Episode 107: Email Marketing Demystified, with Matt Paulson

Email is a powerful medium. At minimum, it serves a company’s need for transacting with vendors & customers, etc. But some companies go much further, putting it at the centre of their business. The author of today’s book, has done this in three distinct businesses. How did he get there? Just listen to his story. 

In his  primary school years, Matt Paulson played games like SimCity on his family’s PC. Keen to share what he learned with other fans, he made a website and watched as visitors started coming by the hundreds. Learning that you could make money by putting banner ads on your site, he signed his little website up and small cheques started rolling in. But for the time being, it just served him as a way to make pocket money.

Like many University students, he found himself in the middle of his studies, needing money to cover tuition costs. The college newspaper had part-time job openings for writers. Between that and taking freelance gigs on ProBlogger, mainly about personal finance, he managed to get by.

Matt then fused his writing skills with selling banner ads like he’d done before. He launched a finance blog that generated about the same income as you’d make on a computer science graduate’s salary. He made  many websites along this theme, and because they were highly dependent on Google’s algorithm for traffic, they rode some high highs and low lows. In the aftermath of one rankings smackdown, he resolved to never give a tech platform the power to damage his business like this.

The solution was to manage their own content distribution. That meant showing their brand on a variety of finance portals, but also networking directly with their audience, getting them used to seeing the site’s brand in places like their email inbox. So they launched an email newsletter. That newsletter, called MarketBeat, now has three million email subscribers. Financial product companies pay top dollar to advertise in the newsletter, to get a piece of the one million monthly outbound clicks it receives. Along with premium subscription products, this business now employees thirteen people and grosses more than $25 million in top-line annual revenue.

You now know the story of a young guy who founded an email empire. And while he’s proud of it, he’s equally passionate about living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with his wife and 3 young kids. 

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