Email Peeps #13: Simon Harper
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve been married for ten years and have two kids, Faith (six) and Noah (four).
I started my business fifteen years ago, and I’m a freelancer, solopreneur or company of one, lol! (Self-employed?)
My focus is building eCommerce websites using WordPress, and as a Shopify Partner I also consult on Shopify websites. Email marketing has played a significant role in my business, especially over the last ten years.
As well as creating campaigns, strategies and audits, I deliver training and workshops and have spoken about how musicians can use Mailchimp at Ireland’s biggest one-day music conference.
Fun Fact, I was the first Mailchimp Partner in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
I am also a Klaviyo Partner, but I am platform agnostic.
What’s your favorite email marketing hack, tip, or trick?
My “Top Tip” – Test, test, test!
Whether it be how things look in Outlook (roll on 2025), your spelling, punctuation and grammar (praise Grammarly, lol!), test everything.
Double-check your links and ensure your email design and content are as accessible and inclusive as possible.
Making mistakes is fine, but if you keep making the same ones, you aren’t learning and improving.
What is your advice for email peeps entering the workforce in 2023?
I have two pieces of advice.
One – We are in the early days of mainstream AI which dominates the media (and social media) headlines. There are some fantastic tools and more terrible integrations that include AI for the sake of it.
The buzz around AI can be inspiring and overwhelming. Will some positions suffer? What roles will suffer? Time will tell.
Email peeps entering the workforce should not fear AI but should not ignore it. Otherwise, you will get left behind (to an extent).
Two – Get involved in the Email Community. There are so many communities out there on Twitter, Slack and LinkedIn. EmailGeeks is the biggest.
Deciding to get involved more actively in the email community by contributing, helping and asking for help has made me a better email marketer and opened opportunities for me. I’ve made new friends along the way.
Don’t sit in a silo, especially if you are “in-house”. Getting involved with the email community is so rewarding, educational and insightful.
What’s in your email marketing toolbox?
- Macbook Air M1
- iPad M1 10.2”
- Mac Mini M1
- Asus PC (custom build)
- Rode Podcaster
- Rode SmartLav+
- Skullcandy headphones
- Logitech C920 HD
- Logitech MX Anywhere (2 & 3)
- Pen & Paper 😉
- Copy AI
- Google Workplace
- VS Code
How do you stay creative, and where do you find inspiration?
I’m lucky to have a creative background and enjoy exploring and learning new things, so staying creative rarely challenges me (but it happens from time to time, mostly when I am tired).
I take inspiration from all around me – conversations with people, colleagues, client projects, and playtime with the kids. In many ways, my kids are my most significant source of inspiration.
What’s your favorite email marketing tool, and why?
Apart from the ESPs (Mailchimp and Klaviyo), I work with; it has to be Parcel!
What Avi, Naomi and Mark are doing is incredible. Even the free version of Parcel (and the free tools that don’t require a Parcel account) enables you to do so much.
In the Mailchimp Partner Slack, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve recommended how Parcel can solve the problem.
Parcel is constantly evolving and providing even more value to the Email Community.
How do you manage work-life balance?
I’m a working dad, so I work around my kids’ schedules, which works out great for us all! Family is the most important thing to me.
I get up early (because the kids do), I work for a bit until breakfast, and the school runs, and then I work between those, and I finish up at 4pm each day to look after the kids until dinner time. I sometimes work at night, but it’s not often or for too long.
The weekends are family time and always packed! They start at the gym (6:30am or before), which is a happy place and great for my mental and physical health.
Lastly, I have separate work and personal phones, and no client gets my personal phone number.