Digital Marketing & SEO

List Building 101: Why Social Media Alone isn’t Enough

Many companies and individuals alike use social media only to reach their target audience. The truth is that social media in itself doesn’t hold a monopoly on how an individual can market themselves. There are many other ways to spread the word about your company, such as through word of mouth, websites, and commercials. Most importantly, marketing does not need to be solely based on one medium. Tik tok plays an important role in this case. If you have a tik tok channel, Tiktokstorm will increase your views, and subscribers and grow your social media platform. If you want your business/product/idea to go viral then you should look into ad campaigns as well. With the help of these outlets, you have the power to reach a large number of people with minimal effort on your part.

List Building 101: Why Social Media Alone isn’t Enough

So you’ve done it. After spending countless hours developing your product, researching the market and your audience, and building a beautiful website, you’re ready. You even wrote a few blogs and posted on social media about it, but all you’re getting back is crickets.


But fear not my friend, there’s a simple solution to kickstart your business’s growth; without making a major pivot in your product or service. And what makes it even better is that it’s something that you’ve got total control over: your email list.

“But Amy, what good is email list building if I already have a website? Or active social media accounts?”

Well, friend, you’re certainly not the first (or the last) one to ask me that. So today I’m going to cover the following:

What exactly an email list is; and what it isn’t.

What benefits it can have for your business – no matter what stage you’re at.

And why depending on social media for your marketing efforts is a big ‘no-no’; no matter the size of your business or audience.

I don’t have to tell you how important effective marketing is for your business. And once you’ve invested the time and resources in creating an incredible product or freebie and sharing them on your social channels, you may find yourself wondering “what next”?

The answer is your email list.

What is List Building?

As simple as it sounds, an email list is a collection of all the people who have opted in to receive emails from your company. After opting in, you can then use email to send out anything from your latest promotions, to informational newsletters, to exclusive offers, and everything in between.

List building itself consists of the strategies that you use to get users to opt in and give you permission to share all of the amazing things you have to offer. This can be as simple as a pop up box at the end of a blog post or something more complex, like a high quality freebie on a topic relevant to your business. No matter which method you choose to encourage people to sign up for your email list, the idea is that you’re extending the conversation to their inbox.

What List Building Isn’t

Now that we know what email list building is, let’s take a quick look at what it isn’t:

Putting email addresses that you find on the internet into your database, without explicit consent from the recipient.

Adding your existing customers to your email list when you’ve only communicated with them on a one-on-one basis, and they haven’t opted in for marketing emails.

Purchasing a list of email addresses and uploading it to your database.

Getting people to write down their email addresses on a clipboard at a networking event, and then manually uploading them.

Note the common thread through all of these: they all involve sending marketing communications to someone who hasn’t explicitly agreed to receive them. This can get you in hot water for many reasons, not to mention that it’s downright annoying for the recipients.

Why Should I Be List Building?

You may be thinking ‘Oh, I don’t need to use email for marketing. Instagram and Facebook are fine!’, or ‘Email is dead, no one reads emails anymore!’. But there are a lot of reasons why you need to focus on collecting email addresses, and why you should be interacting with your audience via their inbox, instead of just on their newsfeeds.

And if you do have a social following, that is certainly not to say that you should ignore that portion of your audience. Instead, keep talking to them and use that space and warm relationship to grow your email list. Unsure of how to take that audience from Facebook follower to engaged subscriber? Don’t miss my recent episode of Online Marketing Made Easy where I go deep into detail on how to grow your email list using social media.

Here are a few of my top reasons why you should never skimp on your list building efforts:

>> People DO Read Emails

If you’ve been in the online marketing world for any amount of time, you’ve likely heard rumblings about how email marketing is outdated; but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, email’s ROI has shown to be 122%, according to a recent study by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA)[1]. The same group also found that for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42[2]!

Given the volume of information out there claiming that email is dead, it’s not surprising that many business owners choose to focus their marketing efforts on other channels. And while this may work for a period of time, it’s missing a golden opportunity to meet people where they are; and where they’re likely also receiving communications from other brands they love.

>> Personalization and Connection

If you’re looking for a way to target your messaging to match your audience, email is it. When you post something on social media, you’re casting a wide net with your content. And while this is a great way to communicate with your followers and even reach new ones, it does limit your ability to tailor your messaging to meet the needs of the different members of your audience.

Email, on the other hand, has an almost endless capacity for customization. This is because modern email service providers give you the ability to adjust your content and messaging to the different segments of your audience.

This is because with email, you have the option of categorizing your audience based on certain factors, like which lead magnet they downloaded or which podcast episode triggered their subscription. With this information, you can then create campaigns and sequences designed to bring value to each portion of your audience and to guide them down the path to becoming a happy customer.

>> The List is Yours

Have you ever noticed a random change in your YouTube suggestions or your Twitter feed? That’s usually because they made an algorithm change behind-the-scenes. Social networks are known for making changes without notice, which sometimes can cause your post reach to drop dramatically, and your warm audience to disappear entirely. However, when you have your own email list, you’re completely untouched by these types of outside decisions.

There’s a lot of freedom in knowing that your email list is just that: yours. So, it’s completely up to you how you grow it. And the best part? Once you have an engaged list, you can generate revenue at ANY time. Cool, right?

The Problems with Social Media

While social media is a necessary part of your marketing efforts, by itself it’s just not enough. According to McKinsey, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter[3].

But why is it better to diversify your marketing strategy? Aside from the benefits associated with having an email list, there are a few key problems with social media that aren’t an issue for email at all.

>> Networks Fade Out

Just like bell bottomed jeans and other fashion faves, social media sites are trends that go out of style, or disappear altogether. We all saw the rise and fall of MySpace, and countless other small social media companies that have come and gone over the last twenty years. There is no guarantee that your favorite platform will last forever, but one thing that you can be sure of is your email list. And while your preferred email provider may change, the overall concept will likely remain eternal.

>> Not Everyone is Involved

On top of social media being a less-than-stable entity, there’s also the fact that not everyone enjoys it – especially as an advertising platform. Some people prefer privacy, or they have no interest in reading status updates from celebrities or brands. Excluding an email marketing strategy from your marketing efforts totally cuts out this demographic.

Most everyone who uses the Internet has an email address, but not everyone has a Facebook, and sites like that may turn into a relic of the past. Integrating all platforms into your business strategy is a sure way to guarantee success in your online endeavors.

What’s Next?

Now that you know why email list building is essential for the growth of your business, you might be wondering what you can do to get started on your own list building efforts. Especially if you’re feeling stuck in that ‘analysis paralysis’ side of the equation (been there).

If this sounds familiar, or if you’re just in search of clear instructions on how to start completely from scratch; and I mean completely, download your free Email List Starter Guide. It contains answers to your biggest questions like:

What exactly is an email service provider?

What factors should I consider when choosing an email service provider?

How do I create a landing page to collect email addresses?

And much, much more. So if you’re ready to jump into your email marketing journey, be sure to download my Email List Starter Guide for actionable steps that you can take today to start growing your list.





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