A mailing list is nothing more than a collection of subscribers you occasionally send mail to. These lists, when done right, can drive considerable sales to your business. If you are not currently collecting emails and sending updates to them this article is just for you.
Social Media: Similar But Not The Same
First of all, let’s get this out of the way. At its core, social media platforms like Facebook and Google+ have a somewhat similar model to newsletter lists:
- With an email list you have a form where a person can submit their contact info. This action then places them on your contact list. You can then decide when, what and how to send them updates.
- With Facebook, a user likes your page, then starts receiving your Facebook updates via your wall posts. They don’t receive every single wall post you create – in fact Facebook has an algorithm called Edgerank that controls which of your fans sees your posts. Here is a simplified explanation of edgerank.
Here’s the major difference between the two: Ownership. When you create and manage an email list – it’s yours. You control the platform that collects emails and sends messages. You control how often the messages are sent, and you control the content in those messages. With social media platforms, all the control is held by the social media website. These platforms usually have limitations and typically don’t have portability options – meaning you can’t take your list of subscribers (or fans) elsewhere. Facebook even charges you for sharing your wall posts with fans when you get to a certain number.
Back To Email Lists – Why Do I Want One Again?
Email Lists are valuable for the following reasons:
- You are collecting email addresses – just about everyone on the internet has email address
- By opting into your marketing list, your customers are giving you permission to market to them
- When collecting emails, most email marketing platforms allow you to create separate lists of subscribers – so you can create groups of users and send them each different material – like pre-sales and post-sales customer lists for instance.
- Email lists are very portable – you can export your list and move it to a new email marketing platform pretty easily.
- The cost of mailing to your list is very reasonable – you can even host your own software using a completely free newsletter manager like phpList.
Overall your email list is a valuable marketing asset for your company that can be an extremely effective marketing tool, depending on how you use it. Even if you’re not currently interested in a full-blown email marketing list campaign, just having a form that collects emails and emailing to them once a month or quarter using your own email will allow you to begin building a long-term marketing asset.
Some Email Marketing List Ideas
First let’s talk about building your list. In order to invest time and money into email marketing you first need people to send emails to. The following are ideas to establish your initial list:
- You can create an informative document on your field of expertise and offer to email it after your customer fills out a form. The form will ask for their email address and have a box asking if they’d like to be added to your newsletter list.
- Offer something of value to your newsletter subscribers. Set up a call to action on your site that offers reasons for signing up to your mailing list – like exclusive deals.
- More great ideas here: 25 Clever Ways to Grow Your Email Marketing List
Here are some ideas once you have an established your list:
- Create a monthly or quarterly newsletter containing industry information and how that information relates to your company. For instance landscapers can talk about seasonal changes, and what to watch for. HVAC companies can talk about what equipment to check based on the time of year.
- Send to your mailing list on holidays – basic e-cards can go a very long way. More on this here: 7 B2B Holiday Email Marketing Ideas
- Along with sending pertinent news/info, include some sales wording and also mention forwarding the email to any friends. Remember – the goal here is to market to your list, with the goal of them taking an action such as emailing or calling you.