Mailing list – what is it and why you should make one?
On many web pages you can see either pop-ups ( which are more or less irritating) or just places where you can leave your e-mail address. Usually for an exchange for some valuable insights or exclusive content . In this way you are added to an email data base – or simply a mailing list. Thanks to this list a company or a person whom you have left an email may contact you in the future.
Well, others collect e-mail addresses but why should you?
Long story short – mailing list is a (very effective) marketing tool. Admittedly, there’s a lot of buzz around doing marketing via social media but to be effective you should use what truly works. We shouldn’t say ‘no’ to social media, it’s a great communication channel and a way to build a better image around a brand but it’s not flawless. To be noticeable you must stand out from the crowd – try to do it on Facebook where you have to compete with aunt’s birthday party and a funny cat riding on a vacuum (7 million views ). Try to beat it with your witty blog entry.
Funny, emotional or shocking content is more successful in social media. This type of facebook posts reach more than thousand people on average and get several shares and likes.
Email marketing vs social media
I often talk with my clients who concentrate on Facebook’s likes and shares. Do you know what is the ‘problem’ with likes in social media? Very often “likes” mean very little or nothing at all. So what that you have 50 or 100 likes under your link, photo or film? Do you make a direct business out of it? Do you encourage “likers” to take an action? Of course, each case is different but you know where I’m going to.
Mailing list is an effective marketing tool
Mailing list, despite its simplicity, is still the most effective form for turning contacts into leads. It concerns every business, regardless its branch and size. Why is it an valid tool and what is so cool about it?
Somebody has voluntarily given his e-mail address in order to let you contact him. And that is great – your potential client WANTS you to hear you out! He wants to have contact with you and with your brand. He wants to know what you are up to next.
An e-mail address is something intimate and personal. Think about who do you get e-mails from? Most often only carefully slected people and contents have access to it. If there are newsletters – only the chosen ones. And in worst case scenario – even if you don’t read all the e-mails, at least you skim the topics.
Do you see now why it is a totally different quality of contact than social media? By sending e-mails, you don’t fight with funny cats. You have a permission to be among the chosen ones. You’re no longer the part of the ‘mass’ of random materials. The private messages and curated information come to the same e-mail address. So if your mail does not land in spam, there’s a big chance that the receiver will see at least the topic of an e-mail.
Mailing list – benefits
Firstly, it is a great tool to keep a long-lasting relation. After all, it is a dream of each business owner to make clients come back and hang out for longer. I have already written on the blog that 67% of potential clients are not ready for the purchase. That is why, if you don’t want to lose them, focus on building relations. Therefore mailing list is a great way to do it. It gives you a chance to regularly build casual relation with the potential clients, based on trust, conversation, education and inspiration. If you don’t know how to sell, you don’t like traditional obstrusive promotion and you focus on being a human in business – it is a perfect tool for you. Just write mails about what you’re doing, what interests you, how your products can change human life – about solutions which may help your potential clients.
Secondly, it is very easy and it doesn’t require almost any financial outlay. Building a list costs nothing. Sending mails costs nothing. Your only investment is your time and knowledge which you want to pass along in this way.
Thirdly, if you additionally write a blog, in this way you can create movement and engagement on the page. What is more, you can gather in people who have visited your web page once to the mailing list in order to keep in touch with them.
Fourthly, the list gives wide marketing opportunities. From building the brand in the eyes of the clients, through building the awareness of new products and loyalty for the existing ones, to the possibility of promotion and encouragement to purchase.
Fifthly, it is a great meassuring tool. Starting from the fact that thanks to the list you know how many people are interested in what you do – the number of openings, readers and clicks. You start to understand which topics are more interesting – comments, answers, links. And from time to time you can go further and conduct a fast quiz or survey. With bigger base you can send various e-mails to different groups (so called segmentation) or check which variant of the email is more interesting for potential clients (A/B testing). There are many possibilities.
Okay but how to use it?
Below there are few questions that some of my clients have asked me in the context of building and using the mailing list:
Do I have to send a newsletter?
Newsletter is a chance for regular contact. It’s a pity to collect mails and not to use them fully. The aim of sending a newsletter is not to do it only when you want to sell something but to regularly stay in touch with people who gave you their e-mail addresses. The best practice is to set yourself a comfortable but regular time span and be consistent with it.
But take it easy – you don’t have to do it every day or once a week. But it is good to write at least once a month. Newsletter doesn’t have to be too lenghty. Many of my favourite newsletters have very simple, few-sentences construction.
What to write about?
Generally, about things which interest your readers. Think of benefits for them in the first place. Often the best way is to just ask or raise topics about which your clients often ask.
- It may be something about you: what’s going on, what are you working at, what have you found out or learnt
- Those may be advices, tips, hints and case studies which are useful for your readers
- It may be an inspiration, quotation, picture or an interesting film
Can I send a newsletter about promotions, discounts or good deals?
Of course! You should inform your readers that your products are for sale or that they have a better price now.
But the trust of people who have left you their e-mails should not be overused. Information in a newsletter should be above all useful for readers. That is why promotion and sale should not be a topic of each newsletter. Remember, the readers should gain something from reading your letters.
Do I need other channels if I have a list and a newsletter?
There’s no golden bullet. That is why it’s worth to combine email marketing with other tools such as social media. For example you can post information about sending the newsletter in your social media. You can also promote your blog entries through advertisements on Facebook. Talking with customers, you can encourage them to join to your mailing list.
Creating mailing list is time well spent. It is an effective and relatively easy to use marketing tool. You should start creating a list as soon as possible – this interferes with nothing but it can help you in building your brand and business awarness. Get in touch If you need a hand with making a first step towards the world of email marketing.
What do you think? Do you have any experience in building a list? Maybe you have some questions? Let me know in a comments below :)