I’m sure you’ve come across bloggers and business owners who stress “the money is in the list” and the dire need for you to have a mailing list. But what does that even mean? What’s the purpose of a mailing list? When should you start collecting email addresses for your mailing list? Those are all questions that I’m answering for you in this post. Keep reading to learn exactly why you need to start building a mailing list.
Your list is truly yours
Simply, a mailing list is a group of people who are highly interested in your brand and your content. You may be thinking, “So are my social media followers.” And yes, that is true. But the main difference between a mailing list and your social media platforms is that you have rights to (or you own) your mailing list. You do not have any rights to your followers on social media because you don’t own the platform. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. could delete your account at any time (it’s rare, but it does happen) and in an instant, your followers are all gone.
When you have a mailing list, you are paying for each subscriber that you have. More specifically, you are paying an email marketing platform like MailChimp, Aweber, or ConvertKit to serve as your “portal” for your subscribers. With the help of these platforms, you can manage your list (you can add subscribers, unsubscribe people, categorize subscribers based on their activity/method of joining your list, create backup files of your list, etc) and you can send out emails. If you plan to monetize your blog or you are an online business owner, you’ll want to make sure that you have complete control over the platform that houses your most interested/engaged audience. And that can only be accomplished through a mailing list.
Your biggest fans all in one place
Think about how “sacred” our inbox is. Everyone these days is talking about how to get to “inbox zero.” So usually, people are very selective about who they give their email addresses to, because they don’t want to be swamped with hundreds of emails. To give someone your email address means that you are inviting that brand/business to send you information frequently. Therefore, your mailing list tends to represent those visitors/social media followers who are genuinely interested in learning more about you, staying connected with you, and possibly even buying from you in the future.
This is where the phrase, “the money is in the list” comes from. Your mailing list is the largest source of customers of your products/services since they are the most invested in your brand’s mission. And when you have people who are highly invested in your brand and they are highly selective, you can’t abuse the privilege that you have to be in their inbox. This is actually where a lot of bloggers go wrong. They believe in the reverse. They think it is more of a privilege for that person to receive their email. Don’t make this mistake. Respect that your audience has better things to do than sift through the 12 emails you plan on sending out each week. You can keep your subscribers on board by only sending out content that they will derive value from, just as you do with your blog content.
When do I start building my list?
A mistake that Kendra and I have seen bloggers make again and again is waiting to create a mailing list until they start working on a product or service that they want to sell. Unfortunately, that is not the time to start collecting emails; not when you’re already busy enough! The time to work on getting subscribers is (at the very least) when you launch your blog. You don’t want to miss out on people who are interested in you and what you have to say just because you don’t have a way to save their email address. Over time, that could add up to hundreds (or even thousands) of people who you never got a chance to reach again. If you have yet to launch your blog, don’t make this mistake!
An even better idea is to start collecting emails before you launch your blog. And the best way to go about this is by having a landing page (or coming soon page). Tell visitors briefly who you are and what they can expect to find on your blog. On that same page, you can provide your visitors with a link to any social media accounts that you have, and a way to sign up for your mailing list.
Let’s take a look at the coming soon page that we used prior to the launch of Humble & Whole. I want to point out a critical error that we made with our own landing page (hey, transparency is the best policy). Instead of “I want updates” (honestly, how enticing is that?), tell your potential subscribers exactly what the benefit will be if they sign up for your mailing list. We did manage to get a nice amount of people to subscribe to our mailing list before our blog had even launched, but we definitely could have done even better if our call to action wasn’t so vague.
And what about if you’ve already launched your blog? Start your mailing list right away (like, as soon as you finish reading this)! You don’t want to miss out on any more people who belong on your list!
Now that you know the importance of a mailing list, there’s a lot to think about. What should you send to your list? How do you get people to sign up for your list? What’s the best email marketing platform? Don’t worry! We’ll be answering all of these questions and more during our Mailing List Mastery series. Are you working on creating your own mailing list? Let us know in the comments below!