With all the emails we get from various companies, you might be wondering if your business also needs a newsletter. Alternatively you might already know you need and want one, but you’ve too overwhelmed by the tech side of it (exactly how does one send 134 emails at once?) or the writing side of it (“I have nothing interesting to say!”). In today’s post I’m going to explain why you need an email database (and business newsletter), and next week I’ll be writing about the tech side of it, including some sample formats you can use if you struggle with the content of your newsletter.
As small business owners in the era of social media, it would be easy to think that social media is the single best marketing tool you can use for your business. We get told all the time that if we’re not constantly active on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram (and G+, and ello, and Twitter, and…) that we are missing out on prime opportunities to market. There are a couple of problems with this thinking. Firstly, we forget that millions of other businesses (from micro to massive) are told the same thing, so they too are across all those media or trying to be. As a result, the online world is becoming an unbelievably noisy place. Secondly, we forget that not all of our target market spends time on one or any of those platforms. It might be hard to believe but, yes, there are potential customers of yours who do not have a Facebook account or use it to make purchasing decisions. Third, we forget that when we signed up to those platforms we agreed to those platform’s terms and conditions, the most important one of which is that they hold all the control. They can turn their platform off, ask you to pay to be involved, delete your posts or pictures, suspend your account, stop showing your posts and pretty much do whatever they like and you have NO say in it. Let me give you the big scary obvious point here: If the only way you currently market your business is via social media, and someone decides to turn that platform off tomorrow…well, yeah, good luck keeping your business going. I’m not saying it’s likely to happen. I’m saying I don’t want to be the guy who is left up a creek with no paddles if it does. Me, I like a good insurance policy!
ALL of those reasons are reasons why you must – today, right now – start building a client database (email list.) An email list belongs to you and only you. You are in total control with that information. Nobody else decides what to do with it and so it becomes an asset of your business. This is vitally important because it means that it’s a method of communicating to your clients which will never close down, suspend you, or lock you out because you posted a picture someone thought was inappropriate (but please don’t do that). With social media, we’ve all become very good at endlessly scrolling, scrolling, double tap, like, pin, scroll, scroll, double tap, scroll. We have less than a second to get someone’s attention.
So if you’ve got a client database, should you be sending an email too, if we already get too many emails?
Yes. Yes you should, and here’s why:
With email, you get their attention for way longer than any other digital medium. Firstly, they’re spending more than a half a second to see what you’ve got to say and secondly, many people KEEP newsletters to refer back to later. Yes, the content of your newsletter is vital to ensure that people do in fact open it rather than delete it (we’ll talk about that next week). The important thing is that you’re getting time in front of their face for a lot longer than your social media post will. You’ve getting a position of prime real estate in their inbox and the value of that cannot be underestimated.
With social media posts, sometimes it can feel like a very lonely place. We say and share amazing things on our pages, only to be told that 32 (out of 5000) saw that post, or we have no idea how many people saw that tweet. With a business newsletter, we might only be sending it to 120 people, but we know those 120 people KNOW us, LOVE us, and CHOSE to hear from us because they signed up. They’re already loving you! You don’t need to work quite so hard to convince them of your awesomeness because they already know it and signed up to hear about it. It’s common business wisdom that it’s easier to keep a client than find a new one and nowhere is this more obvious than in a business newsletter or email list. Speaking from my own experience of this, I LOVE that almost every single copy of the 30 Days of Awesome program was purchased by names I recognised because they are on my list. It means that I’m building a committed tribe of people who like what I have to say, are interested in being a part of my community, and they’ll give me useful, honest feedback about programs I launch. I can also more effectively reward them – I can telling them something important, share news or free tutorials and release products directly to my inner circle rather than whoever is wandering around my social media accounts. I know they’re more likely to take action and I know they’ll appreciate it.
You cannot underestimate the importance of building a list and then communicating with the people on it.
By now you’re nodding your head and thinking, “Oh yeah, I should totally be creating this list, but how the heck do I create one?” and the good news is, many of you are sitting on a goldmine of a list already. You’ve probably got TONS of emails from past clients, people who contacted you to enquire about an order, and so on. Those are the people you start with (plus your Mom and all your friends). This week, your homework is to start thinking about and gathering that list up in one place (Excel is a good place to start.)
Next week we’ll talk about communicating with your list – the tech and creative side of it – how to send and what to send in your first ever business newsletter.