True Story 1
Every Monday, my friend Scott sends out an email with a poem in it.
He doesn’t write these poems.
He just finds wonderful poems and shares them.
This isn’t a business thing, it’s a labor of love.
But my goodness, do I find it valuable.
My friend Sarah was wanting to read more poems, and I told her about Scott’s emails. She wanted in.
I sent one of the poems to my women’s group and told them where I’d heard about it. A few of them wanted in.
You too might want in, for the chance to receive a lovely poem every Monday.
Here’s the sad thing: It’s impossible to “sign up” for Scott’s emails. 😞
You just have to know how to reach him, then ask him to send them to you, too.
(If you want me to ask him to send them to you, hit reply and I will.)
True Story 2
My favorite dance teacher won’t be back in town for months.
My friend Michael told me that one of that teacher’s students, H, is occasionally leading dances in a similar style.
“Oooh, that sounds good,” I said to Michael. “How do I find out about them?”
“I’ll forward you the email about the last one,” he said. And he did.
That let me find H’s email.
I emailed H and asked him to make sure I knew about the next dance.
He wrote me back and said he would.
And he did.
But gosh it felt inefficient.
What do these true stories have in common?
A gaping process hole that would be easily filled by an Email Service Provider.
Email Service Providers, also known as ESPs, are different from the personal email services, like Gmail or Hotmail or Yahoo or Outlook or Apple Mail (or — dog forbid — AOL), that you’re probably using to check your personal or work email.
ESPs are special online services designed to help you send email to lots of people at once.
They’re basically like the listservs I used in the 90s.
If someone says they have an email mailing list, they usually mean they use an ESP to send emails to that list.
Some examples of popular ESPs are MailChimp (eh), MailerLite (like it), ConvertKit (good one), and Active Campaign. (I personally use FGFunnels.)
ESPs usually have interfaces that can give the people you email their own controls about being ON the list (signing up), or getting OFF the list (unsubscribing).
I really wish Scott and H had a link or a form or a website that lets people sign up on their own.
ESPs generally have other fancy features too, like letting you set up automated welcome sequences, or segmenting your audience based on what you know about them.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a major public business without some kind of fancy ESP. It’s just not possible to send email to thousands of people at a time any other way (at least not efficiently and legally).
But I see too many people wait wayyyy too long to make the leap to an ESP. (I’m looking at you, H and Scott.)
My philosophy: If it’s the second time you’re sending a mass email to a list of people, and you think you plan to do it again, get a dang ESP.
MailerLite has a plan that’s very full-featured and free up to 1000 contacts.
It’s really simple to set up.
You can create signup forms right in there, without even needing your own website.
They’ll make sure you’re complying with anti-spam laws.
If you’re totally tech challenged, you can probably find a VA to deal with the nitty gritty of it for like $10/hour. (Because really, it’s very straightforward.)
Whether it’s for your business, your hobby, or your maybe-business, getting the right email infrastructure in place is much more empowering to your current recipients, your future recipients, and yourself.
Just do it.
Didn’t know I cared QUITE this much until I wrote it,
PS – Why is it that people often think they need a website before starting something new but rarely think of an ESP? I think it’s actually the other way around — ESP first! Ok done ranting I promise. For now.
PPS – Got an ESP but not sure what to send to people? Read this about nurture emails…
This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.