“The $$ Is In The List!” Discover How Email Marketing Can Fund Your Entire Digital Empire
If I asked where you were on the morning of September 10th, 2001 I bet there’s no stored memory for that particular day. Nothing eventful happened, so our brains filed the day away into oblivion. I’m also sure email marketing wasn’t on your mind. Of course, if I asked the same of where you were on September 11th, 2001 there’d be no problem recalling exactly what was going on in your life that fateful morning. The first news stories of the Twin Towers being hit by airplanes captured the attention of the World Community. It is a day that will truly live in infamy.
Now, fast forward to October 4th, 2021. What were you doing on this morning? For many it was just another day. Although for millions of people around 11:30 am Eastern, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp all crashed. 3 sites taken out and hundreds of millions of people lost their daily means of communication. What’s worse, millions of businesses that depend on funding their operations lost their ability to make money. 3 of the largest social media sites went down and countless businesses went from being able to fund their daily operations to making $0.00.
Of course, Oct 4th, 2021 won’t live in infamy like Sept. 11th. However, for any savvy business owner this should’ve been a MASSIVE wake-up call. If your business relies solely, or even just heavily on a 3rd party service provider to bring in revenue, you’re setting yourself up for future demise.
Granted, I believe this was only the 3rd time in almost 2-decades Facebook has crashed, but that’s not the point. Every business that relies solely on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other platform to generate revenue is giving total control to someone else as to how and when they can earn an income. Sorry, but that’s the definition of stupidity. Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t own a controlling stake in your company so why are you letting him dictate the terms of its cash flow?
All of this may paint a fairly bleak outlook, but it’s imperative you understand as soon as possible the true risks involved in relying on any 3rd party system you have no control over. Why? Because Facebook going down for 6 hours isn’t the only inherent risk involved.
If the algorithms that control these platforms are updated and deem your offers unfit compared to their constantly changing policies, these providers will shut you down, and in some cases shut you down permanently. Same goes for Google and things like their search ads. In the past, updates to their algorithm have completely wiped out the paid traffic to huge swathes of websites, and crushed businesses to the point they had to shutter their doors. Unless you have the legal resources to take them to court, good luck getting any of your data back, getting traffic back to your site, or anything you worked so hard to build. Game over.
So what can you do?
Email Marketing To The Rescue
Ok, so everything I’ve talked about so far may sound incredibly gloom and doom, so where do we go from here? What’s the answer to not letting social media sites control your income? Well, the answer is surprisingly simple and can be summed up in one word, you guessed it – Email!
No matter what Facebook and the others do to their algorithms, no matter how Google updates their user policies, no matter what happens in the Geo-political climate of the day, Email Marketing is your personal, direct, and FREE line to your audience. Your email marketing list isn’t held, managed, or dictated in any way by some Silicon Valley overlord looking to appease the 24-hour news cycle either. It’s 100% under your control, and should be treated like the lifeblood of your business, because it is.
The email list built in your business is owned entirely by you, and can be used to drive tremendous growth for years to come. How? Well, by keeping a well-cultivated list of folks who are engaging with it (i.e. opening the emails, clicking on the links, etc.), then that list is a built-in source of income because you can continually sell products and services too everyone on the list when appropriate.
The most important thing to keep in mind though with any list is to build relationships with everyone on the list. Don’t just sell them things all the time, or people will leave in droves. Instead, send them regular updates about cool things happening in your industry, or with you personally, and on occasion sell them things.
Sounds good, right? But how do you build an email list?
Building An Email List From Scratch
Now that we’ve established the incredible importance of having and cultivating a reliable email list in your business, how do we go about building one? There are a few main ways to grow a list, so let’s cover them now…
- Publish, Publish, Publish
In our previous post we discussed the importance of publishing regularly in your business. It’s the best way to grow a business organically (for free) online, and helps ensure the Google gods deliver potential buyers directly to your digital doorstep.
Publishing also allows you to capture email addresses of interested parties. Everyone who follows your blog, listens to your podcast, or subscribes to your YT Channel is a potential buyer, so be sure to ask them for their email address after every episode. Let them know the incredible value they’ll get in return for giving their email address.
Pro Tip: Whenever asking for someone’s email address, it’s best to request an official work email, or for their preferred email. Some people (me included) keep free Yahoo and Gmail accounts to enter when they’re not sure they want to hear from the organization in the future. Requesting the official email will let subscribers know you want to actually keep in touch.
- Lead Generation Funnels (Lead-gen)
Another easy way to grow an email list from scratch is to build out what’s known as a lead-gen funnel. Put simply, lead gen funnels offer visitors the chance to download something incredibly useful in their lives/business in exchange for their email address. They are also very easy to set up as they typically only consist of two webpages:
1. Squeeze page > 2. Thank you page
The “Squeeze page” discusses the offer in the most compelling way possible, then gives the visitor the chance to enter their email to get the “goods”. Here’s an example of one of the top converting offers for the folks over at Clickfunnels… (https://funnelhackingsecrets.com/get-the-blackbook-free-1)
Pretty simple page, right? A headline, sub-headline, an image, and the chance to get FREE, Instant Access to this book (PDF) by entering an email address.
That’s it! That’s what a typical squeeze page consists of, and any competent web developer should be able to crank out one of these in an hour or less. When someone providers their email, be sure to thank them on the next page, give them the ability to download the offer on the next page, and email the assets directly to their inbox as a back up.
Now that we’re on our way to building a useful list we can use anytime, what system should you choose to cultivate and broadcast to the list?
Managing A List With An Email Service Provider
Now that you have an idea on how to actually start building a list, which service should you use to maintain this list, and get in touch with them? I don’t want to go too deep into this because I believe the answer is different for every organization, and their technical capabilities. Also, every one of the options have their pros and cons, so it’s vital to do your own research as to which email platform to choose.
The major players right now are:
- Constant Contact
One of the original email services, they’ve been around for a while, so their feature set is widely known.
My current favorite given the very simple interface they offer, and how many other systems they integrate with. Their API reaches most of the major platforms, making it very versatile tool.
This is a no-frills solution to getting any organization running their email campaigns.
- CRM-specific email marketing services
Many CRM systems, like SalesForce, Keap (formerly Infusionsoft), and Zoho offer their own built-in email systems. While these services may not have as many email-specific features as something like Constant Contact, they’re better at helping track where the customer came into your world, why, and other portions of the customer journey.
There are numerous other systems available to manage emails, so just be sure to do your research before selecting one. Also, it’s possible to outgrow a system over time, so choosing one today does not lock you into that system forever. Re-evaluate what the system offers, and what it may be lacking as needs change every year or so.
Great, we’ve established the importance of a list, how to start building one from scratch, and some great tools to manage the list, but what about monetizing it? Let’s take a look.
Monetizing Email Marketing
Many email marketers will say that, at the very low end, an email list should be worth about $1/name/month. In other words, if you have a list of 1,000 email addresses you should be able to earn $1,000/month, or $12,000/year with that list.
Sounds great, right? But how do you actually monetize the list? Well, the best way to quickly monetize a list is to simply ask subscribers what their particular needs are, then find a way to fulfill those requests. I’m not kidding, it really is that simple!
Entrepreneurs spend so much of their time trying to come up with the latest and greatest coolest new inventions. That’s awesome as we need true innovation to keep moving mankind forward. However, sometimes the simplest answers are lying right in front of us, and all we have to do is be willing to ask the right questions to uncover them.
Another part of our post regarding Publishing regularly covered the idea that when creating a publishing strategy it’s best to engage the audience to find out what questions they have, then answer them. This is also the perfect strategy to find out what to sell them next.
I know I’ve said that we should never sell anything, instead, provide value. I stand by that statement here, because it’s not selling if we are simply fulfilling the requests of those who want to buy from you.
Think of the trust it takes for someone to actually pull out their credit card to buy from you for the first time. It takes multiple impressions of them seeing what you offer before they finally make that first purchase. However, once the initial financial commitment has been made, every transaction after that is made exponentially easier and easier for them as long as you continue to provide real value.
Email marketing continues to be one of the cornerstone tools any business can use to realize real, sustainable growth. Of course, the strategies discussed in here are just the beginning. What your emails should include can vary greatly, but just make sure to engage with the audience regularly so they are providing ideas on the content that’s released.
Also, remember that each element of an email should be designed to get people to keep moving forward…
The Subject line = Pique the reader’s curiosity enough so they open the email
The headline = Give readers a taste of what’s to come in the body text
The body copy = A fun story that leads them down a path to future success
Bold print inside the body = If they read nothing else, sum up the main point of the email with bold text
A button/link = The call to action with explicit instructions of what to do next to realize success
Build your emails with all of these elements and their specific purposes in mind and you’ll find greater success with the audience. It’ll also help with building relationships that not only last years, but can fund your entire digital empire without relying on 3rd party systems that have zero interest in if your business succeeds or not, and you have no control over.
Thomas Buttino – Email Marketer