One of the important key components of any good business model is a mailing list.
And yet it is one component I see many female entrepreneurs skip creating for their small business.
In this post I’ll cover why it’s essential that you set up and use a mailing list, the benefits of doing this, and I’ll drop some tips to help you get started with great mailing list strategy.
WHY YOU NEED A MAILING LIST
Don’t be deceived into thinking that you can build your empire using social media only. Whilst social platforms can be a great place to showcase your business, to get eyes on you, and yes, to sell some of your products and services, it should never be the ONLY place you show up and sell.
Social platforms will only ever show your content, products and services to a small percentage of your followers, and to an even smaller percentage of non-followers (unless you start running paid ads).
Social platforms aren’t safe. You work hard to build your following and you run your entire business on any of the social platforms, only to wake up one day and find your account has been blocked, hacked, taken down without notice. Suddenly all the hard work you’ve put in to that social platform has vanished. This happens more often than you think, for all sorts of reasons.
Don’t think you’re immune. I’ve seen accounts with over 250k followers, and accounts with under 1k followers shut down by social platforms, without notice, without any come back.
Your greatest priority on any social platform should be to push people to a safer place. Somewhere you can put your audience where you can continue to communicate with them, that’s away from social. That place is your mailing list. Next to your paying customers/clients, your mailing list will be one of the most important assets you own in your business.
The more you work to grow your list, the more you engage with your list with great mailing list strategy, the greater the connection you will have to the people on your list, and, more importantly, the more you’ll sell.
Any successful business owner (we’re talking the five, six, seven figure business owners) will all tell you that the place they sell most of their products and services is to their mailing list.
You need a mailing list because it’s a safe asset you’ll own, that doesn’t have the level of risks associated with it that running your business purely on social does.
Your mailing list will become a place where you start to build greater community and connection with your subscribers in a way you can’t on social media, and when you do this, you’re much more likely to sell more of your products and services through your list.
THE BENEFITS OF A MAILING LIST
I’ve covered some of this above. Your mailing list is safer than social. You mailing list is a place you can drive your audience to so that they’re in YOUR space, that then gives you the option to communicate with those people on a much deeper level.
Given that you’re lucky if a fraction of your followers on social even get to see your content, the difference with your mailing list (assuming you write great emails your audience wants to open), is you’ll have much greater deliverability, open and read rates than you’ll ever accomplish on social. This means more of your people seeing, opening, reading more of your content, and that keeps them engaged and connected to you.
Another benefit of a mailing list, is that your mailing list subscribers are a warmer audience. When people see you on social, they’re mostly cold. They’re happy scrolling, liking, perhaps dropping the occasional comment, saving or sharing your post (if you’re lucky), but it’s likely that a great percentage of your followers on social are not warmed up to you enough, for them to want to dive in and buy. That’s why it can be really frustrating when you have 10,000 followers on Instagram, but your sales there are like crickets.
Your mailing list is different because the people there are warmer leads. The reason they’re warmer is because they’ve already made a decision to take a deeper leap with you by joining your mailing list. That indicates that they’re interested in what you do, and as a result they’re a better prospect to become a paying customer or client, if you can maintain contact and build relationships with them through your list.
Encouraging people to join your list from your social media accounts also means you’re weeding out the followers who’ll never be any more than that – followers.
When you send emails to your list in the form of branded newsletters or automated email sequences, you can send better content to your subscribers. It’s much easier to tell stories, have great content in your emails, and present your products and services with clickable links and great images in a way you simply can’t do on social. This presents better buying opportunities for your mailing list subscribers.
I’m always going to push you to get a mailing list set up, and to start to learn good mailing list practice (some tips below to get you started), because mailing lists are the backbone of your business.
Whilst many social platforms, come, change all the time, and sometimes go, mailing lists have been around and stable for a long time, and they will not be going anywhere, or changing, any time soon.
For that reason they provide great stability for your business as a way to keep in regular contact with the subscribers you have on your list.
GREAT MAILING LIST STRATEGY
– Creating a branded Newsletter for my business worked really well and improved my open rates. My branded Newsletters have their own names (one called The Friday Fempreneur that goes out – you guessed it – every Friday morning, and one called Wednesday Wisdom, that drops every Wednesday). Both of those Newsletters have the same branded look to them. They always go out the same time, same day each week so that my subscribers learn to expect them on those days at those times.
– I tell stories inside my Newsletters. This is a really important point. If you can learn the art of story telling in your emails, you can hit gold. Whilst your competitors are all sending generic ‘here’s my latest product’ Newsletters, your Newsletters stand out because you’re telling stories and merging your stories into what’s happening in your business, or the giving of some words of value, or showcasing your products/services. Humans are hard wired for story telling, and if you can master the art of story telling in your emails, yours are the ones that will stand out.
– Great subject lines are essential. They are comparable to hooks in your social content, and your subject lines need to be ‘hit your audience in the face’ interesting enough, that people want to open your emails and read on. If your emails sit amongst an ocean of same subject lines, why would anyone open yours? Think about how you can make the subject lines you use stand out from your competitors, and also make sure you use the preview text to introduce the topic of your email with a short punchy sentence that will again push people to want to open and read more.
– Consistency is key. This means you must have strategy. BARE minimum you should be sending an email once a week. This is not really enough (no matter how much you think you’re going to annoy your subscribers). I’m up to two branded Newsletters each week, but I aim to grow this more. Some of the mailing lists I subscribe to send me multiple emails DAILY. Too much you think? Not as far as I’m concerned, because those businesses give great value in every email. Most of the mailing lists I subscribe to send one email every day minimum. I’d love to reach that goal myself.
– Long form or short form emails both work. Keep your paragraphs and sentences short, don’t be afraid to use white space. Write your emails in way that’s chatty, rather than it reading like a dissertation. No-one has time these days to try and decipher what it is you’re saying if you’re overly long-wordy. So treat your emails like you’re writing to a friend, rather than producing an entry for Encyclopaedia Brittanica.
I’ll share more mailing list tips in upcoming posts. Stay tuned. In the meantime, if you’ve not already done so – go start a mailing list for your business (take a look at this blog post where I share some of the platforms you can start a mailing list for free), and then figure out how to drive people from your social platforms to your mailing list (another blog post about that also coming soon).
It will be a wise day when you make the decision to put building a mailing list at the heart of your business.