In the dynamic world of email marketing, the debate over the ideal frequency of newsletters often leaves marketers questioning the best approach. Enter today’s guest, Ellen Finkelstein, an email marketing virtuoso who stands out with her unique and highly effective strategy. Ellen is not just any marketer; she is a seasoned expert in teaching online entrepreneurs how to share their knowledge with the world and maximize their income through email marketing.
In this episode, Ellen unveils her contrarian yet successful email newsletter formula, a method that has seen her top numerous affiliate leaderboards. She shares invaluable insights into crafting emails that engage and retain an audience and drive substantial results. Ellen’s approach goes beyond the conventional, blending compelling storytelling with strategic segmentation and workflow automation. Listeners will discover how to balance informative content with promotional elements, transforming their email campaigns into powerful tools for business growth.
The discussion with Ellen is more than just a lesson in email marketing; it’s a deep dive into the nuances of connecting with and expanding your audience through thoughtful, consistent communication. So, without any further ado, on with the show!
In This Episode
- [02:41] – Ellen Finkelstein shares her contrarian yet successful email newsletter formula and her backstory of how she got into online marketing.
- [14:31] – Ellen discusses the benefits of leaderboards in affiliate marketing, including motivation and partnership opportunities.
- [19:54] – Ellen talks about her email marketing strategies and how she mixes promotion content with evergreen elements and uses storytelling to keep readers engaged.
- [26:36] – Stephan asks Ellen about her opinion on using ChatGPT, Claude, and other LLMs for content creation.
- [34:52] – Ellen describes how Microsoft CoPilot can help in automating a task such as summarizing meetings and turning Word documents into PowerPoint presentations.
- [38:16] – Ellen offers a free email guide to those who want to improve their email results and provides tips for getting better results from emails.
- [41:32] – Ellen suggests offering to promote others first to create partnerships and reciprocity in content marketing.
Ellen, it’s so great to have you on the show.
Thanks so much for having me. I’m excited.
We know each other through a mastermind we’re both in called Joint Venture Mastermind (JVMM). I wanted you on the show, so thanks for coming. If you could maybe share a little bit of your backstory of how you got into email marketing and marketing in general, how you got into the online world, and maybe some crazy detours along the way, if you’d like to throw in some fun trivia.
Sure. First, I started online because I live in a small town in Iowa that’s not close to anything. I can’t go anywhere. I’m four and a half hours from St. Louis, four and a half hours from Chicago, four and a half hours from Minneapolis, and four and a half hours from Omaha, the middle of nowhere. The second thing was when I started, I had two small children.
I had this double reason for being online. It was a great choice for me. It worked well. But I started actually by writing computer books for Wiley. It started as IDG books, and I wrote books on AutoCAD, PowerPoint, and Flash were the main topics, but there were others.
An author platform is where you have your website and your email list as a way of marketing.
And these were big books, too, right?
Physically, yeah. The AutoCAD book ended up being over 1200 pages.
1200 pages. Wow.
Yeah. It was called AutoCAD Bible, and it’s their big comprehensive series. They have them on a lot of different topics. I don’t read it anymore. I’m happy it was gone, but it went through 17 editions. It was a best seller for years and was translated into 14 languages.
I don’t do anything with AutoCAD anymore. It’s a drafting program, but I still do much with PowerPoint. Of course, Flash, the other big topic, doesn’t exist anymore. PowerPoint became one part of my business.
When you’re an author, at the time I was doing this in 1997 and onward, I started having this concept of an author platform. An author platform is where you have your website and your email list. Basically, you did some marketing.
Before that, the publishers were supposed to do the marketing. But it turned out, especially as the online world grew, they weren’t very good at it. They never really figured out online marketing, so you had to do it yourself. I started a website, and I started an email list. I started blogging on AutoCAD and PowerPoint.
As I got this list, I realized I could try to write and publish my own book. That book that we just mentioned was a $50 book. I put it on Amazon, it was discounted to $30, and I got a 10% royalty on the wholesale price. That was like 10% of $15 is $1.50. That’s how royalties work.
I teach people all sorts of things about online marketing: how to create your message, how to build your audience, and how to create content like online courses.
The three books together did well for me. They gave me the down payment for my house. I’m not complaining about it, but you’re still getting a small percentage of it. I wrote my first book, 101 Tips Every PowerPoint User Should Know, and sold it for around $20. I got 98% of that money, except for the PayPal fee. That was the first time I sold something online. It was writing an ebook. It was a natural extension of what I had been doing.
At that point, this was your first self-published book. But you had how many books, including separate editions, because that’s a whole book just doing a new edition.
Including separate editions, I don’t know, 30 or something.
It was a lot of books.
You’re a prolific writer.
Yeah. Usually, I have a screenshot of my bookshelf in the back, and you can see all the books. Writing my own book was just really interesting. This was before Amazon and Kindle publishing. It was just a PDF that people could buy and download. It was just an eye-opener for me, so I started doing that.
I wrote a book on PowerPoint, self-published a book on PowerPoint, and a PDF. That was the one I was talking about, but I did some other things as well. Then I decided to teach a class in my little town because there weren’t a lot of jobs about how to do what I did, like how to create a website, how to build an email list, and how to write ebooks and sell stuff.
I created changetheworldmarketing.com as an example of how you do it. I created this new website as I was showing them what to do. That ended up becoming my main business.
On that website, I teach people all sorts of things about online marketing, how to create your message, how to build your audience, how to create content like online courses and so on. But lately, I’ve been focusing on email marketing. I came up with an email formula. I call it a structure, a template that’s worked well for me.
It’s very contrarian in that most gurus say you should only have one call to action in an email, and I don’t do that. I have what’s called a newsletter, and it has multiple offers in the email. As a result, I can promote people more often if I’m promoting somebody, and I do really well with it. I can match people who have lists much larger than me. The net result is that I get these people with large lists to promote me back, and that’s where the success comes in. It’s partnering with other people to get people to promote you back.
The subscribers could choose what they were interested in instead of getting one email from somebody on one thing.
It worked nicely for me, partly because I got results from it. The first time this happened, it blew me away. I had a subscriber write back and say, “Thank you for giving us so many resources.” All I’m doing is selling stuff. It’s a list of things. Some are free webinars, ebooks, or whatever, but it’s all a promotion.
I saw repeatedly that the subscribers could choose what they were interested in instead of getting one email from somebody on one thing. If you think about it as a receiver of emails from somebody, if every email only has one call to action, you go day after day after day, “This isn’t applicable to me, this isn’t applicable to me,” and eventually, you unsubscribe because what are you going to do? Read all 365 emails over the year just to find the two or three that apply to you.
People liked my format because they could easily see that there’s something of value for everybody every single day. That encouraged them to open it, and they just liked it. It’s good for me, it’s good for my partners, and it’s good for my subscribers.
How many subscribers do you have?
I have about 10,700 in Change the Word Marketing. I also have a PowerPoint list that’s larger than that.
You have multiple email lists, and you’ve been at this for several years. How many emails do you send to each of these lists? Are you sending just the newsletter, or are you sending drip campaigns and trigger-based emails as well?
When somebody signs up for something new, they get a series of autoresponders that are automated, that are dripped out automatically, that’s relevant just to what they signed up for. I don’t put them on my main list until they’re finished because I’m emailing a daily broadcast to Change the World. I’ll just focus on the Change the World Marketing.
I’m emailing everybody on the list every day. But if somebody signs up for something new, I don’t want to get them to get my drift emails, my autoresponders, and my daily emails, and it’s just too much. I wait until they finish digesting what they’ve signed up for. In the last one, I say, “Now you’ll get my daily email.” That’s how I do it.
Are people receptive to getting a daily email? I can’t think of many daily emails that I get. I’ve unsubscribed from all of them. Even weekly ones, I’ve unsubscribed from many of them. That’s a lot of emails when you’re already probably getting tons of emails from all sorts of—
Yeah, it can be a lot. But people now know they don’t have to read the whole email. My emails are long. There could be anywhere from five to ten items in them. They know there’s a table of contents at the beginning. It’s one of my secrets.
I have to start with a story, and then they go down to the table of contents. They look and see if something’s interesting. If not, they just delete that email and look the next day. But if something is interesting, they can go to each item, and the table of contents is expanded below. And they’re numbered. If they like number two, they go down to number two, read more about it, and either click or don’t.
I have to start with a story in my emails, and then they go down to the table of contents.
I make it very easy. Every day, I have a daily hot tip. There are a couple of people who have told me that they saved the tips. Even just for that, today I wrote something about intellectual property, valuing your intellectual property, keeping it backed up, keeping it safe, and maybe copywriting and so on like that, just something valuable for everybody, especially my list, which is mostly beginners, but they are content creators. They might be coaches, consultants, or creators of a course, or whatever it is.
They’re experts. They have some knowledge they want to get out in the world, but they’re not experienced business people especially. That’s an important piece of information because they often don’t think of themselves as business-related. They forget some of those more formal things that business owners know about. It’s valuable information for them. I just make sure there’s something like that every day for people.
I know a lot of people who send out daily emails. I would say that the people who do well with it are good writers. You just want to read the story. Ray Brehm is an example of one of them. He just creates these amazing stories, and you want to read them. I don’t necessarily want to get down to the bottom of where his offers are or where his call to action is. But his stories are really good. A couple of other people like it as well, like him.
That’s interesting. I’ve never heard him talk about intuition.
He’s a phenomenal, fascinating guy.
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard about it, but he was able to communicate with his eight-year-old self as an adult. He had forgotten all about his experience when he was eight years old. He was going through a particularly tough time, and he heard a voice in his head saying, “You in the future, everything’s going to be okay, and I love you.” It really gave him solace and comfort at that time. He was going through a very difficult time.
I know a lot of people who send out daily emails. I would say that the people who do well with it are good writers.
I forgot all about it. Decades later, he was at a Hoffman Process seminar. The instructor says, “All right, we will do this exercise. I want you to think of a time when you were eight. I want you to say these simple statements to your eight-year-old self. You guessed it, it was exactly those statements.”
It all flooded back to his memory of receiving that reassurance when he was a little kid. It’s just mind-blowing. That was in that episode. Ray Brehm is cool.
Ray is an amazing storyteller in general. Once, he was trying to promote me and also promoting Danny Iny, the head of Mirasee, who teaches people how to create online courses. He starts the email by saying, “I’m having a really hard time deciding who to promote between Ellen Finkelstein and Danny Iny. But you know who’s not having a hard time at this at all? Ellen, because she’s promoting not only her own launch but also Danny’s launch, and she’s doing really well on the leaderboard on Danny’s launch, so she’s managing to do both.” He just took this little funny circular thing about him promoting me, Danny, and me promoting myself. He took the circular thing and made a great story out of it.
That’s cool. What is it about being on affiliate leaderboards? Why is it such a thing? It’s not just for vanity. You can get big prizes like cars and things like that if you’re on the top of the leaderboard.
I’ve never won a car.
Have you never won a car?
No. I think that it’s definitely not just for vanity. Yes, you can win prizes. I got $100 for two weeks in Christina Hills in the last couple of weeks. Thanks for being number five on the leaderboard. This can be some money.
First, from a receiving end, because I’m a little competitive, it urges me on. If I’m number six and want to be number five, I’ll send out an extra email or just some social media. It encourages me, which is why people create the leaderboards to do that.
The other thing is that other people on the leaderboard notice. People contact you and say, “Let’s partner.” Of course, I do the same thing. Or if somebody is doing really well on the leaderboard, and I don’t know that person, I’ll ask the person publishing the leaderboard, “Would you introduce us?” And then I have a greeting. “Hey, you were number two, and I was number three on so and so’s leaderboard. Let’s talk about working with each other.” It’s just the best place possible to find good partners.
Yeah. It’s awesome. What have been your most lucrative and most fun affiliate relationships or campaigns that you’ve participated in?
Danny Iny was an interesting one when I first joined that mastermind. We talked about JVMM. He called me up because I was new in it and asked if I would promote him. I knew who he was, and I knew he had a big list. I was floored that he would even ask me to promote him, but he’d ask anybody to promote him. So I went all out for him.
It turned out that with that topic, I was able to promote both my Change the World marketing list and my PowerPoint list because a lot of the PowerPoint people are using it for training, so they’re creating online courses. I have a LinkedIn list for training managers and a LinkedIn group around PowerPoint. I had a lot of people that I was able to contact. I just went all out with him.
I ended up number two on his opt-ins, which is 978, which is crazy good. It’s really good. It was the best I’ve ever done, but I worked hard on it. The only person who went ahead of me was Josh Turner, whose list was probably ten times the size of mine or something like that. So I did really well.
I did this not for the commissions, so Danny would promote me back because he was a big fish from my perspective. That’s what I got. Now, all of Mirasee is several kinds of little companies put together. They have one JV manager, and they aggregate stuff. They promote me several times a year, and I promote them at their launches.
A lot of solopreneurs are afraid to partner. You just can’t grow big without partnering.
I have this infinite supply of people coming to my offers from him and others. That’s an amazing thing to happen. If you have an offer that converts well, you will do really well with that. That’s precious. That was my big start. After I did that, I could turn that into a couple of other things as well.
People noticed. Everybody who was on that leaderboard noticed. It just made my reputation for doing a good job promoting people. I do feel that a lot of solopreneurs are afraid to partner. You just can’t grow big without partnering. You can’t just have your list of promoting the same stuff over and over again to your list. There are diminishing returns after a while. You have to branch out and do that partnering.
That makes sense. When you send out emails to promote an offer, let’s say it’s an affiliate relationship, where you’ll get some sort of payout for opt-ins, the payout for the most tripwire, or whatever is being sold—
Mostly just for whatever is being sold. Occasionally, there’ll be that prize for opt-ins. But usually, the big commissions will come from the actual sale. The thing that’s nice about it is that I’m not responsible for the sale of that much. I can recommend it, but by bringing in opt-ins, the person who’s selling, who’s doing the launch or whatever it is, is the one who does the webinar. They make the pitch.
Even though I can support that, I can offer a bonus, a little affiliate thing you can do and encourage, but I don’t have to be a heavy salesperson. That’s a nice thing.
Do you use their swipe files, copy and paste the email copy that they’ve provided, and just hit send? Or do you hand-craft your emails promoting the offer, put it into your voice, and make it very specific to your audience?While many gurus advocate for a single call to action, a contrarian approach to email marketing involves a newsletter template with multiple offers. It's a strategy that has proven incredibly successful. Click To Tweet
I copy and paste in the swipe copy, then edit it to make it in my voice, partly because the people who wrote the copy are usually better copywriters than I am. They’re good. Usually, it’s good. Sometimes, fairly often, I would say it’s too salty for me, so I do a lot of toning down.
Just today, I was doing something like that. All these words are bolded, capitalized, and emojis. I just get rid of all that stuff because it’s not my style. I don’t feel like my list will appreciate that. They just want to hear what it is.
If there’s something personal that I can add to it, then I will absolutely. Whether it’s a story, how I know the person or anything I can add, I create a theme in my emails based on my story and my tip. Sometimes, I can connect that.
Remember, I’m doing multiple offers in an email. I can’t create everything in a theme because I’m just going to promote what I’m going to promote. But if I can bring in that theme, then I will. That creates a thread that goes throughout the whole thing and gets people to click. I have all sorts of secrets about how to get people to click.
I create a theme in my emails based on my story and my tip.
Please share some more. I assume you send multiple emails to promote an offer, not just a single one.
That’s right. That’s the secret to my success. Let’s say you have somebody that’s doing a launch. Most of the people who are promoting that launch are doing solo emails with one call to action. That launch is less than two weeks from the first opt-in to the closing, as they say.
Most people will send out three emails. But if it’s two weeks, I will send out 14 emails because it’s every single day. Now, it’s never the only thing in there, but I’m going to repeat it over and over and over again.
Usually, a launch has these different parts to it. There could be a free PDF, then there’s a webinar, and then finally, there’s the sale of the actual whatever they’re offering. I just do it more often, and that’s how I can do better than people with lists bigger than mine.
That makes sense.
That’s a little secret.
How many parts to an email newsletter or a daily email will you have? Ten? Twenty?
I’ve never done 20. Around ten is good, but sometimes I don’t have that much to promote. Sometimes I have to ask people like, “Hey, give me something to promote.” I try to keep some evergreen things going that I can promote anytime. It just depends on what’s happening.
September, for example, seems to be a big month for launches. I had a lot of things there, and I don’t have as many this week. I start with a story, then I have the table of contents, and then I have the daily hot tip. However, many items are there, including a PS, which might be today. It was a link to my latest YouTube video. That’ll be my PS. That also goes in the table of contents, so 8-10 items in it.
Again, it works because of the table of contents. People just scan through it quickly. They read the story, scanned the table of contents, and saw if something was interesting to them. They have the choice and agency, and people really like that.
Cool. How long does it take to write an email newsletter for you?
Because I’m doing a lot of repeating, I’m just cloning yesterday’s email, and I have to come up with the story. It’s often based on what I did yesterday. I joke that all my emails start with yesterday. “Yesterday, I did this, and I connected it to some business principles,” whatever they might be.
Because it’s mostly there, the most it would take me would be an hour to an hour and a half. That would be the highest amount of time, especially if there are several new things that I need to check. It’s simple enough now that I have a VA who puts it on my calendar and another who takes all this stuff from it and puts it in.
She created the email for me based on yesterday’s email. She clones it, looks at the calendar, puts things in, and takes the swipe copy straight from what’s in the calendar. There’s a link to the swipe copy that they give you, and then she puts it in there.
I’m just doing that rewriting piece of it. Sometimes it’s half an hour. It’s not that long. My business is based around email marketing, and it’s usually the first thing I do every morning. Sometimes, I have meetings that stretch out, but I make it the first thing I do.
I try to keep some evergreen things going that I can promote anytime. It just depends on what’s happening.
When you are coming up with the story, what kind of formula, hook, angle, or contrarian approach are you taking to make your story riveting? It makes me want to keep reading, and it makes me want to keep receiving your emails daily. What’s the secret there?
I don’t know if I have a secret of that. Usually, it’s personal things, but not always. I never see something immediate. They know that I garden because it will just be like I did something yesterday in the garden. It’s the stories of mundane little things.
This is something I teach. I call it micro storytelling. How do you take something you did in the last day or two and then relate it to the business principles you want to teach? Once you practice that, you can connect almost anything to one of the principles you want to teach.
Today, I sat in front of the screen for a few minutes. “What am I going to write about?” I had just come out of a meeting. I meet monthly with a group of PowerPoint experts with Microsoft and their PowerPoint team. They show us what they’re planning for PowerPoint. It’s a secret, and I’m not allowed to talk about it. I’m under a nondisclosure agreement with them.
I just wrote about that. Then I said, “You should have secrets in your business, too.” That’s how I got into the intellectual property thing. Your content might be something you get out there, but you have a process or a secret source from which you get some great ideas. Certain things should be secret, so I started talking about intellectual property.
Once you get in the habit of it, it just works. It’s not the story so much but how you connect it. You can connect anything to anything. I’ve discovered it.
I don’t use ChatGPT in my emails every day at all. I don’t know if you’ve seen a whole bunch of emails. All of a sudden, that started. “I hope this email finds you well.” I go, “Oh, yeah, ChatGPT did that.” That reminds me of somebody in the 19th-century handwriting an email, putting the pen in the ink bottle, taking it out, and writing to somebody they haven’t written to in six months, and there are no other means of communication, no phones. That’s the first thing you say. “I hope this email finds you well,” but we aren’t doing that. It just seems so archaic to me.
I don’t use it for that, but I will use it for course ideas. I have a YouTube video about how to create a course using ChatGPT. It’s great for getting together ideas. I did a webinar for a training magazine. This was a group of corporate trainers, and I was showing them how to use ChatGPT. I gave some principles about using it, prompts, and so on. I said, “Okay, let’s do one. We’re going to create a course.”
I said, “I want you to suggest a topic for me.” They had some topics. They came up with some topics, and about a thousand people were on this call. Most of them were too general. I said, “I need something more specific.” Somebody came up with the history of pumpkins. Don’t ask me why. I went, “Yes, because it’s very specific.” It was going to be a good topic.
I shared my screen with ChatGPT. I said, “Okay, I want to create a course on the history of pumpkins. Give me five possible titles.” It’s really great for getting ideas of titles of things. It does well with that. Then you can go back and say, “No, I don’t like this word, do this.” We do it again until you get what you want.
I said, “Okay, this is our title that I’ve come up with, that you’ve come up with, that I decided on.” I asked, “What are the different chapters in this course?” It came up with 15. I said, “No, that’s too many. I don’t want more than six chapters, so we do it for six chapters.” It came up with six chapters.
I said, “Okay, the first one would be like introductory. Let’s take chapter two and write three paragraphs.” I said, “Write three topics in that chapter.” I said, “Let’s take this topic and write three or four paragraphs of its content.”
It’s a great way to do stuff like that. You have to check the accuracy of everything and so on like that, but the history of pumpkins isn’t very controversial. There are no new things in the history of pumpkins that have changed in the last two years. I didn’t have to check the accuracy of it that much. That’s a good use of ChatGPT, but people use it for emails.
One thing that you can do is tell ChatGPT what style to use. I have a blog post on this. You can say, “I want you to use an educational style. I don’t want you to use a promotional style.” It can be funny also. It’s odd when it tries to be funny, but you can tell it to change it.
Here’s a cool tip for ChatGPT. You can paste something you wrote and tell it to use that style when writing something else. Don’t ask me how it does it, but it’s a creepy experience. How did that happen? You can get your style more into it so it doesn’t sound awkward and faked.
I use that approach a lot. For example, I have a weekly newsletter. It’s called My Thursday Three. It’s one thing that intrigued me, one thing that challenged me, and one thing that surprised me. I’ll rely on my team to write these for me and draft them for me based on what’s in my Readwise Reader.
I have an app that stores bookmarks or things that I find interesting, whether they’re YouTube videos, blog posts, or whatever, and they have access to my account. I used to use Pocket and found Readwise Reader to be a superior tool, so I recently switched to that. They mined that repository of cool stuff I’ve found and developed the draft newsletter.
Usually, I don’t have to get involved with much of the writing or editing. They’ve gotten so good at it. I took a chance at ChatGPT and used ChatGPT instead of my team to write one of the weekly newsletters. I pasted three samples of three of my favorite newsletters and said, “Hi, I’m Stephan Spencer. These are three of my newsletters. I want you to create a new newsletter in the same style, tone of voice, format, etc.” I wanted it to be on the topic of generative AI, and then I gave it the topic of generative AI.
I used verbatim in the entire newsletter, except for this fascinating piece by Forbes or this book. It mentioned a couple of content pieces that didn’t exist because that’s the nature of ChatGPT and generative AI. It hallucinates. It makes stuff up. If it doesn’t have anything at hand, it’ll just pretend it does.
My team had to swap in some real examples. But other than that, the entire copy was written by ChatGPT. We did add a PS at the end that said that the newsletter was written all by ChatGPT. It worked well.Partner with individuals with large email lists to create a reciprocal network — you can promote each other in a mutually beneficial strategy that yields significant results. Click To Tweet
I’ll tell you something about links that it does. I once asked it to give me some quotes on the effectiveness of email marketing and where they came from. None of the links worked, but I discovered that if I went to the blog of that domain and searched, I could find what it was talking about.
I could find the blog post. It had a different URL and title, but there was something where it said that it was about the effectiveness of email marketing. I was able to take the right one. I interpreted it because it knows it’s not supposed to be copied verbatim because that’s copyright infringement.
It looks in its repository of stuff that it’s looked at and finds something. Remember, it’s figuring out what the next word will likely be. That’s what it’s doing. The rest of it gets made up, but the source exists, just not as it says, because it hasn’t been copied verbatim. We wanted to copy it verbatim, but it’s not allowed to do that. That was interesting.
You can get funny results like that, like famous political figures or things like that.
It works well.
It does. It is amazing.
And it will advance faster than we can shake a stick at. It’s faster than we could imagine. It’s going to get millions of times better. We’ll see what happens.
I’m looking forward to Copilot. Do you know what CoPilot is?
Yup. Why don’t you share a bit about that with our listeners?
For people who don’t know, first of all, Microsoft invested heavily in Open.ai, which is the company that makes ChatGPT, so they have it in there. They gave them $10 billion. It’s a serious investment.
CoPilot is the integration of ChatGPT into Microsoft Office. What’s different about it is it’s not just that you can put in a prompt, and it’ll give you an answer like ChatGPT does, but it will create a PowerPoint presentation based on your prompt. You can say something like, “There’s an example online that I can talk about. If you look on YouTube to plan a trip to France,” it was like that. You can just put that in the prompt. The prompt is within PowerPoint, and it will create a whole PowerPoint presentation for you.
More than that, it can also use your documents. You can say, “Okay, I attended this meeting in Teams, and I want to email it to my group in my department or something. They weren’t at it, so I want you to take the transcript and write an email summarizing that meeting so I can send it to my department,” and it will do that. It works with your private documents that nobody else has access to.
CoPilot is the integration of ChatGPT into Microsoft Office. It will create a PowerPoint presentation for you based on your prompt.
That’s the difference between them. It can write an email from a meeting, turn a Word document into a PowerPoint, or something like that. You say, “Okay, go find this document on my computer, OneDrive, or wherever. However, you may have to do it on OneDrive and turn it into a PowerPoint presentation.”
That’s a whole leap up in efficiency because we spend a lot of time putting information into different formats so that other people can see it, like an email summarizing a meeting or something like that. If that can be automated, it’s amazing.
I find it annoying to have OtterPilot or whatever the bot shows up right on time for my Zoom meeting, and then the prospect or the client is five minutes late, and I’m just sitting there with its bot. It will record every word I say, transcribe it, and everything. It’s like, “Where the heck is my meeting? Where’s the human that’s supposed to show up?” That’s a bugaboo for me.
Yeah, it’s a wild world. It will be crazy when people regularly get these phone calls from salespeople who are not even human. They’ll be able to have full-blown conversations with you to talk to you about whether you are interested in selling your home or buying a home. Have you talked to a lender yet?
There have been bots like that, chatbots especially, for a long time. People are going to get frustrated when they go off. You have to answer yes or no. When the person says, “Well, I don’t know, I have to think about it, or maybe.” Yes and a no. I don’t know how it’s going to respond.
You would be amazed. I’ve heard some demos, and the AI handles that very well. It’s like, “I can understand your trepidation when talking to a lender.” It’s mind-blowing. It can fool somebody into thinking it’s human.
I did want to offer a freebie that I have around email because we’ve gotten off the top. I have a little ebook called 10 Techniques for Better Results from Your Emails.
These are just tips for getting better results from your emails. It’s certainly not all I do in my email, but then they’ll get on my list. They can see my emails. They can see what I do. It’s a powerful system for getting good email results, especially if you want to partner with people.
If you have a course or a series of courses, and you want to get some affiliate promos happening for your courses, what would be a good starting point for a listener? Let’s say they have a course or multiple courses, and they’re not selling enough. What would you recommend for some first steps?
In other words, how should they find partners?
How they should find partners, what they should offer the partners, and how they should reach out to them and pitch them. What should they do to identify the right partners? Any or all of that.Compelling free offers are essential to ensure consistent growth. Automate or outsource the promotion of these offers to maintain a steady and expanding presence. Click To Tweet
Stephan, that’s a whole course in itself. Just that question is a whole course. If somebody goes to changetheworldmarketing.com and searches for five steps to find partners or something like that, I have a blog post about how to reach out to partners.
In terms of finding the right partners, first of all, most people know who their competitors are, and they’re on their lists. You know who you might want to partner with, somebody who’s not a direct competitor but serves the same target market, which is great. Sometimes, I promote direct competitors, and other places are on leaderboards, giveaways, and summits. These are great places to find people actively promoting their business and partnering. Their names are right up there for you. That’s a great way.
I just recently, with a client, showed her a technique on social media. She has a very narrow niche, and she found a Facebook group just for her niche for partners, people who are in the same niche as her.
When you go into the group, everybody says, “Hi, I’m new here. Thanks. This is what I do. I’m glad to be here.” I said, “Okay, so you’re going to comment on that person’s comment, and you’ll say, welcome to the group, and then introduce yourself. I’m so and so, and I just started a course, and I’m looking for partners, and then you just keep doing that.
I had to write her own comment because she had never done that, saying, “I’m new in the group, and I’m looking for partners to work with so we can promote each other.” I have a new course I just had a successful pilot out of. Within a few hours, she had eight people who had responded to her.
You can’t just ask people to promote you; you have to be willing to promote others.
If you can find something like that, it’s just an easy way. You’re offering something. You’re not asking. But you must be willing to promote other people to partner. You can’t just ask people to promote you; you must be willing to promote others.
Right, and you need a list to do that.
And you need a list. That’s another whole course: how to grow your list. You should be doing that all the time. You should have some free offers, and you should be promoting that. That should be semi-automated or outsourced so that you’re always promoting it,
You can do a freebie swap with somebody who is, again, serving the same list, and you just promote each other’s freebies. It just grows your list. It’s pretty simple. They send an email promoting your freebie, and you do the same, and you get another however many people you get. If you do that regularly, your list will grow.
That’s a great tip. I have a list for people to get on your list. I mentioned My Thursday Three newsletter. If you, a listener, want to get on my list and receive that newsletter, which is awesome, and if you want a free bonus for doing so, just go to stephanspencer.com/freechapter, and I’ll give you chapter six of the new edition of The Art of SEO.
The fourth edition just came out recently. We have a whole chapter on AI for SEO. It’s a phenomenal update. Chapter six is on keyword research, so you get that for free if you go to stephanspencer.com/freechapter.
Great. Stephan is the expert on SEO, so get it.
Thank you. Do you have any arrangements with any publishers where you can give away chapters of your book? I had to get permission from O’Reilly, our publisher, to write this chapter.
Yeah, right. I don’t remember if I ever did that with my publishers. I think I just went on for my stuff, but maybe once they did something like that. They would have permitted me to do something like that. When the book sells well, they’re open to certain ideas because they own the copyright, so you must get permission.
That’s a real constraint, I guess, to put it in a polite way. When you have a publisher, and you can’t even make your own audiobook, and they’re not interested in an audio version, you’re just stuck. If you want to give copies away to an audience of people at a conference, and they’re like, “Well, you can buy them at an author discount of half off,” it’s like, “I’m not spending $2000 of my own cash on a book that I wrote or co-wrote to give these copies away at a conference I’m speaking at. No, thank you.”
Occasionally, you’ll be in a situation, not so much a conference, but maybe in-house in a company, and you’re training people there. As part of your training proposal, you can include the price in the cost, so everybody gets a copy of your book or something like that. It does get purchased. That’s something.
You’re right, and that’s what drives people to publish their own books. It’s an interesting dynamic about which is better because many people write books that don’t make a lot of money on their books.
I was lucky that three of my books were considered bestsellers over the years, and they stayed there, not like a flash in the pan for one hour. It’s on the top of the list, but the AutoCAD book for two or three years and the Flash book was Flash for Dummies. That did well because the first one came out just when Flash was just becoming popular. I made some money with it, but that doesn’t last forever. Books have a life cycle kind of thing.
Seventeen editions of the AutoCAD book are crazy. It’s good. But eventually, it just died out. People still ask me for the book. My last book was in 2015, and people still ask me because it was the best book if I say so myself.
At least at that time, I haven’t checked lately. There wasn’t anything quite like it in terms of being both a reference book and a tutorial. There would be a reference, and then there would be a little exercise, where I had drawings they could download. Originally, it was on a DVD in the book, but then it was something they downloaded.
There were all these drawings that they could work with and do exercises on. That’s a lot of work to put all of that together. It worked well for people but never lasted forever, so I’m glad I’ve moved on.Relying solely on your email list to promote the same content loses impact. Branch out and embrace strategic partnerships for sustained success. Click To Tweet
One thing that I thought you would be interested in hearing about is a tool called SparkToro. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it before.
No, I haven’t heard about it.
When you’re talking about building a list of partners to work with, I was thinking you would love this tool. It’s co-founded by my previous co-author, Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz and SparkToro. He is pretty famous in the SEO world. This tool is amazing.
You can put in the social media account of a competitor, just a colleague, or some influencer and have it look at the audience that follows that person. Then, for that audience, you get to see their demographics, psychographics, the websites they visit, the social media accounts they follow, and most importantly, the podcasts they listen to and the YouTube channels they subscribe to. Those would be great sources for potential partners. This is a unique tool because it provides information on the audience.
That’s a great idea. It does some of that research.
Pretty cool. I recommend you check that out.
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you.
All right. Thank you so much for a fabulous interview and for sharing your knowledge and experience.
If anybody has a question about email marketing, they can just go to changetheworldmarketing.com and fill out the contact form. It’s easy to find me. They can ask me a question. I’ll be happy to answer.
Awesome. If they’re looking to partner with you and do some JV stuff, they should contact you, too.
They should send me an email. Again, send me an email. Usually, the best way to approach somebody is to offer to promote them first. “How can I promote you? I like your work. How can I promote you?” It’s hard to say no to that, so you create a partner. Suppose somebody says that to me, I’ll go, “Sure.” If that person does well, let me promote you back.
It’s a law of reciprocity. Awesome. Thank you so much, Ellen. Thank you, listener. We’ll catch up with you in the next episode. In the meantime, have a fantastic week. Create some magic moments in the world, and we’ll catch you in the next episode.
Okay. Thank you for having me.
Connect with Ellen Finkelstein
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Your Checklist of Actions to Take
Share through micro-storytelling. Incorporate relatable micro-stories in my emails, connecting daily activities to relevant business principles. This establishes a personal connection with my audience.
Enhance the readability of my emails by including a table of contents. This allows readers to quickly scan through the content and can increase engagement and interest.
Stand out in crowded inboxes by sending daily emails. Create a consistent presence that increases my open rates and engagement.
Maximize the value of my email newsletters by strategically promoting multiple offers. This diversifies content and caters to various interests within my audience.
Ensure my featured swipe copy aligns with my voice and style. Edit and personalize my content to showcase my authentic voice.
Explore leaderboards, giveaways, and summits to identify my potential Joint Venture (JV) partners. These platforms showcase businesses actively open to partnerships.
Proactively offer to promote. When approaching potential partners, initiate relationships by offering to promote their work. This builds goodwill and establishes a foundation for future collaboration.
Join niche-specific Facebook groups and introduce myself. Actively participate in discussions and leverage these communities to find partners with shared interests.
Collaborate with potential partners for freebie swaps. Promote free offers to grow my email list and reach a wider audience.
About Ellen Finkelstein
Ellen Finkelstein teaches online entrepreneurs how to get their knowledge out to the world AND how they can maximize their income with email marketing. Ellen has become well-known for her contrarian and wildly successful email newsletter formula, which she uses to rank highly on affiliate leaderboards.