Why Build an Email Marketing List?
Building an email list is one of the most important marketing steps your business will ever take.
It's more important than setting up a Facebook page, signing up to Twitter, or creating a LinkedIn profile. In fact, it's on a par with setting up a website.
Let's take a look...
Email Has Weathered the Storm
In a world of social media, video blogs and Instagram, email appears to be a plodding dinosaur. It's been around longer than even the worldwide web.
Does that mean email will soon be extinct? Has email outlasted its usefulness?
It seems highly unlikely that email is going anywhere. Email has lasted the rise and fall of many different social networks. What's more, there are more than two times as many people with email addresses (over 3 billion) than Facebook accounts (1.3 billion).
Some technologies are only here for a season (think VHS tapes, typewriters and floppy discs). Others - like telephones and cars - stand the test of time. Email will soon celebrate its 50th birthday, so it is firmly in the latter camp.
(Almost) Everyone Uses Email
Worldwide, around 85% of people with an internet connection also have an email address. This figure drops to just 62% when it comes to social media accounts.
You can be close to certain that your potential clients use email, so you can connect with them through email marketing. Social media is also a great marketing tool, but it's less likely that all your potential clients are on any single social network, or on social media at all.
By marketing using email, you have the ability to connect with people who avoid social networks because they're late-adopters of new technology or because they don't use social networks as part of their business life.
Email Drives Sales
According to email marketing provide Exact Target, every $1 invested in email marketing brings in an average of $44.25 in new or repeat business. That's a mind-blowing return of 4,425%.
Even if you're unsure that email marketing will prove to be quite so lucrative for your business, this figure alone should be enough to inspire you to start an email list.
Email Generates Hot Leads
Why is email such a powerful driver of sales? Because people who sign up for your list have qualified themselves as hot leads. By giving you their email address, they've shown both interest in your service and trust in you as a service provider.
Email leads are some of the best leads you can acquire for your business. Why? Because these are people who have raised their hands and said, “Yes, I’d like to know more about what you offer and how it can benefit me personally.” Boy howdy, what more could you ask for as a small business owner or service professional? For this reason alone I believe that email lead generation should be at the heart of your small business marketing strategy. If it’s not, I suggest you make it so immediately.
You Can Keep Your Email List Forever
Your email list belongs to you. You can export it to a spreadsheet, move it between email providers, even write it down with pen and paper if you want to (as long as you observe relevant data protection laws).
That's not the same for other social marketing tools. Your Facebook fans and Twitter followers don't belong to you. If Facebook or Twitter ever close down, you lose all the connections you've worked so hard to build up.
Email is the Professional Choice
With the exception of LinkedIn, social networks are where we go to spend time with friends. They're personal, social spaces.
By contrast, almost everyone uses email as part of their work. Email is primarily a business tool.
Research by the marketing agency Merkle found that 74% of people prefer to receive business communications via email. When you use email as a marketing tool, you're marketing in a way that people respect and trust.
Email Builds Relationships
As service providers, our businesses are usually built on relationships. Our customers aren't anonymous buyers, but people we're required to work with on a long-term basis.
Establishing strong relationships with clients is a vital part of any service provider's business. Connecting via email allows you to start building that relationship with potential clients before they even become your customer. As such, when you start working together, you're doing so from a position of mutual trust.
What's Your Experience of Email Marketing?
Do you use email marketing? What have you found are the biggest benefits of email as a marketing tool?
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