It's time to uplevel your email service provider, y'all. Your email list is so important, but only if you are able to effectively use your platform. I recently made the switch to ConvertKit, and I am really enjoying my email newsletters over there so far. This was a hard switch for me to make because Squarespace has a crazy convenient integration with Mailchimp, but at the end of the day this was something that had to be done if I wanted to take full advantage of my email list.
As I looked at my own life as well as the thoughts of the Facebook groups I am currently in, I have compiled a list of 9 things I feel like millennial fempreneurs (and any fempreneur for that matter) should look for when it comes to choosing their first or next email service provider.
Not all email service providers have the same amount of deliverability. In fact, some platforms have a pretty low deliverability. The final straw for the last platform I was on? I sent out a quick email to my small list of 100ish people and I got an open rate of just 21.9%. I knew it couldn't be just the email. My open rates had been declining so much over the past few weeks. I couldn't handle that anymore. I needed people to see my emails!
With all due respect to Senator Bernie Sanders, when people sign up for your mailing list, they mean business. They want to see your damn emails! As a blogger, it is your responsibility to make that as easy as possible for them. You can't visit all of your subscribers at their house and get them to open your emails, but you can invest in a stellar email service provider so content gets to them more.
Bloggers say your email list is better than social media, because you own it, but I was beginning to feel like my email service provider owned that too.
You don't ever want to feel like someone owns the thing you worked so hard for. People signed up for my mailing list, they should be able to see the emails I send them. I recently sent my first email with ConvertKit this weekend and the open rate was 51.9%! Not only that, but with the amazing ConvertKit feature that is re-sending, I was able to bump that number up to 64.2%! I hadn't had a number that great on my main list since, and I am embarrassed to say this, the second newsletter I ever sent to my list all the way in October 2015. Crazy right?
I am finally reaching the people who wanted to be reached. I am so excited about that too.
The ability to resend emails easily
As I stated earlier, resending is amazing. You could potentially do something like this on other platforms, but it's not always easy. ConvertKit makes it so easy to do with a click of a button. I am obsessed with this feature, because you can really bump up your engagement and click through rates without bugging everyone on your mailing list. You can connect to those people who didn't open directly, tweak the messaging and email subject a little bit, and send them an awesome email fairly quickly.
2. easy to send freebies and content upgrades
Free resource libraries are great (and even though I switched I still have one.) I always want to give people the opportunity to just get one thing quickly. Always link your new friends to the entire free resource library, but make sure it's easy to get that one thing first. So thanks to ConvertKit I can attach the freebie to any form, and then I can share with my subscribers, in a follow up email or within the freebie itself, a link to my free resource library for additional resources. That way when my subscribers subscribe for a particular freebie, they don't have to dig around, forget what they were looking for, etc.
For example, on my sidebar there is now a freebie to download my semester reflection guide. On the first actual page of that freebie I wrote a letter sharing how to access the free resource library they have access to before I go into the worksheets. This way if they like what they see they can access the full library quickly and easily.
Certain email service providers are better at saving your audience time, so be sure to use those providers.
3. unlimited email sending
Okay, there is nothing worse than a cap on email sending when you are knee deep in a course launch or you just have a decent sized list. No one should ever be putting a cap on the amount of emails you can send, because that's just not cool. Unlimited email sending needs to be a priority because you shouldn't be punished for growing a large list and running out of emails to send. Send ALL THE EMAILS...well not all, you don't want to clog up the inbox of your subscribers. You do, on the other hand, want to have the email capacity to.
4. no double charging
Some email service providers will charge you twice if the same email was on your list twice. Isn't that crazy? Instead of counting the email addresses as one address, they charge. This is not cool for bloggers and biz owners if you want to ever do something like run a challenge or do an opt-in freebie. Sometimes your readers might see your new opt-in freebie and decide they need it right now. I know I have opted in multiple times on some of my favorite bloggers lists to get a cheat sheet or a webinar reminder. You need a email service provider who can actually tell when you have the same person on multiple lists.
Being able to customize your newsletter form is so important. You want a form that uses your branding, looks good, and is easy to use for your readers. Find the platform that makes the most sense for you, your technical talents, and you readers. I like ConvertKit because I can easily make forms, landing pages, and more in the account. I can also link ConvertKit with other platforms I may have in the future like LeadPages, Zapier, or Teachable to make the platform even more advanced.
This amount of customization won't work for everyone. I go back and forth on whether I like too much customization or not. I think ConvertKit does a good job of being both easy to use and easy to customize if that is something you are looking for in an email service provider. The ability to grow into any platform is something that I am always looking for.
Okay, automation is important. This goes back to freebies and content upgrades, but without automation, you are stuck sending all of those things out or finding a workaround to do so. No one has time to sit down at the end of every day and send out emails to the new people on your list. Automate that, girl! Automation is your friend and it allows you to be efficient and practical with your time. Once you set up a sequence, you can get your email service provider to do all the work. That means sitting down to write one email could potentially help an infinite amount of people. Imagine how much time you could save in your business because of automation.
ConvertKit automation is great because you can make a wide array of rules that are automatically in place for your subscribers. For example, when y'all subscribe to my email list from the forms in this post you will be tagged as someone who is interested in blogging/business. This is so I can send you more blogging related content if I decided to launch something blog related in the future.
You can divide your list up like this, but either way I suggest using...
7. Tags and segments
Tags and segments are so important to any blogger who is looking to sell or discuss things with different audiences. Say you have a couple of different sections of your site: for example I have sections of the site devoted to blogging, college, and lifestyle. I could tag my list so those who are more interested in blogging could be in one tag and those more interested in college could be in another. This way when I am launching something college related I can send to a list who cares about college related things. When I am launching something blogging related I can do the same.
Tags can be even simpler than that--maybe you want to segment your list by people who are enrolled in a certain course or by people who have bought your products. You can do that. Then when you are ready you can make an overarching segment of customers. This makes sure that you are pitching to a receptive audience before you pitch to your larger list.
8. Convenience to send updates
As a blogger or business owner, the last thing you want to do is use a platform that is hard to use. At the end of the day, you want a platform that is easy to share with. What does the email writing interface look like? Is it easy to understand? If not, are there at least some great tutorials or someone you can call to help you figure it out? What support system is behind understanding the main part of the platform: writing and sending emails. It doesn't matter how many bells and whistles a program has if you can't use those features easily.
Is there an app for that?
One thing I was sorta saddened by when it came to ConvertKit was the lack of an iPhone app. Don't get me wrong, it is an extremely mobile friendly website. I was able to access the website easily from the Safari app on my phone, but an app does give an added layer of ease. The last email service provider I switched from had an app and it was extremely helpful for me as I wrote my emails and checked in on my stats from time to time.
An app is not crucial, but it's definitely a plus for all those people who want to access their stats on the go.
9. Bang For The buck/price
My main audience is made up of millennial women, so price is important to discuss, but I do want to make a BIG distinction. For this one I put bang for the buck/price. Yes, price should always be a consideration when you are making a business decision but you also need to consider value for the price. For example, The email service provider I had when my open rate was essentially 20% was $10. I sent out an email with ConvertKit and that open rate jumped up to about 60%. ConvertKit for me, after my free trail is over, will be $29. So I am paying 3x as much for a platform that is 3x as effective as my last email service provider.
So, you need to not only think about price, but also what you get for that price. Somethings are going to be investments. I am not going to lie to you and say that the thought of paying $29 a month doesn't scare me, but, I am getting triple the results and reach for that money. Be more conscious of the value of your potential investments.
Remember to think about the following:
- Does it get cheaper if I pay for it annually versus monthly?
- Can you find a discount code?
- Will you use all the platforms features?
- If not, how many won't you use? Does this change the value of the email service provider for you? Can you find a cheaper platform that delivers the same quality in the services you will use for less?
At the end of the day it's about what you need!
I cannot tell you that ConvertKit will solve all your hopes and dreams, because I don't specifically know YOUR hopes and dreams. If your dreams are like mine, and I hope they are, I think you want to focus on: growing your audience, connecting with new people, and actually being able to talk with them through the platforms you use. If you are like me you also aren't 100% ready to launch a six figure course, but you want to nurture an audience of awesome people before you get there.
Everyone starts somewhere so you need to start with the platform that's going to get you where you need to go quickest. What is the platform that is going to give you the highest return on investment for your goals right now? If you decide that the platform is too much for you or too small for you, you know the great thing about email lists? You can export that sucker and get the hell out of dodge! It's your list and you can use it on your terms and on your platform of choice.