Email Peeps 23: Jimmy Kim
What attracted you to email marketing, and how did you get to where you are today?
My interest in email marketing was sparked back in 2008 when I met an individual who was running a business and had grown a large email audience. This initial exposure taught me how to successfully leverage email lists to influence an audience and drive purchases, which showed me the power of creating an audience through ethical incentives like discounts or valuable offers. I was intrigued by the idea of utilizing the digital world to provide direct responses through an email format. As I delved deeper, I ventured into affiliate marketing and learned the art of crafting compelling email campaigns to lead prospects through a sales journey. I would have a landing page and a squeeze page to generate traffic and get people to opt in. From here, I would send drip campaigns to get them interested in an offer through persuasive copy.
My journey evolved as I realized my knack for not only executing email marketing effectively but also teaching others. It transitioned me into coaching and content creation to guide others on list-building and affiliate revenue generation. From there, my trajectory shifted into eCommerce, where I played a pivotal role in taking a company online, setting up their Shopify store, implementing email marketing strategies, and refining automation sequences. This inevitably led to the inception of Sendlane, a unified solution aimed at providing tailored email marketing based on customer actions.
During my time at Sendlane, I managed the retention strategy and contributed to growing the brand’s revenue to nearly $10 Million. At the same time, I maintained a software company utilizing affiliate marketing for prolonged customer value. In 2017, I embraced the vision of a unified future in marketing, focusing on email as a driving force—This marked the genesis of Sendlane, which I began building in 2018. Today, our goal remains centered around harnessing the potential of email marketing while expanding into broader horizons.
What’s your favorite email marketing hack?
Well, there’s a lot of hacks that you can go into. One of the simplest hacks I love that nobody takes advantage of is identifying every click on your emails. I find it’s a crucial part of truly understanding what your audience actually wants versus what you think your audience wants; that’s exactly what the click tells you. The key is to look at the data and expose the places your customers are interested in, telling you what they want to buy and then leveraging that information to zero in on your audience. Additionally, one tactic I find quite effective is retargeting individuals who have clicked but not made a purchase by email or SMS to get them to return and make that final purchase. These hacks are more about strategic optimization.
What could most ecommerce brands improve when it comes to email marketing?
It’s very simple—The answer is audience management. The number one thing I see brands do is look at their audience and focus on how long they’ve been engaged. Whether for 60 days, 30 days, or 90 days, they want to make those their audiences. Well, the reality is you need to separate them one step further. Do not over-segment; you need just three segments.
I call it the MVC format of 20-60-20. Your bottom 20% are those who never purchase, your middle 60% have an average LTV, and your top 20% are your high-end customers with high VIP purchasing power. You need to treat these three audiences separately, with different retention marketing strategies. Your goal is to get your prospects to purchase, your average purchasers to repurchase, and your repeat, high-LTV customers to continue to purchase with you, right? So, you want to get them into those cycles and get your prospects to move to the next cycle. So, my number one thing I tell most brands is simply to get better at audience management.
What’s in your email marketing toolbox?
When considering my email workflow, l only require a couple of things outside of the tool. When it comes to the tool, I always recommend Sendlane. I utilize user-friendly platforms like Canva for image creation and tools like ChatGPT for assistance in generating ideas and refining my wording. I also leverage data from websites and social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to understand what people are talking about and spark ideas for content generation. Ultimately, much of my toolbox is not full of many tools but rather more centered around what I’m doing to formulate and execute the strategy. In terms of execution, you can build most of your things inside of something like Sendlane.
- Social Media (Linkedin and TikTok)
What’s your favorite email campaign of all time? Why?
This may be controversial… but I love talking about it. I always go back to 2015 or 2016 when we had a late shipment of a product that was supposed to come out in the Fall that we didn’t receive until almost November. The number one thing you must remember as the holidays approach is that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are when you have the highest level of traffic and your audience has the most intent to purchase. Too often, everyone spends all their time discounting products, and what we decided to do instead was market the product as a new product launch on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So my favorite email campaign of all time is when we launched AND sold out of this product because we turned it into a marketing campaign. We not only leveraged the big sale but also leveraged BFCM to sell the new product at full price. Since people are shopping for others, they had their eyes on this brand-new product and were there to make a purchase. Lo and behold, it worked.
Whose email newsletters do you consistently make time to read?
I read a lot of different newsletters in the SaaS and DTC space. Some newsletters I’ve been reading recently include The Hustle, Mail Brew, Chew on this by Ron Shah and Ash Melwani, Leveling Up, Milk Road, Retail Brew, Charter, and Chase Dimond has a lot of great content as well. I am constantly paying attention to various newsletters and love gathering new information. Even if I don’t use it right away, I think it’s great to have when you’re bored.
How do you manage work-life balance?
I look at it like you have to love what you do—if you love what you do, work-life balance isn’t a thing because work is life in some ways. In my humble opinion, as long as you’re in a role you enjoy, work doesn’t feel bad; it feels like something you do TO balance your life. Work can give meaning to your life and allow you to go out and enjoy yourself when you’re not working. So my work-life balance is very simple. I work when I want to work and more than I’m required to in most cases because I enjoy it. Do shit you love, and you’ll never feel like it’s work.