The Unofficial Shopify Podcast

The Most Controversial Way to Get Subscribers

Episode Summary

Identity Resolution is coming for your inbox.

Episode Notes

In this episode: An email insider exposes how to acquire the email addresses of anonymous website visitors who don't make a purchase or fill out a form. You read that right. But is it even legal? And if so, what are the risks and ROI?

Our guest should know, after all he's an email marketing veteran with a successful exit under his belt.

We're joined by Adam Robinson, founder and CEO of GetEmails, which he's bootstrapped to 10m ARR in 24 months with six people. Prior to GetEmails, Adam was the founder/CEO of Robly Email Marketing, which was bootstrapped and he exited for 8 figures to private equity in 2020.

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Episode Transcription

The Unofficial Shopify Podcast

Kurt Elster: Man, did you know that you can get people’s emails on your website and then send them emails in the hope that they’ll remember you and buy? All right, fine, so I’m describing newsletters and email marketing. We’re familiar with that. But of course, the power of email marketing is really only as valuable as the list. With an internet business, your list, your audience, that’s the cornerstone of your marketing power, what you can do. The total addressable audience. Because if you have that email marketing list, aha, we can market to these people. We can also run surveys. We can gain data out of it. We can use it for remarketing efforts with custom audiences. There is a lot of value in that.

But there’s a bottleneck. A limiting factor. And there’s two things: the quality of the people on that list and the quantity. I need both of these things, right? And getting people to sign up for your email list, harder than you think. Even when you’re just straight up giving stuff away, harder than you think. And when you do start giving stuff away, now suddenly the quality goes down, so there’s a lot that goes into building these email lists, and recently someone emailed me and said, “Hey, I know… I have a strategy, a tactic, whatever you want to call it, for building those email lists, and it’s controversial, and I’d love to tell you about it.” Of course, I heard controversial and I’m like, “Well, that’s a good podcast topic. That’s good fodder.”

And so, there’s a man who claims that we can get emails of anonymous website visitors and that it may be legal. I don’t know, but we’re gonna talk through it today. So, joining us is Adam Robinson, founder and CEO of GetEmails, which they’ve bootstrapped to $10 million ARR, annual recurring revenue, in 24 months with six people. Wow, that is some seriously lean bootstrapping. I’m impressed. But prior to that, he was founder/CEO of Robly Email Marketing, which he bootstrapped and excited for eight figures to private equity in 2020. Oh, love that private equity. Lives in Austin, Texas. You’re like doing the full just sweet bootstrap startup thing, even living in Austin. There’s like… He’s got a big neon sign behind him that says like, “Hustle hard every day, never sleep.” It’s the full deal. I think he’s in a garage. There appears to be a Ferrari behind him.

All right, so I made up like 20% of that, but a lot of it’s true. Anyway, I’m Kurt Elster. I’m your host, Kurt Elster. This is The Unofficial Shopify Podcast.

Ezra Firestone Sound Board Clip: Tech Nasty!

Kurt Elster: And man, Adam, okay, this is gonna be… Well, I hope this is controversial. So, what are we doing here? We can get people’s emails and we can add people to our email list without them opting into it?

Adam Robinson: That is correct. This-

Kurt Elster: Are you a wizard?

Adam Robinson: No, but I can give you a pixel that works as a magic wand. So, what we’re talking about today is a strategy which I call email-based retargeting, and what it does is it allows you to connect anonymous website visitors to deliverable email addresses without them filling out any forms or buying anything, and it’ll pop it into your Klaviyo account, and you can start slowly warming these people up and eventually moving them down the funnel to make a purchase.

And yeah, all sorts of questions are going off in your head right now. I’m sure of it. And I’m sure I know what they are, so after doing this for a couple years they’re the exact same questions.

Kurt Elster: All right, so I visit. I’m Kurt and I say, “You know what? I need a sweet new pair of jorts. Gotta get me some sweet dad jorts.” And I go shopping for jorts. I’m on and I go through the site, do nothing and leave, and then the next day I’m getting emails from telling me about my visit?

Adam Robinson: It’s better than that. You get them in real time.

Kurt Elster: It’s better?!

Adam Robinson: You’ll get them in real time. You get them 15 minutes later.

Kurt Elster: How? Okay, so you are a wizard. What is this magic?

Adam Robinson: So, like I said, so is the question how does it work, or is the question how would jorts be able?

Kurt Elster: It straight up sounds impossible. Let’s start with the what. Give me the process. I land on this fictitious jorts website.

Adam Robinson: Right.

Kurt Elster: Then what?

Adam Robinson: There’s a few ways that you could do something like this. I’m gonna just tell you how our tech works because that’s the only thing I can speak to. So, there is an ad tech world out there in which website visitors are being identified for purposes of cross-website tracking and segmenting through cookies and cookie pools. I’m sure we’ve all heard of this. There’s a big controversy about Chrome getting rid of cookies and what that’s gonna do to the open internet, meaning advertisers other than Google, Facebook, and Amazon. It will be catastrophic to the open internet when Google does this, but through cookieing people you can keep them anonymous, and you can look at how they behave on the internet and attach sort of segment interest type information to them so that they can be included in segments for targeted advertising.

Now, inside of that cookie certain cookie pools use an email hash as the identifier, meaning it’s an email address but it’s encrypted in a way to where a human cannot decode it on its own. Neither can a computer, right? So, there is a world, and you’re just gonna have to trust me on this, of about 75% of the United States of America, who are being identified by a known email address, and in their browser there is a cookie that has this hash inside of it, right?

So, step one is customer gets our pixel on the site, and people start visiting their site, and we’re looking for a cookie that belongs to us that actually has a hash inside of it. That’s step one. If you have been cookied by us, Kurt, and you came to this jorts website, there would be some impossible to decipher hash in your browser that we would see and then it would take us to step two. So, step two is how do we make sense of this and make it usable for any purpose, right?

Kurt Elster: All right, so step one is this cookie that… It’s a fingerprint.

Adam Robinson: Exactly.

Kurt Elster: It does not contain specific personally identifiable information, like it’s not my name, but it-

Adam Robinson: It’s just an identifier.

Kurt Elster: It’s a unique ID to my browser and session.

Adam Robinson: Exactly. And it basically got put in your browser because you clicked on a publisher’s email at some point in the last 30 days or something.

Kurt Elster: Ah. Okay.

Adam Robinson: And that’s how it knows to take your email address and encrypt it, because you’re the one who took the action in the newsletter, and that’s just part of how this whole thing works, the whole internet works.

Kurt Elster: So, you know, I subscribe to like two dozen newsletters, and on the off chance that I both… that I get up one morning and I don’t just delete all of them, I open one, and then even go so far as to click one, heaven help me, because I’m the recipient, it knows who I am.

Adam Robinson: Right. And it’s clicks, and form fills, and there’s basically like a lot of web activity on publishers’ webpages that can get you in these cookie pools. Right.

Sound Board Clip: Jedi scum.

Adam Robinson: So, the interesting thing, and then this is where you can’t do anything with this hash if you’re just a person. However, if you happen to have every single email address in the U.S. through some other type of opt-in that’s being sold on the open market, because there’s a lot of lead gen websites out there that basically do that. They’ll make a website about health insurance, and they’ll get you to fill out the form, and basically people start calling you, trying to sell you health insurance. Or mortgages, or credit cards, or whatever else. There’s tons of these businesses. Their terms of business say they’re gonna sell your data nine ways to Sunday and if you happen to put together a massive network of those types of websites that can provide basically any plain text email, you could hash all of those, and then if I see a hash visiting the jorts website, I can cross-reference it with a hash in my database, and if there’s a match then I have the plain text email.

So, all of a sudden I’ve sort of deanonymized this anonymous information. Now, this is where it gets controversial like you said before. It’s definitely not in the spirit of the ad network to be deanonymizing this anonymous information. However, it’s highly lucrative to an eCommerce brand if we deanonymize this information and give them a plain text deliverable email address for them to start retargeting their customers over email.

So, that’s step two. It’s actually taking the hash, cross-referencing it with the database of third party opt-ins, and getting it to plain text.

Kurt Elster: Step two is we’re gonna unmask this browser.

Adam Robinson: Exactly.

Kurt Elster: We know, like we’ve got the fingerprint, and then we’re gonna compare it to a larger database where maybe I filled in… I like the example of the mortgage application. You know, if you ever fill out that refi thing and then you’re gonna get bombarded with-

Adam Robinson: Oh my God, yeah. You’re gonna get pummeled.

Kurt Elster: … 40 calls and text messages in 20 seconds, right? And so, yeah, you’ve filled out something like that, and it was in the same browser that I did something else, or you click this email.

Adam Robinson: Yeah. It doesn’t even have to be in the same browser to get in the database. You just have to have done it.

Kurt Elster: Oh, really?

Adam Robinson: Yeah. You just have to have done it at some point.

Kurt Elster: Okay. And all right, so step two. Step one is the cookieing process, which I really don’t have a lot of control over unless I really go through some effort.

Adam Robinson: Yeah. You know, you could use a browser that doesn’t support cookies, or you can-

Kurt Elster: It’s so impractical because it ends up making the web inconvenient. That’s the cost of my privacy, is convenience.

Adam Robinson: That’s the privacy tradeoff in general. It’s these products are incredible, but they’re incredibly invasive. You know, think about Instagram. People are constantly uploading stories to the best AI in the world, basically. It’s video. In the background of the video, there’s so much information about you that these guys learn. Who are the faces? Who are their social networks? Are you on a boat? Are you in a car? What kind of car is it? Do you have a dog? It’s incredible the amount of information. So, I just find this conversation amusing because what we do is very specific and it seems to offend some people in the privacy realm, just what we’re doing, but like the fact that people are constantly giving up every single bit of their life through Instagram stories, TikTok stories, all that stuff to these massive companies for the explicit purpose of being manipulated seems to me to be far more invasive. It’s just you don’t see it happening, you know?

It’s crazy. And then people wonder how it reads their minds, and listens to their conversations, and everything else. It’s like, “Well, you’re constantly feeding it 3D video,” you know what I mean? It’s incredibly rich medium. So, anyway, that’s not the point of this conversation, but anyway.

Kurt Elster: You’re 100% right and I sometimes think about that, and that like at my house, I have 10 or 12 smart speakers because we use them as an intercom system, and so they’re everywhere, and then on top of it the interior of the house is studded in cloud cameras, and so I’m just like I am feeding the beast.

Adam Robinson: Totally. Totally.

Kurt Elster: You know, but then I get a spam email or robocall and I’m like, “What the hell?”

Adam Robinson: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: Okay, so I see how it’s possible, and it’s clever. It really is. Is it legal? I’m ignoring the morality, ethics, just purely do I get… Is this going to cost me if I get caught doing this?

Adam Robinson: Right. So, the answer is in the United States of America it is 100% legal. explains it all. There is a couple applicable laws that make it legal and it’s different in Europe and it’s different in Canada, so the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 was reviewed in 2019 and contrary to popular belief, it’s actually opt-out legislation and not opt-in legislation. As a contrast to GDPR and CASL in Canada, which are both explicit opt-in for data collection and on the internet in CASL’s opt-in for email communication.

So, in the U.S., the Direct Marketing Association lobbies that CAN-SPAM law super hard. Whoever their backers are, they want it to stay that way. Next question for most people is like, “Well, why do I not just spam everybody?” It’s because the most important thing in email marketing is not the law. Not very many people have been persecuted under the CAN-SPAM Act. There’s been a couple fines.

Kurt Elster: Oh, it’s so toothless. So toothless.

Adam Robinson: Yeah. Well, there’s been a couple fines. They’ve been like 20 grand or whatever. It’s like but a lot of people, here are the best practices in email marketing. Why? It’s because it’s your deliverability reputation that matters. It’s your ability to stick emails in the inbox and not hit the spam folder that drives email ROI. That’s the most precious thing in the world to you. So, what really matters in email isn’t necessarily whether you have an opt-in or not. It’s whether you have high open rates, high click rates, low unsubscribe rates, low complaint rates.

As an email marketer, if I could take a list of all email addresses that had no opt-in but had that type of engagement, it would be much better for me than a fully opted-in list that had the opposite engagement, because that would destroy my deliverability. Does that make sense?

Kurt Elster: Yes. Yeah, I-

Adam Robinson: Bad deliverability begets… Yeah, so that’s really what matters in email. And the easiest way to explain that to somebody, because this will work almost every time, is don’t send to anyone who you didn’t get a first party opt-in for.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. If you spam people you’re going to end up in the spam folder.

Adam Robinson: Over time, yeah.

Kurt Elster: It’s just as simple as that.

Adam Robinson: Totally. And people learn it and learn that lesson in a bunch of different ways. You can go out and buy an email list, blast it. Your ESP is gonna get mad at you. Your boss is gonna get mad at you. It’s gonna cause a problem that’s gonna take a long time to undo. But you know, this strategy, which we can talk about the engagement later, there’s a third step of it which actually makes it sort of magic in this department and work really well.

So, step one was they were actually on your website, which means it’s hyper targeted and it’s real time. So, what kills you in email are old lists for the most part, by the way, because old email addresses turn into spam traps. If you blast to a list with a bunch of spam traps on it, it will ruin your month, maybe even your year. You’re gonna have all sorts of problems with Klaviyo. It’s gonna take… Basically, what you have to do if your deliverability gets hit is you have to basically start sending to like seven-day clickers and then gradually add people into your lists till you’re back up to your full sending volume, which is a horribly tedious process and it’s so painful that people don’t want to do that.

Kurt Elster: Run me through… Well, remind me what a spam trap is. A honey pot.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, exactly. So, a spam trap, after an email address is like 18 months old or so, Hotmail, or Yahoo, or Gmail, or whatever, they will take that email address if it hasn’t been used in 18 months and they’ll turn it into a honey pot. And what that… Who does that get in trouble? It gets in trouble people who are buying lists and it gets in trouble people that are scraping the internet and blasting it out. And they’ll put fake addresses all over the internet too for the same purpose.

But the idea is that if someone hasn’t opened an email from you in 18 months, you should have definitely removed them from your list by now. Anybody. Just standard sort of list hygiene practices.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. I was gonna say we want… that’s where we want the quality of the list so that we don’t affect our deliverability, is that we want to engage in that list hygiene.

Adam Robinson: Yeah. Obviously, you didn’t get the opt-in on your own in the last 12 months or so if it’s a two year old email. And it’s a spam trap, right? So, they know that if you hit a bunch of spam traps you are doing something wrong. You’re not adhering to sort of best practices. You’re buying a list or you’re whatever.

So, the third step of this thing… Step one was they’re on your website. Step two is we get a plain text address. We couldn’t just give you the plain text address because that would expose you to spam traps. Those wouldn’t necessarily be deliverable in many cases. So, we buy a ton of open and click data from the email ecosystem and we make sure that this email address has opened or clicked in the last 14 days before we give it to you. Because if it’s opened or clicked in the last 14 days, it’s definitely not a spam trap.

Kurt Elster: I didn’t realize that was data you could purchase, but in retrospect, of course it is.

Adam Robinson: Oh, yeah. I mean, I used to own an email marketing company, which is the only reason I know that. But yeah, but that’s kind of the thing that makes the whole thing work. It’s super targeted. We send it to you 15 minutes later. Very new. And they’re super active in the email ecosystem, so we know they’re hot in that respect and we know that they’re not spam traps. So, that’s the whole picture of how it works.

Now, back to the legal question which we’re going into, right? Which is very important. In the U.S., it’s that CAN-SPAM law for email and we established that what you really care about, it’s totally legal, but what you really care about is your engagement of emails. So, that law, it’s fine that it’s legal. There’s this other California thing that a lot of people are very unclear on-

Kurt Elster: COPA.

Adam Robinson: CCPA, CCRA.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. Consumer privacy protection… California Consumer Privacy Act. Got it. CCPA.

Adam Robinson: Yeah. So, the one sentence explanation for most people is, “Well, that’s just GDPR in the U.S., right?”

Kurt Elster: That’s kind of how I look at it. Yeah. Now you’re gonna tell me how I’m completely wrong.

Adam Robinson: Well, in many cases it’s similar, but there’s one critical difference. In the U.S., there’s this federal level law that is opt out. A state in the U.S., because of the federalist system, it can’t come in on top of the federal law and say that a federal law is illegal in that state. They’d get sued under federal law. So, the critical difference between the California legislation and GDPR is that the California legislation is actually opt-out legislation also. It’s disclosing to your customers the data that they have, giving them the option to get it deleted, and then giving them an option to opt out of anything you’re doing with it, basically.

But the critical distinction is it’s not opt-in. Does that make sense?

Kurt Elster: So, similar to how CAN-SPAM works now already.

Adam Robinson: Right. Exactly. Exactly. So, basically it makes this fine legally. We’re not talking about the ethics or whatever, but from a legal standpoint it is fine to do this in the U.S. even if you’re not a U.S. company. You can do it for your U.S. audience.

Paul Reda: Hey, folks. Paul jumping in here for a second to remind you all that no one on this show is a lawyer, so enjoy the show, but act accordingly.

Kurt Elster: All right, so so long as I’m in the United States, U.S. business, U.S. resident, I can do this. I need software like yours to do it. You provide me a list of emails. You identify visitors to my site based on a pixel, associate that to an email address where possible because I foolishly use the internet, and-

Adam Robinson: Right. Shame on you.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. Damn it! And then you do some list hygiene on it, right? You attempt to verify-

Adam Robinson: Major list hygiene. The only reason this works is because we’re crazy about list hygiene. If we weren’t, we would be giving people bad emails and it would blow up their email program and we would have no customers.

Kurt Elster: And wreck their deliverability.

Adam Robinson: Yeah. We would have no customers, you know.

Kurt Elster: All right, so once I have these emails and I’m going to start emailing these customers, there’s gotta be best practices in there. I’m sure this is not just like, “Throw it in a newsletter and cross your fingers,” because that I’m guessing is gonna trash my deliverability.

Adam Robinson: Yeah. That’s the only instances in which we’ve seen people get in trouble. If they collect contacts for a couple weeks and then they just blast them all at once. And in my mind, the reason that that’s a problem is because in today’s internet, if I’m on a website and I sort of get an email from that website 10 minutes later or whatever, I don’t know, maybe I opted in, maybe I didn’t, but at least I remember the brand and I’m not like, “What is this?”

Kurt Elster: Yeah. It’s fresh in my mind.

Adam Robinson: In my opinion, two weeks or something like that in internet time, that’s like 100 years. I have no idea what brand’s websites I was on two weeks ago. No recollection whatsoever.

Kurt Elster: It’s true.

Adam Robinson: So, the best practice is pretty simple. We will, as I mentioned, shoot these to Klaviyo in real time, and we literally just tell people whatever your welcome series is, copy it, paste it, change the first subject line of the first email from, “Welcome to our newsletter,” to, “Thanks for stopping by the site.”

Kurt Elster: Ahh. Okay, so-

Adam Robinson: Everything else stays the same.

Kurt Elster: Remind them what they did.

Adam Robinson: Same copy. Yeah, exactly. Same copy in the email. Same promotions, whatever it is. Same one, two, three, four, five welcome series. But literally just like that very soft suggestion reminding them that they stopped by the site.

Kurt Elster: Okay. And that… Adding that does really reduce a lot of the friction because you’re jogging their memory. It’s not just like some random email. And you’re right, do it, fire it off within 15 minutes. Unless they’re a goldfish, they should remember.

Adam Robinson: And if they remember, it’s just less infuriating or however you want to describe it than if they don’t.

Kurt Elster: Less intrusive.

Adam Robinson: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: And then they just stay on my email list? Or do I… Certainly, I should attempt to warm them up? Or do I invite the no? Do I invite them to opt out?

Adam Robinson: So, most of our customers I would categorize as like the Shopify Plus audience, and I think by the time somebody’s in that bucket almost all of them have three to five part welcome series that they’re using for their normal opt-ins, right?

Kurt Elster: Because it works.

Adam Robinson: It works like incredibly well, so we say basically if somebody that we give you hasn’t opened in three emails or so, stop sending to them, right? This type of contact. Not even necessarily… If you’re using a technology like this and you’re getting an email address in this way, if one of these email addresses doesn’t open in three emails, just pull them off the list. If they do, if they open at some point in that welcome series, put them on your newsletter and just keep retargeting them over newsletters, because what we have seen time and time again is the majority of the revenue of these email addresses comes from the longtail of just retargeting them in newsletters, and it’s very basic marketing, whatever you want to call it, like knowledge, right?

You have to be in contact with a brand five to seven times before you are familiar enough to purchase with them.

Kurt Elster: Seven points of contact is the magic number at which point my reptile brain says, “I trust you. You’re not a venomous snake.”

Adam Robinson: Totally. So, it makes it tricky to analyze the ROI. It’s not super tricky, it’s just not as straightforward as looking at the value of the flow in Klaviyo, because only about a third of the P&L, maybe a little bit less, comes from the actual flow, right? Two thirds of it comes from just hitting them over and over again in the newsletters. And what you have to do to actually look at the P&L for a program like this is do it for 30 or 60 days. On day 60, go into Klaviyo, make a segment of these emails, have the one field be customer lifetime value, and actually download the spreadsheet and add it up. They don’t make it easy at all to actually look at the ROI of the list of emails. They do campaign-level attribution, if that makes sense. They’ll tell you the P&L of the campaign that you sent out of the welcome series, but they won’t tell you the P&L of the list, which is highly annoying for us.

Kurt Elster: Ahh. Okay.

Adam Robinson: So, the way you need to look at this type of program, there’s no way of doing Google Analytics either. No way to do it in Klaviyo. You just actually have to just like manually get the list of emails, see how much money you made, see how much you paid us, and do the simple calculation or see how much you paid someone like us. Excuse me.

So, yeah. This is what we do.

Kurt Elster: It sounds like your solution is purely this acquisition portion and then I plug that into Klaviyo?

Adam Robinson: Put the script on your website. There’s a one-click integration built into our software where it’s like a no auth. You know, you put in your Klaviyo login and password, and you set up your Klaviyo integration, and it’ll just… You know, you do that one step in Klaviyo that I said, copy the journey, change the subject line, and you just route the contacts into that journey. And you know, if you want, only move the openers over to your ongoing email newsletter.

Kurt Elster: Now, if this works with email, can I do this with like… Can I pull their mailing address and start firing off postcards?

Adam Robinson: So, yeah. There’s a company that does this and services mainly bigger, like not Shopify retailers, like larger retailers.

Kurt Elster: Like the Gap?

Adam Robinson: Yeah, called PebblePost, and they literally do only this. It’s like the same sort of identity backbone that they’re doing and they’re doing the same sort of deanonymization, but they just have kind of an agency arm that actually does like the creative for the cards and sends them out, and it’s a little bit… You know, privacy is a tricky thing, right? The big brands don’t mind doing that even though the same deanonymization tactic is happening, because they’re not-

Kurt Elster: That is interesting, isn’t it?

Adam Robinson: They’re not touching it and it’s not email. So, I get it. It’s way less sensitive. It’s like if I’m a marketer at one of those big companies, I’m like, “Oh, yeah. If this’ll drive ROI, it’s happening over there.” Like it’s not anywhere inside of our CRM. We’re not spamming people. But the answer is yes, you can absolutely do this with direct mail.

We don’t have many customers doing the direct mail part of it just because I feel like a strength… You know, every business is different. Every sales process and onboarding process is different. Ours specifically is just really good for like a Shopify Plus customer and their email program. And so, we have so much success selling that so quickly that it’s like it hasn’t sort of… and we’re so lean, like you highlighted before, it’s like-

Kurt Elster: Well, game respect game. I recognized it immediately.

Adam Robinson: Yeah. You know, the direct mail part of this hasn’t been the next thing to work on yet. I’m sure it will eventually. People will want that. And also, there’s this other element where I owned an email service provider before this, so it’s kind of the hammer to the carpenter. Every problem’s a hammer and a nail thing.

Kurt Elster: Every tool is a hammer.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, exactly, like I have a little of that problem with my brain, so I’m sure as we grow I will bring people into the organization who are not afflicted with that handicap. Call it that.

Kurt Elster: All right. Well, so email is your forte. With these, acquiring customers in this way for my email list, how does that ROI, and I know it’s such a… how long is a piece of string? How does that ROI compare in your experience to more traditionally acquired emails? Traditionally acquired.

Adam Robinson: Right. Well, it’s phenomenal because the price of the record we’re giving you for its quality is unbelievable. We price sort of similar probably I’m sure a lot of other usage-based businesses. It’s like the more you use, the lower the price per record is, so just to give you an idea our lowest volume customers pay a quarter per email. Our highest volume, who are doing like a half a million emails a month or whatever, gets down to like 8 or 9 cents per record. And the engagement… This is what’s gonna blow people’s mind. The engagement of these emails because of how we’re getting them and how you’re sending them out, it’s actually higher open rates and higher click through rates than your house list is.

Which doesn’t make any sense. No, I know. That’s literally-

Kurt Elster: Because it’s unexpected? What’s the theory?

Adam Robinson: I mean-

Kurt Elster: What’s your hypothesis?

Adam Robinson: I think it’s just it’s this combination… It’s actually the perfect list, right? Because they were on your site 15 minutes ago, they’re super-hot leads in the email ecosystem. And because they were on your site, it’s highly targeted. And it’s sending a one-to-one email rather than like a batch email, and it’s sending them when they’re online. So, all of that adds up to like incredibly high engagement with the email.

Sound Board Clip: Dollar, dollar bills y’all.

Adam Robinson: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. So, like for instance, one of our customers who’s a really early customer of ours, CARIUMA, they’re this very cool shoe brand that I would aspire if I were a direct to consumer company to be. You know, they raise money, and they’re doing great, and they’re in LA, and they make these vegan shoes, they call them. They’re Brazilian.

Kurt Elster: Can I eat them?

Adam Robinson: Before he was using GetEmails, he was getting leads on Facebook for like $1.50 or $1.75 and our emails perform way better than his Facebook campaign was performing. And you know, we’ve given them like 1.2 million emails over the last two and a half years. That’s incredible.

Kurt Elster: It’s huge.

Adam Robinson: He’s like, “It’s been transformational to our business.” And this guy’s paying, you know, 13 cents a lead or something, 14 cents a lead, and it’s working better, and they engage better than this $1.50 Facebook campaign they were doing, so… And look, you’re capped by your traffic, right? It’s not infinitely scalable like Facebook is in theory, so if you don’t have any traffic it won’t work.

Kurt Elster: So, what percent of my traffic am I just gonna be able to consistently turn into qualified emails?

Adam Robinson: Like 40-ish.

Kurt Elster: Whoa!

Adam Robinson: No, I know. It’s crazy. It’s totally nuts. No, it’s mind blowing. The fact that no one knows you can do this is the reason that I’m so excited about being on your podcast.

Kurt Elster: 40% of my traffic.

Adam Robinson: Yeah. It’s crazy. It’s crazy.

Kurt Elster: Holy shit. That’s like… That’s a game changer.

Adam Robinson: It’s a game changer. I mean, this is what I’m saying. This is what the guy at CARIUMA if he were on the podcast with me right now, he would say, is like getting emails is an absolute changer. We’ve used it for two and a half years. The deliverability is fantastic. The price per lead. You know, email is the biggest revenue channel for them. We’re like 20% of the total revenue of that business or something. It’s crazy.

Kurt Elster: You know, my goal was to walk into this skeptical and really do my best to fight loving this, because it like… No one likes telemarketers. No one likes spam. No one likes junk mail. And so, there’s that just immediate knee jerk reaction to the concept, and oh, you got me.

Adam Robinson: Well, I apologize for that. I’m just talking about the nature of what a service like this will do. I’m not even talking about why I think ours is awesome. It’s just like this is a better way if you’re comfortable with doing it. It’s a better way to get email addresses than any other way.

And like they’re not gonna be quite as good as an opt-in, right? Just because they’re not. They won’t be… You know, the conversion rate won’t be as high as someone who actually gives you their email address on the website, right? The engagement is excellent, but it takes you longer to convert them. They just… The level of intent is not quite as high.

Kurt Elster: Right.

Adam Robinson: But it’s still high enough to make it work and the nature of the engagement of the emails is so good that it’s just… It works really well for anyone who can get their head around doing it.

And I would say for the most part this Shopify, Shopify Plus audience, they’re in a state of mind where they’re like, “Okay, if I believe that it’s legal and you can show me through a very small test that the email data that the customers aren’t getting pissed off about this, then why not?” It’s a totally different story with somebody like let’s say Nike, who has all sorts of… Maybe they’re GDPR compliant worldwide. Maybe they’re concerned about the brand risk for this, a PR perspective, right? But a Shopify store for the most part, there’s no brand to risk, you know what I mean? They’re in the same boat I am. It’s like I’m on this podcast trying to spread awareness. No one knows what we are and what we do, you know?

So, that’s why I think it’s resonating so well with this audience. It’s like after they go through the process, and by the way, this is every call that we have. This whole conversation we just had. And by the end of it, it’s just like, “Yeah, why wouldn’t I try this?”

Kurt Elster: Yeah. Essentially, in the pre-interview I voiced my concerns up front and you were like, “Uh, let me tell you how this conversation from experience is gonna go.” And I was like, “Oh, here we go.” And then that’s exactly what happened.

Oh, I got hustled and I’m thrilled. All right, what’s this thing gonna cost me? How do I sign up? Give me a special offer. Let’s break off a little something for our Unofficial listeners.

Adam Robinson: So, yeah. What I would say to the Unofficial listeners are this is not gonna work for literally anybody who’s starting a Shopify site. Like I said a few seconds ago, you need to have traffic for us to resolve emails against that traffic, number one. It’s not gonna work if you’re just starting out and you’re just putting your site up today. The other people who it’s not gonna work for are people that are not making money off of their email program anyway. If you add emails into an unprofitable email program, it will add to the unprofitability of the email program. It’s like the Bill Gates quote that computing magnifies strengths and weaknesses.

So, rule of thumb, who’s it good for? I’d say if you hit $5 million revenue, it’s gonna work great for you. If you hit $1 million, questionable. If you’re under $1 million a year, I probably wouldn’t waste my time until… You know, you have bigger fish to fry in figuring out whatever.

So, yeah. How’s it priced? We’re trying to make this as easy as possible to buy. Upgrade, downgrade, cancel anytime. You basically buy, like you put the script on, run it for an hour, and we can tell you the approximate number of contacts you’ll get per month. And you basically buy credits, you use them during the month. If you want to cap your budget, you cap it. If you want overage on, you can let it run for as much traffic as you want. And we basically have plan levels and it’s based upon a price per contact that scales down as your traffic goes up.

So, that’s kind of the nature of the billing. It’s a monthly subscription that gives you all the flexibility. And for an offer that I will extend to you guys, I’m gonna actually even make it sweeter because of this conversation. So, at, you can sort of go through this couple step process and get 25% off your first three months. What I will also tell the Unofficial audience is that if you are in this camp of $5 million and above, if you use this product for six months and you have not made at least 5X ROI, I will literally without even questioning it give you all your money back.

Kurt Elster: Wow. All right.

Adam Robinson: That’s a real guarantee. There’s some other guarantees in the market that are not quite that way. Literally if you’re not 5X in just six months from now, go into Klaviyo, we’ll download the customers we gave you, we’ll sum up their client LTVs. If you look at what you paid us and that number is not over five times what you paid us, I will just hand you all your money back.

We got guys getting like-

Kurt Elster: I like that guarantee.

Adam Robinson: Yeah. We got guys getting like 30. It’s fantastic.

Kurt Elster: All right. Where can I go to learn more about you, my friend?

Adam Robinson: Yeah, so is our website. I don’t personally really have like a big Twitter following or whatever. Everything you need to know is on You can email me personally. Adam at I’m happy to just chat about whatever, answer any questions you have, and then that offer to redeem it is at

Kurt Elster: Phenomenal. Adam, this has been eye opening, thought provoking, and as predicted, controversial. But I’m curious. I’m interested. I think I’m gonna end up trying this in the future. In the near future. So, thank you. Thank you for sharing it with us. I really appreciate it.

Adam Robinson: You’re very welcome. Thanks, Kurt.