Setting Up Your Email Service Provider
Setting up your email service provider should be one of the first things you do when you decide to become an entrepreneur. You’ll want to use an email service provider to be able to capture email addresses and send out valuable content to your audience.
If you send great content to your audience on a regular basis, you will evelop the know, like and trust factor much faster. Additionally, you need to start an email list as soon as possible because this is an asset that you own. Remember, you do not own your social media platform or followers, but an email list that you build from scratch, is all yours!
There are several steps involved in setting up your email service provider including choosing an email provider, setting it up correctly, creating your opt-in or landing pages, loading your lead magnet, adding tags, segmenting your audience, etc.
Whew! I know that sounds like a lot, but once you have your email service provider set up correctly, you can just focus on sending out weekly email messages.
Let’s go over the process of setting up your email service provider.
Choosing an Email Service Provider
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The first step in the process of setting up your email service provider is choosing a provider. There are many email service providers to choose from. The features are pretty similar amongst the providers; they all with offer opt-in forms, landing pages and autoresponders. Some providers will have features such as automations, which will come in handy as your email list begins to grow.
Choosing an email service provider really comes down to selecting one that can meet your current needs and that can grow with you as your list grows. Keep in mind that you call always change companies if you find the company is no longer meeting your needs or if one comes along that is a better fit for you.
Here are a few email service providers that you can check out:
In February 2021, I changed providers and I have to say I’m very happy with my new service provider. For this blog post and my examples, I’m going to focus on the one I now use, ConvertKit.
How to Set Up an Email Service Provider
Let’s start by showing you how to set up an email service provider. The first thing you’ll need to do after deciding on your email service provider is enter your contact information. Specifically, your name and the email address you’ll be using to send from. In some cases you’ll also need to enter an address which will appear in email messages that you send.
Here’s a pro tip, avoid using a free email account such as (Yahoo, Gmail, etc.) as your “send from email address” because your deliverability rate will be lower. If you have a website, you can create an email address (that matches your domain name) via your hosting company. You can then use this email address to send email messages.
Another reason you’ll want to do this is because you’ll look more professional to your audience when you use an email with your domain name vs. you using a free email address.
Create an Opt in Form
The next step is for you to create an opt in form to collect email addresses from your audience. The great thing about the email service provider that I use, ConvertKit is they make this step really easy. They have several opt in form templates. All you need to do is customize them with your brand colors and fonts and they are ready to be installed on your website.
Here’s another pro tip: request the least amount of information possible from your audience, otherwise they are not likely to complete the opt in form. Generally, the only fields you’ll want to include on your opt in form are first name and email address. In some cases, asking for the email address only may be optimal.
Once you have the form customized, you’ll be able to grab the html or java code, copy it and paste it to the page on your website. If you have a WordPress website, ConvertKit has a plugin that allows you to easily insert your opt in form without the need to copy and past as described in the previous sentence.
You might be thinking, “that sounds great but what if I don’t have a website yet?” You can use one of ConverKit’s landing pages to capture email addresses. Keep reading, I’ve got you covered!
Create a Landing Page
Another great feature to use when setting up your email service provider is a landing page. Landing pages are great for those of you just starting out that don’t yet have a website. Landing pages are generally hosted by your email service provider so you don’t need a website to use them.
You can use a landing page to provide information about your lead magnet and direct your audience to the page. Once on the landing page, you’ll be able to collect their email address in exchange for your lead magnet.
ConvertKit also has some great landing pages that are easily customizable with your brand colors and fonts. After customizing your landing page, you’ll be able to direct your audience to the page.
Creating Tags and Segments
Once you have your opt in form and/or landing page set up, you may want to create tags and segments to further identify your audience.
Here’s an example of how tags can be used:
Let’s say you create content on 1) creating lead magnets, 2) building an email list and 3) creating digital products. The common denominator with your audience is they are all interested in building a business. You could use tags for each of the three (3) content areas. When people opt-in to a specific form, tag them according to what they selected. FYI, with the automations feature in ConvertKit, tagging can be done automatically by their system.
For example, if they are tagged to “building an email list,” you can create content specific to that portion of your audience, and send email messages with content on email list building.
Segments can be used to group a portion of your audience even further. For example, using the tags above, you may want to create a segment called “buyers.” You could then segment people from the three tags above, even further.
Let’s say you want to have a way of identifying subscribers that have purchased something from you. You could include them in your buyers segment and then make even more offers to them. Remember, if people have purchased something from you once, they are likely to buy again.
ConvertKit’s ease of tagging and segmenting your list played a big role in my decision to switch to their service.
How to Setup an Autoresponder
Next, I’m going to explain how to set up an autoresponder using your email service provider. This is where it gets really good! An autoresponder is an automated system of sending a series of pre-written email messages. In my opinion, it’s a genius invention!
Here’s how they work. First, write a series of email messages and load them into your email service provider. Next, you’ll set the intervals between each message. When someone opts into your list to receive the lead magnet you’re offering, the autoresponder is triggered and begins sending the email messages.
The great thing about this is even if someone opts in at 3:00 am, the autoreponder will do its job. Another benefit of an autoreponder is your email messages are building the know, like and trust factor with your audience, on auto-pilot.
To me, an autoresponder is like having an employee that you don’t have to pay, who works 24/7, 365.
Upload Your Lead Magnet
The setup of your email service provider should also include uploading your lead magnet. If the lead magnet is a video or audio file, or provide a link to the file in your first autoresponder message.
If your lead magnet is a pdf, you can upload the file and store it on the email service providers server. Include the link to your lead magnet in your first autoresponder message.
If your lead magnet is a video or audio file, upload the file to your email service provider if they allow that type of content. If not, you can use another storage location such as YouTube, Amazon’s S3, DropBox, etc. The link to access the files, can then be included in your first autoresponder message.
Create a Broadcast Message
You can also set up your email service provider to send broadcast messages. A broadcast message differs from an autoreponder in that these messages are not part of a series. They are one off messages. Think of this as your weekly email message.
Once your email service provider is setup, most of your time will be spent using the broadcast message feature. I really like ConvertKit’s broadcast message feature because it’s easy to use and has virtually no learning curve. It’s very similar to writing a regular email message. The difference is you can schedule the message to be sent on a specific date and at a specific time.
By using this feature, you can write and schedule several email messages for your subscribers for next 1-2 months. That’s what I call Batching Like a Boss!
You made it through this blog post! I know this sounds like a lot of steps, but you can set up your email service provider in about an hour. Remember, you only have to do most of these steps, one (1) time. Click here to set up your free ConvertKit account so you can start building your email list.
Be consistent with your weekly email messages and make sure you are providing great content to your audience. The time invested in setting up your email system will pay off in a huge way.