Why would you benefit from keeping an email list?
I often hear people throw around comments like…
Well, I’ll try and convince those with a blinkered perception of the online marketing space to think a little differently.
Does every business need to keep an email list? Probably not.
Would a majority of businesses benefit from keeping an email list? DEFINITELY.
Whether you are selling products or services an email list could add significant value and reach to your business marketing activities and is key to building up trust with your customer base. This should not be a replacement for using social media but should compliment it and fill in the gaps.
So why would you benefit?
Your email list can be a contingency to your social media marketing but it gives you complete control of your marketing real estate (content, page, delivery time, etc) and you can guarantee once sent that it will make it to the intended target (obviously excluding bounce backs and those that drop into junk). You have complete control over the content and there is no third party censoring it.
Ultimately, we all know that the more people that see your content the more chance there is of them engaging with your business. It is simply about creating awareness of your brand in the early stages of the relationship. The blinkered view seems to be that the more you post and share the more reach you will get and that may have been the case previously but is definitely not the how things roll now.
I’ll use Facebook as the example but the same principle applies to other social media platforms. Growing organic reach through Facebook used to be fairly simple. You encouraged people to like and share you content, and your audience grew. The more engagement you got to your content, the more people saw it. However, this has somewhat stagnated since the recent update to their algorithms. Why is this? It’s because Facebook have changed their algorithm to include more posts from friends and family on user’s new feed and less business related posts and adverts. The business adverts seen are likely to be more targeted and I am pretty sure that paid adverts will take priority (as that is part of the Facebook business model) than with previous algorithms and therefore, there will be less visibility unless you pay for it.
Instagram (also part of the Facebook group) also changed their algorithm a few months ago and some businesses saw a drop in their story views of over 50% overnight. That means their audience dropped by 50% overnight.
This is no different for other social media platforms but the noise about it is often less as the number of users if substantially less.
Hopefully the examples above help you to see that while social media has its benefits and can be incredibly powerful for driving up your audience, particularly with paid ads, it can also carry significant risk.
My problem with relying solely on social media is that I am placing the success of my marketing strategy (and ultimately my business) in the hands of a computer algorithm, and not only that but it is one that I have absolutely no control over. In other parts of my business where there are obvious risks I would always look to put in place a contingency, and that is exactly how I look at my email list, but this is a contingency with other significant benefits too.
There is always a challenge getting the correct content out to the correct audience and one thing that an email list brings is an audience with a guaranteed knowledge of your brand, however small. If they aren’t aware of your brand how did they up on your email list?!
I will leave with you a statistic that I heard just this week.
Of those businesses that have a following on Facebook of over 200 people, on average less than 5% of their following routinely see their content on Facebook or Instragram.
So to put that in context for the business with 500 followers where only 25 routinely see their content.
The open rates for my business email list are over 50% (and already know my brand). Which would you prefer as your business model?
The benefits of keeping an email list
Outside of acting as a contingency for social media algorithms there are also a number of other benefits to keeping an email list and I have tried to outline some of them below.
I am sure there are numerous other benefits to keeping an email list but these are some to get you started.
Is maintaining an email list hard work?
If done badly and in a manual fashion then it definitely can be. Imagine sending 500 manually generated personal emails to your list… no thanks! However, the introduction of Email Marketing Software (EMS) makes the whole process far easier and most of the starter packages are free. I prefer Mailerlite but there are a number of other providers out their including Mailchimp and Active Campaign.
I write my emails and send to a group. These emails are business branded and can be personalised using data from within the marketing system. They are all built using drag and drop technology and if I have the email content it takes me about 5 minutes to ‘brand’ and ‘pretty up’ my email before I click the send button and distribute to 100’s of potential customers.
To take it to the next level you can build out automations which your EMS will send when a customer takes a certain action or has a certain interaction with your business. These can be as simple as an auto response where someone registers for your email list through your website and it automatically generates an email saying thank you. They can also be as complicated as triggering multiple email sequences of dozens of emails sent across many days or months to keep the customer engaged.
I hear you say… but content production takes time! Repurposing content that you are putting out on social media is just as valid as creating new stuff to send. Think of social media and email marketing working together to plug the gaps that the other one misses.
Debunking the myths
Let’s finish by putting to bed some of the comments I referred to earlier.
Email lists are ‘old school’
Email has been around a long time and was one of the foundations of the internet when it was first launched in the early nineties. A number of developments have come and gone, yet emails are as prominent as ever, I mean who doesn’t have an email address?! It might be ‘old school’ but it isn’t going anywhere soon so let’s take full advantage of that.
Why wouldn’t you just do it through your socials?
I hope that the content above has already answered this but the main point is that you could do it all through socials but it carries risk and you never really know how many of your total audience actually see your content. Think of the swiss cheese graphic above and remember you are trying to plug as many gaps as possible.
Isn’t an email list just for newsletters?
I think we have established that emails are far more than newsletter. I have not sent a single newsletter to my customers via email (in fact I haven’t sent a single newsletter ever). People want interesting, useful and meaningful content and that is why we have to find a balance between adding value and making an offer.
I don’t need an email list, it’s a load of hassle for no benefit
An email list is as much hassle as you make it but the benefits can be massive. If done correctly maintaining an email list can be done in as little as 30 mins a week. Just think of all those additional customers who will be seeing your content for an investment of 30 mins a week.
I will leave you with this thought…
You don’t NEED an email list but if you want to future proof your business and maintain complete control over your marketing activities it is definitely one tool you should have within your repertoire.
If you want to know more about email marketing platforms, how they can be integrated into your website and linked up to social media then feel free to get in touch with us.