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Seila Christensen: Mastering Email Marketing

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Welcome back! Today we have Seila Christensen on the show.
Seila is a stay-at-home mom, a wife, and a passionate advocate for small businesses mastering email marketing for unstoppable growth. Over the last 9 years, she's worn many hats—freelancer, business owner, and coach—all driven by her obsession with empowering businesses.

She's helped a company skyrocket by 1000% just this year, with 40% of their sales stemming from email campaigns. Her mission? Sharing these strategies to help more businesses thrive using the power of emails.

Seila shares her perspective on misconceptions about email marketing, how to choose the best email marketing platform for your business, and most common concerns when building a strategy.

If that peaks your interest, stick around as we dive into it.


Swell AI Transcript: 003 - Seila Christensen

Ksenia, Host: Hi, welcome to the show. I'm so excited that you're here. To get the ball rolling, can you share a bit more about yourself and what you do and all that good stuff?

Seila Christensen: Yeah. My name is Seila Christensen. I'm so excited to be here. Thanks for having me. I am the owner and operator of Surge Marketing Assistance, and I help people launch their email marketing platform. It's been so much fun. I've loved it. I've seen a lot of growth with one particular client. I mean, my only client for the last year. And then I've just recently started taking on new clients. And so here I am trying to get, you know, the word out about email marketing.

Ksenia, Host: Awesome. Okay, cool. I'm very excited to have you on. I feel like email marketing is this At least to me, it feels like this big thing that I'm like, I should have a list, but I have no idea where to start. So yeah, I'm very excited to chat with you and kind of to start things off, tell us about your journey. I know it's been a while that you've been in this space. So yeah, take us through it all.

Seila Christensen: Yeah, so I actually grew up in a small town and was a three sport athlete. And I had this one coach that really has kind of pushed me in my business mindset. I know that that's kind of strange, but there was one particular moment in our relationship that really has stuck with me for a long time, and it's kind of created this mindset for me. I was on JV as a freshman, and the varsity coach came up to me in the middle of the game and was like, we need you to come play varsity." And I was like, oh, uh, yeah, okay. And so I, you know, get all my stuff and I'm like super flustered and, you know, like move fields and stuff. And I get over there and he's like, you're up to bat. I was like, oh, okay. Okay. And, uh, you know, I'm putting on my batting gloves. I'm like, what, like what, what, you know, I was just super flustered. And he's like, don't get psyched out. They're playing the same game with the same ball. just get up to the plate. I believe in you. You can do it. I think that that's really applicable to business owners too is because we see, especially in those first couple of years where you're like, I see people that are five years ahead of me, six years ahead of me. It's so daunting, right? I really want to help business owners see that is actually not as far away as you think that it is. It can be even a little bit closer if you start making smarter decisions from the beginning. I believe that one of those things is including an email marketing list and building your list. It's one of those things that really helps just like connect the dots for your customer journey, right? You have your discovery platforms like Instagram and you need those, right? You need podcasts to help you be seen. You need Instagram and Facebook and all of those places to be seen, right? But then I feel like there are a lot of things that get missed in translation between Instagram and making money, right? There's a lot that has to happen between them for a customer to be able to get there. That's where email marketing comes in. That's where that bridge is built, is between Instagram and your email list. That's where the conversions happen. Oftentimes, I'll get asked, I have this big following, 10,000 followers, but I don't know how to monetize it. You're like, I tell them, okay, you need to build a list. You need to build a list. And they're like, I don't, like, what would I say? What would I do? You know, and, and that's where, that's where I come in. You know, that's, that's where you get a one-on-one with me for just a short amount of time. And we brainstorm, right. And we figure out what you've already been doing. so that you don't have to do more work. That's what people I think are really worried about a lot of time is that email marketing is going to be so much more work for me, but the truth is you're already doing the work, you just don't realize it. That's kind of what has led me to this moment where I've been trying so hard to get customers to see that their goals are closer than they even realize, right? And you can step up to the plate and play in the big leagues sooner than you think that you can. And that's what an email is.

Ksenia, Host: Nice. I love how you tied that around. I was like, let me see. How is she gonna do that? I feel like the thing that that reminds me of is, I know, in like personal development, there's always this talk of like a blind spot. And it really is like that thing that you don't know, right? Like so many, at least from my perspective, when I think of an email list, I'm like, okay, I have to like set up the tag, I have to figure out the first like introductory, like all the nurture sequences and everything, because I've seen Um, other, like I've had clients that have that set up or they want me to go in and design it. So. At least for me as a solo person, I'm like, Oh, how do I even start? So I think that it's powerful that you have those sessions where it's not just, Oh, follow this cookie cutter template and do exactly what like a completely different business model is doing. Cause obviously the clients that I'm referring to from memory, like they have teams. They have like a completely different business that isn't design or whatever your industry is. So I think that's awesome that it really is that like, no, let's figure out what it is for you and make it super easy.

Seila Christensen: No one knows your business better than you do. No one knows your customer base and your audience better than you do. That's why I think a lot of these, I don't know, you've probably seen some like, here's a free welcome sequence that you can have and it's generated this amount of money for me and blah, blah, blah. Those are great and that's a great place to, I think, get ideas, but I don't think that that is the right answer for every business, right? Because it's not the same experience for every customer in every business, right? And for every audience member, like they're all at different points in their customer journey. And that's where email marketing kind of shines is it's such a personalized approach when you let it, right? And I try and break it down so much so that it isn't so overwhelming, right? It's just, we're gonna do one thing at a time, and then when we've got that under control, we're gonna build on it, right? And you don't have to have the how yet, right? I think as solopreneurs and in business owners, we have this mindset of like, I have to, you know, know everything right now. And I have to do everything right now. And that's kind of just like, the way we were like, we're just kind of made, you know, we just, we have that mindset of like, I can do this myself. And I love people like that, because I am like that. But in order for us to be able to be successful, we do have to have those tools. And I can be, you know, people can be tools, right? And so that's where I kind of just, I try and transfer knowledge, right, from what I have learned to my clients so that they can have one session with me and then they can go and explore the platform a little bit more with more confidence, so much so that they can build their own integrations, their own automations and their own sequences and experiment with themselves. I often say like, this is really one big experiment. You know, life is one big experiment and when you think of it that way, you're really not really failing, right? You're never failing. It's just one big experiment and we're just going to keep experimenting, right? Until something sticks and then we're going to even fine-tune that even more, right? One example I have is like this past summer we had, my client had a sale and the last sale didn't go as good and so We were really wanting to figure out what was getting this customer base to purchase. I did eight A-B tests throughout the weekend. I ended up creating 16 emails or something like that. where it was like one tiny little tweak in the email. And at the end of the weekend, I saved the last A-B test for everything that I have kind of learned, right? I like changed pictures. I changed wording. I changed the subject line to see which one was, you know, more enticing. And so then I used all of that information for the very last email, right? And I had two different call to actions on the buttons on it. And then at the end, I put those two together, right? And so I had one, one that out, outperformed the other one by seven times. It had seven times the amount of sales. than the other one. I was like, what the heck? That's a huge difference. I was like, what? What was the difference? I pulled them up and I was like, I don't even see the difference and I made it. It took me a minute to figure out what it was, but it was the call to action and I had forgotten about it. The difference was that one of them said, shop now and one of them said, save now. I figured out that our customers were way more inclined to click and purchase if they knew that they were getting more value out of just the product. Save now is incentivizing that they're also going to be getting more money or saving more money. Shopping now is just like you're just getting the product. Right. And, and saving was a lot more enticing to our customer base. So there's things like that where we can just fine tune, um, a lot of, a lot of sequences. And we'll usually start with like a welcome secret sequence, like you were talking about earlier. That's usually the first kind of automation that people set up. And of course, there's always a way for you to figure it out on your own. And solopreneurs and entrepreneurs, we tend to do that anyways. And so I like to say, I'll give you one hour of my time and that will save you eight hours of your time. And in the end, time is money, especially for solopreneurs. One hour of your time is so much more is a higher commodity to me than even money can give, right?

Ksenia, Host: Yeah. Yeah, that's so true. Whenever I think about like, hmm, how much time will I save working with this person or using this tool? I always just refer back to my hourly rate because like, okay, even if I didn't have a client for that hour, that's how much my I'm saying my time is worth. So it's like, okay, if it takes me 10 hours, that's a lot of money.

Seila Christensen: Where?

Ksenia, Host: Yeah, absolutely. Like help me or even do it for cheaper. If we're considering time. So yeah, I think that's really important to know. I'm excited. Email is such an interesting thing. So I'm excited. I love everything you're saying. To kind of tie it back in. I'm really curious if like along your journey from when you first had that moment with your coach to now where you are in your business? Are there other moments that really stick out like that to you? Maybe whether they're like key lessons or like pivot points? Yeah.

Seila Christensen: Yeah. So actually, I feel like I'm kind of living one of my key pivot points. And that was like, excuse me, that started probably like, A couple months ago, the client that I'm currently working with, well, one of them is, they're one of my bigger ones and they just recently kind of had a big shift in their company and they're kind of like reconfiguring. And so I had this moment within myself where I was like, what am I doing? What am I trying to do here? And so I looked back at Um, you know, I, I kind of lost, not lost touch, but their needs weren't as big as they were prior. And so I had, I had this mentor that I was working with, with that company. And so I kind of had stopped talking to her as much just because we didn't have as much work to do. And so. I mean, I still had my same amount of work, but she was kind of separating from the company anyways. So I had stopped talking to her as much, and so I realized that there was kind of like this void inside of me, and I had missed talking to her and stuff. And I realized that I had been leaning a lot on her confidence in me. It brought me back to that very moment with that one coach 12 years ago where he was like, I believe in you. His confidence in me is what helped me step into the batter's box. I had realized that this previous mentor that I have been working with for the last 18 months had been that person for me and now I didn't have that person. All of a sudden, I felt like I didn't really know what to do and I didn't I didn't know what the next right step was. And that made me think, okay, at what point am I going to stop relying on other people to be the confidant in me? And when am I going to step up to the plate purely because I know for myself that I can be that, what I need to be for myself, right? I can be my own cheerleader. And so I started getting myself the tools that I needed, right? And I invested in a mastermind and I, you know, started my website and I started posting on Instagram again. And I started reaching out to podcasts like yours and, and things like that, where I started acting like I was, I believed in myself versus acting for other people to believe in me. I would say I'm actively in a pivoting point in my professional life and personal life. Really, the last 40 days that I've been in business has been the most transformational for me as a human being than it has been for my business. I like to think that, especially as solopreneurs, that's really what we love seeing as well as business is like, we love seeing the change in ourselves. And it's really, it's really super, oh, what's the word? Empowering to know that we have so much control over our own future, right? And I think that is what we really love to see as solopreneurs and small business owners.

Ksenia, Host: Yeah. Oh, that's so good. I'm like, this is gold. Oh, yeah, that's really powerful. I totally know what you mean. I've like have kind of relying on that person to tell you Oh, yeah, like this is great. This is not great. Um, or you're doing good. Like keep going. I totally relate to that. It's interesting. I don't know. how many people are going through this. But I feel like at least right now, and for those listening, we're recording like start of December 2023. I feel like a lot of people are in this like pivot or re like igniting their business, at least like I'll say for me, like I've been in business for seven years, which seems crazy to me. And I've definitely like thinking back to the growth and the shifts there's been really big ones in the past, especially when I was first starting out forcing myself to network in person. This was before COVID. This was when things had to be in person before everything went online. And thinking back, like, I do I think I'm also right now in the period of where it's like reigniting and being like, Okay, who do I actually want to work with? How am I going to make this work on my terms? So it's interesting. I've noticed that with a few other people. I'm like, is there something in the air? Are we just all in that plane where we're like, I need a change?

Seila Christensen: Yeah, I think that a lot of it has to do with this time of year as well. But I think most of it has to do with the change that we've seen between 2020 and 2023, right? And how different our world is prior to COVID than it is now. And we've also seen like been firsthand in history, right, where we've seen entrepreneurs, like night and day, right, that they take off. And realizing that we have our own future in our hands, right, is, is becoming more and more. What's the word? Like attainable. Right. And for so long, it felt like, oh, you know, I'm going to I'm going to do the grind. Right. I'm going to do the nine to five. And that's how I get where I want to be. And and now we're seeing a lot more on social media where it's like your future is actually in your hands. Right. And you are in control of where you go and what you do and how you get there. And it's been a story since I think Covid really has been kind of the turning point for a lot of people. So it's just been really interesting, especially going into a new year. I think people are kind of getting this, this bug of, you know what I'm tired of letting someone else be in control of my future. I'm going to take hold of it. Right.

Ksenia, Host: Yeah. Yeah. I agree. The thing that, um, I'm really curious now that I, cause with that shift, I don't know if you've seen this too, but especially maybe after COVID or just with how much there was like, everyone was online, everything was everywhere, that I'm seeing a lot of people kind of craving the personal side of things. So personal connections, personal branding, where before maybe you would have had, like, I know, at least for me before I kind of hid behind an agency where I was like, Hey, I'm here, but that's like, my name was like nowhere else. And now at least I've pivoted to more of a personal still business, but more personal. So I'm curious if you see that too, especially with the emails or like with how they're set up or how they're written.

Seila Christensen: Yeah, absolutely. I really do. I feel like, especially consumers right now are very attentive to personalized content and very interested in more personalized approach to their business. and two, getting consumers to participate in their business. Oftentimes in marketing, we say, you're selling a feeling. You're not actually selling a product, you're selling a feeling. I feel like now more than ever, it's been a time when you're selling a personalized relationship. with your consumer versus we're selling you a product because there's tons of ways to get what you want now. You can get all sorts of coaching. You can get all sorts of skincare. You can get all sorts of whatever product it may be, but you're going to find the best product or service when you have a feeling of investment in that company, right? And that's why I think email marketing is so cool. It's because it allows you to be so personalized and in your relationship with your customer. One of my favorite recent automations that we implemented was for a client they needed, like they were having this gap right between social media and their conversions. And so I sat down with them and was like, you know, it looks like you have a lot of people participating in your emails, right? You have the open rate is high. So we know people are wanting to see what you're offering, right? And they're learning as they go. And so I said, let's segment them. So we separate people, right? Purely based on their behavior. So if they click on this specific link in this cap in this email then we're gonna put them over here in this little group and What we're gonna do with this little group is we're gonna send them a very specific series of emails that will help them be more interested or feel like they have a better connection with your product and with you then then we focus on the main majority of your email list, right? And so we call them like investigating customers, right? Because they're interested, they've expressed interest by even opting into the email, they've clicked on emails, whatever. value they're offering in their emails, like here, read this article, or here's three tips for doing this and this and this. Here's a product that goes with it, right? If they've clicked on things in there, they're interested in what you have to say. And so they've already, they're already further down on their conversion funnel, right, their marketing funnel, they're closer to wanting to build their relationship with you. And so we went ahead and successfully integrated that with them. And they started seeing conversions almost immediately when they started focusing on those people. So I think that there is just so much power in giving people a personalized experience, especially right now when there's so much, oh, like, buzz about community, right, and how people are feeling really alone right now. And it's one thing, it's really a super powerful thing to feel connected so personally with a company, so much so that you want to make a purchase with them, and you want to support them, and you want to see them succeed. And that's when you make a loyal customer base, that really helps you set the foundation for growth in a sustainable way. right because they'll keep coming back because they're invested in your company and in you not just your product not because your products great and well it is great if you're trying to sell it then you believe in it right and if you're trying they'll be invested in you as a person and so I think that that is just really powerful and especially when Instagram has kind of started shifting, right, the way that we as consumers are seeing Instagram is more of like a sells a selly place, you know, like it's a sale, I'm always being sold to on Instagram, right? Or it's too perfect. And I all I see is the good things, right? It feels in on that inauthentic. And so when you get so personal in a in a person's email box, I think it can be really powerful for a business. And for their their company overall, right?

Ksenia, Host: Yeah, I can totally see that. Because even just thinking about how I personally as like, even as a consumer, like, okay, how do I go through my emails? How do I go through Instagram, usually on Instagram, unless someone's messaging me, or it's someone I know, I am like in the explore page, wasting time watching cleaning videos. So it's like, not the place if you really want to contact me, but when I think about emails it's like to me at least emails are my to-do list so it's like okay who do I need to get back to what do I want to check out and even based on like the buying aspect of it you're right like if it's personalized if I actually know who the person is if I trust them then it stays in the inbox but otherwise it's like trash sorry not gonna stick around so yeah exactly It's interesting to even see the behaviors with email versus social media too. It's like better chances on email.

Seila Christensen: Yeah, absolutely. Email's ROI, the return on investment, is for every $1 that you spend, the average is $40 in return. That's like a 4,000% return. It is because you're landing in a place that you have control over. You control how often you are seen in their email inbox. Even if they don't open it, just visually seeing your name puts them right back into their brain. For Instagram, it's all up to the algorithm. Even if you're following someone, you don't even get to decide when someone sees your content. Right, it's a it's a total toss-up. And so it's really hard to personalize their customer journey on on Instagram because You don't know you don't have as much control over when they see your content versus email you get to decide right and one of the things that I often like hear people talk about is I is when they get so caught up in what they're going to say in their emails that they just get… like almost like deer in a headlight, right? Where they're like, I don't even know what I would say. There's nothing for me to say. And if you are providing value on Instagram in any way, shape or form, or if you're offering a service of any way, shape or form, you have something to say. You're just so used to it in your brain that you don't even realize the information that you have. And it's really cool to see people pull that together, right? From, oh, I do actually have something to share. Oh, I do actually have things that are valuable that besides just my product, right? One place that I love to see people implement email marketing is estheticians. Mainly, and it's like, okay, like why? And it's because there's so much to skincare that it's like you have so much value that you could be sharing and you could be proving your expertise to your customer base. And then on top of that, you can be throwing in, hey, these are my specials on my products in my studio this week or my salon or whatever. And you're immediately getting into their email box again, right? Every single time you're just further creating that relationship and that intimate relationship with them and to a point where they are subconsciously getting used to your name and getting used to your presence that you become like this innate part of their life without even realizing it, right? So that's what one thing that I just, I, another thing I just, I could talk about it all day long, but that's just one thing I love about it.

Ksenia, Host: Awesome. So now I'm curious. I know we've talked a lot about how email marketing, definitely better ROI than Instagram and social media. But what are some misconceptions that you come across a lot other than it just seeming like it's this like, super big thing? And what do I even talk about?

Seila Christensen: So a common misconception I see is that people feel like they have to have a website to be able to build their list. And that's just that's not true. You know, most of the time I see people put like a link tree in their bio. That's pretty common. It's pretty similar to that. You just need some way for people to opt in. I would say most email marketing platforms offer a landing page for free. That's because they want you to use it. They want you to build your list. they're giving you an opportunity to do it completely free. You can personalize that, you can use one of their templates. There's easy ways, easy, so easy to get a landing page and just put it in your bio, right? Another misconception I see is that they have to be creating more content when in reality you can automate all of those things. We've kind of talked a little bit about a welcome series. That's what I usually tell people to start with as a welcome series, but that's not always the right step for people. One of the things that I like to do with them is to create a freebie that they can offer a value to help them build their list, right? And it doesn't take, it's only a one time. The misconception is that you have to keep, like, you have to reply to every single time someone opts into your email. And it's actually just automated. And once you build it one time, it just goes on its own. Every time someone opts in, then it will be sent automatically. So the best thing about it is that it can, it can be generating a relationship with your customers without minimal effort from you. It's just the initial time, you know, that you have to invest into creating it. And then after that, it's just maintenance, right? And really the maintenance is just like, I'm going to look and see how well this specific email in my welcome series is doing. and let's check on the open rate and let's check on the click rate and then let's check on, you know, let's see where people are going from there. Are they going to my website? Are they going to, are they going back to Instagram? You know, you kind of get to see where exactly your customers are going and what they're doing. And that's really the only thing that you have to do from there. And even then that's really optional. You know, that's, that's really just so that you can make it better. Right. But The most important part is that you're even establishing a relationship with them and then going and building it from there. Kind of what we talked about earlier, just basing your automations off of your customer's behavior, right? and maybe they click on a specific link in a specific email series, right? And you make that a quote-unquote trigger that sparks another series of emails that gets them to go to, you know, let's say they start, you have a skincare business, we'll just keep going with that train, you have a skincare business and they click on, like, I need help with building my routine, right? And that takes them to a freebie that gives them kind of a breakdown, right? And they click on this specific product that you offer in that freebie, but they don't actually buy it. So that might trigger another set of emails that will help them learn more about that product, right? So there's lots of ways that you can automatically be helping your customers along in their buying journey. without you just being there in their face all the time. You know, it's going to, you have to just initially set it up and then it's done and you can send it on its way.

Ksenia, Host: Nice. Okay, cool. So with freebies, is that a must? Do you have to have something that is like, here, come, I'll give you this cookie or this PDF if you sign up?

Seila Christensen: No, no, no, absolutely. Absolutely not. You do not have to have a freebie. That's just one way I suggest that you You build your list and you get people's information. I usually tell people that because it's kind of like their first transaction with you. They are giving you their personal information in exchange for your value. It's easier for you to make conversions when you know that they're already kind of committed to the idea of your services so much so that they want a little bit of the information that you have to offer for free. That's just one way that I tend to I tell people, you can use a freebie, but you don't have to. There are lots of other ways to build your list. There's collaborations. I'm learning about a new way that you can do opt-ins on other people's websites. When other people opt-in, like their audience opts into their subscriptions, then you can also be on that list and be like, hey, take a look at my friends. Like, really cool stuff, right? So there's other ways that you can build your list and you can collaborate in that way. You can do giveaways, you can do, oh, all sorts of things. There's, yeah, there's giveaways, there's freebies, there's… podcasts like this, just getting any way of discovery is a great way to build your list. And even just, you know, offering like, hey, if you want to know about when I'm going to be offering a discount on my services or If you want tips or tricks in this way or that, that's a way that you can put in your stories and you can build your list that way. There's so much more ways that you can offer value to someone in exchange for their information than just offering a freebie.

Ksenia, Host: Good to know because I know, at least for my personal journey, I feel like it's always like, oh, you have to have an opt-in or a PDF or something. even as I built sites for clients, I get the incentive side. It's nice to know there's options. You don't have to, but it probably benefits you to have it because it's easier for the customer to make that choice.

Seila Christensen: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Like I said earlier, it's a great way to start that relationship. start that relationship. And then you know for sure that these customers are the ones that are at least a little bit invested in what I'm offering. And you can really focus on kind of what we talked about, like segmenting your audience in that way. You can segment your audience into the ones that only opted into your freebie versus the one that have already made a purchase. They're already on a different spot in your marketing funnel. They're on a different part of the journey than the people that are in the freebie. that they opted into the freebie. So it just gives you another opportunity to really personalize your relationship with people, right?

Ksenia, Host: Nice. OK, cool. I'm curious, with everything you mentioned about automations, kind of tying it back into actionable steps, how do you choose the best platform for email marketing? Do you have a favorite? Or does it depend?

Seila Christensen: Yeah, this is a great question because every email marketing platform is so different and there's so many to choose from that it can be super overwhelming. I remember when I was trying to choose one for my first client, I was like, oh my gosh, this is so overwhelming. I have no idea. I probably spent like five hours at least trying to decide purely on what one to use. I often will tell people that they need to figure out what the purpose of their email marketing platform is. For a service-based business, typically the purpose of your email marketing platform is going to be to just get people onto the list so that you can push the bigger service to them. I'd say you're probably going to be sending less amount of emails than a product-based business would be because A product-based business is probably going to be sending abandoned cart, right? Abandoned cart emails and, you know, sale emails and special offers and things like that. So you're going to be sending a ton more emails for a product-based business than a service-based business. Most of the time, not always, but most of the time. So when you're, there's things like that, that you have to take into consideration when you're building or when you're even just considering getting your email platform set up, right? How many emails are you going to, are you going to send? Are you going to use SMS messaging? Are you going to be needing it to integrate with a specific website? Are you going to need a landing page? Are you going to, you know, um, are you going to need it to integrate with, um, like another customer-based operation, like HubSpot. There's tons of things to consider. When you have that list laid out, it's a lot easier to see what you're looking for in an email marketing platform. In fact, I have found this to be a consistent problem where people are like, I don't even know what I'm looking for. So much so that that's my freebie, is I offer a download that people can opt into. It's a four-page breakdown of what to consider. Just a tiny snippet of what it offers is what I've already talked about. the things that you have to consider, but it also talks about what goals you need to consider, what marketing goals you have. Then it talks about actionable things, the first thing that you need to do. You need to set up a business email. you need to own a domain. Those are just a few things that people don't consider when they're first starting out. I just laid it all out there and it's all available. You can see that on my website or on my Instagram. I have those there too. We can talk about that, how they can find that later.

Ksenia, Host: Yeah. Oh, that's so interesting. Because I know at least from my completely non email, but it's an email illiterate. I just like I've always just looked at the cost because I know email platforms can get expensive, especially the more subscribers you have. So for me, it was like, okay. And also seeing like, I personally, I don't know your point of view on this. Of course, I think it depends on if it fits people. But I'm personally not a fan of MailChimp. I don't know if people have.

Seila Christensen: Just because like I see. Yeah. I'm personally not a fan of MailChimp, but you know, there are people that are fans of MailChimp and, and that's kind of where, um, that that's another typical misconception actually is that you can't have a email marketing platform unless you have a large budget. I beg to differ that almost every email marketing platform has a free option. Those free options all offer different things. Actually, my freebie is it breaks down only the free plans. I think that you should try it before you buy it. If you feel like there are certain aspects of one platform that you like versus another one, you should try both. You should go check them out and you should see what you can do with both of them and then make a more educated decision. Right now, I'm on a free plan. I'm not sending an absurd amount of emails every week. I don't have a product-based business. I'm just sending weekly emails, newsletters kind of a thing where we're talking about email marketing and what's going on in the industry and tips and tricks kind of a thing. I'm not sending as many emails. I also don't have as many subscribers as someone with significant more time building their list than I have. There's some platforms that let you send 10,000 emails. and have a hundred subscribers, right? Like they're just, they're all different. And that's why I kind of like, even when I was trying to decide for myself, I was like, I need a visual, I need a visual way to say, okay, this platform has this thing and this platform has this thing, or this one doesn't, you know? And so I laid that all out in my freebie, but, um, you don't need, you don't need to invest any money really in an email marketing platform to get it going, to get it going and to start building your list. That's why I think it's so cool is because you can start moving people to the conversions and start making money in a more sustainable way before you're even investing in social media management or other aspects of, or even like a website. If your website is under construction, that's totally fine. Keep building your list. Let's get you a landing page. Easy. and say, OK, our website's under construction. But if you want to know when this and this and this is going to happen, then opt in and we'll let you know as soon as it's available. There's things like that that you can do for free. And that's why it's super cool. It's because it doesn't have to be this money-sucking part of your marketing plan, as maybe social media might be or ads like Google Spend and all of those things.

Ksenia, Host: Yeah. Okay. Awesome. Good to know. I'm curious, what are some common concerns that you see whenever you're building a strategy? Like if someone was to come to you for one of your sessions? Yeah, I'm curious. What do you hear? What are some main concerns? Like, how do I figure this out?

Seila Christensen: Yeah, so some main concerns. Let's see. Oh, main concerns are, I don't know what to say. I don't have any value to share. And that's when we bring back the, you do have value to share. You're already sharing it. we just have to reinvent it. When they see that all they have to do is reinvent what they've already been doing, it becomes so much more attainable. It's the brain power of coming up with all of this new content that you're already trying so hard to do. I'm on social media. I get it. It's hard. It's hard to come up with fresh ideas and stuff, but it's okay because like we've talked about earlier, social media is inconsistent in how your customer sees your content. And so that email is a great way to just reuse what you've already been doing. I typically say like, okay, go, let's go back like six months. Okay. And let's see what was working on your Instagram six months ago. And we'll take that and we'll reinvent it into an email. So most recently I was talking with a client that she, has been doing – she's a home organizer. She offers tips and tricks for how to organize your pantry, your kitchen. She had this one that went semi-viral like six-ish months ago about a kitchen. I said, well, let's just do that again. Let's send it to the small – she had a small email list, but I said I'd tried to explain, like, these people are already invested, right? They've already said one time by exchanging their personal information with you that they're invested in what you have to offer. And so maybe they just need one more step, right, before they book an appointment with you. So let's go ahead and reinvent that and we'll send that to your invested email, you know, subscribers and go from there. And she was really excited about that because she was so worried she was going to have to come up with a whole new set of, of marketing for her email subscribers versus, you know, you don't have to do that. You can just reinvent what you've already done and even combine a few things, you know, or you can offer a freebie like we've already talked about, or there's just, there's so many ways that you can add value to your customers' lives without having to sell them anything. And that's where people get, they see that you're really invested in them as a customer is when you're offering things of value that they don't have to exchange so much information for, money particularly, right? But that is where your relationship starts to build with them.

Ksenia, Host: I'm curious. So when starting out the email list, say we're going from scratch, excuse me as an example, where it's like it's zero, but I know I have clients, like I've obviously worked with people in that kind of area where there's like zero email list, but there are clients, maybe some of them are fit, maybe some of them would want to opt in. Do you still keep it separate? Or do you kind of like smoosh them together. Like, yeah, I guess I'm curious, like, how do you manage the people like connections you make, I guess, on social media or by offering freebies with people that you've previously worked with? Yeah, I'm just curious.

Seila Christensen: Yeah, absolutely. So for your case, particularly, I would say you probably have a list of clients, right? And, and I would say, I would have you make your opt in and then I would send them even a personal, like message. in your with your own email that they recognize and say, Hey, I'm doing this newsletter every week. I feel like you would find great value in it. Here's where you can opt into it, right? And let that be a choice for them because you don't want them to get into a list that they don't want to be in, right? There's nothing worse than getting an email where you're like, uh, I don't actually know where I got this email from. Like, that's kind of creepy. How'd you get my information? You know, that's weird. Um, so just giving them that opportunity to make that choice for themselves, right? And you could even follow up, you know, in a couple of weeks and say, hey, I noticed you didn't opt in. Is there something in particular that you feel like would be valuable that I offer? You know, is there a specific topic that you feel like you could use help with, you know, and that I could address in my newsletters? Because most likely, if you have a question, then other people have a question about it. Right. And so just keeping that relationship in their court. Right. But making sure that you're still actively engaged with them, I think is a really great way to naturally build your list with current with current clients, right?

Ksenia, Host: Yeah. Yeah, that's, that's good to know. I think like what I'm getting a lot from the emailing side of things is, it's always their choice. So like they opted in, then you know, like, they're interested, they click the button, you know, they're even more interested. So I think, yeah, it's interesting. The thing that comes to mind is how email is definitely a choice. or maybe social media isn't like you don't have a choice of who shows up on your feed or even who sees your post. So interesting. I'm like, yeah.

Seila Christensen: Yeah, I think that there is a lot of power in letting the customer decide, right? There's a lot of power in knowing that even if you don't want to necessarily purchase right now, I value our relationship, right? You're not just a follower. You're not just a number, right? Versus Instagram is that way. Recently, I don't know, have you heard of Jane.com? No. It's a website. It's similar to Etsy where where business owners can put their products online at like a discounted price. Um, and recently they're based out of Utah where I'm, where I'm currently living. And they recently just shut their doors, um, without any, any warning at all. And it's so much so that it's created quite a buzz because there are business owners that have net that didn't get their payout. and now they're out tens of thousands of dollars. It's really terribly unfortunate and horrible. It's helped me to really push for, look, you can't own this platform that you're on. You don't own that. You don't own your Instagram followers. You don't own your LinkedIn followers. You don't own those things, but you can own your business list. In fact, when you're selling a business, I don't know, I don't think a lot of people know this, but you can sell your email list as an asset, as part of the sale that will make you money, right? So if you have more emails that are engaged with whatever, a click rate of 2% or whatever, you can leverage that in your sale of your business. So there's more reasons than just getting consistently in front of your customers to build a business or to build an email list. There's, you know, it's actually an asset for your business. So I often bring back that example of you don't own your followers, you know, and that was like right before Black Friday and they had already purchased all of their inventory, but they had no way to sell it and no way to reach the customers that had been buying off of them on Jane.com because Jane.com owned those email addresses, not them. And it's just terribly unfortunate and a good reminder about why it's so important to build your own list and own that relationship with the customer.

Ksenia, Host: Yeah, I use the same thing from the perspective of your website, right? like with the list, you can download it, you can take it somewhere else. Also why I'm very much a WordPress girly, because you can download it, and it's yours, they're files, you can take them, you can move them somewhere else. And it's yours, like it's fully you own it versus social media. So a wonderful thing to end on. My last question for you though, kind of coming back to your journey, If you could go back to any point in your journey and say something to yourself, what would you say and where would you go?

Seila Christensen: That's a good question. What would I say to myself? Probably that you are so much more valuable than you give yourself credit for. You have so much more to offer than you think that you do. Yeah, I think that's what I would tell myself. It wouldn't be super. I don't regret any part of my journey, but I do wish that I valued what knowledge I did have more because I think that that would have saved me a lot of heartache.

Ksenia, Host: Yeah. Oh, that's such a good one. Thank you. Um, yeah, thank you so much for coming on. I love this conversation. It's Yeah, I feel like it's gonna be a really good one. So yeah, tell us where people can find you what you're up to any of your offers.

Seila Christensen: How can people Yeah, so we've kind of talked about a little bit, but I'm just starting out, you know, um, so by the time this episode uploads, I'm hoping to have a a group class ready to go or some sort of membership. So if people want to know more about that, I really think that most solopreneurs don't have the opportunity to invest fully in Leica. here, I'll build your whole system. And that's just not feasible for a lot of people. And so I'm creating more opportunities for business owners to learn themselves and to be able to take ownership of it. And I really do think that you can make better business decisions down the road when you know a little bit more about social media management, and email marketing management, and things like that, and what you're getting out of other people. That's what I'm going to be offering probably in January. I hope so. You can find that on my website at surgeassisting.com. And you can find me on Instagram at surgeassisting as well. And you can find me on LinkedIn, Selah Christensen. And if you want, you can opt into that freebie. It's available on my website. It should be a pop-up. Or you can click the link in my bio on Instagram as well.

Ksenia, Host: Yay. Okay. Awesome. I'm definitely going to be signing up for that freebie. And I'm excited to really see that course, the group thing come out, because I know it's going to be so helpful. And yeah, I totally agree with it sometimes not being feasible to make these big moves. So yeah, I'm very excited. Thank you so much for coming on. Thanks so much for having me.

Seila Christensen: Thanks so much for having me.

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