Last week I became aware that I was missing out on some important emails because they were being sent to an email address that I had no control over.
These were emails being sent to me from a fellow board member of one of the organizations I work with. He was sending important and private board related info to my former work email.
Now I’m not a job hopper, so I don’t have this problem on a regular basis.
But in 2011, I left the group of radio stations I spent 8+ years with and joined a website development firm. Then in April, I returned to the radio business with a different group of radio stations.
I decided it was important to update as many people as possible about where I was and what was the best way to reach me. You can do this too. You just need a few things:
- A personal, permanent email account that you control.
- A free Mail Chimp account.
- Time and Planning
Before you leave a job, you need to prepare.
Several years ago, I started using Google Apps and bought a couple of domains including ScLoHo.com and ScLoHo.net.
ScLoHo.net is my email domain that I control. It is on the Google Gmail platform, so if you don’t want to mess with your own domain, I recommend setting up a permanent Gmail account.
Some of use your employer assigned email address for personal business along with work related email. STOP THAT. Your employer owns that email address and all the emails that are sent and received at that email address, not you.
Perhaps you use an email address that is provided by your internet service provider such as Comcast or Verizon. I urge you to switch to Gmail too. In my part of the country, a lot of folks had their email address change when Frontier came to town and took over Verizon.
The other question is why Gmail over Yahoo, Hotmail, Live, or AOL?
The main reason is stability. Google has the financial stability that AOL and Yahoo don’t have. And Hotmail and Live are Microsoft versions of the same free email. I’m simply a fan of Google over Microsoft when it comes to free email providers.
Once you have a Gmail account (or Google Apps Gmail like I do), then you are ready to start importing your contacts from other email accounts.
My last two employers used Microsoft Outlook as the email client interface. You should be able to export your email and or your email contacts as a file that you can then import into your Gmail account.
I started doing this years ago as a backup of my contacts.
Saturday, when I decided to do this project, there were over 2,000 email addresses in my Gmail account. I knew that some of them were no longer valid and I wanted to clean those out of my Gmail contact list and this project was going to help with that task too.
Now you also need to sign up with Mail Chimp, which you can do by visiting their homepage: http://mailchimp.com/ .
Mail Chimp has a free plan, which is perfect for this project.
If you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month absolutely free. There’s no expiring trial, contract, or credit card required.
When I uploaded my 2,000+ email contacts, Mail Chimp cut the list down to 1500, due to over 500 duplicate email addresses, so I stayed under the 2K limit.
Sidebar: Why can’t I just send everyone an email from my new email address instead of using MailChimp? Professionalism and Spam are the two main reasons. If you try and send an email to a large number of people at once, your email could get flagged as spam and that defeats the purpose of what you are trying to do. You also want this to look as professional as possible and email service providers such as Mail Chimp, make this possible.
Another reason I like Mail Chimp is the tracking feature that tells me how many of the emails bounced, and there were even a few folks who used the unsubscribe button.
Because this was the first and perhaps only time I use Mail Chimp to send an email like this, I had a high percentage of bad email addresses that bounced, nearly 300. I used this list to clean up my Gmail contacts. As of noon Sunday, 25 hours after I sent the email, 5 people unsubscribed, so I did the honorable thing and removed them from my Gmails contacts too.
Another number as of noon Sunday, 20% of the recipients opened the email, which will go up as the work week starts. A typical email marketing campaign gets an open rate of 1 to 5%, but this is not a typical email marketing campaign.
Mail Chimp also has another cool feature, social sharing, which allowed me to post a Twitter update and Facebook update.
Because I am active on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, I included links in the email to my profiles on those platforms so we could connect via Social Media too. Heck, I even gave my phone number.
I received multiple responses from friends and contacts including some who were unaware of the job changes and were grateful for the email.
Let’s wrap this up with a link to the email which you can check for yourself: http://bit.ly/ScLoHoEMAIL