Today? You start building your email list

The only sustainable way to build an audience is through your own email list.

You shouldn’t build an audience on Twitter or Instagram.

You shouldn’t rely on your LinkedIn connections.

Don’t even think about relying on Facebook to build an audience of your fans.

Companies and applications change hands all the time. Features are added and removed from apps every day. Facebook and their family of apps went down today.

That’s an alarming experience. What if you’ve spent a year or three building up your audience on Facebook — and now you can’t reach them?

When you build your audience on someone else’s platform — like Instagram, Medium, Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Youtube… — you’re taking an unnecessary risk because you don’t control your connections on that platform.

The platform controls those connections.

What happens when the platform goes down? Gets acquired? Shut down? (hello, vine!)


You’ve lost your audience.

With email, it’s a completely different experience.

With email, you are the owner of the list of your fans, followers, audience: your subscribers. These are the people who have said: “I want to hear from you!”

If you decide to switch email platforms, all you need to do is mash the big ol’ EXPORT MY SUBSCRIBERS button, and you’ll get a nice and tidy export of your subscribers.

After that, it’s as easy as importing your list to your new platform of choice.

Then, continue to send your emails.

You can’t do that with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

You can with email marketing.

With email marketing, you own your audience and connections.

How should you get started with building your email list?


Buttondown is:

The easiest way to run your newsletter


If you just want a place where you can copy and paste some Markdown or HTML, send it to a bunch of people, and be on your merry way, confident that it looks good and nothing explodes — this is the solution for you

Buttondown is an excellent product. The founder and I had a call to talk about email and Buttondown. It was terrific to connect with someone who is passionate about a frictionless, pleasant email experience.

I’m recommending Buttondown to you today because I believe it is the easiest way for you to get started with email marketing. And I believe that cultivating a skill in email marketing is one of the most impactful and important things you can do for your business and your marketing.

The email marketing skills you start cultivating today will pay off for you and your business 1, 3, and 5+ years down the line.

Your Homework: Sign up for Buttondown!

If you’ve been waiting to get started with email marketing, get started today.

Buttondown is free (and also has a $29/mo professional plan). The free plan is great to get you started.

Step 1: Sign up for Buttondown

Go over to their website and sign up.

Step 2: Set up your newsletter

Go through Buttondown’s onboarding. Configure the settings for your email newsletter: your name, the newsletter name, and other details.

Step 3: Invite your friends!

Send a personal message to 10 of your friends, colleagues, or connections on social media.

Ask each person if they’d like to be on your new newsletter.

If they say yes, send them a link to a page with your Buttondown Email Form so your subscriber can sign up for your newsletter.

Step 4: Make the clackety clack noise

Focus on writing some text and sending it to people. Forget about complex automation or workflows.

Here’s a template you can copy, customize, and send (I recommend replacing the ‘THING, THING, and THING’ with your topic(s) of choice) to invite your friends along for the journey.

Heya! I’m writing a short, weekly letter about THING, THING, and THING. Would you like to read it when I send it out? Having you as a reader would mean the world to me.

If you don’t want to receive it, that’s fine, just hit reply and let me know.

If you’d like to get my weekly letter, just hit reply and say “Heck yeah! What next?”

Now, go and sign up for