3 Reasons Why Your Email List is Your Most Valuable Asset in Business.
When I first started my copywriting business, I wanted to grow and scale as fast as possible.
I’m a huge believer in learning from experts and people who have gone before me, so I invested $300 into a coaching session with one of my favourite writers to glean all the coveted strategies that helped her accelerate her business.
Her main piece of advice to me? Build an email list.
I nearly asked for my money back.
Building up a collection of emails was the last thing I wanted to do. All I wanted to know was how to drive more readers to my blog post. More followers to my Instagram. More likes on my selfies with deep and meaningful captions. More! More! More!
But she ignored my disdainful expression and told me the steps I needed to create my first email list.
1) Set up a Mailchimp account
2) Embed an opt-in form on my website
3) Nurture my list like crazy
At the time, I didn’t understand why an email list was important. But I followed her steps anyway as I didn’t want my money to go to waste.
Two years on, that sole piece of advice I once crinkled my nose at has become one of my most valuable and treasured assets. I love sending emails to my community and receiving their replies. I feel honoured knowing that every person on my list has chosen to welcome me into their inbox. It’s also equipped me with the skills and expertise I’ve needed to build thriving and engaged email lists for other brands — lists that have helped them cultivate community, drive traffic, and increase sales.
Because I’ve seen just how powerfully email lists can amplify a brand, I want to pass it forward and tell you exactly why email lists are vital for any business or writer.
Your Email List is Yours And Only Yours
By this, I mean that you have full ownership of your email subscribers. You can access the list any time you want without fear of it disappearing.
Earlier this year, Instagram temporarily crashed and people collectively
In an instant, their ‘direct’ line to thousands and thousands of their followers vanished. Without a platform like Instagram, how else were they going to talk to their followers? How else were they going to promote their products to their customers? Screw you, Zuckerberg.
The app eventually came back online, but the temporary loss of their followers was a sobering, icy cold reality for many business owners.
Hard truth: If you have a social media presence, you’re building a following on borrowed land. That means, if Facebook or Instagram were to crash for good, you’d instantly lose access to the audience you spent years trying to cultivate. Yikes.
Just last week, Medium.com — a platform many writers, like myself, use to publish their words and make spare pocket change— decided to change their Terms of Service. I’m paraphrasing here, but the new terms basically stated that Medium has a licence to reproduce our work (and republish it anywhere else they wanted) without compensating us, the writers.
Once again, all hell broke loose over the platform. Many writers had to wrestle with the difficult decision to close their accounts — and lose access to thousands of followers and hundreds of dollars of earnings — or stay and risk having their best work be sublicensed — without extra compensation! — by the platform.
Medium later amended the Terms of Service, but the damage was done. All of us realised we were hinging our source of income on an external platform that could change the rules as soon as they felt like it.
But, with your very own email list, you can speak to your subscribers any time you want. You can send them insightful emails about the dangers of relying on social media. You can console them over the loss of Instagram. You can be the glimmer of hope in their work-filled inbox.
If Instagram were to disappear tomorrow, if Pinterest were to collapse under the weight of everyone’s wedding boards, if Zuckerberg decided on a whim to charge users 10x more to publish on Facebook, you would still have a direct way to talk to your email list. (And, you’d be miles ahead of everyone else who put all their eggs in one social media basket).
An Email List Lets You Control How & When People Consume Your Content
Have you ever posted a major life event on Instagram — like buying a new puppy or yet another indoor plant — only to cross paths with one of your followers in real life who has no idea what you’re talking about?
That’s thanks to a little something called the algorithm. Pressing ‘Post’ no longer comes with a guarantee that all 10,000 of your followers will see it. Instead, the algorithm only promotes your post in the feeds of people who regularly engage with you.
It’s like when you spend hours dressing up for the party just hoping for a chance encounter with that one special person you had your eye on, only to realise they didn’t even show up. Crushing, isn’t it?
It’s the same with your content. If you’re going to spend all this time & effort trying to find the most aesthetic picture and craft the perfect caption, wouldn’t you want it to land in front of as many people as possible?
But when you send an email to your list, you know that your content is going to land directly in every single person’s inbox. You know your dream customers are going to look at their phone and see your big, beautiful email notification front and centre.
Sure, not everyone will open every single email — (a copywriter can help with that) — but the chances of people actually seeing your content is far greater than you posting randomly on social media.
Email Subscribers are Primed and Engaged For Your Offering
If your ideal customers have willingly handed their email address over to you, it means they’re curious about what your brand is offering. They like you enough to bring you into their sacred space — now, you just have to woo them with delightful content. Do this step well and soon your subscribers will be willing to take the next step further with you.
Then, when the time finally comes for you to sell something — a digital course, an e-book, a new clothing launch — they’ll convert faster than you can say ‘Coming Soon.’
BUT — don’t be theperson that only shows up when they want something. Ick.
You have to earn the right to stay in someone’s inbox. Getting a solid return on investment on your email list only works if you’ve genuinely nurtured your relationship with them by sending consistent, high-quality content that adds value to their lives.
I could go on for hours and hours about why an email list is vital — no, crucial— for your business. But I’d rather let you use the time to set up one of your own.
And if you need help deciding what content to woo your list with or how to slide into their inbox, you know where to find me.