1. What Is A Temporary Email Service?
The business of email is more than the delivery of messages — it’s also about managing email. We have a great setup here at Einstein, but we need to get better at managing our email traffic. We are not alone in this: large and medium-sized companies like Boeing and Walmart both use temp mail services to keep their employees better organized and more productive over the long term.
But what sort of service do we need? At Einstein, we have an internal mailing list that we use to send out emails to our employees, but that is not enough for us — we want to send out emails on a broader scale (and provide them with more information than just their own personal info). I’m looking for suggestions for a service that provides such a broad range of features.
I was thinking about using MailChimp or Constant Contact as examples of services that could be useful for this sort of thing, but nothing really jumped out at me. But now that I think about it, I see that all sorts of companies do this kind of thing: some are small startups (like us) who may or may not have first-mover advantage; others are larger companies (like an airline) which already have a good infrastructure and just need something they can use at scale (at least until they can build out something new).
So, what would be an example of such a service? Not necessarily in terms of price, but should it be open source? Is there anything special you can point me towards?
2. Where Can You Find Temporary Email Services?
There are many different email services out there. And there are many different types of email.
Some people may find this confusing and they may think that they need to learn which is the best one for their needs. It’s a common feeling, I know, but when you compare dozens of providers it becomes very clear that the best one is the one you don’t choose.
In our experience over the last few years we’ve found that most people make a very good choice about where to send their emails. It’s not just because every email service has its own way of doing things, but because it’s very easy to use. In fact, with a few exceptions, if you want to change your provider or upgrade your service it’s pretty quick and easy to do.
We recently did a survey looking at which services were used the most by readers (we only looked at those who responded). Here are the results:
The results here make sense; after all, even if you have a high ROI email service would still make sense to opt for if you want to get better results than what you get with our other clients:
3. Why Use Them?
A few years back, I wrote a post about how I was using a temporary mail service (the topic of the post can be found here) and how it was affecting my productivity. It was not just an annoyance, but because it caused me to spend a large amount of time actively looking for ways to get out of using it.
It occurred to me that while there are great temporary mail services out there, they don’t all do good things for you; they do bad things too. The reason this is important is because if we’re going to dig into the technology stack we need to understand the trade-offs involved. In short, if you want something badly enough, then you need to pay for it. So when I think about the ideal way for me to use a temporary mail service, I think more like this:
- I want something that helps me do my job more effectively
- I want something that will help me generate income (or help me build a business)
- I want something that generates an abundance of value for my time, money and efforts (with minimal effort)
So how do I organize my list? Here are some tips:
1. Every list should have at least one thing on it: something that I want badly enough that it would be worth spending someone’s time finding out how to do it. The worst possible lists would be ones that could get on my hard drive while I’m working on other stuff and “poof” away without being found or replaced. Here are some examples:
2. If your list contains only things you don’t like (e.g., “meh”), then try segmenting them by dislike level or by what people might find objectionable about them: This way you can build up your list in stages and reflectively determine whether these things are worth your time and effort (in terms of getting rid of). For example: If people don’t like anything about a mailing list template — which is understandable since they probably didn’t create it themselves — then there is no point in building anything else unless you can change their minds with better options in future editions of the template or convince them otherwise with convincing arguments and/or sales copy. If you have liked everything so far except one thing — or even all but one thing — then experiment with different variations until your tastes have been surveyed adequately enough
4. Do You Need An Email Account?
The end of the road for temp email is not so much the lack of vanity, but rather its diminishing utility. There are companies that provide temporary email accounts, but they are getting less and less common as time goes on.
The idea behind them was to provide a space to “test market” a potential product before bringing it to production. They may cost up to $50/mo (plus $0 commission), but they have all the features of a standard email account at a reduced price. Depending on your needs, they may be worth considering if you have limited budget (or won’t be able to afford one).
If you do decide to try one out, it’s worth noting that some services like Mailbox offer many more features than just an email account; you can also use them for self-hosted services, such as hosting your own domain and domains for service providers.
5. How Can They Be Used For Marketing?
I’m not much of a believer in using temporary mail services for marketing. When you can just as easily do it yourself, why bother? Why not use your own domain and clones to get the same effect? What are some ways they can be used for marketing?
The idea is that you have customers who need to send out messages and they click a link or type in an email address into some form on your site, and then you receive a message saying “Your message has been sent”.
You now have a bunch of people using your service who don’t know why their messages were sent or where to find them.
In this example, there are two significant problems: 1) The message was sent from somewhere else, but we don’t know who from (or even what the sender is) 2) No one knows where to find their message. If I had an acute sense of urgency to get my message out there I would have done it myself.
6. Conclusion and Next Steps
Recently, I’ve been looking at the various webmail systems that are currently in use and am trying to figure out which of them will be around for the long term.
I’m starting with Google Apps as it has a good track record and is pretty well-known. Gmail is probably one of the most famous webmail systems out there, but I think it has problems (particularly on mobile) and doesn’t seem to be as popular as it was when I started using it a few years ago. I find myself looking at the Gmail website (which isn’t very useful), but also doing some basic research into how other webmail systems work and what they do better than Gmail does.
I don’t have any burning need to use any one system right now, but I do want to understand what type of mail service we are going to need in 2022; where exactly we can get it from; whether there will be options or not; and what kind of email experience we might want in that future world.