Ok, ok… I’m not even going to keep you in suspense. It’s your email list!
Email has been around for a long time.
At this point, we take it for granted. It’s not novel. It’s not even that interesting.
It’s nowhere near as sexy as social media or paid ads.
But I’m going to suggest that your email list is far more valuable than those other outlets.
This is in NO WAY to suggest that you shouldn’t use social media or paid traffic. You should.
What I am suggesting is that you consider using those to support your email campaigns.
Lets get started!
Social Media vs Email Marketing
The Power of Intention
First of all, there is no doubt that the customers you want are hanging out on social media.
I can confidently say this because… just aboiut everyon eis on some social media somewhere.
But here’s the thing. They’re not necessarily hanging out on social media waiting for you to sell them something.
Even people who like your page aren’t necessarily that interested in having you try to sell them something.
Throttled Organic Reach
At this point, we all are aware that the reason social media networks are free is because WE are the product that’s being sold.
Our personal data is the asset that makes these companies their billions of dollars.
And now that they’ve gathered enough of it, it’s even more profitable for them to use that data to target us for ads.
There’s very little benefit to them in letting you promote your business for free.
They want you to buy ads.
So they crush your ability to reach your audience organically (even if your custoimers want to hear from you). Your posts are only likely to reach a single-digit percentage of your audience unless they somehow go viral.
Social media used to be considered a place to express yourself.
Now it’s clear that it is only a place to express yourself if you hold a specific set of views. Otherwise, they’ll unilaterally shut down your account.
Ironically, I think you can argue that this is both good and bad.
But that’s not the point.
The point is, if you rely on social media for all your interactions (even paid interactions), you risk losing everything if they decide to shut you down.
It happens every day.
Why Email is the Best Alternative
After that list of reasons why relying on social media to drive your business is a huge mistake, you may be wondering what to do instead.
But seriously, if you’re here reading this, you already know what I’m going to say!
Build your business around your email list.
The Power of Intention (Redux)
Unlike social media, the people on your email list opted in. That means they chose to be there.
Whether they signed up to get a lead magnet, made a purchase, or just wanted to hear what you had to offer, they voluntarily opened their email box up to your marketing messages.
(It might not be their primary inbox, but that’s a different story)
While your emails may not be the first thing on their mind, they wont be seen as an irritating interruption (unless your emails suck… which they won’t if we help you!)
You Decide Who Sees Your Emails and When
Unlike organic reach, which is almost entiurely controlled by the algorithm’s on the social media platforms, you decide who gets your email messages and when.
You do this through segmentation and timing of your flows and campaigns.
You can target specific groups of people with specific messages, at the time that they. aremost useful to your clients and to you.
This is not something you can do with social media.
It should be pointed out that if you don’t follow good email practices, you may find yourself getting sent to spam, or not delivered if you get too many complaints.
But as long as you follow best practices, this is unlikely to happen.
Share YOUR Message without Being Censored
*Up until a few months ago, I would have said this was absolute with email (barring certain types of speech), now it’s not so certain. Many email service providers are basically Silicon Valley tech companies and, as such, they tend toward the same ideological viewpoints and some companies (like Mailchimp) recently revised terms of service to allow them to censor things they don’t like. We’ll see how this plays out.
Aside from the asterisk above, you can basically say whatever you want to your audience.
The audience can choose to receive these messages (by subscribing and staying) or refuse these messages (by unsubscribing).
But whatever your audience does, THEY make the choice, rather than the people at the tech company.
You can build an audience around your message.
You can be yourself.
You OWN Your Email List
This is probably the most powerful aspect of your email list.
Even if you have MILLIONS of fans/followers on a social media network… you don’t own that list.
If the platform disappears (or, more likely, disappears YOU), then your audience disappears with it.
And you can’t contact them.
But your email list is different.
You can download it and back it up offline regularly.
If your email service provider kicks you off, you can take that file and upload it to another company and keep going.
No one can take your subscribers from you.
That’s a true asset.
How to Get Started with Email Marketing
If you have an established store, this is as simple as signing up for an email service provider.
Once you have your email service set up, just integrate it with your store.
It will pull in the data and start building your list.
Then you can put some form of lead capture on your store’s website. Whether its a coupon, or some other incentive to get a customer’s email, you can get that going to add potentially valuable subscribers to your list.
Once you’ve got people on your list, make a regular practice of emailing them something worthwhile.
Common Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
This is and will continue to be the focus of more in-depth articles in the future, but we’ll still touch on some common mistakes here.
For more info or questions, leave a comment below or contact us.
- Not emailing often enough – If you only send email once in a while, people will forget why they signed up for your list. They may even forget that they signed up at all.
- Not having a CTA (Call to Action) in your email – This doesn’t have to be a purchase, just an action. Maybe you want them to visit your Facebook Page, or respond to a survey, or something else. Just have a purpose.
- Not segmenting your list – I wrote about this recently. Not all messages should go to all subscribers.
- Making every email a blast to your entire list – See above. This can dramatically increase your spam complaints, as well as unsubscribes while decreasing your open and click-through rates. The perfect storm that can ruin your sender reputation.
- Building your list with contests and giveaways – Ironically, these are quick ways to add large numbers of subscribers to your list… but most of them will be low quality. People that sign up to get something free don’t usually become buyers. Avoid this and build slow and steady with people who actually PAY you.
- Not cleaning your list regularly – You need to be mindful of people who do not open, interact with, or buy from your emails. If this goes on for a long period of time, it can hurt your deliverability. Take time regularly to remove email addresses that have not engaged with your content in several months.
Hopefully, something in the content above resonated with you and either convinced you or reinforced the idea that your email list is your most valuable asset.
What do you think? Questions? Leave a comment below!