Why do you need an email list?

woman sat at table in front of a laptop

When Facebook went down you might have panicked! If you solely use social media for your marketing, you need to think about a more reliable backup such as email. 

Promoting on social media is a great way to build a following of loyal customers and supporters. But what happens when you get hacked, or the platform goes down?

In October 2021, Facebook went down across the world, taking with it sister companies Instagram & Whatsapp.

If you had built your brand awareness and community solely on that platform I’m pretty sure the panic was starting to set in.

What if you lost access to all business pages?

What if you lost access to your following and customer base?

Do you have a backup?

Social media is sometimes referred to as rented ground, you don’t own your account, the platform does. If it chooses to kick you off, it’s their right.

I’ve seen it many times, including the infamous Mike Winnet on Linkedin. Mike had amassed 76,000 followers and built his business using the platform. He is now permanently banned due to a piece of content, an animation depicting a rather naughty elf.

So you need to think about having access to your community and loyal fans directly with an asset that you own.

Email is a great option for this and can be free if not relatively cheap.

How to build your list

The most popular way currently to build your email list is to create a lead magnet. These are also referred to as freebies.

Depending on what kind of business, it will shape what sort of freebie you can offer. (Check out some of mine – Click Here) You’ve probably entered your email address for a myriad of guide, online quizzes and free training sessions.

Quick problem solvers that can be easily digested and implemented by those who sign up for them. They are also usually automated so you don’t have to do a lot of manual labour to get people signed up to your list.

You could also offer a product discount or free consultation to people who sign up.

You can create a ‘how-to’ guide that is relevant to your business in Word or Google Docs and printing this into a PDF. You can then either use an email marketing tool (see next below) or manually send these out via email (easier when just getting started).

Delivering value > Building trust in your expertise

Think about a pain point your audience has, or a topic you know you can give value on that people will want to exchange their email address for.

Which tools to use

There are quite a few tools for managing your email marketing. MailChimp, MailerLite and Active Campaign are all quite popular and affordable. Price usually depends on the number of email addresses you are storing, and the amount of automation used. So it will be cost-effective to start small and simple.

There are tutorials on Youtube that can help with the basics.

The help sections within the tool websites also usually give up to date information too.

These tools can also help you create pop-up boxes for your website, or web pages to collect the relevant information automatically.

You can usually add ‘Tags’ to the contacts so you know where those emails came from.

This can help you with future targeting. For example, if you collected 20 email addresses from a lead magnet about cat care, you know you could send out an email to those people about cat products. It’s good to have this in mind as you get set-up, even if you don’t put in place right away.

Don’t be at risk

If you collect, store, or use the data of people in the EU, then the GDPR applies to you. You need to do your due diligence on this to avoid a hefty fine. There are certain criteria you need to adhere to, including:

  • Getting consent to store and send emails ( a tick box on the sign up form will work)
  • Providing a button for someone to unsubscribe easily from your list

You can read more here: https://www.gdpreu.org/compliance/email-marketing/

It is also recommended that you sign up for the ICO. Every organisation or sole trader who processes personal information needs to pay a data protection fee to the ICO, unless they are exempt.


Use your list to make sales

Once you have a list don’t let it gather dust, make the most of it. Rather than solely relying on social media algorithms, you can distribute you can land content directly in their inbox. You can be more targeted and thoughtful, giving bespoke offers and value. It helps build customer retention rather than the constant need for new customers. Email Marketing return on investment stands at £42 for every pound spent*.

So make a plan to send out regular emails, they can be a traditional newsletter/flyer type, repurposed social media content or even something more personal. You can write directly to your customers in your own voice,  less formal and more friendly.

By using an email marketing tool you can see which emails perform well. It can tell you what type of headline gets more opens, what type of promotion gets more clicks, and you can start to see patterns with what works.

Be cautious not to send too many sales emails, I once signed up to a coach who emailed several times a day flogging his courses. Let’s just say I didn’t subscribe to that list for long!

Check out more Email Stats: https://bit.ly/3rHqIAx

Take Action

So don’t wait until you lose access to your social media, and don’t be put off by the thought of more tools, start simply but start now. It is a priority to ensure the sustainability of your customer base, so you don’t have to start again if a platform goes down again.


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