Social media has come a long way in the past few years. You have a Facebook Page, Twitter profile, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr, and everything under the sun. It seems like a lot of work to keep up with all of these channels, but what if I told you that you could be missing the most important network of all? Your own!
Social networks are great for socializing and promoting your latest posts or products, but what would happen if they up and disappeared one day, or more realistically — changed their rules or the way your posts are delivered? Would you be confident in saying that your followers are loyal enough to stick with you and remain readers, even if they can’t see your status updates? We’ve already seen the many Facebook algorithm changes that impact how many people actually see your content. Could you deal with having the same thing happen to your other profiles?
Besides the fact that your status updates have a limited viewing time frame, there is one major problem with this form of networking. The fans and followers you attract belong to their respected social networks… not to your own network. There is no possible way to reach every single one of those followers individually and when you think about it, it’s a little bit silly that you are relying on a status update or a single post to attempt to do that for you. This is one of the reasons that you need your own mailing list. Email lists are targeted audiences. People subscribed because they wanted to hear from you.
Having a mailing list allows you to collect individual email addresses from your subscribers. An email address is a one way ticket to reaching a person exclusively… and what blogger or business owner would not want to do that?! There are no roadblocks or algorithms to deal with, and best of all you don’t have to worry about those fans being unreachable.
Email outperforms social media
How often do you hop onto your social profiles and scroll through all of the content? Think about how often you actually click on links that are shared.
Now think about how you check your email. You probably open the majority of mail you receive and have a higher chance of actually clicking on links you find interesting, right?
I recently shared a post link on Twitter and Facebook, and emailed the same post to my mailing list subscribers. Twitter and Facebook combined generated just 114 clicks to the article, whereas my mailing generated 769 clicks to that same post… and that was just one mailing!
Why? Because that content was sent directly to the subscriber and that subscriber viewed the content on their own time. They didn’t have to scroll through hundreds of other posts to (hopefully) land upon mine.
Convinced? Set up your mailing list
If you haven’t yet, start building your email list today. I only wish I had started building my own list the day I launched my blog instead of focusing on social media as my main avenue of interaction and promotion. The thought of missing out on all of those additional subscribers still kills me, so don’t make the same mistake!
Related: 7 Mistakes Bloggers Make
To get started, you’ll need to sign up for some mailing list software. Please don’t just save your email contacts and send out mass emails without using a mailing list provider. Your email address could have a greater risk of getting blacklisted by networks — which is something you definitely don’t want as it impacts all of your future email sending. A provider also makes it super easy to compose great looking emails and track all of your statistics.
Many mailing list providers offer free packages for a certain amount of subscribers. I personally use and recommend Mad Mimi (just acquired by GoDaddy!), who offers a list of up to 100 subscribers for free. Upgrading to a larger account is easy and instant and totally worth it if you need your list to grow with you. I need to take a moment to share my love for Mad Mimi because I think they are a wonderful company. I switched from Mailchimp to Mad Mimi simply because their plans were more affordable, but I have been blown away by their service and they’ve made a life long customer out of me. Their customer support is always available instantly, and if I have a special request they happily help me out (and even create screencast videos for me just to walk me through what I need to do!). If you’re looking for one, I highly recommend them.
Once you’ve signed up for an account, you can grab an opt in form (or “webform”) to place on your website and start collecting emails right away. Place forms in prominent places throughout your site… your sidebar, about page, and contact page to name a few.
What types of emails should you send?
The trick to a successful mailing list is to not overwhelm your subscribers with content. If you’re constantly sending out promotions and nothing else, that is a quick way to lose subscribers. I try to provide a good mix of content with my main newsletter — bi-weekly post roundups of my latest posts they may have missed, helpful tools, freebies, or information that they can use, and the occasional promotion. Your newsletter, just like your content, needs to be of value to your subscriber and not just used as a way to increase sales or pageviews.
I hope these tips helped you really think about building your email list and if you haven’t yet, hopefully you will get started on this asap! I’d love to know in the comments the types of emails you send out and the ones that you have the most success with.
Do you know someone who is not concentrating on building their email list, and should!? Share this post with them and help them out a little.