Ron Cates discusses email communication

Mastering email communication

Ron Cates, Constant Contact, Email Communication

Dr. Relly Nadler:
Today, we are really happy to have a unique guest, Ron Cates, of Constant Contact who joins us to discuss email communication.

Ron is one of the country’s leading email communication experts and the nation’s most popular email marketing presenters. He is also the host of email marketing radio. Ron is renowned for his unparalleled expertise and his ability to convey the most advanced marketing technology concepts in an entertaining style that can be easily understood.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: I think that Ron Cates’ products and the Constant Contact philosophy are, in my book, those things that can help us self-manage because when we are reaching thousands and millions of other people by doing something as easy as email marketing, well, I think you know, there are no limits.

So, we are going to talk about those and many other tips and practices that you can use today.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Cathy, maybe you could tell us a little bit about Ron and how you came into contact with him.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Oh, I would love to.

I actually started using Constant Contact about a year and a half ago when I started finishing the final touches on the development of my last book. I was using it at the advice of another top consulting coach, who was having great success with Constant Contact. It certainly helped my book become a number one best seller on the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Business Week List.

And I thought, wow, this would be great if I could get Ron to come on the show and talk a little bit about how he became so successful, how he sold his business and has been a big advocate of Constant Contact for the last few years.

He, as we said, is one of the most celebrated speakers on email marketing, and the power of email marketing is one of the many winning email programs that Ron offers nationwide as part of the Constant Contact family of services. Mastering email communications with this comprehensive look at best practices and winning strategies is the number one program for getting and keeping quality subscribers, increasing deliverability, writing good headlines and content, saving time – which is something we all want to do, and getting readers to take action, plus much more.

Ron and Constant Contact allows you to quickly and easily master the art of email marketing. His programs help you learn how to maximize your websites effectiveness, load lists, build a campaign, brand your emails to match the needs of your market. You’ll also learn how to develop content and get people to open your email and track their effectiveness with results.

So, I’m delighted to say hello to Ron, welcome to the show.

Ron Cates: Hey, hello Cathy, hello Relly, it’s really great to be on your show, I’m very excited this morning.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Well, great Ron, we’re really glad to pick your brain here about some of your expertise. Typically we like to start off by asking more of a general question. Who have been some of the most influential people/thinkers in your life, your career, who may have shaped your thinking about your work?

Ron Cates: Yeah, this is an easy one for me.

I became a distance runner when I was ten. I’m over fifty now so I ran on a high level most of my life. I later coached at a world-class level, had a bunch of Olympic medalists and world record holders.  My coach was Arthur Lydiard, the top coach in the history of the world, from New Zealand. Coach Lydiard actually went into his neighborhood in New Zealand, created a track club out of his neighbors and turned them into world record holders and Olympic medalists.

I got to spend a lot of time with him, I would say as a youthful runner. I looked up to him later on as an adult, I got to meet him, hang out with him, learn a lot from him and as a coach, of course, he was pure. I really can’t put myself in the category of pure because he is the best of all time.

The neat thing about Coach Lydiard was status quo always went out the window, there was always a better way to do something, everything could be stripped down and looked at. Everything could be improved upon and just because something was being done one way for years and years and years, doesn’t mean it was the best way.

So, I’ve used that in everything I’ve done.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Ron, that’s fascinating, so, how long did you run? How many years were you actually a long-distance runner?

Ron Cates: Well, I started at age ten, I ran in middle school, high school, college, post-college and later on, you know, coached for years and years up until just a few years ago. I coached a bunch of world-class cyclists and triathletes and have actually used a lot of that in what I do now.

Back then I was coaching world-class athletes, today, I’m coaching small business owners, entrepreneurs, non-profits. The way you work with athletes is very similar to the way you work with small business owners; motivation, accountability and communication. A lot of things I learned from Coach Lydiard still apply today.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Beautiful, now, tell us a little bit about how you came to work with Constant Contact.

Ron Cates: Yeah, I was a corporate guy who quit, like many listeners, and I was turning my hobby into a small business, and I was doing email marketing, way before I even knew that’s what it was called, this is 18-19-20 years ago, personal email was just starting to take off, and I was pretty excited about it. I’ve always been sort of a techy-geeky kind of guy, I’m proud of that. I was doing an email newsletter to clients because I saw that there were some really big companies doing that, and I wanted my small business to look like a really big business. I wanted it to look like it had a lot of mass to it, even though it was still on my kitchen table.

I was doing it sort of caveman style but it was working quite well, I was getting a lot of results. Then came Constant Contact, I signed up on their first day, I’m one of their oldest customers, and they helped me grow my business to a 6 million dollar a year business. I sold the business a while ago, did a lot of consulting with non-profits and now I’ve been actually working full time for Constant Contact, for more than 4 years.

I function as one of their email marketing experts and I do seminars that are free, have no sales pitch and I teach people how to do email marketing really, really, well.

Constant Contact Email Marketing

Dr. Relly Nadler: So for our listeners, I think, we are familiar with Constant Contact but maybe you can tell us a little more, what is Constant Contact?

Ron Cates: It started out as an email marketing service, a way to do professional looking emails without having to hire a designer. Constant Contact has almost five hundred professionally designed templates, if you can type or paste you can go in and create a beautiful looking email, that looks like something that some big fortune five hundred company paid lots of money for.

So, it’s something that’s affordable and it’s something that any small business owner can use.

Dr. Relly Nadler: So, Ron, maybe you can tell us a little bit about the difference between a successful email marketing campaign, and maybe those that fall short?

Ron Cates: Oh, certainly.

So, besides the technical details, I mean there are a lot of really important nuances, the time of day, the day of the week, the number of characters in a subject line, those all have a big impact on open rates, but much higher than that, much higher level than that. Most of the email marketing pieces I get into my inbox, they always say the same thing, they say buy my stuff, you know, buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff, I know that you sell stuff, so why not tell me what makes you different, show off your experience, your expertise, build a relationship and that’s how you make email marketing really successful.

The good news and bad news about email marketing today is the average return on investment is incredibly high, it’s more than forty-four dollars for every dollar you put into it, and that’s just average.

Most people send out almost anything, they get a good response and they think they are great email marketers. The reality is, if they had done it well, spent some more time on it, paid attention to the details, they would have a much greater response. Over time it’s recipients become more discerning, just getting into the inbox can be difficult if you don’t do this well.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: You’re saying this and I’m very excited to hear a few details, I don’t know what you can share while you are with us on the phone but, for example, I have new online tv show coming out in July and we are talking about putting out an invitation through Constant Contact, so, how would that differ from what I’ve been doing?

Ron Cates: Oh, well, the subject line is going to be different, I mean hopefully the from name is going to be the same. The most powerful component of email market is it allows you to stay top of mind, I mean, no matter how great your show is, no matter how great someone’s products or services are, they could be the best on earth, but there are a lot of things out there competing for people’s attention, for your customers and stakeholder’s attention.

I mean, I have restaurants that I really love and I forget to go there. If I was a car salesperson, which I think would be able the toughest job to have in America or let’s say even worse, I was a Toyota salesman, I think would really be difficult this month, I’d want everyone on my list, and I would email them every month and I would never try to sell them anything in my email, I would talk about fuel economy tips, or cool new GPS stuff coming out, how to stop your Prius, and I don’t care if you are ready to buy a car today or 3 years from now, you’re going to give me a call.

Listen to the entire interview above.


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