Nicole .

Keap has helped thousands of small businesses flourish since it's founding in 2001. Their commitment and devotion to the success of small businesses has garnered them a reputation as one of the most trusted resources for entrepreneurs. Here to talk to us about the importance of email marketing for entrepreneurs is Darin Adams of Keap. 

N: Why is email marketing important to entrepreneurs? 

D: I was just in a group yesterday and someone was like “You know, I need to hire a virtual assistant because I just can’t keep up with everything.” And I believe in virtual assistants, virtual assistants are great! But the whole point is you should never do something manually that you can set up a system to do. If you can set it up so it happens in automation, do it. The problem with solo-preneurs, entrepreneurs, and the small business owner is you’re wearing four thousand different hats! And it’s extremely difficult to stay on top of everything, that’s why you set up automation to make that happen so that you don’t have to worry about it. The stuff you’ve set up once will happen and run forever. 

N: What would you say to the people who think they don’t need email marketing because their social media presence is so strong?  

D: Followers and likes do not pay your power bills. A while ago Facebook was down for the better part of a day and people panicked because all of a sudden, they realized “I have absolutely no control”, Facebook could go away at any time. Instagram could go away at any time.You use Facebook or Instagram or whatever your preferred platform is as a tool to get people into your database. If you put out a post of Facebook or Instagram or whatever there’s no guarantee anyone’s going to see that. If you have them in your database and you own the relationship, they’re part of your tribe, they’re part of your community and you can communicate with them. You cannot own that relationship if they only know you through social media. I’m all for social media, social media is fantastic, it’s your big billboard, it’s how you say, “come be a part of this”, but you’ve got to get people in your database, because once they’re in your database, now you can nurture them and take care of them. And you do that through email marketing.


N: What would you say to those entrepreneurs who want that direct contact but are concerned email marketing is oversaturated because people sign up for too many lists? Do people even open emails anymore?  

D: It’s true, there are a lot of emails that go out. I get hundreds of emails everyday, I’m not saying I read all of them. Do you know what the most important factor is in helping them decide if they’re gonna open or delete that email? It’s not your subject line, it’s not the time of day, it’s not the day of the week, it’s not none of that stuff. It is your name and your reputation. It’s the relationship that you build. If I get an email from Sandra Yancey, I open that! I have a relationship, I like that relationship, and I want to open that. I’m looking forward to getting that stuff. If I get an email from somebody who emails me once a quarter and I don’t know who they are, and I don’t know what they’re talking about, I’m gonna delete that. You use email to build the relationship. That’s how people will open the emails, when they see YOUR NAME and if you have a reputation for sending quality content. Some people think “I don’t want to overwhelm people, so I’m going to send fewer emails”, which is the exact opposite of what you should do. By sending fewer emails, you distance yourself even more from people and then when they do get an email from you once a month or once a quarter, they’re like “I don’t know who this person is”. So, the key is to build the relationship, and to foster that relationship, and actually send more emails, but send GOOD CONTENT in the emails. Don’t send “spammy” stuff in your emails. Email marketing is not there for you to spam people, it is there for you to build relationships with people. 

N: Some people may read that response on content and get stumped. They may say “I send out coupon codes for discounts on my services, what more can I do?”, which brings me to this: what does good content actually look like?    

D: Coupons are great and all, but it’s kinda spammy. It’s like “here’s how you can buy from me”. Share stories! Share good takeaway content. Share something where I don’t have to buy from you, where I don’t need to use my $5 off coupon. Send me good, actionable nuggets of information that I can use. Maybe you have a keynote presentation that you like to give to people and there are 60 points in there, take those 60 points and turn them into 60 emails! A friend of mine coaches people on how to be a better speaker, and she has 52 tips- and these are ACTIONABLE things, it’s not like “hey, gimme a call, I’ll help you be a better speaker”. Something that people would be willing to pay for, but you’re gonna give it to them for free. And I know, everyone’s going to say “AH! But that’s my content! I can’t give away my content!” Yes, you can. No one’s going to save all 52 of those and compile them in a book. Ultimately, they’re still gonna need you, and more importantly they’ll learnt to like you. The more good, actionable content you give, the more they’ll want to personally work with you. It’s how they get a taste of you, it’s the pink spoon at Baskin Robbins. Be relatable, funny, engaging. It’s how you tell stories. 


N: What tool is most underutilized by entrepreneurs? 

The Keap Calendar link is a big one. I was just speaking to someone who’s a personal trainer who made 2-3 thousand dollars off one email, because people had a way to engage with him. Texting is a phenomenal tool. We just incorporated this over the last six months inside of Keap so you can automate your texts as well as your email. Using the text in connection with the email is fantastic. We have the business phone line, so it’s a different phone number that doesn’t make it look like you’re operating from your kitchen table (which is totally fine by the way), but it does mean you get a separate number and it gives a more professional presence to people. It gives the impression you have a suite of offices somewhere even if you’re not there yet. The mobile app on your phone where you can literally take a picture of someone’s business card and it turns into a contact record. But my favorite, and it’s ironic that I say it’s my favorite because I never really talk about it in presentations, but it’s the sales pipeline tool. And it allows you to visually see everybody that you have. So at a glance you can see where your sales prospects are by stage. It gives you an overview of where you’re at and the stage your business is in. And because we’re talking about email marketing as well, this is how it ties in: let’s say “Stephanie” is a prospect who’s decided she’s thinking of buying from me, when I move her from the “prospect” column to the “likely to buy” column (but you can label them however you like), that can trigger a series of relevant automated emails to help her get to the next stage of the pipeline. Having a vision of the stages people are in and then being able to nurture them in their various stages is critical for a pipeline tool.  

N: So it’s kind of like Sales Force or Fresh Sales, but easier to use? 

D: And far less expensive.

N: What is the one piece of advice you’d give to entrepreneurs who are just starting out and beginning the process of building their pipeline, database, and so on? 

D: It comes down to this: if you are building a business, you think of it the same was as if you’re a building house. You have to build the foundation first. Yes, the fun part of building a house is looking at the Pinterest board and picking out backsplash, but if you haven’t built the foundation of the house first, that’s how you get into trouble. It happens all the time. People get into a business and they’re overwhelmed! It’s because you didn’t build the foundation first! You start with the foundation and that makes the home secure. So if you start with a foundation of a CRM and a database so you can track all this information and all of these opportunities. This is the foundation for your business. If you’ve been building the house for a while, it’ll be a little hard at first to get it under there, but you can still totally do it! But if you ARE just starting out, build the foundation first, it makes the rest of the building process much easier. 

It is a struggle to be a small business owner. It’s a struggle to be an entrepreneur. So many times, people want to throw in the towel and just go work for someone else. And I totally get that, I understand. But for many people the only way they’ll be able to help people is by being an entrepreneur and getting their voice out there. If you’re working for corporation XYZ and you’re sitting at a desk 9-5, no one will be able to benefit from how you can help them. And we understand that at Keap. We’re not about helping middle size businesses or enterprise level systems, we are truly about helping small businesses. We understand the struggle, we understand the grit that it takes, we understand that you’ve got to grind it out. That’s what we are all about, helping people whether they are struggling now or whether they’re about to start struggling, to get them the resources and the help and the guidance they need and make it as easy as possible. 

For more information, please reach out to Darin Adams via phone or email at: 


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