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Why You Should Build an Email List (and what to do with it)

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Since the first marketing email was sent in 1978, businesses of all sizes have used email as a marketing tool to grow. And while it’s one of the oldest digital marketing tools available to you, it’s also one of the most valuable in 2021. More than any other channel, email marketing gives you an opportunity to communicate with an audience that you own, full of prospects who are already conditioned to know, like, and trust your brand.

Email marketing isn’t dead, despite some marketers’ claim to the contrary. In fact, as privacy concerns and data security measures become more prevalent in the social media platforms we use most frequently, email marketing is more important than ever before. It’s a channel you own, and the method, frequency, and purpose for your messages are totally up to you.

At Conklin Media, we love helping business owners use email in a way that’s productive and profitable. It’s one of the least expensive, most profitable ways to reach your perfect customers with messages and offers that will resonate with them. On average, email marketing generates $38 for every dollar spent. And since the pandemic started, 78% of companies have actually seen an increase in email engagement over the past 12 months (Litmus, 2020).

Email doesn’t have to simply be an advertising channel, either. In fact, one of the best ways to turn off your customers is to pepper them day after day with sales messages without adding any real value.

Think of it this way: When someone gives you their email address, likely in exchange for some value that you’re providing to them, they’re inherently giving you permission. Permission to contact them, to land in their inbox, to say your piece. They’re trusting you with something valuable.

It’s up to you what to do with that trust. You can reaffirm their trust in you by sending them valuable resources, interesting information, and truly unique content that only you can provide. In short, you can add value to their lives. On the other hand, you can betray that trust by constantly asking for things from them – their time, their money, their attention (without providing value in return).

Instead of thinking about how your email marketing efforts can serve you and your business goals, focus on how you can serve your customers’ needs. Build out a strategy and map out an email calendar that starts with a clear understanding of your customers, their struggles, and their goals. When you take the time to develop a clear strategy and an effective message, your messages are much less likely to be ignored, or worse, end up in the spam folder.

Speak clearly. Don’t try to be cute or clever at the expense of clarity. Your customers are seeing hundreds if not thousands of marketing messages every day, and they don’t have any tolerance for a lack of clarity. Make sure they know exactly how the message you’re sending them or the offer you’re presenting is going to make their life better and what they need to do to get it.

Finally, measure your results. If you start to see that the percentage of your subscribers that open your emails is starting to decline, or that fewer people are clicking on the links in your messages, change something up. Without clear metrics on how your messages are performing, you won’t know whether your efforts are resonating with your customers or repelling them.

The two most important things to remember when it comes to email marketing, particularly for companies that have never done it before, are this:

  • Treat people like people. Don’t think about your emails as going out to a list. Think of them as going out to people. There’s someone on the other end of that message who will open it, read it, and either get value from it or be totally turned off by it. Be helpful, friendly, and clear.
  • Get started. While planning is important, too much time spent trying to get things exactly right from the very beginning isn’t doing you any good. Even if your list is small, even if you’re not sure which email marketing software is the best, just pick one and start communicating.

Your subscribers want to hear from you, and they want to build a relationship with you. Put your best foot forward as a valuable resource and not only will your customers open your emails, they’ll actually look forward to them.

Kyle Porter

Kyle Porter

Kyle Porter is the Director of Strategy at Conklin Media. He is responsible for developing the business growth strategies that scale and grow client profits by applying effective digital marketing tactics to client campaigns. As a former small business owner, Kyle understands exactly what it feels like to wonder where and how to start in a marketing effort, so he's passionate about helping make things clear, simple, and above all, profitable, for Conklin Media's clients.

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