Jon Butt owns a fire safety company in the UK, his second after selling his first fire safety company for a seven figure sum. He started in the fire safety trade by selling fire extinguishers door to door and progressively built up his first company enough to sell it for a nice profit. For his second, and current, company he started an ecommerce site and has gradually removed himself from the business by having his staff primarily operate it. Jon shares his first-hand experience and knowledge of starting, growing, and slowly stepping away from directly running a company on his marketing podcast.
A Quick Preview of the Podcast:
- How to speak to everyone on your email list without being irrelevant
- Why not segmenting your list can be more beneficial for your business
- How to implement an email marketing tactic that will simplify your efforts
To See These Tactics In Action:
To See The Transcript:
Tim: List segmentation has been a bust phrase in the online marketing community for a while no. More and more folks are saying that their proper segmentation has been the difference between a slow growing business and the massive success they’re now enjoying.
Today’s guest Jonn Butt has a differing viewpoint and the data to back it up. When he stopped segmenting his list and focused on providing great content to everyone regardless of what they bought, he got 236% more people to buy again. That’s amazing if you ask me and I had to ask him how he did it.
I’m Tim Paige, the senior conversion educator here at LeadPages and this is ConversionCast.
Hey Jonn, welcome to ConversionCast. Thanks for coming on the show.
Jonn: It’s my pleasure. Nice to meet you.
Tim: Yeah, you too. So we’ve got some fun stuff to talk about and something that is, you know, I’ve talked about this many, many times. I love when something works better because it’s simple. So I love that and we’re going to talk about what that means in just a minute but before we do, tell us the results that you were able to get from this tactic?
Jonn: We increased or repeat buyers by 236% without spending any money in our ecommerce store.
Tim: Yes, I love it. Okay. So you know, for people that don’t know who you are, tell them a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Jonn: Okay. My name is Jonn Butt and I’m based in the UK as you can tell from fancy accent. At least you guys think it sounds fancy.
Tim: That’s right.
Jonn: So oddly I’m in the fire safety trade. When I left school, I started as a door to door commission only salesman selling fire extinguishers. Built up a company, sold that for a tidy seven figure sum. Swore I’d never do it again and then did it again.
Jonn: Like [Indiscernible[00:01:51]. The funny thing, I haven’t got time for the story but I accidentally did it again. I promise I was trying not to. But because I also liked simplicity, I do not like anything complicated, I love obviously the internet. Broadband was there. So it was just a lucky time. I started and ecommerce site. Didn’t really know what I was doing, put it together myself. Built it up and gradually removed myself from the business. So nowadays the site operates with my staff I think and it’s funny I ought to know how many staff I have but somewhere like 12 or 13 or 14 of them. We have a warehouse. We ship everything out from southeast Kent in the corner of England and all fire safety gear this is again. I spend every other month out of the country. I work there. Well I got a couple of hours a week when I’m in the UK. In my spare time I have a marketing podcast where I teach people what I did and how I got myself out and my business and have a nice life.
Tim: I love that. Yeah it’s great. It’s cool because we get to talk about things that you’ve done. I always love when people have the experience before they become teachers and that definitely describes you. So there were a lot of things that you did to get this result. We were talking about this back and forth through email a little bit. But there was one particular part of it that I was really excited about. So why don’t you share a little bit about what you did?
Jonn: Yes. So back in the day, business is good. But at some point rather we realized that our repeat customers were 11% of all our customers. But the thing is they spent nearly five times as much money. So we had to look at what we could do. But like most businesses, we don’t have some huge budget to invest in these things. We’re doing some email marketing but we decided to have a closer look at our email marketing and the funny thing is we used to segment our list. This is the weird thing because everyone is told that the more segmentation and so on, the better it is.
But we stopped segmenting and sent the same email to everybody. That was the main tactic and sales went up from these email people. By the way I took my emailing to existing customers but we changed the way we emailed. So we didn’t send what I call the standard ecommerce stuff when you buy something from I don’t know Amazon or whatever and then they just blast you with email after email thinking buy something else, buy something else.
Tim: [Laughs] Yeah.
Jonn: Yeah. People get a little tired of that after a little while. So we decided we would produce four different emails a month. So weekly email but each one was, so the first week they got a particular type, the second week a particular site and I’ll send every month. And then we batched them out and made three months’ worth at a time.
We did this all in-house. When I say in-house my marketing assistant, my guy Jake who was the unfortunate person given the job of doing this was given two weeks roughly an hour a day to produce three months’ worth of emails.
Jonn: That’s pretty cool. I mean he is dead keen but he had never done anything like this before. He was customer services up until then.
Jonn: So we improved the emails and the type of things that we sent. So one of them would have been and still is by the way a sort of company newsletter. It was not really a company newsletter, tell them about things going on in the trade industry.
One will be a detailed explanation of a new product or a product category because there’s always something coming up. One would be a sort of five quick tips where we – I don’t know. So it comes for something like we have a thing called fireworks day in the, bonfire day in the UK so we’d send them five tips to avoid accidents on bonfire day.
Jonn: That always go down well every year and they still have lots of accidents.
Tim: Yes. [laughs]
Jonn: The fourth one is what we called a short offer. It’s like a paragraph with no header. It looks kind of like it’s just come from me and it will say hey it’s my birthday. 15% off everything in the store for 48 hours, here’s your code. You know, that kind of thing. And we changed these up. We also hired an in-house writer, oh wow, did that make a difference.
Tim: I bet.
Jonn: Everybody, everybody please try hiring somebody.
Jonn: You don’t have to hire them for five days a week eight hours of the day. Some people you’d be amazed how many people are prepared to work a couple of half days a week and their writing, the quality fantastic.
Tim: I love it.
Jonn: And then we changed the – we experimented with headlines as people do. But we found one funny thing, if we hyped it up, you know, if we did kind of internet marketing stuff, we actually got complaints. My staff found that people would phone up and complain if we over hyped. If I did some of the headlines I’d learned about from your Frank Kerns type which might work wonderfully in places. People actually phoned up and complained.
Jonn: I said well hey, this is like five people out of 20,000 but my staff don’t like dealing with complaints.
Jonn: So simplicity, things like and the funny thing is you can apply this to any type of business if you think about it. So headlines they include these terms such as new regulations, the different between explained, smile guide, quick guide, summary of, simple example of. Those headlines now if you think of no matter what business you’re in whether it’s from LeadPages to selling blue widgets you could figure out a headline that gets those in and people think oh might be interesting without the hype.
Tim: Yeah, that’s awesome. But what was it that –you know, because I’m really excited about the fact that everybody that’s on your list gets these same emails. This is not a segmented thing based on a certain particular thing. Right?
Jonn: Yes. So we sell. See when we’re talking it through of course all of this stuff is you have to just assume, you have to know a bit about your industry and you have to assume. You have to try some stuff. But what we think was happening because we sell fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, safety signs, fire alarm gear and everything. The people who buy our gear don’t actually want to buy it. They’re made to buy it. So regulation thing. So they come along. They don’t search around a lot and we figured that they probably don’t take the time to look at what else is there. So if we just safely bought fire extinguishers and we just sent them information about fire extinguishers they might not know that we sell stuff for the home, smoke alarms and fire blankets and gadgets like that and carbon monoxide alarms and things like that.
So we decided to just try it and send everybody the same stuff. so if someone might have bought a handful of bits and pieces for their what do you call that RV, you know, for their motorhome and we would send them stuff about industrial fire safety gear which of course might be of no interest to them but it might be because even though they’re buying it for home, they might still own a business. Who knows?
But what we think has happened is that when we are segmenting and by the way we’re using AWeber on one business and MailChimp on another and we have to spend quite a bit of money to get that segmenting done.
Jonn: Because it ain’t easy and this is a few years ago as well it ain’t easy. So we were deciding what we thought they wanted to know whereas we think they probably preferred to make that decision for themselves and I think that’s what people do is people overthink. People are going to sit down and think what sequence, what are they going to want to know and then what are we going to cross them over to. But perhaps people want to know what else you got.
Tim: It’s interesting. You know I think that there’s a lot to be said for segmentation and doing it properly but I love the fact that you were able to find better results through not segmenting, through h sending everybody what you had and letting them decide what they wanted to read and what they didn’t. I think especially in an industry that you know maybe isn’t –you know, it’s not the typical industry that’s going to get the internet marketing kind of emails. I think that that makes a lot of sense and I would encourage listening and hearing this and going well that sounds great to not have to figure out all that stuff. You know, try it out and see what works for you. Try maybe a little bit of segmentation and see how that works for you. Test both of them and see which one works better. Just as with anything that we talk about on this show, it’s always worth testing to find out what works best and in this case, look the simpler thing, the thing that required less of you and your team ended up being the better thing for you. I that’s so exciting.
Jonn: I’ve subscribed. You said it’s not really an internet marketing style business but I’ve subscribed to competitor emails who are doing various bits and pieces. It’s good to look at your competitors to see what they do and to see how that would look to you as an individual. So that’s another thing that helped. We thought wow, these aren’t very good. I wouldn’t like to get these. What would I rather want? We found in a content marketing style people want the information. That’s you know, everyone forgets it when they’re searching. Even when people go to Amazon to buy something they’re not actually really going to Amazon to buy it. They’re just starting with Amazon to look and they’re still just looking for information. We found that once we took that relationship from off the site and into email and we built that relationship by giving them information rather than just trying to sell them stuff well that obviously helped. But I think what I would say to the listeners is if you’re going to try mixing out, you know, try. Don’t send one email a month because that’s not going to help you.
Maybe if you send them an email every week, send them alternate. Send a segment and everything. Introduce people to the rest of your range as well as the segmenting and see what works for you. There’s going to be an improvement there somewhere.
Tim: Yeah, that’s great guidance and I’m excited. I want to hear how people are doing this. So you can head over to LeadPages.net/library to check out this post. If you try this, I would love to hear what your results are. So go to LeadPages.net/library. Leave a comment on this episode and let us know how that trying segmenting versus not segmenting worked. If you have an interesting case study, we’d love to hear about. So Jonn, thanks so much for coming on the show and sharing this. I really appreciate it.
Jonn: It was my pleasure. I love helping out and anyone who’s going to improve sales that’s good for me.