Welcome to Episode 302 of Hit The Mic with the Stacey Harris.
Hello, hello, Episode 302, and today we are talking about email marketing. There are a ton of email marketing tools to choose from, everything from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign to Infusionsoft and Ontraport and Mad Mimi and Constant Contact and all sorts of options. It can be a little overwhelming, how do you choose a tool and how do you know when it’s time to change tools. That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
Changing email marketing tools is something I have done a few times, more than I would like. If I had to do it all over again, I would have probably done it a tiny bit differently. That’s the lessons I’m sharing with you today, so aren’t we glad that I made those mistakes, right? Oh, they weren’t really mistakes. They were just not the right tool for me long-term. Let’s talk about what you need to consider when you are choosing an email marketing tool. Yes, budget’s a factor, a small factor, but I want you to remember that cost alone should not make this decision. You also want to consider some other things. With that said, you need to get the best tool you can afford.
I do not encourage you, in fact I actively discourage you from day 1 thinking Infusionsoft is the best option. Infusionsoft is not a bad option but it’s not the best option ever. There are a lot of businesses, mine included, that function perfectly well without a tool like Infusionsoft or Ontraport where you have this whole collection of tools because for example, for me, I would use probably 5% of Infusionsoft because my business model doesn’t need the other 95%. It’s just the way it is. However, I know a lot of people who use and love and are obsessed with Infusionsoft and what it can do for their business. Here’s the thing is there’s not one right tool for everybody, but factor in your budget and then factor in a few other things we’re going to talk about.
The first thing besides budget and this is something that I really, really encourage you to look at is, what are your long-term goals? What do you want to be able to do with your email list? Meaning, do you want to have things like multiple lists and be able to send them different follow-up emails depending on which list they signed up to? By the way, the correct answer to that is “yes.” Not all tools can do that. For example, Constant Contact only gives you 1 welcome email option, meaning when someone new signs up for your list, they get the same welcome email no matter what list they sign up for. That’s a problem. If you want to have multiple welcome emails or multiple followup sequences, for example, depending on what you sign up for when you sign up for the VIP list which is my email list, you get a different follow-up sequence.
If you sign up for the social media challenge, I’m delivering you something that if you sign up for a webinar or the Facebook ads campaign, you get something different in each of those cases. It doesn’t make sense for there to be 1 follow-up option. If you want to have things like that down the road, you need to consider that. Do you prefer lists or tags? If you don’t know what that means, then this might be worth having this conversation with somebody who does, whether that’s a email marketing expert or a business coach or an email marketing virtual assistant or an online business manager, whatever, whoever the person is in your life. Honestly, maybe it’s about talking to your accountability buddies or your mastermind and figuring out what tools they’re using and why they love them. You got to think about what your goals are long-term. For me, I had always worked in lists.
Okay, so I started with … The first thing I ever used in any of my businesses was Constant Contact 5 years ago. I don’t recommend Constant Contact for most people. I do have a client who still uses it, but I’m working on that, guys. Then I moved to AWeber which I enjoyed a lot until it wasn’t doing what I needed it to do. Then I moved to Simplero which is a more robust system. It’s got affiliates in it and things like that. Then I realized I could do what I needed to do in my business without a lot of those pieces. I didn’t need the extra stuff. Like Infusionsoft, I just didn’t need the extra pieces.
Also, there is incredible automation and follow-up stuff in the tool I use now, which is ActiveCampaign. That automation and that follow-up sequence stuff really exceeded what Simplero could do at the time. I know Simplero has done a lot to update their ability with tags and automation sequences and things like that, so that’s maybe not the case now. For me, ActiveCampaign is still where I call home. I’ve talked to the guys over at Infusionsoft a couple of times about whether I needed to move and everyone I’ve talked to there has been like, “You’re not going to use 95% of our tool. Do you really want to go through changing?” The answer to that is, “No. No, I don’t.”
ActiveCampaign is where I call home and will continue to call home for some time, I suspect. Again, those are based off my goals. Back in my Constant Contact and my AWeber days, I functioned very much so in lists, but because I do a lot more automation now and follow-up sequence and things like that, I like having a tool like ActiveCampaign where I do have some lists, for example, Hit The Mic Backstage members are not on the same list as my regular email list. Within my regular email list, everybody is tagged based on how they’ve engaged with my list and also how they got on my list. That’s right. I can actually look at any person on my email list and tell you exactly how they got there. That’s a really awesome part of tags.
Again, you need to know how you’re going to function best for the goals of your business. Again, automation, I come back to this. Are you going to need something like if-then situations and follow-up sequences? I’ve got automation sequences that go out to new Hit The Mic Backstage members, when you sign up that you get 4 emails over the course of your first 4 weeks in the membership talking about the different parts of the membership and where you could get the help that you need and where you can find the different tools that you’re looking for and the opportunity to book one-on-one time with me if that’s what you need.
All of that’s automated. I don’t have to send an email to each new member. Whenever I’m looking for a tool, I know that that’s got to be there. On the flip side, a lot of my sales happen via automation, so when you sign up for the VIP list, whether that’s through the social media challenge or through the Facebook ads checklist, you get an opportunity to do a $1 7-day trial inside of Hit The Mic Backstage. There’s now a follow-up sequence based on which response you choose. If you choose “yes,” then you go down 1 path, and if you choose “no,” then you go down another path.
That automation piece is really important and really valuable from a sales perspective because if you don’t say “Yes” when you initially get that offer, you sometimes say, “Yes” in the follow-up email or in a subsequent follow-up email because now I’m using automation to nurture that lead, grow trust, give you more value and really build that relationship. Again, that’s possible because I have an automation set up. When you’re talking about picking an email marketing tool, you want to make sure you’re able to do things like that. You’re also going to want to make sure that your deliverability is going to be solid. You want to make sure that you’re using a tool that is well-respected, that is doing what it can to make sure that there’s not any sort of foul play or black hat tricks that people are using.
Sometimes it’s frustrating to go through some of the hoops we have to go through as far as confirming our addresses and maybe getting another confirmation for emails we upload, depending on the tool you’re using. A lot of that is because they want to protect the integrity of their system. They want to protect the integrity of the emails going out by their users. You want to make sure that you’re using a tool that’s really protecting that integrity and making sure that their deliverability is on par and really going to work for you because no email tool is going to be valuable if you’re not getting in anybody’s inbox. From there, you want to make sure that you’re continuing to use that tool really well. The thing that I want to wrap up on in choosing an email marketing tool because I get a question, I get the question a lot from people about, “Oh, I think it’s time I’m upgrading tools.”
Sometimes, it’s not about changing tools. Sometimes, it’s a lot more about making sure you’re using the tool. Are you sending regular emails out? Are you nurturing those leads? Are you giving them value, and in that follow-up sequence? Are you getting your email opt-in out there? Are you sharing it via social? Are you funneling people into places where they can subscribe because if you’re not, a new email marketing tool isn’t going to change that. What’s going to change that is a new email marketing strategy and then some new email marketing action. Don’t jump on to the bandwagon of changing your tool first thing. Sometimes it’s got to first be about making sure you’re using the tool.
Then the last thing I want to say is, if you’re somebody who has listened to this whole episode and you’re sitting there and you’re thinking, “I will just keep sending emails through Gmail and I’ll just put them all in Send or the BCC” or whatever, don’t do that. Just stop. If you never, ever listen to another episode of this show, please listen to this next 5 seconds. You have to, I repeat, you have to be using an email marketing tool like AWeber or ActiveCampaign or MailChimp or whatever it is you want to use to be sending those emails. There’s just no other choice, okay. Otherwise, it’s unprofessional, it’s spammy and it’s not building credibility, okay.
Use an email marketing tool. You can start with MailChimp for free. You can start with ActiveCampaign for as little as $9 and it will grow with you in the long-term. My recommendation for most business owners, not everybody because I don’t think there’s one tool that fits everybody, I would highly recommend skipping free at MailChimp and going right to the $9 level at ActiveCampaign. It’s absolutely worth the value and it’s absolutely going to grow with you over time. You’re going to have an ability to do a lot more with automation, with follow-up sequences, and that’s going to be incredibly valuable to you as you grow. Just start there because trust me, moving your list, not fun. Not fun the first time, not fun the second time, less fun the third time.
Make sure that you’re using a tool that’s really going to serve your business and serve your growth in the long-term. Again, for me, that’s ActiveCampaign. I highly recommend you check it out. ActiveCampaign let you have a free trial so it allows you to go in and see the interface and get used to it. Then, if you need some help, if you need help figuring out this tool or whatever tool you’re using, reach out to your community. Reach out in your Facebook groups. I guarantee there’s somebody who has used the tool or who’s an expert in the tool, somebody that can help you get clear on the buttons to click and the best way to set it up.
I know there’s a lot of VAs who have an expertise in email marketing and all of these tools. Find somebody to help you. Outsource it. It doesn’t have to be forever, but you can hire a little bit of consulting time to help get you there. We have a active campaign training, for example, inside of Hit The Mic Backstage. We also have some list building trainings inside of Hit The Mic Backstage in case it’s not so much a tool issue, but a “getting people into the funnel” issue. Check those out at hitthemicbackstage.com, the place to be, and I will see you on Friday.
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