It’s often a common misconception that email lists are just for large business to send out announcements and promotions to their customers. A lot of people think that small business don’t need an email list and it's a waste of time trying to get people to sign up if they already follow you on social media.
However, I’m here to tell you that as a small business owner, building an email list could just be the most valuable thing you decide to do for your business. Here's 5 reasons why…
You don’t own your social media followers, but you do own your email list.
While focusing on building your social media followers is a good idea, it’s always risky putting so much time and effort into something you can’t control.
Social media platforms are constantly making changes and updating their algorithms. This means the following that you’ve dedicated so much time and effort to building, could mean nothing if they suddenly change how the platform runs. A lot of people have experienced this problem with Instagram and Facebook recently.
Instagram posts always used to show up in people’s feeds by the time they were posted, however a recent update from Instagram now prioritises the popularity of the post and person posting. This means if your followers are also following a lot of people that are "Instagram famous", your posts are likely to be shoved down the bottom of the feed. This means the amount of your followers actually seeing your posts could dramatically decrease.
Facebook also made a change fairly recently that means posts from Facebook Business Page's don’t show up in people’s feeds anywhere near the amount they used to. This is because Facebook wants you to pay to "boost your post" so you can reach all your followers.
If you rely on social media as a big part of your marketing strategies, these algorithm changes can be very harmful for your business.
That’s where starting an email list comes into play. The email subscribers you collect belong to you. You have complete control over them, what you send to them, and how often you send it. This means you’ve always got a reliable method of communication for your followers that no social media platforms can take away from you!
Sending regular newsletters helps you build a stronger relationship with your subscribers.
If your subscribers are willing to give up their precious email address and let you into their inbox regularly, it means they are interested in what you have to offer. You can build upon this and take this relationship to the next level by providing regular communication through newsletters.
If you make sure your newsletters are always informative and adding value to your readers, it’s going to help build trust within your relationship. Putting in the extra effort to be helpful will pay off in the long run because your subscribers will get used to your regular emails and start to rely on them as a good source of information.
Your email subscribers can help you understand what your target audience wants.
Your email subscribers are your audience. This gives you a valuable insight into their problems and needs. You can get a good idea of what topics interest them most, by the open rate and responses your newsletters get.
You could also send out an email asking them to fill out a survey, or answer a few questions. For example, ask them what they are struggling with most, what you can help them with and what type of content they want you to make more of. This leads us on to our next point.
Your email subscribers will provide opportunities for business growth.
Having the knowledge and understanding of what your audience wants puts you in prime position to grow your business. You can focus your time on creating products or services that your audience actually wants. When you offer a solution to a problem your followers have been facing, they won’t hesitate to purchase it! That’s when you’ll really begin to be successful!
Starting an email list can also highlight the areas of your business that have the most potential for growth. If your business covers a few different topics, it can help you understand what topic is worth putting more effort into, so you can ensure you're pushing your business in the right direction.
Your email subscribers are more likely to become paying customers.
Finally, the most important point is your email subscribers are a lot more likely to turn into future customers. As I mentioned before, if you have already built up a relationship with your email list, they will trust you and start to turn to you for information and resources.
As soon as you have a product or service to pitch, you’ll be surprised how many of them will be interested. As long as you stick to the 80:20 rule and don’t over sell yourself, you’ll be heading in the right direction for an increase of sales!
You almost certainly wouldn’t get the same positive reaction from your social media followers. Half the time they aren’t even seeing your posts and you just haven’t had the same opportunity to build trust, so it makes sense they won’t be as keen to spend their money with you.