Back-Alley Marketing: My Internal Email Checklist Revealed

Email Marketing

Facts & Tips from Hybrid’s Director of Strategy

Welcome to the very first episode of Back Alley Marketing. My name is Johnathan McFarlane, I’m the head of strategy at Hybrid Marketing Company. We’re a cannabis specialized agency based in Denver, Colorado. So in this series, I’m going to be walking you through some of the tips and tricks and strategies that we use in our industry and give you a bit of insight into how you can apply them to your own industry, whether that’s cannabis or otherwise, “Why she paid attention to anything in cannabis marketer says, and what makes this series different than anything else out there?” Well, first of all, I’m actually in an Alley.

So there’s that. Second of all, a lot of the tools that cannabis marketers use just aren’t available to people that market and mainstream industries, like social media ads, Google ads, billboards, depending on where you live, TV spots, all these things that are kind of just part and parcel, just regular tactics that normal marketers are able to use. They’re not an option. So, that forces us really to think outside the box, come up with interesting workarounds and just get creative. The other thing too, is that when we make mistakes, they have very, very big consequences. We can’t screw things up. We can’t say the wrong thing. We can’t post the wrong photo. We can’t target the image or the ad to the wrong spot, or we risk fines or complete shutdowns of our client’s business. Really high-stakes, really fuzzy gray area.

But that’s what makes this all interesting. That’s what makes us good marketers. Every episode of Back Alley Marketing, it’s going to be five minutes or less, and it was going to have at least one thing that you can take, put into practice, right in this very day. In this first episode, I want to talk about email marketing. So, not specific strategies or specific tactics, but more about, its importance. Now, regardless of what some people say and what you might hear, email marketing is not dying. Email as just a platform is not dying, not even close. In fact, it’s growing and it’s growing quickly. So check this out, last year in 2020 306 billion emails were sent every single day. How does that strike you for a dying platform? And whether you have a B2B business, e-commerce, whatever you’re focused on. I have yet to come across a business that doesn’t need, or shouldn’t have some form of email marketing in their toolkit.

What I run up against in my industry too often is a dependence on social media or at least too much focus on it. Everybody thinks in the canvas industry, you have to have a crazy Instagram profile. Now you have to be posting on social media every single day. And that’s just not the case. In our industry, you can get your social media shut down at any time, for any reason. They can shut you down because they don’t like your hair. How’s that? So, here’s my favorite thing about email marketing. You can get great ideas, tips and tactics send to your inbox every single day. And that’s my real tip for this first episode. I want you to reimagine your inbox from a place of annoyance, into a place for inspiration and assistance with your own email marketing. Now, I know that’s kind of a stretch because you get spam emails, you get ridiculous emails all day long.

I get it. I’m deleting emails constantly throughout the day, just to try to stay up on top of things, but try to use it as a place to check out new tactics. What worked on you? When you click on an email, why did you click on it? Or what subjects lines seem to be popping? What new tactics do you see? Like for example, right now, everybody is removing all grammar from there… Or capitalization from their subject lines. They’re going all lower case, super short. And you know what? Is working. Should you put emojis in there? Those kinds of things, just use it as a place to get ideas. What I do every time I see an email that I like, or a subject line that catches my attention. I just take a screenshot of it with my cell phone, and I save it in a separate folder just for inspiration later on. When I need to come back, when I’m looking for a new idea or something like that, I kind of have this backlog of stuff that I really liked that I see other marketers doing.

So here’s some homework for you. Go and subscribe emails from these three companies. Drizly, I love these guys. They deliver alcohol. They’re active in like 13 or 15 different markets. Great, great subject lines. Hims, they offer telemedicine, prescriptions products focus on men’s health. And I really like the design of their emails. And then Sunsoil, they’re closer to our own industry. They’re a CBD company. They’ll have a lot of just truly brand building content in their emails. So, five minutes or less, like I said, let’s see. Did I make it? Sure, I hate to get cut off when time…


“Hands, touching hands Reaching out, touching me, touching you…”