The number one asset of any business large or small is their email list.
It may come as a surprise in these social media crazed times, but your email list is far more important than all of your social platforms combined.
In fact, all of your social media content marketing should drive people to sign up for your list.
Allow me to explain why…
Full Disclosure: Some of the links I have included in this post are affiliate links which means if you purchase something, I will get a small commission. There is no difference whatsoever in the price to you. This affiliate income simply helps to support the site and allows me to continue to put out great content for you.
WHY BUILDING YOUR AUDIENCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA ISN’T ENOUGH
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Don’t build your house on rented land?”
When you forego building an email list in favor of a social media following, that is exactly what you’re doing.
I want you to think about something…
What if you took a ton of time and energy to build up a huge and loyal following on social media?
What if they were actively engaging with all of your posts?
They were asking questions…
They wanted to buy products you created or represented…
Then one day, you go to log in and you find out the site is missing.
Maybe the company went bankrupt.
Or it’s just not cool anymore and the platform where you’ve cultivated your tribe is now obsolete (and thus, so are you).
Doesn’t seem likely?
Yeah… me neither.
(To be fair, they’re back but they are certainly not the giant they once were.)
Even if your favorite social site of choice doesn’t spontaneously implode one day, when you build your following on social media you are at the mercy of ever-changing algorithms.
The social media gods can change the rules at any time.
Once upon a time, Facebook business pages had pretty killer organic reach.
Then facebook decided to introduce paid advertising to their business plan and organic traffic plummeted.
I’m not saying cultivating a following on social media is bad…it’s definitely a valuable use of your time and efforts.
You just can’t put all of your audience growing eggs into that one basket.
So, where DO you put them?
WHY EMAIL MARKETING?
Despite the whisperings that email is dying a slow death, it’s definitely here to stay.
This recent report shows some pretty staggering statistics about how much more effective email is than social media when it comes to reaching an audience.
There’s no way that much of your audience is seeing your posts on social media.
Email is a one-to-one conversation, where social media is a one to many conversation.
In a world where we are inundated with marketing messages from every direction at every moment of every day of our online lives, making people feel like they matter and communicating with them in a personal and meaningful way is crucial for the profitability of your business.
Not only is email a more effective way to reach and communicate with people, but when you build an email list, you OWN that list. Unlike your social media following, (which is controlled by the platform you built it on,) it becomes a valuable commodity you can take with you across multiple platforms and industries.
You can market to that list at any time about ANYTHING you want. Even if what you’re promoting today has absolutely NOTHING to do with what you were promoting yesterday. Sure, you may have some people unsubscribe when you throw them a curve ball, but you’ll also have people who are happy (and eager) to buy anything you are promoting to them because of the RELATIONSHIP you have developed with them through email marketing.
When you take the time to consistently deliver quality content that is relevant to people and is adding value to their lives (I.E., solving some kind of a problem or even simply entertaining them,) their trust in you will grow.
People do business with people they know, like and trust.
Are you following me here?
If you are, I know you’ve got a burning question in your mind that I’m happy to answer right now…
HOW DO I GROW AN EMAIL LIST?
I’m glad you asked.
(See what I did there?)
In order to grow an email list, you need a few key things:
• A way to capture the contact information of your customers (lead capture page)
• A lead magnet (something of value you can give away in exchange for their information like a PDF guide, a mini course, a case report, a free coaching/consultation session etc.)
• Email Autoresponder software to connect all the moving pieces together and deliver your lead magnet.
LEAD CAPTURE PAGES
When it comes to lead capture pages, there is no shortage of options on the market.
Personally, I’m a fan of ClickFunnels.
ClickFunnels is kind of a one-stop shop for any kind of online business needs.
They’ve got tons of ready-made templates you can choose from by industry or focus, a really easy to use drag and drop editor to design/tweak the look and feel of the pages, a way to integrate numerous secure online payment processors and a whole bunch of other tools that do pretty much everything you need in order to be in business online.
ClickFunnels is a lovely little piece of software that plays nicely with most other online business tools.
Even if the tools don’t integrate directly, you can always connect them with the help of Zapier.
A lead magnet is simply something your customer perceives as having enough value to give you their contact information in exchange for it.
In order to come up with the best lead magnets for your audience, you really need to know who you are talking to.
John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur On Fire has a great article where he talks about defining your ideal customer/audience or “Avatar”.
When you know who you’re talking to, you can think like your customer and come up with ideas that they would find valuable or get excited about.
A few ideas for lead magnets include:
• PDF guides/checklists/worksheets etc
• Mini video courses
• Case Studies showcasing how your product or service has created result XYZ for you or a client
• A free consultation/coaching call
The sky is really the limit when it comes to lead magnet creation.
The only way to find out what works is to TRY things and test them.
If you’ve got a great idea for a lead magnet, but you’re not quite sure how to go about creating it, there are tons of great sites like Fiverr where you can hire freelancers for any number of tasks at a reasonable rate.
So once you’ve got your shiny new lead magnet all ready to go, you’re going to need a way to deliver it…
Email Autoresponders are where some of the real magic of online business happens.
These softwares allow you to templatize and personalize emails and send them out automatically when a person opts in for your offer.
You can use these emails to deliver the lead magnets your customers opt in to receive.
A popular way to do this is with incentivizing your email with messaging that might look something like this:
Click HERE to confirm your subscription to receive your FREE gift!
When people do this, it means you are legally able to send them promotional emails. It also means that when they click the link to confirm their subscription, the email autoresponder software will automatically fire off another email with a link to their free whatever-brilliant-thing-you-came-up-with in exchange for their precious contact info.
Personally, I use ConvertKit.
It’s got a really simple interface that is beautifully designed and super user-friendly. They’ve got an extensive database of how-to articles and have excellent customer service as well.
But now the question begs…
Once you’ve got these people on your email list, what do you DO with them?
NURTURING YOUR LEADS
So, to recap…. we are talking about growing an email list for the purpose of growing a profitable business, right?
When it comes to nurturing your leads a great metaphor is dating…
You don’t go on one date with a person and then propose to them, do you?
(At least, I hope you don’t…)
No, you continue getting to know them.
Pitching somebody on a sale as soon as they’ve opted into your email list is equivalent to proposing to somebody after a first date:
It’s a little crazy, and you likely won’t get the result you’re hoping for.
You need to give your leads the chance to really get to know you.
To allow them to do so, you can mix in different kinds of content:
• Share some of your or your company’s story
• Share links to helpful blog posts or pages of your website
• Share tips and strategies that are helpful and relevant to your brand and customers
One amazing part of email software is it allows you to automate this process in a powerful way.
You can write a series of emails that “drip” out onto your leads gradually over a pre-defined period of time.
You can send as many or as few emails as you like in a given time frame.
It’s entirely customizable and you get to control your customer’s entire experience as they get to know you.
(Kind of like how you put your very best foot forward in an online dating profile.)
Popular online business influencer Gary Vaynerchuck has some really amazing stuff to say about this kind of “content marketing strategy” in his book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World.
As your customers get to know you, trust you and view you as an authority in your field, they are likely to want to put their credit cards down when the time comes when you make an offer and ask for a sale.
Again, people do business with people they know, like and trust.
Nurturing your lead through email is the best way to help them achieve all 3.
One of the most successful strategies for brand growth is email marketing.
When you take the time to develop relationships with the people who subscribe to your list and consistently send them content that adds tremendous value to their lives, they will love you for it.
When you develop that kind of rapport, they will be way more receptive to anything you are offering them in exchange for their hard earned money.
And when people are giving you their hard earned money in exchange for products or services you are recommending, your brand grows and your business THRIVES.
You can find all of my favorite tools for building an email list and any other aspect of your online empire on my resources page.
Do you have any questions? Leave them in the comments below.