Question: If your social networks shriveled up overnight and your search rankings disappeared tomorrow, who would actually return to your site?
If you hesitated, keep reading.
In this post I’ll show you exactly why you can’t build a blog or run a profitable business website without building an email list. Let’s dig in!
Your Facebook fans and Twitter followers aren’t really yours.
Even your Linkedin connections aren’t really your own. They’re property of Linkedin. Here’s a sobering example:
A few months ago, Facebook decided to boost ad revenue, so they decreased Company page reach to less than 6%. Some people are reporting less than 1% organic reach. Now the only way to reach your fans is paying to boost a post or using Facebook ads.
The cost to rent your Facebook fans just went WAY up. Not only do you have to pay to acquire them, but now you have to pony up to keep in touch!
A few years ago everyone thought Myspace was going to last forever. Marketers, especially record labels, dumped a TON of money into Myspace to build their list. What’s it worth now? Virtually nothing.
Your email list is yours. As long as you acquired the emails lawfully, and don’t abuse them, no one can take them away from you. Yes, inboxes may get tougher to infiltrate, but there’s no substitute for quality content.
Click here to get my email marketing strategies
Very few visitors buy on the first visit to your site. Even if they find your content useful, they may never come back. Having an email list is like having a built in path leading back to your website. Returning Visitors Mean Two Things:
Obviously the more names you have on your list, the more people you direct to your site each time you publish new content. And the size of your list is in direct proportion to your site traffic from that channel. So even if you aren’t selling, sending new content to your list helps build your site.
Most of the time new visitors won’t convert right away, especially for more expensive products and services. It can take up to eight visits for visitors to do their research and compare you to other sites.
If visitors take that much time to decide, you need to make sure they come back. Capture their email so you can educate them during the process, and produce multiple opportunities to convert them by moving them through the cycle.
Email is often thought of as a primarily one-way channel: you to the subscriber. But it just so happens that email is one of the best ways to deepen the relationship and trust with your potential customers.
Email doesn’t work like social media, where the shelf life of the tweet is two minutes. An email waits patiently in your readers’ inbox until it’s read. Thanks to services like Gmail, messages are also easily searchable so readers can quickly reference them. These properties are special and unique to email.
The other remarkable thing about email’s ability to deepen your customers relationships and move them along a purchasing path, is the power of segmentation. Segmenting your email lists allows you to have laser relevant conversations with multiple groups of people, all at the same time.
By segmenting your customers on different lists or with different tags, you can send them relevant information according to their needs. Here are a few different types of segments. Think about what segments would be most useful for your business:
With Email Automation, you can take those segments and assign specific pre-written email campaigns to each main action. For example, you work in marketing and a reader clicks on an e-book about content marketing. When this happens, they are automatically added to a list to receive educational material on content marketing. In this introductory e-book, they learn about why content marketing is important, how they can use it for your business, and what kind of return it gets. Eventually there might be an offer to learn more about the company’s content marketing services after they’ve been educated.
On the other hand, if they clicked on an ebook about Advertising, they get a series of emails educating them on how to buy PPC ads. And down the road, an offer to purchase a PPC course to further their education.
In a recent study, email doubled social media in effectiveness for qualified leads and new site discovery. And in a study by the Email Marketing Industry Census, “Email marketing was ranked as the best channel in terms of return on investment, with 68% of companies rating the channel as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.”
Here’s what it boils down to: Your customers are already trained to buy through email. Think about it, you use email every day to close deals and do business. Not Facebook, and probably not even Linkedin. You may start the conversation on Linkedin, but you send the contract through email.
Bnonn from Kissmetrics made a great point, “Email is a transactional medium. Your customers expect to get offers through email and buy through email.” You aren’t pioneering a new channel, you’re simply creating the right purchasing environment through your list. You can train your customers to buy through email.
Every business I’ve talked to that successfully generates and closes leads online wishes they started their list earlier. I certainly wish I had starting taking my email list serious earlier. You can’t do anything about the lost time, but you can start now. Even if you aren’t sure what you will do with your email list, start collecting address now and send them incredible content you create on your blog.
What’s stopping you from building your email list? Drop me a comment and let me know.
Joel Widmer is the Founder & CEO of Fluxe Digital Marketing—a content marketing shop that helps smart businesses create, produce and promote their content through a unique one-on-one interview process. When he’s not working, Joel can be found trying new restaurants with his wife and son.