In this podcast episode, we share the secret of how to capture every possible email address for Black Friday. Our featured guest on the show is Adam Robinson, CEO of Retention.com.
On the Show Today, You’ll Learn:
- How did iOS 14 affect e-commerce email marketing.
- What's the impact of Intelligent Tracking Prevention.
- How has Klaviyo's tracking changed, and why does it matter.
- Why is prolonged tracking important for email campaigns.
- What are the challenges with shorter tracking durations.
- How can businesses prep for Black Friday in email marketing.
- When to kick start Black Friday email campaigns?
Links & Resources
Shopify App: https://retention.com/support/integrate-with-shopify-integration-app/
About Our Podcast Guest: Adam Robinson
Adam Robinson is the Founder/CEO of Retention.com. Adam has bootstrapped Retention.com to 20m ARR, is working in public and posts daily on LinkedIn, and is making a docu series called "Billion Dollar Challenge" chronicling his journey with Retention.com.
Listen & Subscribe on your Favorite Podcast App:
Please support the show if you liked today's episode:
- If you love the podcast, please get someone else to listen, too!
- If you enjoyed this episode of the Ecommerce Coffee Break podcast, please head over to Apple Podcasts, leave a rating, write a review, and subscribe.
- Share the podcast with your family, friends, and co-workers.
- Tag the podcast on Instagram @clauslauter and let me know what you like about it.
- If you like the content and would like to support the podcast, you can buy me a coffee here.
- Become a guest on the show or sponsor an episode.
Claus Lauter: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the eCommerce Coffee Break podcast. Today, we want to dive deep into email marketing because Q4 is coming up, like Friday is coming up, and we want to find out how you can capture every possible email address that is out there for your business. Now, things have changed in the email marketing quite a bit since Apple did some big changes, and I think not everyone is aware of it.
What kind of implication that has on collecting email addresses and doing email marketing. So with me on the show today, I have Adam Robertson. He's the founder and CEO of retention. com. He has bootstrapped retention. com to 20 million average annual revenue is working in public and post daily on LinkedIn, that's where you'll find him and is making a docuseries called the billion dollar challenge chronicle his journey with retention.
com. So let's welcome Adam to the show. Hi, Adam. How are you today?
Adam Robinson: Hi, I'm great. Thanks for having me.
Claus Lauter: Adam, 14. 5 and everything that followed really messed it up for marketing, specifically for email marketing. And we want to dive right into it. Give me an overview of what really happened.
Adam Robinson: , this is what has gone on from being someone who sells into these e commerce vendors, but it's not one myself. IOS 14 happened, which in my observation had took everyone's and by the way, we sell into Shopify stores mainly. So it's mainly a Facebook ad exercise that people are doing.
To grow their businesses for the most part, LTV or whatever, return on ad spend or whatever, in my observation, if you were to go before iOS 14 versus now, it's like gone up by 50%, The cost to acquire a customer on average, I'm sure there's some cases in which, it's not that, so iOS 14.
Prohibited. The user had to opt into being tracked across websites. So a thing that it did, which was so punitive, was it just made targeting harder because it made it harder for Facebook to put someone in a bucket of interest and build a profile. And it made it harder to show them a targeting ad.
So they were just new every time. I think everybody gets that. the brands who kill it today, in my opinion, it's like true classic is this t shirt company. , they were founded under three years ago and they're doing 150 million run rate revenue. I think they kill it because they can serve a broad ad.
If that makes sense. They're just showing t shirt ads to men, period. And. It's not like, men who have a gluten intolerance, who have a whatever, you know what I mean? I just wanted to say that because I don't think all hope is lost. It's just this Facebook thing before I was 14 had this incredible ability for a brand to create this hyper niche product and then just find those people who would buy it very quickly.
Right. So that was a big change there. And it's in meta what. I don't think people are aware of is that Apple's doing other stuff other than this iOS update. They have this thing called intelligent tracking prevention. that has been ratcheting down on what are called third party applications. So things like Meta, Klaviyo, Shopify, these third party apps, ability to track users on their website.
Let's talk about email because that's what we're talking about today. Why would it matter? If so, what has happened is Klaviyo, for instance, who everybody knows just IPO and everybody uses, they used to be able to track someone on a merchant's website for two years. And if you go, they did it with a cookie.
If you search Klaviyo's help docs and type Klaviyo cookie, the first thing that you will see is this warning banner that says, as of April 23rd of this year, due to intelligent tracking prevention. Instead of two years, Klaviyo's tracking only last seven days. why is that a problem? the problem is if someone clicks on a Facebook ad, hits your website and browses around and put something in their cart and leaves, they will get the best email that exists in the world today.
They will get an abandoned cart email. That's amazing. If eight days later, they come back on their own volition. And they don't click through from an ad. You don't know who they are. They can click or eight days later, they can click around, put a pair of shoes , in their cart and leave, and you can't send them that email a year ago.
They could have come back nine months later and done that and gotten an abandoned cart email. if you have to start at zero every seven days, the amount. Of people that you actually have tracked and the ability to send these messages to relative to the amount of people that there would be, if you could track for two years is smaller by two thirds, approximately I've seen from the data, because this is what we do.
This is what we sell. I just want to raise awareness of this problem because. I think most merchants know what iOS 14 was and that it hurt them and that it hurt them in the meta. I don't think hardly anybody is aware of this intelligent tracking prevention and its effect on you in your email program.
it's a problem. You need to fix it. Check out retention. com. This is what we do. We track people. We help, we have four different ways of identifying people. And we identify people on your website, help you track them for longer. And, uh, it just makes, you know, the, the, the biggest thing it does with respect to this Apple thing is it makes all of these flows that you set up, which Klaviyo makes you set up an abandoned checkout flow.
I would recommend setting up an abandoned add to cart flow, an abandoned browse flow, and a welcome series. These automated part of the magic, most of the magic is Klaviyo is of Klaviyo is the ease with which you can set up these messages to go out over email and SMS from people taking action on your website, because.
Those are timely, they're contextual, they're relevant, they resonate, right? they are the magic email. There's another way to use this technology, which going into black Friday it's just like a hack, but there's no other way to describe it. Our original product.
, if a visitor hits your homepage and they leave without filling out a form, we can resolve that to a deliverable email address only for USA traffic. and we can just put it in your email list and we can grow your list that way. Everybody's like, how's that legal? How does it work? And what do I send?
Aren't these emails just going to be junk or whatever. We are incredibly judicious about cleaning them and we know how to make them deliver well. That's number four with the legality part in the USA only. If you have an opt out link in the email, you're not legally required to get an opt in.
So this is not Europe in Europe. You're required opt in for data collection on the internet. It's not Canada, opt in for data collection and email. It's only USA technology. And then number three, how does it work? We have a publisher network who do banner ads. we basically have the ability to take anonymous digital identifiers in the ad tech world and connect them to profiles, which include emails of people that have opted in to receive emails from the publisher network.
That's 10, 000 feet how it works. It's incredible. Dr. Squatch, for instance, I think people have heard of this big soap company. They were doing a lot of ads that got acquired. They onboarded this 90 days before black Friday last year, we were responsible for over a million dollars of incremental revenue in October alone.
And we were 5 percent of their revenue from the whole black Friday period, there's a lot that can be done with this onsite visitor identity. we mostly focus on email.
We also have some products that feed audiences into meta because of the shortcoming of the retargeting pixel. Now they're blocked. We're not, cause we don't have an app in the Apple app store. This is what I'm trying to do, just make sure everybody knows at the very least that these possibilities exist for them.
Claus Lauter: Yeah, absolutely. Great overview. Now, obviously we are exactly in this timeframe, black Friday. There's still a little bit of time. I think a lot of merchants are already very late to the table when it comes to their marketing, preparation for Black Friday. Now, if we wanna collect more email addresses, your system obviously is a complete new way on how to find email addresses where you actually otherwise wouldn't have to use a form, for instance.
And forms have, I don't know, 2%, 3% signup rate if you're on a good
day. Is that right?
Adam Robinson: I think that on a homepage, that's a pretty good average, if you're the best in the world at it and it's like way down the funnel, then you're going to get higher than that. But it's no more than single digit, collection rate, like mid single digit doesn't get
Claus Lauter: How How would you go about warming these new acquired email addresses to really get them into the funnel?
Adam Robinson: So this is an interesting, this is hard to get your head around a little bit. These emails have very high positive engagement, but they have negative engagement that's like a bit too high to just send to these emails alone. The way that one cold emails in e commerce or whatever, you can't just start a company, buy a list and blast to it.
That doesn't work. For whoever's tried that. You know what I'm talking about? It just causes endless problems. Email is a game that is built on reputation. If you establish an email program and you're regularly mailing to a list, it cleans itself to the point where the engagement of that list or your 30 day active openers is like very high.
You can sprinkle in this type of email that has very high positive and slightly high negative engagement at a rate where it's a few percentage of the overall flow per day. And it just works beautifully because the emails are inexpensive. these people are just going to start getting newsletters.
But what we've learned over the last four years is that works. We had been telling people until about a year ago to send a welcome series that says, thanks for stopping by the site, take them through three bar welcome series, then put them in your newsletter.
We actually found that everything performs better. And the conversion rate is higher when you just start mixing them into a newsletter, which is odd. But I'm just a numbers guy, so I'm going to go with what works. in a weird way, email is, initially maybe not as much about what it says, but just the fact that, you're warming people up with the same compelling content that rest of your newsletter is getting, something like that.
Claus Lauter: your take on warming up to people going into Black Friday? When would you start a campaign? When would you send out the first of notifications to make people aware that Black Friday is around the
Adam Robinson: this is not to do with our product, With emails I would send them as soon as possible. As it pertains, not with our product. , it's a good question. I treat the internet as though people's attention and their memories are incredibly short.
It's almost like longer than a week in internet time, when I say I have no idea what I browsed or saw last Thursday, I'm not kidding. I don't know what I was looking at, like I get gun to my head I'm 42, 43, maybe I'm losing some short and medium term memory or whatever it's called, but I have no idea what I was doing last Friday on my computer or Thursday.
So I think you can start, warming them up a little bit a week in advance or whatever. But in my opinion. If you're talking about black Friday, two weeks before black Friday, that's an eternity. that's light years from black Friday. I think you probably even get away with a few days, telling them something's coming up a few days in advance.
That's one man's opinion. Right. And by the way, I'll qualify by saying I'm not actually in the game. I'm like a guy who's a vendor to these people.
Claus Lauter: Exactly. Yeah. Cool. Now, with a fast list grow, there might be some risks also involved. Means like list cleaning, making sure that everything, gets delivered. How do you deal with that?
Adam Robinson: generally speaking, we usually only sell that product to somebody who's got over 3 million of, sales per year going through their store. The bigger you are, the better the Dr. Squatch example is like a great one. There is usually a magic balance between the amount of traffic they have that we can turn into emails, the amount of emails they've collected over the years that can take this amount of traffic we're giving them.
we also never want to give somebody more than like 2 percent per day on average of what's going out. So we have a throttle , there's several different ways to throttle what's coming in. You could, for instance, only send emails to the brand after they've seen two different pages, which cuts the volume by three quarters, or you could say, I'm only going to give this brand 500 per day, for instance.
Long story short, we make sure that they're so far below what would overwhelm their delivery reputation that it doesn't even become part of the discussion
If you're in my position, it pays to be as conservative as possible, like the last thing I need is like a bunch of brands out there talking about how I blew up their deliverability.
It would literally destroy everything I'm doing right now.
We're unbelievably conservative in that department.
Claus Lauter: With your hack on getting anonymous, people, the email address from them. How do you prevent that you basically get email addresses that you already have in your list?
Adam Robinson: that's part of the product. We use their existing list as a suppression list. So you'll never get an email that you already have. It checks Klaviyo first before it like puts it in to make sure it's not there.
Claus Lauter: Now obviously Klaviyo just had a huge stock market event yesterday or
before. I went there myself using Klaviyo for years Shopify. Are you also working with other platforms? What's the tech stack that you support?
Adam Robinson: It's mainly Shopify, Klaviyo, just because we're fairly young and have low penetration in this market. The future for us every vendor who sells SAS wants to go at market Salesforce is the place to do it. We have the integration built out already. Big commerce, WooCommerce.
We do a lot of not so much square. They're small to make our stuff work, but yeah, those other platforms where we're all over. And then all the corresponding email applications that they use iterable braids, blue core, Salesforce marketing cloud, we have integrations for all of them.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Sounds great. How does the process look like?
Adam Robinson: it's pretty quick. It's a few hours of work. We do most of it, but there's things that the brand, we need Klaviyo permissions, Shopify permissions, whatever. I think start to finish, it usually takes seven days, but it's probably only an hour of the brand's time.
It's just like getting permissions, and then waiting for some work to be done and then, approving it all and flipping it on. And that generally. Again, it's like if you just had someone's undivided attention, it would happen in a few hours, but that's not how onboarding works in my experience,
Claus Lauter: very true. Yeah. How does your pricing structure work? What's the pricing look like?
Adam Robinson: Our starter plan is 500 bucks a month. The largest people are paying 20 grand or whatever per month, but they're massive. They're like, several hundred billion a year brands. We are creating a Shopify app. That's like a 77 a month price point. So it's
much more entry level, which is by design. And it's just a monthly subscription
kind of based on the size of your company. A couple million in revenues, like 500 bucks a month.
Claus Lauter: Okay. What's your take on where this whole thing with iOS and third party cookies is going? , how will it change that? will this change the landscape?
Adam Robinson: Apple is going to try to make it harder to do all of this stuff. it's fairly clear privacy to them means anonymity, which privacy can mean a lot of different things to a lot of people. It doesn't mean that to Google, Doesn't mean that to me, but two generations from now, all of this stuff that Apple's talking about and doing, I don't think anyone's going to care about it at all because we will have all grown up in this world where of the four main tech vendors, only one of them cared about this and everybody else has been tracking us since we were in the womb.
So like , who gives a shit, but, Apple still have a lot of traffic in this iPhone thing is like real, it's like they have 60 percent market share in the U S or something, and they're going to keep making it harder for everybody to do all this stuff. So it's exciting for me, the problem is going to keep getting bigger.
I'm here to solve it.
Claus Lauter: exactly. There's always bright people to find a solution to these problems. what I'm saying for now, about two years since iOS came out, is that at some point we will see Ad platform coming out from
I'm wondering that it takes so long, but that's my prediction for the last two years.
Let's see where it ends. Before we come to the end of the coffee break today, is there anything that you want to share with the listeners that we haven't covered yet?
Adam Robinson: no, I think we touched it all. I just want everybody to know that this thing is happening and, you can do something about it. So that's the major message,
Claus Lauter: Okay. One thing that I want to touch on is the billion dollar challenge that you, chronic thing. So what's that about?
Adam Robinson: about a year ago, I thought. Businesses have these interesting trajectories that went from, this is like going to be a really good lifestyle business to this thing could be a unicorn and I had seen people doing this work in public content creation and on the simplest level, it's like anyone can build anything that you have. Brand and trust are synonymous, my opinion. The biggest differentiator you can have is.
This brand these days? And it's like, okay, when you're nobody, what's the quickest way to create a brand and somebody had said this and I agree, it's like, well, people are on social media platforms to connect to people, not companies. Right. So I think I'm going to try to just make a docuseries chronicling.
My life as I undergo this transformation from a six person lifestyle business to someone who's trying to like aggressively scale unicorn maybe they're blowing smoke up my ass. I don't know. But it's a really well done. There's 10 minute episodes and. 10 more 10 minute episodes are going to be launched starting in three weeks from now weekly.
And it's just about what it's like being in the middle of this madness. , it's like me in my life trying to will this thing forward in all of the nonsense that comes from it, everybody's trying to juggle in this position. So that's, what's all about.
If you go to my LinkedIn page, retention, Adam, it's in a feature post. It's like the whole playlist of the episodes that has happened so far. No, that's a great story. I wish I have done that. As an entrepreneur for more than 20 years and it makes for good stories. But on the other hand, also, it gives for good lessons for people who want to follow in your footsteps. Well done on that idea.
That was my hope.
Claus Lauter: Cool. Where can people find out more about you guys?
Adam Robinson: Retention. com pretty good domain.
Claus Lauter: I will. Put it in the show notes for the people who can't spell. Thanks so much for the time today. I really enjoyed the chat and I hope a lot of people will come over and follow you on your story and check out retention. com. Thanks for your time, Adam.
Adam Robinson: Cool. Thank you.
Get notifications when new episodes are released. Unsubscribe anytime.
In your inbox for free. Every Thursday. Consumed in 3 minutes or less. Join 4,000+ Ecommerce Merchants, Founders, and Marketers.
StoreHero: The ultimate profit platform for ecommerce brands & agencies. Centralize your ecommerce, marketing & finance data for a crystal-clear view of unit economics, margins & profitability. Save 10+ hours weekly and gain insights into contribution margins. Equip your business with the tools for sustainability and profit. Log in to storehero.ai and start making informed decisions today!
Sponsor Options: We offer a range of sponsorship options for the show. To find out how you can reach your target audience through the Ecommerce Coffee Break Podcast click here.