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To Build Or Not To Build? – What To Do About Email Lists

Lori Lyons November 2020

Marketing Kuel Category Expert: Lori Lyons

For many years, I enjoyed watching the show Mythbusters. I loved the way they took our everyday myths and either debunked them or proved the myth correct – or sometimes the hosts never proved one way or the other.

Email marketing is like that. A lot of myths, facts and fallacies about how we feel about email marketing or “list building” abounds.

Let’s discuss – shall we?

Email is so annoying; old fashioned; works; doesn’t work. Does anyone even read email anymore? We hear this all the time from various marketers, depending on their speciality. How do I decide what’s best for my business?

Numbers Don’t Lie:

According to ​HubSpot, ​in August of 2020, there were over 3.9 billion (yes, with a B) email users daily and this number is expected to climb to over 4.3 billion by 2023. Businesses that use email to market see a 760% increase in revenue. That is roughly a $38 increase for every $1 they spend on email marketing.

So that’s the numbers – which are pretty impressive. But what does this mean to us, as midlife entrepreneurs? How do we start and what do we do?

“Getting your followers to move to your own list is the first step”

For me, the power of “building a list” for the purposes of email became very clear earlier this year when all of a sudden, businesses had to go online to survive. I had spent so much time helping my clients I neglected my own email building tactics. I was stuck trying to communicate and couldn’t. Ooops… and a big oops at that!

The Issue With Social Media:

A lot of us build followers on social media – which is great – until it’s not. We do not “own” our followers – the various platforms do. When Facebook or YouTube changes the algorithms it can dramatically change the way we interact with our followers. Getting your followers to move to your own list is the first step in building your list, if your main focus is social media.

“Once you have an email address, you generally have permission to market to that follower.”

As we join groups on Facebook, which is still one of the best ways to communicate on social media, you may have noticed the set of questions that are asked as a condition to join. The first question usually asked, in some form or another, is what is your email address? Why? So the owner of the group can then “own” your email address and move it to their platform. Once you have an email address, you generally have permission to market to that follower. (And if you don’t want it – unsubscribe!)

I have a friend/client that receives thousands of views on her YouTube channel – which is great! However, unless she moved those viewers to her own email platform, the only way she could communicate to them was through her YouTube videos. She then created a Facebook group for more personal interaction and felt asking for an email address to join the group was invasive.

Not so. When we have a group of rabid fans and followers, they want to hear from us! They want what we offer and want more of us!

Well then…how do we talk to our clients and followers without being invasive?

5 Best Practice Rules To Follow For Email Marketing:

Rule #1– always offer value and service in your emails. Now I’m not talking about all the “take my course and I’ll make you rich” emails we get in abundance every day (and even more of them in the past few months! ) I’m talking about emails that build relationships and help solve problems. It’s an intimate way to speak to your clients and prospects about their problems and how you can help them.

Rule #2 – build credibility. People do business with people they Know, Like and Trust. Using your email to share stories of great things happening with your clients and your business allows your clients and prospects to really get to know you and your company. Sharing real life client stories builds credibility and expertise and shows you “know your stuff.”

Rule #3 – make it personal. Today’s email technology allows you to call your clients and prospects by name. Taking that extra step to add in the first name to an email is far more personal than the “Hey Girl” or “Hey There” email we’ve all gotten! You can even take personalization a step further by segmenting based on their specific problem. For example, if they are a member of my Facebook group, I can mark them as a FB Group user. If I’ve spoken about something specifically in my group, I can easily follow up with an email to the group. Pretty cool – right?

“Using email to build relationships is an easy way to talk to your fans and followers.”

Rule #4 – stay top of mind. Consistency is key. If I only hear from you twice a year, your emails don’t mean much and I probably won’t open them. I’ve sort of forgotten you! But if I receive a weekly email, every Tuesday and you are providing value I will open that email every darn time.

Rule #5 – promote engagement. Ask a question of your list. Ask what is happening in their lives and businesses and be prepared to respond. It’s easy with an email for the receiver to answer a question and hit “reply” back, which opens the lines of communication between the two of you. Wow! Now it has really gotten personal – which is awesome!

Using email to build relationships is an easy way to talk to your fans and followers. Google “how to build an email list” and you will receive loads of information. Start simple. You can always build upon the simple start but the important thing is to start. Don’t make it complicated.

I’d love to know, by commenting, how you use email to market to your clients. And if you don’t, share what’s stopping you.

Now – go forth and gather!

About the Author:

Lori is America’s Midlife Marketing Maven helping GenXBoomers take the frustration and mystery out of marketing their businesses. She owns a digital marketing agency, Igniting Your Business and specializes in website design, branding and marketing strategy. She loves teaching Encore Entrepreneurs how to grow their businesses so they can concentrate on following THEIR passions and THEIR clients. Lori thinks there is nothing better than seeing someone’s eyes light up when they “get it” and then they take it and make money, easily and simply and without the stress they had before.

Lori will be launching her podcast, The Encore Entrepreneur Podcast this summer where she will be interviewing entrepreneurs and talking about how they market their businesses and the tools and techniques they use. She lives in Atlanta with her husband of almost 30 years and helps her 22 year old entrepreneur son with his marketing. She is a sports fanatic and loves her Atlanta Braves baseball!