290: How Chubbies Makes 8 Figures With Email Marketing Featuring Erich Hellstrom

290: How Chubbies Makes 8 Figures With Email Marketing Featuring Erich Hellstrom

I’m really happy to have Erich Hellstrom on the show. Erich is a digital marketing strategist for Chubbies, a men’s short shorts brand with a huge cult following.

Erich is in charge of crafting the copy for Chubbies social, email, product and events. And even though Chubbies clothing isn’t really my style, I’m on their email list because it is hilarious and they do a fantastic job building a loyal brand.

In today’s episode, we’re going to dissect their email marketing strategy and learn how to apply these techniques to our own ecommerce businesses.

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What You’ll Learn

  • Why is Chubbies so successful?
  • How did Chubbies get their first sales
  • Chubbies’ email marketing strategy
  • How well do Chubbies’ emails convert and what’s their overall strategy
  • How often do they send email and what type of content is going out
  • Which emails convert the most customers

Other Resources And Books


Klaviyo.com – Klaviyo is the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store. Created specifically for ecommerce, it is the best email marketing provider that I’ve used to date. Click here and try Klaviyo for FREE.

Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.

EmergeCounsel.com – EmergeCounsel is the service I use for trademarks and to get advice on any issue related to intellectual property protection. Click here and get $100 OFF by mentioning the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast.
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SellersSummit.com – The ultimate ecommerce learning conference! Unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high level BS, the Sellers Summit is a curriculum based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an ecommerce business. Click here and get your ticket now before it sells out.Sellers Summit


Steve: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrapped business owners and delve deeply into the strategies they use to grow their businesses. Now today, I have Erich Hellstrom of Chubbie’s on the show. And Chubbie’s is an eight-figure clothing retailer and they make most of their money from email marketing. And if you aren’t on the Chubbie’s email list go sign up now because it is hilarious. Anyway today, Erich is going to break down how they do email.

But before I begin I want to give a quick shout-out Privy who’s a sponsor of the show. Privy is a tool that I use to build my email list for both my blog and my online store and right now I’m using Privy Display a cool Wheel of Fortune pop-up basically user gives your email for a chance to win valuable prizes in our store and customers love the gamification aspect of this and when implemented this form email signups increased by a hundred thirty one percent. Now, you can also use Privy to reduce car abandoned with cart saver pop-ups and abandoned cart email sequences as well one super low price that is much cheaper than using a full-blown email marketing solution. So bottom line Privy allows me to turn visitors into email subscribers and recover lost sales so head on over to privy.com/steve and try it for free if you decide you need to the more advanced features use coupon code MWQHJ for fifteen percent off once again that’s privy.com/steve.

I also want to give a quick shout-out Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode. Code Black Friday is right around the corner and for my e-commerce store email marketing is a heavy part of my holiday sales strategy. And in fact last year, it was close to 50% of My overall sales. And of course as you all know klaviyo is the email marketing tool that I use for Bumblebee Linens now Klaviyo is the growth marketing platform chosen by over 20,000 Brands generating more than three point seven billion dollars in Revenue in just the last year and with the holiday season right around the corner klaviyo has created the ultimate planning guide for crushing those holiday Revenue targets for marketing creative to segmentation strategy. These are proven tactics for more personalized marketing, especially in time for the holiday season. To get ahold of this guide, visit Klaviyo.com/mywife. Once again, Klaviyo.com/mywife. Now on to the show.

Intro: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast we will teach you how to create a business that suits your lifestyle so can spend more time with your family focus on doing the things that you love. Here’s your host Steve Chou.

Steve: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. Today, I’m really happy to have Erich Hellstrom on the show. Now, Eric is a digital marketing strategist for Chubbie’s one of my favorite Brands when it comes to their marketing and I recently had the chance to see this guy speak at klaviyo Boston. It was a very interesting talk. And for those of you who are unfamiliar with Chubbie’s they are immense short shorts brand with a huge cult following and even though Chubbie’s clothing isn’t really my style. I’m still on their email list because it is hilarious and they do a fantastic job of Building a loyal brand. In any case, Erich is in charge of crafting the copy for chubby social email product and events.

And what we are going to do today is dissect their email marketing strategy and hopefully learn how to apply these same techniques to our own e-commerce businesses. And with that welcome to show Erich. How you doing today, man?

Erich: I’m doing great. How are you?

Steve: Hi, I’m good.

Erich: Awesome. Thanks for that intro as great.

Steve: Actually, There’s a lot of stuff I could find about you online that I didn’t include the intro. But..

Erich: Yeah, I know. I’ve got an interesting Google search my name there’s not there’s nobody else with a name spelled like mine that I found so.

Steve: Exactly. So actually speaking of which Erich what is your background? How’d you end up at Chubbies?

Erich: Yeah. So I’ve got an interesting history as far as my professional career as a political science major in college and I left and did a summer in Yellowstone National Park where I was like doing outdoor recreation stuff leading hikes running like employee gyms in the park and then pretty much Went straight from that and to Americorps for a year, which is like working for government. Nonprofit did a little bit more nonprofit work after that and kind of bounced around from Montana to Portland, Oregon and then moved closer where I’m from South Carolina going back to Atlanta, Georgia and found myself working for a tech education company called general assembly. And at the time I was there Chubbies was opening up a pop-up shop in the same building.

So it was like right around the corner from where General Assembly was and I actually knew the guy who was opening it. We worked together as bike taxi drivers in college.

Steve: That’s random.

Erich: Yeah so random, but it was the first store that we really opened up outside of like a flagship one in San Francisco and I walked in and then I offered to help out. I only picked up three shifts and then it kind of snowballed and I was working a lot of shifts and then they were looking for a manager signing a lease and I became like our first store manager and then from there retails grown to like 14 different stores across the Country and I kind of worked my way up from store manager to helping out on the marketing team to doing like retail training building training manuals going to store openings and training teams while working on the email team marketing and then earlier 2019. I went full time on marketing team. So Yeah

Steve: Cool. is everyone on the marketing team a stand-up comedian?

Erich: I think everybody has the potential to be.

Steve: Okay.

Erich: Joey Avery is a very very Very good accomplished stand-up in San Francisco, the marketing team.

Steve: Nice.

Erich: I do a bit of improv. I don’t really do stand up. But I do a lot of shows around Austin now that I’m here I don’t but it’s more improv comedy.

Steve: So selling clothing is probably one of the hardest e-commerce businesses that you can run. So just kind of at a high level. Why would you say Chubbies is so successful before we kind of dig deeper into the details.

Erich: Yeah. I mean the resounding thing for me and a meet a lot of people Talk to a lot of customers especially since I was in retail for so long before marketing and it’s what we put out there is that like you shouldn’t take herself too seriously and like things are supposed to be fun and light-hearted and it’s really good to laugh. So that’s kind of what our brand is always been positioned around like we started just making funny short shorter shorts kind of like the 70s and 80s because the co-founders loved wearing them and they couldn’t find them and they felt like when they went out on the weekends And they wore the shorts.

They’re having the best time I’ve ever had and that’s kind of been like a resounding theme and under current through Chubbie’s which is great and an easy thing to get behind and it’s about having fun. So I think that is kind of that’s the big sticking point for me what people like us

Steve: I know for me like the reason why I love you guys is for the email copy. So

Erich: Yeah

Steve: So I want to talk about that actually. so a couple of things with your email marketing strategy. Can I ask you what percentage of your revenue is just a tribute email for you guys?

Erich: I don’t know off the top of my head. It’s a it’s a decent chunk. I mean, it’s not like 50% I would say it’s probably somewhere around 18 or 20, maybe?

Steve: 18 or 20 percent. Okay, and now adding retail, it’s just kind of online sales

Erich: Yeah.

Steve: Okay cool.

Erich: And that’s.. Now, we have wholesale as well now too so we have a lot of channels.

Steve: Oh Okay.

Erich: But emails pretty important for us

Steve: Yeah, absolutely. And I love like how the emails are irreverent and hilarious but I’ve always been curious. How will they convert and what the overall strategy is? Cuz some of the emails that I’ve received like are just completely random. You know what I mean?

Erich: Yeah, yeah.

Steve: And I want to kind of flush this out but I guess to start out with. Well, let’s talk about which what the type of emails you send out first.

Erich: Yes. We do a mixture of we call them, product emails which are going to be either new products restocked products like a re messaging of a product or a sale. And so we do those we do about three of those a week and then we do a Friday we call it the Weekender. So it’s we send out Friday morning. Not really product focused a lot of the time it’s generally about getting ready for the weekend or about something that we’re excited about like, today, We feature a few of the veterans who work for a company and we ask him a few questions and had their responses on there and then posted pictures of them and it’s just a good way like going into a weekend where it’s a three-day weekend for a lot of people with Veterans Day the great opportunity for us to kind of use the platform we have of email to focus people’s attention on Veterans, which is cool.

But yeah, the weekender is interesting. Can be really funny stuff. Like we’ve done like bear themes just like products. We have that are bear stuff but also just like dumb facts about bears that we’ve made up like as we had a list of bear facts. And the first bear fact was I like them. So we do do stuff like that. We do versions of the weekender too that are just like Recaps of the week. We’ll find funny do sometimes and then just highlight different things going on. We’ll pick somebody to tag us on social media and feature them in there as well.

Steve: So let’s break down. So let’s start with the product emails, I guess. so so three emails a week on just products how do you select which products to feature and what are some of the goals of those emails in terms of like open rates click-through rates and sales kind of, just do an email. Yeah.

Erich: Yeah, it kind of depends. So for for messaging strategy like with the clothing industry, it’s tough because you’re designing stuff a year out and so a lot of the reason we master so much is because we’re constantly coming out with products. So that kind of dictates a lot of It also what’s in season, but like what the design team and the inventory planning team had like chosen for the season starts to dictate it and then as a marketing and merchandising team we all we had a lot of figure out what’s coming in when we can message it and kind of angles we want to take so that is as far as like decisions on that. We’re trying to get better about like doing two months out as far as planning. It used to be more on the fly like we’re getting of the week like, alright, What are we going to message? Like we knew we had a rough idea but now we’re getting more and more organized as we are hiring more people which is great.

And then as far as goals, we set kind of product email and a weekend or email which is our newsletter a little different you definitely looking for like decent conversion. It depends on the product. You have a higher price like how to wear product that’s $100 plus your conversions definitely going to be less than if you do a sale with $30 shorts. So like when it’s like that will up Wanting to convert at a higher level and conversions can be a little weird because the data we look at you have last click Revenue. Then you have these looker so you can look at 24-hour open Revenue, which is one of my favorites but it is people it sets a timer if somebody opens an email it clocks their email and then if they purchase within 24 hours, so they don’t even have to click anything in the email to get attributed to it.

But it’s more of a sign of like how our marketing efforts as a whole or doing. So like you’re normally going to see more On that the conversion is going to be higher and a lot more money will be attributed to it and like a Google analytics last click Revenue number.

Steve: think that’s a default for klaviyo, isn’t it of you?

Erich: Yeah, I think it is 20. Yeah, I don’t do a lot of reporting through Klaviyo. So I don’t I don’t line up the number. It seems to be more like a 24-hour open for sure.

Steve: Okay. I remember you talking about in your talk that think your open rates are on the order of like 9% Was that accurate?

Erich: no, that’s just for a non opener. So So that campaign that we’re presenting on is called best of non openers and every week we target people who have unopened.

Steve: I see okay.

Erich: So I think for right now, I think my product email Kpi is 17% open rate.

Steve: Okay.

Erich: yeah, which we can hit for really on top of it. But for the targeted ones where it specifically people who don’t open. We’re average 9 on the year.

Steve Okay, that’s actually really good. So this is this on the resend you mean? On Email? Okay

Erich: Yeah. That’s the resend. I think as an over, as a company overall we have a Like in all the emails we’ve sent with klaviyo, We have a 16 percent open rate.

Steve: Okay.

Erich: Yeah.

Steve: Yeah, that’s really good because I was I remember talking with someone at Klaviyo who said that as soon as it starts dropping below 15 or 20 then the deliverability starts to suffer.

Erich: Yeah.

Steve: So for your product emails, are you shooting for just anything over 15 in general?

Erich: Yeah. We definitely want to hit 15, 18 is a good one. If we get we had a great one for our trucker jackets. It said it’s like the trucker Jack. Jacket was to the sender was and then it just said 480 horsepower as the subject line and the preview text was like 5.7 liter turbocharged and that thing opened probably like 23 or 24 percent, which is awesome. Yeah. We have a we have a pretty Hardy list. So any time we can get over 20 is great, big fans.

Steve: So, how do you how do you segment your customers? I imagine you don’t just like blast your entire list each time with these product emails, right?

Erich: Yeah no. There’s so many people who just don’t Open I mean I’m guilty of it on my personal accounts to where it, you know companies will send me emails and I should never open them.

Steve: Yeah

Erich: so so we Define active and I believe klaviyo helped us with this originally, but right now. It’s people who have been active either by ordering or opening emails within 90 days. Yeah

Steve: So those are the people that you are sending three times a week for?

Erich: yeah.

Steve: Okay, and then what about the people that kind of there are outside of that range? Let’s say they have an open between 90 maybe a hundred eighty days or something like that.

Erich: Yeah, there is, we have a segment for that that we can send if we think we have really good messages. So cool thing about data is like we can look at a message. If It’s doing really well at a time where like oh, this is the perfect time for this message. This is the perfect message, so we would send that out to him like we do a big campaign around Black Friday, Cyber Monday. Will definitely be using people who are in that and also people who are a little more inactive than even those people granted like your open rates can be pretty abysmal on those. Just because like, you know people I don’t know how many email addresses you have. Probably have like four or five and I don’t check a lot of them ever. I think I still have a college email too.

Steve: You got your colleagues’ scalp account. That’s for sure.

Erich: Yeah, I know. Everything’s linked somehow but yes some email marketers out there pulling out his hair, like why is this guy not opening these emails? They haven’t checked in eight years. So yeah, we’ll send those people on these bigger campaigns for sure.

Steve: and I imagine you don’t you don’t send them heavily because that could affect your deliverability, right?

Erich: Yeah, especially if we were to send to everybody who’s not suppress. I mean our open rates would be it would be tough to get to 10%

Steve: So those people who just kind of fall into the past 90 day category. I guess you’ll send to them. It sounds like periodically like once a month maybe or?

Erich: yeah, you don’t have a full Cadence. Now if we think a message is really good send out so like this is a pretty slow times. As far as us and I think I would say retail as a whole because it is like November going into black Friday people aren’t as active as Shoppers as they are like, you know, everybody’s kind of gearing up. So we’re going to try and send a less right now. And then because we’re going to be sending a lot two weeks going through the Christmas holiday.

Steve: when you send email as much as you do, do you find that you’re getting a lot of churn like unsubscribes?

Erich: Yeah. We do get a good amount to something that like We for sure need to like invest time in Fortunately, with size of our team. We haven’t really dug like super deep into that. I know there’s a certain like Cliff after people have been on the list for a while. If you’re not that into our emails, like if you’re not a fan people tend to unsubscribe.

Steve: Yeah.

Erich: after like, you know, it could be around 90 days. I forget what the cliff is. So there’s some ideas that I have for next year and I think we’ll probably re-evaluate in January. January is a huge unSubscribe month, but also they’re like looking at the data on when people tend to unsubscribe after they join the list and then creating sort of a flow to try and figure out like maybe take over the first two weeks. Somebody’s not really opening put them into a segment and only send to them once every two weeks, once every week test that out because it is a lot to get three emails. Three product emails.

Steve: I mean if yeah, if you’re sending that many emails presumably you’re getting a ton of emails in I’m just kind of curious how you gather emails also.

Erich: yeah ways to do it. I mean the best way is when people come and they’re new customers to the site. So like all our marketing efforts kind of feed into email in that regard. We use pop-ups. I think it’s pretty industry standard now to have a pop-up. especially the klaviyo since it’s integrated with Shopify. You can set a pop-up for somebody who you don’t have their email and offer them a coupon sign up for the list and for their first purchase, which is like a slam dunk. I would say if you’re not doing that I would hop on it fast, right because there’s like somebody on your website right now, you know what their email and you could have it. That’s the big way we do bigger campaigns as well like this year and it’s a third time doing it.

We do a man model Campaign which is like, you know sign up to be our next man model and it’s literally people sourced from around the country regular Joe’s who like taking pictures of weird clothes and sending us weird videos and we give them like a professional modeling contract which really is just like flights out to photo shoots and like free Chubbies for 10 years, which is great and like people get really excited about it. We do voting for it, which is awesome. And it’s a great way to get people engage with the brand and people coming into the website. So you can that will feed into like, you know, if you have pop-ups or if you like require and vote we didn’t require emails to vote this year, but it’s an option. Yeah.

Steve: And if you work there you’re a model also, right?

Erich: Yeah. I’ve been in a few photo shoots, which is great. It’s kind of fun. I’m not a head, or our photographer, we were doing like a studio shoot for something and I was open out. It was like a Monday morning and just started to drink coffee and he’s like do some model poses. And I was like I don’t know what that is. And so we literally Google image model poses and I started doing whatever those were.

Steve: So how did those images do in the email campaigns? Just curious

Erich: That was for our, we do July Fiber which is cyber Monday, just in June getting ready for July 4th. And I would say that they’re the best images we’ve ever taken. They did All right, I mean for it was for a free gift. So I think people look past the fact that you know, I’m subpar model.

Steve: So anyway, yeah, I want to talk about like your process for crafting an email. It’s not just like one person sits down and just writes an email and sends it out because I remember you had a really pretty complex process of checks and balances. So

Erich: yeah, it’s weird how much time you put into it. But I mean if you’re bringing in a lot of revenue from it more time you put in the more you going to get out I kind of so, it depends on the week, there are times where you know myself or Ashley have to sit there and be like we don’t have copy or we switched a message up. It will sit there on the spot and write and design an email and like pull images. But if in a perfect world, we do a brainstorm like maybe two weeks in advance and we can get the whole marketing team in there if they’re there but generally it’s myself and Joey hopefully and Ashley and we just like right ideas down for headlines.

Steve: Is this for the product or the weekender email?

Erich: Product.

Steve: Oh okay.

Erich: Yeah it’s really Weekender, the Weekender I just sat down and wrote the other like two days ago and then pieced it together and I talked to some of the Vets who worked with us and kind of interview them. But that one’s a little, the weekend is a lot more loose right now.

Steve: Okay

Erich: it comes off that way, which is great. That’s what it’s supposed to be for us.

Steve: Yeah, the Weekender isn’t for a conversions per se. It’s more brand building, right?

Erich: Yeah and like yeah, Mickey you to go into the weekend with something real like nice ready. But yeah, so we’ll do brainstorming will pull copy from that. Ideally we have central theme good ideas for headlines or links out of that.

Steve: We talk about the headlines because for the people who actually aren’t familiar with your brand. Can you give an idea of how that headline process works because they are really attention-grabbing.

Erich: Yeah. We design. Them in Photoshop. I did that my expertise right there. I’m really good at Photoshop, but just at building headlines and links. So yeah, we write really weird. We tried to I’m a big fan of wordplay kind of always have them. So that’s something big we do but it’s how we use huge headlines. Like you’re if you’re opening it you’re going to know what’s going on instantly.

Steve: Can you get some examples of your best performing ones?

Erich: Oh man off the top of my head. I don’t know, I don’t know if I have any funny once. we’re writing a Star Wars one for next week. And it’s going to be hotter than being in a tan tan or something along those lines. Yeah, we don’t get sometimes it’s like so recently we did one. That’s just like back by popular demand stuff like that stuff that is attention-grabbing. We wrote the Khakinator is backInator recently. We have a short called Khakinator. That’s just some some classic rhyming right there

Steve: So do those work in Terms of conversions. I’m just kind of curious. So I guess the first step is to get someone to open the email, right?

Erich: Yeah. That’s..

Steve: Yeah, that’s where the headline comes in. And then once they’ve opened the email what are some things that you do to actually get the sale?

Erich: Yeah. We test a lot would normally test two to four different versions of an email for a few hours and look at shopping data and click through is really the way to like get the most out of it and then just send to the rest of your email list and you feel confident that you have the best version

Steve: Can you walk us through that process? So you said for a couple of hours. So what? Surgery list are you sending for a couple hours?

Erich: Generally, is going to be 25%

Steve: 25% Okay and wait a couple hours. And then what specific metrics are you looking for?

Erich: Yeah. Our favorite one is we look at we use specific Google UTM links we go into Google analytics and we can look at how each variation of shopping and we’ll look at the amount of sessions which is important just to make sure you got enough data and if you have enough sessions you look at the amount of people who came to the site and visited a product page so that people percentage and then you look at the percentage of people who visited a product page and added the cart. Those are the key ones that I’m most interested in. and then you can also look at you know, you can look at past that but once somebody’s viewed and added the cart that’s a good sign that you’re doing your good message and then retroactively will look at click-through rate. Make sure like, you know, it’s not an abysmal click-through rate. And those are..

Steve: In terms of, looking at the metrics for add to cart. Does that mean like if it’s low does that mean like maybe you’re not displaying the right product or is it? Okay

Erich: Yeah, well, it could just be that somebody was interested enough to go look at the product but not interested enough to think about buying it. It could be the you know, what the pictures that you have on the product page. If you’re not converting in that regard, you know, it’s not great. But it shows definite shopping interest. If you’re seeing a recurring theme of people adding the cart.

Steve: Okay.

Erich: Yeah, and so it’s kind of streamlined everything kind of its kind of a holistic view thing to so you kind of just have to trust the data on that one.

Steve: and in terms of variations, you said two to four variations for?

Erich: Yeah, so we’ll test different copy and different assets. And by I said something like photos new graphics versus photos lifestyle versus lay down will test gifts out or gifs depending on your persuasion. So yeah, and we’ll look at those to see what’s getting people to click and then what is displaying the product in the best way to get them to go to the product page.

Steve: So you mentioned 25% is that 25 percent across all variations? Or 25% of

Erich: We take 25% of the active list that we send to

Steve: okay. Got it. Yeah and divide that among four

Erich: and divide that by four yeah

Steve: Got it and then whatever wins you just send out to the remaining 75%

Erich: Yeah, yeah.

Steve: okay

Erich: and then we take the best subject line too so we’ll test different subject line. So then you’re like you’re you’re getting the most amount of opens to the best version of your email that you found, which is great for us. It’s been kind of a key to doing well and making relevant emails that people you know, like.

Steve: And I know doing your Klaviyo presentation, you mentioned that you actually create random user names to get people to open also like open this email at Chubbies.com. Has that been like a has that had like a really positive effect on the open rate?

Erich: Yeah. Definitely changes it up what my takeaway from the funny world of subject lines and preview lines. Is that like they’re all kind of boring and you it’s not that enticing normally to open one. So So anything we can do and we don’t get spam complaints up for that, which is great. People kind of expect it out of us, which is a nice like it’s a good part of working for Chubbies’ because you can do goofy stuff.

Steve: Yeah. Yeah.

Erich: That’s just Chubbies being Chubbies but yeah, it’s cool. It’s really funny. The one in the one of my favorites from the year was from the abominable snowman at Chubbies.com. And it just said I’m real. Yeah, which is you know, funny and people get the joke so quickly, too. It’s timely because it was cold. It was also a message about shorts with the Eddie’s on them toes like a win-win.

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Let me ask you this like if you were to work so I run a handkerchiefs store. and everyone’s pretty straight-laced like would be some of the ideas for like subject lines that would get To open like just off top your head?

Erich: For a handkerchief.

Steve: Yeah.

Erich: Okay your pocket at whatever the company is and then the subject line could be “got a sec?” or like “put me in your pocket”.

Steve: Okay

Erich: I’m a big fan now of doing a one word subject line. So if you’re doing it that way be like handkerchief at blank.com. Like hey as the subject line the preview “put me in your pocket”.

Steve: cool. I like it.

Erich: I know like, “Got pocket?”

Steve: ha ha ha.

Erich: Yeah I would say like blowing your nose are using the word blow can be a little sensitive. Yeah, it has double meanings but there’s something there you can find the right purpose but not make it sound bad. maybe just blow as the subject line and then your nose on me.

Steve: You know, I’m gonna try that and I’ll report back on the results for the listeners here.

Erich: Yeah, and it’s good. Yeah one word is enticing when you see it.

Steve: So you write tons of copy like every single week. Have you noticed any Trends about what kind of works and what In terms of both the subject line the user and just kind of the in body copy for an email.

Erich: Yeah for subject lines. There’s so many thing repetitiveness works well. sometimes Pop Pop Culture references. We made it Law and Order reference yesterday in a subject line and it annihilated which was great. It was a it said law and email and then it was like they always start off long order with like these are the stories of..

Steve: yeah

Erich: whatever and we did it like that and people loved it. Like it’s a people reach out. There were like a lot of subject line, which is great.

Steve: I’m just wondering how many people who don’t watch Law & Order are just you know, it isn’t nor that e-mail though, you know?

Erich: Yeah, probably a lot of but I think there’s more Law and Order fans out there than not apparently.

Steve: Okay.

Erich: But yeah, so that was great pop culture references there certain things that people really like that like if you can figure it out and a lot of times it’s just by rainstorm are talking for subject lines will figure out for body copy and us like we definitely don’t want to be Like a super serious like talking to so much about like this is what the material is made out of and like the construction like if we get to Scientific with it is boring. So we always take an angle like one of my favorite ones is I always have the sale copy that I try not to go back to but it’s really fun. It’s like I just right like I was walking around the office the other day and I found this big red button that said sale my boss told me not to press it. So.

So I pressed it because I’m a rebel not everything on the side is 20% off stuff like that where the key point is what we’re trying to get is that we have a sale, right and so finding a funny work around way normally three sentences if I can three sentences for me is like a perfect amount for like a paragraph a lot of people read on mobile. So if you’re doing, if you’re writing a book, it’s really hard to read on mobile. people are standing anyway, you know, we’ve used other software that have shown us how long people stay on our emails and there’s a large amount of people in spend less than three seconds on an email.

And so you have to figure out a way to not end in data with words, but also for the people who are reading you wanted to be like relevant and funny and goofy. It’s an interesting line to walk but the more you do it. I mean I’ve written so much copy now and so many emails that it’s kind of like a muscle that’s worked out. But yeah sure that’s sweet..

Steve: How about the image versus text.

Erich: Yeah, I mean our products are like you gotta seem to believe them like they’re so many interesting and cool fabrics and like fun Prints, but it’s also a way for us to for you to show your brand and imagery so like, you know, it’s more about what the person’s doing or like what the person like somebody looks like. They’re having fun. They’re laughing. They’re doing something mischievous. Like that’s a very interesting asset to me. But also I think to the brand it like looks a little different we always want something and not look like you know, if we’re doing underwear. We don’t want it to look like Hanes email. We want to look like a Chubbies one. So, you know, like somebody cooking a bunch of Pancakes or something.

Steve: What about the use of gifs?

Erich: Yeah. I like gifs. It hasn’t I haven’t seen resounding data that gifs are better than static images, which is funny actually talked to some smaller Brands sometimes to about you know, marketing just because like if you’re dipping your toe in it’s a big vast. World and you’re like, what is this? But there’s definitely something of value to making it email that looks like a standard email that doesn’t have too many bells and whistles. That’s why we use you know, white backgrounds black text even though will spice it up a little bit with like big headlines. I can still the Bare Bones of it looks like it could be an office email with pictures in it, which is you know, interesting. It’s kind of something we’ve curated.

We don’t want to change it because people are used to it but also Like if you get a little bit too out there with it a super hands who do full graphic emails with like crazy backgrounds which are beautiful. But the question to me is always did people click it or did people just like looking at it.

Steve: Yeah

Erich: and for us the key is like assets are great in the email, but you don’t want your email to be an asset, you know your assets to be, you know, a part of the email

Steve: you know, one thing I have also noticed in the emails you guys use surveys a lot and so I was just kind of wondering what the strategy is for. That and what do you do with that data?

Erich: Yeah, the surveys tend to be for a merchandising team. We come up with so many prints that with the design team will give them product ideas for next year. And then they kind of have to taper it down. So people are on our email list or like, you know, loyal customers loyal readers normally and so we’ll send them every quarter probably send about a hundred thousand people surveys which is kind of wild but that data comes back in and gives us like an opportunity to like Make product that we know our customers are interested in

Steve: and presumably these are your best customers also, so you’re probably going to listen to them.

Erich: Yeah are most active email openers to but yeah, our biggest customers are such and email fans like we’re doing a sample sale in Austin right now and like yes, we did the main way we got a lot of people that was sending an email that was geo-targeted through Klaviyo to be like, hey coming out to the sample sale and and the people who came like, yeah, I love to emails which is great. But yeah, those are the people well that we want to be like getting their opinion on product. You know.

Steve: I’m just kind of curious like I’ll tell you for my store 10% of our best customers represent well over 50 percent of our revenues. I’m just kind of curious what the split is for Chubbies do you happen to know if top of your head?

Erich: Well, I don’t that’s more of a data question for a data Gap. But yeah

Steve: I would imagine like you guys your fanatical customers probably make up most of your revenue or a big portion of your revenues, right?

Erich: Yeah. I don’t know we bring a lot of new customers surprisingly. I mean our social ads are like Pretty effective and interesting in the same way. Our email is like different than everybody else. We try to make our ads different than everybody else. And so we have we have good channels for bringing in new people and like the amount of products we do. I mean swim is huge for us and everybody buys it swimsuit before summer to Crazy market. So we bring in a lot of new people every year but there are fanatical fans who will buy who have everything.

Steve: Yeah. I bet

Erich: Yeah. I don’t know what the percentage is, but it’s probably pretty high

Steve: How do you create those loyal fanatics?

Erich: Yeah, you know it’s why we’ve always liked we have a saying in Chubbies it’s customer over company over self, which is like kind of cheesy but it’s the we think about it a lot. We always were like what’s best for the customer and people like respond to that really Well. all our customer service is based on a Missoula Montana. So if you email in or you chat in or call in like you’re getting somebody From Montana who’s taking care of you? And we like since we started a such a small company with literally four guys in an apartment the way that we interact with people. It’s still I mean, we’re much bigger now than we were then but we still treat people the same sort of way like, you know weeks we assume that they aren’t trying to get one over on us at all and really trying to do the best thing we can for them..

So just from a customer service perspective that’s kind of thing. But also like, you know, we are always trying to do things that make us laugh and are interesting like I’m wouldn’t really send out an email if I didn’t think it was interesting and they’re definitely something that like content that you would engage with to me is like, you know Above All Else what you want to be putting out there and people tend to respond well to that which is good.

Steve: I just want to let you know that tickets for the 2020 Seller Summit are on sale over at sellersummit.com. Now what is seller Summit? It is the conference that I hold every year that is specifically targeting e-commerce entrepreneurs selling physical products online and unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high-level BS. Mine is a curriculum-based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an e-commerce business. And in fact, every speaker I invite is deep in the trenches of their e-commerce business entrepreneurs who are importing large quantities of physical goods and not some high-level guys who are overseeing their companies at 50,000 feet. The other thing I can assure you is that the Seller Summit will be small and intimate every year we cut off ticket sales at just a couple hundred people. So tickets will sell out fast, and in fact, we sell out every single year many months in advance now if you’re an e-commerce entrepreneur making over 250K or 1 million dollars per year, we are also offering an exclusive mastermind experience with other top sellers. Now, the Seller Summit is going to be held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. From May 6 to May 8. And right now, we are almost sold out of Mastermind tickets already and I will be raising the ticket price regularly starting the day after Cyber Monday for more information, go to sellerssummit.com. Once again, that’s SELLERSUMMIT.COM or just Google it. Now back to the show.

I’ve read that you guys actually go out and call your customers kind of cold calls that you guys still do that or?

Erich: I did it for a, wedid a store opening in Scottsdale this year and that cold call some of our customers. I don’t know how how often it’s still happening. And know our CEO. I remember calling somebody this year. It’s a great, you know, you can get on the phone and be like, hey, this is blank and Chubbies and they like are you serious? Like it’s a great way to just connect with Us maybe we have people’s phone numbers too. Oh, yeah, we have other rounds of talking too people now to like, you know, now that we have retail stores and biting them out. Thank you them is easier than just calling.

Steve: Yeah, let’s shift gears a little bit and talk about like Chubbies’ social strategy. You guys make a lot of sales off of like Facebook and Instagram.

Erich: Mmm, as far as organic know they’re great ads platform. So that’s kind of where the key is now most people who work and social tell you now, I like Facebook used to be a great organic engine for like content like we would put content on there. It just crazy views like multi-million dollar multi-million view videos and then it just cut off like.

Steve: yeah

Erich: Facebook changed the way that they interact with Publishers which like, you know, they weren’t getting paid for these views and now they’re getting paid for you know views but it kind of changes some of the strategy when a platform does that so you focus a little bit more on ads which is, you know, it’s a great platform and puts you in people’s pocket and people’s hand and gives you the opportunity to kind of for us do something different make a They had to do yeah funny video with the product, you know.

Steve: Okay, can we talked about your top of funnel ads. So like what has been like your best performing ad?

Erich: Oh best performing ad kind of chain. I mean, we dropped so much product. There’s certain ad you can do that show people like recent things they viewed and then you just kind of put placeholder copy. So we have some place over copy like that’s going to look good that’s going to look real good. But it’s like the reels really spelled out and that is just like a simple thing. Yeah, my favorite copy and copy that tends to do well for ads that I write is fairly simple when I see people write three sentences ads. I get a little nervous just because it’s too much to read.

Steve: Hmm interesting. Okay.

Erich: It’s a lot of letters. Yeah. I like to keep it very simple, especially with on the way the way Facebook operates. It’s like your ad is shown with copy at the top of whatever image you put in there or whatever kind of videos in there. So people Most likely going to read that or skim it first and like there’s something about social media that makes too many words, very boring. People are just going to you know Cruise right by it

Steve: That’s interesting because I’ve heard from people like sometimes long-form copy works really well, but I guess it just depends on what you’re selling. I would imagine for perils the image. That’s that

Erich: Yeah, and we’re not getting it like, you know, there’s certain things that are like you need to know about like maybe fruit. I don’t know. Yeah, I definitely I think brevity and social media is something that I hold in high regard, but a recent one that did well was a trucker jacket and it just said the official jacket saying “All right. All right. All right” that’s all us and it performed well, you know.

Steve: yeah

Erich: but people yeah, it’s a joke, and it’s interesting and different all at once, you know.

Steve: okay.

Erich: Yeah.

Steve: so it’s interesting. So for your just organic stuff then, what is I guess, the golden organic wise if you’re just mainly making money off of the ads.

Erich: Yeah, it’s changed a bit. I mean same thing with content that we want to engage with. So ideally were making funny things. Instagram has kind of been our main platform as of late.

Steve: Okay

Erich: a lot of user-generated photos that we can put top captions on them that are kind of funny ideally and we do sketch videos. We’ve done way to less as of late, but funny things kind of making fun of office life for everyday life because we’re definitely about having fun and enjoying the weekend and like the workweek tends to be the anti weekend. So a big part of what we do is make fun of office culture and

Steve: okay.

Erich: Yeah. She a lot of videos for that which is great.

Steve: So it’s all branding pretty much and just getting to know the the brand really and the company and the people behind it.

Erich: Yeah, exactly. It’s like a look inside but also a laugh

Steve: right right

Erich: The idea. Yeah, we want to make people laugh for the most part especially on social like that. For us people aren’t going to like it. If they don’t think it’s funny.

Steve: What about YouTube?

Erich: YouTube? We’re not, we started posting stuff to YouTube again this year, but we originally did and then we stopped and now YouTube is I’m a proponent of YouTube especially for longer form stuff just because like the way their algorithms are set up now are great for organic content because yeah, push their own ads and they want people to keep viewing, so like if somebody is to get involved with or engage with your YouTube channel, they’re going to keep seeing the videos pop up and if you’re doing it, right they’re going to continue to watch.

You just see other like people on YouTube are getting crazy views, which is great at something that you know, it’s definitely on the roadmap. It’s a small marketing team. So..

Steve: right

Erich: right now we’re going to we’re experimenting with Tick-Tock. That would be a big

Steve: Yeah, I was gonna mention Tick-Tock.

Erich: Yeah. I made my first personal Tick-Tock video today and let’s see how many views I’m at. I think I’m at 10

Steve: ha ha ha

Erich: Not bad.Tick-Tock such an interesting it speaking of brevity. I mean the joke has to be there so fast. Yeah to really resonate with people.

Steve: So what did what would you say is like your main marketing channel, then at this point that’s working the best would you say it’s like email?

Erich: Um, I mean, I would probably say that because I’m interacting with it the most I don’t know. I mean we have such a wide reach on social which is great and a lot of times, you know, people will follow us on Instagram and then be pushing ads and then end up going to the site and then they See this like new customer sign up they sign up for it. Then they’re on the email and then they’re converted. So it’s hard to say what I think is the best platform for us because I’d take more of a holistic view that like

Steve: sure.

Erich: Yeah anytime we’re getting an attribution from something. It’s probably getting fed into by another part of our Marketing

Steve: that was my next question actually because it’s many touch points. So, how do you how do you handle your attribution on ads and all that sort of thing too?

Erich: Yeah, it’s tough if it’s a New product that we’re doing ads for we won’t send out the email until we get at least decent data on the ads were getting.

Steve: Okay.

Erich: So that’s one way to help the attribution on the ads front outside of that a lot of times. It’s Blended, you know, the way that you look at attribution. So like for our rev like the 24-hour number like there’s people who are opening an email and then getting an ad or seeing it posted on social or just like thinking about it for 25 minutes and then coming back so, you know, you kind of get it. Take everything with a grain of salt. But the yeah, you see you see recurrent themes is kind of what we look for

Steve: you guys doing anything with messenger push or SMS.

Erich: Do we have an app? So we do push notifications every week through that if people opt-in

Steve: okay

Erich: SMS is a new one that probably won’t look into until January super interesting. There’s a great opportunity. I get so many text message nowadays. It’s like the new email which is funny. Like it’s like the perfect time for companies to be so getting an SMS. So yeah, we’ll se what happens.

Steve: You do any chat Bots or Facebook Messenger marketing?

Erich: No not right now. We’ll be doing Facebook groups soon. And so just getting more involved Facebook has done a great job of like adjusting their algorithms to prioritize conversations and groups with anybody’s joined a group. They notice it like they just pops up on your timeline, like instantly it kind of flows to the top. So finding a way to do meaningful things in groups, whether it’s creating groups, you’re getting involved in groups and like, you know cutting jokes, but also like, you know, I don’t know exactly what our strategy is going to be there. It’s one of the things I’m kind of task with

Steve: right

Erich: and its interests exciting like any chance to engage with with people who don’t know about us or people who do know about us and like lighten their day a little bit is great. It seems like Facebook groups is going to be the new stomping ground for that.

Steve: All right, sweet. Yeah, that’d be hilarious. I would definitely join that group

Erich: Yeah. Yeah weekly updates From Chubbies the group. Yeah. So yeah, we’re getting funky with that. The cool thing is with our company like like creativity and being boldly entrepreneurial is like high. we hold in high regard. So like if I was to be like yeah, I think you know going in and like randomly liking somebody’s first picture on Facebook is a good idea from the Chubbies profile that you like. Alright, let’s test it and see what happens granted that might not be the best example, but you know doing Nothing different than another company wouldn’t do right because it’s funny because we like it is something that we’re always down to test.

So when we’re looking when I’m thinking about, you know strategy for that. There’s yeah, there’s a world of opportunity that other people aren’t doing that. I’m excited for.

Steve: Cool, Erich. I don’t want to take up too much of your time. But if anyone wants to get a hold of you or find Chubbies clothing or read your copy, where can they find you?

Erich: Yeah. Chubbies.com is the best but if you’re on our email list and you go there. You’re probably get prompted. You can also find me on Tick Tock now.

Steve: Tick-Tock. What’s your handle?

Erich: It is Duncan_Smothers. But yeah, that is a name that I said as a joke a few years ago and somebody’s like you say Duncan Smothers. And so I use it on social sometimes. Yeah, follow me on Tick Tock and give me views please. You know, I got two follow hours and they both work for Chubbies

Steve: ha ha and how can we recognize your email copy? If we see it. Is there any way to do that?

Erich: Yeah. It’s the one that gives you the stomach pains from hurling over laughing. It’s gonna be that one. That’ll be the first time that it’s from me. Anything that doesn’t make you laugh as for sure contributed by somebody else.

Steve: Sweet. Well Erich. Thanks a lot for coming the show man. Really appreciate your time.

Erich: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me.

Steve: Alright man. Take care.

Hope you enjoyed that episode. Now as I mentioned before if you want to see email marketing done right in a fun way. Go sign up for the Chubbies email list. For more information about this episode. Go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode290.

And once again I want to thank Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode, Klaviyo is my email marketing platform of choice for e-commerce Merchants. You can easily put together automated flows like an abandoned cart sequence a post purchase flow or win back campaign. Basically, all these sequences that will make you money on autopilot. So head on over to mywifequitherjob.com/klaviyo. Once again, That’s mywifequitherjob.com/klaviyo.

I also want to thank Privy for sponsoring this episode. Privy is the email capture provider that I personally use the term visitors into email subscribers. They offer email capture exit intent and site targeting tools to make it super simple as well. And I like Privy because it is so powerful and you can basically trigger custom pop-ups for any parameter that is closely tied your eCommerce store. Now, if you want to give it a try it is free so head on over to privy.com/steve. Once again, that’s P-R-I-V-Y.com/steve.

Now I talked about how I use these tools in my blog and if you’re interested in starting your own e-commerce store heading over to mywifequitherjob.com and sign up for my free six day mini-course just type in your email and I’ll send you the course right away. Thanks for listening.

Outro: Thanks for listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast where we are giving the courage people need to start their own online business. For more information visit Steve’s blog at www.mywifequitherjob.com

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