Welcome to the module. All about the email service provider or E S P in this module, we are going to take quite a deep dive into what an ESP is, what it does for you in your business, as well as going into a few options for you to choose which email service provider you will select now. These sorts of things are not set in stone.
You can change down the line. There's nothing wrong with that. And we cover three options for ESPs, some of the major ones. And then we do provide a recommendation, which subsequent tutorials follow along with specifically to that platform. That doesn't mean you have to choose that platform, but it is one that we suggest and we get into that in much more detail.
Now, what is the email service provider? It really is the machine behind it all effectively. A ESP has two core functions. And the first one is that it stores your email addresses the context that you have. The second is it allows you to send bulk emails at once. Now you might think to yourself, okay, I know that in my Hotmail or Gmail or whatever you use.
I can send to multiple people. And you're right, how this effectively works is if you're familiar with a blind copy where you can blind copy somebody and the other person or persons, don't see who you sent it to. It's not exactly how an email service provider works, but it's much more in line with how that works, meaning nobody knows who else you're emailing when you send through an email service provider.
And this is the only. True way of sending truly bulk emails to people is using an email service provider. If you were to say, send an email to a hundred or a thousand people. Blind copied through Gmail, you would most likely end up in spam. What it comes down to is the only way to send truly bulk emails to mass people to truly list build is to have a email service provider.
Now, another thing that an email service provider that's very, very valuable is that it tracks detailed analytics for you. Now, if you send a normal email through your Gmail or Hotmail, et cetera, You don't actually know if someone has opened your email or clicked anything or took any actions you don't know, which is good for the personal use.
It doesn't really matter. Now, when you get into list, building those analytics are critical because you want to see how many people are opening your email, how many people are clicking and what are they doing afterward. And an ESP is the only way to get that sort of analytics. Some analytics that most ESPs offer are open rates, click rates, unsubscribe rates, deliverability rates.
And you also have the ability, again, this is in general for ESPs to drill into the data, meaning you can view. How many people, what is your overall open rate across every email you've ever sent or by maybe just by one campaign by one email, how many people opened it or clicked it or unsubscribed, et cetera.
And you can even drill down into the individual. Did Susan open this email, you'd be able to see that now email service providers have grown in what they offer, which is really great for marketers and entrepreneurs like us. So these are just a small example. Of services that email service providers handle inside of them.
Now, not all ESPs are the same, but in general, these are pretty ubiquitous features that most ESPs offer. The first one is dynamic content in emails. This can be as complex as showing a purchase that a recent subscriber has made. That is something that can be tracked within your USP. Or something more likely is say, you send out a thousand emails to your a thousand person subscriber list.
Each of these subject lines could be catered to that person. It could say, Hey, Mark, open up. And that's what Mark would see, but Stacy would see, Hey Stacy, open up. These are just some of the ways that you can insert dynamic content to create a more customized approach to your email. Because even though we're bulk emailing, what we really want to do is, as I said earlier, I went on social media.
You're saying hello, world. And an email. It's an opportunity to say yes. Hello person. Hello Jack. Hello, Nancy and Amy. Well, service providers make that very easy to do at any scale, whether you have 10 people on your email list or a million. If you change the subject line or the dear insert name, it'll insert that name for every person on your list.
Automatically. Another thing, email service providers have grown into as much more marketing automation, meaning a trigger happens. Somebody clicks a button in your email say, and then you want them to get a different email as a follow-up. That is becoming a very standard feature in ESPN. And that's very powerful to grow into your business.
It's not something that you have to start with automation, however, it's really great and powerful that most ESPs offer it as it becomes a great option for you in your business. Another thing that email service providers are sort of encroaching on and building out in their services is lead capture forms and landing pages.
I'm not very old, but back in my day, You used to have to have an ESP and a sort of lead capture service in your tech toolbox. And what's great now is they're just built in most email service providers also allow you to capture leads from your website or to even create full on landing pages, which is really, really cool.
ESP is also allow you to AB test certain things, subject lines and email content. Now this is. Very powerful because it's hard to know what will resonate most with your audience. And there's no better way to find out then by testing and how an AB test works effectively. In a simple example of say you have a thousand people on your list and you want to AB test it effectively.
The first email sequence would be for half of your audience, let's say 500 people. And of those 500 people, 250 people would be sent the, a test 250 people we'll send, be sent the B test. Now that will propagate and send. And after a certain amount of time, your ESP will decide, okay. B was the winner here.
So the remainder of your list, those 500 people that hadn't been emailed yet, they will receive that quote, winning content, be it subject line or the actual email content itself. That's a really powerful way to learn more about your audience and to get the most out of every email send ESPs are also capable of seeing the actions that people take outside of their, your email that you've sent.
For example, most can be able to say, okay, this person clicked on the link in the email that's standard for them to know, but then they also know where they went on your website based off tracking and information like that. Now, this is just extra information, but it's very powerful and good. And it's great to have access to.
Now, another thing that's important, especially as your list grows, is segmentation based on what subscribers are interested in or at the very least how they may be entered your realm. Maybe one, you have two lead magnets. Let's say one. Is a PDF download and another is a video series and both content would be relative to both people.
So it'd be, it's good to be able to know. Okay. We know that this group of people has gotten the PDF, but not the videos. We could send another campaign. About the videos or vice versa. So segmentation happens in a whole bunch of ways. It could be based on the timeframe that they subscribed anything really, but it's great to be able to segment out your list, to be able to send the proper content for whoever you want to receive it.
Now something that's a bit new as especially you hear all the features that ESPs are doing now aid, another term out there is called a CRM. So that's a customer relationship manager versus an email service provider. And back in the day, again, I'm not very old. It's funny to say that, but you used to need multiple services to do all of these things.
So a customer relationship manager would keep all of your contacts in one place and have all of their information. In one place, it's kind of like the central hub. However, again, back then, you couldn't really send emails from it. It wasn't meant for that. It was just a normal database for your people. And then an email service provider would then send out that email.
But nowadays ESPs are in my opinion, very much encroaching on the CRM turf. And that's ultimately a good thing because we need less services. We need to pay for less services and there's less complexity, but. It is some terms that you might come across a CRM versus an email service provider. And I think from what I can tell, they're use a little bit overly interchangeably, which I do think they are separate things.
And we'll get into that a little bit now because. I want to talk about the three main ESPs that I think should be at least on your radar. Now my list is not complete. There's lots of great options out there. You are most welcome to do your research. And I'll also share which services we have specifically used.
And that is what we base our recommendations off of. So at least that, you know, That our recommendation is based off experience if nothing else. So one of the top email service providers is called keep now, keep, probably doesn't sound familiar to you, but what it was previously called was infusion soft, which is something you may heard of.
Now. I'm glad I talked about a CRM versus an ESP previously, because keep an infusion soft, do fall much more towards the CRM. Customer relationship manager as a service, meaning it's much more robust and this is an oversimplification, but infusion soft and keep they're really made for much bigger, more complex organizations.
Let's say you have a sales team and you need to divvy out leads accordingly, automatically based on as they come into your final infusion soft and keep is really good at that. They're very, very powerful, but again, With that comes complexity and cost talking about cost in the online space. When you record something is always dangerous because things change so often.
So this is being recorded late 2020. These things can change overnight, but this is the pricing for keep or again, previously known as infusion soft. They seem to be just transitioning the name and you can see it. It starts. At $65. And again, it really is a more of a CRM and we will get into more of the features.
That you should particularly care about, especially starting out, but I felt like it would be good to show you about keep or again, Infusionsoft, because it is extremely powerful, but it is expensive. And in my opinion, a little bit, a bit over the top for most users, especially people starting out, even us as our email list has grown and our business has grown and our revenue has grown.
We still don't particularly have a need for keep, and that might be the same for you. However, you are most welcome to do your own research and see what feels right for you. Now, the two main email service providers, we are going to talk about that we ultimately recommend you. Spend most of your time considering his MailChimp and convert kit.
Now we are actually clients of both of these and we use both. So let's talk about each of them individually, and then we'll do a little bit of a pros and cons list to help you decide. Now MailChimp is very, very popular. And at least when I was starting our journey three, four years ago, it seemed to be the default choice because it has a very generous, free tier.
And you can have up to 2000 subscribers before you basically have to pay for anything. There is some limiting features. On the free tier. However, in general, a main benefit of MailChimp is that you can really dive in and really get started. Without having to worry about the cost. Again, it's always scary to bring up pricing on a recorded content.
However, as of late 2020, these are what the pricing looks like. So you can have up to 2000 contacts completely free, and it doesn't have every feature that you might want. For example, it doesn't have AB testing. However, it does have a great feature set that for free is great because it helps you just get started.
There's no barriers and that's what we're all about. Now talking about convert kit. This is one that we like a lot, because it's very user-friendly and I believe it was built for people like us kind of small entrepreneurs, just getting started, solo, preneurs, small teams that like to work quickly. And not be burdened of like, gosh, what do I do next?
There's almost just no barriers. Convert kit makes everything very simple and straightforward. They also have a great free tier, which is so important to us because we know that there's enough going on. Right. You have enough going on. You have enough to pay for. You might not have any money for building your business today.
So the ability to start free. Exists on both MailChimp and convert kit and they have pretty comparable features at that free tier. And we'll talk about the pros and cons in a little bit. However, what the great news is, no matter what you choose out of these two, at the very least the free tier is. Great.
And it's more than enough to get you started today. There's nothing holding you back now, which to choose for you again, there are other options. Please do your own research. You do not have to only listen to me or us. But at least we do have a lot of experience with both of these now. Uh, MailChimp's main benefit is the beautiful templates, meaning how your emails look are very visually pleasing.
And I'll talk to you about the downside of that. When I talk about convert kit, another main benefit of MailChimp is that the free tier goes further. So, as you can see here, the free tier on convert kit goes to a thousand subscribers before you have to start paying, whereas MailChimp, you can go up to 2000 contacts before needing to pay for anything.
So the free tier goes a thousand subscribers further than convert kit. Now, the cons of MailChimp is that it tries to do a lot of things, which. If you're like that maybe that's a benefit. But to me, even as somebody who's technically savvy, there is a lot going on and there doing a lot of different things and to oversimplify it, I think they do a lot of things.
Just okay. Whereas I think I prefer something that just keeps things simple and nails what they do and maybe builds out features slower. But that seems to be not MailChimp's plan or business model, which is totally okay. Again, they still have so many benefits, but it's certainly not the simplest.
Platform to use. And I think going hand in hand with how the free tier goes further on MailChimp, their plans also tend to get more pricey sooner as your list grows, which I guess makes sense. They have to recoup that cost of having you have as the subscribers of say something like convert kit. So once you get into the paying versions, which you inevitably will, as your email list grows, there's nothing wrong with that.
Because we are investing in our business. And as we know, there is a 4,400. Average ROI on building your email list. So having a cost associated with it is okay, but it's good to note that MailChimps pricing does increase at a steeper rate than most other ESPs now convert kit's main benefit and why we really love it.
And also really why we spend so much time recommending it ultimately to people more at the start of their journey is. It is so easy to use. It's refreshing. It's just very straightforward. And just like how a free tier is important to us to limit the barriers of entry that you don't have to worry about.
Oh my gosh, I start my email list this month. Cause it's $30 or maybe should I start next month? The good news is as far as features, that's taken away. But that also barriers exists beyond monetary barriers, right? So if you log in to something and you feel overwhelmed and you don't really know what to do, that's another barrier we want to avoid.
And there's always a learning curve to everything, but truly we believe that convert kit is the easiest. To use out of them all. And that is great. Another benefit of convert kit is it's deliverability. Now, as I said, I'm going to talk about MailChimp, who has beautiful templates, a downside, a beautiful templates means that a lot of images and code is used to make them look so great.
And that can be a major downside because email clients like Gmail, for example, We'll end up categorizing those sorts of emails as promotional material, which they are, but having a bunch of images and buttons and code inside your emails, which is what MailChimp creates can lead to the email client, flagging it as promotional much more aggressively.
Now again, MailChimp's benefit is those templates are really beautiful. They. Almost look like websites inside of an email. You have the capability of doing that at least, which is really cool. Now convert kit takes a much more stripped down version, but what ends up happening is they look much more like a normal email, so less flashy.
However, they look like a normal email. So when it comes to Gmail and other email clients, seeing it. You're less likely to go into other folders like promotional tabs or social tabs or worst case scenario spam, because they're effectively just normal, plain text email. Now, what I liked most about convert kit is you can still do beautiful templates, not as easily as MailChimp, but you can still spruce up your emails.
So you're not stuck with no styling at all, no personality, but to me, I like the balance between getting higher deliverability than beautiful templates, because ultimately what we're fighting for is to be delivered to the email client as regularly as possible. So to me that trade-off of beautiful. This is worth it with convert kit.
And again, I don't want to make it sound like your emails are ugly with convert kit. They're not at all. They're just a little bit less customizable than MailChimp. A kind of convert kit that might end up mattering to you is that you can only have a single list, meaning it's like all of your subscribers are in one bucket and how you differentiate them as you segment them and you tag them based on how you want to.
There's lots of flexibility around that. However, you can't make multiple lists, whereas in MailChimp you could have in, if you wanted to 10 lists of different things. Now that can be actually a good thing that you can only have one list, but I wanted to mention it because it could matter to you overall, the best practice is having one email and then using your tags appropriately to segment out your audience or else you end up with.
Many lists and then what can happen on MailChimp, which is something we've experienced, which actually kind of caused the shift to convert kit for our business is if you have the same subscriber on multiple lists, which can sometimes happen, you get billed for them as many times as they show up. So if you have five lists for say a different webinar at different this, a different that they show up in your build for every time, even if it's the same person.
Whereas convert kit. That's not possible. You're only ever build for that one person, even if they're tagged for 50 different things, it's still just one subscriber. And so it's a downside in some ways, but overall I do think it's a benefit, especially as a best practice. And that stands even if you're not using ConvertKit, it's better to use one list.
Convert kids, analytics are also not as robust as MailChimp. For example, you can get a rough estimate of where your people are on your email list. Geographically. It's not like their address or anything weird like that, but just general geographic regions. Which can be helpful information, whereas convert kit doesn't do that, meaning they don't track it.
I think, want to note that you don't have as robust of analytics. And I also wonder how important is it for you to necessarily know where everybody lives? So that's just one example, but overall convert kits analytics are not as robust as MailChimp and others, but they do have the core ones that really matter, meaning.
Click rate, open rate and unsubscribed rate. So it has everything you need, but doesn't go much beyond what you really need. Now. Like I said, we actually use both and like both, they just have their pros and cons as I listed before, but we are actually customers of both and we encourage you to do your own research.
It's important. And if you want, you can create a free MailChimp firstname.lastname@example.org slash MailChimp. And it's important that you know, that we do benefit from you signing up from that link. The truth is we actually are real customers and we really do recommend it, but. What it comes down to it. We believe that convert kit is the best option for you.
And again, we do have an affiliation with convert kit, but I think it's kind of a equal ground because we do have affiliations with both. And we re what it really comes down to is in our experience along our journey. We believe that convert kit is the best option for you. So we believe that you convert kit will serve you best.
And for this specific tutorials, as we go through this launching lab, we will be using convert kit as an example. So if you're looking to follow along exactly, we do recommend the, a convert kit account. To be able to, again, follow along. Step-by-step however, if you do choose MailChimp or something else, you can still absolutely still make sense of it because overall we're still doing the same thing.
We're still doing emails. We're still making landing pages, et cetera. It'll just look different if you decide not to go with convert kit, but we truly believe you won't regret convert kit. And again, it's free. So you're not really losing out on too much. Are you. So these are a couple of the things we will, they wreckly use inside of list, launching lab, which will serve you going forward.
The first thing is landing pages, which again, something great is that within convert kit, you can create landing pages and they are beautiful. I can't wait to show you. Another thing we'll do is sending broadcasts, which is basically mass emails to all of your list. And then we'll also show you how to send targeted broadcast based on the segmentation.
Another concept we will cover is auto responders, which in convert kit land are called incentive emails. Those are basically someone who signs up for your lead magnet saying, yes, I want that PDF. Send it over to me that autoresponder or incentive email from convert kit is how they get that information.
Something that convert kit does well, but not on the free plan, which is important to share is to do advanced automation. This is something we don't cover because it gets complex very quickly, not complex and too difficult to teach. It's actually a great. Benefit again of convert kit is they make it really easy.
And I'll actually show you an example of an automation within ConvertKit to give you an idea of that. But it's something we don't cover because it gets so personal so quickly, depending on what you're trying to accomplish with your automation. So it's something we just don't get into with lists launching lab.
However, I do want to show you a sample automation that you can do within. Convert kit. So this is what the convert kit automation user interface looks like. So this is what it really looks like. Now I'll just go through it kind of step-by-step. So at the start, this is the start of your funnel. This is where somebody signs up.
Right. And what we're basically doing is using this drag and drop, follow the line interface to decide what journey the. Customer takes as they get onto your list. So they start in the landing page, the start of your funnel. And then they're sent this first email, which is that incentive email with whatever they asked about it.
And then we go here and this is sort of what I call a, choose your own adventure nurture sequence. So the actions that someone takes in that incentive email, which button they click, for example dictates what next step they get. Basically they click. A just in this example, there's three different options.
And depending on which one they click, they get tagged as particular thing, which then queues an additional email. But it's based off the decisions that they made. That's why I call it a choose your own adventure nurture sequence. And again, this is not something we go into. With LIS launching lab, but a huge benefit of convert kit is this visual experience.
That really makes it easy. Even if it's your first time to be able to just point and click and decide what you want people to experience based on their actions. And this is powerful as you work someone say down to a pitch, or at least at the very least an invitation to your pitch, and you can provide more contextual.
And better information to that particular subscriber again at scale, right? Because you might have a thousand people go through this automation and each person decides exactly what journey they want to take and what content they want to consume. And it doesn't take any extra setup for you. You just set it up once based on their actions, based on what you have available.
And off they go, uh, is really powerful. It's a powerful thing that most ESPs offer, but convert kids, user experience, this sort of visual. Drag and drop system we're looking at is what I believe makes it a great choice for a new person that doesn't have to worry about becoming a technical genius overnight because they make it easy and visual.
So again, we strongly advise you to use a convert kit account because we think it'll serve you today as you get started and it'll serve you as your business grows and you can create your email@example.com slash convert kit. And again, it's important. You know, we do have an affiliation. However, we really are a customer and we really would never recommend something that we don't use ourselves and that we don't love.
So go create your account, set it up. It takes two minutes or maybe less and get inside of your convert kit account. And then in the next module, we are going to start collecting email addresses the road to 1000 subscribers begins in the next module. I can't wait to see you there.