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#55 Bostjan Belingar – 80/20 Rule in Life and Email Marketing

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In this podcast, Deividas speaks with Bostjan Belingar – Slovenian email marketing agency owner with over 60-70 employees and 50+ clients. Bostjan shares his life lessons on growth, personal development, and applying the 80/20 rule to his life and career as an owner of an email marketing agency. 

Bostjan has made money in lots of different ways. By the time he was 23, he had 5-6 years of experience in breakdancing and was working as a street dancer in London before.

To get into that, first, he did market research for busking and street performances in London and found a specific location to dance in.

And that’s the first thing they discussed – the psychological tricks behind street performances to pull in viewers.

In a lot of ways, it’s like marketing.

The big difference between an empty or a huge crowd is that all good artists have a structure to their act. Step #1 to the act is gathering the people – something like a clickbait.

Deividas adds the importance of life skills and experiences and how they can in turn make you a better marketer. For him personally, he had 16-18 different jobs until he was 25 and he mentions that there’s a lot of these skills that have transferable value.

Bostjan adds that if you’re a curious person who questions everything, you learn faster as well. There needs to be something inside of you that is curious by nature and is willing to draw on experience.

He also adds that in their agency, they have people on the younger side (around 20s) who may have a lot of experience in a particular field (emails, ad buying, etc.), but less so in life experiences and wisdom. 

Bostjan says that we shouldn’t underestimate life experiences from all sorts of areas. 

Growth doesn’t happen overnight.

When you look at bamboo within its first few years of growth, you can’t see anything above the ground. It seems like nothing happens within the first few weeks. And then on week 5 or 6, it shoots up meters high above the ground.

Everybody wants results, but nobody wants to be the bamboo for a few years, says Bostjan.

For Bostjan, up to a certain point, he had 0 experience in marketing. And the way he got into email marketing was when he met his first mentor who was doing an info product launch. 

For a few months, he was doing copywriting on UpWork. And then, some of his clients requested Bostjan to handle their emails as well. 

In a matter of a few months, he had too much work on his hands and started hiring assistants. Over the course of 2-3 years, it all started picking up in scale.

Bostjan says he’s a huge fan of the 80/20 rule and going after the lowest hanging fruit first. There are 2 critical parts that everybody can understand when it comes to email marketing:

  • Automated flows – Cart abandonment, add-to-carts, welcome series, VIP sequences, post-purchase, and so on. There are certain flows you need to have running at all times. Even these small flows can generate an additional $1,000 per day.
  • Sending regular campaigns to the list – Most mastery comes here. Segmentation, nurturing, frequency, and so on. And this is where most people make mistakes. People either send too many emails or too few.

Email is usually one of the highest ROI channels as you only pay for the software and you have direct communication with your customers to gain insights from.

With Gmail, the platform looks at your engagement as a sender and that’s the main metric you should be aiming to optimize for. For example, if a store sends you emails 3 times a week and you never open them, eventually, those emails will stop showing up in your primary inbox and they’ll go to your Promotions section instead. After you don’t open them there as well, they’ll start going into Spam.

When asked about Black Friday, Bostjan says his approach is as follows:

The first email that goes out to the entire list is a plain text email that asks the customer if they’d like to be part of a personal segment. 

Because it has no pictures and links, the algorithm thinks it’s more of a personal email and it’s more likely to go in the primary section. The goal of this is to act as a re-engagement email and re-activate a lot of people in your newsletter.

He recommends doing this every 2-3 months as part of your re-engagement automation sequence (but it’s usually better to do it manually).

Next question: What’s the difference between a successful business or founder and the ones that are not successful?

It’s hard to say, says Bostjan. He says entrepreneurs and founders are kind of like a weird breed of people. One thing that he says that matters a lot is whether someone is willing to delegate their responsibilities to their team, and trusting them that it will be done reasonably well.

Deividas adds that it’s a matter of quality control and that’s why he started working on a checklist for his projects.

Next thing Deividas wants to know is how exactly did Bostjan achieve such a good work-life balance?

At the moment, Bostjan says he works about 100 real hours a month and it’s all about processes. But of course, it hasn’t always been like this, and before he would work up to 200 hours a month when he used to handle everything.

He says he wasn’t happy with his balance before and together with his observation and therapy sessions, he realized he didn’t want to live like that. 

He realized 3 things had to change within his work:

  1. He needed a full-time salesperson.
  2. He needed a head of the service to deal with clients, manage the teams, and to put out the fires.
  3. He needed a head of marketing to be thinking about blog posts, partnerships, and so on to increase their lead generation.

Final question: What would Bostjan say to himself 10 years ago?

His answer: Don’t rush so much. Take things a bit slower and they’re not as huge as they might seem.

The worst problem in the grand scheme of things is not that bad, so, why not just smile a little bit more as life is good?

     Here’s what we cover during episode #55:

  • Meet Bostjan and his eCommerce email marketing agency
  • All the weird things Bostjan has done for money – from collecting old paper to being a bartender to selling weed
  • The psychological hacks behind being a street performer in London, and how it’s related to marketing
  • How street performers influence viewers to give money and the stories of being a breakdancer/street performer in London
  • Bostjan’s thoughts on social dynamics 
  • Deividas on having 16-18 different jobs until the age of 25 and the importance of life experiences to become a better marketer
  • The best concept for growth and why Bostjan says you need to be like bamboo to grow
  • The “Hustle House” project in Barcelona
  • 2 Critical parts that everybody needs to understand when it comes to email marketing
  • Flow hierarchy within your email marketing and the importance of the 80/20 rule with your emails
  • How to easily get a 40%-60% open rate with your emails if you simply do this
  • Smart sending, looking at your email flows as a system, and the importance of your email open rates (the answer is more complicated than you might think) 
  • Why engagement is so important when sending newsletters from Gmail
  • Bostjan’s exact approach to Black Friday email flows and why he makes sure to first send a plain text email to warm up his list
  • One key difference between successful business founders and the ones that are not as successful
  • Quality control, SOPs, and checklists
  • Bostjan on achieving the perfect work-life balance
  • How Bostjan went from working 200+ tracked hours per month to now working at about only 100
  • The 3 essential roles he had to hire to grow his business
  • Deividas’ and Bostjan’s secret superpower
  • Bostjan on how therapy has helped him throughout his career and personal life

Follow Bostjan:

Find Deividas:

Links mentioned in the episode:

HustlerMarketing

The Big Fat Comprehensive List of Things I ever did to Successfully Earn Money

eCommerce Growth Hacks | Facebook Ads, Creatives, Email & More | by Sugatan

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#52 Emanuele Maragno & Daniel Bidmon – $5M Black Friday Secrets: Automation Rules, Ads, Offers, Mistakes & What To Do In 2021

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