When I first meet with prospective small business owners for a web design, a question I get asked many times is, “Why do I need an email list?” Most small business owners think they need traffic…traffic….traffic.
While it’s true that you need traffic to your website, that’s only part of the picture. While traffic may be great, it’s what you do with that traffic that can make or break your online business. So my question back to them is, “what are you doing with that traffic?” Are the visitors buying your product or service? Or are they simply visiting your website and leaving?
So the next question out of my prospects mouth is, “I can use social media to engage with visitors”. Okay again yes that’s true. But think about how many other Tweets or Facebook posts those same visitors are bombarded with every single day? Will they visit your website after reading your Tweet? Or will they simply retweet it and move on?
Social media is a very distracting platform. Put yourself in your customers shoes…how much time do you spend (i.e. or waste) on social media on a daily basis? Do you actually visit the website that posted?….or do you simply share that Tweet or Like the Facebook post?
See the problem with social media? There is no real engagement or interaction with your business that turns the visitor into a lead and potentially a long-term customer.
So let’s set aside website traffic, pageviews, and social media for the moment. The most important thing you can do to grow your online business is to build an email list.
You may not be aware of this, but around 70% of visitors that leave your website will NEVER come back.
If you are not building an email list you are wasting a HUGE opportunity. You are literally leaving money on the table.
So now that I have your attention, let me educate you as to why building an email is so IMPORTANT to growing your online business. When visitors subscribe to your email list, they give you permission to send them emails.
Yes, they actually WANT to hear from you! They aren’t just a follower, they have become a member of your community. Can you see how this is a much stronger relationship than what you can get from social media or traffic? Let’s review several benefits of building an email list.
Benefits of Building An Email List
Everyone has Email
Believe it or not, there are still quite a few people that don’t use social media. However everyone has an email, and they check that email many times during the day. Email is a private channel that you get access to when visitors subscribe.
Think about that for a moment….you get their private channel and you can send them emails whenever you want. It’s like having prospects on speed dial.
Now obviously you aren’t going to bombard or spam them with emails because if you do they will unsubscribe. But done professionally and in the right manner, you can turn these leads into customers.
Email Signups Are Automated
Once you build your landing pages and add the sign-up forms, there is very little you need to do to keep getting subscribers. You will change your offer over time, but for the most part it’s automated and you continue to get new subscribers to your email list everyday. This frees you up to create more valuable content and products and services that your target audience needs.
Auto-responders To Maintain Engagement
The most powerful feature of email list building is the auto-responder series. You don’t want to send just a single email to your subscribers, you want to keep their attention over time. Auto-responders are a series of emails sent over a specific period of time that you determine.
As an example you might send the emails 2,3,5,7 and 14 days after a visitor subscribes. Not every email is a sales pitch, but will instead contain useful content that speaks to the pain points, needs, and wants of your customers. Stay foremost in their minds and keep engaging with them until they are ready to buy.
Direct Connection With Target Audience
Website visitors that subscribe to your email list are your target audience. If you do a really good job of creating relevant and useful content and offers tailored to them, your email list will grow rapidly.
In essence your email list is full of warm leads. People who are interested in what you have to offer and want to learn more. The ones most likely to buy your product or service. When your offers are timed appropriately and combined with relevant, useful content you can increase your sales dramatically. Now your email list is making your money!
Increase Conversion Rates
When you use email marketing you can track your conversion rates. What are conversion rates? It’s the percentage of people that read your emails and then take whatever action you ask them to take. Your prospects need multiple exposure to your products and services over time before they actually buy something.
They need to learn about your products, prices and the value they will get from doing business with you. Sending them regular emails will build that trust. These emails help you keep their attention like no other marketing method. Provide useful and relevant information in your emails and your subscribers will trust you and soon realize that they need you.
Increase Website Traffic
Emails are a very effective way to get more traffic to your website. Once someone subscribes, they are a captive audience that continues to receive all your future content. So as you introduce new products or services, you include links back to your website where the subscriber can learn more and hopefully buy.
Notify People of New Content
Every time you post a new article that you know will be helpful to your target audience, you send them an email with the link. This keeps you front and center in their minds and gets them back to your website. The more your subscribers learn from you, the more they trust you and will eventually buy from you.
Brand Yourself As An Expert
People want to do business with someone they know and trust. By creating content on your website that speaks to the pain points of your target audience, you set yourself up as an expert in their minds. Make that content extremely relevant and useful and when they need your product or service, they will come knocking on your door (or in this case website).
You Own Your Email List
Your email list belongs to you and NO ONE can take it away. If you terminate your social media account, you loose all those followers (and potential customers)!! You can’t reach out to them over other channels.
Your email list is yours forever. If you switch email providers, you can export your list to the new email provider. You never loose the opportunity to keep engaging with your subscribers in the hopes that one day they will buy from you.
I hope by now you understand the importance of building an email list. If you are serious about growing your online business, it’s an opportunity you simply cannot pass by.