From the early days of digital marketing there has been one constant. And that is that everything will change – often. Every year I know that there will be multiple innovations in this industry and I don’t mind. I like the continual adaptation. It’s what makes digital marketing the perfect industry for people with ADD.
The golden age of digital marketing (like with most industries) was the beginning. It was the mid to late nineties and the internet was new. People were AOLing and freaking out over the fact they could get mail sent straight to their computers through the phone line with this fancy new thing called a modem. (Screeeeeeeeeee, dong – e – dong – e)
This is when guys like Jeff Walker, Frank Kern, Perry Belcher, and Andy Jenkins were first starting out. They discovered that they could use the age-old technique of direct mailing to a list of addresses in order to sell products. Only these addresses weren’t physical mailboxes, they were email mailboxes. This was a major innovation because email was free.
Products could now be created, marketed, sold, and delivered digitally. This meant that businesses could be built around those sales with little to no start-up cost. All a person needed was a mailing list.
Well, for all of the things that change in this business everyday, one has remained the same for over twenty years. It is the list. To this very day, your mailing list is the life-blood of your digital business and I’ll tell you why.
Connection to Customers
Have you ever been dealing with a large company about something and just wished that you could talk to the same person more than once? I swear I feel like this every time I interact with my electric company, phone company, or tech support. I just want someone’s direct number, so that I can build the necessary rapport to reach a successful solution.
This is what your mailing list does for you. It provides a Direct Connection to your customers. It gives them your “direct number,” so that you can build that rapport. It offers you the ability to give them valuable content and establish the foundation of a trusting relationship.
Regularly corresponding with the customers on your list also helps you develop a Personal Connection. Because they hear from you regularly, your customers will begin to feel as though they know you. They will grow accustomed to your voice and personality just as if they interacted with you in person. This creates familiarity which is the first phase of building trust.
Trust is built in three stages. First, there’s Familiarity. This is where something or someone moves from unknown to known. This is a process that happens in the head. Next, there’s Affinity. This is where something or someone goes from known to liked. This is a process that happens in the heart. Finally, there’s consistency. This is where something or someone goes from liked to loved. This is a process that happens in the gut. (There will be more about this process in the future)
Insulation from Industry
Have you ever needed to talk to someone at a large party or family gathering, so you took them into another room to get away from the noise? That’s what your mailing list does. It allows you to communicate with your customers away from the noise of other marketers and advertisements. By sending a personal message directly to their inbox, you get a chance to have that private conversation.
Think about it this way. How much easier would it be to market your company if all your competition would shut-up? 100 years ago you could just buy them and create a monopoly so that your voice was the only one in the market. Nowadays we have laws against stuff like that, so we have to be creative about getting that alone time with our customers.
Nowhere have we seen as much change as in the rules of how internet marketing works. From Google updates like Panda, Penguin, and Porcupine (or whatever they call the next one) to ICANN and regulations to prevent spam, it seems like something is always changing. This is all the more reason to build a big mailing list. If you have a sizable list, Google could go belly-up tomorrow and you could still market your products and services.
By the same token, Google can get as picky as they want about how SEO works and you can remain relatively unaffected. In fact, this is how most of the really big dogs market their stuff. They let the little fish scrap for the crumbs of free traffic in social media and the search engines while their product launches, updates, and memberships stay full of people from their gigantic mailing lists.
Automation of Actions
One of the coolest things that you can do with your email list is use auto-responders. An auto-responder is a series of email messages about a certain topic that you write all at once and then have a mailing list service like Aweber deliver automatically based upon your customer’s actions. Let’s say you write a series of emails that contain information your customer will find valuable about your industry.
Now, if I join your mailing list today, I immediately begin receiving those emails in order and in predetermined intervals (one today, message 2 in two days, message 3 three days after that, and so on). The magic happens when my wife joins your mailing list at the end of the week and she automatically gets message 1 followed by the rest of the series in the same order and same intervals that I received them. And you haven’t thought about those messages since you created them.
The other thing that a mailing list service can do for you is automatically publish your blog posts to your mailing list. This insures that your most loyal and interested customers get all of the awesome, valuable content that you publish on your blog delivered right to their inbox. This way they won’t miss your stuff because it got buried in the noise of their social media news feeds.
Your mailing list service can also compile and publish a regular newsletter to your mailing list based upon your latest blog content. You can set it to compile and publish every time you reach a certain number of new articles. You can also tell it to compile and publish a newsletter on a certain day of every month. And there’s a lot more automation possible, but you have to have a list in order to make use of it.
Today I’ve tried to show you the priceless value of building an email list. As you can probably guess, we’re going to be discussing mailing lists all week, so stay tuned.
How do you use your mailing list? Share a comment and let’s talk about it.