Grow your list. Build up your audience. Now that’s what you hear most of the time.
As a beginner, you wonder why email marketing is such an important part of your overall business strategy.
After all, email marketing when you look at it seems like something that is best followed when you have your own brand established. Like when people already trust you.
Now the question is whether you should build an audience first or should an email marketing campaign be in place immediately after launching your blog.
I had put up this very question in Warrior Forum where I had asked the community “Should I Wait for the Traffic to Build up Before Employing Email Marketing?” to which I got some interesting and yet contradictory opinions being expressed.
While it seemed like a majority of the people thought we should first let our traffic grow in order that our email campaigns are effective, yet there are also people who say we should start our email marketing right away.
After all, it only involves collecting emails and sending out our newsletters. Simple.
Or is it?
The Overrated 80/20 Rule in Marketing
There’s this famous 80/20 rule in economics which says that 80% of your profits will come from 20% of your clients. This rule applies across all businesses, no matter what business you are in.
The modified rule for email marketing is that 20% of your list will eventually become your buyers or clients.
Another group says 80% of your actions (sales, sign-ups, clicks, etc.) will come from 20% of your subscribers.
The proponents or supporters of this rule state that we should not underestimate the power of list-building. Now, that’s certainly an oversimplification of the whole thing, isn’t it?
The fact is, theoretically, you could make sales with just 5 subscribers on your list.
Fine, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Why 5? You could even make a sale with just 1 person on your list.
On the other hand, just as easily you could make sales with minimum persons on your list, you might fail to make a sale even if you have more than 300 persons on your list.
Selling something online requires more than just numbers on your list. The decision to buy a product or a service by a customer is an interplay of various unseen factors – the price, the product, the quality and the trust in the seller (which is you).
The reality of the online business is that there are no hard and fast rules that actually work. Everyone’s experience is not the same.
Traffic First or List First?
This is a wrong question, obviously.
You get the list from the traffic. So, it’s obvious that your efforts should be focused on building up your blog traffic.
The analogy might be a bit misplaced but you cannot hope to catch fishes in waters that have no fishes even if you use the best fishing equipment.
So, how do you build up your traffic?
It’s back to the basics.
It’s not rocket-science. There’s no mystery involved here.
Create good content. Write content that helps people solve their problems. Write about things that resonate with them.
The real mystery is in finding out what the readers want and what they’re searching for on the Internet.
When is Email Marketing Effective?
When you have a long list, of course. That’s because you can actually sit down and plan out your strategies on how you could be doing your campaigns. It’s a no-brainer. When there’s no one in your list, how will you be carrying out your strategies?
You also need to know what your email marketing goals are. Will you be using your email campaigns for upsells or cross-sells? Or will it be used to retain your customers? Or are you going to use this strategy to turn people into your customers?
Your emails need to be personalised to give your prospective customers a good experience. People get so many emails on a daily basis and are already fed up with all the marketing pitches there. That is why most emails are unread. This is the reason you need to give your subscribers the things they want. You need to write messages they care about.
How Can You Grow Your Email List?
If you think you’ll get your answer within a stanza, then forget it. There are blogs and blogs on the very topic of growing an email list. Even if you read all of them, if you’re a beginner you’re never going to figure out what the heck is it all about.
But the fact remains – email marketing is the cheapest and the best way to connect with your audience. I think this will register with everybody. Also, email marketing is successful if you have a list.
Of course, having a large number of people in your email list does not automatically translate into success. You need to have the right people on your list. Growing a list is useless if people they are not interested in what you have to say.
Ultimately, people need to be ready to opt into your list. Which will happen only if they identify with you as someone they could trust. With so many scams and spams happening, it is never easy to get people to sign up to your list. It happens only when you give something of real value to them when they are willing to receive what you’re giving directly in their mail inbox.
Growing a List Comes From the Traffic
We have now come to the real crux of the situation. If you’re a beginner, there’s no point in getting flustered with email marketing.
You need to first attract a lot of traffic.
There are people who say you need to start right away. Well, I beg to differ.
These people say you need to learn and hone the email marketing skills from early on. It’s a skill and without any action, you’re not going to learn. You’re not going to make mistakes from which you could gain many insights. Mistakes are necessary for the learning process.
These are all fine. I completely get it. But when as a beginner, there are so many things to learn, will the email marketing not add to the burden? I mean, will it not be better to figure out the traffic riddle first?
Then we realise that traffic comes only when you keep producing great content that people like and share. My contention is that you need to first understand what people actually want. Are you in the right niche? Can you connect with the readers? Do your blog posts keep your readers engaged?
Beginners are sometimes under the impression that emails help gain blog traffic.
Traffic helps get email subscribers. Email marketing is effective only when you have a good customer base.
If you already have a good fan following, then it’s easy to build up a good email list.
If you’re a beginner, it makes more sense to focus on offering good quality content first to reach out to new customers.
I’m sure there are many who feel you should start building your list from day 1. But like I said before, no list will happen without any content. Focus on that.