#61: Choosing the Right Email Marketing Tool

Is Mailchimp for chumps? Hey, whatever email marketing service you choose, there are pros and cons. And certain services are appropriate for health coaches at different seasons of their business. So which is right for YOU? Tune in and find out.

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Hello health coaches! You know we all have very different businesses, we have very different work setups, but there is one marketing tool that all of us need and that’s an email marketing service. Now I know some of you may just be using Gmail or Yahoo, like your normal email and you’re like what are you talking about Michelle? What are you, what do you mean email marketing service? And then I know there’s lots of you using MailChimp and yet there are hundreds of different options to choose from. So here’s the thing, whatever email service you choose, whatever you end up going with, there are always going to be pros and cons. Like there is no one perfect solution. And what I’ve kind of noticed through the years with myself and with all of you is that certain email services seem to be a little more appropriate for health coaches at different seasons of our business.

Do you know what I mean by that? Like when you’re first starting out versus when you’re doing something really big and complicated with your business. So, which is right for you and what should you choose, especially if you are starting out, but you’re planning to grow. Oh my goodness. I’m going to share my experience with you today with several different tools so that you don’t have to suffer through the trial and error yourself. My name’s Michelle, by the way, I have been a health coach with my own private practice for the past 10 years. I’ve used a lot of different email services in that time, and I act as a mentor for my fellow health coaches. If and when you are a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, you’ll see me in New York curriculum. They’re talking about marketing. Now, I know some of you have already graduated. You know who I am, you’re regulars around here. I just say that for the newbies. So welcome.

Anyone who’s listening for the first time. Now, today’s topic came from Alana and she asked in our group, what are your go-to newsletters, service providers? Looking into MailChimp and I’m curious what other decent ones are out there? Which one’s your favorite and why?

Uh, you know what Alana, you’re not alone. I’ve recently talked about this topic on my Instagram account. We’re just talking about what service does everybody use and a lot of people are saying that yes, they would like to learn more about choosing the right email service. So boom, we are doing it today. And by the way, you guys, Instagram is one of my favorite places to hang out on social media. So if you aren’t already, please follow me at health coach power community. So got any questions as we go along.

If you’re here with me live, go ahead and put those in the comments. I’d like to hear your experiences as well. I’m going to go through the these. Let’s see. I’m going to go through these in the order that I have used them in my business. Okay, so I’m just going to take you through a little journey through my own 10 years as an entrepreneur. When I started out ages ago, I started out using constant contact. I don’t know if you’ve heard of them. They’re still around. I think. I don’t hear about them very much anymore, but back then they were a major player in the email marketing space, so I used Constant Contact for a while. I found that their technology just wasn’t keeping up as things were changing and evolving. Now I can’t speak to what the service is like these days, but I have seen a falloff on how many people are using Constant Contact.

Even when I just get emails from other people. I just noticed that it doesn’t really seem to be the industry standard anymore, so I don’t want to dissuade you. I don’t have anything terrible to say about constant contact because I haven’t been a subscriber or a member or whatever of theirs for a very long time. But if you hear that name floating around, just know that that one has kind of fallen off and you want to be careful about getting involved with that company because anytime you’re using like any kind of online tool, I am a huge fan of going with the industry standard, especially when you’re new, especially when you don’t have like an assistant or a team of any sort to help you out. And here’s why. If you run into a problem and you just can’t figure out how to do something and you’re using some obscure or less popular system, you can’t really go to Google and type in your problem and find the answer because there’s just not that many people out there who are having that problem and who are writing about how to solve it.

However, when you’re using more of an industry standard tool, it’s very easy. You can just go onto YouTube or go into Google and just say, how do I do this in MailChimp? And you’re going to probably get like three or four videos showing you exactly how to do that because it is sort of the industry standard. So, let’s talk about MailChimp next. A lot of health coaches, myself included, love MailChimp because it’s free. It’s free for the first, I want to say 2000 subscribers to your mailing list and I know when you’re starting out you’re like, Holy Crap Michelle, 2000 I’m never going to have 2000 people on my list. Well stick with me and you will, but it will take you probably a little while to get there and in the meantime you don’t have to pay for the service at all, which sounds amazing.

And to my knowledge they’re one of the few companies that do that, I think it’s brilliant on their part. Now, aside from the fact of it being free, I think MailChimp is decently easy to use. It’s user friendly. I mean when you go ahead and you hit send on an email, you get this monkey hand that shoots up and tells you that you’re awesome. I mean it has a really nice feeling it, it doesn’t feel corporate or stiff like some of the other services out there. So, I do love that about MailChimp. I love that it’s an industry standard. You can find all the help that you need. And I love that it’s free. Now, the downside to it being free is that they don’t offer any kind of customer support. I mean, they got all kinds of articles online and yes you can Google anything, but to actually talk to somebody from MailChimp is not part of the deal.

You know what I mean? So if you struggle with technology, you may actually be better off paying for a service where you can chat live with a support team member, or at least get email support of some kind, or maybe even somebody on the phone. Oh my God, can you imagine? So that’s sort of the downside. When you’re not paying for something, you’re not paying for it. So, the support’s just not going to be there. What else do I have to say about MailChimp? Well, it’s great if your email is pretty basic. If you’re sending a weekly or a monthly email out to your list, and that’s pretty much all you’re doing. No problem. Where it starts getting a little more complicated is if you’re offering, I don’t know, several different opt in lead magnet freebies, webinars, different things like that, and you got people coming in and you’re going to have an automated welcome sequence for each one of them and then somehow you got to get everybody onto one mailing list in the end so that you can send your monthly or weekly newsletter to them.

Mailchimp doesn’t do super great with that. Yes, you can make it work. I know coaches who make it work, they are going to get their money’s worth out of that free MailChimp account no matter what. Right, and there are ways to handle it, but it’s a little bit clunky. Mailchimp also requires you to kind of create a new, a new list, I forget what they call it, within the system that basically a new list for every time you’re having somebody opt in. So if someone’s opting in to like a webinar and then this other person’s going to complete a form to download your lead magnet, you would have to have those people on two different lists and then maybe they’re also on your main list. And so that person’s going to count three times. They count as three people towards 2000 hear what I’m saying?

So you constantly have to be combining and cleaning up your lists so that you’re not double counting your members. That’s kind of not a problem if you only have like 102 hundred people on your list, but as you grow and as you start paying for the service, well you don’t want to start paying for the next level of service if the same people are on your list to three, four times. So that’s just something to be aware of. Now I think MailChimp is pretty great place to start when you are just starting out because it’s going to let you figure out the basics for free. It’s going to be pretty user friendly. And I see most coaches starting here. Is it perfect for everybody? No. And I think it’s either you are so not tech savvy that you require the support of a paid service.

Or if you are more tech savvy and you are comfortable using these tools already and perhaps comfortable with a more advanced tool, I would probably skip MailChimp because you’re not going to be hung up on all those beginner steps and go with the service that has legs to grow with you a little bit more like we’re going to talk about in the in a moment. But most health coaches that I see, you’re in the middle. You could probably figure it out yourself and it’s pretty awesome if you can do it for free. So I started using MailChimp when I left constant contact, and this was still back in the first couple years of my business. I was probably underneath that $2,000 mark- not $2,000, 2000 subscriber mark, I don’t recall. Um, but it worked well for me for a couple of years and I’ll tell you when it stopped working for me, I was starting to get a little fancier in my marketing.

So I was holding webinars, I was holding lots of events and I loved when I would get an email from somebody else, another marketer, and maybe I signed up for their webinar and at the bottom maybe you’ve seen this, it would say not interested in this offer. Click here, you won’t be taken off my mailing list but you won’t hear about this again, and I thought, oh my God, that’s brilliant because sometimes somebody signs up for your Webinar but they don’t want to continue hearing about it and then they end up unsubscribing from your entire mailing list if you’re using MailChimp. And I thought, Huh, what if I used a smarter system who could say like click here and you’re just going to be taken off this sort of communication but you’re going to stay on my list. I thought that was very intriguing and so I started researching what options were out there and there are some very comprehensive email services out there.

We’ll get to those in a second. But for where I was at in my business and for where a lot of health coaches are, I think convert kit is a really great option. Convert Kit is not as complicated as some of the others and it’s pretty user friendly like MailChimp and they have lots of support so you can live chat with someone, you can get someone to go into your account. I have had people from Convert Kit like say, all right, let me just go into your account and fix that for you. And I’m like, thank you baby Jesus. You know, so convert kit like won me over with their customer service and because they had that higher functionality with Convert Kit, everybody’s on the same list, right? Not like MailChimp or you have all different lists kind of going on, but everybody gets tagged. So one, let’s say you’re on my mailing list, I’m going to have you tagged a where you signed up.

How did, how did you get onto my list? That’s going to be a tag. If you signed up for my Webinar, that’s going to be a tag. If you told me you never want to hear about such and such, again, that’s going to be a tag so I can create a tag for whatever I want. Let’s say you’re a member of Healthy Profit University, which is my online course. Well that’s going to be a tag. So every time I send an email I can just choose the people with the tags. That makes sense. So I’m much smarter and much more targeted with my communications. That’s what won me over about convert kit. I feel like email marketing has matured in a lot of ways. 10 years ago people didn’t mind if they got like 20 different emails inviting them to the same thing that they already signed up for.

But these days if I send an invitation to you, it’s because I know you didn’t already sign up smart. Right. Okay. So that’s Convert Kit and I do have an affiliate link for them. By the way, I’m going to try to drop that into the comments right here. Uh, nope. I’m going to do it later. I can’t remember what it is right now. But if you use Convert Kit, let them know I sent you. Okay. So obviously using convert kit very happily for a while and then my marketing got even more fancy, cause I grew because I was going over that six figure mark because I was expanding. I have assistants, I have other people working with me. Right? And when you get to a next stage of your business, you might need a tool that’s even more robust.

Convert Kit is sort of getting there. They keep adding new future features. Oh, I forgot to mention with Convert Kit they also help you build landing pages. So it’s not just about emails, it’s also about landing pages where people can go to opt in for your freebies. They’ve been doing that a long time. Mailchimp recently started doing that. But um, anyway, you want to check out all the different features that come with the service. Anyway, my business was getting a little more complicated and now I needed something called funnels. You guys have probably heard this word tossed around, ‘funnels’. And what’s a funnel? A funnel is when somebody enters your world, let’s say it’s through some sort of free pdf download or something, and then from there they’re going to get funneled into this series of emails and if they take this option, they’re going to get these emails and if they take that option, they’re going to get those emails and it’s all funneling down towards making a sale.

So it gets a little complicated. There’s lots of, if then statements, if they clicked on this, if they open that, if they showed up for this, if they didn’t show up. So, it’s definitely more complicated, even smarter than something like MailChimp or Convert Kit. And when I got to that point in my business, I realized that I was going to have to change yet again and the two options available to me at the time based on what I was doing was Active Campaign and Infusionsoft. So you may have heard about Infusionsoft. Most people have not heard about Active Campaign. That’s what I use now, man. Are we just nerding out today or what? Anyway, I like Active Campaign a great deal. It does what I need it to do. I don’t find it to be particularly user friendly. There’s no like monkey telling me that I did a good job when I send an email.

There’s no humor to it, but it’s a very robust tool. The support is very good. It’s sort of like that next level up professional wise and I’m having a good experience with it. However, if I didn’t need the extra features, I probably wouldn’t be using it. What else is great about active campaign? Uh, you know, they got a whole bunch of features I don’t even use, but it’s not that expensive. It’s around the same price point as using maybe Convert Kit. And so I don’t feel like I had to jump into this next level of payment to get the extra features and that was quite important for me as compared to Infusionsoft. You’ve probably seen people using Infusionsoft, you know, you go to unsubscribe sometimes you’ll see what service they’re using. So that’s when I often will see, oh, this person’s using Infusionsoft.

Infusionsoft is very expensive. It costs several thousand dollars. Just to get started with them. A very expensive monthly fee and it is affectionately called Confusionsoft by many. I’ve never personally used it, but I figure anything that that’s, that’s that complicated and that expensive, I’m not going to go anywhere near until I absolutely have to. It too has a lot more features but you kind of just have to wonder is it worth it? Do I need this, can I do it a more simple way, or a more inexpensive way? So that’s how I ended up with Active Campaign. And there was one more that I want to mention because it’s a popular one. Again, if you have any questions about these, just let me know in the comments. The other one I hear a lot about, but I have never used myself is AWeber. Now. Like I said, I’ve never used it myself, so I can’t give a glowing review and I can’t tell you what’s awful about it or anything like that.

But just the gist of what I get from working with coaches who tell me like, oh, I have AWeber. It feels like it’s always a problem. It feels like the conversation is always, I can’t do that in AWeber. Now, is that true? Is that not true? If I heard that once, I wouldn’t even be telling you about it, but I have kind of heard it again and again and again, so I just wanted to put that out there. If you’re considering AWeber, I hope you’re, if you’re using it, I hope your experience has been wonderful. But for me, just from what I’ve heard through the grapevine, I wouldn’t even bother.

Miriam’s saying this is fabulous, thank you. I’m a MailChimp gal myself. All right Miriam, I’m glad you’re having a good experience with MailChimp.

Lisa says, I use active campaign and thinking of going backward because it’s too confusing and I’m a new coach.

I agree with you, Lisa. Active Campaign is confusing. It’s confusing for me and I’ve been doing this for a very long time, so like again, if you don’t need it, don’t confuse yourself with it. And now, I mean again, they have good support and it’s not too terribly expensive. So that would be a reason to stick with it because perhaps as you grow, it does have the ability to take you very far. Now here’s the trick. Take a deep breath. You pick a service, a year passes, another year passes. Hopefully if you listen to me, you’re still in this business. Another year passes, your list grows, your marketing expands and if you’ve been using, let’s say MailChimp, it’s going to be time to move on. At certain point or for me I was using convert kit and the time came I had to move on.

It is a giant pain in the tukas. I’m just telling you right now, it is no fun at all and the more complicated systems you have in place, the more complicated it is to move your business over. For example, when I was using Convert Kit, I had all these great popup boxes all over my website like opt in for this, opt in for that, download this, download that, and it was all working very, very well. And then I changed to active campaign. So, I had to change every single one of those boxes and hook up the emails again with every single one of those boxes and copy and paste all my stuff out of Convert Kit and into Active Campaign. And it is a pain in the neck. So what I’m here to tell you is as soon as you start getting an inkling that you are outgrowing your email service change, don’t wait until it is all so complicated that it’s going to take a team of 20 and going to put, you know, more gray hairs on your head to make the transition better to do it when things are simple.

And that is my best advice for you. All right you guys, let’s move on to some other questions. What do you have for me today? Just tell me in the comments. I’ve got some good ones lined up here.

Jennifer’s saying such great advice. Thank you. Oh, you are so very welcome.

Here’s a question from Francisca. She said, do any of you have a daily method of operation, some kind of a task checklist that you work from daily? I’m feeling overwhelmed with new ideas and shiny objects syndrome, jumping around, doing different tasks every day. Please help.

Well, Francisca, I’m going to say this right off the bat. A lot of the reason that perhaps you and definitely many health coaches have a hard time scheduling their days is because you don’t actually know what to prioritize. And what I mean is if everything is sort of weighted equally in front of you, Oh, I could work on this or I can work on that or I could work on this other thing, then how could you possibly decide?

So it’s really important that you actually know how to prioritize your time. And one way to do that is to put an emphasis on income generating activity. That means maybe instead of, you know, redoing the graphic for your Facebook page, you work on your webinar where you’re going to be selling something. So things that are closest to you making money almost always are going to take priority. And that’s one way to start creating an hierarchy of what’s most important today and what’s like if I get around to it now, I personally use Google calendars and I’m a huge fan of time blocking. You can hear more about that. If you go back to episode number 19 which is called scheduling your time like a boss. When I started time blocking with Google calendar, my world changed. I got became much, much more productive and I recommend it highly.

Alrighty. Here’s another question from, oh this is a good one for Miriam. She said, I have a 30 minute free call. Twice so far people have called wanting to pick my brain to get information and have absolutely no interest in hiring me as their coach. One came right out and said that was all she wanted to do. The other one just wanted to get every answer to all her problems in that 30 minutes. Do I just endure these calls or find a way to swiftly get to the point and cut them off? I usually know within five minutes that they have no interest in coaching.

How many of you just raise your hand, have been on a call like this, you know that it is a complete waste of time and you are just getting picked like all the information picked off you like a bird picking from a bone or something like that.

That was a bad metaphor. You know what I mean? A vulture. A vulture picking off a bone. Okay, so we want to avoid this. It is a waste of your time. It is a waste of their time. If you know this person thinks they’re going to change their health problems with a 30 minute pick your brain session, that’s not actually going to do anything for them and it’s something that was recently discussing with my healthy profit university members. Now I mentioned it earlier, Healthy Profit University is my course for health coaches where I teach you how to turn this sort of crazy nebulous health coaching thing into a real salary and if you want to learn more by the way about turning health coaching into a full time salary, I’m going to direct you to an on demand training that I have available.

It’s at healthcoachpower.com/earn. I’m going to teach you how to earn a real salary as a health coach. But one issue that comes up again and again are these free consultation that go nowhere. So Miriam, here’s what I want to tell you. The first step is pre-screening. First of all, there’s a lot of crazy people out there, so I always pre-screen. Just get rid of the crazies. If I read somebody’s application and I go, ah, I’m done. I’m not getting on the phone, I don’t even reply. Someone has to provide me with an application with answers that make sense, that are coherent and they have to indicate to me that they are ready, willing and able. Otherwise that’s the end of the story. So a pre-screening application makes all the difference. And this is something that we do go into much more detail inside healthy profit university, but you want some very specific questions that they’re going to answer it.

It’s sort of a strategy to weed them out and to give you the information you need to know whether or not this is someone that you want to take the next step with. And you do want to be in that position of making that choice. We are not here like, oh please, please hire me. Oh please, please. Like can we please do a consultation? May I, May I help you? Like that’s not the position you want to be in. Even if you don’t have a roster full of clients, I need you to pretend like you do. And when you interact with someone you have to be like fierce. Like is this someone that I want to spend my precious time with? Because your time is precious. Whether you have a roster full of clients right now or not first, the pre-screening. If yes, they’re a fit, you get them on the phone, you have to own the call.

So Miriam, you can’t be like, oh hey, it’s so nice to meet you. How’s it going? What’s the weather? So what’s going on? Tell me all about it. That’s not it. We’re not here to like chit chat, like girlfriends. You get on the phone and you’re like, here’s what we’re going to do today. A, B, C, how does that sound? That sounds good. Great. I have another call in 30 minutes, so we’re going to stick to this timeline. Is that okay with you? They’re going to agree to that and then you’re going to do exactly what you said. You can have them tell you what their problems are. You’re going to have to tell you what their vision of success looks like. There’s a few other small steps in here. I’m abbreviating and then at the end if you decide that you would like to work with them again, you are owning the process.

You will offer your program and if not, if you’re like, no, this person, they have a problem. I can’t really help them with, they’re not a good fit. This person actually is insane. Whatever it is, you’re going to just direct them in a different path. You’re going to say, Hey, I’ve got a great book for you. I’ll send you the link. Or, Hey, there’s a practitioner, I want you to give a call. I think they’d be a better fit. Here’s the contact information. Goodbye. Okay, so you get to do that at any point, Miriam, you can say goodbye. This is not working. I think you’ll always take the blame yourself. I’m probably not the right fit for you. I probably don’t have what you’re looking for, whatever, and then just point them in the right direction. Get the heck off the phone so that you can reclaim that time.

All right, we got a question here from Sue. Sue says, what if you are building your website with Squarespace? It’s my understanding they have an email distribution list option. Would you advise this route for a Newbie or MailChimp because I’m not at Convert Kit level yet? Probably have 100 folks on my mailing list.

You know Sue, I don’t know everything about Squarespace. I have heard that that’s a feature that they’d started to introduce. I personally get a little weirded out when one service tries to be too many things to me because what if you get all set up with Squarespace and your email services with Squarespace and then like you don’t like the website and you just had to change platforms. Now you’ve got to change your email service too? This is what it’s like to me. You guys remember TV/VCR, combos will happen.

The VCR always broke and then you’re sitting around with this thing with this huge VCR at the bottom that doesn’t work. And this TV at the top, it’s like this big and it’s like a huge waste of space. But you don’t want to get another VCR because then that’s just weird of two VCRs even though this one doesn’t work. And that’s the problem with combos. One of them always stops working and then you kind of screwed and you got to get rid of the whole thing. So I would probably not go with it, but I can’t speak to the specifics because I’m not that familiar with it.

Um, let’s see here. And Melissa replied to Sue. She said, I don’t have 100 on my list yet, but I’m still using Convert Kit because it is a very logical platform and her website is with Squarespace as well. All right, well there was some feedback from Melissa. What else you guys got from me today? Oh my goodness. We are running out of time. Let me do one more question.

Lauren said, how long do you typically wait to follow up with someone who has expressed interest in your health coaching services? I go back and forth between wanting to be proactive when someone is hot and giving and giving them some space and not coming across as desperate. For example, I was messaging back and forth about dates with the potential client on Sunday evening and now it’s Thursday and I’m wanting to get our first call scheduled.

Lauren, you are exactly right. You got to follow up while they’re still hot. There’s no two ways around it. Now. I’m not saying that you have to call eight times and like show up in their driveway. That may be coming across a little too hot and heavy, but definitely don’t wait longer than a day. Definitely don’t wait to call back again after another day. If you haven’t heard back, send an email, I would definitely follow up several times and do it fairly quickly because you know how your mind is. You get interested in something, you’re thinking a lot about it and then oh squirrel and you’re off running in a different direction and this happens to our clients as well.

All right, I want to thank fitness you can live with for this review of the show on iTunes. She or he said this podcast has been a huge discovery for me to gain more knowledge to actually put into play with my health coaching and personal training business. This podcast covers so many bases that many of us struggle with and might feel alone in with running a health coaching business and everything that comes with helping clients. So valuable. Nothing is sugar coated here as well. It is very, very honest and real, which I appreciate. Thank you so much for putting out excellent content. You are so very welcome. And of course there is no sugar coating here, not even some, uh, what’s that stuff? Monk fruit coating or like agave. None of it fitness you can live with. Please send your mailing address to support@healthcoachpower.com and mention episode number 61 because we have a little gift for you and for all of you coaches listening, your thoughts and feedback. Whew, they mean the world to me.

If you find this show useful, please head over to iTunes, leave a star rating and a written review and Hay and never know. I might read yours on the air next week to keep asking great questions. I will do my best to keep answering them. Signing off for now. I’ll see you next week.