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In the spotlight: Learn how to stand out from the crowd with Yellow Tuxedo

· 17 min read · Email marketing · Mar 31, 2022
Yellow Tuxedo founders, Alan and Emily.

Drum roll, please. Can we get a little commotion for the next customer in our spotlight series? Introducing you to… Yellow Tuxedo! The online visibility experts with some nuggets of wisdom about getting your brand noticed.

If you follow us on social media, you might remember them as our Christmas jingle competition winners. Founded in 2019, team Yellow Tuxedo is comprised of husband and wife Alan and Emily. They’re digital visibility experts who found that their “second-nature” approach to digital growth wasn’t so second-nature to everyone else. 

This yellow-adorned duo kindly sat down with us to share their story and how they structure their digital marketing efforts for maximum online visibility.

The whole team is super excited about this interview. Can we start by hearing about how Yellow Tuxedo came to be? 

[Alan] We started our own business about a decade ago, which was a mobile glamping business called Baylily Bell Tents that provided bell tents for parties and events. 

We were promoting the business at a lot of wedding fairs, and aside from being stuck outside in the cold and wet, we were paying to be there. We found that most people were indoors and we weren’t getting much traction.

So, we decided to move all of our marketing online. We created this ecosystem, leading with content and blogging, and built it up. That led to some fantastic PR opportunities on ITV and BBC.

Then we had a meeting with our accountant, and she said, “You know, no one else knows how to do what you guys are doing”. And we thought that was funny because we were wondering why no one else was doing it.

This led to the birth of Yellow Tuxedo—a company to help businesses stand out in the crowd— along with our role as digital visibility specialists. 

[Emily] We look at how to bring your brand to life—what is it about your brand that you want to stand out? 

That brings us to what Yellow Tuxedo is as a brand name. It's about being happy to wear a yellow suit, stand out in the crowd, understanding your little stamp on the digital world and what can you do to really explore that in more detail and do it efficiently.

It's great that you also simplify the whole process because as a small business owner everything can be so overwhelming! How would you describe Yellow Tuxedo in four words? 

[Alan] That's really tricky for a couple that likes to talk a lot! 😂

[Emily] I think we would go with: Fun, adventure, knowledgeable, cheerleaders.

Looking at Yellow Tuxedo’s social media, these four words are spot on! What advice would you give to businesses that are ready to grow their visibility? 

[Emily] One of the main things is that, it’s OK not to know the entire plan of what you're going to do, as long as you have a destination in mind.

It’s like getting in the car—you have to turn the engine on and start your journey. The route can change as many times as you need it to, but you have to know where you’re driving to.

So be really clear about that, and spend a good amount of time focusing on the question “Why am I doing this in the first place?”. 

[Alan] Yeah the part about change is so important, it’s OK to change. I don't know any business owners that are still doing what they did when they started out.

Especially with how the world is changing, it's crucial that you're ready to change and adapt your road as you go—the car analogy is great! So what would you say was your biggest challenge when setting up Yellow Tuxedo.

[Alan] The trickiest part was working out what our service offering was. 

And then we had to turn that into some kind of deliverable strategy and work out how to sell it. 

[Emily] We call ourselves digital visibility specialists and that's not very tangible for a lot of our clients, because they're looking for digital marketing,  social media training, or SEO specialists —we’re none of those things. We're a blend of everything.

We use a slightly different methodology to a lot of marketers out there. We're more black and white about what our clients need to do with actionable advice. While many marketers use a more high-level kind of strategy, we are more into the nuts and bolts of how things work and helping business owners understand that.

When it comes to how you represent your brand, you show a lot of personality. What would be your advice for someone who would like to be more human with their brand personality? 

[Emily] In a digital world, human connection is so important. You can see on all of our social media that we very much lead from a personal brand point of view. I think it's possible to do that regardless of whatever your business is because no matter what you do, people still buy from people. 

Connect on a deeper level and showcase yourself being silly and having fun, like Alan does daily. That’s personality!

And it’s also about having confidence. Our whole relationship with MailerLite started with Alan reaching out, sending a message and having the confidence to engage. 

[Alan] Yeah, there was a post on LinkedIn with MailerLite merchandise. I commented and asked how I could get some. That’s how it started.

That’s how you connected with our Partnerships Manager, Rachel. Do you build a lot of new relationships using social media?

[Emily] Exactly! We use social media like a networking platform, we don't just post something and then run. We take time to nurture and talk to people, send voice messages and answer comments. We spend a lot of time doing that because we recognize that human connection is really important. If you can nail that, regardless of the size of your business, your personality will shine. 

[Alan] And now we’re finding these huge brands, like Tesco and Aldi in the UK, signing off as a person, so it’s gone full circle. But somewhere in the middle is a massive disparity of thinking “I need to be a brand and not a person” and no, it should be people, people, people all the way.

How do you combine other marketing channels with email marketing? Do you have a holistic approach for everything or do you like to keep everything separate?

[Emily] We are massive advocates of macro content like chunky blog posts, videos and podcasts. We believe that your website should be the center of your ecosystem to always be driving traffic. That's your shop window! It's where you can convert and collect email addresses. 

Surrounding that we have three top elements that drive traffic, starting with your chosen place for macro content, like YouTube, Vimeo or podcasting platforms—whatever that looks like to you.

Secondly, your email. 

[Alan] Email is so fundamental because people have to choose to subscribe and allow you into their inbox. That will always be a very powerful thing.

You hear people talk about email marketing being dead but I'd say it’s probably your email that’s dead. Email marketing certainly is not.

There's also that big brand, small business thought process. We're all subscribed to a big brand we like that absolutely bombards us with emails all the time. In small businesses, we're almost scared to do that but we let all these other big businesses do it to us. So why would we not? You shouldn’t be afraid to send emails, subscribers are giving you permission to do it.

For a while, email was just kind of an add-on. It was only when we really refined the ecosystem model that it dawned on us that email was one of the top three channels after the website. 

[Emily] Then the third one is your favorite social media platform. So many people think you should focus on the social platform where your ideal client hangs out. You can sell, convert and build an audience on any platform, but you need to want to be there as well to nurture an audience and warm up leads.  

We’re everywhere—LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter—but we always lead with our content first. For example, we’ll start with the video on YouTube, create snippets and themes, and then it becomes a lot easier. All of our platforms together work quite cohesively, they're not independent because the same message comes out on every single platform.

Glad to hear that email is so important to you! How do you approach your email marketing?

[Emily] We've tried and tested certain styles and now we have a format that seems to work really well for us. 

We send out two main types of email, one for our learning membership—The Digital Circus—which is a bi-weekly email about events and trainings, and then our general newsletter which is influenced by our community. We talk about what we’ve learned, top news, and include a lot of input from the community as well as cool stuff our Digital Circus members have done that week. It’s more of an interactive newsletter rather than a chunk of text. 

[Alan] They’re chunky emails but delivered in a relatively simple way, and they serve as sort of a catch-all for our content. So no matter where people follow us, it’s all there in the newsletter.

Yellow Tuxedo’s top email marketing tips ⭐️
  • Write your emails for one single person. Get personal and don’t address the masses

  • Aim to collect email addresses from different platforms you’re on. An email list is yours to keep and is the best way to keep in contact if other platforms fail 

  • Make sure people know how to sign up for your email list and provide multiple opportunities to do so on your website

  • When it comes to subscribers, it’s quality that matters and not quantity. You don’t need a huge list of subscribers, but you do need them to be engaged 

  • Test, test, test to find a format for your newsletters that works for your audience

  • Make your email design simple yet eye-catching. Make them easy to scroll through and draw attention where needed with images and GIFs

Do you have any favorite tactics for driving engagement and conversions in email campaigns?

[Emily] Including a table of contents at the beginning of the email has been key. Subscribers can see what to expect from the newsletter without needing to scroll through everything. It makes them more likely to read it because they know they’ll get something they’re interested in.

[Alan] Also make it personal, write it for one person, not for the masses. 

[Emily] Yeah, I was receiving an email for a while where the name personalization was displaying as “Hi null” because I hadn’t entered my name. It’s a small thing but it means a lot because if someone invests the time to subscribe to your email list, you need to make them feel special. 

[Alan] Another thing is using strong subject lines. We always try to make the title about the reader. In fact one of our most successful emails in terms of open rate just said “Thank you name”. We always try to get the right mix of being about the subscriber as well as being humble. 

[Emily] Yeah it’s about capturing the eye of the reader and making them excited. Our format is quite simple, it’s very yellow—which always helps of course—and it’s easy to follow. Also, using GIFs—there’s a bit of movement and it helps to keep people’s attention. 

[Alan] Think about what you stop and look at. And don’t flood your email with GIFs, use them to draw attention to your most important content. It’s like a restaurant menu—they highlight the dishes with a higher mark-up to make those stand out to you more.

Animated GIF screenshot of Yellow Tuxedo's Christmas newsletter.

That’s a great way of thinking about it. You mentioned subject lines, what's your opinion about emojis in the subject line? Do you think it helps?

[Alan] 100%! I’m a big fan of using emojis to catch the reader's attention. We use them everywhere, and why not? Emojis are an accepted form of communication in the modern world. 

Of course, it boils down to what you’re doing and how you’re using emojis. Because we lead with a personal brand, people are going to decide whether they like us or not and want to work with us. And all of these things are just mini extensions of our personality that help people to see if we're right for them.

We’re a fan of emojis too! You briefly mentioned your most successful campaign. Can you tell us a little bit more about it? What do you think made it successful, besides the subject line?

[Alan] It was the first campaign of this year. We were sharing our YouTube results and thanked our subscribers for supporting us. 

A screenshot of Yellow Tuxedo's most successful email campaign showing the elements mentioned that defined the email structure.

Aside from the subject line, we also refined our email structure. We have the introduction, then we share something random from the Internet that we like, and then we go into the five things we cover in the email. With this format, I think there was enough there to keep people interested and for them to click through. 

We obviously want people to come to our website, but we're happy to send people elsewhere if we think it’s useful because that helps to build trust in the brand.

What about integrations? Do you have any that make your life easier?

[Alan] We use the WordPress and WooCommerce integration in MailerLite. We don't sell products on our website, but we add our events as products and it makes it so much easier to add them to our newsletter.

[Emily] We use it daily because the memberships are hosted on our website and we have reminders going out, announcements about the next event, information about trainings. It makes it so much simpler because we have to manage so many separate things in our business.

And it’s important because our events are our lead magnets. We know the minute we can get someone on a call or at an event they can get to know us, and we're really happy to convert that way because we’re bringing the personal brand side of things into it again.

So the integration is hugely valuable to us and a massive timesaver.

It’s great to hear about how our integrations made such an impact! Thinking back to when you first started, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

[Emily] Just get started! And remember that the route can change, but you need to get that engine started. If you spend all your time planning and thinking “I’ll do it next month”, you're never going to do it.

You realize the block is from not doing something. Most of the time it’s an education block: I don't know how to do it, so therefore I'm not going to do it because I'm scared.

When you work out the nuts and bolts—and this is why Yellow Tuxedo does what it does in terms of teaching—you realize it’s not so difficult or scary and you can do more. 

So if you don't know how to do something, educate yourself. Either on YouTube or with free resources and courses, there's so much out there. Ask for help, don’t be afraid to fail and take the time to figure things out.

That is great advice. Last but not least, you have The Digital Circus Live coming up, would you like to tell us a little bit about it?

[Emily] We have the Digital Circus membership which is an easy way for people to get involved and learn, but on top of that we launched a one-day, live yearly event. It’s all about growth and opportunities for businesses of any size.

The event is split into three parts. We have a main stage where some amazing keynote speakers will talk about how they've grown their businesses. Then there are action-packed workshops throughout the day covering email marketing, podcasting, audience building, sales, and confidence tips. And finally there’s an incredible networking area for people to mingle. It's going to be a fun-filled, virtual extravaganza!

A huge thanks to Emily and Alan from Yellow Tuxedo! We loved getting to know you better! ​​🤩 

Find out more about Yellow Tuxedo and get your ticket for The Digital Circus Live, taking place on Tuesday April 5th, where MailerLite team member, Marcin, will be giving a workshop!

Amy Elliott
Amy Elliott
I’m Amy, Content Writer at MailerLite. As a child, I dreamt about writing a book and practiced by tearing pages from an A4 notepad and binding them with sugar paper. The book is pending but in the meantime, I’ve found a passion for telling a different kind of story-the brand story-by writing fun, valuable, human content.