Expert Interview: James Adonis shares Email Marketing Tips
Updated on May 29th, 2013
In this interview with Bluewire Media, he shares his secrets for writing one of the industry’s most popular email newsletters.
Watch the interview to find out:
– How James got started & how he became an employee engagement expert
– How he grew from 20 subscribers to over 5,500 subscribers.
– James’ tips for writing engaging content
– James’ Top Tip for someone starting email marketing
– How he plans to reach 100,000 subscribers in 5 years
My name is James Adonis and I’m an expert on Employee Engagement, which is basically just getting employees to love doing what they’re doing. I do that predominantly through writing, so I’ve got a business blog with Fairfax which is one of the most commented on blogs in the country. I write books, I’ve got my third one coming out very shortly, and I speak and train on the topic quite a bit.
Can you explain how you got started with email marketing?
I started email marketing about five years ago as a way of building a database and a following because people knowing about you is one thing, but people actively following you is a whole separate issue and far more beneficial for sales. So I started sending out a newsletter to just 20 people on my contact list. Those 20 I got from networking events that I had attended and from that, it’s slowly grown to 5,500 today.
What is the key to growing your database?
I think the first key is to write well. I subscribe to about 50 different newsletters and about 45 of those are crap. They just send the same thing over and over again. They’re uninspiring, they’re unoriginal. So there’s no reason to forward those onto somebody else unless they happen to trigger some kind of emotion in somebody that gets them to think this is so good, someone else needs to benefit from them. In the first year that I was writing those newsletters I wasn’t abiding by that rule. I was just writing the stock standard academic type of newsletter that would hardly get forwarded on. Then about three and a half years ago I changed it to include analogies and stories and humour and far more of my personality and views and now it gets forwarded all the time.
What’s one tip you’d give to someone just starting out with email marketing?
The first tip I would say was, can you write? The best people to get feedback from are not those that love you, because they’re biased. So I would ask just general people for feedback on how well you’re writing. Then be very careful who you ask because it could be that writing is not a skill you have got and that by writing a email newsletter, it could do more damage to your brand than good. So perhaps you might do a video that you can send out as a email marketing or perhaps you might send out a email that has links to other articles or you ask permission from other really good writers to publish their articles. So, I wouldn’t feel compelled to always write your own stuff, especially if you are not a good writer.
What are your goals for growing your database in the future?
I’d like to get the database up to 100,000 people receiving my newsletter every fortnight. It will happen by a number of ways. The first is by people forwarding it on, the second is by releasing more and more books that continues to sell high number of copies that brings in subscribers. People like my writing on Fairfax. They generally tend to jump on my website and subscribe that way. People see me present at conferences and events and if they like what they hear they’ll jump online and subscribe to my newsletter. I think it’s realistic to reach 100,000. Probably not this year because it’s November, but within five years it should be possible.
Can you tell us about the success of your ‘forward to a friend’ competitions?
Every time the newsletter database reaches a thousand number, say 4,000 or 5,000 and so on, I will offer people a competition where they get free membership passes to a development program in return for forwarding the newsletter onto somebody they know and copying in my email address. What that does, is it promotes the development program so it gets extra sales in regardless and it increases the number of subscribers to my newsletter because more people find out about it. Also amongst the community of people who follow me now through that newsletter, it almost builds momentum. They want to see more subscribers as well, they’ll say “oh wow James is now at 4,000” or “James is now at 5,000”. I think a lot of them want you to succeed if they like what you write.
How can people subscribe to your newsletter if they’re more interested in employee engagement?
If they jump to my website which is www.jamesadonis.com and click on – with compliments, they can subscribe there and get eBooks for free as well valued at $100. Which by the way is a great way to get subscribers onto a newsletter, is by offering something for free or something of value. So if people subscribe to mine they get something for free – eBooks. But if all you have got is just a little box saying “join my newsletter”, there really is no incentive there for somebody to join unless you are somebody humongous like Edward de Bono or someone else like Madonna. But if you’re not then offering something in return and promising people things like you would never sell their email address or details helps as well.
And finally, can you tell us a bit about the new book you’re releasing next year?
The new book is called, Corporate Punishment – Smashing the Management Clichés for Leaders in a New World. It’s being released globally in February through Wiley Publishing. It just looks at the top 47 things that managers say in the corporate world, which are just blatantly incorrect. Things like, the Customer’s always right – no they’re not. There is no I in team – yes there is. Perception is reality – no its not. The devil’s in the details – no, its not. Pick the low hanging fruit – no, because actually fruit pickers always start at the top because it’s the ripest. So it goes through all that stuff and smashes it all for being incorrect.
Email Marketing Sydney: If you’d like email marketing services like copywriting or email template design, feel free to call Bluewire Media on 1300 258 394.
Employee Engagement Sydney: James Adonis can be contacted on (02) 9331 2465. Whether it’s via his motivational presentations, workshops, books, or other services, he will show your managers how to become the most extraordinary leaders of people.
With compliments: You can download $180 worth of e-books by James Adonis