It’s never too late to start your email list

It’s never too late to start your email list

With all the furore around GDPR, you may wonder if an email list is more trouble than it’s worth. Paid advertising is more accessible than ever. You can embrace opportunities to advertise on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. And if your potential customers have inboxes groaning under the weight of their subscriptions? You may think it’s too late to start an email list.

We’re biased – after all, we love email as a tool for reaching the people you want to help. But it’s definitely not too late to start your email list.

Here’s why.

Email lists aren’t subject to social media algorithms.

Social media can be an effective part of your marketing strategy. Used properly, it lets you build a relationship with your potential customers.

During the 2013 Superbowl, cookie brand Oreo used a power outage to promote their product. They sent a simple image, captioned “You can still dunk in the dark”.

Oreo Dunk in the Dark

Users retweeted it 10,000 times in one hour. Oreo used the real-time nature of social media to send out a timely ad. The press ran a story about the popularity of the tweet. No one talked about their expensive TV ad, shown during a commercial break.

But social media platforms are becoming a ‘pay to play’ space. Algorithms regulate your efforts and decide what users will see. In March 2016, Instagram changed their algorithm. They wanted to prioritise “the moments we believe you will care about the most”. Instagram used machine learning to determine which photos to show, and when.

In March 2018, they altered the algorithm again to respond to user feedback. Users got bored with seeing certain posts. Now, newer posts will take priority over older content, regardless of who posted it.

If you rely on social media to engage with customers, you lose out every time they change the algorithm.

Look at all the businesses who lost their organic reach when Facebook Pages took a nosedive. With another new algorithm to master, Facebook Pages aren’t a good way to connect with customers.

But you know what is? Email.

Emails still appear in inboxes in chronological order. Providers don’t choose which emails to show. You don’t have to pay for better visibility in the inbox. Besides, there were 3.7 billion email users in 2017. By comparison, there were 2.1 billion Facebook users in the same year.

Email isn’t going away.

And don’t even think about relying on blogging.

Blogging is an excellent way to build trust between you and potential customers. Show off your expertise or share solutions to common problems among your audience. Think of your blog like your shop window.

Some potential customers will buy based on the window display. One of your posts may be so convincing they click ‘buy’ right there.

But then what?

Unless you have an email list, you have to hope that person comes back of their own accord. But how do you compete with the millions of other blogs online? It’s impossible to know how many active blogs there are. As of 2013, the number was around 152 million. But there were 350 million blogs on Tumblr alone by July 2017.

As a business, you’re not competing with Tumblr teenagers. But it shows how much content is vying for your audience’s attention. Will they remember to visit your blog to see if you’ve updated it?

With an email list, you can notify them of new content. And for visitors who enjoyed your post but aren’t ready to buy? You get more opportunities to help them and sell at a later date. Or talk to them. Find out what they need and provide it.

Blogs are also more of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

A visitor may find your post after searching on Google. But if they click through from social media? There’s no guarantee your message is the one they need at that time.

Email marketing automation sends the right message at the right time for the subscriber. It puts the subscriber front and centre in your marketing efforts, which is where they should be. The emails are about them, not you.

Content marketing also relies on engagement, and it does pair well with email marketing. But you need a way to get visitors to your blog onto your list so you can continue the conversation.

Websand offers a WordPress plugin to make it easy for visitors to your blog to join your list.

Email marketing is not dead.

Naysayers preach that email marketing is dead. The outcry over GDPR emails showed email marketing irritates as much as Facebook ads.

But the average ROI of email marketing is $38 for every $1 spent. It’s 40x better for customer acquisition than social media. An email list offers the opportunity to talk to customers on a 1:1 basis.

You may worry that there’s no point starting an email list because other companies have beaten you to it.

Don’t. There’s room for everyone. That’s why Hollywood makes superhero films and musicians make identical pop songs. Customers keep consuming what they enjoy and what they need.

Besides, you need to put a value on your expertise. Other brands might offer the same service or products as you. But they don’t have your unique perspective or experience. Your perspective might chime better with a customer than your competitor’s. By not sharing your knowledge, your customers lose out.

Getting started with an email list

If you have a blog, start with the easy option: add a sign-up box to every post, (read this to make sure it’s a compliant one!). Consider adding content upgrades. That means creating extra related content you’ll send in exchange for an email address. Cheatsheets, workbooks and tutorial videos work well as content upgrades.

If you don’t have a blog, add a sign-up box on your website. Create a lead magnet related to what you sell. Offer something of value for that email address. Your website visitors might not be ready to buy yet. Marketing relies on the ‘know, like and trust’ factor. By continuing the conversation by email, subscribers get to know you and they get the chance to trust you.

You can even encourage sign-ups at in-person events. Do you run regular meetups or workshops? Use our Eventbrite integration to collect the addresses of attendees.

Show off your lead magnet on social media to garner more sign-ups. But remember to think of quality, not quantity. You don’t want freebie hunters to sign up. You’re after the people you can help, not numbers. A small but engaged list of raving fans is more valuable than a huge list of people who never open your emails.

That’s part of the Websand philosophy of people-centric marketing. Connect first, engage, and sell later.

But remember email marketing is better when focused on people not lists

The irony of this email list focused post, is that in applying the Websand philosophy, our platform is built to help you create email marketing around the behaviour of people rather than deal with email lists.

Why should you switch to Websand from Mailchimp?We’ve found that marketers can quite easily get lost in list management, which is why they love the data management and dynamic segmentation within Websand.  It saves them a huge amount of time and the data is always accurate 🙂

If this is your philosophy too, then get in touch. We’ll help you get set up on our platform, designed to put your customers first.

Still not convinced? Sign up for our Sunday Supplement below and learn more about email marketing on your terms.

We’re standing by!


Also published on Medium.