If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of tips, tricks, and techniques you’re told are ‘required’ to run a successful business… pause. Breathe. Let’s keep it simple. All you need is this 1 tool (hint: it’s your email list!) to run a business you’re proud of.
Got information overload?
If you feel overwhelmed by all the fancy tools and strategies you ‘need’ to be successful – you’re not alone.
Honestly, the whole thing freaks me out.
I’m a business minimalist, honey. I crave simplicity.
But I, like many others before me, fell down the entrepreneurial rabbit hole of thinking I needed to DO everything, BE everywhere, and HAVE all the tools to be “a success”.
After months of turbo-level freak-outs, I came to a vital realisation.
I don’t need thousands of followers on Instagram to be successful. I don’t need a massive podcast to get clients. And I certainly don’t need to be visible on every public platform (the introvert in me haaaaaates this).
And neither do you, unless you really wanna.
There’s only one tool I’ve found to be absolutely essential in any business; the love of my life, the steamiest romance, the one I could never live without.
And that’s an email list.
What is an email list, exactly?
An email list is exactly what it sounds like – a list of email addresses people have *voluntarily* handed over to you, often in exchange for a free gift (such as a PDF guide).
Basically, people who give you their email address are sayin’, “Hey, I’d be super psyched to hear from you. Pls keep in touch. x”.
These folks are likely your Ghosts Of Customers Past, Current, and Future.
Pro tip: even if you’re only just starting out, I always recommend getting a professional email tool to store the email addresses you collect. My personal favourite is ConvertKit, and it’s free up to 1,000 email subscribers!
Let me tell you why I think it’s smart to go pro from the beginning.
I once had a client who used an Excel spreadsheet with thousands (yep, thousands) of email addresses, which she then manually pasted into Gmail every time she wanted to send out her newsletter.
Don’t be this human. Please. I beg you.
Not only is this incredibly time-consuming, but:
- Her emails often got blocked by spam filters because they contained so many links.
- Her peeps had no way to quietly ‘opt out’ or ‘unsubscribe’ without having to send an awkward email asking to be removed from the list.
- Basic email service providers, such as Gmail, don’t provide analytics, so she had no idea how many people were actually opening and reading her emails.
Point #3 is crucial. We need those numbers to see what works, and what doesn’t.
If you’re unsure about which professional email provider might be a good fit for you, download my free at-a-glance guide below.
So now you know what an email list is, you might be thinking, “well, why the heck do I need it if I have a gorgeous social media feed and a kick-ass website?”.
Keep scrolling, ‘cos I’m hoping I might be able to sweet-talk ya.
You own your email list
The biggest benefit of collecting your customers’ email addresses?
Your email list is YOURS.
It’s the only platform – apart from your website – that you own.
- You spend months (or even years) of hardcore time, energy, and effort building your Instagram following to that magical 10k mark. Yay!
- You spent every spare minute studying all the latest Insta strategies – you post every day, you get awesome engagement, and you’re constantly sharing every detail of your life on your IG Story
- Basically, you’re now the Queen Of Instagram and everyone better bow down, biatch
- One day, you wake up and find Instagram has changed the rules. Your strategy no longer works. Your engagement is down, and nobody’s seeing your stuff.
- You try not to panic. You start researching new strategies. All of a sudden, you realise your account is blocked – and you can’t get back.
- Cue: agony and heartbreak. THOSE 10K PEOPLE WILL NEVER HEAR FROM YOU AGAIN!!!!
- You think, “*OMG*, why oh why did I build my business on someone else’s platform?!”
Okay, this all sounds pretty dramatic… but it happens.
And it could happen to you.
Why? Because you don’t own your Instagram following. Instagram owns it.
And therefore, Instagram owns your ass.
They can change the rules at any time because that’s their prerogative. It’s their platform. They can do whatever they damn well please.
This doesn’t just apply to Instagram, by the way, but to every single platform except your own website and email list.
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t build your social media following. But it does mean that once you have that following, your first task is to direct them to your email list (you can do this by putting the link to sign up in your bio, and regularly spreading the word about your free gift you’ll give them in return for signing up).
You then own that email address. You can take it with you everywhere you go. It’s all yours, baby.
So if you don’t fancy putting the fate of your biz in the hands of the social media gods, you’ll wanna get yourself an email list.
Take action: sign up to a professional email service provider for free, right this minute. That’s an order!
You actually reach people on your email list
The email inbox is a sacred space.
If you’re invited in, consider it a privilege – because it means that person really knows, likes, and trusts you (at least for now).
We all know that it’s getting harder to reach people organically on social media without paying for ads.
If nobody’s seeing your stuff… how on earth are you gonna help them?
I’ll tell you how – by using your email list as your #1 marketing tool. When we look at the figures, email marketing trumps social media marketing every day of the week.
This is especially true if your ideal customer is a busy human.
Seriously think about the time they spend on social media vs checking their inbox. Doesn’t it seem more likely that they’ll actually see what you’ve sent them if it lands in their personal emails, rather than getting a notification in the sea of their social feed?
If they’re a true social media maven (and so are you), then feel free to totally ignore what I’m saying here. You do you.
But for most of us, time is our most precious resource.
We wanna make sure we’re getting in front of our customers as quickly and as efficiently as possible – and having an email list with a regular newsletter is by far the best way to achieve that.
Take action: speak to one of your regular customers and ask them how much time they spend on social media vs checking their inbox, and how often (if ever) they buy directly from social.
You can sell to your email list (way more effectively)
If you’ve ever tried selling directly on social media, you know how hard it can be.
It’s not impossible, and it can totally be done, but my philosophy in business is that if there’s an easier way, you can betcha bottom dollar I’m going to take that route.
I mean, who wants to be sold to when they’re just trying to kill time?
Let’s face it, most people aren’t actively looking for things to buy when they’re scrolling on Facebook or Instagram.
They probably just want to be:
- Distracted from the hardships of life by cute cat videos
Salesy posts – or god forbid, direct messages – almost as annoying as those people in the street who get all up in your personal space and ask you to buy something you’ve never heard of, and definitely don’t want or need (gah!).
So instead of trying to get in front of people who don’t want to be sold to, why not focus on building an email list full of customers who are far more likely to buy when you put out an offer?
My favourite way to do this is to use the 80/20 rule.
As in 80% of my newsletters are about giving away awesome free value, and 20% will be about my paid offers.
The key is to send out regular newsletters to stay in contact with your peeps. Don’t ghost ’em! You get to set the rules, so you could have a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly email newsletter, depending on what works for your schedule.
But please do stay in touch with your email list.
‘Cos if you only show up in your customer’s inbox when you’ve got something to sell, they’ll sniff it out quick and hit ‘unsubscribe’ before you can say, “please don’t leave me, we’re made for each other!!!“.
So stay in touch. Add insane value. And don’t be afraid to sell your stuff – 20% of the time.
Take action: decide on a schedule for your newsletter, and start building the habit of sending it out regularly. Even if there’s only 1 person on your list, we all gotta start somewhere.