Why is an email list so important?

Updated 25th October 2017

Hello

I’m sure you’ve been told before that you should have an email list, but did they tell you why? Well, today I will. I’ll share with you what an email list is, why you should start one and what solution I use.

What is an email list?

An email list is simply a list of names and email addresses of people who either signed up to your newsletter or gave you permission to send them news, updates and promotions via your business email account.

Why is it important?

People who become part of your email list are extremely interested in your work and what you do. They are more likely to want to hear what you have to say and what you have to offer. But most importantly, apart from your website, an email list is the only thing you have control over.

Whist social media is becoming increasingly essential to the growth of your customer base and the growth of a successful business, you don’t have any control over it.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whichever is your social media of choice, are all excellent ways of reaching out to and interacting with your customers, but all they have to do is make a simple algorithm change or policy change and it could seriously alter how you you communicate with your customers. One example is when Facebook decided to change their algorithm so that you had to pay them if you wanted to boost a post. That could become very expensive!

Remember MySpace, Friends Reunited, Google Buzz and countless others? Most of them are either dead or irrelevant now. It shows that not all social media will be here for the long haul, but you should be.

Having your own email list means that if any or all of your favourite social media companies changed their algorithms so that people found it harder to find you, or even went bust, you would still have your list of core followers who you can communicate with and who can learn about your news, updates and promotions.

“Building an email list is crucial because it’s the best way to build a relationship with potential customers in an intimate way. “

Nathalie Lussier - Digital Strategist at Ambition Ally

Email lists can result in up to ten times the conversion rate of social media posts and so it's extremely important to have a quality list if you want to sell your latest product to your loyal customers.

It’s personal. A person’s inbox is their own personal space and having an email list allows you to appear in their virtual home. There is no algorithm, no ranking system which will limit who you reach, it is direct and personal.

It’s purposeful. To get on your email list, a customer has to sign up to a promotion or your newsletter and confirm their email address. This means they are interested in hearing from you and want to know what you have to say.

It’s targeted. When a customer has already signed up to your list, you already know that they like what you do and so you can send them content that is relevant and so will generate better feedback and results.

It’s easy. Having an email list is the easiest way to share big news with your customers. Making announcements on social media is great and might attract more customers, but for this to happen people need to be on social media at the time and see the post in their feed. If you have an email list, you reach your customers directly without them having to do anything. It’s likely they will check their email once or a few times a day and so it’s very likely they will see your big news. It’s also easy to setup.

How do I start?

I am sure that if you've read this far you’ll now know that building a quality email list is important and that ignoring it could be a mistake. Now that you know how vital it is, you’ll want to know how you create one, yes?

There are three things that you need in order to start an email list.

  1. A blog or a website
  2. A service that can provide an email marketing service
  3. An opt-in form

You probably already have a blog or a website, but if you don’t you can look at my web design packages here.

A good email marketing service will allow you to not only create a quality list of subscribers, but also create an engaging email design. A good email marketing service should also make sure that your emails do not end up in your subscribers junk folder.

Here is a list of popular email marketing services for you to investigate.

  1. ActiveCampaign
    Has some good basic features and excellent marketing features, but limited in their starter / Lite package. They have a 14-day free trial period if you wanted to find out more.
  2. AWeber
    Some great features for small and medium-sized businesses in their starter package, but the price increases sharply if you start to get lots of subscribers. They have a 30-day free trial available to try out.
  3. Constant Contact
    One of the better email marketing services out there and one of the fastest growing. With a free 60-day trial available, you will have plenty of time to find out why.
  4. ConvertKit
    An easy to use and incredibly powerful solution, but with only a 14-day free trial available, you don’t have a great deal of time to use all of the available features.
  5. GetResponsive
    A hugely popular and easy to use email marketing solution with a free 30 day trial available and a good starting price.
  6. iContact
    One of the more expensive solutions out there, but they have a 30-day free trial and a huge variety of marketing features to play with.
  7. Mailchimp
    One of the world's most popular email marketing services with a starter package that is free – forever! Can’t get much better than that. Its features are limited because of that, but they make it very easy and affordable to upgrade. Perfect for startups and nonprofits.

The email marketing service I use is Mailchimp. It has excellent features and is free for small and new businesses up to the maximum of 2000 subscribers and up to 12,000 emails a month. If you need more than that, there are some very reasonable price plans available.

Once you have signed up with your email marketing service they will very likely have simple step by step instructions on how to add a signup form to your site. You can use their built-in design features, or if you're feeling brave you can just use the code and design an opt-in yourself. Depending on what type of website you have there may also be a plugin that can do a lot of the work for you. Have a search online and you’ll be surprised how many there are.

Now that you have your signup form in place on your site you're going to want to promote it and let people know it's there. It’s always nice to offer your subscribers a free gift as an incentive or thank you for signing up. This can be anything from a one-off discount in your shop, a free printable, an online course or, as in my case, a free ebook. The sooner you start to get subscribers the sooner you can start sending them relevant content.

Do I really need an email list?

I think that if you have a business or a blog you should be trying to grow your email list. However, if you don't intend to sell a product or service, then it isn't so important.

It doesn’t matter what type of business you have, what industry you're in or what kind of website you have. You are going to want to turn visitors into returning customers and the best way to do that is to create an email list. Once you have an email list, it’s important to look after your subscribers. Not only are they going to be your most engaged blog readers or followers, but they’ll also probably be your most loyal customers.

So, with all that being said, if you would like to sign up to my newsletter. please just add your email address below.

If you have a comment or want to ask any questions about why an email list is so important, please leave a message below.

Until next time…

Colin

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