Choosing the Right Email Marketing Provider
Hard to believe, but it’s been almost a month since my debut novel, I Am Marcus Fox came out. In that time, I’ve been rapidly losing my ever-loving mind trying to understand every nook and cranny of self-publishing. These are things I should have learned before publication. In all fairness, I did know quite a bit, I just maybe didn’t understand the full scope of options and processes available to the average indie.
Case in point: My website is here, hosted by Squarespace. I’ve been relatively happy with the overall look of this thing. I did design it myself. So all faults and praise must inevitably be shot directly my way.
“Hail, you! Idiot creator!”
Yeah, you got me. You pretty much nailed my entire being right on the head, there. Way to go.
Choose Your Email Marketing Platform
When I started building this site, Squarespace was in the midst of slow-rolling out their Email* Campaigns service, and I used it, for a time, for free.
*Sidenote: Did you know the word “email” is acceptably spelled both as a standalone word and a hyphentated one? “E-mail” is also generally acknowledged as correct, according to Grammarly.com anyway. And if you’re not going to take their word for it, then who the hell are you, really?
Before Marcus came exploding onto the literary (ahem) scene, my e-newsletter (this one should probably be hyphenated) was a thing of incomprehensible beauty, in my mind. I had a handful of people on it, all of which were friends and family. Now, just as my list is starting to show some growth, Squarespace has up and charged for their email campaign service. Which, by the way, appears to be not as good as others. But can you blame them? They’re just getting started! But I don’t have time to learn the ropes with a service that is also in its nascent era. Sorry guys, I’ve jumped ship.
I tried Constant Contact when I recently began futzing around with Wordpress (which is probably another bloggy entry in and of itself). But Constant Contact appears to be a bit too business-oriented for my needs. To their credit, less than a day after I signed up, a charming and persuasive marketing person called me up and talked me into a 30-day trial. It took a couple days after that initial call for me to realize I am not their target demographic. I’m sure it’s a heck of a service for bigger companies than say, one guy in front of a laptop. Or maybe they’re the exact right service for one guy in front of a laptop. Just not this guy. If you’re in the market for, well anything, you’re going to try different options before settling on what you want, right?
For me, all I need is a decent, user-friendly, email list service that can tailor my growing list of (hopefully) faithful readers. Oh, and I also need to write more books! And bloggys! And newsletters! When can one expect to cinch out time to do all these things? Right now? Yeah, I guess I’m blogging right now. Hooray for productivity!
Mailchimp Now For Chumps
If you’ve ever listened to a Sarah Koenig podcast, you know full well about Mailchimp. They used to be (and maybe still are) the premier name in email marketing services. However, as of just last month, Mailchimp began charging their users for unsubscribers. What does this mean, exactly? Nothing if you don’t have any subscribers to begin with. But eventually, someday soon, you will. And, as comes with the territory, some people will inevitably grow tired with your blather and they will unsubscribe from your newsletter. If you have 1,000 active subscribers and 20 people who have unsubscribed, Mailhcimp is now going to charge you the 1,000 subscriber rate as they will retain your sum total of subscribers as they come and go. I’m using these numbers flippantly, by the way. I don’t know Mailchimp’s rates per subscriber. All I know is it sounds shady enough to stay away.
You can watch Chris Fox explain this better here.
And the Temporary Winner is… Convertkit
I’m currently in yet another 30-day trial period with a popular email service company called ConvertKit. It seems to be the proper choice of many successful indie authors, including Chris Fox, the aforementioned prolific author who, quite believably, is of no relation to Marcus. If you’ve done any research into self-publishing and are a budding indie author yourself, perhaps you’ve come across Fox’s tips and tools? If not, go and see what he has to offer, he’s got a lot more extremely helpful resources than you’ll find here.
From what I’ve discerned from Convertkit thus far, the creation tools and implementation are very straightforward. I threshed together a floating email list sign up form on my homepage using Convertkit and I think it’s actually quite attractive. I also sent out my first newsletter. They make it simple. All you have to do is dream up some noteworthy content and maybe upload an image to pretty it up. Easy peasy email squeasy!
This stuff, apparently, is crucial if you want to build a readership. You shouldn’t be messing around with different ways of communicating. You should just be communicating. ConvertKit, from what I’ve tested so far, makes the art of the newsletter less stressful. Now, on to other ways of finding more readers! I know you’re out there, guys. I’m looking forward to e-meeting you.
“That was lame.”
As long as nobody gets hurt, what’s the harm in being lame?
“… said Lame McLamerson.”
OK, I’m shutting this down.
Disclaimer: Convertkit is not a paid advertiser for bryoncahill.com. I have no paid advertisers. I just tells it like I sees it. In the coming days, weeks, there may be more subtle or significant changes to my website. As of this writing, I’m fairly certain I’m sticking with Convertkit for my mass email needs. But really, if you’re just a casual visitor to my site, none of this probably means anything to you. If that is so, then, well… it won’t always be like this.
“That’s right! It’s often quite worse!”
Oh man, you’re here in the ital end-note disclaimer, too? You sound like Rosencrantz and/or Guildenstern. No, not them, I mean the muppets in the balcony. What were their names? C’mon brain. Don’t Google it don’t Google it don’t… Statler and … ah crap. Well I remembered one of them anyway. WALDORF! I cheated to find him. As much as I’d love to put their image here, I’m scared to death of copyright issues. This disclaimer is way too long and off topic. Goodbye.