Is it worth bothering with building a list for your online business in this day and age when we have various social media platforms to work with? Is it worth spending money on creating and maintaining a list with an autoresponder service? That’s what we’ll discuss in today’s’ blog post and video. 

TLDR: Yes, it’s still worth building a list if you want a stable business and grow your income. 

Let’s Talk About The Ongoing Value of Email Marketing

Why do I think that list building and email marketing are still worth using in this day and age? Part of it is because we can trace at least 80% of our income here at Smart Pig Marketing to the emails we send. Part of it is because a list gives you some unique opportunities to connect with your target audience, with your ideal customers. Let’s look at some of those advantages. 

With an email list, you can send messages that are personalized and targeted to your subscribers. You can set up funnels based on subgroups of your target audience and create messages tailored to their specific interests, behaviors, and needs. You have data to look at, learn from, and leverage that social media platforms don’t give you in the same way. 

Unlike social media, email is a direct line of communication, fully within your control. Your emails will hit your subscribers’ inboxes. With social media, you depend on the algorithm that dictates visibility. You’re also at the mercy of each individual platform. Social media companies can take away your access, close your account, and evaporate all your hard work with the push of a button. Your subscriber lists are yours. 

Last but not least, let’s talk about conversion and ROI (Return On Investment). Email marketing consistently delivers strong ROI and conversion rates, often outperforming social media in converting leads into customers. In our experience, email subscribers are a far more valuable lead than anyone we’ve connected with on social media but not turned into a subscriber. The only thing more valuable than a subscriber in our business is a paying customer. And the most effective way to turn a lead into a customer is email marketing. 

Let’s Talk About Challenges You May Face

Of course, list building and email marketing don’t come without their own challenges. Let’s run through a few of them and how you can overcome them. 

The first issue is simple inbox overload. Think about how many emails land in your own accounts each day. It’s hard to keep up with them all. The way to stand out is to share high-quality content in your emails and build a relationship with your subscribers from day one. Never forget that your list comprises individual people. Speak directly to them. Encourage them to reply and start a conversation. The days and weeks after someone signs up for your list or your newsletter are when they are most interested in what you have to offer. Engage with them then and make them a fan for life. If you can do that, it will be much easier to get these readers to open your emails going forward. 

Of course, crafting engaging subject lines and continuing to improve your email marketing doesn’t hurt either. Keep learning more. Look at what others in your niche or in your industry are doing and see if it works for you. Use the statistics your autoresponder service provides for you to learn what works and what doesn’t. 

Another challenge or hurdle you may encounter is increased privacy and regulation compliance. Privacy laws like GDPR and the CAN-SPAM Act can feel daunting at first. They require marketers to be more diligent about how they collect, store, and use email data. At first glance, this may seem like a bad thing, but at the end of the day, you want a list of people who want to hear from you. These rules actually help you accomplish this. 

Every autoresponder service we’ve worked with has been amazing at staying on top of the laws and regulations. Each of them provides tools and knowledge base articles to help you stay compliant. If you have questions on how to implement something, reach out to their support. They’ve always steered us in the right direction. In other words, don’t let these laws and regulations, or the chatter about them online, deter you from starting and growing your email subscriber list. Focus on quality over quantity, treat your subscribers well, and you’ll do fine. 

Let’s Talk About Using Social Media To Your Advantage 

So far, we’ve talked a good bit about why social media won’t replace list building and email marketing. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a place in our overall content marketing plans. There’s a lot we can do to leverage it, to use it to get in front of our target audience and find new leads, new subscribers and new customers. 

Social platforms can be powerful tools for growing your email list. Share your content and invite people to subscribe to your list. Point them to subscriber-only exclusive content or emails-only discounts. Your first job on social media is to expand your reach. Your next most important job is to get those people on your list. 

Quality content that your audience can relate to and is looking for is key here. You want that quality to flow through from social media posts to email content and finally the products and services you create and offer. Think of social media as another piece of the funnel. By understanding the audience’s preferences and behaviors, you can create content that resonates, whether it’s shared via email or social platforms.

Take advantage of analytics. Both the more general data social media provides, and the analytical tools of your email service provider. What content creates clicks and signups. What gets shared? What grabs your audience’s attention? Use these insights and learn from them. Refine your strategies, keep improving engagement, and continue to increase conversions at every step of the way. 

In other words, use social media to your advantage and make it part of your overall list building and content marketing strategy. And remember, keep working on turning social media followers into email subscribers. 

Let’s Talk About The Future

While I don’t have a crystal ball to look into the future, I have been a list builder and email marketer for decades and am studying the changes that are appearing in the landscape starting with the one that’s getting all the press right now - Artificial Intelligence. 

Advancements in both AI and automation in general are making list building and email marketing more efficient and more personalized. Find yourself at a loss for a new email subject line to try? Get AI to suggest twenty-five of them and use that as inspiration to craft something you think will resonate with your audience? Need some ideas for a fresh lead magnet? Or a new graphic to post on social media? AI to the rescue. Please remember that the various AI tools are just that. Another tool in your toolbox. Something to help you grow your reach and grow your business. They won’t replace you or email marketing. I believe that in this age of AI, list building and email marketing will evolve rather than becoming obsolete. The way it has continued to evolve since its inception. Text messages and direct messages haven’t replaced email. Neither will anything else anytime soon. 

As technology changes, so does customer behavior. People’s preferences and digital habits change and evolve. I’m sure you’ve seen this play out in the past months and years. Our attention span isn’t the same as it was a few years ago. We prefer to consume content in small chunks that get straight to the point. To stay relevant, we have to continue to evolve and adapt with our audience. Right now, that means shorter, more frequent emails with one call to action. Keep your finger on the pulse by actively participating in the places where your target audience hangs out online or in real life. Observe, engage, and make it part of your overall content marketing strategy to stay connected to your audience. This will allow you to shift and change as they do. 

To wrap it up, let me say this. Yes, social media has transformed the way we do online marketing. But email continues to be a vital and effective component of any digital marketing strategy. Where else can you directly engage with people and convert them from leads to customers through personalized communication? 

Does that mean you can completely ignore social media? Probably not. Instead, you can leverage social media in a targeted and strategic way to make it part of your overall content marketing strategy. Instead of looking at email marketing and list building as competition to social media, look at how they two can complement each other. Two tools in your toolbox that can work together to bring you even bigger and better results. 

Keep building that list. Keep engaging with your subscribers. Serve them well and your list will serve you and your business for years to come. 

Want to learn more about building your list?

Building an email list is essential for effective communication, personalized marketing, cost savings, and business growth.

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