Email Marketing Tips for Beginners with Two Girls and a Laptop

May 21, 2018

This episode is all about email marketing tips for beginners, with the lovely Helen and Jacqui from Two Girls and a Laptop.

So, let’s dive in!

Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

In this episode, we chat all about:

  • The importance of NOT putting all of your eggs in the social media basket;
  • How social media and email marketing can work beautifully together;
  • Practical email marketing tips for beginners;
  • The one thing that you need to be doing to supercharge your subscribers;
  • The biggest mistake Helen and Jacqui made when they first got into email marketing;
  • A cool little email tool for growing email subscriber numbers on your website;
  • What to include on your email opt in form (and what NOT to include);
  • Where to include an opt in form on your website;
  • How valuable every single subscriber is on your email list – in dollars;
  • Tips for communicating with your email list once you have subscribers on board;
  • What a welcome sequence is and why it’s important;
  • What a normal email unsubscribe rate is and how to minimise it;
  • What a normal open rate is;
  • And much more!

Want details on The Two Girls and a Laptop Email Marketing Bootcamp? Attract the right audience, and gain the confidence to say the right thing!


STEVIE: Hey guys, and welcome to Episode 16 of the The Lifestyle Business Sweet Spot Podcast. I am your host Stevie Dillon and today I have two guests with me so I’m interviewing the lovely Helen and Jacqui from Two Girls And a Laptop. 

Helen and Jacqui basically provide advice, support, and kind of affordable and unpretentious business planning and strategy to small businesses. Today, what I’m talking to them about is email marketing and most specifically, email marketing tips for beginners.

This is something that is really topical and relevant at the moment I guess everyone realizing that we don’t own our social media platforms and that we really do need to concentrate on email marketing because we own the email addresses of the subscribers that we have. So in today’s episode, we chat about all kinds of things related to email marketing, the importance of not putting all of your eggs into the social media basket.

How social media and email marketing can work beautifully together. practical tips for beginners how to supercharge your subscriber numbers, what a normal email subscribe rate is what a normal open rate is and I could keep going, but guys, I’m not going to because let’s just dive into the damn episode. Hey, okay, I hope you enjoy it. Here we go. Okay, guys, I’m so excited to have Helen and Jackie from two girls and a laptop on the podcast today. Hey girls. 

HELEN AND JACQUI: Hi, How are you going. Hello, it’s good to be here.

STEVIE: I’m so excited to have you guys on the podcast and just for everyone listening. We first met when was it probably six months ago, probably at the end of last year and it was over at a cafe in Paddington. So we are all freezy girls. And yeah, just literally from then on. we’ve kind of been internet friends as my partner would call them and I just think it’s so nice to have. I don’t know supporters in the industry that you can bounce things off and yeah, just have people that are kind of friends. So yeah, love you girls. 

HELEN AND JACQUI: Yeah I love you back.Me too.

STEVIE: Yes. So today we’re going to be talking about his email marketing.


STEVIE: And it’s really, I guess, something that’s super topical at the moment. And obviously, I work in social media, but there have been some massive changes to visibility in terms of what is actually seen in news feeds on Facebook and Instagram algorithms and things which are kind of, I guess, pushed email marketing to the four hasn’t it? 

JACQUI: Absolutely. Yeah. So you recently put a blog out Stevie. So this is Jacqui, by the way, you put up the blog the other day, and I think it was related to the podcast, but it was just around how putting all your eggs in the social media basket might feel a little bit nervous. 

STEVIE: Yeah, definitely. 

JACQUI: Yeah, we sort of we really agree with that sentiment. 

STEVIE: Yeah. And I just think it’s kind of more than ever at the moment. So yeah, I know there’s been a lot of questions from clients of mine, etc, around, the importance of email marketing and how they integrated into social media etc, just recently, so it’s a good time for us to be having a chat. 

JACQUI: Very true.

STEVIE: So I guess the first question is, why is it so important? 

JACQUI: So lucky said, having all your eggs in the social media basket can make you, in our opinion, make you a little bit vulnerable. And it’s not to say that social media and email marketing can’t work beautifully together. And we think certainly, that you can leverage as you mentioned, you can really leverage social media to grow your email list, you have a lot more control over your email program, similar to your website.

But on the social media front, you’re obviously at the mercy of the dreaded algorithm. And again, there’s a lot of research and stats to back up that the audience in terms of your email marketing program, people are more choosy about who their hand in their actual email address over to so there’s a lot to say it’s a much warmer audience and they’re much further down the sales funnel.

STEVIE: Yeah, that’s so true. And I’m actually sort of I really got my own email address, so I know that it would be kind of true for other people as well. I generally don’t keep it out unless I’m really keen on the person that’s, offering me something or the website that I’m on. So one thing that I do want to cover with you guys is how on earth we kind of grow or develop an email strategy when my so damn busy. I know, I’m juggling so many balls and so many other people are. what’s worth for you guys. Do you have any tips? 

JACQUI: Yeah.definitely

HELEN:  Helen here this time. You’re not alone in terms of juggling all of those balls, and neither are your listeners, everybody that we see when a lot of our clients that come to us exactly the same, it’s a matter of putting a priority as to what’s most important, and I guess achievable. And I think that’s sometimes why it gets pushed back a little bit because there’s a little bit of nervousness around not only the amount of work that it takes to set one up, but also Most importantly, people alive. What do I send? 

STEVIE: So yeah, yeah, that’s the thing, isn’t it? Because even once you’ve got people on the list, then you’ve got to have a whole kind of strategy around nurturing them and sending out regular emails and that sort of thing. So I could just seem completely overwhelming 

HELEN:  Definitely Yeah. In terms of, I guess, our inexperience and if we would offer some piece of advice, I think, if you really want to get serious about the least growth, and you really do need to offer something of value in return for someone’s email address, and it’s almost an expectation now. And that’s across both product and service-based businesses, and I know you really specialize in the service-based business market. So whatever that is, people call it a lead magnet or a freebie or app getting an incentive, it really has to be targeted to your ideal client and something that will solve a pain point of this. And that’s definitely some way of getting people on, and then it’s just a matter of nurturing them and continuing to keep them on that list. 

STEVIE: Yeah, 

HELEN:  We from our own experience, when we first start it is we initially had a freebie that we probably like everyone in small business when you start up put together really quickly after the back home, we need to have a freebie.

STEVIE: Everyone tells you too, yeah, 

HELEN: Yeah. And we didn’t probably put as much time or research into what that was and it didn’t really fly for us. So yeah, 

STEVIE:  What was it? 

HELEN AND JACQUI:  It was a how-to tensive marketing plan. Look, I kind of remember that. (Execution )

HELEN: I mean, it’s still,  it probably talked to a particular audience but if we’re really critical of ourselves, which we tend to be if you didn’t actually research enough to see if it was going to come through. 

STEVIE: Yeah, 

HELEN: Amongst all of the stuff that’s out there. But the other tip that I think is also really important is when you actually do go through the process of starting a sign-up form through an ESP or an email service provider, there’s an option for you to collect information on the people.

And again, when we first started out, we really knew our niche that we wanted to gain and glean a lot of information about and so we put in quite a few questions. And it wasn’t until sort of after a couple of months, we thought, let’s give it a go. And just cannot just ask for their name and email address and what you have, 

STEVIE: Right so it’s that kind of the lead magnet rather than just going name, email, and then sign off you will kind of asking questions around their occupation or whatever else. 

HELEN: Where they live that kind of information because we wanted to do location-based promotions and not a lot of questions, 

JACQUI: We cut it down to the name and email and there was a huge massive upload. 

STEVIE: Yeah, yeah. I can see that because the less you kind you have to answer I know, personally, when I go onto a website, if it’s just name and email, it’s quick and easy. You do it and it’s done. And so my most every question on to that, if you add a second question, and then a third and then a fourth,  the dropout rate probably get high on, the more questions you’re asking?

HELEN:  Per set for every question. The question is a 30% drop off. Some people go, 

STEVIE: Oh Wow. 

HELEN: So,  in our, our advice to startups or small business people are sort of starting out on this journey would just keep it really simple. Make sure that you’ve got it embedded in a really significant place and best practice would be above the fold on your website, or in your pop up. 

STEVIE: Yeah. So as soon as people hit on your website, there’s kind of an invitation to download whatever the freebie is, is that what you mean? 

HELEN: Yeah. And I think as well, if they saw your freebie from your socials, for instance, and then they get moved across to your website, but the harder it is for them to find it, the less likely they’re going to continue through. So just to try and think of the user experience and you can do that yourself with in terms of how easy and hard it is for you to sign up when you go when you do want to do it if something that you want to add on your own, 

STEVIE: What do you think about pop-ups on websites for freebies? 

JACQUI: Yeah, as much as annoying as some people think they are they work and Helen said, the best practice is just to have the sign up in three different positions on that website. So pop up, hitter, sidebar, free.

HELEN: In most instances Now, most of them, the place of websites, which a lot of the small business people are on, they give you options to actually turn that off. If somebody’s already subscribed, they give you an option to turn it off. Once you do, you can manage that within what you have for your business.

JACQUI: A better user experience. 

HELEN: That’s right.

STEVIE: I actually got a WordPress website and I found a little plugin the other day. It’s called Hello bar and basically

JACQUI: You go to a webinar I told everybody about it.

STEVIE: It’s amazing.

JACQUI: It’s wiggle and it just draws your attention to it.

STEVIE: It’s so good. Yeah. So I since I’ve kind of put that on the bottom of my website, it’s got a sign up for an Ebook on how to get your first 5000 followers. I got 30 subscriptions to my email list today from that.

JACQUI: Can I just say, yes, phenomenal? Yeah, that’s awesome. Yeah, that’s fantastic.

HELEN:  We go on our page (inaudible)

JACQUI: We have to investigate that wiggle thing. 

STEVIE:  Yes. It’s very, very cool. It’s some it’s a  little widget designed by Neil Patel. And he’s obviously amazing in terms of all of the things that he does with his online marketing. So yes, very, very cool.  I just wanted to go back to the quality of the lead magnet that you need to have in order to get signups I really had a similar experience to you girls. When I first started out and I had a really average freebie. And it was just basically a blog post that I’ve written that I whacked into Canva, put together a little bit of a PDF and put it up on my website. And it was literally crickets. And it wasn’t until I really invested significant time and effort into putting together 100 tips for social media into a 20-page ebook, really significant value that I started to have email signups to my leads

HELEN:talking about it before, it’s always in a service-based business, this fine line of whether you’re giving away too much information, or not enough and when it comes to your freebie and your lead, lead magnet probably err on the side of giveaway more because you sort of also need to identify that someone’s going to download that they’re going to potentially read it but it doesn’t make them then the expert that you are or the thought leader that you are in your teens and yeah, if anything, it’s going to instill them to come across and join up to the next available product or service that you are going to provide because they’ve got somebody in science from you. 

STEVIE: Yeah, a hundred percent and it’s almost it’s a value exchange is sometimes the way that I explain it. So even though you’re not getting money for that freebie, you’re actually getting a result that’s going to get you closer to getting clients. So money, which is people on your email list. So you actually do need to make it so valuable that people are willing to pay for it, but instead of money, you’re getting a person on your email list. 

HELEN: Well, I can give you a stat on that.

STEVIE: Please give me the stats.  

HELEN: There’s a statistic out there and it’s probably a big business statistic. But over time, each subscriber on your email subscriber file will equate to one US dollar per month in revenue for you in the long run. 

STEVIE: Wow, that’s really significant. 

HELEN: Yeah, yeah. And when you’ve got the small subscriber list, but as you grow and you bring out probably a little bit more, a few more products and things that, and then you start to touch on,  the low medium half budget within you start to see that revenue come through is the school of thought on it. 

STEVIE: Yeah, that’s really interesting. 

HELEN: Yeah, sorry, I was just thinking about another idea as well as that you can have your lead magnet or freebie that is constantly there. So it’s just a nonnegotiable, but then you can have other activities that will be lead magnets in themselves and I know you find one and we recently did, which is where we’ve probably seen the most significant growth analysis with running a challenge. You can have more than one lead magnet and more than one freebie that would

STEVIE: Yeah, 

HELEN:  give topics or different product products, yet still be growing list that then you get down further down the funnel of email marketing and start to even segment them even more and just go. 

STEVIE:Yeah, Amy Porterfield does that really well so she’s obviously an online marketing person but she’s got three key products and basically when you go on to her website she’s got a freebie for each of those products and you have to sign up to her email list in order to get that freebie and then literally once you sign up for whichever of the three kinds of freebies it is, she’ll start to send you automated emails related to the product that is on the same topic as a freebie so I thought that was very clever 

HELEN: Yeah, I think she segments between your actual your own email is social saying you have a list of one hundred thousand people. Do you have a list under 10,000? Do you have a list under 100,000 and then she starts to serve you relevant? 

STEVIE: Yeah. Okay. 

JACQUI: Beneficial information based on where you are at with your own journey which I think is really interesting as well. Yeah. That probably leads into so once you’ve actually you’ve got a valuable freebie and somebody signed up to your email list. I know that a lot of people will be Kind of asking what the hell The next step is?

Yeah, definitely. Well, one thing that we talked about in the webinar is this concept of mapping out your customer journey, which is really, what you can do is just get a piece of paper and do a bit of a mind map in terms of where your customer enters your business, and where they exit, and every touchpoint that you want to have with them throughout that journey.

And I think that’s a really good place to start in terms of defining how often, how regularly and in what way you want to actually communicate with them. So something as easy as to give you an example effectively will find you may be on your social media will then go over to your website and sign up to you.

And then what you probably need to think about is how you’re going to welcome them to your community. So the first thing is definitely to have what we call a welcome sequence. And there’s a lot of people out there who don’t have this so. All that the person gets at the time is just confirm I’m a human and then you signed up and then that’s it. I don’t hate you. 

STEVIE: Yeah, 

JACQUI: Maybe six weeks down the track when the small business owner has a chance they pop out an email saying, hey, come and buy from my style. And I’m sort of Who are you? I sort of forgot that I found out to be

STEVIE: That happened so much. 

JACQUI: Yeah, I don’t really know anything about you. And sometimes I’m probably sure I’ve also gone on subscribing. I never signed up for your list. 

STEVIE: Yeah, 

HELEN: I just didn’t get an introduction to the business to understand or hear from them. So, and one thing we advocate toys, we don’t necessarily think you have to email your database subscribers every week. You do ways, available to you as in everything with small business and I know you’re a big believer in that too. But as long as you make frequent and as long as you consistently connecting with them, and then the second piece to that is we bang on about this all the time, but really understanding who your customer is, because, at the end of the day, it’s going to come down to the content that you deliver through those email. Yeah.

And if you know what you’re saying is important, then the people that have agreed to give you their email address, they really value what you’re saying. And they’re going to continue to want to connect with you in that way. So I think it’s probably a great place to start.

But there are so many other things that you can do through a program, things reviews, and thank ease. If you have an e-commerce store, doing some automation around abandoned cart emails, things that you get as a consumer yourself that you sort of thing, just happens in the background and they actually do they really, most of the email service providers now particularly talking around the business side though, pot sizes that we work with, they all just click of a button integration.

Between the most popular websites and up so, it’s a little bit of work to set them up in the first instance. But once you’ve done it, it just clicks over. It’s just happening in the background. And it’s a sales funnel for your business. Jackie says they’re going to start to represent dollars a lot stronger than what some other advertising dollars that you’re spending. 

STEVIE: Yeah. And I think that’s probably good, I guess, time to remind people how the sales funnel kind of work in terms of, people kind of come across you on social media, and then they jump over to email to further develop their relationships. So,  when you were saying that it’s all about, I guess, providing the right people with what they want. It’s not about being salesy. It’s about providing value and value and value until when you do drop something that’s a little bit more promotional, they’re kind of more receptive and warmed up to actually wanting to opt-in because they feel they know you and they trust you 

HELEN: Definitely

STEVIE: So there’s a couple of questions that I get over and over, and hopefully you girls will be able to answer them for me. So a lot of people stress when they send out emails because they say that they’re unsubscribed kind of peak. So, and I know you kind of I sent out an email every week, and I probably get about11 or 12 on subscribes, and it stresses a lot of people out. What’s your thoughts on I guess, unsubscribes? And what’s the kind of standard unsubscribe, right? Is there an industry standard? 

JACQUI: Yeah, so first of all, I would say don’t freak out.just think about all the programs you want to subscribe to, and don’t take it personally. Yeah,  I have signed up to so many five day challenges and freebies, and this and that and just immediately unsubscribe, because I just don’t I’m a neat freak. I don’t want to have a cluttered inbox but it’s totally normal. And we have just experienced quite a bit of a drop off with we just ran a five-day challenge and naturally with when we set the sales email at the end, we got the unsubscribe. The actual average industry rate for unsubscribing is around about .2- 3%. Yeah, I’d say that that would be, pretty big average across all industries. So 

STEVIE: Yeah, 

JACQUI: yeah. I think the other thing goes around your ideal customer. And if, if they were unsubscribed, they probably weren’t going to be the people that were going to run. 

STEVIE: Exactly. Yes. 

JACQUI: Quite often they come back when you get your next lead magnet out there anyway. So,

STEVIE: I actually find that with my own email list. Yeah. I kind of see people unsubscribe, and then they’ll jump back on board and, and it’s, it’s something that, I do quite often to other people as well. Soit’s one of those things,

JACQUI: A lot of freebies right. We’ve actually subscribed to you individually and from our work account, so you probably get an unsubscribe from one of us say because I just 

STEVIE: Yeah, that’s another point as well 

JACQUI: People have different email addresses. 

STEVIE: Yeah, yeah. 100% and I always think as well,I’m using Convert Kit as my email service provider. And,  it’s not the cheapest for me with the number of subscribers I have, it’s about $100 a month and I don’t want people on my email list that aren’t eventually going to purchase from me. So, if there are those people that are dropping off, they’re obviously not my people,  at a particular time and I just kind of think, that’s okay. I’m totally Yeah. And one final question, what is a normal open rate because that is the other question that I get all at the bloody time. 

JACQUI: Yeah, I will say having across all industries across the board, they say a fee for open so 20% is kind of the golden number, but it might vary from industry to industry. So eCommerce is 16 to 17% is usually around health and beauty. 24%


JACQUI: So it can vary, but the rule the kind of golden number is 20% and I think the click-through rates across all industries as well is 3.57% but yeah, right eCommerce store or a little bit lower, so probably around about 2.3, 2.5% 

STEVIE: Yeah. And then I guess the point with that is not to, I guess, email  10 years ago, it might have been close to 100% open rate but email inbox is so crowded these days people are busy and if you’re getting 20%, opening your emails, that’s not too bad. 

HELEN: And the thing to note as well is as people subscriber files grow, their opening click rates are going to drop because it’s just it’s a battle of averages. So when we first had ours, and we had 50 people who were probably a mom, dad, and cousins,a heat everyone wants to see what you’ve got have to say, but that obviously it drops off over time as your subscriber file grows. So don’t be alarmed if you if it has that steady decline.  As well though, if you did find in one particular campaign that you had a massive unsubscribe or nobody opened then I guess that’s also a good reminder and trigger to relocate your content and maybe go back to your ideal ideal profile, your subject or even just as simple as when you’re working in smaller numbers as well the time in the day, some people suggest, not just send an email on a Friday, but because I know another fashion retailer who sends an email Friday night and I open every single one of them my best. 

STEVIE: Yeah, because you’re on the couch with a glass of wine. 

HELEN: Exactly.

STEVIE: Maybe that’s just me on Friday night.

JACQUI: And that’s a customer profiling comes in. 


JACQUI: You need to know where that way they’re hanging out because I have every morning and the first thing I do is check the email, then you want to be emailing them at 6:30. So it’s top of the inbox when they wake up. 

STEVIE: Yeah, yeah, very, very true. 

JACQUI: Thanks so much goes. Honestly, that’s been awesome information. Where can people find out more about you? 

HELEN: Well, we’re on all of the social server on Facebook and Instagram and at Two Girls and a Laptop. You can come to our website, which is just

JACQUI: Yeah, they can sign up to our email newsletter over there always doing a shameless plug. But yeah, we’ve certainly got with coming up. We’ve got another email marketing webinar on the seventh of June when we go into this sort of stuff in a lot greater detail. So yeah, we’d welcome any of your listeners to come on board. We love talking about it we get a little bit excited say sometimes it’s hard to slow us down.

STEVIE: Yeah, guys definitely go over. So if you go to, I will have the link to the webinar. So if you are listening when the podcast is released or you prefer you can catch the webinar live. And then you guys have it as a pre-record if anyone kind of misses down the line, 

JACQUI: Yeah, we give playback so they can’t make the live time slot. They get the playback. And of course, they can access us to answer any questions that they have. We offer them yeah, obviously direct contact us to be able to do that as well. 

STEVIE: Amazing. Thanks so much to girls. That was awesome. 

JACQUI: Thanks so much for having us. We really appreciate it. We were big fans of the podcast.

STEVIE: So there you have it. I hope that was helpful to you. Those girls are obviously legends and if you’re interested in the email marketing webinar that they’re running, head over to where you can also get a transcript of the full interview and kind of go through it all in your own time. Okay, guys, that is it for me for today. Until next time, I will see you then. But of course, I’m just going to finish by please asking you to head over to iTunes and review the damn podcast would be grateful. Okay, guys till next time I will see you then.

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