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You know you should have email marketing for your small business, but it leaves you with more questions than answers. No worries.

In this episode, Jason and Bridget will be chatting with Tess Wittler, an email newsletter expert. We will discuss some of these strategies in building trust.

  • How being authentic sets you apart
  • What to improve to increase your odds of getting word of mouth referrals
  • How to turn email newsletters into lead generation machines
  • The first question you need to ask before creating your email newsletter
  • How often to publish your email newsletters
  • How to repurpose your newsletter content for social media?

This Week’s Panel

Jason Tucker @jasontucker
Bridget Willard @bridgetmwillard
Tess Wittler @tesswittler

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Tool Or Tip Of The Week

This week’s Tool or Tip of the Week is brought to you by The Definitive Guide to Twitter Marketing.

Tess recommends “Words That Sell.” This is the book all copywriters need.

Jason recommends HealthKit on iOS.

Bridget recommends Noom for nutrition education and weight loss. This is her referral link.

Show Timestamps

00:02:57 “Why are you talking about construction? Because it’s exactly the same as web development.” Bridget Willard

00:04:43 How can you set yourself apart in the content of your newsletter?

00:05:47 “I tell a story and then transition that story into what I want to talk about.” Tess Wittler 

00:07:50 “So this is how you become authentic, you start sharing bits and pieces of your life.” Tess Wittler

00:09:11 “Yeah, this is something that we really struggle with in our niche, Jason, is a lot of our audience don’t like small talk.” Bridget Willard

00:10:37 “You have to always wear your business hat.” Tess Wittler

00:12:02 Your “rants” can be connection points.

00:12:30 “I’m gonna die on the Oxford comma Hill.” Bridget Willard

00:13:21 “Are you replacing me with a machine? Grammarly is wrong half the time.” Bridget Willard

00:14:09 Word-of-Mouth Referrals

00:16:27 “If you’re staying in front of someone, month after month, year after year with your email newsletter, they’re getting to learn to know you even though you may not know them as well.” Tess Wittler

00:17:04 How do you write the copy after the intro?

00:20:01 Tess describes the Featured Article Section.

00:20:46 Send a link or send the text? You have to test it.

00:22:52 “So you know, and it’s so here’s the thing, what worked last year isn’t going to work this year.” Tess Wittler

00:23:33 “You have to make your newsletter content about what they want to hear. So you have to really understand your audience.” Tess Wittler

00:24:26 “You know your audience, but then you kind of train your audience.” Bridget Willard

00:25:34 Great open and deliverability rates will tell you if your newsletter is working.

00:26:45 Do you offer financing for web development projects? Mention it!

00:29:38 American Entrepreneurship

00:32:01 Timing is So Important

00:33:16 We are weekend warriors.

00:34:15 “Repeat those services. Repeat those offers.” Tess Wittler 

00:34:53 What do you use as the name that you’re using to send from?

00:36:53 “You have to know how many characters are visible on your mobile devices.” Tess Wittler

00:37:27 “Guess when guess when most plugin developers don’t do support?” Bridget Willard

00:39:01 “You got to put the human factor into it.” Tess Wittler

00:42:42 Segmentation is definitely going to have to be another episode!


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Editor’s Note: Transcriptions of episodes are created with a mix of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain some grammatical errors or slight deviations from the audio.

Jason Tucker 0:11
This is the smart Marketing Show Episode Number 183. Building trust with email newsletters brought to you by ServerPress, makers of DesktopServer. They make local WordPress development easy. Check them out at And check out Bridget’s book, The Definitive Guide to Twitter marketing, you can find that over on Amazon in paperback, or on Kindle. Supporters over on Patreon, go to slash WP watercolor where you can help us out over there, we’d really appreciate it. We’re gonna be doing a lot more stuff over on Patreon and hoping that you join us there. I’m Jason Tucker, my IT director and web developer, you can find me at Jason Tucker on Twitter. This is my friend Bridget. She’s a marketing consultant. She can be found at Bridget in Willard on Twitter.

Help us out by leaving us a review over on wherever it is that you listen to podcasts is Apple podcasts, Google podcasts or even Spotify. Thank you very much for that we would really appreciate if you did that. We are going to be talking to my new friend in Bridget’s old friend. Tess us tell us how you doing? Can you give us a little bit?

Tess Wittler 1:22
Hey, guys,

Jason Tucker 1:23
tell us a bit about yourself?

Tess Wittler 1:25
Sure, so I am a marketing writer and consultant for the building industry. And I my entire career has been home building and remodeling related. And basically that is my geek zone as Bridget would would testify to I can talk everything, anything and everything to do with shiny kitchens to stormwater runoff to political action committee events. So I’ve done it all and I am very happy to be here.

Bridget Willard 1:57
It’s amazing how much you’ve learned about an industry by writing from it.

Tess Wittler 2:02
Yeah, how bad it how bad it so I’ve had I’ve had projects, all projects all over the place. So

Bridget Willard 2:09
Jason has created and perfectly Instagram account with all of his building, you’re gonna love knowing test Jason.

Jason Tucker 2:20
This marketing that this people wrote about this thing that they want me to buy? Is this true? Or a part of it’s true?

Tess Wittler 2:29
I can definitely research the heck out of it.

Bridget Willard 2:33
So like we’ve talked, we’ve talked about landing pages with Jen Miller and setting up nurture campaigns with Amy Hall. And I, I know that most of our audience comes from the WordPress side. But but this is this show is for anybody who’s marketing, right? And so a lot of people ask me, Well, why? Why are you talking about construction? Because it’s exactly the same as web development. You have a scope of work, you have clients who get bids. You have clients who want change orders. You have technical things to clients don’t understand. What do you mean, you don’t know what a glulam beam is? What’s wrong with you. So um, but so the concepts are exactly the same that you’re nurturing this audience, because it’s easier to keep a customer than to get a new one, you know. So as we build our web development audience, and those kinds of things, having those landing pages, and touching points with your customers is so important. And like the way it’s funny, it’s ironic, maybe it just is a testimonial test. You send out your jottings newsletter, which of course I subscribe to. And you’re like, I really want to be on a podcast. I’m like, Oh, my gosh, Kismet, right? And everything that you talked about in the content of your newsletter, just hit me hard, like our audience needs this. You know how being authentic sets you apart? How to Improve increase your word of mouth referrals. We live on that in the web industry, how to turn your email newsletters to lead gen machines. Like, what should you ask yourself, like all of these topics, they’re so important to not just the architecture of how you get somebody to subscribe, but now you have them. What are you going to talk about? Right, right.

So can you let’s talk about the first thing, how can you How can you set yourself apart in the content of your newsletter, so if you want to hear about the rest of that stuff, but watch another episode, we’ll link to it in the show notes. So how How does being authentic set you apart? And as a caveat, what is the difference between being polite and being authentic?

Tess Wittler 5:09
Right? So great questions, you know, everyone approaches newsletter email newsletters a little bit differently, right. So, but in but in our space, whether it’s my small firm design Remodeling Contractors, or it’s the WordPress realm, we’re all small business owners, right. So we don’t have the big logos and the big names behind us, we are our brand. So that in itself is is one of the ways you can become more authentic. It’s just owning it. So I, I, I like to tell stories, that’s how I connect with people. And through my email newsletter, I tell a story and then transition that story into what I want to talk about the tip. The trick, the the idea that I want to that I want to share with my readers. So and I’ll give you an example. Bridgette, I I’m currently wearing Washington Capitals, sweatshirt, whoo, let’s go caps. And and here’s the thing. So if you’ve been reading my newsletter for any length of time, you know that I am a huge hockey fan. So I we started out, my husband was playing hockey, he learned to play hockey when he was in his late 30s. And he became a hockey ref. And we just started going strong. And we became college hockey fans where we would go to the NCAA frozen for every single year, which is the tournament. Yeah. Yeah. And so and then we lived 25 minutes away from Hershey, Pennsylvania for many years, which is the farm team for the Washington Capitals, the Hershey bears. So we will go to those games. And I would talk about those experiences in my newsletter as as part of my quote unquote, intro into the newsletter. And what’s really interesting about that is that over the years people have whether they like hockey or not, they remember that tidbit about me. And I had a experience with a custom builder from Maine, who reached out to me he had been a longtime reader of my newsletter, and he reached out to me and he said, tests, he said, I want to work with you. He said, I know you’re a hockey fan. And even though you’re a University of New Hampshire hockey fan, and I’m from the University of Maine, I still want to work with you. So this is also the types of that’s how you become authentic, you start sharing bits and pieces of your life. Now we’re all we all have different comfort levels with what that looks like. And that’s perfectly fine. You know, we have different snippets that we want to share, you know, people that have been reading my newsletter know that I’m a hockey fan, they probably know that I like to hike that I’m outdoorsy, they probably have followed my moves to back and forth across the country a few times. And they know those pieces, and that’s a connection point. And those connection points then make you memorable, and then go into one of my other points is that it’s it starts to starts to generate those leads. Right, right.

Bridget Willard 8:40
So let me just interject right here. Yeah, y’all. This is what I’ve been talking about. When I say share something about your personal life on Twitter. Yeah. Now this, it doesn’t have to be your self security number, or where you live. Should not. Right. I mean, I accidentally set my mailing address out to my entire newsletter list. Don’t do that. So like you don’t I mean, like, have something where somebody can start a conversation with you. Yeah, this is something that we really struggle with in our niche. Jason is a lot of our audience. Don’t like small talk. But small talk is that little bit of small talk from a psychological standpoint is is gauging those waters to see if somebody will be interested in having a further conversation with you. Right, okay. And so having and having that something for them to grasp onto, even if it’s just you’re into hockey, that’s not personal. Like it’s personal. In the fact that it’s about you, but it’s not, you know, is it’s not Bridget personal because everybody knows, I should Probably too much on the internet. And so the other thing I kind of want to get you to talk about a little bit before we go into the word of mouth is test, a lot of people say, you know, F, this, f that and I’m like Gary Vee or whatever, and you should be doing this. And you should be doing that, or mansplaining, or all these, like weird kind of normally would be impolite behaviors. But I would say I’m just being authentic. Can you kind of address like tonality? And how that’s reconciled with being authentic? In your newsletters? Sure.

Tess Wittler 10:37
Yeah, sure. So if you are going to be brash, and and have very strong opinions, you are going to also isolate certain folks. And if you’re okay with that, and if that’s part of who you really want to be as a business, you know, and be seen as a business then, then, while it doesn’t work for tests, you know, that that is also a piece. Having said that, I think that you have to always wear your business hat, I think it’s smart to understand that there are pieces of your life that you would like to share. But going off on a rant, on social or through your newsletter, or on a podcast, may not be the best use to market your business. You know, everyone’s different, you know, people have made platforms going off on rants, and that has worked for a lot of people. Right. So, but

Jason Tucker 11:46
you’re complaining about WordPress?

Bridget Willard 11:49
Yeah. Jason. Okay. Let’s,

Tess Wittler 11:55
let’s double back on that, though. Jason, because you are ranting about technical issues with WordPress. Right.

Jason Tucker 12:02

Tess Wittler 12:02
Well, isn’t that an also a connection point with everybody else? Who is using WordPress and having the same frustration? So that’s a little bit different than than telling, you know, then going off and using lots of colorful language, or being insanely political, or, you know, you know, that’s that’s much different. That’s a connection point, you know, you know, and that’s a that that I think is is different once you agree Bridget, then

Bridget Willard 12:30
100%. Because having an opinion, there’s no reason to have a show or a platform if you’re not going to have some opinion on something. Right? Correct. I’m going to have the Oxford comma. Oxford, comma Hill, I’m gonna die on the Oxford comma Hill. Okay. And I should still be friends with Jen Miller, and you who are like journalistic and like, that’s their training, right? But I’m gonna be like, every single time I’m gonna be doing that. And it’s fine like you can be wrong. It’s totally fine.

Jason Tucker 13:04
I’ll tell you this I push all the buttons that Grammarly says are wrong when you send me a copy. So it may look like Jim Miller’s writing the copy? I don’t know.

Bridget Willard 13:14
I proofread the copy. I send you proof read cop. No.

Jason Tucker 13:17
I had lots of

Bridget Willard 13:21
replacing me with the machine.

So are you serious? We’re

gonna we’re gonna Meet Edgar next. You’re killing me slowly. you afraid? Oh, I know. It was you. Oh, man, I cannot Grammarly is wrong about half the time.

Jason Tucker 13:40
Oh, these are just commas that only the commas are the things that I’ve added back in. Sorry, Tess, my apologies that we brought you to this. But you know,

Bridget Willard 13:52
okay, but see, that’s that’s funny, right? Because Jason, I can’t agree on everything. Otherwise, it’s a boring show. In fact, Jen Miller and I used to have a show together. And then we both we both thought, Well, the only thing we don’t agree on Oxford Oxford comma is a boring show. Right? Let’s talk about like, word of mouth referrals. So okay, so Okay, I get we’re all word of mouth. Okay, that’s Yep, the entire world is word of mouth. Even if they don’t like to see it. Social media is just a exponential expression of word of mouth,

Tess Wittler 14:27

Bridget Willard 14:28
However, how, how is that? How is a newsletter helping word of mouth. I’m gonna be devils advocate here because I’m super good at that. Like, I’m gonna be like, I don’t get how me sending a newsletter is gonna help word of mouth. Can you kind of like, tell that person how this works?

Tess Wittler 14:50
Sure. So So here’s the thing. So you send out your email newsletter. Once a month, every two weeks, whatever, whatever that is. And it My what I tend, what I try to do is, I look at my newsletter as a way to continuously stay in front of my readers and the people that I know. Right? So and I consider anybody who knows me as someone who if I called them up and I said, Hey, this is test whittler, they would know who I am without any introduction. And so they know who I am, even though maybe I don’t know them as well. And they know what I do. They know that I’m a writer for the construction industry, they may not know the nuances, you know, they may know that I do. I’m a newsletter writer for the construction industry, but they may not know that I do websites or that I do. landing pages, and those types of things. But what they, because they know that and I’ve been in front of them, week after week, year after year, they become familiar with what I offer. And so then if they have a buddy at one of their remodeler, advantage meetings, that says, hey, I’m really looking for someone, not just any writer, because I can get that but I’m looking for someone who, who really understands the industry, they say you need to contact us whether and that’s how the word of and the same thing would happen in your community. Right. And you know, I’m using construction, because that’s my industry, but it’s small businesses. If you’re staying in front of someone, month after month, year after year with your email newsletter, they’re getting to learn to know you even though you may not know them as well. And then from there, they when they stop and they say okay, well, I need to find someone that does x, they say, Oh, we need to contact Bridget Bridget Willard

does that

Bridget Willard 16:49
I’ve been like bad I like built my drips. And then I got bad about my newsletter. I feel convicted. I’m gonna write myself a post it note right now.

Tess Wittler 16:58
Yeah, yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard, right? Because you

Jason Tucker 17:04
were right on one of those when you’re writing that newsletter, or at least the opening paragraph within it or something like that. Those are the places that you Tess such that you’re writing about hockey, or some something that makes makes the newsletter personable? What do you how do you write the rest of that copy? Is the rest of that copy? That’s not, that’s not the personable piece? Are you still writing it as Tess? Or are you writing it as? Like the company or the industry? Or the like? How are you kind of putting that putting that together? Because I I tend to have a issue with with when people write things, and they they write it as almost like third person versus first person or there’s the writing about it as themselves, but then they switch it. And now they’re talking about like, oh, here’s how our industry does this versus like, here’s how the industry does it. Like they’re not putting themselves back into it again? How do you approach that?

Tess Wittler 18:03
Great. So that’s actually a really good question, there’s a couple of ways you can approach it. And I’ll name two big ones that I use, I’ll name the one that I kind of use for myself, and maybe entrepreneurs use. And then I also named one that I use for my clients a lot of times, so me, what I do is I do the welcome, I call it the welcome section. And even though it may not be an actual section, in my particular newsletter, it’s kind of the, hey, this is what happened the last time last time we talked, it’s like I’m talking to you. And then at some point, I’ll transition up, and I’ll say, and this is, when this happened, this remind me of this. And then I transition into for me it’s a marketing tip, or client, or a content idea for my particular industry, something like that. So that’s one way to do is kind of just, it’s almost like writing a letter to a friend, it’s you know, you say, Hey, this is what I was doing. And then you have this pivot point where you transition it into the business practice. And then you actually talk about the business practice. So that’s one way and that’s, that’s pretty effective for me, because I you know, I’m my own person, for a company. And for my clients, what we what we usually do is we actually have a separate section. So I work with my clients to have the intro section, which is I call it the welcome message. And the welcome message is very defined. It’s an a block, and where we talk about the personal things. So some of my clients talk about their grandkids and what what they were doing, you know, homeschooling is really big this year. I have another client who lives in the Pittsburgh market who has been able to go to hockey games and football games and those types of things. So they’ll post a picture with their kids in front of the Stanley Cup or you know those types of things. And then so that Welcome second section. And then we actually get into a whole other section what I wish I call like the feature article section or the home tip section, where that’s actually, an article is actually something where they’re sharing something. So in my world, it would be a remodeler, talking about design ideas for the kitchen, or how to maximize space in the pantry. Or the best way to keep your granite countertop clean and cured. So those types of things. So it’s very to two distinct sections for most of my clients, so is that

Bridget Willard 20:39
a link to their blog post? Or is it only for their newsletter list?

Tess Wittler 20:46
So ideally, I mean, probably not, ideally, you actually have to test it, right? So with most of my with most of my clients is actually the entire article. Most of my clients, I have a few clients, where they actually they do the snippet idea. So they have the article, and with a link back to their blog. And they get good click throughs. So you have to test that. Is your audience more apt to read the newsletter from cover to cover like a magazine? Like the old school magazines? Or are they actually inclined to click it? Regardless of what we do? Bridget, right, we have to put that on our blog then. So regardless, that content is going to hide because the point to reside on your blog. So then you can share it on social and get that good SEO juice. But you have to test what works for your audience with my clients. What I found is most of the time it is the entire article.

Bridget Willard 21:53
Yeah. And that is a good distinction. I’m glad that kind of got brought up, I didn’t think he would go there. Because we are not our audience. So when I write to my clients who are WordPress developers, I can put a link in there no problem. And the people who write newsletters like that to more people like me do that. However, as web developers who have clients that are normal people? Are people not in that industry? You gotta understand, like, what are they going to? Do you have their attention right now? Right? They’re on their phone reading your thing?

Jason Tucker 22:33
Mm hmm.

Bridget Willard 22:34
So that is a good thing to test. And you could do one you can do like one month, do it that way? Or do you would you do like three months in a row? And then three months? Or would you do every other? Or a B test it and constantcontact? What would you recommend? As far as that I

Tess Wittler 22:52
do? I do the A B test. So you know, and it’s so here’s the thing, what worked last year isn’t going to work this year. Right? Now you have, you have to really know your audience. Right? You have to know and that’s one of the points that you know, we haven’t really got there yet. But we can go there now is like, Who is your audience? Right? So you have to know it. You know, if you have a newsletter, it’s all about you, you know, and and all about what you want to share, like you want to share that you have this great special or this 20% discount on flooring, or whatever it is. I’m not saying you don’t include those, but you have to make it about them, you have to make your newsletter content about what they want to hear. So you have to really understand your audience. And, you know, if your audience is more inclined to scroll on their phone, then you also have to format and write the write the content and format in such a way that it’s scrollable. With lots of bullet points, bold pictures, I use a ton of pictures. Most most email people say don’t use a lot of pictures while in my market, pretty kitchens and pretty bathrooms is what catches the eye. And then all of a sudden they’re scrolling on their phone or their tablet. And they say oh, well, let me read. Let me actually read more about this. Because this is kind of a this is kind of a cool project. Whereas with your audience bridge, it’s completely different. We are inclined when we get your newsletter, to click we know to do that. And I want to do that.

Bridget Willard 24:26
You know your audience, but then you kind of train your audience. Mm hmm. And so like with construction, it’s more visual. So for example, if our if our web developer that’s listening, Bob, the web developer has a case study of how he he redesigned a website, then that would be a good image to include in that specific newsletter because that specific newsletter is about having a redesign. Yeah, yeah. And you’re Right, because like, we were talking to Amy Hall, and she’s always told me like, no images. And and I do it too, because, you know, most of the time in Gmail, I have to say allow images or not. Yeah. Right.

Tess Wittler 25:14
Yeah, I mean, images hang up, hang up that process it, you know, so there’s a, there’s another layer to the simplicity of that, getting into deliverability. I think she’s what she was talking about was the deliverability. So you see that picture? Yeah, yeah. But, you know, thankfully, you know, I’m looking at the metrics of my clients, and they’re getting great open rates, and they’re getting great deliverability rates. So, you know, what we’re doing is working. And, you know, then it’s obviously, those newsletters are driving traffic, you know, driving them to say, Oh, you know, what I was thinking about, you know, adding a garage to buy my house, you know, detached garage, maybe I should call them and so they pick up the phone, they call them or they email them?

Bridget Willard 26:03
Yeah, yeah. And make sense. Things have changed a lot. Even in the roofing industry, since I’ve left construction in 2015, where almost universally, roofing contractors have financing available with green scanner somewhere else, and offer military and first responder discounts. Like there was no such thing as a first responder discount for a long time. But 911 changed that. Katrina changed that. And, and we value those and of course, COVID change that so revalue those people and we’re showing them like, Hey, we we care about helping you finance this too?

Tess Wittler 26:45
Well, and you’re bringing up a really good point. So let’s let’s play off of that, that’s a great reason to have to, that’s a great thing to mention your email newsletter, often. So things have changed. And so if people don’t want to, I’ll use your roofing and just industry example, people are afraid to call a contractor because their roof is deteriorating, or even leaking, because they don’t have the finances. You know, you need to eat dimension that right, and you need to mention that a lot. Because just because you put it in one newsletter doesn’t mean number one, that particular line was read. And number two, that they’re going to remember it, we all have really busy lives. So you know, small things, small business, think of the things that’s a great reason to have an email newsletter, right is to be able to remind people of the of the, of the services that you have, of the offerings that you can share the limited time deals like you were talking about, you know, sometimes this doesn’t apply to COVID times but pre COVID. Around Veterans Day or Memorial Day, they’d have, you know, veterans and first responders discounts where for a limited time, they’d have some type of a discount. And you know, that those were always incredibly popular, right. So those are the types of things that’s that’s a perfect, thank you for leading that because that’s a perfect reason to have email newsletters to be able to, to showcase your services that you your offerings in a non salesy way. You’re just sharing that information with your readers. Yeah, I

Bridget Willard 28:20
mean, it’s kind of interesting, because, um, you know, I had all this reconstructive structural dental work done, that was that I went, I found a grant. So it was 47,000 went down, and I owe finance. 27,000 I am still financing 27,000. So I have a roof. This is a roof. Okay. Gentle work with green sky, you can finance your roof. And it kind of makes me wonder, Jason, if that might be an interesting way for web developers to partner with companies that finance you know, yeah, your business needs this thing. Or another thing like you can’t use PP for that, because that’s about the paychecks. But if you had gotten other assistance or whatever, you know, like, we talked about this all the time, in construction, or furniture, no money down, right? No money and this is why self publish on Amazon because there’s no money down. I get money 60 days later, right as royalties but it doesn’t cost me money to make this thing happen. Which is part of like the essence of American entrepreneurialship that elbow grease, sweat equity, and our audience really does. It we’re We are an audience of weekend warriors right? Jason I mean,

Jason Tucker 30:01
oh, yeah, by far, you know, you got me thinking about this whole I had, I didn’t I’ve never even thought about that idea of I mean that not that I do a whole lot of, of web development in that way anymore. But to get to if you have like a $50,000 project, and you needed to break it up into three chunks, you know, have you What are those systems in place that will kind of help with the, the financing part of it, where it would just kind of pay it out? And then they’ll go and do the collections on the other on the other side of it for them? Right. There’s a lot to that. And I think, I think when you offer those sorts of things, it does kind of add some trust to it as well. Because you’re, you’re saying, like, I trust you that you’re going to pay me. So here’s some things that are I’m hoping that you’re going to trust me to actually get the work done. And it’s kind of a vice versa type of situation with that. Yeah, that’s, that’s it, that’s an interesting thing. I was thinking I’m like how, what other what other things apply trust within a newsletter that would, that would get people to either do those call to actions that are on there, or even read the entire thing. You know, for me, I have a, I have a really hard time when I get I get an I get, you know, a bunch of emails in the mail, or a bunch of emails, and they all show up at like, exactly eight o’clock in the morning. So they just like all slam on you at once. delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, and, you know, I wake up at, I look at my phone, and I go, that’s really nice swipe. That’s really nice swipe. How do you break out of that? Like, how do you get it so that I want to read that thing? And I don’t want to just like swipe across? I didn’t even open it. I didn’t even I didn’t even read what was on the but how do you do that? How do you get people to actually want to read those? read those and read them in their entirety. So that way, you can actually, you know, get the sale or get the information to them or whatever. How do you approach that test?

Tess Wittler 32:01
Sure. So, there’s, you know, the first thing is the timing, right. So you need again, going back to knowing your audience. So, you know, I follow a consultant, his name is Michael Katz. And he does newsletters for solopreneurs. I have probably read his stuff for 2025 years, a long time. And anyway, and he you know, he knows his audience, he’s on the east coast. And he knows that he doesn’t want to send things overnight, because of exactly what you’re saying, you wake up in the morning, and you go, whether it’s on your phone, or whether it’s on your your laptop or your desktop, the first thing you want to do is you open up your email, you try to get rid of everything that you don’t need. Right. So So, you know, his advice is, you know, and for his audience, he’s just like, Well, you know, I 10am works for me, because, right? You have the right, so you have to experiment that experiment with that. There’s other there’s other marketing agencies that I follow. They are in the building materials. realm, and Sundays work, they get great open rates and get great responses on Sundays.

Bridget Willard 33:16
We are weekend warriors.

Tess Wittler 33:18

Know your audience. So that’s one piece of that. Jason, I think the other piece and and more to what I was talking about, Bruce and I were talking about earlier with being authentic, is you have to be that person that people actually want to hear from.

Jason Tucker 33:33

Bridget Willard 33:34
No, no. Oh, what? Yeah,

Tess Wittler 33:37
yeah. I mean, you have to like, actually, you know, so when people see your name come across on the, you know, who is this from, and then the subject line, have to be that person that, you know, you in our world, it’s a person, right? It’s not Nike, or, you know, Starbucks or whatever, you know, and then it’s the subject line that gets them, you know, that gets them intrigued. It’s not a trick, but it’s an interesting subject line to make them be like, you know, what, I really want to read this today. And as a business owner, you also have to be have to accept the fact that sometimes it’s just going to get deleted. Right. So that’s why going back to your, your point, Bridgette, that we were talking about earlier, repeat those services, repeat those offers, because there are going to be times when your kids are screaming and you just you accidentally delete a whole bunch of things. And you’re like, Oh, well, there’s going to be times when life gets in the way. There’s going to be times when you’re way too busy to think you know, in my world you’re I’m way too busy to think about marketing right now. Test, delete, I’ll come back to you and in a month. So

Bridget Willard 34:45
email them again.

Tess Wittler 34:47
Yeah, right. Like go back to the whole repetition and being consistent, right.

Bridget Willard 34:51
That’s what I messed up.

Jason Tucker 34:53
I have another question. So when you’re, when you’re working out how you’re going to send these emails out, and especially if you’re going be applying some personality to it. What do you use as the name that you’re using to send from? Are you using your name? Are you using the company’s name? Are you doing some amalgamation of your name at a person’s name? Or the company’s name? Or from some, you know, like, what’s the best way for you to, to approach that if you’re someone who’s either starting out with a newsletter or wanting to kind of revitalize a existing one?

Tess Wittler 35:30
Sure. Well, my rule of thumb is people want to do people with other people do business with other people?

Jason Tucker 35:36

Tess Wittler 35:36
don’t don’t repeat that one. Bridget repeat the second time I said.

Bridget Willard 35:43
Other people, that’s a different Yeah.

Tess Wittler 35:46
Yeah, that is a whole other show. But um, you know, some people want to do business with with other people that they know, they like, and they trust. So what works for most solopreneurs small business owners is their own name. If you have a if you are known by your company name, though, then and not so much about you. You know, my contractor clients, for example, then you email under their name? Or, you know, so I email under, I am under under my contractors business name. But when it comes to us, and are our businesses ID map I email undermining. I think I just made that much more confusing than it needs to make sense. You could

Bridget Willard 36:39
make it like Bridget at Riggins construction. Yes. Or you’re like, Bob, which Bob? My Who? Bob Bava techsmith. J, Old Navy. Yeah. And

Tess Wittler 36:53
you have to I don’t know if Amy or not. But you have to know the characters to write you have to know how many characters come become visible. I mean, this is getting way too technical, probably for the show. But you have to know how many characters are visible on your mobile devices. And how many characters are visible on your desktop and laptops to to get that just right, so it doesn’t get cut off?

Bridget Willard 37:15
Yeah. I mean, and the thing is, like, I’ve worked with a lot of plugin develop developers. So they, a lot of times they don’t, it just reminded me because of the weekend warrior thing. And we just experienced this a give. We got a loss for requests on the weekends. Guess when guess when most plugin developers don’t do support?

Jason Tucker 37:41

Bridget Willard 37:43
So like going to your audience, like you saying that test about the building materials people doing so well, on Sunday? That’s like Jason, I used to say, Friday’s where emails go to die, unless you’re a restaurant, or clothing person, like shopping, like a weekend. Thanks. So it’s, you know, it’s kind of like, also, when are you going to be available? So recently, we had cyber Black Friday and Cyber Monday and also Black Friday isn’t for you people on e commerce. So step off. But whatever, something turned to Black Friday thing out right on Friday for to buy your online thing. And then you’re not available for the next two days? No, that’s no bueno. So if you’re gonna What? So I know we’re coming to kind of the end of this section. But what how do you coach your clients on timing versus support? Meaning, if you if you’re going to announce this sale? Right? And then maybe you don’t have people answering the phone? Or? Yep, enough people bidding on projects? Like how do you deal with that? issue?

Tess Wittler 39:01
You got it, you got to put the human factor into it, right. So you know, if you say, Okay, I want this to go out on the second Thursday of every single month, but you’re going to be gone for a long weekend with the family. be human, adjust that schedule. And I’ve done that an awful lot with my, with my clients, they’re like, Oh, well, we’re going to be away, you know, we’re going to be at our beach location, you know, for the long weekend with the grandkids. Okay, then let’s, let’s adjust. So when are you going to be home or when you’re going to be available for answering questions and returning and responding to emails in a timely fashion. It’s the human factor, right. So you know, going back to, you know, your web developers, and a lot of times, there’s no support on the weekends, you know, kudos to the to the web developers that do have that support team on the weekends. I mean, you know, again, that could probably be another show. There’s all kinds of tools that the home building industry is using to have 24 seven Support without actually Manning someone at a at an office, you know, but that was you know, that’s, that’s just common sense, right? It

Bridget Willard 40:08
was coming to Twitter. That’s why I know about it. I know when I know if I’m managing account, I know when you’re not on your support tickets. Yeah. And I do the same thing. I do the same thing. I’m upset with Molina Healthcare. as anybody who’s been I’ve lost a lot of billable time, just trying to get estrogen this month. It’s just ridiculous. But that’s what we do. We go to Twitter. So yeah, um,

Tess Wittler 40:36
I got my driver’s license renewed, because I had to go to Twitter because I, I like and get them on the phone. And I was I couldn’t get them to respond to email, I couldn’t get them on the phone. We were, you know, Virginia is such a way that you are taxed by the county that you live, and we had moved to a different County, and we couldn’t get our home address change, because that goes to the DMV. So I had spent months I think it was like three months trying to get ahold of the DMV, it was all during this COVID thing, I get it, like I get it. But I finally went to Twitter and complained and within like 24 hours, the whole thing was resolved. No, we still had to wait another three months to actually get into the DMV to change it. But it was resolved. It was in the process of being resolved. That’s see I’m ranting. But I shared that I share those stories. In my email newsletter.

Bridget Willard 41:32
I think that would be a good segue. Right? Like, yeah, this happened to me. And do you because I think a lot a lot of people don’t do right, Jason, is this exercise that empathy muscle of way? What do you do as a customer? You know, I’m always ask people, oh, how many of you use hashtags on on Facebook, and they all raise their hand? And then I say, how many of you click on hashtags on Facebook, and one person raises their hand, and then like, look around, you’re, you’re not even doing what you want your people to do. Right? So like, how do you? Okay, I know, we never got to this question. And we’re almost done with this section of the show. But it’s clearly we need to have you on again.

Jason Tucker 42:20
Oh, darn it, you’ll

Bridget Willard 42:22
be I know shucks. But like, what is the first question that someone should ask before they start their newsletter?

Tess Wittler 42:32
This Let me see if Jason’s been paying attention. What have we been emphasizing during this entire show?

Jason Tucker 42:37
being like being being personable, personable like being

Tess Wittler 42:42
know your audience? Oh, know your audience? Well, of course, of course. Know your audience. And we haven’t talked about it. But the other piece that, you know, we haven’t even touched on, and I know, Bridgette, you’re familiar with this, too, is segmentation. So you know, you have this big list of, yeah, 500 or 1000, or even more names. And you know, you’re gonna What do you do when you have four or five different audiences within that you have to segment your list. So then you have your email newsletters that go out to those and talk specifically to those

Jason Tucker 43:17
of you back Geez.

Tess Wittler 43:23
Throw that in there? Because I know that someone’s gonna be watching this at some point be like, you know what, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She never you mentioned segmentation. Well,

Bridget Willard 43:30
we were we were specifically talking about the cost. Like, how, cuz like, I okay, I know that as a writer, I shouldn’t say this by going to anyway, I hate this. You got to tell a story. Like I hate that. Like, when I think story, it was a dark and stormy night, and the moon was a shadow on the puddle, and then snap us behind you, you know that? Instead, you’re just like, Oh, you mean be a normal human being? Oh, yeah, it was the other day. And I couldn’t find the three quarter inch bolts. So you know, I found the guy in the blue vest. And you know, that reminds me? Are you available to your customers? That’s I don’t think of that. As storytelling. I think of that as being a normal human being. Yeah, I don’t want to listen to your story. If I want a story, I’ll watch Netflix. I just want to know how this relates to me. Right. So do you ever have to explain that to your clients when you’re talking to them? Or Yeah,

Tess Wittler 44:32
yeah, you have? Yeah, I mean, I say storytelling because, you know, that’s, that’s what I’ve learned. But yeah, absolutely. You make a really good point. You know, sometimes us marketers, US writers need to kind of bring it back down to a more human level and just say this is and so that’s one of the things I coach my my clients on, is becoming familiar with, or coming. comfortable with being able to share those pieces of Your story, you know of your life that that transition into what you want to talk about.

Jason Tucker 45:09
Shall we jump into Tool Tip of the Week? Yes. What do you got? Bridget? What’s your Tool Tip of the Week for this

Bridget Willard 45:15
holy Toledo? Like, can I talk about noumea?

Jason Tucker 45:20
No, you haven’t? Nope, you haven’t.

Bridget Willard 45:23
Okay, I was gonna save it. So noom is not free. It is a subscription based app to change your relationship with food is not a marketed, I’ve heard about it a lot. And I’ve been doing my own thing. I’ve been on billions of diets, you know, Weight Watchers to my actual endocrinologist giving me one, I’ve lost weight, blah, blah, blah, I became ill, blah, blah, blah. You know, and then you know, I’m doing my exercise and all this other stuff. Like I walk, I do yoga, and I do strength training. What I’ve changed starting December 27, to now is two things, intermittent fasting, and noon. So I’ve lost 12 pounds, I’m super excited to be 220 pounds, which I never thought I would say out loud. But I’m getting closer to like, where I got down to before my hysterectomy a year and a half ago, which was 215. And I literally just want to be 185 like I’m fine being overweight, I don’t have body issues. I’m gorgeous. Like I’m flicking off the men like I don’t have that problem. But like I don’t want to be old and falling in the shower breaking my hip either. Like this is honestly my, my grandmother, Larry 200 was completely freaked me out. So noom is based on is it is basically a course like Chris Badgett would do on lifter LMS

Jason Tucker 46:51
and go through

Bridget Willard 46:52
this thing like Duolingo. And it’s like five to seven minutes a day of these broken up courses in one to three minutes, teaches you about food portions, teaches you about diet teaches you about like, it also teaches you some behavioral tricks. It’s based in cognitive behavioral therapy, okay, you do their survey, and based upon your survey, this survey answers, they recommend things toward you. Now I told them, my goal is 185, not 145, which is a top weight the government wants me to be at. And so and I told him, I want to do it slow. Like I like I like that I can do it in my own timing on my own way. And not be all shamed by stepping on a scale in front of a whole room of people, or being in some group. Now that this comes with a coach who’s your personal coach, mine is Emily. And then you have a group, which I hate groups. So I just click it so I can see the they want you to participate in the group. I’m not participating in the group. I’m not a group person. So not I just get rid of that notification. So anyway, it’s based in science, sociology, and psychology. Okay. And based upon your answers to the survey, because I know everybody wants to know how much does it cost based upon your answers to the survey, they project how long you will be on this program. Mine is six months. So you pay that six months right away. There’s a free trial that they ask you to like, they you can pay like $2 or $80. And I’ll put my referral link in the thing or whatever case it helps you guys but the thing is, so it’s 2364 some something weird like that, but I paid on them $48 right away. And somebody was like I said it really expensive. That seems expensive. And I thought about it. You know, I really do spend more money on bourbon, literally. I mean, the Woodford Reserve I got was $34. And that was just basically for a week and a half. Ah, Sarah, trying it now my sister in law. He did it and a bunch of other people. And then I was like, You know what, I’ve tried everything else. Why not? Because for me, I know that my food issues are based in psychology of fear of not having food because I grew up missing meals. That’s how poor grew up. So I don’t I don’t want to keep that mentality. And also I was married to a diabetic for 23 years. And I was like grapes are sin and they’re like, you can eat like two cups of grapes and just snack on that. I’m like, wow, that’s what I can eat grapes. This is like candy. You mean I can have like three or four pieces of fruit in one meal. I my education of nutrition was based in living with a diabetic who controlled it by his diet. That is not what a non diabetic needs to be on.

Jason Tucker 50:02

Bridget Willard 50:03
I thought that like that was totally terrible. And I’m and all of a sudden I’m eating between noon and 8pm averaging 1200 calories a day, down 12 pounds in almost three weeks,

Tess Wittler 50:19
huh? Awesome.

Bridget Willard 50:22
That’s awesome. So I don’t even want to talk about until Thanks for having me. Because you know me, I’m a skeptic.

Jason Tucker 50:27
So right.

Bridget Willard 50:29
Yeah, I like it. I, you know, I’ll tell you what I don’t like people pushing things on me when it comes to diet. So do it or don’t do it, I really don’t care, because everybody bodies are totally different in everything else like that. I’m not like one of those vegans is going to preach to everybody. But um, you know, I also have a book out. So if you want to, like I have a few of these floating around on Amazon. So you can do that, too. If you don’t like the new preachy about Twitter.

Jason Tucker 51:02
Tess, what about you? What do you got, as a Tool Tip of the Week, something you want to share with us,

Tess Wittler 51:07
I have to kind of go along with what we were a little bit talking about. When Jason Jason, you asked the question, you know, how do you get people to actually open your email. And one of the one of the keys is to come up with good subject lines. So and we’re not going to get into that. But one of the tools that I absolutely love, and I where’s my Where’s mine? Oh,


instead of, it’s gonna it’s Words That Sell, it’s a book. But instead of saying words that sell How about words that open emails. So this book has more than 6000 words and phrases that make the difference between yada, yada, yada, and copy that sells another one that was copy that resonates? So it is a great resource for me. I use it for everything from writing email newsletters, to landing pages to thought leadership pieces. Yeah, there you go. It’s not very expensive at all. I’ve I’ve probably had this book. I bought it in Tucson. So probably at least five years. And it’s basically it’s a it’s a great thesaurus, for those of us who don’t like the source. It gives you alternatives to two phrases. And I absolutely, I can’t it’s on my desk all the time.

Bridget Willard 52:43
So Oh, my gosh, I’m putting on my list right now.

Tess Wittler 52:46
Yeah, it’s a great resource. So the beginning is actually

let me see if I can find it.

Jason Tucker 52:56
I was like, so like,

Tess Wittler 52:59
yeah, like snappy transitions, we were talking about transitions. This is more for selling. But see, so and in our conversation, we were talking about transitioning from sharing a piece of what’s happening in your life to a tip that you can actually share with your audience. But they have snappy transitions, like, one of them is, as you can see, as you might imagine, no doubt about it, obviously it’s those types of things that can really help you bring more life to copy. A lot of people get intimidated by writing, but it really isn’t. It’s really just, it’s really just talking with words. And you’re just you’re typing it out instead.

Bridget Willard 53:41
I know and we get in our own weird writing ruts, too. So that’s on its way to San Antonio right now. Thank you.

Tess Wittler 53:52
I love that book.

Bridget Willard 53:55
enough for you. It’s good enough for me.

Tess Wittler 54:00
It’s very thin. And I like that like this a source I had in college was like you know, 510 pounds.

Jason Tucker 54:07
Yeah, I always keep about like 10, 15 bucks that I know I’m gonna have to spend at the end of our show because we just have to lose a little bit outside of that impulse buy section

Bridget Willard 54:24
its a lifestyle.

Jason Tucker 54:31
Oh boy. Well, since we’re talking about fitness stuff that I was trying to think of something that that I’ve, I’ve used and used recently, I wanted to share with you. One that I use which is an app called health kit. I’m an iPhone user. Also on Apple Watch where and between the Apple Watch and the iPhone. I’m able to kind of track my my workouts, track my walking and track all my stuff. So what this thing does is, you don’t have to put anything into the system at all. All it does is it pulls in the information that your Apple Watch has been collecting as you’ve been doing your workout. So if you tell it, I’m going to do a workout. It’s like for me, for instance, I grabbed my dog, I put a leash on him, I walk out the door, and I stand there for a second. And then I hold up my watch, and I say, start a walking workout. And then Siri instantly kicks into work at walking workout mode, and starts tracking it, I go and do my walk. And then when I’m done, I, I it shows on the watch that I’ve been walking. So I hit the button and I say I’m, you know, I’m completing my workout. And then seconds later, I get a notification on my phone. That’s this app. And what this app does is it says like, here’s your workout. So it’s like, I went and walked 1.3 miles, I walked, you know, quarter mile, walk two miles, you know, so on, so forth. So like, these are maps of all the places that I’ve walked throughout the entire time that I you know that I’m walking. And whenever I go walk anywhere, I’m constantly changing up my walking, and this is the same neighborhood, this is the same neighborhood, but I just keep walking different ways every single time. So this thing does all of that. And it does a bunch of metrics. So it tells you like, what’s my, what’s my active energy? How many steps I take, this is horrible to look at, in the morning, when I just started a podcast, I literally walked like 20 feet so far. So how long was that embed? How much of energy did I use, like all these things, but what’s really nice about this app is if you push this thing up on the top here, it can actually output the different places. So you could send it to final surge to Google Sheets to self loops. There’s a bunch of these apps that people use, that will make it so that you can kind of pull this data in and then push it someplace else. And what my secret sleep cycle is over the past 30 days, what’s my energy? Like? What’s my cardio, like? tons of information in here about this sort of thing. So you can kind of go through here and look and see, you know, what am I what I’ve been doing? How much I’ve been walking? How much am I you know, doing things. So take a look at this, it gives me a really good example as to tells me a really good example as to like what it is that I’m doing, and what type of workouts am I actually doing throughout the day.

Bridget Willard 57:27
So is that the heart the native apple? Or is that a different app?

Jason Tucker 57:32
This isn’t this is the app, this is an app that you download that pulls in the native information from what’s called on the iPhone and on on the Apple Watch, Health Kit. So healthkit is like the database that all this stuff gets stored into. So whenever you do anything on your Apple watch that stuff gets saved into health kit, and then health kit, exposes it to all the other applications that are out there. Yeah.

Bridget Willard 58:01
Do you have to have your phone with you? When you have your watch on?

Jason Tucker 58:05

Bridget Willard 58:06
Wait. Okay, so I know I’m always behind on certain things. But usually the ones that cost money? Yeah. So are you saying like, I could literally just have my car keys because I’m a single woman and my phone and my no and an Apple Watch and go for walking and not have to have my phone on my person.

Jason Tucker 58:27
Yep. And if you spent more money, you could get an apple watch that has cellular so that if you do get a phone call, or if you do need to call for help, you can still do it off of your watch. It’s usually about 10 bucks a month extra on your cell phone bill.

Bridget Willard 58:41
Maybe that’s a good Valentine’s Day present for myself.

Jason Tucker 58:46

Tess Wittler 58:46
I like it. I mean,

Bridget Willard 58:47
it’s not it’s weird to have your phone. Like I don’t you don’t have pockets when you’re wearing all this? Yeah, or it’s wearing out whenever to x you. And whatever

Jason Tucker 58:58
it is. The GPS uses all that information to just kind of track where it is that you’re walking and everything or running or doing whatever. And it just tracks it for you. So you can do that. And then that app that I showed you that one is just an app that you can download that kind of exposes all of that that home health kit information so you can kind of see it all in one shot. Interesting. Yeah, go take a look at that. Well, that’s about it for today. Test. Thank you very much. Apparently, we need you on about five more times, because we keep every time you talk to us. I guess we do need to talk about subjects. Yes, we do need to talk about teaser text. Yes, we do need to talk about Did you have

Bridget Willard 59:40
a whole episode on subjects of teaser text? Just send me an email test of which Friday you would like. I’ve tried. I was trying to book it out. I don’t have a guest yet for next week. But we’ll be having a show on something

Jason Tucker 59:58
as we do, let’s test it. Thank you very much for coming on the show with us. We really appreciate it. I’m looking forward to seeing what folks say about this. If you have any feedback or anything like that if you want to send us some feedback, because you can send us an email at feedback at WP water cooler calm, and you can do that. And here’s our outro Thank you. supporters on Patreon, go to slash where you can help us out over there. We’re gonna be posting a lot of content over on Patreon. So if

you want to subscribe to this content, we’d appreciate it for free. All you have to do is go over to our website at AQR slash subscribe, learn how to subscribe to all of our shows as audio podcast. And watch us on video if you want to say thank you very much for hanging out with us. We appreciate it. Go later.

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