If I had to start my marketing career once again, I would like to collect and start building an email list from day one. Not doing so is my biggest marketing mistake.
What’s popping in your mind now, like many other business owners, is doubt on email marketing. You probably think that emails are old age methods and now taken over by Social Media Marketing and Facebook Ads. You might be thinking do you even need email marketing?
Most of the businesses, just like I did, do not understand the importance of collecting emails and working on email marketing. Digital marketing has taken the world into a storm, but email marketing has stood the test of time.
In this article we will go through with the top reasons why building an email list is still important and how can you build your email list and start email marketing.
In this guide we shall look at the following:
- What is an email list?
- What is email marketing?
- Top 10 benefits of email marketing.
- How to create an email list?
- Constraints of free email marketing tools
- Benefits of paid email marketing tool
And as you keep reading this article all your questions related to building an email list and email marketing will get answered one by one.
But before we begin, I would like to talk a little bit more about the concept of email list and email marketing. If I have to assume, email marketing would be one of the oldest marketing strategies used in the online world. Through email marketing, you exchange emails with your potential customers and make more business.
What is an Email List?
Think of an excel spreadsheet with names in one column and email address in the other column. That is your email list. It’s that simple.
However, in the digital world, you need to have the permission of the person to send them emails. Once you the permission, you can send them promotional emails to your subscribers about your business.
What is Email Marketing?
When you use your email list and correspond to your subscribers over emails and try to sell your products, it’s known as email marketing.
Email marketing has its own protocol to follow to ensure that you are able to take full benefits of your email subscribers. You really do not want to offend them with your email, rather you want them to love your emails. You want them to read every email that you send and take your desired actions.
Email marketing software is the best-suited option to start focusing on email marketing and we will be talking about them later in this guide, keep reading.
Must Read: Some facts around email marketing
Importance of Building an Email List
Direct Marketing Association mentions an average of 4300% return on investment on email marketing. Whereas ExactTarget study shows $44.25 of returns on every $1 spent on email marketing.
The above stats are evidence that you should start focusing on building your email list now. It’s no brainer.
I know most of you would be thinking “these are great stats but will email marketing work for my business”. Yes, it does. Email marketing has shown results in every business and if done correctly, it will generate revenue for your business too.
Top 10 reasons why email marketing is important
When a subscriber gives you their email, they give you access to their personal space, their inbox. Now it’s up to you to strike a personal online conversation.
With email marketing, you can customize a single message to reach out to a wide audience appearing it to be specially crafted for them. Each email can be personalized using the subscriber name with any special effort.
#2. Grow Relationships
Email newsletters that talk about your business current and ongoing activities, events, upcoming plans keep your audience hooked to your business and they feel related because you are keeping them involved in your business.
#3. Emails vs. other communication methods
When you are talking to friends and family, more often you would use an informal messaging system like WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc. But emails are still the preferred choice of communication when the user is dealing with a business. So if you mean business, your email list will be your best friend.
#4. Email is purposeful
Why would somebody make an effort to leave their email address with your business? Most likely, because they are interested in knowing more about your business. And because they have taken the effort to leave their email address with your business, they are more likely going to read what you send them over email.
#5. Email is Targeted
If you follow the best practices of email marketing, slowly you will be able to learn what your audience likes and then segment them out in different categories.
For example, a few people in your email list might just like savory bakes while another set of folks may be interested in puff pastries. Once you learn their likes and dislikes, you can put them in a different list and send related emails of what they most likely going to happily read and take actions.
In email marketing, this is known as segmentation. Most of the email marketing software gives you the ability to segment our audience by tagging them to various categories.
#6. Data ownership
I had about 7K friends and followers in Orkut. It was one of the most popular social media before the Facebook storm took over and Orkut was closed down. I just could not do anything and I had to lose all my connections.
Now I wonder what if Facebook shuts down. I have around 10K connections on LinkedIn, but I still do not own the data, I can just use it till the time LinkedIn allows me to do so.
And in case there is a competitor and I like to move my friends to their competitor, there is no way I can do it. I will have to start over again.
But that is not the case with your email list. Every email that you collect is your asset. If you ever decide to change your email marketing service providers, export your email list from the current and import it into the system of a new service provider.
Your email list provides you the guarantee of reaching out to the inbox of your audience until they unsubscribe to your emails or they stop using their email id.
#7. One-on-One Relationship
Email is absolutely personal in nature. Unlike social media, where messages are posted in public and anything that you write is also visible to the whole world, emails are read in private.
The reader feels confident about reading the email and then asking questions directly to you, a one-on-one relationship. This builds trust.
#8. Emails are there to stay forever
Do you remember the following social media?
- Google Buzz
- Google Plus
Probably not. Social media perishes. Blog perishes. Marketing strategies perishes, but email marketing has been rock solid since the very beginning.
#9. Emails vs. Social Media Users
I know what’s moving in your head. Number, isn’t it. How many people use email these days? You would have seen numbers like 1.9 Billion users on Facebook, 800 Million active users on TikTok and much more.
But what nobody told you yet is that every internet user has bare minimum one email id. A research done by Radicati found that there are more than 3.8 Billion active email accounts and that’s about 50% of the earth’s population.
#10. Email marketing converts better
Remember the TV commercial from Vijay Sales, if not watch it here
This advertisement is a true example of why personalization matter and how it converts more.
Mailchimp, an email marketing software provider, tracked thousands of campaigns with more than 1000 subscribers catering to various industries. The following is their report
The better you write emails, the more you connect with your subscribers, and the better you segment them out, your open rate and conversation rate is going to be better.
At anybodycanbake.com email open rate is 51.9% with a conversion rate of 13.1% and that is amazing.
I hope you know understand why every smart business owner focuses heavily on building an email list.
But you are head is still spinning and you are thinking about some guru who told you that email marketing is dead, then think about the following. What is the most important thing you need to open up your account with Facebook or Twitter?
Yes, you are correct. It’s an email id. The biggest social network giant knows that email is the direct way to connect with their customer. In fact, when Facebook has to send you some information, where do they send you the information? Just think about it.
That leads us to the question ….
How to create an Email List?
So now that you know how important it is to build an email list and that it perhaps is your biggest mistake to not start doing so, it’s time to take action.
Get a website
Your website or blog is your best place to start collecting emails. You can potentially convert every website visitor into your email subscriber.
If you are a beginner then I recommend using WordPress and start blogging. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make a website.
Beyond just building the email list, you will be able to monetize your blog in many other ways.
Get a lead magnet
Besides a website, you would also need an email marketing tool and opt-in forms to start collecting emails.
Creating a website, setting up email marketing tool and creating opt-in forms are fairly easy task and needs no technical or design skills.
You create beautiful opt-in forms, place them at the appropriate place on your blog and encourage the visitor to leave their email id for you. Most often, you offer the visitor something valuable, called lead magnets, in exchange for their email.
Offering a free ebook is an example of a lead magnet that you offer to your visitors for free in exchange for their email id. My first lead magnet was an ebook of my handpicked recipe cookbook for beginners.
The next step…
Get an email marketing tool
There are plenty, free and paid both. When people are starting up, for obvious reasons, they try to use the free version. For years I have also used the free version of MailChimp.
But when I really got serious about building my email list, I found that none of the free version gave me the real capability of automating my emails. In fact, all I was able to achieve with MailChimp free version was to send out an email update to all my subscribers about the new blog post.
Constraints of free email marketing tools
- I could not use my branding in the emails
- I was not able to tag my subscribers based on their demographics, interest, and behavior.
- There was hardly any reports to find out who is taking action and who is not.
- I was not able to move a subscriber from one category to another based on the actions they take on my emails
- I was not able to send them a series of email via automation
And today I advise everybody to invest in a paid service right from the beginning. It’s worth making that investment and email marketing will pay its own bill. After trying a few services I have finally zeroed down myself to ConvertKit.
It is one of the most rewarding email services I have used that is truly focused on what I expect from my email marketing tool.
There are multiple benefits that I get from using Convertkit in lieu of the money I spend on them.
Benefits of paid email marketing tool – Convertkit
- Send private mass emails (broadcasts)
- Create a sequence of emails an automate the process of user engagement
- Segment users based on their interests, actions, buying patterns, etc.
- Run A/B split tests to test your email subject line, content, offers, etc. and find what works and what does not.
- A deeper level of analytics and reports.
I hope by now you understand the importance of building an email list and the importance of email marketing. Now get started with it. Write impactful emails that increase the open and conversion rates.