If you don’t have a mailing list right now then chances are that you’re relying solely on your website or blog itself to communicate with your visitors and to try and drive sales. But now think about your own web usage. How many websites are there really that you visit on a regular basis? Not counting Facebook or Google, what blogs are you likely to visit more than once a month?
For the vast majority of us the number is going to be somewhere in the region of 2-5. Maybe if you’re an avid reader you might visit 10 blogs on a regular basis but more than that and it gets hard to keep up. Now think about how many sites you have visited generally… it’s probably a number that spans into the millions.
Suddenly the odds of getting a regular readership on your blog don’t look so good, do they? And those other blogs you’re going up against likely have much greater resources with which to advertise and work to keep their visitors coming back.
This is a serious situation because in order to develop trust and get customers you need regular readers. It’s very unlikely that you are going to make conversions on first time visitors: that’s just not how content marketing works. Content marketing works by gradually building trust and brand awareness until the point where you become that person’s ‘trusted authority’ within a particular niche or industry. It’s only then that they might start to get tempted by the idea of buying your product.
What you need then, is a mailing list!
While you might not be able to convince a first time visitor to buy your products, what you can probably do is to convince them to subscribe to your mailing list. This takes some smarts (which we’ll come to) but it’s definitely possible to convince someone to part with their e-mail address. Then, as soon as you’ve done that, you will have their ear and you’ll be able to market to them subsequently. Now you don’t need to wait for someone to remember you: you will be able to contact them right in their mailbox. If you use compelling subject headings then you might be able to get them to read what you’ve written too, which will help to build that regular readership and to generate that trust and authority that every business so badly needs.
And further helping you in this cause is the simple fact that your visitors signed up for this. That is: they actively agreed to receive communication from you and that makes a very big psychological difference. Why would they sign up and then not look at even one of your e-mails?
Mailing Lists Are Future Proof!
Mailing lists then are incredibly powerful from a content-marketing standpoint but they are also very important in terms of your company’s resilience too.
‘Resilience’ in a business sense means the ability of a company to stand up to adversity/evolving markets. This means things like not having all your eggs in one basket with a diverse line of products/services and a broad range of customers/clients for instance. It also means not relying on unstable marketing techniques. SEO (Search Engine Marketing) is a highly powerful tool when used correctly and can help you to bring thousands of visitors to your site every day for a very small up-front investment of time and cash.
At the same time though, it is a huge mistake to rely one hundred percent on Facebook. Only recently, Google introduced big ‘algorithm changes’ called ‘Penguin’ and ‘Panda’. Effectively, these changed the criteria that Google was looking for and that meant that many businesses dropped from the top spot on page one to several pages back. Those companies that relied on Google to generate customers lost their businesses almost overnight.
Companies that generated traffic from both social media and SEO managed to survive this big change much better but even they will have seen their sales cut in half. This is why it’s so important to diversify your marketing and adding a mailing list to your strategy is one important way to do this.
And better yet, mailing lists are highly stable. Google changes its algorithms all the time and let’s face it, Facebook could go down tomorrow (though it’s unlikely). E-mail though? That’s highly unlikely to go anywhere any time soon. If you have an e-mail list with a few thousand addresses on it then you’ll have a few thousand potential customers no matter what happens to the rest of the web. This is very savvy futureproofing. It’s actually perfectly possible to monetize a mailing list and thus to earn sales from your e-mails directly. In other words, if you get this right then you will hardly even need your website anymore!
If that still hasn’t done it, then just consider some of these impressive statistics that absolutely prove the potential power of mailing lists. E-mail marketing has a ROI of 4,300% – Okay, so it’s unclear how anyone would have calculated this but that’s the most popular estimate. The point is: e-mail marketing is incredibly cheap and just as effective (if not more so) than many other more expensive means of marketing. 91% of consumers check their e-mail at least once a day. And let’s face it, for the vast majority of us it is practically an addiction to check every five minutes… Companies rate e-mail marketing as being more profitable than PPC advertising, content marketing, direct marketing, affiliate marketing, banner ads, mobile ads or social media marketing 66% of US consumers aged 15 and up have made a purchase as a direct result of an e-mail campaign.
And just in case you think it’s impossible to get people to read your e-mails, note that 1/3rd of consumers open e-mails based on their subject heading alone Hopefully by now you’re convinced that a mailing list is one of the most effective and powerful ways to market a business online and to gain loyal customers.
All that’s left then is figuring out how to build one and how to start making money from it!