An email address is still the most important and direct means of communicating with someone. And a Mail Chimp mail list is the best way to handle that communication. Let me explain, and show you how.
Is Social Media The Best Way To Build An Audience?
So you’re an artist, a blogger, a retailer (of some type), a member of a band or otherwise someone who puts pretty much any kind of content on the web. You have a fully-functioning website that you control as your home base. And you’ve got a ton of Twitter followers and Facebook fans.
That’s all well and good, but do you have a mail list?
I know you may think that social media is the key to getting and keeping a legion of fans and followers. But while it is a relevant tool for getting your message out there and communicating with your fan base, it isn’t the best one. And it certainly doesn’t have the earnings potential that a well-developed and maintained mail list does.
Sit tight, and hear me out.
Is A Mail List Better Than Social Media?
While social media is a useful tool for organically spreading your message and building a line of intimate communication between yourself and a potential fanbase, it has many drawbacks.
For one, you don’t control the platform or the database. At any time, Facebook or Twitter or any other number of social media outlets could disappear. And where would your fanbase go if that were to happen? How would you contact them or get them back?
Conversely, a well-maintained mail list is your own to develop and utilize. And at any time you can, typically, download and store your list of names and emails so that were anything to happen to the service, you haven’t lost that database that you’ve grown over time. For all intents and purposes, it is a platform that you own.
Another drawback to social media is that you don’t really control how many people see your updates. Even if all of your fans were on Facebook at the same time, only a small percentage would actually see something you just posted. On Twitter, if your followers aren’t looking at their timeline right when you post a tweet, they’re probably going to miss it. This is because both of these platforms leverage the use of paid posts and advertisements as a means of reaching more people. Including the fans and followers you already have.
But with a mail list, not only do you control how messages go out, but you are practically guaranteed to reach all of the fans that have signed up (provided they haven’t inadvertently blacklisted your mail list or closed their email account). No, that doesn’t mean that every one of your emails will be opened. But it does mean that every email will reach its target. And at that point it’s up to your subscriber to determine whether or not they want to read it. Or, as you become more advanced in the process, up to you to figure out how to make your subscriber want to read it.
Why A Mail List Is The Most Important Means Of Communication
An email address is still the most important and direct means of communicating with someone. Don’t believe me? Okay then, what do you use to sign up to Facebook and Twitter? If email wasn’t important, then why do even those social media platforms require it?
One more thing on this point… Do you have a lot of visitors to your website? Or do you sometimes find yourself receiving comments directly on your posts? Do you now and then get an email from someone who reads your blog and feels compelled to say something about it to you personally? If so, then it’s highly likely that if you had a mail list, those people would be on it. People who are compelled to respond to something you’ve shared are more often than not people who want more of what you have to offer.
That includes the things you eventually may want to sell. Like a book or a CD; a video or a webinar. You may not have anything like that in mind yet. But the more you keep developing your platform and your voice, the more likely it is that you will build a following. And the more necessary it becomes to have that mail list. Once you have that, by the time you decide to sell something, you’ve already got a built-in audience that is likely more than eager to purchase it.
Given the above, I think it’s clear that not only should you stop depending exclusively on your social media outlets as a means of communication with your followers, you should actually use those outlets to drive people to your website and your mail list where you have control over what happens next.
Build Your Mail List With Mail Chimp
For years now I’ve been using a service called Mail Chimp. While there are many service out there, most of my experience is with this one. I find it to be the easiest to use, customize and maintain. And as far as I’m concerned you can’t beat its integration capabilities. In particular, if you’re using WordPress, Mail Chimp should be your go-to for mail lists. And until you hit 2000 subscribers (or until you decide you want to add more features like auto-responders – something we can look at later on down the line) the service is free!
I’ve included a video below that shows you how to sign up, create your mail list, customize your welcome notices and create your first email. In the near future I intend to share some more about how to integrate with WordPress (including the best plugins to use and how to automatically share your WordPress posts through your mail list with RSS), how to create your sign up and welcome emails, the best smart phone apps, and some best practices.
And here’s a list with links of some of the things I mention in the video so that you have easy reference: