girl thinking about email

Whether you’ve recently launched your business, or you’ve been working at it for a while, you might be wondering if email marketing is worth even thinking about.

Or perhaps you aren’t even thinking about email marketing at all.

These days, Social Media seems to be the star of the show, when it comes to marketing your business online. Don’t we all yearn to have a gazillion followers on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram?

But what if I told you in a blink of an eye, you could lose all those followers. It would break your heart wouldn’t it?

Well my friends, it’s true. I saw it happen just last week.

One of my LInkedIn connections got thrown off the platform permanently. When his account was terminated, his profile and every single post he’d ever written… completely vanished. It was as if he never existed on the platform at all. Kind of creepy.

To be fair, things like this don’t just happen on LinkedIn. This can happen on any Social Media platform. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. YouTube.

No platform is 100% guaranteed to always be there for you. Here today. Gone tomorrow.

Several years ago, I got tossed off Facebook for “going against the commerce policies” of Facebook Marketplace. Without any warning, my personal account was completely shut down. The Facebook bots had penalized me for “selling animals, which is not allowed” by posting an advertisement for a children’s game called “Herd Your Horses!”

 

board game

 

After writing an appeal, three days later my account was finally re-instated. I guess when a human being actually reviewed my Facebook Marketplace ad, they realized I was in fact simply selling an children’s game instead of a herd of real horses? 

But what if I hadn’t won that appeal? Disaster! I would have been barred from using both my Facebook personal profile and my Facebook Business Page.

 

Building a House on Rented Land

All of this confirms that with Social Media, you are building a house on rented land. With a flick of a switch, you could be locked out of your account and lose access to the network you worked so hard to build.

This is why we have always counseled our clients on why it’s important to build an email list. This is one of the main reasons. But there are plenty more reasons.

Email Marketing may seem like the ugly stepsister of Social Media. But despite all the bells and whistles, email marketing is the most reliable method to stay in touch with customers.

Unlike Social Media, with an email list you are in control. You choose which provider you want to use. MailChimp. AWeber. Constant Contacts. Infusionsoft. And if you decide to change to a different program, you can export your contacts and take them with you. We know this is true, because we’ve done it ourselves. Plus, we’ve helped our clients switch from one email marketing platform to another. It’s as simple as downloading a CSV file.

Try doing that on Social Media. It just can’t happen.

Last summer, when we decided to switch our focus from Facebook to LinkedIn, we had to start from scratch. There’s no way to take your Facebook friends or Page followers and add them to LinkedIn. Instead, you have to build your network one connection at a time.

 

Don’t Resist the List

When we first began building our business, several years ago, we completely resisted the idea of building an email list. Like most business owners we did lots and lots of homework. We met with business coaches, devised a marketing plan, completed entrepreneurial courses, attended various marketing workshops and seminars, participated in countless webinars, and read a ton of books.

One thing we heard over and over was the directive – “Thou Shalt Build a List.”  More specifically, we were told that building an email list of existing and prospective customers is critical to the success of your business. 

Sounds like great advice, but who had time for that? Not us. After all, we needed to focus our time on building the infrastructure of our business.

There was so much to do when we were launching. Incorporate our business. Set up a bank account. Build a website. Set up all those social media platforms. Create all the products and services we planned to market.

And if that wasn’t enough, how about all the computer programs we needed to learn to support our business? Just setting up an online booking calendar and payment program was enough to give us a week-long migraine! So, the idea of building an email list was destined to remain at the bottom of our To-Do pile.

 

If You Build It… They Will Not Come!

We soon discovered that it does not pay to resist the list. It was wrong to believe “if you build it… they will come.”

When you launch a business without an email list – they won’t automatically come – because you’ve failed to implement the best way to get the word out.

This is why we coach all of our clients to not resist the list. Despite the popularity of social media to market your business, an email list is still the most reliable method to engage with your contacts on an ongoing basis.

Once we realized that resisting the list had hurt our marketing efforts, we called a major timeout. Instead of resisting the list – we embraced the list. We reviewed all the different email marketing programs out there to determine which one worked best for us.  While I’m glad that we finally made the decision to bite the bullet and learn all about email marketing, I just wish we had started earlier.

 

Lessons Learned

If I could go back in my time machine, I’d heed the advice – building a list is critical in launching your business. Both my business partner and I believe building your list should be at the top of your To Do list. Instead of focusing on WHAT products or services you are going to package/sell, it is better to think about WHO you want to sell to and HOW you’ll communicate with them on a consistent basis. Set a goal to learn the basics of email marketing first and then follow up with a plan on how email marketing can work for you.

For anyone that has already launched a business, it’s imperative to know that it’s never too late to build a list. You can start today.  So, don’t resist the list. Instead, start where you are right now and commit to building that email list. 

Reflecting upon my LinkedIn connection that recently lost his account, I hope he had the foresight to have his followers subscribe to his email list. I’d hate to think he lost every contact he had. I can’t imagine how awful it would be to lose access to as many followers as he had.

If you find you need help building your email list, know that the Launch4Life team can help. Whether you’re in need of an overview on how to get started, need to formulate an entire email marketing strategy, or just need advice on how to choose the right email provider for yourself, reach out to us for help.

We can provide you with a free 30-minute consult to help get you started.

Still not sure if email marketing can help your business? Check out our free download, Think You Don’t Need Email Marketing? Think Again.

 

Launch4Life - Gillian Whitney

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com