One of the stand out mistakes I made when I was starting out in business was something that I think is still very common today. I failed to build my email marketing list. I put way too much focus on social media and not nearly enough in attracting people to my list and then nurturing the relationship to turn subscribers into customers.
If you were to ask me what one thing I would go back and change it would have to be my list building. I honestly didn’t see the point. I was more excited about the vanity metrics, about seeing my Facebook fans increase every week. As we know Facebook pulled a huge bait and switch on business pages back in 2014 (yes it was that long ago that Facebook Business Page engagement started to drop) and it has declined ever since. I had already been in business for 4 years and I had a list with about 600 people on it but a Facebook page with 6K.
My Facebook page has barely grown in the last few years at all because I now see how risky that strategy was. The money, as they say, is in the list. That means more subscribers equals more money when you attract the right people and use the right strategies. Let’s talk about why women are ignoring list building and why you need to take this seriously right now.
It's boring... I prefer to hang on Instagram and Facebook instead
Email marketing is not as fun as Social Media – it just isn’t.
It takes more thought, more planning and more time, it is less pretty and the payoff isn’t immediate. When you post a cool quote, flat-lay or image on social media the interaction is fast. When you send an email you might hear crickets. One does not have the same immediate payoff as the other so it is easy to feel like Social Media “works” better than email marketing.
Here is the problem with building your social media followers, you don’t own them and you don’t control the platform. You could be hacked tomorrow, your account could be closed down because you broke a rule you didn’t know existed or maybe you did nothing wrong … but poof.. your account is gone. When you build your email marketing list you have ownership and control over those email addresses and names. It doesn’t matter what platform you’re building your list on you can download your data file at any time.
Social Media is so much easier!
Social Media is designed to lure you in and hook you fast. It is crazy easy to sign up, set up your profile and start posting. Most platforms even walk you through the steps. Building an email marketing list is a little more complicated. You’re going to have to either learn some new bits of tech or you’re going to have to pay someone to do it for you. That absolutely should not put you off though, as the pieces of tech are pretty easy to learn. When I first started you had to hack stuff together to get it all working the way you wanted. Now the platforms all fit together like one big ol’ menage a trois.
I sent an email once and no one bought anything...
When women come to me for help with their businesses they’re often in reactive mode, they’re scrambling to make money each month so they’re scared to stop what they’re doing and set up some systems that will take a little time to pay off. Your email list building might take months of work before you start to generate sales but the long-term gain will outweigh both the gain from social media posting and the risk that exists when you don’t have control over your data.
This type of marketing, not unlike all other types, also requires consistency over time. You can’t randomly send emails anytime you’re having a sale or need to make some quick cash and expect your list to throw their coins at you. When you’re inconsistent you don’t build up that solid brand recognition and trust that customers expect. You will probably also get a lot of people marking your email as spam because they don’t remember ever buying or signing up with you.
Just a few weeks ago I got a random email from a company I purchased from 4 years ago. The email was inviting me to view their new products. I unsubscribed because I found a new supplier years ago that has been consistent with their marketing so I have stayed engaged with them.
Retail Funnel Example
Coach, Consultant, Service Provider etc.. Funnel Example
I don't want to waste money on email marketing platforms
Another argument I see all the time is the cost of subscribing to an email marketing platform. You absolutely don’t want to be using your usual email inbox for this type of marketing. It might be ok with 20 or 30 subscribers but with more than that you’re going to run into a heap of problems. We want you to have as much automation as possible built into your email marketing and with a manual list that won’t be possible.
If you create a marketing funnel that both attract potential new customers and keeps existing customers engaged, send them regular valuable content and ask for the sale you will quickly create a return on your investment. Subscribing to an email marketing platform is a normal cost of business and not something you should be trying to avoid. There are platforms that will let you start off with a free account until you hit a certain subscriber level, but that stage you should be monetizing your list.
I have seen women in the past with tens and even hundreds of thousands of Facebook fans that refused to invest in an email marketing platform because it was going to cost them $40 per month. Most of them are now are either gone or really struggling to make a sale because their social media posts are being seen my 1 to 3 % of their fans. Had they have moved their followers to subscribers and created a solid email marketing plan they would be making mint right now.
Email Marketing vs Social Media
No one opens emails anymore so why bother right?
This old chest nut… I can assure you that information is completely incorrect. Open rates may have dropped, although I haven’t seen any data to back that up, people will open emails that are interesting and relevant to them. The emails that irritate people are the ones that are full of information or offers that they’re no longer interested in or they didn’t sign up for. You’re not going to to do that. You’re going to create highly targeted and engaging emails for your tribe. They will want to hear from you and if they don’t…..
Well, that brings us to ….
People keep unsubscribing! There will be no one left on my list soon...
When your information is no longer relevant or interesting people will unsubscribe. Women are often so worried about annoying subscribers by emailing them that they don’t send anything to their list. Then when they do gather up the courage they see unscribes and freak out. If people unsubscribe when you send an email they’re actually doing you a favour. They’re essential list cleaning for you. They’re no longer interested or they’re overwhelmed, they have too many other emails coming in and they want to take a break. That’s cool. They can always come back.
Every time I send an email I get at least 5 people unsubscribe. When I send sales emails I get a lot more than that. I don’t mind. I unsubscribe to lots of stuff because I get so easily distracted. I still love the business, I still love their info and offers, I just need to be distraction free. Maybe I don’t need what they have to offer right now. I see the same people jumping on and off my subscriber lists constantly. I am always happy to have them back.
I don't know where to start...
I understand that this a confusing one. What platform is best? How many times per month should you email? What days should you send them? What should you write about? How do you get people on your list in the first place?
The answer here is to learn and improve by doing. Analysis paralysis can set in fast if you spend too much time trying to figure out the “right” way to do everything instead of just jumping in and getting started. Once you start sending emails to your list and tracking the results (you can do this on the Profit Lovers Plan and Track) you can see what works for your business. Choosing then using a platform is really the only way to decide if it has all the features you’re looking for. Just pick something and get started! As your mad skills and ninja marketing moves kick in you can upgrade to a better-suited platform.
Creating content ideas gets easier once you get started too, I promise! I hate to plug the Plan and Track again but deciding on content can be super easy when you start with your “theme” for the month. This allows you to plan months and months in advance. Your general monthly theme can then dictate the type of content you send out that month. You can also match your content to any sales you’re having, new product releases, launches or seasonal events. I extend that further and include Facebook Live video’s, webinars and social media content.
Planning content and scheduling it in advance means you can automate your email marketing months ahead of time. No matter what is going on in your life or business your potential and new customers will be receiving regular updates from your brand. See how much more proactive this is than randomly creating content and rushing to send it out?
But remember, it’s just one piece of the marketing funnel puzzle (say that 5 times fast!)
Email marketing is a small piece of your overall marketing funnel and the good news, if you’re a rad social media gal, you can piece it together with your existing marketing. It isn’t social media OR email marketing, its fitting them both together. When you fit them both together you will double your results! Instead of potential customers only seeing you on Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest or Youtube when they’re looking at those platforms you can back up your message and offers by showing up in their inboxes too.
A very cool Facebook Ad Hack
You can even download your subscriber list and use it on your social media platforms to show ads to just the people on your list. I love doing this. I know not everyone opens my emails so if I am running a webinar, for instance, I send emails, I post on social media and I also target my subscribers with ads. The cost of those ads is usually a quarter of targeting cold audiences (people who don’t know me).
There really isn’t an argument for not building your email marketing list and slipping it into your marketing funnel. You’re leaving a lot of money on the table if you’re not paying attention to your tribe and nurturing both potential and existing customers. Yes, it will most likely take some time to see financial results and that can be frustrating but “you gotta risk it to get the biscuit” ladies!
Start now and be patient! Track and measure your results and plan your content to get ahead of the game.
*REMEMBER* You MUST plan and track your email marketing if you want to see results!
So now you’re yelling “sold!, I am IN!” and you can see the huge financial advantage to building your email list. You’re also freaked out about the risk of having all of your eggs in the social media basket. Before you get squealing-high-school-girl-at-the-mall excited you need two vital pieces of the puzzle or you will spend a lot of time getting zero results.
Create your email content plan well ahead of time so you always know what is going out and when it is going out. This means no crazy big blocks of time where you don’t make email marketing a priority because you have no clue what to send out. Alternatively, you send a heap of random, poorly planned content that has your current and potential customers hitting the unsubscribe button fast.
Track your results weekly. Yes, weekly. To ensure your efforts are paying off you need to track your email list size, open rates, social media growth, Google traffic, and sales. These numbers all work together to show you what is paying off, when the best time to send emails to your subscribers is, what messages they respond to, what marketing efforts grow your list etc… that brings us to the Profit Lovers Plan and Track. If you haven’t downloaded it yet then grab it now.