Email List Building for Small Business

by | Jan 18, 2021 | Business Building Musts

If you ask me right now what is the NUMBER ONE thing I recommend or small businesses who are looking to create impact in their marketing, it is this – LIST BUILDING!

I firmly believe it is a cornerstone of the growth and success of a business.

And, one mistake many businesses make is not investing (time and/or money) wisely in this area and instead, putting all of their marketing “eggs” in the one Social Media basket.

Something I say to many of my audiences and clients is this:

“If you’re spending more time on social media than you are on developing email campaigns for your database, then you are leaving money on the table!”.

Yes, I know that the glamour and excitement of social media is a draw, but email marketing can do so much heavy lifting in your business!

Not only has it been around longer (so a wider spread of your demographic is very familiar with it), email marketing can very accurately nail one of the most important aspects of customer relationships – humans interacting with humans!

Don’t get me wrong, social media can be awesome for gaining exposure to new customers or clients.  But email marketing can really hone in on creating a nurturing, sustainable relationship with that person.

So – my blog post today is all about Email Marketing!

Let’s start with a couple of questions:

Do you have a client or customer list?

If yes, is building that list something you schedule into your daily goals?

If you answered NO to either of these questions, then you simply must read on! Whether you’re in retail or a service-based business, list building should be a priority. I have seen first hand how much a well engaged list can bring into your business.

And while there are a tonne of experts out there talking about social media as a priority with engagement, content, connections and leads, there are very few talking about list building!

The number one reason list building is SO IMPORTANT is this:

YOU DON’T OWN YOUR FOLLOWING ON SOCIAL MEDIA, YOU DON’T OWN THE SPACE YOU OCCUPY ON THE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM!

I’ll repeat that so it really sinks in – you can spend time (and money) only developing and building a social media following, and it can all be taken away in an INSTANT by the platform. You are at the mercy of someone else by using their platform to engage with your clients.

Algorithms can change overnight in social media, and suddenly you don’t reach the same people as you did the day before. Or – worse – your account can be shut down with no notice, and you lose it overnight.

An audience member at a seminar I was giving gave this example: The business owner explained she had previously had 10000 engaged followers, and her account was shut down by the platform with no warning, no recourse, no discussion – due to what seemed to be a very innocuous post about a sporting event with “who do you think will win”. However, the social platform deemed it as gambling (instead of an opinion/engagement post as she intended) and completely shut her account. It cost her dearly, and as she had never concentrated on list building her whole audience disappeared overnight.

Now let that sink in for a minute – if your only marketing strategy is using a social media platform to promote your business, and it was taken away overnight, what impact would it have for your business? Would it devastate your income streams, or – hopefully – do you have a good solid email list to still allow you to reach your clients/customers/audience?

Businesses that I have owned and worked in with engaged email lists sell more – it’s a simple fact! One stat I uncovered is that people on a business email list is FIFTEEN times more likely to buy from that business via the list, instead of via social media!

And the biggest positive of an email list – is you OWN this database! The email list can’t be taken away from you. Of course, a person could unsubscribe, or not update their email address to a current one, but the bottom line is that the email list remains yours.

A social media platform can take away your access to your customer base in and instant – poof, it’s gone, and there is nothing you can do about it. However, having an email list/customer database means you are essentially building a fence around that tribe you have spent so much time and energy building.

The end goal with this?

To get your online followers to give you an email address so they can become an offline email subscriber to your business!

HOW DO I GET PEOPLE ONTO MY LIST?

Great question, and I’m going to go through three ways to do this and these are my tried, tested and trusted methods:

1. HAVE A SIMPLE OPT-IN FORM

You want traffic that comes past your business to have an easy way to give you their details, so having a basic form created that is on your website/blog/email signature is a super easy way for them to do this.

Making it simple for people to be able to give you their details to opt in for information means you can then send them updates, a newsletter, blog links or relevant engaging content. In my previous retail kitchenware business, we consistently sent out newsletters that had engaging content that included interesting recipes and cooking tips. We had such great feedback, and people often commented they looked forward to reading our emails as they always found something useful in them!

If you have an opt in form do make sure it is in a prominent location and make sure it is right in front of your traffic – it can be a popup on your website, or a header on your blog, part of your Instagram bio, an invitation via Facebook, you could do a giveaway, or make it an exit popup on your website. Be bold – you can put this where people will see it.

2. RUN A COMPETITION

Competitions can be one of the quickest and easiest ways to grow your email list.

You’ve just got to make sure you are growing it with qualified leads, you want those people who not only want to win the prize, but are potential customers/clients who will engage with you!

While there may be a cost involved with running a competition or giveaway, the benefits of intentionally collecting the right leads coming into your business, will help you drive more profits into your business and help grow your email list the right way and the reach you have to a customer/client base.

PRO TIP: If you are running a contest or competition, make a specific landing page for this. Don’t make it hard for your audience to know what to do next. Have a specific link/landing that they use to opt in – the easier it is, the more people will opt in.

If you are using a social media platform to run the competition, make sure you are up-to-date on the CURRENT rules the platform has to run the comp, as you can be blocked or banned for breaching them.

You will also have to check you are complying with any applicable government regulations or laws so that you don’t run into any issues there.

 3. CREATE A FREEBIE, DOWNLOAD OR GUIDE

Create something of interest that your audience will be interested enough in for them to give you their email address in exchange for that freebie!

Giving away free, valuable content is the number one way I grow my email list.

It also gives me some intel into what people are looking for and the problems that I can solve for them.

Your freebie doesn’t have to be complicated or super pretty, they don’t have to be professionally designed or overthought.

You just need to deliver value and good content in in a clear way!

My biggest goal once people have downloaded something, is that they go and start implementing it. Because once they can see that I am an expert in the area I’m providing the information to them on, they will become raving fans, and more ready to jump onto a paid offer I release in the future.

If you are interested in seeing this process in play, then go to the homepage on my website here: https://socialmediaandmarketing.com.au/

When you scroll down you will see I have a great list of freebies on offer, and there is also a “Freebies” link in the menu! If you haven’t already, download the 108 Social Media Content Creation Ideas booklet. You can download my other freebies too – and thousands of people have done this (yep, so cool!).

And if you haven’t ever thought about doing a freebie before, definitely have a go of downloading one of mine. Because remember that while sometimes the learning is in the downloaded content a person gets, it can also be in the process and watching how someone else does something that you want to do in your business. And if you go through the steps to download the freebie on my site, you can see an example of how my process works that you may be able to apply to your business!

You’ll see that I have a couple of extra steps in the process that are a series of emails before you receive the actual download – so watch the process and see how it plays out!

Once you have downloaded and engaged in the process, then use this to brainstorm your own freebie or lead magnet! Ask yourself what can you give away to your audience so that they will give you their email address? What is the biggest problem you can solve for your audience?

Don’t overthink it, just start brainstorming!

SO – for those of you who already have a list built, don’t think you can get away from this blog post scot-free!

There is ALWAYS room for improvement. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How can I improve my list and make my list better?
  • What value can I provide to my audience?
  • How can I attract better or more qualified people to my list?
  • How can I serve them even better?

If you already have a freebie or lead magnet, then start brainstorming on what your NEXT one could be! I can guarantee you that one lead magnet is not enough – you need to have lots of them over the course of your business. You may not have them all released at once, but having a bank of lead magnets makes it easier for you to repurpose content and build it going forward to release it when the time is right.

HOWEVER, you don’t need to create these all at once/right now, but be looking to develop these going forward over a period of time. As always, there is next-level stuff you can do even if you already have an email list, to build your list and make your list (and what you offer) even better and more engaging.

Just to recap:

The reason I think that you must be list building, is that you don’t own your social media following! You don’t own the platform!

NOW: for the big offer, in February I will be running a 6 WEEK EMAIL MARKETING MASTERMIND FOR SMALL BUSINESS – it’s a limited group format with only 12 spaces available! Simply head to my website here to register your interest!

List building is such an important part of small business, and I would love to chat with you about this more – simply head over to my Like Minded Business Owners group to discuss, or send me a DM on Instagram, or email me at jenn@jenndonovan.com.au

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jenn Donovan is a marketing strategist and social media extraordinaire, coach and mentor to savvy business owners.  Owner and Founder of Social Media & Marketing Australia.

With a passion for making business simple, because it’s isn’t easy but it should be simple or at least simpler, she’s built a reputation for helping other small business owners simplify their marketing and businesses so they can reach their goals, be more profitable and live the dream (finding the freedom they set out to achieve when they started … the illusive small business owner freedom dream …!)

Jenn believes in giving before asking and that’s why she’s the host of the popular Small Business Made Simple Podcast

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Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!

 

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Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!

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