Tom Kulzer: Email Marketing Trends and Strategies Learned From 20 Years of Experience

Listen to our exclusive interview with Tom Kulzer:

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What can you do to increase trust and engagement with your email strategies? Tom Kulzer is the founder of Aweber which started 20 years ago and he has some key insights for entrepreneurs.

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Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:11

Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show Adam foreseer. Your host. If you missed our last show, it was with Angela Henderson. Angela is super cool and she is out in Australia. She’s done some great work. So we talked about building an e commerce business and adapt identifying new opportunities. Angela is somebody that we actually met in one of our coaching programs that we’re both in she travels around the world spending, you know, 4050 grand a year doing masterminds and programs and we linked up in one of them. And so she was kind enough to be on our show and share some of her wisdom that she has from all her expertise and success in the e commerce space. So don’t miss that one. So this week, we are going to be talking to somebody who’s been In the digital marketing space for quite some time, and his name is Tom Colter, he’s actually the founder of a Weber. So if you’re a betting entrepreneur for a little while, you probably heard the name a Weber before, they are a staple in the email marketing world. So, Tom’s gonna have a lot to talk about when it comes to different strategies, insights, lessons and learnings in email marketing, and just digital marketing, you know, in general, so this will be a really great conversation, because I know we’re all looking to get more engagement, more attraction, which ultimately leads to a better functioning business, right. So that’s why we’re talking to Tom. And we’re going to see, you know, all these 20 years, what are some of the trends and things that he is seeing? Don’t forget to stop by Change creator.com we always have lots of fresh content going up there that you guys can check out and you can get in on the magazine Change Creator magazine right now for 99 cents, okay, so it’s $10 for the year, 99 cents a month, and you get access to our entire library of content. So Guys, we updated the app, make sure you go to the app store and you get the latest version. So download the update, and you’re gonna see some really cool stuff. So one, you’re gonna have all 28 magazines we’ve done so far in the app. And then on another tab, there’s articles, these articles run through an RSS feed. So you get quick, easy access. So every week articles are coming in from the Change creator.com website. So you don’t have to go to the website, just pop the app. And you can go check out conferences, you can check out magazines, you can flip to the tab, read the latest articles, all that good stuff is now in the app. And it’s just 99 cents a month, or $10 for the entire year for full access. I was actually reminded today about a memory from a few years ago, several years ago, when Amy, the co founder, Change Creator and I were in San Francisco, and we were there for a conference but all of a sudden we were running around the city trying to get some things done. And we heard that Muhammad Yunus was in town promoting a new book that he had coming out And he was at the Commonwealth center. So we were gonna go there and say, Hey, we got to go meet Muhammad Yunus. You know, he’s like the godfather of social business. And so we find out tickets are $200 a pop. And we’re like, I don’t know about that, but didn’t matter because they were sold out. He sold out the entire place. And we couldn’t get in which was a huge disappointment. And you know, Funny enough, guess what happened? Well, we decided to get clever. We figured out what what’s the story, we’re gonna tell the story of Change Creator, we’re gonna get in touch with these guys and share all their info. And we got in as media for free. And not only do we get in there, we made connections with his team. We ended up having a killer interview. If you haven’t heard yet, definitely go back to listen to the Muhammad Yunus interview we did. And he was also featured on the cover of Change Creator magazine, such a great addition and it was such an honor to have that conversation at 7am in the morning with Dr. Yunus. Okay, guys, I won’t hold you up any longer. Don’t forget to leave us a review. We very much appreciate it. We’re gonna die. into this conversation with the founder of AWeber. Tom calls okay show me that he Hey, Tom, what’s up, man? How you doing today? Welcome to the Change Creator podcast Show.

Tom Kulzer 04:12

I’m doing excellent. Thanks for having me on today. I got

Adam G. Force 04:15

it, man. So, you know AWeber has been kind of like a staple in the email marketing world for for quite some time. You guys been around for what? 20 years now or something?

Tom Kulzer 04:26

Yeah, 21

Adam G. Force 04:30

was crazy. I mean, I honestly remember 10 years ago learning about AWeber from some of these some of these online marketers when this stuff was all really picking up and they’re calling Yeah, AWeber is the best guy to get on AWeber and as a guy and that’s how I learned about you guys just from other entrepreneurs. Actually, they were probably doing affiliate marketing for you. So yeah, really, really great brand. I appreciate you jumping on here. And I’m curious actually what you were doing before AWeber like what what led you to the email marketing world

Tom Kulzer 05:00

It was kind of a bit of a twisty road to some extent I was actually in school at the time, studying mechanical engineering, managed to then switch to finance, you know, totally related fields. And just kind of on the side, I was selling wireless modems. So this is back in the dial up days, you know, where that was still a predominant method of connecting. So we didn’t all have iPhones and, you know, high speed internet connections in our pocket everywhere. So I was selling these wireless modems and in the process developed a sequence of emails to automate the people that had inquired about the product at the time. And I just wrote a little script that would send these emails out over the course of several weeks. And it worked really well as far as actually like educating people on and ultimately closing sales on those. And that ultimately turned into the initial versions of AWeber was making it something that other people could use for their own business. So I had people that came to me and said, Hey, I want to That email thing that you’re doing nothing like this exists out there. Can you do that? You know, can you do that for my own business? And I said, Well, you know, it doesn’t exist, but let me see what I can do. So, you know, so there was a need, and I filled it at the time. So and the rest is kind of history. And it’s grown from there.

Adam G. Force 06:16

Yeah. You know, it’s funny, because he started off saying you had a certain you’re going to school for engineering and stuff. What was this? an engineering that you went to learn?

Tom Kulzer 06:25

It was mechanical engineering, not computer science. Nothing like that, you know, make sense with my dad. Now. I like to say I’m a jack of all trades, master of none. So I’m sure people would argue with me about that. But uh, yeah, I like to know a little bit about a lot of different things and be able to piece them together in ways to create value.

Adam G. Force 06:46

Yeah, yeah. No, it’s always funny because I always argue with my wife luann about you know, college and stuff like that, you know, for kids and everything. Like, I’m not a fan. Oh my god. They don’t need that. They just gotta learn how to make money in this world. One way Are the other doing something that they just like, you know, and she’s a real big Well, I went to Cornell and it’s been the most valuable thing in my life and all this stuff. So when I hear people like, the guy went to school for this, and then they become an entrepreneur, but it’s totally just doing something totally different. When I heard you say that, I was like, it’s a pretty good example. You know,

Tom Kulzer 07:19

I have, I have little kids as well. And I’ve definitely had this conversation with my wife and friends and and I really think that school even though I never finished, and I don’t have an official degree, I think school is immensely valuable, in that it gives you perspective, and it creates relationships that you wouldn’t otherwise have. So I would always, you know, I would definitely encourage my own kids to go to school. You know, if they take a path that moves differently than that, I’m certainly going to be supportive of it, but I think it’s a good it’s a good direction to at least start in until you have a different direction that you might think might ultimately be better.

Adam G. Force 07:52

Yeah, that’s usually where the conversation ends up. There’s definitely perks for it for sure. So there’s there’s a place you know, and I just, you know, you see a story with, you know, the school debt and everything and people can’t get jobs. So it’s a, you know, it’s funny because you buy a program today, you know, you’re in the digital marketing world and people want to buy something, and they always want to see that 30 day, you know, money back guarantee. And you know, then it’s like, well, you know, you pay all this money for a college, there’s no guarantee that you’re getting a job and getting that money back either. You know, it’s very, yeah. Anyway, so I don’t want to go too far off on a tangent, but I can get sucked into this all day. But I want to hear a little bit more just about the development of AWeber. Because obviously, since you’ve been around for a couple decades now, take us a little bit through the evolution in a nutshell, just kind of like where you started and where you are today. Cuz, you know, we’ll get into like the future of AWeber as well.

Tom Kulzer 08:47

Yeah, I think you know, initially it started out as very, very simple. It was simply a series of seven email messages that were all plain text, no graphics, no fonts or bold or anything like that. because, frankly, email clients back then didn’t support it, you know, eventually that evolved into, you know, being able to support sending email newsletters and that sort of thing. And, you know, to where today you know, now it’s it’s really a full suite, you know, marketing automation platform that allows people to, you know, create really beautiful designs and things that match their, their brand. And, you know, really be able to communicate in ways that are engaging with their subscribers in as much automation as you possibly can to make that not only time saving for end users, but also more engaging for your subscribers to receive content that is relevant to them. Yeah, so it’s really evolved significantly over the years, you know, we have 100, you know, 10 or so people in our office here that are working every day to continually improve the platform. It’s not a you know, design once and be done and continue to sell it forever. It’s very much an ongoing thing and that’s, you know, a big part of the benefit. have, you know why we exist? And why? Having a cloud solution for that is so valuable?

Adam G. Force 10:06

Yeah. Yeah. No curious because, you know, there’s many different email platforms, obviously, that people get, you know, lost doing their research, trying to figure out what’s best for them, and everybody has their own needs, right, that that’s suitable. So who are who does this really suit? Right now? Like, are you geared towards a specific type of, you know, entrepreneur or business owner? Who do you look at as a primary customer right now?

10:30

You know, most of our I wouldn’t say there’s a specific single industry that we target there, it’s more about company size and and how they’re engaging with folks online. So typically, you know, small business customer, whether it’s an entrepreneur just getting started out of their kitchen, you know, upwards of, you know, companies of 100 Plus, you know, we also have big enterprise customers that use us for different parts of their site. So, um, you know, different enterprise class like blogs. Use us for disseminating They’re blog content in an automated way. So that people are able to see their news updates and that sort of stuff. And it’s fully automated. And it’s something that their enterprise email service provider solutions don’t actually support, whereas we do and we automate all of that. So… it really ranges a spectrum. But predominantly, it’s that small business, you know, solo entrepreneur to small teams in the, you know, 10s 20s and 30. Team Member kind of kind of categories.

Adam G. Force 11:29

Interesting. Yeah, I, you know, I, that’s helpful and makes a lot of sense. I just want to ground the people listening here. And, you know, I’d like to hear your thoughts just on, you know, the evolution of digital marketing. Do you have any just I’m just curious, because you’re in obviously, the digital marketing space. You’ve been doing email marketing specifically for for quite some time. How are you’re seeing, you know, this space evolve? Is there anything that really stands out to you these days?

Tom Kulzer 11:57

Yeah, I think when you step back from email, and look at kind of the Bigger marketing digital marketing ecosystem. You know, we started out back in the days of like AOL being giant, you know, and you getting the, you’re getting a little floppy disks, and eventually the CDs. You know, and that’s really when AOL was was a heyday in AOL to a lot of users was internet back then. They didn’t know that there was an internet outside of, of AOL. And I think it’s interesting that over the years as social networks have built up, like many people think that Facebook is the internet. And there is a repetition in these trends of you know, kind of as as different businesses gain kind of that market share. They create kind of these walled gardens that try to keep everybody in and everything else out and they make it really hard to communicate and interact with anything outside of that guard, which is why businesses today, you know, are often told like you need to be on Facebook, you need to be on Twitter, you need to be on Instagram, you need to be on all these different things. And it’s hard for I think a lot of businesses to figure out where where they can have the most impact and how they can connect with their, with their users in the most genuine way. And I think the the biggest kind of trend throughout all of that is email has really remained very relevant. And if anything, the center to a lot of those communications, like Facebook’s one of the biggest email centers on the planet. Yeah, and it’s, and most people say like, social media is gonna kill email. It’s like, no, no social media relies on email to exist. Yeah. And I think it’s something that a lot of people kind of overlook. It’s one of the few mediums where you can actually, not that you own a relationship but that you can own the ability to communicate with with those users, but you don’t own some of your subscribers email inbox, and you have to respect that. That permission that someone has given you to to enter their inbox But, you know, whereas Facebook, you might have 100 people that are following you or that have liked your page, but when you post something on Facebook, that doesn’t mean all hundred are gonna see your stuff it you know, and not even 90 or 80 likes these days, it’s, you know, 10 20% if you’re lucky, whereas email, like if you got a 10 or 20% on, you know, open rate or like a delivery rate and all the other 80% were on deliverable never even saw your message, like, people be like banging down our door with pitchforks. Like, it’s a very different kind of, you know, ecosystem where when you send an email, like 99% of those emails are getting delivered to the people that requested them, and they’re going to be able to see them and it’s not some algorithm that’s deciding that whether you’re going to see it or not see it. If you’ve given permission and you’ve been actively engaging with it, you’re going to see it every single time. Yeah, that’s, that’s that’s probably like the biggest kind of big picture view of the whole digital marketing that I’ve seen overall on the trends as it’s kind of come and gone over the years.

Adam G. Force 14:58

Ya know, it’s it’s a great Point and you’re right. I mean, you get 100% deliverability. Unless you have a junk email that’s, that’s on, you know, you know, but at the end of the day, you guys get it out there and Facebook is getting less and less. I mean, you get I don’t even know if it’s 10% anymore. So yeah, we got like 30,000 people following us and only, you know, 80 people see a post, you know, like, what is that about?

Tom Kulzer 15:23

Yeah, it’s definitely has changed

Adam G. Force 15:25

the other thing too, that is interesting is I think that over time, you’re right, like, it’s a staple for any entrepreneur, like, email hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s only gotten better and smarter. And if Facebook crashes, your email list is still there. It’s not going anywhere, right? Your business doesn’t get disturbed.

15:44

Right for Facebook shut you down, poof, all your 30,000 followers are gone like you don’t have any way of recouping them and nor do you have any way of communicating with them other than to potentially open another Facebook account, which you know is going to be hard pressed to do to begin less if you Got yourself shut down that way where, you know, you know, it’s different. Yeah, I will caveat all that was saying like email marketing should be permission based, you know, you don’t want to send spam. You know, you don’t, you don’t want to, to, to, you know, violate people’s trust by sending them emails that they haven’t requested, you know, you don’t want to get it yourself. One that’s sending it to other people. And I think that that’s something that especially as an entrepreneur can be very enticing. You know, I’ve listened to you actually, I was listening to one of your, one of your guests that you had on not too many podcast episodes ago, where they were basically encouraging people to spend just shaking my head I was like, No, no, no, no. Like, you want to make sure I’m not gonna name names, but uh, you know, it’s, it’s one of those, you know, you want to make sure that people are requesting the information that you’re sending, and that’s overall the best way to have a successful email program and have successful and get influence and relationships that come out of email is to start on the basis of permission. Yeah, so

Adam G. Force 17:06

I agree. And you know, one of the things that, you know, my co founder, Amy and I talk a lot about is, you know, as business is changing today, more and more people have their guards up ad blockers are popping up. And people don’t they don’t trust the information that’s out there. Think about if there’s more videos, you don’t know, if it’s real, there’s more images that you don’t know if it’s real, or articles that are misleading. Like, there’s a lot of factors out there today that are causing people to lose trust. And so trust is becoming the most valuable resource you can have, especially when you’re trying to start a business and build up, you know, advocates for your business. So I think you’re right, if you’re just throwing things out there, people don’t know who you are, and you’re just trying to pitch, you know, spam and sell things. Today, that’s going to be more and more difficult. It’s not like the wild wild west, maybe in the early 90s, or whatever it was, right. So I think the trust factor that you mentioned, and being permission based is going to be really important to developing a relationship that’s sustainable. Your business?

Tom Kulzer 18:01

Absolutely.

Adam G. Force 18:02

So, so, yeah. And I’m curious then, you know, as as this stuff is evolving what what are you guys thinking about? Is there like, what’s next for for a Weber and development? Like, what’s the vision for the next year or so?

Tom Kulzer 18:20

Um, you know, we we don’t get into a whole lot of specific, you know, down and dirty product plans internally, we definitely have a roadmap for those. I think the biggest thing that you’re seeing is, you know, for us is is the amount of information that businesses are putting out there in the amount of different platforms that they need to be on the the ability for them to communicate with their users in the most time efficient manner possible is, is I think one of the most important things like actually today. We just had a big release called Smart designer. And basically what it does is it allows us an end user to come to our site, enter their website address themselves. And we are able to pull out their logo, pull out their images, pull out their color themes and those sort of stuff that they have on their website and create some really beautiful templates as a result of that, without the end user having to do anything like where are our basically, our algorithms are able to put together a bunch of templates that they can pick from that are already branded already look like them, and they can get started with and send right away to their subscribers. And I think it’s those kind of automations that whereas in the past, you might have had to have a designer, you might have had to take, you know, a stock template and tweak it to the way that you like, like most of us, myself included, you know, are not brilliant designers that can make ourselves you know, make our stuff look really beautiful. And while our templates make that a lot easier, I think you know, this sort of automated mechanism for building templates that are fully branded right out of the box is a really cool and innovative way to save people time, but also make them look better. Like make their stuff more engaging with their end users and make it more identifiable when it’s so when it shows up in your inbox is like, Oh, yeah, that’s that website, I was on last week that I gave my email address. And I didn’t want to get these updates. Whereas when you get something that like, you know, has a different color theme, or maybe he’s missing a logo or something, because the site owner didn’t get around to putting it in their template, you know, it, it hampers that instant recognition that I think is needed to help with the overall engagement of the emails that are being sent out to PDF. Yeah. So that continuing of the trend of using machines and using, you know, the the programs and stuff that we have on the back end to be able to aggregate that content and do things that are smarter with it. and sending it to people that are more engaged, I think is going to be kind of a continued theme that you’re going to see from us in the in the years to come.

Adam G. Force 20:50

Interesting. Yeah, that consistency definitely will help you know, it’s like going from an ad or seeing a brand on one platform and then you click through and you’re told it’s totally different, you know, title and color scheme, you’re like, Am I in the right place? Okay, yeah.

Tom Kulzer 21:04

You know, I’m not saying anything about a particular brand or anything, but like, just look at, like, target as an example. Like, I’m sure we’ve all seen the ads, like their commercials on TV. And it’s like, you know, before they ever say the word target or the company name target, you know, you’re watching a target ad, just by like, the way that it feels. And and that I think is, you know, that’s a branding that obviously, you can spend 10s of millions of dollars to get that, but like, you know, the i think it’s it’s subtle things like that of just seeing a consistent color scheme, a consistent theme throughout all the different channels that you’re communicating with users is what helps build that over time. So I’m build that record.

Adam G. Force 21:44

And have you guys had any focus on I don’t know what your internal, like data collection is like, but what do you guys do too? I was going to get into like, you know, the idea of open rates and what you’re saying Seeing is working for people like have you do you collect that kind of data to see like, what kind of emails are working well? Or what are getting good clicks and all that kind of stuff? Is there any kind of data collection like that?

Tom Kulzer 22:11

Oh, yeah, absolutely. That’s the, you know, a big part of the value of our platform is the open rates and your click through rates and your unsubscribe rates, all of that sort of metrics that we roll up for each individual customer, but then we also roll up, you know, across the aggregate and across different industries and verticals. So yeah, now we see you know, 10s of millions of of email send every day and, you know, millions of opens and clicks throughout the platform every single day. So there’s, there’s a tremendous amount of learning there. I think, you know, overall from an email landscape when you’re talking to in it, you know, an individual and business owner, you know, email these days is all about engagement much, much like they talked about on social platforms. It’s also similar to, you know, an email the I think the bar is different in Email than it is on social platforms. But it really comes down to sending engaging emails, there really is, you know, the definition of spam these days from from a mailbox provider. So think like Gmail or hotmail or Yahoo, one of those, you know, the definition of spam to them is really, Does somebody want it? Or do they not want it? And they might have wanted it in the past, but no longer want it? In which case, they’re gonna they’re gonna potentially throw that email in the spam folder. Yeah. And and at the end of the day, how are they judging whether or not you want that email or not, you know, obviously, there’s the spam button that you can click in an email client to say, like, Hey, I don’t want this anymore. But there’s also what you do with the email every time you get it. You know, when you get that email, do you open it? Do you read it? Do you click on links in it? Do you reply to it? All of those sorts of things feed into their algorithms to determine whether or not you and others like you are going to want to receive emails from that sender. So it’s really important that when you’re sending emails out, that you’re keeping your engagement off, meaning you’re keeping people opening them, you’re keeping them clicking them, you know, and even replying and forwarding them off to other people is a really good signal. You know, there’s a reason that all of your personal communications back and forth with like myself or others, you know, are always in your inbox is because you’re replying to one another, you’re having conversations, you’re engaged in interacting, whereas a lot of emails that a lot of businesses send out, you know, they’ll send them with like, a no reply email address. And, you know, it might be a little like Kurt, but like, I always describe that as like giving all your customers the middle finger. You know, it’s basically like your buy my stuff. Don’t talk to me,

Adam G. Force 24:43

essentially, right? Yeah, I see that alot

24:45

And it’s like, absolutely, I see that all too often. And it’s like, absolutely, like the most terrible thing that you can do. Like you want to engage with people like you want to help them and while you know you need to figure out the you know, economies of scale and how you can help people As your audience grows, I think those kind of one to one personal relationships and those personal engagements are really what makes the difference between a brand that thrives and a brand that dies. Yeah. Yeah.

Adam G. Force 25:14

So have you seen? Or do you have anything off the top of your head? That would be a helpful insight for people when it comes to, you know, engagement in the email space?

25:28

Um, you know, I think, you know, obviously, starting with sending content that’s relevant, you know, what are people signing up for? What are what are you telling them they’re signing up for? You know, are you sending emails? You know, when somebody signs up, Hey, get updates from my blog, you know, 10 tips about whatever it’s like, okay, but are you then going to send them an email every day? Are you going to send them an email once a month? How are you setting expectations with them on the content that you’re going to send, like, I often see like people that send really frequently, you know, they’ll have a signup form on their site and they don’t tell people Hey, I’m going to send you three emails a day. I don’t know about you. But when I sign up for something, I don’t generally expect to get three emails a day from that sender. And I’m probably going to either unsubscribe or complain pretty heavily, as soon as they start doing that, unless the expectation was set up front. You know, I think, you know, as far as ways of engaging, I think surveys are a really good way of, you know, just asking different little questions. And having people kind of partition those users off to different parts of your site that speak to and engage with them more directly than maybe like a, you know, a broader sense. And the cool thing is, is once you do that, you can also like in our platform, you can actually tag users. So if you click on this particular link, I can say I was I was using like a, like a catalyst as like an example. So like, if you click on the dollar articles, you know, I can tag you as dog and if you click on the cat articles, I can tag you as cat. And that way in the future, I can send the cat people, all cats. stuff and I can send the dog people dog stuff because I’ve learned what they’re most interested in. And I can now mark it to them in a more relevant way. I think it’s, it’s kind of a hokey example. But like, it’s, I think it’s something that most people can like instantly grasp as how that would be more relevant, and why you’d be more likely to engage with that content than if you know, half of this stuff that I send is completely irrelevant to you because you’re just not into cats.

Adam G. Force 27:24

Right? Yeah, that’s perfect answer. I mean, at the end of the day, it does come in it sounds so obvious, like, oh, send relevant stuff, which means, but if you took it a step further, before that, which is set the right expectations up front, you know, we collect emails where someone’s like, oh, get this free guide. Next thing you know, you’re on the weekly newsletter, you know what I mean? It’s like, Well, wait a minute. This has nothing to do what I signed up

Tom Kulzer 27:49

I didn’t get told that I was gonna do it that either.

Adam G. Force 27:51

Exactly.

Tom Kulzer 27:53

Yeah. You’re gonna ultimately hurt yourself in the long run by doing that so Exactly,

Adam G. Force 27:57

exactly. And the tagging is a great tech to really help start tracking who’s showing interest where and I love the idea of that segmentation to really again just become more relevant. And it’s almost like just personalizing the conversation over email.

Tom Kulzer 28:14

Absolutely. I think another thing that’s really interesting, like, you know, in, in the marketing sphere, you’ll often hear like, Oh, I’m gonna send an email blast and like, every time I hear somebody say that, like, I just cringe a little part of the die. Yeah, because it’s like, again, it’s kind of that like middle finger to your your audience. It’s like what you want to blast all your all your all your subscribers, like, that doesn’t sound like a really nice thing to do. And I think the best way to reframe it, and what I tell folks is like, don’t write your email to 100 people or 1000 people or 100,000 people or however many subscribers you have, you’re not writing an email to a huge group of people. You’re writing it to one person, that one person that’s, you know, pulling out their phone from their pocket and reading your email or sitting at their desktop and reading Getting your email in a laptop or whatever. It’s, you’re, you’re talking to one person at a time. Yeah. And and I think the best way to kind of get that voice there and to think about that one person is like, when you’re writing your emails, think about like writing an email to your mom, like, you know, your dad, your grandparents or your sister or whatever it happens to be like, write it to one person and make it relevant to them. And it’s much more likely to be relevant to a lot of other people at the same time, because you’re writing you’re writing to the person and not just like this huge anonymous group, which makes your message I think, more personable, and more identifiable. So like, you’re just you’re more likely connect and an actual human level than than just like, Oh, I send an email to my list. Like, I hate when people refer their, their subscribers as as like a list. They’re people. You know.

Adam G. Force 29:54

I know it’s funny because I just had this we just did a discussion. My co founder, Amy and I were talking about how The digital world of marketing is not like when you go door to door and you sit down, you had a full conversation with someone face to face. It’s like taking that conversation and spreading it around digitally. And now when people think of marketing and targeting and all this stuff, it’s become so cold. So to your point, you know, it’s now a person is a click or an impression. They’re no longer like we’re having a conversation. We’re talking to people. It’s like this cold marketing jargon.

Tom Kulzer 30:25

Yep. Yeah, absolutely. So the clicks and the opens and the lists that they’re all people and they’re all somewhere on the planet. There’s maybe a couple floating around in outer space at any given time, but I doubt they’re reading your email. They’re all here. And and I think that it helps to talk to them as people and not as this inanimate object.

Adam G. Force 30:47

Exactly. And and just, you know, it shapes your perspective of what you’re doing. So the step the actions you take can be different just because of the way you frame up the way you think about it. Absolutely, um, you know, one of the things they just wanted to ask Real quick was that came to mind is just when you when you got off the ground with AWeber you know, you’ve done this entrepreneurial hustle. I’m sure you’ve had your ups and your downs and things like that. I’m just curious of any advice you have, you’ve been now, you know, sustained your business for over 20 years. So just any general advice for people who are in their first five years and you know, we all go through our ups and downs like that. So I’m just curious what your thoughts might be to based on your decades of work.

Tom Kulzer 31:29

I would say everybody’s an overnight success 10 years in

Adam G. Force 31:33

exactly.

Tom Kulzer 31:34

Like, like, I think that the news media like Star obviously portray, like these in this this persona that like every business is an instant instant, overnight success. Very, very few are, you know, we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of businesses, you know, come many are successful, many, many are not and I think that as an option For an area kind of have to have a thick skin and a determination to like kind of, you know, walk the, you know, the trodden path and keep moving things forward. It can often feel like a million miles. But I think eventually, you know, eventually with the determination and the right kind of, you know, the right thing that has value to to, you know, people that you’re putting it out there to, I think you will see success, it’s just, it’s just a matter of getting there and very, very few businesses are like instantaneously successful. You know, everyone starts with one subscriber, you know, the biggest trick is like, just starting, you know, I hear a lot of the like, I don’t know what to write and it’s like, just write something because something is better than nothing. Yeah, and and just just that, like, just keep, just keep moving forward. And, and I think that eventually, you know, more more often than not, those that persevere are eventually successful and I think that down that road can often be long and arduous. But I think in the long run it can can be really, really beneficial and really pay off.

Adam G. Force 33:11

Yeah, hundred percent. I love that. Thanks for sharing that. And then, you know, the last thing I’m going to ask you is just kind of this closing question that we’ve been asking people just to kind of give you a chance just to speak from your experience. And you know, if you had this opportunity, you had the world’s ear to share in a message that’s important. You know, what would that message be to everybody?

Tom Kulzer 33:34

You know, I I really gave this some thought in it. And it’s kind of weird because the first thing that popped into my mind that kind of like blanked out on on like the name of your site and whatnot, and the first thing that came into my head was like, be your own agent for change. And then I connected back to two and I was like, oh, that totally sounds like pandering. Like, there was like, with like, being completely honest. It was a first thing that just popped into my head when, when you asked me the question. You know, if you don’t like something, you know, don’t wait for somebody else to make it better. You know, we really have to be our own agent for change, whether it’s stuff in your life, whether it’s your personal life, your business, whether it’s your employer where you’re working, like, you know, it’s stepping over, we, I often use this example in our business here, it’s like if you see if you trap a piece of trash on the ground, like don’t step over it and wait for somebody else to pick it up, like you pick it up. Because if somebody else sees you picking it up, they’re more likely to pick it up the next time they see a piece of trash and I think that being that agent for change can be so so powerful both you know personally and professionally and being the the solution and not part of the problem. You know, we talked about this, this concept called pairing here in our office where like, you know, you might go and you’re, I think a lot of people’s natural reaction is to like add, there’s something negative like I’m gonna To go tell somebody else about this negative thing. Whereas like, really the healthy thing to do is be like, Hey, I see a problem here. And like I see these two or three different solutions to making that problem better, like, and I think everyone’s life is so much more enriched, when you’re really the solution for that change. And the solution for those problems, rather than just like perpetuating the problem consistently, you know, over and over again. And I think a lot of people get really hung up on all the reasons they can’t do things. And not all the reasons that they can do things. And I think that, you know, being that agent for change can be really scary for a lot of people. But I think if you’re not doing something that’s a little bit scary every day, you’re not changing and growing. And if you want different results in your life, you have to be doing things that you haven’t done before, because if you’ve done them before, you would already have seen that success in your life. So you really have to kind of step out of the comfort zone over and over and over again in order to really create Create that change and to create the, you know, the the ultimate, you know, outcome that you’re looking for. So that’s kind of my that’s, that’s my pulpit.

Adam G. Force 36:11

There. It’s so important I like just appreciate you saying those things and, you know, just helps it leave people in an inspired mindset, you know, so I really appreciate your time today, Tom, this is great.

Tom Kulzer 36:22

Hey, thanks for having me on. It’s been fun. Awesome. We’ll be in touch. 

Adam G. Force 36:25

That’s all for this episode. Your next step is to join the Change Creator revolution by downloading our interactive digital magazine app for premium content, exclusive interviews, and more ways to stay on top of your game available now on iTunes and Google Play or visit Change Creator mag comm we’ll see you next time where money and meaning intersect right here at the Change Creator podcast.

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