How Panda Express And Email Marketing Work The Same Way

How Panda Express And Email Marketing Work The Same Way

Email marketing is still one of the best ways to target your audience and convert sales. There’s plenty of evidence out there to support this.

Consider the following:

81% of US online shoppers are more likely to make additional purchases, either online or in a store, as a result of emails based on previous shopping behaviors and preferences. – Harris Interactive

88% of marketers say that email marketing is bringing them a positive ROI. – ExactTarget “2014 State of Marketing”

42% of businesses say that email is one of their most effective lead generation channels. As for B2B marketers, 88% say that email is the most effective lead generation tactic – Circle Research

Those are just a few facts. You can read an entire lists of more email marketing facts at

For these reasons and more, it is important for you to become a true expert at email marketing. In other words, the better you can master email marketing, the more money it’ll put in your or your company’s pocket.

Mastering email marketing is not as hard as you think. All you really have to do is follow some basic ground rules and look at real world examples that can teach you how to become more effective at it. A good example of this is Panda Express. This American Chinese restaurant has mastered the basics of email marketing right in front of your face and you probably never even realized it. It happens every day and they convert like crazy, which is why they continue to do it.

Later on, I’ll explain how Panda Express does this, but first let’s cover the basics.

Basic Email Blast Structure

Following the basic ground rules of email marketing is very important to ensure you’re doing things correctly. This means that you’ll be setting yourself up for success right from the start, and that alone will increase your chances of conversion.

The basic structure of an email blast is as follows:

1. Subject Line

Every email blast starts with the subject line. When the recipient receives an email, this is the first thing they see and read. It’s what makes them either open the email or delete it. For that reason, I consider the subject line to be the most important part of an email blast.

2. Email Content

What follows is the email itself. The email generally contains a preview or highlighted information regarding your product or service. It can also include a promotion or special that you might be offering.

3. Call to Action

Every email should contain a call to action. A call to action is usually a button that says “Buy Now” or “Learn More”. The call to action needs to tell the recipients exactly what you want them to do next so they can take action immediately. Without it, you will have a hard time identifying your ROI.

4. Landing Page

Once a recipient takes action and clicks on your button or link, it usually takes them to a landing page. The landing page is where you deliver all the details regarding your promotion or special. It could also be a sales page for people who are ready to buy. If you’re looking to generate leads of some sort, this is where you would have a contact form that will help you get leads so you can later follow up and convert. To put it in simple terms, the landing page should be the place where you intend for every email recipient to end up. This is how you will measure what percentage of people who actually click on your link become customers.

Why the Subject Line is the Most Important Part of Your Email

Your subject line is the most important part of your email blast and the reason is simple: if you can’t write an effective subject line, your open rate will suffer. In other words, if your subject line isn’t very interesting, not very many people will open your email. You’re wasting both your time and money by designing a beautiful email and crafting possibly the best promotion on Earth if no one opens it.

A poorly written subject email line can be the difference between making a profit or not. It can be the difference between getting a return on your investment or not. Without an effective subject line, it won’t matter if you’re giving away your house for free because no one will ever know.

Learn how to write effective subject lines as soon as possible.

How Panda Express And Email Marketing Work The Same Way- Subject line

Here’s the most important rule of thumb to keep in mind when writing subject lines:

Be very specific and clear about what’s inside the email.

Tell the recipient exactly what they’re going to see once they open the email.

Most importantly, never trick them into opening the email by using a catchy phrase or a deceiving promotion. In the long run, this will hurt your brand more than you think.

The minute you use a deceiving subject line, the recipient will immediately categorize you or your company as spam and you’ll lose all credibility for your brand or product. The next time you send another email blast, chances are you might be sent directly to the spam folder. You also run the risk of losing many of your subscribers forever when they hit the unsubscribe button.

Here’s some guidelines to follow and always keep in mind when writing email subject lines:

  • Keep it short and simple.
  • Try to keep your subject lines to 50 characters or less. If you go longer, part of it may be cut off by recipients’ email clients. But don’t stress about keeping it to exact 50 characters, if you need to go a little longer for clarity’s sake, do it.
  • Make it action-oriented. Use strong action verbs instead of weak adjectives.
  • Make it timely. Limited time, time-sensitive, or date specific emails have very high open rates because a lack of action may equal missing out or loss.
  • Make it obvious. Write the subject line to the recipient knows exactly what the email is about immediately.

Follow these best practices to help avoid you email getting caught in a spam filters:

  • Avoid words commonly known to negatively affect open rates, like: help, reminder, percent off.
  • Avoid words commonly known to trigger spam filters, like: make money, act now, limited time, test, and free.
  • Avoid setting your subject line in all caps and using exclamation points.
  • Avoid making too good to be true claims.
  • Avoid using expletives (well, duh!)

Also, consider running an A/B split test of your subject lines. What this means is that you come up with two different subject lines which stay within the guidelines above. You then send out two emails that are identical in content, the only difference being the subject line. Most major email marketing platforms offer this feature included with your current plan.

The big advantage of using this method is that you get concrete evidence of which subject line will help you increase your open rate for every email you send. The way it works is by sending one email with Subject Line A to a small portion to your email subscribers, usually 10% of your list. At the same time it sends another email with Subject Line B to another 10% of your list. After a predetermined amount of time, usually 24 hours, it will then send the winner of the two emails to the remaining 80% of your list.

In my opinion, this technique should be implemented on every email you send until you become good at writing subject lines and can feel confident you know what you’re doing. Even then, I suggest you always continue to test and tweak. You have nothing to lose.


HTML vs Plain Text

People often ask which type of email is better: html or plain text? On one hand, a plain text email is faster and easier to produce, but on the other hand, an html email looks a lot more professional.

In my opinion, the easiest way to choose is to look at the type of company you are.

If your company is represented by you, the individual, I believe it is acceptable to write plain text emails as that makes it look a lot more personal. It gives the feeling that you’re talking to the recipient one-on-one as opposed to sending a blast to a broad audience. This type of approach can help you achieve a more intimate relationship with your customers or audience. At the same time, you can save quite a bit of money if you don’t have to spend it paying a designer to build html emails.

Take for example Neil Patel from His emails are primarily plain text, and that’s because he’s the face of his company and makes that very clear by signing his name and sometimes even including a picture of himself.

How Panda Express And Email Marketing Work The Same Way - Email Sample

On the other hand, if you’re a Fortune 500 company, or at least want to give the impression that you’re at the same level of the big corporations, you need to invest the money and time to create professional-looking html email designs. Yes, they’re costly and require a real professional that cannot only design them but also translate them in html.

Look at AT&T and one of their email blasts:


As you may have noticed, both email styles have a completely different look and feel to them. At the same time, there are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Again, if you’re trying to compete against big corporations or at the very least want to position your company at the same level of professionalism, I suggest you opt for html emails.

If you’re trying to provide content to your customers on a more personal level, and if your face also represents your brand or company, then go for plain text.

How Frequently Should You Send Email Blasts to Your Subscribers?

You should try to only send out email blasts about once a week unless you have a segmented list of subscribers and can send out mini-campaigns targeted to only those people based on their specific interests. In the case of the latter, two per week should be the maximum amount of emails sent out to the same subscriber. If you do more than that, you run the risk of having people unsubscribe from your list.

At the same time, if you don’t email frequently enough, you won’t be able to develop a close relationship with your audience and it can become difficult to close a sale or generate warm leads later.

Experiment and find a balance.

Panda Express and Email Marketing

OK, by now you’re probably dying to know how Panda Express and email marketing are the same. It’s actually very simple. The next time you’re at a food court and there’s a Panda Express, you’ll even be able to see it in action.

Panda Express usually has a lady who asks every person who walks by a simple question: “Do you want orange chicken?” That question is the same as your email’s subject line and it’s great. Notice how it’s simple and to the point.

The minute you say “yes”, she hands you a piece of delicious orange chicken on a toothpick. This means that she delivered exactly what she promised—she didn’t hand you a piece of broccoli on a toothpick instead. If that happened, you would probably get mad and walk away, right? That’s the importance of being simple and to the point when you write email subject lines.

You then proceed to eat that sample, and it’s so good that you take action and get in line to buy a 2-entree plate which includes some of that orange chicken. This is exactly what happens when a person opens an email and the content inside matches exactly what the subject line said it would be about. They take action and click on the button that takes them to the landing page.

When you finally make it to the front of the line, you complete your purchase and happily walk away to devour your meal. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s a happy customer! You get the idea.

The reason this is so successful is because the customer was never deceived. Everything was clear from the beginning and the customer got exactly what was promised.

If you can do exactly this with your email campaigns, you will continue to have satisfied customers who will be happy to come back and buy more from you. In short, always be clear about what you’re selling, and in return you will only get customers who are looking to buy.

Did I miss anything or have additional questions? Reach out to me and let me know on Twitter or Instagram.

5 Ways to Use Periscope and Meerkat to Market your Business

5 Ways to Use Periscope and Meerkat to Market your Business


Update: The Meerkat platform has recently changed their live streaming focus. All the information on this article is still accurate for Periscope. 

What are Periscope and Meerkat?

First thing first, let’s explain what Periscope or Meerkat are for those of you not in the know.

Periscope and Meerkat are very similar programs meant to accomplish essentially the same thing; in other words they’re competing apps. They both do live streaming or broadcasting over the internet while having live interaction with your audience.

Why is this important? Imagine watching a TV show and having the ability to interact with the host, to ask questions and get immediate answers. That’s huge for the viewer because the stream becomes an interactive experience and thus far more valuable to them than a traditional broadcast. When you think about YouTube from a viewer’s perspective, if you have any questions or need clarification about the video you’re watching, you have to watch the entire thing. Then, if it wasn’t answered, you’re out of luck. At best, you can leave a comment and hope the creator replies back, but it could take weeks to get an answer if ever.

Now imagine you’re giving a live presentation but can immediately adjust it according to your audience’s needs. If everyone wants to know more about a specific subject, you can give that to them. If they need you to repeat something or give clarification, you can. If you’re curious and want to know what your audience is thinking about what you have said so far, you can ask them. No more guessing games or wondering if you provided the value your viewers were looking for. It’s instant live feedback.

This kind of interactive live broadcasting has never happened before and is the reason why a company like Twitter is willing to spend $100,000,000 dollars for a company (Periscope) that wasn’t even out of beta yet when they bought it.

Periscope’s tweet when it announced that it had been purchased by Twitter.

What are the Differences between Periscope and Meerkat?

Since that’s not what this post is about, we’ll have to address this question in the future. In short, though, they’re competing apps with very minor differences.

How Can I Use Periscope and Meerkat to Market My Business?

It’s time to get to the nitty-gritty and talk about the different ways you can use these valuable tools to better market your company.

1. Teach Something

Every single company out there is looking to sell something—if not, they would have no way to make a profit. Whether you sell a physical product or a service, try to teach your customers about it.Not only will you established yourself as an expert in your field, but showing potential customers a demonstration of your product drastically increases your chances of a sale.

If you sell Mexican food (I love Mexican food), teach them how you make guacamole. I guarantee their mouths will water, and it will probably make them come in and order an entree. At the very least, the next time they think about guacamole, they will think of your restaurant.

If you sell a gadget of some sort, teach people how to use that item and answer their questions. Get them excited about it. Show them how cool it is so they want to buy it and tell others about it. Maybe some of them already own your product but don’t know all of its features, so teach them how to use it.

If you provide a service, you can teach some basics and use that as a hook to get people to hire you for the full service. For example, if you’re a local plumber, you can broadcast how to fix a leak in a sink. If you establish yourself as an authority in your niche, the next time your audience is in need of your services, they will think of you first.

Sure there are tons of how-to YouTube videos, but you can’t ask specifics questions or get clarification when you don’t understand. That’s the point of using Periscope and Meerkat.

2. Do a “Behind the Scenes” of Your Company

You might be wondering, “What’s the point of doing this?” The reality is that people on Meerkat and Periscope are intrigued by seeing the everyday lives of people—or in this case, companies.

People also love to see how things are made or just get an inside look of the companies they do business with. It’s no wonder why there are tons of local news stations across the US already using Meerkat and Periscope to broadcast the behinds-the-scenes of their shows and talking to their viewers during commercial breaks. People love seeing this.

Your customers are curious to know what goes on behind the scenes of your company. The more they know about the people they’re doing business with, the more attached they’ll become to your brand. If your customers can start looking at your company as a friend or someone they know on a personal level, it’s more likely they’ll continue to buy your products, thus creating brand loyalty.

It’s also possible that your customer will give you second chances when you make mistakes. You know that every company makes mistakes from time to time, and that people generally don’t expect other people to be perfect. Once a customer stops seeing you as a corporation and instead sees you as a friend, this will create an entirely different dynamic between you and the customer. That’s the power of social media. Just remember, social media is meant to be social, so your goal should always be to show the human side of your company.

3. Broadcast a Live Event of Your Company from a Unique Perspective

Every company hosts special events throughout the year such as gatherings, outings, and BBQs. The next time you have one, do a live broadcast and see what feedback you get from your customers. Leverage your other social media channels to announce your next broadcast and get your followers to tune in on Periscope or Meerkat.

Your company might also host or attend trade shows throughout the year. If this is the case, chances are that a lot of your customers are not be able to attend. Use Periscope or Meerkat to give them the option to still watch you showcase your latest and newest product from the comfort of their home or office. We saw a good example of the use of Meerkat during SXSW 2015 when the app took center stage and was used to broadcast the entire event to the outside world. It gave companies like Mashable the ability to show everyone what was going on during the festival in real time, allowing viewers to feel like attendees.

The take away here is to show an exclusive company event to your customers and create a more personal experience with them. Keep in mind that you’ll have live interaction with your audience, which will give you the ability to adjust and show more of what they want to see and less of what they don’t.

4. Do a Q&A

Doing Q&A’s are always a good choice for many reasons. First and foremost, you get to listen to the questions your customers have and address their problems properly.

You also get to find out what they want from your company. If you can take notes and analyze their needs later, you can then create products or services that can be of better help to them. In other words, you get to know exactly what they want you to sell to them next.

However, the best part about a Q&A is that it doesn’t really need much preparation. Simply announce your next Q&A session and then listen to your customers. Find out what kind of questions or problems they have and provide the help they need. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn by hosting regularly scheduled Q&A’s.

5. Show the Culture of Your Company

The ROI of showing the culture of your company may be hard to measure, but one thing is for sure: people want to do business with happy people. If you can use Periscope or Meerkat to show all the happy moments within your company, it’s guaranteed to have a positive effect on the overall outlook of your company from your customers’ perspective.

Let’s face it, you probably already do charitable events within your company, so why not use these tools to tell the entire world about it?

Do you raise money for any good causes in your company? Broadcast it and show them the type of people you really are. Your customers will appreciate seeing this side of your business.

Do you have Nerf Gun Wars on Fridays in your office? How about Bring Your Dog to Work days? Or maybe catered lunches?

Any activities like these are worthy of being broadcasted to the world. Showing the happy culture of your company is key to connecting to your existing customers on a more personal level. I can’t say this enough—people want to do business with happy people. Seeing happy people attracts other people and speaks well of your overall company.

5 Ways to Use Periscope and Meerkat to Market your Business

The important thing to remember is to provide something unique and show a different side of your company. Remember that social media is meant to be social. Don’t turn this experience into an infomercial, but rather provide something more intimate. Show that your company has personality and that there are humans on the other side.

Guy Kawasaki once said that a good rule of thumb regarding social media is to always spend 80% of your time providing value and about 20% promoting your brand.

The 80/20 Rule

This makes a lot of sense because if you continue to help your customers and provide tons of value, they will probably buy your product/service when it comes time to sell to them.

Give your customers something they can’t get anywhere else or in any of your other social channels. Take this opportunity to capture their attention, giving them a reason to keep coming back. If you give them content they can get through your other social channels, there will be no incentive for them to follow you and tune in the next time you broadcasting on Periscope or Meerkat. Your livestreams need to be something exclusive to this social channel.

Lastly, if you’re unsure which platform is best for your company, try using both Periscope and Meerkat. People always ask which one is better between the two, and my answer is to use both and experiment as much as possible. They’re both free and can potentially expose you to two completely different audiences. You have nothing to lose by giving each of them a try. Experiment and you’ll find that both apps have their own strengths and weaknesses. Once you get enough experience, you can then make an educated decision and pick just one if you desire.

You still need more ideas on how to use Periscope and Meerkat to market your business? Find me on Twitter and Instagram and let me know. I’ll be more than happy to give you unique ideas for your specific industry. Just try me.