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How to Choose the Best Email Marketing Tool for Your Business

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Email marketing is so commonplace these days that thinking it's 'dead' and not worth trying is a common misconception. In fact, the idea that email marketing is dying out, and that your choice of email marketing software doesn't really matter are two of the biggest myths in the marketing world today.


The fact is that, when done right, email marketing can be extremely useful for your brand and should never be overlooked. And, the software and platform that you're using to send out your marketing emails and newsletters really does matter. You should find an option that works well for your brand and offers all the features that you need. So, what should you be looking for in an email marketing program?

#1. Ease of Use:

The last thing that you want is to be spending hours and hours creating marketing emails on a platform that's really tricky to use. Unless you're a coding wizard, you'll want to opt for something that allows you to easily create marketing emails that stand out from the crowd, whether it's a drag-and-drop option or easy email templates that you can customize to fit your brand and your message.

#2. Great Reviews:

Secondly, look for a platform that's been tried and tested by other users such as yourself. It's a good idea to ask your business contacts if they have any recommendations; ask what they are using right now and whether they think it is worth you investing in, or if they have used a program in the past that they think would be suitable for your needs. Use the internet to your advantage, too – you can find several third-party review sites where you'll find honest descriptions of various services. You can also read through informational articles from sites like PieSync comparing different programs such as Mailchimp vs. Sendgrid to get a better idea of what's going to work for you.

#3. Price:

Price will play an important factor in your choice as you'll need to find a program that fits your budget, but don't let it all boil down to how much you're going to be paying. It's always better to spend all of your budget or even go over a little bit for the right platform that's going to get you the results that you want, rather than opting for the cheapest version just to save money and risking spending more in the long term to fix mistakes and problems.

#4. Automation:

Last but not least, consider the amount of manual work that you will actually have to do in order to get your emails created and sent out to the right people. The best email marketing programs offer tools for automating important tasks such as filtering through emails and creating a list, automatic email re-sending to people who didn't open it the first time, and removing the emails of people who've requested to be taken off the list. It's a good idea to also find a tool that can easily sync up to other programs that you use for CRM and more.

Not all email marketing programs are created equally, so take some time to research and determine which is the best choice for your brand.

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Business

How Postpartum Mesh Underwear Started My Entrepreneurial Journey

"Steal the mesh underwear you get from the hospital," a friend said upon learning I was pregnant with my first daughter.


It was the single best piece of advice I received before giving birth in December 2013. My best friend delivered her daughter eight months previously, and she was the first to pass along this shared code among new moms: you'll need mesh underwear for your at-home postpartum recovery, and you can't find them anywhere for purchase. End result: steal them. And tell your friends.

My delivery and subsequent recovery were not easy. To my unexpected surprise, after almost 24 hours of labor, I had an emergency C-section. Thankfully, my daughter was healthy; however, my recovery was quite a journey. The shock to my system caused my bloated and swollen body to need weeks of recovery time. Luckily, I had trusted my friend and followed her instructions: I had stolen some mesh underwear from the hospital to bring home with me.

Unfortunately, I needed those disposable underwear for much longer than I anticipated and quickly ran out. As I still wasn't quite mobile, my mother went to the store to find more underwear for me. Unfortunately, she couldn't find them anywhere and ended up buying me oversized granny panties. Sure, they were big enough, but I had to cut the waistband for comfort.

I eventually recovered from my C-section, survived those first few sleepless months, and returned to work. At the time, I was working for a Fortune 100 company and happily contributing to the corporate world. But becoming a new mom brought with it an internal struggle and search for something “more" out of my life--a desire to have a bigger impact. A flashback to my friend's golden piece of advice got me thinking: Why aren't mesh underwear readily available for women in recovery? What if I could make the magical mesh underwear available to new moms everywhere? Did I know much about designing, selling, or marketing clothing? Not really. But I also didn't know much about motherhood when I started that journey, either, and that seemed to be working out well. And so, Brief Transitions was born.

My quest began. With my manufacturing and engineering background I naively thought, It's one product. How hard could it be? While it may not have been “hard," it definitely took a lot of work. I slowly started to do some research on the possibilities. What would it take to start a company and bring these underwear to market? How are they made and what type of manufacturer do I need? With each step forward I learned a little more--I spoke with suppliers, researched materials, and experimented with packaging. I started to really believe that I was meant to bring these underwear to other moms in need.

Then I realized that I needed to learn more about the online business and ecommerce world as well. Google was my new best friend. On my one hour commute (each way), I listened to a lot of podcasts to learn about topics I wasn't familiar with--how to setup a website, social media platforms, email marketing, etc. I worked in the evenings and inbetween business trips to plan what I called Execution Phase. In 2016, I had a website with a Shopify cart up and running. I also delivered my second daughter via C-section (and handily also supplied myself with all the mesh underwear I needed).

They say, “If you build it, they will come." But I've learned that the saying should really go more like this: “If you build it, and tell everyone about it, they might come." I had a 3-month-old, an almost 3 year old and my business was up and running. I had an occasional sale; however, my processes were extremely manual and having a day job while trying to ship product out proved to be challenging. I was manually processing and filling orders and then going to the post office on Saturday mornings to ship to customers. I eventually decided to go where the moms shop...hello, Amazon Prime! I started to research what I needed to do to list products with Amazon and the benefits of Amazon fulfillment (hint: they take care of it for you).

Fast forward to 2018...

While I started to build this side business and saw a potential for it to grow way beyond my expectations, my corporate job became more demanding with respect to travel and time away from home. I was on the road 70% of the time during first quarter 2018. My normally “go with the flow" 4-year-old started to cry every time I left for a trip and asked why I wasn't home for bedtime. That was a low point for me and even though bedtime with young kids has its own challenges, I realized I didn't want to miss out on this time in their lives. My desire for more scheduling flexibility and less corporate travel time pushed me to work the nights and weekends needed to build and scale my side hustle to a full-time business. If anyone tries to tell you it's “easy" to build “passive" income, don't believe them. Starting and building a business takes a lot of grit, hustle and hard work. After months of agonizing, changing my mind, and wondering if I should really leave my job (and a steady paycheck!), I ultimately left my corporate job in April 2018 to pursue Brief Transitions full-time.

In building Brief Transitions, I reached out to like-minded women to see if they were experiencing similar challenges to my own--balancing creating and building a business while raising children--and I realized that many women are on the quest for flexible, meaningful work. I realized that we can advance the movement of female entrepreneurs by leveraging community to inspire, empower, and connect these trailblazers. For that reason, I recently launched a new project, The Transitions Collective, a platform for connecting community-driven women entrepreneurs.

As is the case with many entrepreneurs, I find myself working on multiple projects at a time. I am now working on a members-only community for The Transitions Collective that will provide access to experts and resources for women who want to leave corporate and work in their business full-time. Connecting and supporting women in this movement makes us a force in the future of work. At the same time, I had my most profitable sales quarter to date and best of all, I am able to drop my daughter off at school in the morning.

Mesh underwear started me on a journey much bigger than I ever imagined. They sparked an idea, ignited a passion, and drove me to find fulfillment in a different type of work. That stolen underwear was just the beginning.