Why every small business needs a mailing list

When we work with small, indie, creative businesses more often then not, they say that they don’t need a mailing list. They feel that their audience are on social media therefore focus their efforts there, however, we believe that you cannot rely on that alone. When Facebook and Instagram went down for the day recently it was a great reminder that we have NO control over these platforms nor over what our followers see, so it is vital to have an audience that we own to be able to talk to. Of course, social media is important, but we all should be making an equal, if not bigger effort in growing our mailing list numbers.

Here are just a few reasons why.

Selling to your mailing list

We tend to focus on social media to sell our products, sharing the features and benefits, believing that this works. However most people come to social to be inspired, to procrastinate, to get the gossip and to amuse themselves with cat memes so we should ask ourselves whether this is the best place to sell.

Do we like to be constantly sold to when scrolling though Facebook? I know I don’t.

To actively sell really well on these platforms we need to pay for adverts not rely on the algorithms, Of course, social is great to build brand awareness but generally this audience is quite cold to you and your services or products but if they join a mailing list they are likely to be warm to you. Signing up takes a level of commitment therefore we need to realise that these people are more valuable to us.

Many creative, product based businesses see the value of mailing lists for coaches and the likes, but they are useful for everyone. Imagine wanting to launch a flash sale for the weekend to drive sales; emailing a list of warm potential customers is likely to convert. Or maybe you want to put on an open day in your shop; an email invitation with a RSVP option landing into their inbox is again more likely to convert without the need to spend on adverts.

Analysing your mailing list

After you send an email campaign announcing your sale or open day, you can then analyse the open rate and click rate to see who is interested. You will need to do this using an email marketing site such as Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign, so you are GDPR compliant but also to see the data properly. Once you have evaluated you can resend to the non openers, send another email to the RSVP responders and more. This means you are marketing to the right people rather than blindly posting on social.

Creating an email campaign

To make life simple and free up time, you can create automated email sequences to keep your list warm, indeed get them hotter, as well as get them excited for a launch. For example: you are hosting an open day in 2 weeks time. Your first email in the sequence tells them about the event. You can then write a series of follow up emails that go out at set time with all the information on, sneaky teases about what is happening at the event, a countdown at two days to go and so forth. You can then also send a final email after the event saying thank you and maybe offering them a discount code to come back again. This whole sequence can be written in one go, making it easy but more importantly you are more likely to get people at the event and build loyalty afterwards.

Future proofing your business

You never know what the future holds for your business. You may be selling hair accessories one day with your efforts aimed at eBay and Facebook, but then you have an idea to host hen parties and workshops and suddenly you need a list to invite. If you say today that you don’t need an email list, we suggest you build one anyway, so you are ready for any future plans. Add a pop up window on your website if you don’t have much time and let it grow organically.

Gaining better visibility

Lastly the best thing about email marketing is you are going to be seen. Your email arriving into their inbox is more likely to be opened than a post is likely to be seen on social media, especially if your follower numbers are low. We find that often followers are industry people who may not be your customers, plus many are friends and family, whereas your list will be customers. And if you send an email and the opening rate is low, you can always tweak your content and copy to see what works for the future.

It is worth saying though, that average conversions tend to be at 1-2% - this means if you have 100 people on your list, 1 or 2 people will buy from it. If you want to sell 10 you need 1000 people on the list and this is why we feel you need to get focused NOW, as the sooner you start, the quicker it will grow.

Are you in the “I don’t need an email list” camp or is part of your strategy to grow one? Get in touch as we offer many ways to help you - from organising your current lists, to creating ways to grow the list as well as the design of email campaigns. We promise it will really help your sales and your business to grow. Get in touch and let’s book a Discovery Call!