Fix your email marketing problems with Prav De Silva, The Thoughtful Agency

Jan 20, 2022

Creating emails for your business is simple, but cutting through the noise is crucial, with around 3 billion emails sent a day. Alongside any other marketing branch for your small business, it’s essential to use it correctly to optimize those returns.

Prav De Silva, founder and chief growth officer at The Thoughtful Agency said it best – “email marketing is dead for people that aren’t using it correctly.” 

After ten years of experience working for large brands and icons like Glue Store, Tiger Mist, Sydney’s Bondi Icebergs, and Tim Cahill and Cahill+, Prav takes a different approach to convert his engagement into sales. His work with his team at The Thoughtful Agency specialize in a range of strategies, from digital and e-commerce to CRM marketing. Learn some of his and The Thoughtful Agency’s practices in this episode.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • What to brainstorm before initiating an e-commerce strategy
  • Applying an influencer-marketing strategy
  • Optimizing your email marketing with customer segmentation
  • How to reactivate an inactive customer
  • Identifying the email automation workflow
  • The psychology behind email competitions
  • The effects applying dynamic retargeting on your sales

Notable quotes:

  • “Email marketing is dead for people that aren’t using it correctly”
  • “One of the most successful executions we’ve done is a unique experience. So it could be a trip to Palm Springs. It could be a trip to Bali.”..
  • “Australians love to travel, right? So you put up a trip in front of them, sponsored by the brand. And you’re able to generate, you know, close to seven, 10,000 new database subscribers”
  • “Treat influencers like media”

Resources mentioned:

Book recommendations:

What business would you build on Mars?

Business is one of these things that you need to be there and be on the ground to figure out what the actual business is and what you are going to call it.  But let’s just say the stepping stone to that before we’d get there is probably to contact Elon Musk and ask him if  we could give away a Tesla or something that we could use on Mars, similar to a Tesla.

Love the brand that Tesla created obviously. It has great prestige. Use that as a magnet to get people to enter a unique experience. So be driven around in Tesla, around Mars and all the people that enter – we’re going to get their database and data. So every single product that’s  sold once people arrive you know, you’re going to be the commercial point there towards launching a lot of conversations.

Reach Prav here:

Transcript (or download the pdf here)

Brendan: Yeah, for sure. And I mean, speaking of email marketing, a lot of people are saying email marketing is dead, it’s dying, but I mean, people are still getting phenomenal results 

Prav: With email to answer your point. It is dead for people that aren’t using it correctly. So gone are the days where you’ll bang out one EDM and week two, your 30,000 or 50,000 subscribers, because you just see open rates declining, like a very steep hill. Yep. However, where you correct in where people are seeing strong growth in it is where you’re able to segment that database down. So what we do at thoughtful for our clients is straight straightaway we…”

Daren: Ah yup… left you on a cliff hanger. Creating emails for your business is simple, but cutting through the noise is crucial, with around 3 billion emails sent a day. Alongside any other marketing branch for your small business, it’s essential to use it correctly to optimise those returns. To find out how to fix your email marketing problems and more you should listen to this episode of forward thinking.

Hey everyone, I’m Daren Lake, the audio content manager here at Metigy. Welcome to Forward Thinking, a podcast by Metigy. In this series, we speak with inspirational business owners, brands, and marketing experts to learn from their experiences on the frontline and uncover what it takes to build a world-class business.

Prav De Silva, founder and chief growth officer at The Thoughtful Agency is here to fix all your e-commerce and general email marketing problems.

After ten years of experience working for large brands and icons like Glue Store, Tiger Mist, Sydney’s Bondi Icebergs, and Tim Cahill and Cahill+, Prav takes a different approach to convert his engagement into sales. His work with his team at The Thoughtful Agency specialise in a range of strategies, from digital and e-commerce to CRM marketing.

Learn some of his and The Thoughtful Agency’s practices in this episode.


In this episode you’ll learn what to brainstorm before  initiating an e-commerce strategy, applying an influencer-marketing strategy, how to reactivate an inactive customer, identifying the email automation workflow, the psychology behind email competitions, and much more

Let’s get into the chat with Metigy’s head of content, Brendan Hill and Prav.

Brendan: Prav, welcome to the podcast.

Prav: Thanks, Brendan. It’s good fun to be here, looking forward to it. 

Brendan: So, I mean, a lot of small and medium-sized businesses, I mean, obviously want to get into e-commerce they see it as, you know, a fairly lucrative way to make money. Obviously, a lot of success stories. I mean, what, what are some of the. I guess tips that you would give people looking to get into e-commerce or, yeah, 

Prav: I think one of the big starting points is to start with expectation being. Eat and kill. So what I mean by that is e-commerce, isn’t a tap that you just turn on and it just fountains out orders and e-commerce revenue. You need to look at it with your brand first. What is your brand? But I think the actionable tips for your listeners today is to really understand, you know, what are you in e-commerce to do.

And obviously you’re there to sell a product, but, you know, what each a commitment in terms of financial commitments to product and stockholding and to really just end it with you know, looking at what your revenue target looks like for a 12 month period. And then it becomes a simple game because you have a revenue target and then you have traffic requirement.

That need to be met. So what website traffic is needed to hit a revenue of X and that what follows, I guess, underneath that Brendan is you know, all your channels Facebook, Google, social paid traffic content marketing to support that traffic requirement to meet the revenues. Yeah, 

Brendan: I guess speaking of those channels, like I guess a lot of feedback we get from managing customers, they don’t know which channels to focus on.

Are there any sort of stories or lessons that you can give us towards making? 

Prav: So, you know, one of the, our customers and our clients at the thoughtful agency are predominantly lifestyle and fashion brands who are you know, very fortunate our clients are that they have close to some of them have 500,000 Instagram followers.

Right. So with the algorithm shifting and organic reach I guess lessening in potency social advertising is a big thing that drives not only traffic, but ROI. So, you know, when we look at the most lucrative channels, some of our clients are generating, you know, up to 14 to one ROI. On the media spend.

So, you know, that is, you know, if they’re spending $10,000 a month on social ads, they’re generating $140. So $140,000. Revenue out of Facebook and Instagram ads. So that is the channel that, you know, obviously the consumers glued to, you know and then likewise, there’there’s a really strong opportunity to scale with social advertising.

Brendan: Yeah, definitely. And I mean, I guess we can’t all afford to hire the Kardashians, I guess, a influencer campaign on Instagram. I mean, what are some of the tips that you. I guess your clients on how to get influences involved? 

Prav: Yeah. Well, I think the influence of game has become a lot harder than what it was in.

Say, you know, the golden era of 2013, 14, where. A lot of brands were able to see product very quickly with talent. Now it’s a marketplace where talent have managers. So even those micro-influencers who have 30 or 40,000 followers, they’re managed by someone who is trying to generate at least a couple of hundred dollars a post.

So nowadays it’s getting back to actually more of those curated events around: what is our brand about and creating an experience for influencers to attend? So it might be a beautiful luncheon on the harvest somewhere where the brand can see their product influences. Talk about it, but the influence is there to engage with the brand.

And, you know, Instagram stories is a big one where, you know, influencers are saying I’m at this event tagging in the event, you know, their consumers are seeing it in real time. So yeah, I’d say take it back to basics reallyAlmost treat influencers like media. So back to the old days where you do press events and media luncheons and media events, but just very influencer focused right now.

Brendan: There are so many areas to focus on, obviously in e-commerce. What’s one sort of area that you wish you were more of an expert in right now? 

Prav: Yeah. I think one of the key things is I guess, you know, eCRM and customer journey mapping and actually understanding what is the true lifetime value of the customer, which the big e-commerce businesses like your Amazon’s and, you know are able to do because they have data analysts sitting behind, you know the platforms.

So yeah. You know, data analysis around a true customer value pin down into email marketing. 

Brendan: Yeah, for sure. And I mean, speaking of email marketing, a lot of people are saying email marketing is dead, it’s dying, but I mean, people are still getting phenomenal results 

Prav: with email to answer your point.

It is dead for people that aren’t using it correctly. So gone are the days where you’ll bang out one EDM and week two, your 30,000 or 50,000 subscribers, because you just see open rates declining, like a very steep hill. Yep. However, where you correct in where people are seeing strong growth in it is where you’re able to segment that database down.

So what we do at thoughtful for our clients is straight straightaway. We segment it based on recent purchases. So people who have recently purchased in the last three to six months, right? So we consider them your loyal customers. Or recency. And then the biggest kind of low-hanging fruit is look at the customers who have not purchased from you in the last 12 months.

Right? So we call them inactive customer segments, and what’s something we can do to reactivate that inactive customer segment. So essentially if someone is an inactive consumer, you’re not flogging in the mini-me EDM once, you know, once a week you’re slowing down your communication to them and you’re sending them something around.

50% off VIP codes, you’re training them as someone who basically is pulled away from your brand and you’re trying to load them back in. So it’s almost like rather than just using just one EDM for everyone. You’re just going back and looking at from a customer journey and, you know, what’s the experience with the brand.

Okay. They purchased, but they haven’t purchased from you in the last 12 months. So what can we do to get them, get them back? Right. 

Brendan: So, yeah. Obviously the email list is still super important. I mean, the points that you’ve just touched on as well. I mean, can you tell us any stories of any campaigns on any of your clients?

Like how are they collecting these emails? 

Prav: How great question. So you know, one of the key things is email data acquisition. If you’re not actually going out and trying to create a unique experience where you can promote that on social and essentially take your social followers into email, you know, data.

So what I mean by that is one of the most successful executions we’ve done is a unique experience. So it could be a trip to Palm Springs. It could be a trip to Bali. Australians love to travel, right? So you put up a trip in front of them, sponsored by the brand. And you’re able to generate, you know, close to seven, 10,000 new database subscribers.

And the trick to that ease is you basically soon as someone enters that competition, you’ve creating email automation workflows. So it, you know, thanks for entering. And then, you know, that. Promo code to shop the brand and you let them know that the winner will be announced on, you know, such and such a date.

So they’re always kind of constantly engaged because they’re waiting to see when the winner gets announced, but you try to bring them into a customer conversion perspective straightaway. 

Brendan: And it’s not us in speaking of emailing, what sort of email tools do you guys reckon? 

Prav: So we’ve gone off. I guess historically working with clients who have inherently used MailChimp.

So we’ve gone into work with a client and they’re using MailChimp. Which has been, you know, served the e-commerce community and marketers incredibly well for years. Right. But with any technology, especially marketing related you know, technology, there’s always new innovators in the space.

So we’re deploying a platform called Drip for our clients which is an eCRM, which allows us to segment and also pro vide better analytics to our digital designers around heat mapping around, you know, what he’s actually being clicked through and plugs drip pugs in really well with Shopify as well. So a lot of our clients were on Shopify. So I guess, yeah, that’s the, that’s the hot new thing at the moment, not just sort of.

Take anything away from MailChimp, any of the email providers, this is a drip also charges clients based on how many emails they have, rather than, you know, a premium or a introduction where, you know, rate per month fluctuate is purely a w you know, one product. Yeah. And they charge based on emails they have.

So it’s this sort of economies of scale for clients there with drip. Yeah. And 

Brendan: There’s a bit of a trend at the moment with the email platforms, you know, Back to your point about mapping out the customer journey. It’s making the automation flow a lot easier, like the drag and drop functionality.

Is that something that Drip sort of focus? 

Prav: Yeah, correct. So drip the whole design process around creating templates is a drag and drop feature. It’s very easy to use. So, you know, our key thing as an agencies, we want our clients to be able to send out ads and emails themselves at scale, not just relying on agency resource to do it.

So yeah. Yeah quickly get them up to speed with it. But generally with drip, the key thing is that the client knows how to send out ADM. So that’s not the hard part, but it’s about contextually relevant is going into various segments in bulk. 

Brendan: I think we better mention that this episode is not sponsored by Drip just quickly. While we’re on the topic of tools, I mean, what’s a tool that you’ve purchased in the last year for a hundred dollars or less, that’s made a massive impact on your business? 

Prav: Yeah, I think look, there’s a tool out there which is a dynamic remarketing tool for Instagram called Snappic. Let’s just say, if you’re looking at a denim brand online and you’re spending time looking at denim jackets you then leave your site and then you’re targeted through Instagram and Facebook buy ads.

But it’ll basically pull imagery from the brand’s Instagram feed and show that to you as advertising, purely on denim jackets. Right? So it’s dynamic re-targeting, but using imagery from the brand’s Instagram feed. So you go in and tagging which imagery you want to present based on category. That’s definitely a hot tip for that, it might be a little bit over a hundred bucks, but definitely worth it. Definitely worth it. 

Brendan: What sort of issues are you facing at the moment what’s in your current business? Black box? What problems are you guys trying to sell? 

Prav: I guess one of the key things is because we are an agency and a consultancy engaged to drive growth for our clients and help them reach their full potential through their own growth…

One of the problems that, you know, we’re kind of looking at right now is how do we actually better tell our story through our content and our website and a deeper engagement of content marketing. So, you know, similar to what you’re doing today at Metigy. I’m very envious of this situation here because you know, a podcast is something I’d love to be doing, but you know, all in it’s good time.

We’re a team that’s very passionate about delivering results for our clients. I’m sure we’ll get to tell our story out to people soon, but yeah, that’s one of the challenges really finding time to do your own brand marketing. 

Brendan: I guess it’s a bit of a slow, slow burn process as well, you – know getting that instant result, which could make it challenging for you guys. 

Prav: One of the things as well is it’s about educating clients about what you doing an interesting and informative way. Like those 20-30 second videos go a long way to kind of keeping clients engaged along that journey with you.

Brendan: So tim for a bit of an abstract question. So, if you were given Alladin’s three wishes with the Disney rules, what would you wish for, for your clients? 

Prav: With us, and what we do is obviously helping clients to realize their full potential through e-commerce growth and revenue. And it sounds like an easy thing to do.

But when you’re working with a business owner who has multiple things that they’re looking after, they’re looking after manufacturing and production of product coming into the country, they’ve got staffing, they’ve got fulfillment issues is very hard to have that time to really sit back and have a deep and engaged conversation beyond an hour, an hour and 15 minutes while looking at a document.

So I think one of the key things is, if I was at Aladdin, I could wish for. I’d love to have, you know, an environment where you could actually take a client. It could be a place like Byron bay or, you know, magic carpet as well. Potentially. Yeah. You could have a little AstroTurf there with a little bit of a Feng Shui happening, but just a place where you could have as an incubator as a house by the ocean you know, share it with other tech people and creatives, but, you know, take clients there for maybe a Thursday to Saturday session. 

Really map out what the objectives are, but then come back and go back to that place where you define those objectives and really sit down and go, how are we tracking on that? What is our action plans? Because Sydney is a very noisy place, right? So you might be in someone’s office, but there are so many distractions mentally happening.

So I think that’s one. Have a crystal clear place that you can do some critical thinking. Then come back to that place with frequency to generate great ideas and follow through really. That’s what it’s about. Isn’t it. We’re all looking to do is come up with some simple ideas that we can follow to run really effectively with consistency.

Brendan: That’s awesome, man. So do you guys do much reading? Can you recommend any books to the audience? 

Prav: Oh, loads. I think one of my favorite books that I. Probably about 10 years ago. Now it’s a book called Lynchpin by Seth Godin. For any marketer that wants to kind of jump up from beyond the kind of daily grind of being a marketer to really be noticed and, you know, push out there and really take things to be, you know, I’m the one that people want to contact.

If they’ve got a problem or, you know, if they want a challenging, you know, growth strategy, what are they going to do that book? I think he’s relevant. 

Brendan: Yeah. And I mean, good example as well. I think his daily blog has been going for over seven years in a blog HTA. 

Prav: Definitely. Which is probably a bit longer than that.

Yeah. And he doesn’t say a lot on those blogs sometimes as well. It’s just a few articulate thoughts, but a great mind. Definitely another good book to look have a look at his principles. By Ray Dalio, which is more about the art of thoughtful disagreement and, you know, having that way of communication around, you know, cause I guess the results these days are all based on one data, but the other part is how do you engage with key stakeholders in your own team to get the best out of that situation? 

Brendan: I’ve found it interesting how he mentioned in the book, they record every single meeting at his company and it’s available to all staff as well. Two awesome books. 

We’ll include everything in the show notes that’s been mentioned in this episode as well. So you guys can check it out. So coming on to the last question now Prav so a bit of a fun one as well. And we ask each guest at the end of each episode. So you’re on the first flight to Mars with Elon Musk and the first settlers, called the space X star ship rocket.

So what business do you start when you land on Mars and how do you market it to the new Martians? 

Prav: Yup. Well, I think business is one of these things that you need to be there and be on the ground to figure out what the actual business is and what are you going to call it? But let’s just say the stepping stone to that before we’d get there is probably contact a Elon Musk and asking me if we could give give away a Tesla or something that we could use on Mars similar to a Tesla.

Love the brand that Tesla created obviously as great prestige. Use that as a magnet to get people to enter a unique experience. So be driven around in Tesla, around Mars and all the people that enter, obviously we’re going to get their database and data. So every single product it’s sold once people arrive you know, you’re going to be the commercial point there towards, you know, launching a lot of conversations.

Brendan: So you’re going to have the biggest database on Mars as well. Yeah, 

Prav: That’s it! You’ve got the first. You’re the first. So there’s competitive advantage, there’s true data. And potentially you could keep giving away different iterations of a Tesla, certain points of, you know inhabiting something.

Brendan: Oh, awesome answer. Prav, I really appreciate the time that you’ve given us today and the value that you’ve dropped to the Metigy audience as well. How can, how can people find you online if they want to get in touch 

Prav: Thethoughtfulagency.com As well as on Instagram- we’re @thethoughtfulagency.com, or just reach out to me on email which is Prav@thethoughtfulagency.com.

Brendan: Too easy once again. Thanks Prov. And thanks everyone for tuning into the Metigy marketing podcast. 

Prav: Pleasure. Loved being here. Thanks Brendan. 

Brendan: Thanks Prav.

Daren: From Metigy, you’ve just listened to Forward Thinking. Again, I’m Daren and Metigy hopes we helped you find more insights and tips into your business. To find out more about Metigy and get a listener exclusive three month free trial, visit us at Metigy.com/podcast. And while you’re there, go and check out some more episodes.

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