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Email campaigns

for high impact startups

I shouldn't know a thing about email, startups, or marketing.

In fact, I never dreamed of working in private industry.

Let alone running my own business.

Because after 6 years of public policy research, the teachings of Marshall McLuhan & Joseph Turow, and growing up during the current events of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina...

I wanted to devote my life to public service, driven by a famous quote by Margaret Mead...

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

So imagine my surprise when I joined the 5th largest city in Washington state...and built a 1,386 email list.


How Emergency Management Taught Me Everything I Know About
Startups & Marketing

It was hot, sweltering day in August 2013, when I realized that everything I was doing was wrong.

After a year of hard work, I had just gotten promoted - now leading all communications & outreach for emergency management -

But sitting at a farmer's market, handing out water bottles, and asking random strangers whether they had built their emergency kit yet, didn't feel impactful.

And I couldn't help but wonder...

“Is this how my life is going to be for the next 32 years?”
Yes, that is actually me, handing out water bottles at a farmer's market.

Yes, that is actually me, handing out water bottles at a farmer's market.

I had 3/4 of a staff person; 135,000 citizens to reach; 50 hours in a week; and preferred not to spend all of my free time away from my husband. 

So with only determination and a free Mailchimp account, I slowly focused our efforts into building an email list.

We had zero opt-in forms, zero control over our website presence, and a printed spreadsheet that we took to events...

But surprisingly, those water bottles turned out to be some pretty convincing lead magnets. 

But then the deadliest mudslide
in U.S. history happened

Actual view of the hill side that gave way near State Route 530 in Oso, WA. Photo by  Washington State Department of Transportation on Flickr

Actual view of the hill side that gave way near State Route 530 in Oso, WA. Photo by Washington State Department of Transportation on Flickr

My work came to a grinding halt when a mudslide covered an entire town in northwestern Washington...and killed 43 people.  

Meaning every emergency manager in the region - myself included - fled to Snohomish County to assist. 

So imagine my surprise when I found myself responding to a disaster was no different than managing developers during the deployment of production-ready code at midnight...

(Which I had done ever so briefly for a tiny Kansas-City based social media scheduling startup in 2011.)

It was in that moment that I realized that it didn't matter whether you were trying to build a business or rebuild a community...

Because all that matters is resourcefulness

After I finished my Oso deployment, I came back with a new perspective on my email list...and a drive to build it into something bigger.  

That list eventually grew to 1,368, and became the cornerstone of how I launched a digital public service training, 2 training programs, and a 40+ volunteers working for me.

But that growth meant responsibility and management, and I was soon back to working weekends and evenings.

And thanks to email, I knew I could test out this crazy idea of going out on my own and grow my business into one that prioritized serving others above anything else - even profits.

A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.
— -Henry Ford

Now I'm on a mission to make sure every startup is everything they can get out of their email lists

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I've worked with startups across 3 different continents to expand their impact with email, and my favorites include...

  • Applying the concept of endowed progress in an onboarding sequence for a video collaboration app

  • Scoring more discovery calls for a cloud-based business intelligence dashboard tool

  • Finding the "'Aha!' moment" for an Instagram-based brand influencer service

Whether you're about to launch, nurture leads, or increase conversions, I'd love to hear from you.  

Can't wait to help you change the world,

Sophia :)

P.S. Made it this far? I hope you'll join me as I send the latest news on email, startups, and more every Wednesday morning, right to your inbox.