You can practically hear the capitalisation when marketing folks start waxing lyrical about the importance of your business’s Email List.
Why is email marketing such a big deal? Do you really need to spend time building a list, creating content and putting it out there on a regular basis? It’s not like you’re sitting there twiddling your thumbs just wishing you had even more tasks on your to-do list, right? You’re snowed under as it is.
So, you start making excuses; it’s going to be too tricky to set up, you don’t want to start spamming people, you simply don’t have the time.
Here’s the rub. Email marketing is one of the most effective ways of building your business. Ignore it at your peril!
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How will email marketing help your business?
The benefits of email marketing are so significant that I should probably dedicate a full post to that subject alone but, for today, I’ll stick to a brief overview.
Sending regular emails to your list increases traffic to your blog and your landing page, it helps you engage with your audience and will help turn readers into buyers. It gives you real control over your marketing — your list belongs to you. When Facebook, Twitter et al. start moving their goal posts (as they do) or your search ranking takes a nosedive, you’ll still be able to salvage your business. As long as you have your list, you can still communicate with your audience.
If none of that comes as news to you, yet you’re still not making the most of email marketing, the following excuses will probably ring a bell…
My customers aren’t interested.
You don’t want to come across as ‘spammy’ and you definitely don’t want to start alienating your customers. I promise you, you won’t!
People will follow a Facebook page without a second thought but would rather disclose their weight than their email address. If someone has willingly subscribed to your list, it’s safe to say that they’re interested. To have won this precious piece of personal data, you’ve clearly already provided something of value and they’re confident that they want to hear more of what you have to say.
True, they may not be interested in buying from you right now, but that’s why email marketing is so effective. It keeps you on their radar and, if your content is good, it helps move your subscribers further along the buying cycle until they are ready to make the transition from reader to customer.
I don’t have the time.
I can relate to this! As business owners we’re already stretched pretty thin — we’re blogging, we’re networking, we’re trying to connect with people on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn… no one can do it all. And email marketing sounds so damn complicated, it’s easy to see why you might want to skip it altogether.
As a business owner, I bet you watch every penny, calculating the cost/benefit ratio to judge whether something is going to be worth the investment. Well, now it’s time to do the same with your time. Spending time working on your list is definitely a worthwhile investment.
Imagine you have launched a new product and you have a list of 500 subscribers. In the time it takes to draft and send one email, you’ve told 500 people about your new product. Not just random people either, you’ve spread the message to folks who have already indicated their interest in your company. How many networking events would you have to attend to have the same reach? Or how much would you have to spend on advertising?
And there are ways and means of making the whole process a little quicker. Creating content takes up some time but remember you’re not writing “War and Peace”. As long as your content is valuable and relevant to your audience, you can keep it brief and there’s nothing stopping you from padding your newsletter content with previous blog posts you think your readers would find useful.
Let’s not forget email automation when it comes to saving time. Enter our next excuse…
I can’t afford the software.
Email automation software is an absolute lifesaver for busy entrepreneurs and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
In fact, there are a few free options that actually do a pretty good job, particularly when you’re in the early stages of business and have a modest list to work with. I usually recommend Mailerlite or Mailchimp for those of you just starting out — both programs have free plans that will let you do more or less everything you need to.
Mailchimp’s free plan allows you to send automated emails to up to 2,000 subscribers while Mailerlite allows unlimited email automation for up to 1,000 subscribers.
I personally use ConvertKit* which is much easier to use for multiple lead magnets and automations. It doesn’t have a free plan but it’s not hugely expensive either, with services starting from $29 per month.
My business isn’t big enough yet/I’m not ready.
This is a bit of a chicken and egg excuse. Sure, your business may be small now but using this as an excuse for avoiding email marketing could really stunt your ability to scale your business.
As for not being ready, use this to your advantage. If you’re just starting out, invite your subscribers to join you on your start-up journey. Share your milestones and the lessons you’re learning along the way. You’ll be providing valuable content and you’ll likely find that your readers will become your champions — they will want to see you succeed.
This approach makes you more relatable than some slick organisation that seems to have everything all figured out. It’s never too early to start building an audience!
I’m a technophobe.
You’re certainly not alone. The whole automation thing can be pretty daunting to someone who’s not particularly tech savvy.
The good news is that the software designers were thinking of you guys when they designed their programs. The email automation software I’ve recommended is all very user-friendly and once you’ve navigated the initial set-up phase, it pretty much runs itself.
If you’re still struggling to make sense of it, a quick Google search will bring up loads of step by step guides and videos to help you through the process.
It’s time to embrace email marketing.
No more relying on the whims of ever-changing social media platforms, no more paying a fortune for advertising. Email marketing is a fantastic way of giving you control over your audience and how you connect with customers. Daunting as it may seem, this is one marketing strategy that is really worth the investment of your time and effort.
If you’d like some help with setting up your mailing list, I’m here to help. I can add signup forms to your site, created branded templates and even coordinate an RSS to Email campaign that will ensure your audience receives each new blog post as you publish it. Get in touch to find out more.
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