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Social Media Is a Waste of Time Without Building an Email List

socmediaisaWasteAre you spending tons of time executing a social selling strategy that’s not working as well as you hoped?

Businesses need to start investing more time and energy into building an email list rather than putting all of their energy into social media alone. An email list allows you to stay in touch, provide consistent value, remain top of mind and (occasionally) sell something.

If you aren’t building an email list with your social media audience, you are missing a key strategy for your digital marketing plan. Here’s a very simple breakdown of the content marketing/social media sales funnel and how it connects to building an email list:

  1. Content is shared on social media with intention of driving traffic back to website.
  2. Visitors read article and (hopefully) follow your call-to-action to join your email list (read more about this part here).
  3. Use emails to deliver higher value content on a consistent basis.
  4. When sufficient value has been provided, go for a sale.
  5. Repeat

Many businesses are stopping the funnel before they even get to step 2. This is a problem and if you’re making this mistake, you’re paying for it in time and money.

Investing all your eggs in someone else’s basket is never a sound business strategy, which is why you need to start investing more time and resources into your own email list rather than just growing your social media following.

In case you need any more reasons why you should be building an email list to support your social media efforts, here’s a few that come to mind.

1. Selling on Social Media Is Not Effective

While there are some exceptions, selling on social media is simply not effective for most businesses, especially those in the B2B realm. To be able to effectively sell on social media, there has to be a clear need for what you’re offering and it must have context.

For example, WestJet will occasionally run targeted ads to promote seat sales to recent visitors of their website with retargeting. This works great but not every business has the same edge that WestJet does right out of the gate.

2. Social Networks Hold Your Fans Hostage

As a Facebook page admin, you need to invest money into ads to continuously get in front of those who have already liked your page. If you’ve already invested money just to build likes on your Facebook page, this becomes an extremely costly endeavor and makes ROI a real struggle.

It might sound like I’m not a fan of paid advertising on social media but it’s actually the opposite…the targeting options are powerful and unlike any other advertising medium that’s previously existed. My main beef is when people spend money to drive likes instead of driving email subscribers.

Always have something to capture leads when using ads or they will likely go to waste.

3. Only You Control Your Email List

When you have an email list, it’s likely one of the only things in your online marketing mix that you have full control over. Relying solely on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn puts you at the mercy of their decisions, forcing you into chaos every time they make a change that affects your strategy.

Page admins around the world went into panic mode when Facebook decided to tweak their algorithm to downplay page posts and they’ve recently announced that they plan to do it again. Complaining about it is not sustainable action for your business, you need to be proactive.

Use social media as a way to increase your email subscribers so you can have total control over your audience and the medium you use to communicate with them.

4. Email Lists Turn Strangers Into Leads

It’s great to have new visitors coming to your website and falling in love with your content but if you don’t get information from them, how do you know who they are and how can you follow up? A strategic email marketing plan will turn those faceless visitors into leads you can actually communicate with.

5. Build Value on Another Level

There’s only so much value you can deliver in a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram post. Eventually your audience will need more and the perfect forum to deliver more value is through your website and email list.

I’d be surprised if 1% of my audience saw 100% of my social media posts but I’m confident at least 30% of my entire email list sees every single email I send out. This is very helpful if you have a series of content on one topic (like a video course) or if you want to go more in-depth without losing people who only just tuned into your little pocket of the Internet.

6. You Call The Shots

Social media forces you to speak to your audience in a way that is native to that platform but you call the shots with email. Some people prefer long form, graphic-heavy newsletters while others like to keep them simple with text-only. Others send minimal text with a screenshot of the video they’re trying to push subscribers to.

However you decide to do email marketing is totally up to you. You decide what’s best for you, your style and your audience. No one makes that decision for you. This gives you the freedom to find what works best for you and your marketing goals without anyone else making the decision for you.

Having the power to make decisions (and actually making them) is critical to survival in business. Your online marketing strategy is no different.

7. Everybody Uses Email

Sure, most people are on Facebook and use YouTube while there’s millions upon millions using Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram…but everyone has an email address and they check it daily. If you’re in B2B, this is a no brainer.

The only market that I can think of that’s not always ideal for email marketing is the teenagers and younger demographic. Even then, it’s likely you want to connect with the parents at some point to initiate the buying process and they use email so even then, it still has relevance.

How Do You Use Email Marketing?

I want to shout out to Pardot and Salesforce for the great stats found in this article. If you want more research and insights into email marketing trends for 2015, go check out Pardot’s 2015 Email Design Lookbook.

When it comes to building an email list for your business, what has worked best in your experience? Let me know in the comments below.