’t always work. It’s really a hard-line gambit: if they’re really on the fence about wanting the item, the effort to hurry them may well cause them to conclusively decide against it. But that’s not the only negative effect it could have, because it might also lead them to dislike your business in general. People don’t like feeling hurried. So if it’s more fitting of the circumstances, you can take the opposite tack and play it cool. Instead of leading them to think that they need to decide immediately, let them know that there’s no rush. They can change their mind whenever they want, and the great products (and great offers) will be there when they’re ready, no matter when (or how) they want to buy from you. After all, assuming you’re using a multi-channel eCommerce platform, there’ll be nothing stopping them from changing their mind in the middle of the night and ordering from their phone through a chatbot in a messaging application (unlikely, perhaps, but completely possible). This works as a display of confidence, shifting their perception of the situation and (possibly) driving them to want the products again. Think of a child refusing to do something they enjoy because their parent ordered them to — once that pressure goes away, they can make a free decision and follow their personal preferences. Recommend Some Comparable Items Suppose that nothing you do in your email, from restating the benefits of the abandoned items to offering a discount, has any effect on the recipient’s inclination to buy. They already made their mind up about those items, firmly concluding that they were no longer interested. But that doesn’t mean they lack interest in comparable items — maybe they just read some reviews and concluded that those specific products weren’t worth buying. To cater to this, try listing some recommended products along with the abandoned items. If the stats of your online store show that 40% of the people who view a particular laptop go on to buy a totally different laptop, then that’s an obvious inclusion in a cart abandonment email to someone who left that first laptop in their cart. Bonus: Get the Right Automation Tools Even if you have a fool-proof strategy for reigniting the interest of abandoned cart shoppers, you need the right tools to pull it off. Sign up for a free Benchmark Email account to test out our light email automation and learn how you can automate email follow-up and turn abandoned carts into fresh sales for your business. Sending cart abandonment emails isn’t enough in itself to make the most of your near-misses. You need to take the time to optimize them, setting them apart from those of your competitors — and these 6 tactics will help you do just that. (originally published on March 21, 2019)


Read More
5 Foolproof Strategies to Help You Win More Email Subscribers

5 Foolproof Strategies to Help You Win More Email Subscribers

Practical Marketer • October 3, 2019

The only way to expand a business is to invest time and money into marketing. However, how do you know which channel should you choose? Among tons of online marketing tools available today, there is one that has been around for as long as the Internet has been in existence – email!  Almost every modern person uses email for communication, work, education, and personal purposes. Being so widely-spread, this is one of a few channels that allow marketers to reach out to millions of Internet users worldwide. Thus, using it as one of your primary channels for online marketing has its purpose and potential benefits for your business. On average, a person spends about 28% of their working time reading and responding to the messages. This fact makes it a powerful marketing tool available to every business at literally no cost. Key Concept of Email Marketing Whether you are a dedicated manager, marketer, or entrepreneur, the main goal that unites all these specialists is to nurture and grow their businesses. Luckily, in the 21st century, there are numerous opportunities for advancement. Among tons of different marketing strategies, email marketing is often being undervalued. Many entrepreneurs have probably heard of this technique. However, most of them don’t realize its full potential and have no idea how to use it to benefit their businesses. So, exactly what is email marketing? In simple terms, it\'s a strategy that allows you to promote your business by using email as the primary channel. Here are some of the key goals that email marketing meets: Boosting loyalty among current customers; Attracting new clients; Sharing news and updates related to your business; Increasing awareness of your brand; Cultivating trusted relationships with current and potential customers; Providing information about sales/sending coupons to clients, etc.  These are only some of the goals that can be easily met with the help of email and the correct marketing strategy. Nevertheless, why do entrepreneurs neglect using this handy promotion tool?  One of the main reasons is that many people believe that email marketing is outdated. Indeed, there are plenty of modern tools, but does this mean that your business doesn’t need a solid email marketing strategy? Absolutely not! There are many ways to add some creative flair to a good old newsletter. You may not even need to provide brand new content every time. Try compilation strategies like Moz does with their “top tens.”Another example is short daily overviews provided by the bunch of geniuses from theSkimm. Life is too short for longreads anyway, they say! Though, the guys from Longreads may not agree. Otherwise, why would people sign up for their “Weekly Top 5s” or “Monthly books\" newsletter with reviews, excerpts, author interviews, and conversations on craft?  Email marketing is valuable in so many ways. First of all, it is one of the few forms of direct marketing. It is also much more price-efficient than almost any other channel. What other benefits does it offer to your business? Here are a few key pros: It helps strengthen the brand’s relationships with customers and build trust. It allows businesses to reach a wider audience and attract customers since 94% of users use email on a daily basis in the studying process, at work, and at home. It offers a pretty high return on investment and simple tracking of this indicator. In most cases, unlike other strategies and tools, email marketing costs less while the results still prove great. Knowing about the fundamental concept behind email marketing and its key benefits, now, you are probably wondering how to integrate it into your business model. At this point, it is crucial to understand that this form of marketing can bring excellent results, but only with the right strategy! How to pick it and make the most of your email marketing campaign? Below, we have collected the most effective ideas to get you started! Rethink Your Offer Let’s start with the basics – the first thing that holds you back from getting more subscribers is a weak offer. An offer that converts is the most significant part of your campaign. Not giving a compelling proposition, you’re being penny-wise and pound foolish. Therefore, if you are hoping to get more subscribers, the first move should be to rethink the offer you make.  There are a few tips that can help you make the offer more attractive to a user. First of all, it is vital to know your audience well. The better you understand the needs of a potential customer, the higher are the chances that you can make an offer that satisfies one\'s needs!  How to find out what a target client wants? Unfortunately, there is no universal formula for success. The most effective way to reach this goal is to conduct in-depth research and then keep experimenting with the offer until you get those high conversions. Another handy tip is to offer your potential customers something for free. Regardless of age, nationality, sex, and other characteristics, all people love free content, and businesses can use this to their benefit.  Let’s consider a few working samples of such techniques. You must be well aware of different giveaways that are being continuously conducted by many brands and bloggers themselves on various platforms. Offering a free template, service, or product in exchange for a client’s email address, you get more subscribers and also a unique chance to let the customers try your service or product. However, not only free samples can attract people. It is also of crucial importance to remember that anyone becomes more open once we receive some personal touch rather than obviously an automated response or a mail created by a robot.  A good example of following such personalized strategy can be the one used by the guys from The Conversation. Instead of seeing not that attractive “uk.newsletter@theconversation.com” near the subject line of each email one gets to know the name of the person who wrote it. Here are the samples - Annabel and Joe from The Conversation:  Together with a catchy subject line, you just can\'t resist opening the email composed by their business and economy editor, Annabel Bligh or outreach manager Joe Abrams!    Make It Mobile-Friendly With the overwhelming number of mobile devices in use today, it is vital for businesses to build their campaigns and resources for both desktop and mobile users. According to this study by Litmus, almost 50% of all email opens are done from a mobile device. What does this mean for your campaign? This basically means that if you don’t make your newsletters mobile-friendly, you lose that 50% of potential customers and, thus, miss a big deal of potential revenue. Waving bye-bye to almost half of your earnings just because of how bad your newsletters look on a mobile device doesn’t sound like a fair deal. Respectively, the better your messages look on different devices, the more subscribers you can get. Thus, don’t underestimate the value of mobile-friendliness! Subject Lines Subject lines are the most vital elements of every email! This is the only thing a recipient sees prior to clicking on a particular message and, thus, a subject line pretty much determines whether a person will open your letter or not.  Here\'s an example of an attention-catching subject line. True kings of the Internet entertainment industry, BuzzFeed writers seem to know everything about a subject line and a call to action. It is almost impossible to ignore the email with the line “Hi, You’re Fired.\" How can you empower your strategy with the help of subject lines? Here are a few tips to follow: Make it engaging – start with a phrase or offer that will immediately evoke genuine interest in the recipient; Keep it concise – you will only need a small number of characters to grab the recipient’s attention, so be sure to keep the subject line straight to the point and concise; Make it stand out – marketers have long been using additional tricks such as the use of emojis in the subject line to make it more eye-catchy! Let Social Media Enter the Game As we mentioned earlier, 94% of all Internet users have an email and use it regularly, which makes it a perfect channel for reaching out to a broader audience. However, the best results can be reached only when you empower your strategy with additional marketing forces such as social media. In 2019, a regular user spends on average over two hours a day on different social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and others. Due to increasing popularity, social media platforms have became powerful sales and marketing tools for businesses. Now, these channels are on every marketer’s radar, so why lose an opportunity to benefit from them? By integrating popular social media links into your email marketing campaigns, you can complete two essential tasks: Spread the word about your brand Get more subscribers Both of these goals will allow you to reach the ultimate goals: growing your business and increasing revenue. Create the Right Conditions for Subscription Finally, the best strategy for success is simplicity! The more comfortable and simple it is to subscribe to your newsletters, the more people will do so. Therefore, our last tip is to create the right conditions for a quick subscription. How can you make it easy? We recommend businesses use these two simple tricks: Minimize the clicks. We all know how annoying it can be to have to click continuously in order to complete a specific action. Therefore, the fewer clicks a potential customer needs to make to subscribe, the better! Ideally, you should make a single-click subscription. Also, it is crucial to ensure that the button is noticeable. Make entering an email easy. When shaping the subscription form, you will face a few dilemmas, such as whether to ask just for an address or throw a few extra questions at your potential clients. The second option, without a doubt, will let you learn more about a new customer. However, it can be quite annoying and may scare some potential subscribers away.  Thus, we recommend businesses to hold on to their questions and make the opt-in form as straightforward as possible! Both these tricks work pretty well regardless of the business niche or profiles of your target customers. Final Thoughts Whether your potential customers are college students, retirees, young parents, or anyone else, email is a channel that different groups of people use on a daily basis. It is fair to say that every successful business should be running email marketing campaigns to expand reach and get better conversions! Creating a killer email marketing strategy isn’t that hard if you know your objectives and audience, and have a clear idea of what a good plan consists of. Hopefully, this article will help you get on the right track!


Read More
5 Creative B2B Emails You Hadn’t Considered

5 Creative B2B Emails You Hadn’t Considered

Practical Marketer • September 26, 2019

Need some inspiration when it comes to your B2B email campaigns? We’ve got you covered. The right email campaign can make or break your marketing efforts, especially when you’re running a small business on limited resources. From the content and substance of your emails to their design, each feature should be optimized to convert. And while you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you should always be aiming for creativity in every email campaign that you put into action. Below, we’ll give you a full picture view of some of the unique ways that you can use email to enhance consumer engagement and get you closer to your most ambitious marketing and sales goals. Try to focus on both the forest and the trees — considering how an email might function on its own but also as part of your larger marketing initiatives. After all, you’ve got big goals, and it’s going to take a cohesive strategy to meet them. So let’s get to it. Here are five of our favorite creative B2B email ideas for small businesses. 1. Activation Emails Just because someone is a customer doesn’t mean that they’re an engaged customer. B2B marketing is all about cultivating strong relationships that are sustainable throughout each stage of the funnel, even after a customer has made a purchase. That’s where an activation email comes into play, not just confirming with a customer that they’re ready to go but offering up valuable information that they can use to get the full use out of the product or service that you’re selling. Tip: Make it actionable. You want your customer to engage with their purchase as soon as possible, so remove any barriers that they might have to getting started by including links in the activation email to support, demos, feature explanations, and more. 2. Big Events & Promotion Announcements Email is a great way to spread the word about exciting upcoming events and promotions. Get multiple outreach opportunities out of one event by sending emails throughout the lead-up period, keep them short, sweet, and focused for maximum impact. This is a particularly good strategy for upcoming deals and product launches, since it builds anticipation and lets everyone know what’s happening when.  Tip: Instill a sense of urgency. Both the subject line of your email and the text of the email itself should make it clear when the event is happening and that the time to take advantage of it will be limited. 3. Curiosity Cultivation Sometimes the best thing that you can say is nothing at all. Tease new features, content, and promotions by sending out an email that hints something big has happened without saying what it is. Recipients will have to click-through if they want to learn what you’re talking about, which is a great way to increase traffic to your site and generate interest during a rollout. Tip: Less is more. The content of the link should be a mystery, but not the link itself. Instead of burying your curiosity-building text on the page, make it the sole purpose of the email. Aim for one image and one line of text, and let intrigue take it from there. 4. Re-Engagement Emails One of the most effective uses of B2B email marketing is to re-animate conversations with leads who have disengaged. While you probably gear most of your efforts toward engaging with active contacts, switch your strategy up by creating a campaign for your inactive contacts. Include a coupon code or some other asset of value so that you’re not just getting back in touch but getting in touch with something that can navigate a lead to the next stage of the sales cycle. Tip: Narrow your focus. Delineate a purpose for a re-engagement email that goes beyond simply building brand awareness (for example: getting more demo sign-ups, e-book downloads, etc.), and then include a clear call to action that drives recipients toward that specific conversion. 5. Blog Highlight Reels Give your blog content a chance to shine by sending out curated emails that direct to your most helpful posts. Remember: you’re an authority in whatever it is that your leads are trying to achieve. By sharing content snippets and then linking out to those pages, you further establish your expertise in the field all while getting more traffic on your site. Sounds like a win-win, right? Tip: Pick a theme. Center the blog posts that you choose to feature around a particular topic, which each post relating to that topic in some way. It’ll be more interesting than a standard blog round-up, and will also grab attention right away. As always, do your research. Look to what your competitors are doing and brainstorm off of their good ideas. Look within your own analytics too to see what’s working with your leads and what isn’t. Even with a small budget, you should have no trouble maximizing the utility of your email campaigns.


Read More
10 Ways To Grow Your Email List As An E-Commerce Brand

10 Ways To Grow Your Email List As An E-Commerce Brand

Practical Marketer • September 19, 2019

So, you’re ready to start using one of the most effective marketing techniques ever: email marketing. However, there\'s a problem: your email list is too small. Luckily there are numerous tried and true strategies to help you grow it.  So whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking for new ways to boost your subscriber counts, here are ten ways to grow your email list as an e-commerce brand. 1. Pop-Ups are your new best friends. Many people hate pop-ups. Why? Because they are annoying and your neighbor says they are annoying so they are annoying. Well, what makes them annoying? The thing is that pop-ups are perceived as annoying because of the ways they are misused by companies. For example, intrusive pop-ups that dominate most of your screen and are impossible to exit will definitely make you grunt. At the same time, having pop-ups appear every time a visitor lands on a new page is probably just as irritating. [caption id=\"attachment_41208\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"949\"] Source: Cygnett.com [/caption] The solution is simple. Make your pop-ups reasonably sized, valuable and provide an easy way to close them. Moreover, making your pop-up appear once or twice is more than enough for the visitor to make up their mind. Also, make the text concise and your call to action clear. 2. Discounts can work miracles. Discounts and coupons are a blessing from above. At least, that\'s what most of your potential customers are probably thinking and the way you should be thinking, too. Discounts are proven to be a very effective tool when it comes to nearly any action you want your online store visitors to complete. As long as you don\'t give too big of a discount, you won\'t be losing value. It\'s a win-win. Ask your visitors to select the products they are interested in and then offer them a relevant discount in exchange for their email address. They will probably be more than happy to do so if it means saving money. 3. People love free stuff. Who doesn\'t like giveaways? They give your potential customers a chance to get something of value completely free of charge. In fact, giveaways are the first thing you should be doing to get your brand discovered. With the help of social media shares, they can attract a lot of attention to your e-commerce business. Logically, if you have been looking for a way to get extra exposure, this is your solution. When hosting a giveaway, make sure that you do it with the help of a social media platform so that there are more people who get the word about it. In addition to that, make one of the requirements for participation subscribing to your newsletter and voila! 4. Improve your email content to keep them hooked. One of the best ways to grow your email list is to improve your email content in order to keep your current subscribers hooked. Just think about it. Even if you get many subscribers, your email marketing will be of no use as they will start unsubscribing due to the lack of quality content from you. A simple solution is to use an online writing service to save you time and start creating content for your emails.  Promotions, discounts, great visuals, and interesting articles - that\'s what makes a good email. 5. Don\'t overlook autoresponders. Another way to keep your subscribers on your email list is by implementing autoresponders into your strategy. First, you must research your audience and segment your list. Make sure that you have located at least these two types of subscribers: Transactional: Subscribers who have purchased from you, abandoned their cart, or registered for your store will receive one type of emails. Informational: Subscribers who want deals and content but haven\'t made a purchase will receive another type of emails. [caption id=\"attachment_41207\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"1238\"] Source: https://www.mrclutch.com/[/caption] Once you have these sorted out, you can take into account other criteria of your choice and then start creating autoresponders for certain actions your subscribers complete. This will keep them engaged and prevent them from falling off of your email list. 6. Make them fight for it. While that might sound harsh, you must admit that contests provide an amazing environment for competition. Just like giveaways, they can attract a lot of attention to your brand and get you extra exposure. They should also be hosted on social media platforms, but the difference is that there is a bit more your followers need to do for a chance to win. Contests should have rules and requirements as well as a purpose - something that your followers must create that will then be judged. You can make one of the requirements signing up to your email. After the contest is over, give out prizes to the winners and provide a discount for all the participants. 7. Long live signup forms. \"Nobody canceled signup forms. You can have pop-ups and giveaways and so on, having a signup form on your website is still the standard for any email newsletter strategy\" says Estelle Leotard, Writer at WOWgrade. Truly, signup forms are often forgotten in the frenzy of looking for new ways of getting email subscribers. Still wondering how to grow your email list? Use signup forms! In order to make the form appear on every page your visitor goes to, add it either to the footer or header. You can also place it on the about and contact pages as well as at the end of your articles if you have a blog. [caption id=\"attachment_41205\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"791\"] Source: https://www.madfientist.com/[/caption] Another place to consider is a thank you page. This is the one your customer gets sent to after they\'ve completed a purchase or download. At this moment, they are more likely to sign up as they have already had a good experience with you. 8. Landings pages combined with email. Period. This is a truly genius idea, isn\'t it? Create a landing page with a great piece of content such as an evergreen article on a topic that is very relevant to your audience. Then, add an email signup form either at the end or at the beginning. Finally, drive traffic to the landing page with the help of ads or other methods. 9. Share the love. Actually, it\'s not only about giving shout outs to other brands or customers but also about collaborating with other similar e-commerce brands just like you. For example, you can host a massive or contest to create a giant email list.  Alternatively, you could guest post on each other\'s blogs or shout out each other on social media. The opportunities are endless! 10. Keep it old-fashioned. You may be wondering, \"What is the old-fashioned way?\" Well, it\'s simply acquiring subscribers through a purchase made on your website. Most people are hesitant to give out their personal information. They may have had negative experiences with other companies before they came across your store, so they may be not as happy to give you even as much as their last name. This is why most companies only ask for the first name and email address when someone wants to make a purchase. Just remember to tell your customers that you need their email to confirm their purchase. You can ask them for subscription later in that same confirmation email. All in all, growing your email list as an e-commerce brand doesn’t have to be that difficult. Once you figure out these simple tactics, you will be able to set up your email marketing strategy and start increasing your sales exponentially.


Read More
The Definitive List of Email Spam Trigger Words

The Definitive List of Email Spam Trigger Words

Practical Marketer • September 17, 2019

Email marketing is as much an art as it is a science. You want your subject lines to effectively capture the attention of your recipients and entice them to click, but you also don’t want to risk being flagged as spam. Unfortunately, email platforms are becoming more intuitive by the day, which means if you’re not careful, your messages could easily end up rerouted before they ever even reach your readers. One of the easiest ways to avoid triggering spam filters is to choose the words you use in your subject line very carefully. To make things a little easier, we’ve put together a rather exhaustive list of common email spam trigger words. Feel free to bookmark this post and consult back whenever you’re crafting an email message. Numbers / Symbols • 100% (including 100% free, 100% satisfied, etc.) • 50% Off • $$$ (including earn $, save $, make $, only $, etc.) • #1 • 4U • Billion • Join Millions • Million • One Hundred Percent • Thousands Greetings • Dear {name} • Friend • Hello Sales & E-Commerce • Act now • As Seen On • Bargain • Best Price • Buy • Buy Direct • Cheap • Clearance • Compare • Compare Rates • Discount • Fantastic Deal • Free • Great Offer • Incredible Deal • Limited (i.e. Limited Time Offer, etc.) • Lowest Price • New Customers Only • Name Brand • No Purchase Necessary • Offer • Offer Expires • Order • Order Now • Order Shipped By • Order Status • Order Today • Risk Free • Sale • Save • Shopper • Shopping Spree • Supplies • Why Pay More? Marketing • Ad • Auto Email Removal • Be Amazed • Bulk Email • Call • Click • Click Below • Click Here • Click to Remove • Compete for Your Business • Direct Email • Direct Marketing • Email Harvest • Email Marketing • Form • Increase Sales • Increase Traffic • Increase Your Sales • Internet Market • Internet Marketing • Marketing • Marketing Solutions • Mass Email • Member • Month Trial Offer • More Internet Traffic • Multi-Level Marketing • One Time Mailing • Online Marketing • Opt-In • Performance • Removal • Removal Instructions • Sales • Search Engine Listings • Search Engines • Subscribe • The Following Form • Unsubscribe • Visit Our Website • Web Traffic • Will Not Believe Your Eyes General Offers • Being a Member • Billing Address • Cancel • Cancel Any Time • Cannot Be Combined with Any Other Offer • Exclusive Deal • Financial Freedom • Gift Certificate • Giving Away • Guarantee • Have You Been Turned Down • Important Information Regarding • Mail In Order Form • Message Contains • Not Intended • Obligation • Off Shore • Offer • Opportunity • Per Day • Per Week • Priority Mail • Prize(s) • Produced and Sent Out • Purchase • Removes • Reserves the Right • Reverses • Score • Sign Up Free • See For Yourself • Terms • Terms and Conditions • The Best Rates • They’re Just Giving It Away • Trial • Unlimited • Unsolicited • Vacation • Vacation Offers • Warranty • We Honor All • Weekend Getaway • What’s Keeping You? • Who Really Wins? • Win • Winner • Winning • Won • You Are a Winner! • You Have Been Selected • You’re a Winner! General Finance • Affordable • Beneficiary • Big Bucks • Billing • Cash • Cash Bonus • Cents on the Dollar • Check • Claims • Collect • Cost • Credit • Credit Bureaus • Earn • Easy Terms • Extra Cash • Fast Cash • Hidden Assets • Hidden Charges • Income • Insurance • Investment • Loan(s) • Million Dollars • Money • Money Back • Mortgage • Mortgage Rates • No Cost • No Fees • One Hundred Percent Free • Pennies a Day • Price • Profits • Pure Profit • Quote • Rates • Refinance • Refund • Save • Save Big Money • Save Up To • Serious Cash • Subject to Credit • They Keep Your Money – No Refund • Unsecured Credit • Unsecured Debt • US Dollars Business Finance • Accept Credit Cards • Cards Accepted • Check or Money Order • Credit Card Offers • Full Refund • Investment Decision • Requires Initial Investment • Stock Alert • Stock Pick Personal Finance • Additional Income • Avoid Bankruptcy • Be Your Own Boss • Calling Creditors • Collect Child Support • Consolidate Credit • Consolidate Debt • Consolidate Your Debt • Debt • Double Your Cash • Double Your Income • Earn Extra Cash • Earn Extra Income • Eliminate Bad Credit • Eliminate Debt • Expect to Earn • Extra Income • Financially Independent • Get Out of Debt • Get Paid • Home Based Business • Home Employment • Income from Home • Lower Interest Rate • Lower Monthly Payment • Lower Your Mortgage Rate • Lowest Insurance Rates • Make Money • Money Making • Online Biz Opportunity • Potential Earnings • Pre-Approved • Refinance Home • Social Security Number • Your Income General • Acceptance • Access • Accordingly • Action • Amazed • Avoid • Beverage • Bonus • Boss • Cashcashcash • Casino • Celebrity • Chance • Claims to Be Legal • Congratulations • Costs • Diagnostics • Dormant • Extra • For You • Freedom • Get • Here • Hidden • Home • Info You Requested • Information You Requested • Junk • Leave • Legal • Life • Lifetime • Lose • Maintained • Medicine • Medium • Miracle • Never • Notspam • Open • Passwords • Phone • Presently • Problem • Promise • Remove • Request • Reverse • Sample • Satisfaction • Solution • Spam • Stop • Success • Teen • This Isn’t a Scam • This Isn’t Junk • This Isn’t Spam • We Hate Spam • Wife Adjectives/Descriptive Words • Affordable • All Natural • All New • Amazing • Certified • Cures • Drastically Reduced • It’s Effective • Fantastic • For Free • Guaranteed • Home Based • Luxury • Outstanding • Real • Risk-Free • Satisfaction Guaranteed Sense of Urgency • Act Now • Apply Now • Apply Online • Call Now • Can’t Live Without • Do It Today • Don’t Delete • Don’t Hesitate • Expire • For Instant Access • For Only • Get It Now • Get Started Now • Instant • Limited Time (i.e. offer, only, etc.) • Now • Now Only • Offer Expires • Once in a Lifetime • One Time • Only • Order Now • Order Today • Please Read • Special Promotion • Supplies are Limited • Take Action Now • This Won’t Last • Time Limited • Urgent • What Are You Waiting for? • While Supplies Last Variations of the Word ‘No’ • No Age Restrictions • No Catch • No Claim Forms • No Cost • No Credit Check • No Disappointment • No Experience • No Fees • No Gimmick • No Hidden • No Hidden Costs • No Interest • No Inventory • No Investment • No Medical Exams • No Middleman • No Obligation • No Purchase Necessary • No Questions Asked • No Selling • No Strings Attached • No-Obligation Variations of the Word ‘Free’ • Free • Free Access • Free Consultation • Free DVD • Free Gift • Free Grant Money • Free Hosting • Free Info • Free Installation • Free Instant • Free Investment • Free Leads • Free Membership • Free Money • Free Offer • Free Preview • Free Priority Mail • Free Quote • Free Sample • Free Trial • Free Website So there you have it! Your up-to-date, comprehensive list of spam trigger words. Will all of these words put your email straight into the junk folder? Not likely. Will avoiding these words guarantee that your messages won’t get flagged? Unfortunately, no. But knowing which words and phrases to steer clear of can certainly increase your odds of success. Of course, being thoughtful and more personal with your email communications while also utilizing an automated email marketing platform like Benchmark can also help you streamline your process and guarantee that more of those important emails are making it into the inboxes of your prospects and customers.


Read More
Leading CRM and Email Marketing SaaS Providers, Hatchbuck, Benchmark, Merge

Leading CRM and Email Marketing SaaS Providers, Hatchbuck, Benchmark, Merge

Product & Design • September 10, 2019

The combined company, Benchmark, will enable businesses to flourish with powerfully simple sales and marketing tools. Los Alamitos, CA - September 10, 2019  - Benchmark Email and Hatchbuck, leading SaaS (software as a service) providers of sales and marketing solutions, today announced they have merged, creating a global customer relationship management (CRM) and email marketing automation technology leader.  The combined entity will operate under the Benchmark name and has U.S. offices in St. Louis and Los Angeles with international presence in 15 countries. Jonathan Herrick, previously CEO and Co-Founder of Hatchbuck will assume the role of CEO. Curt Keller, previously CEO of Benchmark, will assume the role of Chief Innovation Officer and Chairman of the Board. The newly merged company brings together 130 employees serving over 150,000 users in 15 countries and 9 languages worldwide.  With businesses rapidly adopting digital sales and marketing technology, the combination of Hatchbuck CRM and Benchmark email solutions will enable the newly formed company to better serve its customers and gain market share in an ever growing CRM and marketing technology market. By 2025 the CRM market is projected to reach nearly $82 billion and the email marketing market is expected to reach $22 billion (Grand View Research).  “Email marketing has always been a cost-effective way to connect with customers,” said Keller. “As SMBs invest more heavily in digital channels, they need a centralized place to track the relationships they’ve worked hard to build. We’re extremely excited about partnering with Hatchbuck to make CRM central to our robust email marketing platform.”  “Combining the two entities is a win for businesses on a global scale,” Herrick said. “Benchmark’s vision is to take our email marketing platform to the next level by incorporating CRM tools and making both facets accessible to small and midsize businesses. Hatchbuck’s expertise in the CRM space is going to be key to enriching Benchmark’s product offering.” “CRM software is the largest of all software markets and growing 12% year over year,” added Cliff Holekamp, Co-Founder and General Partner at Cultivation Capital. “The future is bright for Benchmark, and we are thrilled to support their success.” The new leadership team includes veteran SaaS leaders from both Hatchbuck and Benchmark that bring over 350 years of combined experience.  Hatchbuck and Benchmark will continue to operate as two separate brands and platforms and merge the combined best-in-class functionality into one innovative platform by 2021.  Portland-based Alkali Partners, a boutique technology-focused investment bank, served as an advisor during the merger process. The terms of the deal were not released. About Benchmark Benchmark Email offers an integrated, automated and robust feature set built to help the enterprise of any size. A powerfully simple and simply powerful email marketing solution designed to help you create and send compelling campaigns with ease. Learn more at https://www.benchmarkemail.com/. About Hatchbuck Hatchbuck is sales and marketing software for small businesses and marketing agencies. We help agencies and small business owners propel relationships into sales with all-in-one CRM and marketing automation. Cut through the clutter and complexity of bulky tools with a simple, affordable platform made for you. Learn more at https://www.hatchbuck.com/. Read the original press release here.


Read More
14 Psychology-Backed Tricks for Effective Sales and Marketing Emails

14 Psychology-Backed Tricks for Effective Sales and Marketing Emails

Practical Marketer • September 5, 2019

Email marketing is still among the best marketing techniques. Despite what many marketers fear, 73% of millennials say email is the best way to communicate with brands. The practice is not going to die out any time soon. The driving force behind email marketing is psychology. You’re more likely to perform an action if you’ve already performed a smaller step. This makes people who have subscribed to your newsletter more likely to go deeper into the sales funnel. Besides, many subscribe with the sole aim of waiting for a discount to buy something later. Leverage psychology even more to supercharge your email marketing campaign. Here’s how you do that. Segment the audience You probably know that segmenting the audience is considered to be a standard practice in email marketing. But you don’t have to do it just because everybody else does. You have to do it because it works wonders for your campaign. Segmented emails bring in two-thirds of revenue. This is the case because people expect to see personalized offers. They don’t want to browse through everything you have on the list, they just want to read about what interests them. This is why personalized emails are opened 26% more often. What do you do to make the emails really personal? You get to know your audience with as much detail as you can. Here’s what you have to consider when segmenting the audience. Activity on the website Activity with the emails Social media activity Explicitly stated preferences With these four factors, you can deliver the content and products your subscribers want to see, making the click-through rate higher. But it’s not the only way of doing it. Create a subject line The subject line is the first thing your subscriber sees. Write a catchy line, and the CRT is going to skyrocket. Write a boring or a spammy one, and it’s going to plummet. Here are psychological tricks for writing a killer subject line. Mention a name Are you writing a B2B email? Business people tend to not have time to read every email they receive. Attract their attention by mentioning a name they’re familiar with. It’s perfect if they know you already and will open an email that mentions your name. If you’re sending a cold email, mention the name of a shared contact. Invoke urgency You probably know that many people buy based on emotions rather than meticulous calculation. What you may not know is that negative emotions sell just as well as positive ones. An urgent offer puts the customer in a state of stress. They need to decide on making a purchase now, or the discount will expire. Many people will choose to buy out of fear of missing out. Include a deadline in the subject line or the email preview to leverage this fear. Make a free offer Offering something for free is a classic strategy for making customers convert more. It still works, too. Subject lines that feature words “free delivery” receive 50% more clicks. Use this magic phrase to increase CTR. Invoke curiosity without being fishy Why do people click on your emails? Because they want to know what content or hot deals you have for them. Because they’re curious. A good email subject line has to evoke curiosity. A great subject line evokes curiosity in a subtle way, avoiding the Nigerian-scam-email curiosity. You don’t have to come up with fantastic ideas or promise something you can’t deliver. Often, it’s as easy as withholding the right information. Use this free tool to check what your subject line looks like on popular mobile devices.  Craft the email Now you have a great subject line that attracts clicks. The customer journey doesn’t stop there. You have to lead the users down the sales funnel. This involves doing two key things, grabbing readers’ attention and directing them towards a certain action. Here’s how psychology helps you do this. Place the logo in the top-left corner Grabbing attention starts with small details. One small detail like this is the very first thing you see when you open up the email. For many people, it’s the brand logo placed in the top-left corner. As left-to-right language speakers, we instinctively start looking through the email from the left corner, so placing the logo there increases the chances of being seen. Norman Nielsen group research suggests that brands whose logos placed like this have 89% more chances of being recognized. This both build the brand image and increases the chances of visitors reading your emails to the end. Even the big brands do it. Source: Really Good Emails However, some companies can pull off a quirky logo placement in their emails. Source: Really Good Emails Catch attention with the design 3 in 5 people check the “Incoming folder” on the go and don’t have the time to decide whether your email is good or not only based on the content. Make the template design appealing to the readers, and more of them will keep reading the email. Compare the price Price anchoring is the psychology marketing tactic that’s been working for decades in retail and can be used in your email. The thing is people don’t know how much your products are worth. If you only show the discounted price, they won’t make anything of it. It only matters if you compare it to the original price. Always show the original price of all discounted goods in comparison to the new price for a better effect. This email sure looks good, but it only mentions a 30% decrease in price with no numbers.  Learn from their mistakes and craft a better email. Source: Really Good Emails Personalize You weren’t segmenting the audience for nothing. You can’t personalize every email to every person, but you can use marketing automation to craft the perfect emails for different audiences. People who subscribed to you may only want one type of content or products in their “Incoming” folder. Deliver what’s relevant to each group, and you’ll increase the conversion rate. It’s not purely theoretic either. Personalized emails can lead to a six-fold increase in transactions. Show faces to invoke emotions A human face is one of the best ways to make readers feel emotion and associate it with your brand. This is why your email can benefit from a human face. But don’t put a cheesy happy face from the stock website in there. The emotion you’re trying to invoke doesn’t even have to be happiness, for that matter. In this Adidas email, it’s focus. Source: Really Good Emails Uniqueness and urgency Many people who subscribe to your newsletter seek a bargain. They want to get something unique for a low price. Their biggest fear? The marketing classic, FOMO, or fear of missing out. Show that the deal you’re offering needs an urgent decision. The urgency can be in the form of a promotion that ends in a day or the last 10 items in stock. If you’re doing a good job personalizing your sales and marketing emails, you can offer truly unique offers for different groups of people to make this psychology trick work even better. Keep it short, simple, and visual 61.9% of emails are opened on a smartphone. Many people who open them are checking the emails for only a couple of minutes when they’re on the go or getting prepared for a day of work in the morning. They don’t have the time to read a 500-words email. Keep the content short and express what you can with imagery. Don’t tell the readers how good the product you advertize is, show them a picture, describe the main points in a few words, and leave a link. Make these few words as simple as you can without compromising the meaning. It’s not “dumbing down,” it’s just making your email easily digestible for a 10 second’s read it’s probably going to get. Even the President knows this, this is why Trump’s speeches use the vocabulary of an eight-year-old.  Include a clear CTA In a perfect world, your subscribers will see a discount and head to the website themselves. In reality, they need a bit of instruction to make the decision easier for them. The discount seems fair, the button is right there, so why not do it right now? Besides, the CTA button is probably a part of customers’ perceptual set by this time. This practice is so widespread, customers expect to see one in the email. Don’t fail their expectations. Put a foot in the door The “Foot in the door” technique is extremely important in marketing, and email is the channel where this technique can be used best. The point of an email is not selling something upfront, it’s making the reader do a small action that doesn’t require that much dedication to your brand. Once they do it, they’ll be more likely to invest their time and money in a more demanding action like making a purchase. It takes multiple touchpoints to make a single conversion. Email can be the touchpoint you use to take your leads on a journey from sharing an article on Facebook to become a brand advocate. The bottom line It’s been a long read, and the fact you’re still here shows your dedication to your job. Now that you’ve learned how to make your sales and marketing emails more effective, from segmenting the audience to writing the body of the email, don’t stop there. Build your email list, and try creating an email yourself.


Read More
What Email Marketing Integrations Deliver Scary Good Results?

What Email Marketing Integrations Deliver Scary Good Results?

Practical Marketer • September 4, 2019

There is more than just using an email marketing service to send emails. Email marketing services, though, depending on who you use, will sometimes have limited resources. Like in a scary movie, you want any tools you can get your hands on to get you get out of a sticky situation. In this case, you’d want all the tools you can get to help you successfully market to your subscribers. So here are some types of email marketing integrations that can deliver life-saving results. CRM Integrations There are many Customer Relationship Management tools out there, Zoho and Salesforce are just a couple out there. Many email marketing services may not provide a comprehensive tool to store and manage contacts. By using CRM, you’ll be able to view and manage your subscribers a lot more easily. Allowing you to create specific segments to target and send to. E-Commerce Stores It’s best to collect contacts organically and what better way to organically build your subscriber base than with an online storefront. E-Commerce, or conducting business online as you can imagine is the way to go nowadays. Integrating your email marketing service with your store, you can collect very strong subscribers who may open your emails and return to your store. Blogging Blogging as an activity is popular among businesses and casual internet users alike. There are also the \"in-betweens\" - casual internet users striving to make a living off blogging. There are others who use blogs as a launchpad to set up other businesses like eCommerce.  Regardless of which segment of bloggers you belong to, building a mailing list is of paramount importance. The idea here is simple - blogging is a high-engagement marketing activity that attracts prospective customers to your website. Integrating your blog with an email marketing platform allows these prospects to subscribe to regular updates from your blog.This presents a lucrative opportunity to build a targeted following that can be leveraged for conversion. Social Media Do you have a social media presence? You can gain a wider audience by posting or releasing your emails to your social media platforms. Integrations may allow you to easily post your emails automatically and You can gain a wider audience for your emails. It’s not trackable who and how many people may read your emails, but it could convince your fans to subscribe to your email.


Read More
The 7 Best Email Marketing Tips For Small Businesses We’ve Ever Heard

The 7 Best Email Marketing Tips For Small Businesses We’ve Ever Heard

Practical Marketer • August 28, 2019

Email marketing looks a little bit different when you’re a small business. With fewer resources to work with, you can’t afford to just throw a scattered strategy at the wall and see what sticks.  Small business email marketing requires a coordinated, cohesive plan that optimizes your network, your budget, and your marketing mojo. And for that, you want to focus on the practices that are guaranteed to stretch your efforts as far as they can go.   You’ve got a few major goals when it comes to email marketing: Maximize your open rates Maximize your click-through rates Actually make it into your recipients’ email inboxes (this one is a biggie) So how do you do it? We’ve compiled seven of the very best small business email marketing tips we’ve found around the web to help you ace your inbound marketing strategy and get more bang for your email buck. Incorporate these tips into your own practices to start seeing results fast. 1. Never Buy Email Addresses “Unless your company is in the middle of a merger or acquisition, you\'re not going to come across a high-quality email list you can purchase. If it\'s for sale, it means the email addresses on it have already been deemed non-responsive or unqualified for marketing outreach.”  Source: Hubspot You know that feeling you get when you receive a promotional email from someone you didn’t ask to hear from? It’s not a feeling you want to replicate when it comes to your own business and your own potential customers. Purchased email lists may provide you with a lot of addresses, but that very rarely equates to high-quality leads. Plus, if any of the recipients are in Europe, you’ll be violating the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) by not having them opt-in first. Resist the urge to purchase email addresses and instead focus on cultivating your own list of opt-in contacts. 2. Take the Guesswork Out of Subscribing “This seems obvious, but you would be surprised how many small companies–from consulting businesses to corporations–have a regular email newsletter but do not have a place to subscribe for emails on their website.”  Source: Blue Corona Speaking of building that opt-in list, make it as easy as you can for people to sign up to receive emails from you. The more barriers you have in place, the less likely they are to follow through. Have an active “Subscribe” link in a clear and obvious place on your site, and don’t require too much information to sign up — just a name and email address is sufficient.  Equally important: make sure the “Unsubscribe” button is obvious on your website and in your emails, too. The CAN-SPAM act requires all of your recipients to be able to unsubscribe within your email. 3. Optimize For Mobile “According to Litmus, more emails are read on mobile devices than they are on PCs. In fact, statistics show 54% of emails are read on mobile devices. If you don’t optimize your email campaigns to be appealing and digestible across multiple devices, you stand to miss out on new sales, new customers, and new website visitors.”  Source: Pardot With more than half of emails read on mobile devices, it’s crucial that your messages are designed to have the same impact on small screens as they do on large ones. Everything from texts and images to links and ads should be formatted for both desktop and mobile, and you should test your emails on both devices before sending them out to make sure that nothing gets lost in translation. 4. Offer Something of Value “If you want to increase your user engagement metrics, your campaigns need to add value without creating work for your readers. Customers get waterboarded with promotional emails every day. They get distracted. And you lose them – even though they wanted to stick around.” Source: ActiveCampaign General company updates may be interesting, but they’re not enough to keep people opening your emails over and over again. For that, you need to provide tangible value, such as a coupon code, free asset download, personalized content, contest entry form, or some other benefit available only to subscribers. A free download or 5% off a future purchase is a small price to pay for a funnel-driving conversion. 5. Avoid Spam Filters “Spam filters use a long list of criteria to decide whether or not your campaign will be placed in a recipient’s spam folder. The list of spammy criteria is constantly growing and adapting.” Source: Mailchimp You’d think a quality email from a quality company would keep a message out of spam, but it’s not always the case. Pay close attention to the features and actions that help you avoid spam filters, including:       Clean and proper HTML coding       Good text to image ratio       Having an entirely opt-in subscriber list Always test your emails before sending to make sure they’re not going to spam, especially when you make changes to your template design. 6. Integrate Social “Increasing the number of people who see your link will increase the number of people who click on it. So, be sure to extend the life of your email by adding social sharing buttons.” Source: Hubspot Have your emails do double duty by driving traffic to other platforms — particularly your social channels. Add social share buttons, include a pre-written tweet that recipients can share, and make it easy to find and connect with your brand on all of your social pages. The more you can diversify where your marketing happens, the better chance you’ll have of turning new leads into new customers. 7. Keep an Eye on the Competition “If you want to make your email campaigns more successful, it could be helpful to see how your local competitors are handling their email marketing campaigns. Subscribe to their email lists and see what type of content they’re including, promotions they’re offering, what kind of emails they said, how often they send a newsletter, and what elements they included in their email template design.” Source: Blue Corona A little market research can go a long way. Subscribe to your competitors’ email lists to gather ideas and better optimize your content to beat theirs. Pay close attention not just to what they send, but when and how often. And while you shouldn’t be outright copying anyone else’s strategy, there’s no reason you can’t use their emails to inspire your own inbound marketing efforts. At the end of the day, your content should be all yours — different from your competitors’ content and designed to be more impactful. There’s no one secret that will make your small business email marketing more successful. The trick is to incorporate many different tips and strategies that are specifically designed for small business growth. The ones above are a great place to start, so if you’re not following these tips already, now is the time to put them into practice. 


Read More
Using Marketing Automation to Improve the Customer Journey

Using Marketing Automation to Improve the Customer Journey

Practical Marketer • August 22, 2019

Today’s marketers wear a lot of hats. They’re content creators and data miners. Social media mavens and email experts. SEO researchers and influencer investors and anything else that they need to be in order to help their brands stand out in the right ways.  Just as the digital age has made the customer journey more robust (and frankly, a bit more complicated), it has also made the role of a good marketer that much harder to define. Effective marketing is no longer just about getting results — it’s about optimizing and capitalizing on every single customer behavior so that you can thrive in a hyper-competitive marketplace. And that’s where marketing automation can really help a marketer excel.  Marketing automation is becoming increasingly indispensable for both fueling and improving the customer journey. Through automation, brands can stay in touch with their customers more efficiently, and nurture them to the point of sale with targeted communications, promotions, and ads. It’s a good thing, too. With so much to do, the more marketers can automate, the better - especially when it leads to improved results.  So how can marketing automation enrich the customer journey and push prospects further down the sales funnel for your business? Let’s take a look. Awareness Stage The awareness stage is at the very top of the customer journey funnel. At this stage, you’re focused less on targeting individual customers and more on lead generation efforts. Marketing automation makes that process a whole lot easier, which is a major plus if you’ve ever had to sort through endless contact lists, pull out leads manually, and contact each one at a time.  What to try: Automated lead generation software that aggregates contacts for you, combined with email marketing. Automated lead generation software scans relevant platforms like your social media pages, PPC ad data, and inboxes to sort out relevant leads, append any missing contact information and deliver them to you in a more palatable format. From there, you can use email marketing automation to reach out and introduce your business. Try to target your outreach as much as possible by tailoring your message based on what you know about a lead’s demographic and geographic data. Lead generation tools we love: Datanyze, Lead Forensics, Prospect.io, Clearbit Consideration Stage This is when customers are just beginning to search for solutions to their problem, and when they are first considering your company’s product or service as a potential solution. The primary marketing objectives at this point are giving your lead all the information they need to proceed to the next stage of the journey and positioning yourself as a preferred alternative to your competitors. Quick but personalized communications can give you a competitive edge and instantly help you make a good impression. What to try: Automated workflows that spring into action the second a customer performs a certain action. An automated workflow can start at any behavior of your choice, such as when a lead signs up for more info or asks your on-screen chatbot a question. From there, workflows can be set up to perform key tasks that guide a customer further into their journey. For example, if a lead asks a chatbot a question and then disappears, the workflow can be automated to send them an email thanking them for their interest and asking if they need more assistance. It can also be triggered to send them a unique promotion for whatever product or service they were inquiring about. Most marketing automation tools feature the ability to build out workflows, sometimes referred to as automation campaigns, to prepare for a wide variety of contact engagement.  The key to making workflow automation work at this stage is to personalize all triggered communications so that customers get real, quantifiable value out of your follow ups. Chatbot and workflow tools we love: Drift, Intercom, Hubspot Decision Stage The decision stage is when you can turn a lead into a paying customer. Ramping up your marketing with automation enables you to cover your bases and make as strong of an impact as possible. Strike the right balance, and you’ll come off as actively engaging, not overly pushy. What to try: Drip campaigns that trickle out content to keep your product or service top of mind.  Drip campaigns fall under the umbrella of automated email marketing and function similarly to automated workflows. You send out an email, and depending on what action the recipient takes, a second email is automatically triggered. This goes on until a point of sale, or until the recipient stops engaging. You can use drip campaigns to do a lot of things that may lead someone to a purchase, including sending reminders about abandoned shopping carts, offering recommendations, and sending out promos and coupons. And because your drip emails are automated, you won’t have to write each of them out manually. Create your email templates, choose your triggers and your frequency, and you’re good to go. Automation tools we love: Benchmark, ActiveCampaign, Hatchbuck No two customers are the same, and neither are two customer journeys. Marketing automation can take your leads down a personalized path that shortens the road to conversion. Ready to get started with marketing automation? Benchmark can help.


Read More
60% Say Email Marketing is Biggest Source of ROI: Going Back to School To Hit Your Benchmarks

60% Say Email Marketing is Biggest Source of ROI: Going Back to School To Hit Your Benchmarks

Practical Marketer • August 14, 2019

Nearly 60 percent of businesses say that email marketing is their top source of Return On Investment (ROI), according to HubSpot. We’ve got your back if you don’t feel like you’re hitting that benchmark. See what we did there?! Thankfully, Back to School season is here! This time of year can bring a rush of feelings to people of all ages. To the kids: dread. To the parents: relief (though they may not admit it). While many of us long for the downright luxurious schedule of being in school -- with summers off and a winter and spring break, for starters -- we grown-ups can still use this back-to-school period to go back to the basics and make sure we have a good foundation of the essentials for our work. Just like Billy Madison went back to school to prove he knew everything he’d need to make it in the real world -- all of us could use a refresher on how to thrive with our email marketing. And so, we present the ABCs (and beyond) of how to make magic with your email marketing strategy. But first, you may ask: Is email marketing really that important? Is it really such an essential, high-priority marketing tool, like everyone says? Back to Basics: Here’s Why Email Marketing is So Essential Email marketing may seem like just another tedious task on your to-do list, making you ask: “Why? What’s the point of it all?” An understandable impulse, but as it turns out -- email marketing serves a massively important purpose both for your customers and for your business. For your customers, email marketing has the benefit of solving problems. It’s a key part of your brand storytelling, as it demonstrates how your products and services fill a need. Email marketing also delivers significant value for your customers. Email messages can be used to deliver savings (think promo codes, discount alerts, flash sale announcements and more), information (think new product announcements, alerts about changes to your product or policies, etc.) and entertainment (think holiday-themed messages, birthday or anniversary greetings and beyond). Now, notice anything in particular about all those functions that email marketing serves for your customers? Bueller? That’s right … email marketing is particularly useful for your customers when you, as a marketer, make the effort to personalize your messaging and segment your audience. Feel free to take a dive into our various “study guides” on those all-important topics elsewhere on this blog. (We promise there won’t be a pop quiz … but these topics are incredibly useful for turbo-charging your email marketing efforts. That means you can accomplish more and in a lot less time. Talk about extra credit!) For your business, email marketing serves an even more important role. As we’ve mentioned before, email marketing delivers the highest ROI. You can’t argue with the numbers: According to reliable sources, email marketing can deliver an absolutely astounding 3800% ROI -- banking your business a potential $38 for every $1 spent. In addition, email helps nourish your relationships with your most valuable marketing asset: the members of your email list. Why are those particular individuals so valuable to your business? Simply put: They’re vetted and they’re committed. Your email subscribers are a select few who have not only willingly opted into your emails, but they make the decision over and over to keep listening to what you have to say -- rather than smashing that “unsubscribe” link or even the horrid “mark as spam” button. Email marketing is so great for your business because it allows you to send targeted, personalized messages directly to each subscriber. As we mentioned just now, your email list subscribers are your VVIPs. And even though the messages you write for your email marketing campaigns go out to a bunch of people -- if they’re done right, they have a very intimate, valuable and personal feel. That’s a win-win for everyone. Without further ado, here are our Top 3 Email Marketing Basics That Are Worth Revisiting. Back to Basics Tip #1: Audit Your List Growth Practices OK, time to ask the hard questions, so let’s dive in: Are you doing everything you can to effectively grow your email list? … No? Well, don’t worry. There are a couple easy places to start. Step 1 to Grow Your Email List Quickly: Create Online Opportunities Surf on over to your brand’s website. Do you know what the most popular page of your site is? (It’s OK if you don’t, but if you have an idea, all the better.) What’s the most active, frequently updated part of your site? Make sure you have an email list signup forms active on all of the pages on your site where visitors are likely to linger or engage. We’re talking homepage (this is a big one, obviously), product pages, your blog, etc. EXAMPLES: From: BuzzFeed Why It’s Great: Talk about targeting! This sidebar email signup -- which doesn’t feel annoying or intrusive -- pops up after BuzzFeed visitors view content related to adorable animals. By creating a targeted email signup landing page that offers choice, transparency and the lure of a world of fun, BuzzFeed can capture highly engaged and interested email subscribers. Who could say no to fuzzy kitties videos in their inbox and daily pics of absolutely cuddle-worth good boys? From: Pure Kana CBD Why It’s Great: This email signup popup asks visitors an irresistible question while they’re scrolling the brand’s products page. (Curiosity and personalization are always a good combo for getting your customers interested!) Further, visitors are presented with the seemingly no-brainer deal of giving an email address to get both the answer to this burning question and a valuable 10% discount. From: Aimee Song, founder of fashion and lifestyle blog Song of Style Why It’s Great: This beautifully designed email list popup appears when a user stays on the homepage of blogger Aimee Song’s site for 30 seconds without clicking anything. The colors are inviting and eye-catching, and the theme of travel and old-school correspondence is subtly suggested. An email list popup like this promotes the powerful idea that if you don’t sign up, you’ll be missing out on a direct line to a powerful influencer -- and nobody wants that FOMO. Step 2 to Grow Your Email List Quickly: Create Offline Opportunities Just because everyone’s always online doesn’t mean that you should neglect the opportunity to maximize your offline signup opportunities, too. IRL signups -- versus their URL counterparts -- can add an extra layer of connection, because they’re likely to involve your customer actually talking to someone and possibly even doing a manual task like writing with pen and paper (gasp!). Great examples of this include the sign-in “interest list” that you might encounter at a realtor’s open house, an in-store physical signup mechanism -- sometimes promising a freebie or chance to win something (like those fish bowls of business cards that you see at restaurant counters and retail stores) or when a cashier asks for your email and tells you you could have your receipt sent to your inbox rather than printed. All of those offline methods represent great ways to capture the email addresses and other contact info of your most loyal and interested customers. But remember to follow the CAN-SPAM rules and associated best practices regarding email marketing so that your sender address doesn’t get blacklisted. (For example: Be very clear with your customers about what emails they’re signing up to receive, and honor any opt-out requests promptly.) Step 3 to Grow Your Email List Quickly: Take a Cold, Hard Look at the Facts Finally, it’s time to do some soul-searching. Be honest with yourself now: Is what you’re currently doing for email subscriber list growth working? To arrive at the answer to this probing question, consider the following two questions: How many signups do you get versus traffic to a page? Do you need to update your signup forms? If the answer to the first question is “not enough,” and/or the answer to the second question is “yes” -- here’s what you can do. Once again, surf over to the user side of your brand’s website, so that you can retrace the exact experience that your customers are getting when they visit you. How does the entire experience feel -- cohesive? Disjointed? Read over your copy and the CTA of your email signup forms and popups. Do those words feel like they are distinctly your brand’s, or do they feel generic? Don’t be afraid to declutter, too -- sometimes cutting down the number of fields on your signup or taking the proverbial red pen to some of your copy can do wonders for conversion rates and signup success. Back to Basics Tip #2: Make Your Email Template Design Functional Is your email template design working for you? In 2019, all email campaigns should be responsive and geared towards deliverability. The text-to-image ratio is critical -- you don’t want so many graphics and GIFs that your message won’t load for people (or that it takes too long to load, which is also a mortal sin). Mathematically speaking, the experts are divided. Some have recommended an 80:20 text-to-image ratio. SpamAssassin is a bit more aggressive, claiming that a 60:40 text-to-image ratio is OK. You’ll find a virtually 50/50 split for the 80:20 ratio and the 60:40 ratio among the experts. Which is just fine, in fact -- you’ll want to evaluate your brand’s individual needs and situation to determine how much is too much when it comes to incorporating images. No matter what your text-to-image ratio is, your messages need to be designed for user experience. Step 1 to Design for User Experience: Direct Your Reader Towards the Goal of the Email To borrow a cheesy and somewhat outdated phrase popularized by the Canadian rock band fronted by the guy who was once Mr. Avril Lavigne: “All Killer. No Filler.” That’s how your marketing emails should be. Sure you can have fun with the copy. You can use borders, graphics and even GIFs in your layout -- but every element you add to your email design needs to direct your customers towards a goal. Often, that goal is a click to your website. For certain brands -- such as gurus running consultancies -- the goal might be something more personal like a response. EXAMPLE: From: TJ Maxx Why It Works: Designer discount retailer TJ Maxx has an interesting email marketing strategy. While they technically have an ecommerce site, it’s not particularly robust or up-to-date with their latest offerings. (TJ Maxx draws customers in with the promise that it’s “never the same store twice” because of regular killer deals arriving and being snatched up. They’re more interested in getting traffic into their brick and mortar stores rather than having people sit online checking for new items.) That’s why TJ Maxx’s marketing email is relatively pared-down and graphically simple. Since it’s likely to be read a lot on mobile devices as people are out-and-about, the brand doesn’t want to jeopardize deliverability with clogged-up design, and they don’t want to lose people’s interest with a wall of text. Step 2 to Design for User Experience: Place Actionable Content Above the Fold In the days where people read physical newspapers, “above the fold” content could be seen before a customer even picked up the paper. It was the juicy stuff -- the wording, images and design could be enough to make a person either shell out for the product (the newspaper, that is) or walk away without another thought. In this era of smartphone screens, email marketers must make sure to place actionable content above the “fold” of a device -- meaning, it should be plainly visible and easy-to-understand without requiring scrolling or unnecessary clicking. EXAMPLE: From: Gap Factory Why It Works: This email features a live countdown just under the brand’s logo and nav bar, and before the massive clickable image that advertises a big discount. In fact, the countdown itself is clickable -- meaning that it’s super-easy for the customer to click through to find these big deals before they run out. Step 3 to Design for User Experience: Keep Color in Mind As we’ve covered elsewhere in the blog, color can make a huge impact on how your readers perceive your product and brand. Be sure to be consistent with the overall vibe and identity of your brand, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different hues and shades, especially across individual campaigns. EXAMPLE: FROM: Nordstrom Rack Why It Works: Check out this side-by-side of two different emails from retailer Nordstrom Rack. While both play off the same color palette -- muted pastel backgrounds and white text, with brand and navigation text in dark colors -- the shades chosen create an entirely different experience for each email. The one on the left creates urgency, starting with the sun-colored orange and yellow banner on top. Then, a beautiful product image with complementary colors encourages the customer to click through to the product page of the site. On the right, the email’s colors invite a little more lingering, which is appropriate -- the brand aims to have customers review six options in a poll and cast a vote for a favorite. Back to Basics Tip #3: Examine Your Email Marketing Goals OK, it’s report card time! As a twist -- you’ll be grading yourself here. Time for some brutal honesty and self-evaluation … Is your email content strategy effective? What are your reports telling you? If you’re not sure how to answer this question, consider whether you’re seeing the opens you want. If your opens are low, you may need better list segmentation. Segmentation is a beautiful thing that we love to talk about. It’s a powerful tool that allows you to send more relevant emails. It also allows you to do more personalization -- allowing your messages to go further for you. Another troubleshooting trick you can try to up your open rate is to A/B test your subject lines. There are so many trends with subject lines, which is why brands do well to mix things up based on what the situation calls for. Check out this inbox snapshot: You’ve got emojis. You’ve got conversational language. You’ve got straightforward announcements, irresistible come-ons and personalized offers. Don’t be afraid to try new and different things with your subject lines, and always watch your open rates to decide which new tricks are worth keeping and which are worth ditching. Your “from” sender name is another thing you can play with in your marketing emails. We know that you’d never make the rookie mistake of keeping your sender name as “noreply” -- how robotic! But the choice of whether you go with “[First Name] from [Brand],” “[Brand],” “[brand.com]” or something else … that’s a tough one. Now, check out another inbox snapshot: These are all marketing emails, from the “Promotions” tab of a Gmail inbox. Notice there’s a good mix of people’s names, full brand names, shortened brand names and even a combination of first name plus full brand name that got truncated. As you test different sender names for your emails, consider how they affect your campaigns. Do certain stylizations feel more formal? More intimate? Are some more likely to grab people’s eyes? Are some in danger of being shortened in a confusing way? Finally, as you assess your email marketing strategy in pursuit of the lofty goal of sky-high click-through rates, remember that the only rules are the ones you set for yourself. Don’t feel locked in to one format, style or type of content. A/B test like your business depends on it -- because it sort of does. Remember: Even small tweaks to your email marketing strategy can mean big chances. For instance, if you experiment with a text link versus a button CTA at the end of your messages, you could see a huge difference in click-through rates. So, class is dismissed on our little Email Marketing Basics 101 crash course. What new email marketing changes are you excited to try in your campaigns?


Read More
Inside Look: A More Flexible and Faster Campaign Creation Process

Inside Look: A More Flexible and Faster Campaign Creation Process

Product & Design • August 13, 2019

Benchmark is dedicated to building tools for growth, simplified. We aim to offer you streamlined processes that help you save time and stress less. That mission is the driving force behind any new Benchmark tools and improvements that our team makes. It has lead to new features big and small. Automation Pro was designed to make email marketing automation accessible to everybody. It allows you to create sequences of emails that are automatically triggered to be sent based on specific pages on your website being visited or when links in your email are clicked on. Tools like A/B Testing and Targeted Emailing also help you quickly and easily send better, more relevant content to your subscribers. Sometimes, it’s just a seemingly small feature that can have a big impact on your email marketing success, like the emoji picker for your subject lines. The point is, we get that you need tools that won’t slow you down. That must be especially true for the single most important tool we offer: our email builder. Don’t worry, the same drag-and-drop editor that you know and love isn’t going anywhere. We’re merely simplifying the workflow to make things even quicker and easier for you. Introducing the New Email Designer Checklist What is happening? As I mentioned before, there won’t be any changes to the Email Designer itself. We’re simply streamlining the steps of the email builder process. Now, each step of the checklist is all on one page. Our new checklist page lets you take care of everything at once and in whatever order you want to approach it, here’s how: Send to: Creating, searching and selecting the lists you are sending to is now easier to do and understand at a glance, including adding contacts to your lists. From: Now you have to perform less manual work. To be ready to send faster, you can choose an email and we’ll make it your ‘from’ and ‘reply to’ email. If you want to make each different you can do that too. Subject: We reduced the number of clicks that it takes to set up your subject line and preview text. Now you can focus on setting up only what’s necessary. We also added our subject line AB testing feature in the same space for a cleaner and more organized workflow Design: The jewel of our crown remains untouched: our email editor is still the same you know and love. Sending & Scheduling: We reduced the number of clicks you have to perform to reach your contacts’ inbox, here’s how: Your sending options are now front, center and clear to see (and choose!). And *drum roll* if by any reason you need to cancel a scheduled campaign from sending, you can do it. Why is it happening? Speed! Previously, each step of the email builder process was on a separate page. That included load time for each individual step. Now, it’s all in one place to reduce the load time. Plus, it’s far easier to jump between the individual steps of the email builder process. After all, sometimes the perfect subject line reveals itself only after you’ve completed the content of your email. We’ve also made improvements to the workflow that make it easier to pick a list and your exclusion list(s) as well. We are confident this improvement is loyal to our mission to accelerate your growth. So, what does it look like? To see the rest, login to your account and try out the new email campaign creation process! Not already using Benchmark? Signup Free today and try it out.


Read More
Want to Build Your Email List Faster? 
Here is How to Choose the Right Lead Magnets

Want to Build Your Email List Faster? 
Here is How to Choose the Right Lead Magnets

Practical Marketer • August 12, 2019

Most people used to be thrilled to receive anything via email. Two decades ago. Today everybody’s inbox is so flooded with messages - both wanted and unwanted - that even being able to send your newsletter has become a privilege. So, if you are a business willing to build a list for email marketing, how do you earn this privilege? How do you encourage more of your website visitors to become loyal subscribers? Two words. Lead magnets. What are lead magnets, anyway? Lead magnet is a real buzzword these days, and you probably hear it a lot. That’s because using a lead magnet is known to be an excellent email opt-in conversion booster. A lead magnet is a specifically targeted item that you promise in exchange for a sign-up. Something that can be delivered within a few minutes. Something irresistible. An ethical bribe if you will. [caption id=\"attachment_11400\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"468\"] Crate&Barrel offers a 10% discount for a subscription[/caption] Adam Connell, the author of Blogging Wizard, states lead magnets can increase conversions by a factor of 7 and even more. Tim Soulo, the Head of Marketing at Ahrefs, shares a 300%-growth case study on his blog. If you’re still skeptical, read this post where Hubspot provides an impressive example of a 42% conversion rate achieved with the right lead magnet. Can you imagine that? Almost half of all page visitors chose to subscribe. [caption id=\"attachment_11401\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"468\"] Shane Barker, a digital marketer, offers a free 30-min consultation in exchange for a name and an email[/caption] When you think of options, almost anything can be a lead magnet: a tool, a guide, a cheat sheet, a discount, a demo version of your app, a webinar, a video course. And yes, even your time can become a lead magnet, should you be willing to provide consultations in exchange for an email. Chances are, along the way you will have various incentives for your audience to subscribe, so when choosing the very first lead magnet, you should probably pick something you’re able to produce relatively fast – ideally, between a few hours and a couple of days. How do you deliver a lead magnet? Remember, I said lead magnets must be delivered instantly because that’s one of their key values? So, technically, there are two ways to do it. #1. Use Benchmark Email autoresponder feature This one is quite obvious. If you use marketing automation to send welcome emails, simply place a link to your promised lead magnet in the email body and schedule it to be sent instantly. #2. Use a Success Page feature in your email list building tool If you collect subscribers using email, contact, or survey forms by GetSiteControl (or any other lead generation app), you can redirect them to any URL after they share their address. It can be a hidden post on your blog, a page to download a lead magnet from, or even a link to a closed Facebook community you invite your fans to. [caption id=\"attachment_11462\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"700\"] This is how you set up a success page to redirect your subscribers to in GetSiteControl[/caption] Tips for choosing a lead magnet So... since there are so many lead magnet ideas to choose from, does it mean you can just pick any of them to create an incentive to subscribe? Of course, not. The key to creating a good lead magnet is precise targeting. You want to make sure you’re offering something your audience wants. Something to solve their “pain” quickly and efficiently. And just like you take a serious approach to choose the right call to action, you should understand that not all the lead magnets might be equally effective. If you have an e-commerce store, the first lead magnet idea you probably have is a discount. Or free shipping. But should it end there? And is it the best lead magnet for just anyone landing on your website? Let’s talk about this in the next few paragraphs. Tip #1. Identify your audience pain points Regardless of what business you’re in, there must be few requests you repeatedly receive from your audience. Something that, if addressed, could make their life instantly easier, and something you are willing to give away. [caption id=\"attachment_11403\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"468\"] Jeff Goins, a best-selling author of 5 books, offers a free web masterclass for writers[/caption] If it’s not obvious to you, there are plenty of sources for inspiration: emails from customers, support tickets, comments on your posts, live chat conversations, discussions in the niche communities, or on even competitors’ websites. Write down 3-5 problems your target audience mentions most frequently and pick one you could easily provide a solution for. That’s your lead magnet. Tip #2. Avoid providing generic solutions to generic problems As banal as this may sound, using a wrong format for a lead magnet is one of the biggest traps beginners fall into. Remember, I asked you to find 3-5 “pain points” you could help your audience with? One mistake marketers make is combining solutions to several problems into one piece of content. That’s how a potentially perfect lead magnet loses its specificity and becomes inefficient. Compare the following incentives: “Get a list of free tools for beginning online entrepreneurs” “Get a list of 37 email templates for e-commerce I personally tested and recommend” The first one might sound exciting at first, but unlike the second one, it doesn’t look like a specific “here and now” solution to a specific “here and now” problem. There are dozens of pain points a beginning entrepreneur has – how do we know this list addresses exactly what they are struggling with at the moment? [caption id=\"attachment_11404\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"468\"] After a sign-up, Muscle&Fitness blog instantly shows a set of exercises for the muscle groups you choose[/caption] Bottom line: don’t try to squeeze in too much information just for the sake of it. Boil down your expertise into one piece of content that provides a clear way to solve one particular problem. Tip #3. Choose shorter formats over lengthy lead magnets Less is more. Yes, e-books used to be the most popular type of lead magnet. But are they still as efficient? Let’s see. Most e-books take forever to create, what’s more – they take forever to consume. At the same time, most people today anticipate immediate value and hate waiting. That’s why more often than not, bite-size pieces of information are more enticing than lengthy content or month-long courses. Ready for the most important piece of advice? Trade size for relevancy. Because the more precisely targeted your lead magnet is, the better it will convert. Here is how the lengthy “entrepreneur’s toolset” could be revised: “Accounting checklist for a beginning entrepreneur” – offered on a page where you talk about bookkeeping, taxes, and financial advice for entrepreneurs. “100 business blog ideas for the times you are out of ideas” – offered on a page where you talk about content marketing, blogging, and self-branding. “My 10 favorite sources for getting free traffic that converts” – offered on any page related to traffic, conversion optimization, and marketing in general. And if you doubt that creating a post-specific lead magnet is worth the effort, read how Brian Dean increased email opt-in conversion rate by 785% using exactly this method. A quick note here. Lead magnets do not always have to be content in the form of ebooks or PDFs. The magnets you create can also be tightly knit to the product or service you are offering. A free trial of the product (that captures the user\'s contact info in exchange for access to your tool) is perhaps the most popular form of lead magnet. If you run an online product or SaaS company, you can create bite-sized reports or documents from your tool and provide it as exclusive content for your leads. You can perhaps create a microsite on WordPress or other platforms and hide the content behind an email capture form. This way, interested users sign up with their email in order to access this exclusive piece of content. Tip #4. Ask your website visitors what they want Have you ever thought of that? Because there are quite a few tools and plugins available today for surveying your audience, asking them what they want, and validating your ideas. If you have a decent traffic volume on your website, that might be the easiest and the fastest way to choose a lead magnet. [caption id=\"attachment_11464\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"700\"] An example of a GetSiteControl survey form[/caption] You can use the Benchmark survey feature or one of the apps it integrates with, such as: GetSiteControl Survey Monkey Wufoo JotForms Tip #5. Vary lead magnets for different funnel stages Wait, aren’t lead magnets already part of the funnel converting website visitors into leads? Well, it depends on how you attract the audience and what your sales funnel looks like. But if you think about it, offering various lead magnets to people on different stages of their customer journey might be quite reasonable. Here is an example, explaining why a discount is not the ultimate lead magnet even for eCommerce stores. Imagine, you sell organic detox juices online. To get traffic to your website, you actively employ content marketing techniques, so there are many educational articles about detoxification, eating clean, and DIY recipes on your blog. Now, if you get this traffic organically, most people landing on these pages are probably on the awareness stage, right? Most probably, they don’t even know your brand yet, let alone thinking about making a purchase. So, will a discount for your product or free shipping be the best incentive for them to subscribe? Probably. But chances are, at this stage, they might be even more incentivized to sign up in exchange for a detox grocery shopping checklist or a printable detox calendar. [caption id=\"attachment_11406\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"468\"] LeadQuizzes offers early access to the new version in exchange for an email[/caption] Of course, you might want to test this assumption – and that brings us to the next chapter of this post. The key takeaway here is that thinking from a customer’s perspective might lead you to the conclusion, what they want is not always exactly what you initially wanted to offer. Tip #6. A/B test your lead magnets There is no way around it. At the end of the day, your lead magnet will either bring you new subscribers or it won’t. And when starting your email list building journey, you may want to fully rely on some expert’s opinion. You may be bold and copy your competitor’s strategy. Or you may trust your intuition and try to guess. The only legit way to find out what works and what doesn’t is to test it. Often, you’ll be surprised by the results as a lead magnet that took weeks to create might not perform as well as the one you created overnight. Besides, remember, it’s not just the lead magnet itself you can test, it’s the call to action, the creative, and – yeah – the button color too. After all, you’ve already invested time and energy into creating a compelling incentive. It would be neglectful not to try and optimize it properly. Do you use lead magnets to collect email subscribers? If not, what stops you? If yes, share your insights in the comments below.


Read More
Heart of Business: Life is Never a Drag for Miz Cracker

Heart of Business: Life is Never a Drag for Miz Cracker

Beyond • August 9, 2019

A few weeks ago, the YouTube algorithm auto-played a video of Miz Cracker giving Queer Eye\'s Antoni Porowski a drag makeover. It left me thinking about the opportunities that being on a show like RuPaul\'s Drag Race opened up for a drag queen\'s career. Then, I remembered I hosted a podcast that asked those very questions to a person who gets to play dress up for a living. Not long after, I had confirmation for an interview in an email signed xoxo Miz Cracker. Reader, let me tell you: Miz Cracker does not disappoint. Fun, witty and thoughtful. We talk about how she got her start in drag, the decision to go on RuPaul\'s Drag Race and what she\'s been up to since. Miz Cracker talks about the importance of building a brand and how social media has changed the game for drag queens. I mean brand building is 90% of what I do. I am on stage for about 10 to 30 minutes a day. I\'ll do two five-minute numbers or I\'ll do a half hour show, at most I\'ll do an hour and 15 minutes show. And the rest of the entire day is thinking about the brand and what I\'m putting out there. A lot of people think that building a brand is about fabricating an image and building it on social media, creating a story. But it really should be sort of turning around to the pile of stuff that is you and shoveling it onto the internet. 00:00 Andy Shore: Alright, so how you doing today? 00:03 Miz Cracker: I\'m doing great. I\'m here in my little studio in the Bronx, which my co-pilot, Katelyn, and I just rented, and it\'s now just our little home where we run everything from. 00:16 AS: Yeah, that\'s exciting. Congrats on finding your own space and moving in there. I guess we can... 00:21 MC: Yeah, it\'s... 00:22 AS: Sorry, go ahead. 00:23 MC: No, it\'s important to have a space, a working space that\'s not your living space, you know what I mean? 00:31 AS: I do, yeah. We both work from home a bit here and there, and it\'s important to be able to have that space so you\'re not just like, \"Oh, I can go get food, or go take a nap, or go do all these other things. The dog is here to play with.\" 00:45 MC: Yeah. 00:45 Daniel Miller: Throw some pants on, shower. [laughter] 00:47 MC: Yeah. 00:50 AS: And so I guess we\'ll get back into having your own space and seeing that real career grow, but I wanna start at the beginning. What made you wanna get into drag in the first place? 01:03 MC: I actually didn\'t want to get into drag at all. [chuckle] I was nagged into it by one of my friends. I was walking home one night, and I ran into this guy who needed help with a bookshelf, and I was like, \"Listen, I\'m gonna help you haul this up to your apartment.\" And when I got to his apartment, it was covered floor-to-ceiling in wigs. And I was like, \"What have I gotten myself into?\" [laughter] And the guy\'s like, \"Well, I actually do drag every Saturday. I do these marches for marriage equality in Times Square. You should join me.\" And I said, \"Sure, maybe,\" as in never. [chuckle] But he lived down the street from me, and he just kept asking every single weekend for six months, so finally I was like, \"Okay, I will try it.\" 01:58 AS: And that\'s, of course, the infamous or famous Bob the Drag Queen? 02:02 MC: That\'s Bob the Drag Queen. And as soon as he put me in makeup, I turned around and looked in the mirror, I was like, \"Oh my god. This is the new thing!\" 02:08 DM: That\'s wonderful. So for some of our listeners, do you mind explaining a little bit what is drag and drag shows? 02:20 MC: Drag shows are a lot of things, but above all, they are people wearing too much, doing too much, [chuckle] in order to entertain queer people and their friends, really. 02:36 DM: Wonderful. I actually... I was just telling Andy, I think the first drag show I went to was in the Keys in Florida. 02:45 MC: Oh wow. 02:45 DM: And yes, I ended up on stage. I don\'t remember anything after that, though, that\'s probably the dangerous part of it, though, [laughter] but it was a lot of fun. 02:54 MC: I\'ve had a few of those as well. Yeah, there\'s... A lot of people have different rules for what drag should be and how it should look, but as long as it\'s too much, I think that\'s drag. Men can do it, women can do it, trans people can do it. There\'s really no laws in the world of drag because it\'s one of the only forms of entertainment that doesn\'t have a NYU program feeding into it, [chuckle] it is just... It\'s its own thing. 03:27 AS: It almost does now, with the whole Drag Race kind of economy that has grown from the show. 03:34 MC: Right, yeah, now there\'s a market that it belongs to, but luckily it still has escaped academics for now. 03:43 AS: Sure. 03:44 MC: Which, who knows. There could be a drag vocational school, [chuckle] drag community college, which would be a great television show on ABC. 03:54 AS: I was just gonna say, I\'d watch that for sure. 03:57 MC: Yeah. 03:58 AS: And so how long after you started doing drag, and getting started, and seeing yourself there for the first time... When did it go from, \"Hey, this is really fun,\" to \"This is what I think I could do for a living\"? 04:11 MC: Well, I actually just had this show with a queen, Brenda Darling, in the Upper West Side. And one night she just was just murdering it, she was just doing such an amazing performance, and she got the standing ovation, and I got mild applause, and I was like, \"This is so rough, [chuckle] every week, to go through this.\" And I was kind of like, \"Listen, I\'ve gotta either quit or really go all out and make this my thing because this middle ground is not doing me any favors, it\'s not doing the audience any favors.\" And that was when the tides turned, which I think was like 2014, 2015. 04:53 AS: Yeah, I think that\'s a good lesson for a lot of people wanting to pursue passions is you gotta go all in on it. 05:00 DM: You can\'t half-ass it, yeah. 05:00 AS: If you\'re gonna do one foot in, you\'re gonna find yourself there being like, \"Yeah, is this it?\" \'cause you\'re not giving it your all anyways. 05:09 MC: And your relationship with drag is like your relationship with any person, you\'re only going to get out of it what you put into it. And you can starve it or feed it, but you\'re not gonna get... And there are exceptions to the rules, of course, but you\'re usually not gonna get more rewards from drag than you make sacrifices. It\'s gonna be about equal. 05:33 DM: Yeah, absolutely. 05:35 AS: And I do content marketing, social media, for a living, and as a nice Jewish boy from the Midwest, I have a hard enough time explaining that to my parents, that that\'s a thing you can do. How did it go over with your family when you told them that this was the thing for you? 05:52 MC: I think my mother was actually in town when I decided to quit my job and do drag full-time, and she was just like, \"You know what, you hate your job so much, I would rather that you were homeless on the streets than doing this job because I really want you to be happy more than anything else. So I don\'t know if drag is gonna be successful for you, but I know that you are going to be happier.\" And I was like, \"Okay, we\'re doing this then. If my mom says I should do it, then let\'s do it.\" 06:24 DM: That\'s wonderful, that\'s... Yeah, having support from family, friends, with something like this, I think that that\'s always one of the most important things. I see you\'re on tour a lot. It seems like beyond being able to get a career from this, drag has allowed you to travel a lot. What are some of the places that you\'ve traveled to, and what are some of your favorites? 06:54 MC: Oh my god, we\'ve been to so many places. I think we\'ve been to 15 countries in the last year. 07:00 DM: Oh wow. 07:00 AS: Wow. 07:01 MC: It\'s not made up. Katelyn is sitting over there like it\'s totally made up, but [chuckle] Brazil, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, I\'m won\'t count the US, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, the UK... Wait, is Scotland part of that or what? They\'re gonna be so mad that I still don\'t know. Portugal, that\'s 13, I think, now. And I\'m sure there\'s just one more. Oh, I\'ve been to Senegal and the Gambia, but not for travel. But yeah, we\'ve been to over a dozen countries. It\'s a lot. 07:42 DM: What\'s been one of your favorite ones, so far? 07:46 MC: I mean, one of my favorite ones, of course, on the small side was Portugal, it\'s... Lisbon was the most beautiful place I\'ve ever been in my entire life. But our favorite place to go is anywhere in the UK and Ireland because they just treat us so well. They treat me so well over there. And every single aspect of a drag show is handled so beautifully, and the audiences are so polite, and kind, and they bring gifts. And it\'s like when you come back to America, it\'s quite a shock because any American listening to this will know, we are a lot to deal with. We just are. [laughter] 08:35 DM: That\'s so funny. Is there... Do you see big differences from country to country in regards to the drag community? 08:42 MC: Oh, you can see differences in the drag community from state to state. If you are in Columbus, Ohio, and you name a pretty drag queen and a comedy drag queen, they will be completely silent for the pretty drag queen and just go wild for the comedy queen. And then if you are in certain parts of New York, they will go nuts for the pretty girl and have nothing to say about the the comedy queen at all. But you could cross the water and go into another part of New York City, and it\'ll be completely opposite. There\'s so many little bubbles, and you kinda have to know where you\'re going. I know what numbers to perform, what songs to perform in different states. I\'m like, \"Well, this is the state for this song, I can\'t do any other, they\'re not gonna hear this one,\" and you just have to be very sensitive to it, and you learn very quickly. 09:41 AS: Yeah, I\'ve heard a lot of comedians talk about that. There\'s always the, \"Local jokes get local work,\" but just knowing what material\'s killing in the clubs in LA, and the second they go on tour and they\'re just getting blank stares, that you gotta be able to read a room, and I guess it\'s incredibly important for you guys, too. 10:00 MC: Right. Just stop and think for a minute about the people that are in that room. You don\'t have to know that much about a city to know jokes about Fendi and Prada on 5th Avenue are not just gonna play as well in San Francisco, or... You know what I mean? It\'s just like it\'s not there, and that\'s not what people live for in San Francisco, it\'s just... It\'s not that hard to do, doesn\'t take rocket science, just go with your gut. But if you... What you do, I find, is I... Whenever I\'m backstage, I\'ll just turn to the other people in the room, I\'ll be like, \"Alright, here we are in Puxaluxie, Alabama, what is the neighborhood that everyone makes fun of?\" And they\'re like, \"Oh, we always make fun of blah-blah-blah-blah neighborhood,\" you\'re like, \"Alright, work.\" You go out on stage, and you\'re like, \"Oh, sir, look at your outfit, where are you from? Blah, blah, blah, neighborhood?\" and everyone\'s like, \"Oh my God, genius!\" It\'s a literally a mad lib fill-in-the-blank joke that I take everywhere, but people live for it. 11:10 AS: Yeah, that\'s great. I don\'t know if you heard of Brody Stevens, that\'s way last year, but he used to be the guy that closed the comedy club, would perform the last hour to the six people still there finishing their drinks. And his entire bit was that he can do all the different places in the Valley, and know the zip codes, and just all over the country, too. If someone\'s in town, he would have some random fact about... Just an encyclopedic knowledge of the randomest things that... Exactly like you\'re saying, connect with anybody for any means necessary. 11:42 MC: Yeah, just know the lingo. 11:45 DM: What would you say are some of your pet peeves when it comes to drag shows in general, and then as a career as well? 11:54 MC: My pet peeves for a drag show? My pet peeves for a drag show... Honestly, for Ru Girls! , we meet our fans at some point during the show. We will go to a little photo area, and get to say hello to everybody, sign a few autographs. It\'s a huge pet peeve for me when that is scheduled to be at the end of the show because I am one of those drag queens that sweats her face off during the show, [chuckle] and I just look like a bedraggled Cocker Spaniel-rodent hybrid, just something pulled out of a drain, and that\'s the picture that they\'re gonna get. [chuckle] So for the bar it makes sense, it\'s an incentive for people to stay for the whole time, but for me, I just hate that. And my big peeve for drag shows in general is when someone performs a song, and then another queen a couple of performances later comes up and does the same song, I\'m like, \"Really? You didn\'t have [chuckle] one other song to do? You had to... We\'re gonna listen to Nicki Minaj Super Bass four times tonight?\" You know what I mean? [chuckle] 13:11 AS: \"Just that confident that yours is gonna be better after the fact?\" 13:14 MC: Right, \"It better be amazing.\" [chuckle] We had this night, we went to a place in LA called Mickey\'s. There were 10 girls, I would say six of them did the same did the same Nicki Minaj song. Six! [chuckle] And you know what, luckily Nicki Minaj is great, so it was fun every time, but still! The principle stays. 13:35 AS: It\'s a lot. So what was the process like for you deciding to go on the show? Was it a no-brainer, or was it something you had to really think about? And then the experience with filming, and how did that change your drag outlook? 13:52 MC: I was really hesitant to even audition for Drag Race because I believe in small rooms. I believe in making in-person contact with the audience when you are a drag queen. And I wasn\'t sure if being part of television was gonna get in the way of that, and if it was gonna make me compromise myself in ways that I couldn\'t predict. So it was a really long process. And finally what it came down to was, \"Listen, I am in my 30s now. We need to be financially stable, and we need to take this to the next level and go all the way, as I already said. Otherwise we may as just well stop.\" So I was like, \"Alright.\" It\'s like if you wanna do something, you wanna do it on the highest level, and I was like, \"Alright, this is the highest level. And if I wanna be true to myself, I gotta do it in that context.\" 14:58 AS: Yeah. And I\'m sure all those things that you did want that you were concerned, you had to know it was gonna open up the opportunity to do those later. Like look at John Mayer did two pop albums, and then got to do whatever he wanted for the rest of his career, whether it\'s... 15:13 MC: Right! 15:14 AS: Touring with the Grateful Dead, or playing with Eric Clapton, or all those things that... We\'re both marketers, so for me, it\'s just like, oh yeah, you take the opportunity that\'s gonna give you the exposure, and then do it on your own terms afterwards. 15:28 MC: I\'m sort of like the John Mayer of drag in that sense. [laughter] 15:31 AS: I\'m here for it. Let\'s start it right now, we\'ll keep spreading it. [laughter] 15:36 MC: But yeah, no, it is true, I do get to do exactly what I want. And I had this Jewish epiphany, which means nervous breakdown, [laughter] and at the end of it, I was just like, \"You know what, I\'m gonna do exactly what I want all the time. I\'m not gonna pay attention to what anyone else is doing because that\'s the only way I\'m gonna be happy.\" So that\'s the way we do things now. 15:57 DM: Yeah, I think that that\'s a really good point. For anybody that says... Sorry, I hear so many people... I think it\'s a good idea to keep an eye out on what the competitors are doing, what other businesses are doing, but if you continuously do that, you\'re always gonna be chasing them and going behind them. If you look inward and start to focus on what you really want, there is no competition to you, and you do your own thing. So yeah, I agree with that full-heartedly. 16:24 AS: Speaking about that, can you tell us a little bit more about American Woman? 16:30 MC: Oh yeah, American Woman, I guess we\'re relaunching the global tour this week. We\'re doing it at a place called Laurie Beechman Theater in New York. And it is about feminism today, and the mistakes that I have made in not supporting women in the way I think they should be supported, especially because I was raised by women, by my mother and my sister, my Drag Race audition tape was made by a woman, my manager and my assistant are both women, 75% of my audience members, when I look off the stage, are women. I owe women everything, and I think I have to stop and think now about some of the stuff that I do that doesn\'t make life easier for the women around me. And I make fun of myself and point out things that we can all do better to make America and the world a better place for women, especially right now when women are coming together and saying, \"It\'s time.\" 17:42 AS: Yeah, that\'s interesting. You say walk a mile in their shoes, and you do [chuckle] that whenever you\'re performing. 17:47 MC: Oh, yeah, yeah. 17:48 AS: And just having... After the explosion of Nanette and Hannah Gadsby last year, and looking at the self-deprecating humor of it all, and the impact that has on yourself and the community, I think that\'s important. 18:00 MC: I watched Nanette while I was preparing for American Woman, and it was really a powerful thing. And I don\'t think everyone has to be perfect when they contribute to the women\'s rights movement that\'s starting to re-emerge and gather momentum right now, but I do think we have a responsibility to do our best to try to contribute. Make mistakes, fix them along the way. 18:29 AS: Yeah, I think especially in the social media culture we have, that it\'s important that it\'s not... To accept that everyone\'s not perfect. And as long as we\'re trying and everyone\'s on the same team, that it\'s okay to have those bumps in the road. 18:42 MC: I think women make a lot of mistakes when it comes to women\'s rights, too, and in the way that they treat each other. And so we can sort of all be on the same page of like, \"Okay, we\'re all struggling to figure out where to go from here, but we all agree that where we are now is not great.\" [chuckle] 19:00 DM: Yeah, most definitely. I think there was a Ted Talk, gosh, I can\'t remember for the life of me, the name of the guy that was talking about it. But he was showing the differences between languages and upbringings from men and women. And languages, for example, in certain countries like in Spanish, bridge is masculine, but in German, it\'s feminine. And when they would ask people to describe in their own language what a bridge looks like, in Spanish, they would say it\'s strong, it\'s this and that. It would be a lot of male words. 19:40 DM: And in German it would be a lot of female ones. Oh, it\'s a beautiful bridge, connecting bridge and so forth. So the the wiring of the language alone was so interesting on how that wasn\'t... The main thing that he was saying \'cause language is much harder to change, but the upbringing, so many parents will encouraged their kids to go on the playground and get hurt. But their daughters, they\'re like, \"No, no, don\'t skin your knees, you\'re a princess, stay here.\" And there is that balance of that pre-wiring is from a very young as a kid and the power that that can have. So yeah, I think the movements that are happening now, it\'s something that it should have happened long time ago, but the power of social media is really allowing communities to spread and to empower women. Definitely. 20:28 MC: Yeah. And to talk about and to talk about things that they haven\'t been able to talk about before, so... 20:32 DM: Exactly. 20:35 AS: So we\'re talking about you being able to have a platform and trying to use that responsibly, going along with that and kind of building your brand as drag has become such a bigger part of the zeitgeist with the popularity of drag race. How much thought do you put into kind of building the brand you have and helping yourself separate from the rest of the crowd? 20:55 MC: I mean brand building is 90% of what I do. I am on stage for about 10 to 30 minutes a day. I\'ll do two five-minute numbers or I\'ll do a half hour show, at most I\'ll do an hour and 15 minutes show. And the rest of the entire day is thinking about the brand and what I\'m putting out there. And it\'s really... A lot of people think that building a brand is about fabricating an image and building it on social media, creating a story. But it really should be sort of turning around to the pile of stuff that is you and shoveling it onto the internet. And by that I mean... 21:45 DM: That\'s a good visual. 21:47 MC: You know what I mean? Kaitlyn and I take the stuff that we do every day, and we take pictures of that so people know what we\'re doing. We don\'t go very often to a photo studio and put me in an outfit that I wouldn\'t normally wear, and a hair that I wouldn\'t normally wear, in lighting that I\'m not normally in, to tell the story of me being someone that I\'m not. We\'re like, \"Okay. I was in drag early today and I was in Boston, so here\'s a picture of me early in drag in Boston by a landmark.\" We try to take a picture of me with a landmark in every city that we go to. And it is not story-telling, it is literally just journalism. It\'s documentarianism. You know what I mean? And I think that\'s... People get everything backwards that you are supposed to create this image and then live towards it, but really you live and then you expose that life to the world. And that\'s... If you try to do it the other way, you will get exhausted. This way is exhausting enough, but that artifice is gonna take up so much of your energy. 23:00 DM: Yeah, if you don\'t absolutely do what you love, you\'re gonna burn out really fast. That\'s yeah... 23:03 AS: And we live in a world... 23:05 MC: Another thing that... Another business, the smartest business thing I ever heard which came from Kaitlyn as far as anyone who is trying to sell an item based on their brand, do not sell something that you would wear or you would use; sell something that your customers will wear or use. And a really good example of that is like if you are a 6\'5, 102-pound model, yes, you would wear a leather bra and panty set out on to the stage. But you can\'t really make that into merchandise for your customers because almost none of them are going to be 6\'5 models. Do you know what I mean? And I see people make this mistake all the time. They\'re like, \"Oh, here\'s something that I would use, I would wear, I\'m gonna sell it, and I\'m gonna put my brand, my logo on it.\" And then the fans come up and they are Americans just regular Americans, not wealthy traveling entertainers and they look at the spread of stuff and they\'re like, \"Where does this fit in my life?\" It\'s backwards. 24:29 DM: Yeah, definitely. I mean like you said, we live in LA and where you\'re always told write what you know. And just as marketers in general, just seeing the importance of being authentic and trying through it like... There\'s so much competition in any market, really, at this point, that the ones that people feel like they can connect with and see who they actually are is who it\'s gonna be. And I think that extra layer of being able to understand your audience, I mean, as marketers, you could be selling a product, but what you\'re really selling is the solution to a problem that someone has and being able to understand from their eyes and do that customer-centric marketing rather than just blasting what you think you need to be putting out there. 25:09 MC: I think authenticity, loving what you do, are such high goals. And if... You have a whole lifetime, you might not get there. But you can definitely start by not lying before you get to authenticity, just don\'t lie. That\'s a good one. And then if you don\'t love what you do, at least do what you do. It\'s very hard for you to create a brand as a drag queen if you don\'t do drag all the time. Does that make sense? 25:44 AS: Yeah. 25:45 MC: So obviously the goals are to be totally authentic with yourself and your audience and to love what you do. But shy of that on a regular human day, just don\'t lie and do your job. You know what I mean? 25:57 AS: Mm-hmm. 25:58 MC: Kaitlyn almost died just now walking into the room. [26:00] ____ wires everywhere. It\'s almost became a one-woman business again. [laughter] 26:08 AS: I\'m glad everyone\'s okay. And kinda continuing on, using all of you and what you\'re doing, you\'ve had two web series that are either Rhymes Or Puns With Jew, and Review With The Jew, and Jewtorials, what went in the decision in including that in what you\'re putting out there? 26:26 MC: When I went into season 10, I was looking at Kaitlyn and I was like, \"I am Jewish. I\'m not gonna let them turn me into the token Jew.\" I\'m not gonna make... I know they wanna make that part of my storyline, but it\'s like... That\'s just a part of me. And then Watching season 10, every time I walk into the room I\'m like, \" Jewie McJew, McJew Jewison. You know? And I was like, \"Oh my god.\" It is a massive part of who I am and I\'m just going to embrace that. And it is really just... I laugh the hardest when I\'m making Jew jokes because I love being a Jew and I think Jews are funny and wonderful people. And so it\'s just... When I put Jew in the title of anything I do, it\'s just kind of like... It just makes me happy, that\'s why. 27:16 AS: Mm-hmm, that\'s great. I think in audiences like there... Especially Jewish audiences, the second they know someone is Jewish will just support that person no matter what. 27:28 MC: Oh absolutely. 27:28 AS: Even growing up, there was like one Jewish player on the Dodgers and I\'m from Chicago, but I knew that because my dad told me every time he was on television. And told me of the Sandy Koufax story all over again \'cause he is just like Jew, he\'s like, \"Well, we\'ve gotta root for what we\'ve got left.\" And it\'s just so funny [27:47] ____. 27:47 MC: Yeah, any time you get together with Jews you\'re like, \"Did you know that so and so was a Jew?\" \"Oh, I didn\'t know that.\" \"Did you know that so and so was a Jew?\" \"Oh, I didn\'t know that.\" \"Did you know that so was... \" \"Oh, I did know that. Yes, I knew he was a Jew because he did this Jewy thing.\" \"Alright.\" \"Well. How are your bowels?\" \"Terrible, let\'s talk about it.\" Like how every Jewish conversation begins. 28:10 AS: Yeah, just Eliot Glazer from Broad City and many other things had Este Haim on his haunting rendition show. They did a whole Jewish music set that just killed the whole room. 28:22 MC: Right. 28:22 AS: I was like, \"Yeah, this plays in LA. It might not play like you said in Ohio so much.\" 28:27 MC: Right, I can\'t wait to release my Klezmer album, which I don\'t know why I didn\'t think of this before, but it\'s gonna be great. And I\'m gonna play Klezmer for Kaitlyn after this so she knows what the hell I\'m talking about. \'Cause I\'ve had to teach her everything about Judaism. [laughter] 28:43 AS: That\'s funny, yeah, I\'m the... 28:44 MC: Doesn\'t play well in DC. 28:45 AS: I\'m definitely the token Jew in our office. 28:48 MC: Good. 28:48 AS: So I get that responsibility as well. 28:51 MC: Yeah. 28:52 AS: And so we\'re talking about doing it and everything that goes into it. Is drag a career that you think has longevity, or do you have plans beyond that? 29:01 MC: I never make any plans for my life in the long term. I sort of do what I wanna do until I\'m not interested in it anymore and then I suddenly stop. So I\'ve never... I think as long as drag allows me to do exactly what I want to do all the time, which is what it\'s allowing me to do right now, I\'m gonna... There\'s no reason I would ever leave it. If ever at any point I find that it\'s constraining me and that I feel that I\'m not totally free, then I could leave. But I just don\'t see that happening. 29:34 DM: That\'s a great feeling. 29:35 AS: Yeah. 29:36 MC: I\'ve never made any plans ever. [chuckle] 29:41 AS: That\'s great, yeah. Our next guest we\'ve got that we\'re interviewing actually later today, his name is Nick Uhas. He was on Big Brother back in the day, but the first time we interviewed with him was like four years ago. And he\'d gone from like a high school wrestler to a professional rollerblader to like crashing a fraternity conference to do networking that landed him on Big Brother, and then was like hosting other shows. And like the whole conversation we had is just kinda picking the path presented to you and being able to do that and see that and accept that where you are is where you\'re supposed to be and kind of go forward from there. 30:15 MC: I came to New York as a poet, and I worked with a number of poets in a group. And we traveled around the country doing readings and performances then I got bored and I quit. And I joined a publishing house and worked my way up to the top as an arts editor and then I was bored of that. And I went into journalism and I wrote for a newspaper for a while and then I was done with that. I took one fundraising course and became a fundraiser for a museum. And then I was like, \"Now I hate fundraising.\" And I was like, \"I think I\'ll do drag.\" And so that it\'s sort of just been like completely 180 turns all the time that led me here. No plan whatsoever. I left Seattle to come to New York because I saw Meryl Streep walking down the street in a movie in New York, and I was like, \"Oh, I wanna do that.\" 31:12 DM: Do what you love to find the people to love. That\'s what [31:16] ____. 31:16 MC: Right, oh exactly. Do what the people you love do. 31:18 DM: There you go. Yeah. This is the question that I had for a little bit earlier, but the conversation kind of strayed it out. But I\'m actually on the computer right now and I can see some of your photos. And I have to say, \"My goodness, the make up, the hair, the dress, everything.\" How long does it normally take to get out... To have that transformation? To be ready like that? 31:44 MC: It takes me about an hour to make a wig. I usually make my wig right before the show. And then about two hours to get in drag, and that\'s including getting in my pads and everything. 32:00 DM: Wow, that\'s... Yeah. I thought it would be more than that. It looks amazing, so yeah. 32:06 MC: Oh, I mean, it used to take me four hours just to put my eyebrows on. But now it\'s a lot easier. 32:17 AS: Great, getting your Malcolm Gladwell 10,000-hours in drag. 32:21 MC: Oh, definitely 10,000 hours at least. [chuckle] 32:26 AS: And in terms of the pictures and everything you talked about, like wanting to show the authentic part, how much has social media and Instagram in general changed the game for drag? 32:41 MC: Let\'s just put it this way: When Lady Bunny was doing drag, it was not a visual art form. [laughter] 32:50 MC: She and the ladies of her time, it was about being in the same room with them and if they could be funny and make you happy while you were there. Never mind the fact that she was just wearing two lashes and a touch of lip gloss under that wig. It took... The makeup did not matter and the outfit could have been vintage, let\'s put it that way. As Jinkx Monsoon put it, a series of unfortunate caftans [laughter] But now social media is a visual... Especially Instagram is a visual medium and it has created an expectation for drag that it will be a powerful visual experience. So that, I think, has created a massive change in drag and also the expectation that thousands of people should know about you, which I don\'t think that the queens like Lady Bunny really anticipated when they were starting drag. You know what I mean? They were not like, \"I\'m gonna be world famous.\" I think they were like, \"I\'m [34:04] ____ gay tonight, girl,\" you know? And that was pretty much it. And things like Sweetie, they were going lip sync in a club and have a really great time and then that was it. They wouldn\'t expect to become a mega star. 34:20 AS: Yeah, now you guys have to be the multi-hyphenates of the look, the make-up, you can dance, the comedy, all of it. It\'s like a lot more. 34:28 MC: Right, but also you have a different breed of people coming into drag. People that wanted to do something for its own sake, art for art\'s sake, those were the kind of queens and the kind of personality types that were flooding into drag in the \'70s and the \'80s because they had no expectations of fame. Now you have people that are thirsty for fame which is a very different personality type, thirsty for fame, thirsty for money, thirsty for recognition. Those flies are being drawn to the tape now, and it has changed the temperature of the water. [laughter] 35:07 AS: I believe that. So what\'s next for you? You said the show is starting back up again and you\'re about to go on to tour? 35:14 MC: I\'m about to go on tour with American Woman, so it\'s gonna start here in New York once again. And then this fall we\'re taking it to New Zealand and Australia and then the UK in January. And then in the spring, we\'re thinking of doing an American tour as well since, you know, that\'s where we\'re from. 35:39 MC: But we\'re spending a full year and a half in the UK if we can. 35:44 AS: It\'s fun. Sure, why not? As you said, follow the path you got. If the opportunity is there, you might as well. 35:50 MC: Yeah, give me a visa and a Visa debit card. [laughter] 35:56 AS: Well, Miz Cracker, I wanna thank you sincerely for spending the time and chatting with us today. Before we say goodbye, let everyone know where they can follow you and find as you go on the tour. 36:08 MC: Absolutely. If you like a visually appealing drag queen, just go to miz_cracker. That\'s miz_racialslur on Instagram and Twitter. And find my YouTube where I have literally 50 hours of video content laboriously made. I watched all 50 of \'em while I was sick the other day. And yeah, get to it. Go to mizcracker.com too, but it\'s just gonna direct you to the good sites, so... [chuckle] 36:42 DM: Awesome. Well, thanks again for joining us. And thanks everyone for listening. We\'ll catch you guys next time. 36:47 MC: Thank you so much, everybody. 36:49 AS: Bye.


Read More
 
1 2 3 4 229