Interview 5 - Chad Ever

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Interview with Chad Ever – Transcription

Kate       Hi, I’m Kate Barrett, the founder of Shine a Light Media and the Email Marketing Academy, and welcome to the next in our series of interviews with everyone from entrepreneurs to fellow email marketing experts where we will be finding out how they use email in their business to give you inspiration in your own work.

Our guest today is Chad Ever. Chad has over 10 year’s corporate experience and has just left a position as the marketing director of a top massage school. He has now set up his own business Ever Studios offering web design services. So Chad, welcome and thank you so much for agreeing to spend some time with me today.


Chad      Absolutely Kate, thank you for reaching out, it’s a pleasure to be here.


Kate       It’s great to speak to you. So Chad, do you want to introduce yourself a little bit more and obviously the new company that you’ve just set up.


Chad      Absolutely. The name of the company is Ever Studios. Myself, I’ve been doings sales and marketing for a very long time and computers have always been a thing for me. Ever since I was a kid I was taking things apart and trying to figure out how they work, so it was a natural progression for me to get into website design and so here we are, finally buckling down and doing it as a business, something that I can thrive and survive off of. I’ve just hit my 30s and so I feel it is the right time to really kick it into high gear as an entrepreneur.


Kate       Time to find some freedom outside the corporate world and use all of that fantastic knowledge and experience you have to benefit lots of other companies.


Chad      Yes that’s exactly right.


Kate       So Chad, we’re going to have the benefit of your experience over the years and your position as marketing director but also your objective view from a start-up entrepreneur which is going to be absolutely great as we move through our questions today. Jumping straight in, what marketing channels have you used previously that you found have worked really well, or in your new business you are currently using to start generating those sales?


Chad      In previous businesses, something that I’ve found is for the larger companies maintaining the brand image is vital, and you have to go where the folks are. So in the company I was working for previously, we really hit social media pretty hard and did a lot of brand maintaining. We were on Facebook, we did Google Plus. We did a little bit of Twitter but we didn’t find that our target market was there so we just maintained a brand there, but we weren’t as aggressive. Our main objectives were to involves students, and you can’t just say “Hey student, come spend ten grand with us”. You need to get your name in front of them, build a reputation, educate for them and then they will  come organically through referrals or they will just remember they saw your name somewhere, and then when it was time for them to make that move, they would go to your place rather than a competitor because you’ve already branded them.   A big part of implementing email to into that was setting up goals so if they visited our website and they went to specific page they would get a specific email tailored to that page. That’s something that is relatively new to me so I was learning as I was doing that but I saw a pretty good retention rate having those personalised individualised emails as they were visiting our site and specific items.


Kate       That’s a great advanced technique to be using and like you said, it really personalises those emails based on a specific action that they have taken, or haven’t taken perhaps on the website and it’s all about hitting them at a point when they’re thinking about you. They are in that process and its tailoring  it to what they have been looking at on your website for example. I think that’s a fantastic example of a more advanced email marketing technique and great to hear that you got fantastic responses from that as well because they are so targeted. I think another point that you just mentioned there that is really key as well is looking at where your customers are.   We all get caught up in going to all of these social media channels and trying to cope with managing strategies for every single one of them and sometimes you forget to have a look and think actually are my target customers hanging out here, or should I be focusing my time on fewer channels, is there one channel that they are on, is it a couple of channels. You’re absolutely right in what you said, you really need to be where your customers are, and if they’re not there, then be prepared to drop that channel and focus your efforts on a different area.


Chad      Yeah, most definitely. We have found that it’s really good to have one or two and then master those and get your brand on those very well and then one at a time add another one so it’s almost like a test to find out if they’re even on that one then you can go from there, that way you’re not throwing money out the window


Kate       I think that’s a really good tip Chad, thank you, that’s a really, really good tip for our listeners there. In terms of email marketing, how were you connecting your email marketing to your social media? So if social media was really working for you to get the brand out there, was there a connection between those two channels?


Chad      Yeah, most definitely, The main thing was using social media to drive traffic to our website which we had a whole bunch of              analytical currents put in so that once they got there we were able to capture them by an opt in page and know what they’re doing, so are they going to the request information page, or are they going to the about this school page, or are they just on there looking to get a massage? At that point we can then split them up into whatever is appropriate with follow up emails and auto responders.

The goal was really to drive traffic to the website by educating them and getting our brand out there and then once they were captured in our funnel and we were able to follow up with them with our admissions department. Speed to lead is always something really important as far as schools, so if they do request information somebody gets on the phone and in contact with them and if we can’t get in contact with them then they are placed on our email follow up list.


Kate       Excellent, so integrating those channels and really using the social media to really drive to your website, collect that email opt in to say, yes I want to receive communications from you, or obviously alternatively, yes I want to receive a phone call from you to book an appointment, then following it up with that targeted sales funnel via email where you have got that opt in. I think that sounds great. Did you see good results from that in terms of the sign ups did you find that offering an incentive to sign up worked better? is that something that you tried?


Chad      We did try offering an incentive, you know “schedule your appointment and on your day we’ll hook you up with a free massage”. That actually didn’t work for us because again with a school its very different than an entrepreneur who’s trying to sell either a specific service or trying to sell a specific product. For us as a school trying to involve folks to spend a large chunk of money, the biggest thing we could do was make them feel like we cared. That was the most important part.


Kate       I think that’s a really key point generally, give people value, make them feel that you care, and again another point that you just mentioned and I think is really important for our listeners is what works for one business doesn’t necessarily work for another business. You really need to look at what’s right for your target audience and, like you did, try different things and see what works best for you. Again, that’s another great insight from you there Chad.


Chad      Thank you. I would say the biggest struggle for me currently is transitioning from having a website designed in a way that it’s really holding people and showing they care            to what I’m now doing is offering a service, it’s a very different thing. You’re absolutely right, not one solution is going to work for everyone.


Kate       Definitely. So, transitioning into your new business, and I guess that’s the thing, and something again that our listeners might have experienced coming from larger companies where there is already a set up there, they’ve got some advanced tracking, you were doing some really advanced techniques at your previous companies, and then you become an entrepreneur and everything either costs you money to get it implemented on your website or you’ve just got to figure it out yourself.

So what are you doing at the moment in terms of your email for your new business? How are you using that knowledge and adapting it into your smaller company, and the budgets and the time constraints and everything that comes with that.


Chad      Yeah, so I would probably say that the biggest thing that I am trying to implement with the new company is building the list. Now, I have done several interviews in the past and was able to collect some emails with that, so I have a small list that I have created already because people were showing interest in it, and I offered a reminder email the day of the interview and they were following me, they were happy to provide their email address so that I could remind them, but that’s also begun generating a list for now that I’m offering services to ping them and say “Hey, so I know you like what I do, I know you enjoyed the interview, here’s what else I’m doing” and they’re not salesy, it’s more of a “here’s what’s up in Chad’s world right now” and then I am monitoring their open rates and those who are I would call an advocates, somebody who has three or four stars are opening all of my emails and are actually clicking through, those are the ones that are going to be put on this list for when I am offering a specific item, when it’s time to say “Ok, now you’re following me, here’s what I’m selling”. It’s a brand new process. A lot of the techniques I was using before are not working quite as well predominantly because I do not have a large a list to work from. I was working with a list of over 10,000 folks before, and now I’m under 50.


Kate       That’s the scary bit isn’t it. You’re really starting from scratch. So in terms of building that new list, what kind of techniques are you looking at employing to get new people organically and explicitly opted in? Do you think that you might offer an incentive through your new business, for example, a free download or a free video, to get them to opt in, and then building that sales funnel? What are you thinking about in terms of driving those new sign ups?


Chad      Those are items that I would really like to offer, either a tips sheet, something that they can download and that will educate them. That’s definitely something worth it. Because its website design, and my goal eventually with my prospective client is to re-do theirs, it’s to say “here’s five things that you can do to improve your rankings” for instance.   Then they look at it and they see the five thing that they can do and they see that it has worked once they’ve implemented it. They are now connecting the success with their website with me. So it’s not designed for an immediate turn around, but folks are beginning to realise every six months to two years they need to do a redesign, the site needs to be evolving forever, it can’t just be a static site and so when it’s time for them to do something, I’m the one they are going to reach out to because they have enjoyed what it is that I have done, they’ve implemented and seen my advice works. That’s something I am putting together right now, it’s the auto responders and the opt in page, but I am not quite there yet, it’s a lot of work to get a whole lot of things put together previous to actually launching the opt in page.


Kate       It is Chad, and again you’ve hit on a fantastic point there. Email marketing is not something that you can just do quickly, throw something out there that you’ve put together in five minutes. You really need to think about it, get those foundations in, those solid foundations, you mentioned,  auto responder series. Once you’ve worked on those, bar doing some testing to make sure that they’re optimised, they will just run for you, but it is that hard work in the beginning, getting good foundations in, getting good planning place, so you’re doing absolutely the right thing, but I think that’s a really good point to bring out for our listeners, that anything worth doing in this world is never going to be quick and easy to do. if it’s going to have a good return for you there is going to be some effort that you need to put in to it. Do you agree?


Chad      Yes most definitely. The primary service that I am running right now is mobilized.guru. It’s to take regular websites that are not mobile friendly and give them a mobile site and so that is primarily what I’m focusing on for the auto responders and just driving traffic to the site once its ready and really capture those folks who need it. They know they need it, they’re browsing for websites on their own phone, it’s time for them to figure out “OK my customers need this experience as well”.


Kate       Absolutely, and mobile is so key at the moment. The statistics in terms of mobile usage to either view websites, or to read email marketing, from an email marketing side, I know that its well above 50% now of opens that are happening on mobile devices. So it’s having your mobile optimised email, and then if you have that and then you lead to website that’s not mobile optimised, the customer journey is broken, you need to have that the whole way through. Having that mobile optimised website, absolutely crucial nowadays. It’s just got to be done. Your offering a service that is absolutely needed.


Chad      Absolutely, that was the goal. There was a need out there and I wanted to fulfil it. Our mission is to make the internet more beautiful and a better place for folks to be.

Kate       I love that! That’s a great little tagline there.


Chad      We only work with small businesses. We don’t want to jump to the corporate level because you lose that one on one with the owner or the manager who can make the decisions and that’s a big part of our business is us being there for them.


Kate       Definitely, I think that’s great. It’s a real USP for your business there. It shows that you really care and you’re focusing in on that particular market and again you know your ideal client, you know who it is that you want to target and the you can customise your email copy, and every other marketing channel and piece of marketing that you do to target that specific customer and use those benefits. Again, absolutely on the right track there.

So, in terms of the email marketing that you’re starting to do for your business and the auto responders that you are setting up, which email service provider are you using at the moment? Which system are you using to get those set up and ready to send?


Chad      With my previous company we started with Constant Contact and transitioned to MailChimp. And I have implemented MailChimp into my own. The mains reasons are they are very open. They have an API where you can do some real good customising of their opt in pages and their responders. I didn’t find that with a couple of the other providers. But also Mail Chimp is very geared towards opt ins, so once they have actually opted in there is a whole slew of implementation and tracking that you can do, as opposed to just uploading a list. My goal with my business is to gain opt ins and I wanted to go for a company that is affordable, but also that was driven by opt ins and not just by uploading a list.


Kate       Absolutely and allowing you, like you said, to customise the API side, because you are obviously technically savvy from that side, but also to be able to use that information, as long as it’s in your database, to be able to use that information coming through to personalise those emails and move towards the more advance techniques that you were using in your previous company to get those really personal emails triggered based on behaviour and using those links back to your website to make all of that happen.


Chad      Yes that’s exactly right.


Kate       Mail Chimp, a lot of people use it, like you mentioned, Constant Contact as well and obviously there are a whole slew of other email service providers that you can use. With Mail Chimp, it’s one of those systems that’s quite like Marmite, they either love it or they hate it. Some people just can’t get on with it, other people absolutely love it, find it really easy to you, and like you said, from your side its very customisable, if you can get into that development side you can pretty much make it do whatever you want it to  do, which is fantastic from that side of things. It’s a great system, any low cost systems have their limitations but I think as long as you go into that knowing that, and particularly for you its slightly different because you do have that development side that you can make custom adjustments to it.   It does what it needs to do. It allows you to really get started with email marketing in the right way. Like you said, get those opt ins, get that auto responder funnel, your sales funnel afterwards to deliver that value, build the relationship and hopefully lead on to the conversion. So I think that’s great that your using Mail Chimp and it sounds like you’re definitely going again down the right track with everything you’re doing.


Chad      Thank you, I appreciate that feedback.


Kate       Excellent. So I guess in general with what you’re doing now and what you’ve done previously, let’s get into the nitty gritty. Have you made any errors with your email marketing, and if you have how did you deal with things going wrong?


Chad      I would probably say the biggest error that I’ve made is taking it personally when someone unsubscribes. You can’t feel bad about unsubscribes because with most of these paid services you’re paying for the number of people you are allowed to have on your list. If you are taking it personally that somebody unsubscribes, first of all they don’t want your information, why would you pay to have them on your list if they don’t value the information you have, they’re not going to become one of your potential clients, so that was the biggest thing I made a mistake was taking it personally if I see an unsubscribe. Another thing is when you’re doing your email marketing and you send something with the wrong date, or you misspell something, you can’t freak out about that either because we’re all human and it’s kind of refreshing at times to see the human side of a business, and so freaking out is not good. If you send the wrong link for instance, send another email that just admits your mistake. Oops we screwed up, here’s a coupon for our site being down because our server has crashed, or something like that. People really appreciate that you acknowledge the mistake and then do something to remedy that and show that you are in fact human and not just a business.


Kate       I think those are great tips. You’re absolutely right, a lot of people when they get started with email marketing it can feel very personal because you’re used to the one to one communications, you’re not used to sending out, for want of a better phrase, those more mass communications, the more mass mailings when you’re not talking on that one to one basis, like me emailing you for example. We are connected to that personal side and when you go into email marketing, it is absolutely taking that step back, it’s not personal. As we know, people sign up to lots of different lists, and their interests might change. You’re absolutely right on that side, and again, we’re only human, like you said, and we all make mistakes and in life in general the key thing is owning up to that and saying sorry, I hold my hands up. I think you’ve really pinpointed two errors that a lot of people make.   When I first started, certainly things that I did as well when I first started, we all go through it, we all go through those errors and its knowing how to deal with those. I think those are two really god points there.

What’s your biggest email marketing challenge at the moment? We have talked about you’re getting everything set up, there’s a lot of time and a lot of work behind that, so what do you think your biggest challenge is outside of getting it all set up.


Chad      That’s a wonderful question. Challenge wise, for me myself is getting out of the brain of working, well it’s not quite corporate, but coming from a corporate side, getting out of that mind-set and getting into the one on one.  As an entrepreneur you are your brand, my website is chadever.com and I am Chad Ever, it all reflects in one item.   So when I’m communicating via email I need to make sure that my readers know that it is me on the other side. For me, my biggest challenge is not defaulting back to that corporate side that we had before, and really streamlining on the personal side and keeping everything personal, not getting too businessy, not getting to salesy, but really keeping it informative and educational.


Kate       Again Chad, I really think that is a really great observation. I was actually having a conversation with a contact earlier on today and we were talking about something very similar in terms of how you do have to be very careful when you have spent so long in the corporate world, there’s a certain way of speaking and certain terms that we would use in the corporate world that, particularly for entrepreneurs and people perhaps who haven’t been in that environment, it’s just completely alien and I think it’s something that we all need to be aware of, not just from that side, but also when talking to different customers that you want to target. One business may have three or four different customers and its speaking to them in a way that connects to them and their feelings and their emotions and their needs. So I think that’s another great observation there.

So Chad, what have you got going on in your business right now? Have you got anything that you’re launching that you would like to tell our listeners about and if you have, how is email marketing going to help you achieve your goals?


Chad      There is one thing that’s in development but it hasn’t been launched so I can’t really speak too much about it but it has to do with weddings, but the main the thing that we have launched is the mobilize.guru website. It was originally just an opt in website, “here’s what we do, if you want information contact us”. We really have done a lot of development on that and it currently allows you to go there and there’s a video there that tells you why your business needs a mobile site, but it also gives you the ability to click a button, put in your website, and it shows you what your website currently looks like on a mobile phone and then if you work with our services what it could potentially could look like and so you get a side by side comparison and that’s really the thing that strangers when they are coming to our site need to see. They need to see what it is that their client base is seeing when they search for them on their phone. We put a lot of time and effort into building up this comparison tool and the biggest thing I need to work on with email marketing is connecting once they have seen what their website looks like, getting them to the next step where they are ready to launch. So currently it’s just an opt in page and we will get in touch with you and set up a consultation, but I really want to figure out a way to take it a step further and getting them in our sales funnel so we can close more deals.


Kate       Absolutely, so get that opt in and then get them into the sales funnel and through there. I think that sounds like a fantastic tool, Chad, what the website? We’ll put the link below this audio as well, but did you just want to remind us of the website to go to for that because that sounds really handy!


Chad      Yeah, most definitely. You can go there and just play with it, put in IBM.com and you can see their site needs to be optimised as well. At any rate, the website is mobilize.guru.   They recently released some additional dot, there has always been .com and .uk. .guru and .ninja, those are new ones that they have released and so I took advantage of that and so it is mobilize.guru.


Kate       Fantastic, we’ll put the link below the audio, but that sound like a really handy tool there Chad.

Just to round off our interview here, a question that we always ask our interviewees, which business people do you admire and why?  Is there anyone that really stands out? Anyone that you follow and you admire what they have done in their business.


Chad      I most definitely have several folks that I follow on a regular basis, I love their trainings, I love what they offer. Melanie Duncan is one that I absolutely love, I’ve been following her. I’ve gone to Social Media Marketing World twice, it’s a conference and seen her speak. I would probably say Amy Porterfield is my favourite. I have had one on one conversations with her and she is just such an amazing person to talk to and everyone she speaks to she speaks to like a person, not like a groupie. She really takes the time to get to know each person and she’ll help you if its something she has some advice on and she’ll do that a hundred times over and she’ll stay late while she’s doing her presentation to speak with everyone. Those are two folks who I really admire. They are larger names, but I absolutely love what they are doing. The third is Natalie Hickson. She is just a sweetheart, I got a chance to meet her, but what she is doing with her blogs is working really geared towards kids and building them up to be entrepreneurs. I love the mission of her business and also the care she puts into her business, it’s very personalised.


Kate       Those are three great recommendations for everyone to check out there. Thank you so much for all your insight today Chad. I think there has been some really great tips and insights that we’ve pulled out of you today about your email marketing previously and what you’re doing now. I wish you every success with Ever Studios, but thank you so much for being here today.


Chad      Kate, thank you so much for having me.