Episode #4 – James Schramko, 95% Repeat Customers Without Affiliates, Promotions, JVs or Launches

by John McIntyre

James Schramko has been in the online game for over 6 years. Along the way, he’s learned a few things about email and in this podcast, he shares all.

You’ll hear about how he uses email to build the 3 areas of his business: 1) website development, 2) traffic, and 3) internet business.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • James Schramko’s ‘Golden Rule’ of email marketing
  • Why James believes that the “internet lifestyle” is a possibility for anyone willing to put in the effort to make it happen
  • Is email marketing the perfect business strategy?
  • Why James values his email marketing more than any other marketing channel in his business
  • James sends daily emails. Find out how he does it and gets his subscribers to thank him for it.
  • The ‘Schramko Way’ to get 95% repeat customers (without affiliates, promotions, JVs or launches)
  • How to build a content marketing machine (and the magic it’ll do for your business)
  • James has enough ideas for the next 10 years. How does he do it?

Email Marketing Podcast Episode 1


Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO

Raw transcript:

James: One of my friends is actually bringing a sexy Jesus calendar and I’m not …
John: Hey podcast listener, you’re about to discover insider tips, tricks and secrets to making more sales and generating more prospects into customers with Email Marketing. For more information about the Email Marketing Podcast or Autoresponder Guy go to themcmethod.com/podcast.
Hey everybody, its John McIntyre here the Autoresponder Guy and it’s time for episode 4 of the Email Marketing Podcast where we talk about the top tips, tricks and secrets to making more sales and growing your revenue with Email Marketing.
Today I’ll be talking to James Schramko about how he uses email to boost his traffic and his conversions. James sends daily emails and he does it differently to pretty much everyone else I’ve seen including other people I’ve interviewed. To get the show notes for this episode of The Email Marketing Podcast go to themcmethod.com/ep4 but first before we get into that let’s talk some news.
The Email Marketing Podcast has its first review, it’s five stars and it’s from none other than John Dumas. John’s the guy behind an awesome daily podcast called Entrepreneur on Fire. Check out his podcast at entrepreneuronfire.com. Now here’s what John’s five star review says. John knows how to bring the heat … we have the same names so it gets a little bit confusing. The Email Marketing Podcast has instantly entered my rotation of must listens. John brings killer guests on and extracts killer content from them. Thanks John and keep it up.
Thanks for the review John, keep rocking those podcasts and yes it’s very confusing having John and John and John. Anyway, now if you want to leave a review go to dreapdeadcopy.com/podcast there’s a link to iTunes store, click the link, get automatically sent to the iTunes page. Leave your review and I’ll read it out on the next episode. Okay, anyway let’s get started. Let’s go talk to James Schramko.
It’s John McIntyre here the Autoresponder Guy with the Email Marketing Podcast. I’m here with James Schramko from superfastbusiness.com. I met James on an online forum and I interviewed him a while back for the McIntyre Method product that autoresponds and now we’re back to talk again about email stuff.
James teaches people how to build a successful online business using articles, videos, podcasts and pretty much everything you can do online. He has a number of products with pretty much anything in that area which I’m sure we’ll talk in just a moment. James how are you doing today?
James: Good, how going John?
John: Fantastic, always. Let’s start off. I know I gave you a bit of an introduction there but I’m sure you can fill in some gaps. Tell us a bit, who are you and what do you do?
James: Right, like you said we made in the jelly wrestling forum and … hang on, a different one wasn’t it. That’s right. It was more of a marketing one. Sometimes I get confused. I pretty much have an online business that focuses in three main areas. It is website development, traffic for those websites and internet business which is like a coaching and mastermind set up. I help people drive those websites once they’ve got them up because as we know a website is not a business.
I came from a business background that set me up quite nicely to be able to translate the concepts that we’re familiar with from normal business with retail stores and dealing with big brands and little brands and international markets and local markets and to sort of make sense of it from an online perspective. A lot of people are draw into my business because they want help with that sort of stuff.
I’ve been doing that for about seven or eight years now and full time for about six of those years. I’m coming up to my sixth anniversary from when I let my boss know that I no longer required his services.
John: Wow, are you going to have a party?
James: Every year I just … well year of course, quite the expert in that now. I do contemplate how significant that was, it was such a change in life to be able to get away from that desk and then to start traveling more and expanding my horizon so to speak and learning a lot more about the rest of other cultures. I think everyone would like to do that. A lot of people feel frustrated that it’s eluding them and I guess if I’ve got any message for people it’s, it is worth paying the price to read a few extra books or listen to a few extra podcasts and implement the stuff you learn because it is possible to do it.
John: Absolutely. One thing that I’ve learned recently is that it’s just a choice, it is nothing sensational or super exceptional about it you just have to make the choice and then it’s pretty simple from there you can figure things out.
James: Yes it is a choice and it requires some action and doing certain things that some people aren’t prepared to do. I think people whistle away their time sitting on the couch watching television when they could be doing something productive.
John: Like email marketing.
James: Well that it does require effort to do email marketing. However there’s a very sexy automation side to it isn’t there where you can have things happening even when you’re not there?
John: There is, the autoresponders and you can queue up a year’s worth of emails put some traffic on that list and then go live in the jungle for a year and you’d make sales all year.
James: Yeah, it is actually a possibility and we know some people who have a similar approach to that.
John: Absolutely. You do everything, you’ve got email and you’ve got … I’m seeing here page traffic, you do a lot of SEO but since this is the Email Marketing Podcast let’s talk about emails specifically. I know that you have a fairly unique way of doing things in the emails you send and how often you send them and that kind of thing. Tell us a little bit about the James Schramko email strategy.
James: Well I’ve got a fundamental rule my golden rule is that someone must be off opening the email. For that reason there’s always some value attached to my emails and there’s always a purpose or a reason for the email that will benefit the recipient of it. That set of rules they aren’t … you know the people, they sort of put I’d really value your inbox in their email and then they send you 27 affiliate offers. It’s like they don’t actually subscribe to what they’re telling you.
My way of … I mean I value my email marketing above all the other traffic channels, it’s fantastic. These are people who selected to receive emails from me and whom I’m able to build a relationship with so I really value it highly. For that reason I just use it to let them know when there is something for them. It’s as simple as that.
It could be some information on a topic that they’ve expressed an interest in, it could be a follow up to a service or a product that they’ve purchased from me that explains more how to use it or what else we’re doing for them or what else we have that they could also benefit from or it could be a response to an action that they’ve taken. I use a lot of triggers in my email sequences in my marketing where an email will be sent if something happens. It’s like an if this then that rule and I love those things. I think they’re really awesome.
John: Okay, it sounds like you don’t do much direct selling via email you use it more like primarily as a relationship building tool.
James: Primarily I use it to get people to my site where I am doing a lot of value content based selling. I’m always selling however it would be rare that I send an email with the sales letter in the email but I do that maybe once every six months and it’s highly effective when I do that however it’s not my standard operating procedure.
John: Okay, give us some examples. What are you actually saying in these emails, what are you sending them?
James: Usually I’ll just have a small story. I might say … firstly it’ll go to a specific segment so I’m really thinking about who is receiving this. If I have a website customer who buys websites from me then I would send them an email with a story about, “Hey imagine if you traffic to your website halved. That would kind of suck and one of the first things you could do in that situation is to really improve your conversions to try and double it because the overage website might sell a couple of percent, 2 or 3 percent of the visitors. It’s not that hard to lift conversions up to 4 or 5 percent. That’s one of the first things you could do if your traffic halved.”
Then I turn the email around to say well recently one of my websites actually increased in traffic and it went up like nearly 50 percent and in that six months period my conversions went up almost 500 percent. Then I’ll attach proof, I’ll say have a look at this and it’s a screenshot from my analytics. It’ll be like a four hundred and something improvement. Then I go on to say I actually made a video to see if I can help you improve your conversions for your website. It’s very relevant, it’s all about website conversions and it’s got then a screenshot of the video that is on the page that they will click to. I will link to the blog post in the text, I’ll link the images to the blog post and then a final call to action might be go and watch the video here.
That will lead them to a page that has the exact same video that they saw in the email and that video will be a video about some things you can do to help your conversions and it will also let them know that we can do it for them if they’d like. Then that will link to the exact product that we have that will improve their conversations and us do it for them.
John: Okay, you’re doing some really … I guess it’s advanced but it’s also just very well thought out in the sense that you’re starting with … someone get’s the website, joins the list and then you’re going to send them an email and each email tries to get them back to the website. They watch a video and they could see some sort of content they can get value out of it and then you have a relevant offer because you have … I guess you must have 10 or 20 different products that you sell to them so then you can attach a relevant offer to every single video that you have.
James: Yeah most of my customers can buy most of my products which is … I call it the chocolate wheel but it’s very powerful because I end up … I was just looking at last month’s stats and this might be interesting to listen to this but I had over 95 percent repeat customers last month so in the last 30 days. I do this without affiliates, I do it without promotions, I do it without joint ventures, I do it without launches and I didn’t actually do page traffic last month. I just do it through organic growth of my content marketing and list marketing. In fact in that 30 day period I sent over 200,000 emails.
John: You’re sending daily emails aren’t you?
James: Pretty much every day. I’ve got a pretty small list relatively speaking. I think it’s about twenty two and a half thousand people in my office autopilot account and I’m sending couple of hundred thousand emails a month. In fact over the last 12 months I sent 1.6 million emails and I made far more than that in dollars. So I literally make more than a dollar for every email that I sent.
John: That’s good to know, that’s really cool. So you can send an email and go there’s this amount of people on the list I’m sending out this email therefore I’m going to make this amount of money from this email.
James: I don’t actually calculate … I don’t really predict that far in advance but what I can be certain of is if I do send out an email about conversions and send people to the package that of the people who get that email it might only be two and a half thousand people who have purchased a website or similar service that a percentage of those will open, probably a pretty high percent and half of those people will probably click through and watch the video.
Then some of those people will actually go and order the package which from memory is about $400. I know that we will make sales the next day from when I send that email and mostly for the next week because as you know people’s inboxes are quite full. They don’t throw mine out, they don’t unsubscribe, they don’t complain but they might sit on it for a few days to actually get to it on the weekend or something.
John: Okay. You’re a content machine, you’re having content that comes out is it five days a week or seven days a week?
James: Seven days a week. I create content every single day. In an average week I will put out five or six video blog posts all of those will have the podcast. I’ll put out a weekly summary and then I’ll put out two several podcasts for my other podcasts and all of those will get an email. However not everyone is on the master list so some people might only be on one podcast or they might only be on a traffic list or they might only be in a business list.
Then if they’re part of my business communities I also make a private video for each of my two business communities only those people get them. In one of them there’s about 30 people and the other one there’s about 700 people and only those people get that video.
John: Okay, so you really have … you set it up so you have a reason to be in these peoples’ inboxes every single day because you can say I have something new to share with you?
James: Exactly and a lot of my pieces of content are very short. They might be one minute or two minutes, they’re not onerous. Then my main podcast that’s like a 40 minute episode once a week and people just demolish that.
John: One thing that I think is very interesting because I’ve switched to daily emails recently and I’ve been advising … telling other people to do the same and I think one of the biggest barriers that most people have is what do they write about? Everyone has a different way of doing it, I’ve spoken to Ben Settle and John McCulloch and some other guys and they have their own way of telling stories and things like that. You have your own way of doing things so how do you exactly … how do you come up with content that you can create every single day? How do you not run out of ideas?
James: I’ve got enough ideas for the next 10 years so if you ever need a few just drop a line. Seriously like I could give you 10 different ways to find ideas. One is actually have a note thing on my iPhone that says make this video and whenever I think of something I just jot it down.
For example about three weeks ago I was going away so I thought I might make a couple of videos just to put on my hard drive, my little portable flash drive as backup in case I just feel tired or when you travel sometimes it sucks your energy and I put out … I made 12 videos in just a few hours, 12 in a row. I did a three part profit booster series, I did all sorts of tips, I can literally dig into my mastermind notes from week and pull out … I will have 30 business owners telling me their deepest darkest problems every week for about five hours. I actually make notes on every single person, what they said, what I told them to do. Each one of those could be a video. I could make 30 videos from that.
Then there is my forum, 700 members posting questions every single day so I can simply just sort by thread and find the most discussed topics. Then I could head over to my help desk where at any one minute there’s over 500 support tickets and that’s with ongoing jobs, recurring jobs or people coming to the website, hitting live chat question, leave a message and then they ask a question. Can I be a white label reseller of your products? Do you offer this service? How would I best use this? How does James use office autopilot?
All these questions and I just simply take the frequently asked questions from my help desk and I have my team compile them. I say to the team what do people keep asking us? They send me a little Google doc and it says the top 100 questions we get asked. There’s 100 pieces of content I could make and I just air to them one topic per video and you could just stick a how to in front of it and you’ve got something that’s useful for your customers.
John: Right, what I love about that is that it’s 100 percent driven by real problems that people have not you sitting away in some dark room brainstorming stuff it’s you going out there and finding out what does … what do people want?
James: Yeah, I’m instant. I like to utilize, I think they call it that from acting or whatever. I was sitting here yesterday at about this time and I got an email from Amazon and it was for a Zoom H4N audio recorder and I’m like wow that is tricky. The reason it was tricky is I happen to have one of those and my friend was asking me hey dude is this the Zoom that you were talking about and he sent me a link in Skype to the product on Amazon. I clicked on the link, went to Amazon and they’ve obviously tracked me by cookie because I buy Kindles like every day or two I’ll probably buy a Kindle.
They’ve then stored that information, they’ve gone and check a few days later has James purchased a Zoom H4N yet? No. Okay, we better send him a little email. They send me the email, “Are you interested in Zoom H4?” They’re all over me. I actually recognized it because I do the same thing all over my stuff. That’s one of my favorite ways to communicate with people by email because they’ve taken an action that tells me clearly that they’re interested in something and using my database of people who visit me over and over and over again I can actually tell that they haven’t or they have purchased and then I can follow them up accordingly.
John: Okay so using a lot of advanced segmenting there based on what people want and then sending them emails based on what they want.
James: I know it’s crazy isn’t it?
John: Who would have thought? One thing that’s really obvious here is it seems you don’t really about open rates or click throughs what you care about is constantly churning out content and content, more and more and more content and not so much fuss over the little stuff like open rates but your overall trend of the business.
James: Well I just want to be relevant I just want to solve problems. I do care about unsubscribes and complaints but I just don’t get them and my list grows every single month organically from my opt ins on my site. I’m not getting people giving me hate or abusing me for sending too many emails those are my worst fears. The thing is I’m more likely to get someone to email me and say, “Hey have you taken me off the list because I haven’t received an email from you for a week or so and what’s happening?” They literally do that.
I also get a lot of replies to my emails and that gives you fuel for the next one. I’ll actually have comments on my posts or an email reply with a further question that I maybe didn’t cover in the first video and then I’ll just make a follow up.
One of my classics was the guy who … I put out a video about the equipment I’m using and this guy complained. He said, “You got to stop wearing $2 shirts and a good shave.” I took his comment and made another video out of it and I called it should you shave and what should I wear? I put me in a nice shave … shirt, I put me in just a T-shirt and then I had a little sort of cut away shot of me nude in between not showing what I should wear. That had, it had like 300 comments it just went ballistic.
People want to be entertained, they want something fun and they look forward to opening emails like that, they want to express an opinion. It was really helpful to me and as a result of that I now have a lovely collection of about 12 polo shirts that apparently are kind of acceptable … they still say sporty and wealthy but they’re not a tie, it’s not dressing up for the camera, it’s just a nice sort of in between and do shave more often.
John: How often, once a year?
James: No I’m not going for the Jesus look or anything like a couple of our friends are. It seems that I keep bumping into people, one of my friends has actually been in a sexy Jesus calendar but I’m not down that track. I recon I probably shave two or three times a week and before I would have shaved maybe once or twice a month, it was kind of like a resistance to corporate.
John: A Jesus calendar that’s …
James: A sexy Jesus calendar.
John: I didn’t know Jesus was sexy.
James: It’s overage.
John: It’s got to be. All right man, we’re just coming up to time right about now. This has been really cool and all this talk about jelly wrestling is making me laugh. Let’s finish up. Give yourself a play, talk about what you’re selling and give people … tell people where they can find out and sign up to your list and start receiving these emails of yours.
James: Okay, well surely the easiest way to find out what I’m up to is to go and have a look at superfastbusiness.com. There’s about 3000 ways you can opt in and by the way I actually do track each one right down to the opt in so I know which one’s better than the other ones and in all seriousness there’s about seven different ways and I’ve learnt a lot about that. That’s why I had a 500 percent increase in my opt ins even with only a 50 percent increase in traffic over that six months period and that’s important to know how you get people to opt in.
Go on, have a look at what I’m doing and the best thing is with my emails you can hit reply and it’ll come straight to me. Hit reply and tell me how to improve, tell me what would make it a better experience, tell me if you think they’re good or the suck. I’m interested in having that conversation and that’s the key I think to staying realistic with your audience and not overstepping the mark because your good customers will be the first ones to tell you when you’re pushing it but luckily they don’t tell me that very often.
John: You’re dirty man, all right James that’s at superfastbusiness.com and I’ll have the link in the show notes so you can check out the millions of opt ins there. That’s it for now, thanks for coming on James.
James: Thanks John, always a pleasure.
John: Hey everybody, thanks for listening. If you want to discover more insider tips, tricks and secrets about driving sales with email marketing sign up for daily email tips from the Autoresponder Guy. Go to themcmethod.com/podcast sign up, confirm your email address and I’ll send you daily emails on how to improve your email marketing and make more sales via email. You’ll find out why open rates don’t matter and the seven letter word that underlies all effective marketing and much more.

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