Yes, you need an email list. If you do business online (and every business should be online), you need to develop and nurture an email list. I know many people question this marketing strategy since social media has come along and created new ways to stay in touch with consumers. But nothing works quite as well as a mailing list. Think of it this way, social media is like walking into a party and announcing, “Hey everyone, I just put my product on sale for half off!” Many of the people in the room will give a thumbs up and some will buy. But an email list is like going directly up to an individual person, saying hello, giving some helpful bit of information with an “oh by the way, my product is 50% off”. Although email is sent in bulk, it has a direct, more intimate feel. And that’s how you want to treat your list (and social media friends). They are special because they’ve raised their hands and said, “Yes, I want to hear from you.”
As you peruse the Internet and hear from guru after guru about their secrets to online profit success, you need to keep in mind that in nearly all cases, their success comes from having an email list. Even the gurus that sell something saying you don’t need a list, will likely provide some sort of tutorial on how to create a list to maximize your success. Why is an email list the key to online success? Here’s why:
1) It reminds people that your business exists. There are a gazillion sites on the Internet. Thousands if not millions are in direct competition with you. Being able to periodically email people who have been to your site before allows you to remind them about you and bring them back to your site.
2) It allows you to build trust and rapport. Few consumers will buy on the first visit to your website. Even if you own a blog and don’t sell something directly, they are unlikely to click on an ad or affiliate link on the first visit. Why? Because they don’t know you. Through email contact you can share tips and information that allow consumers to learn about you and trust that what you have to offer is good.
3) You can strut your stuff. People go to the Internet for information. An email list allows you to disseminate information that proves you know what you’re talking about. It sets you up as an expert and helps build trust mentioned in number 2.
4) It increases sales. While you don’t want to send your list offer after offer, sending the occasional offer or including a link to an offer at the end of an informative email gives you a boost in sales. Your website or blog doesn’t need to do all the heavy lifting when you have a list. The people on your email list are more likely to buy because they know and trust you. If you say it’s a good deal and the offer meets the the need, many will buy.
The only marketing expense I have is the cost of using an email list management service (I use Aweber, but there are others). Many people skip list building because it is an expense (about $20 per month). But of all the expenses outside of web hosting, the email list management service will be the best money you spend. Once you have your list set up, make sure you promote it. Here are some tips:
1) Have a free offer to entice people to join your list. This can be a free report or mini-coaching.
2) Have a subscribe box on every page of your website or blog.
3) Have a sign up box on your Facebook Fan Page.
4) Every now and then, Tweet or post on Facebook about your free offer and encourage people to subscribe.
Once you have your list, treat your subscribers well. Share inside information, give helpful tips and provide great resources. An easy way to provide both content and offers is through a newsletter. Or you can use the blog feed feature of your email management to automatically email the list your blog posts for the week.
Just make sure you don’t email too often and don’t overdo the offers or subscribers will leave the list. Nearly everyone is overwhelmed by email and you don’t want to be one of those people who annoy more than help. That’s why good content is so important. You want your subscribers to feel the information you send is worth filling their inbox.