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Podcast notes:

Want to know the absolute BEST thing you can do for your business?

The one thing that will help you connect with and serve your customers better, sell more, help future-proof your business AND take as little as an hour a week? The answer is creating an email list!

Here’s why you should be building (and emailing) your email list:

  • It builds trust like nothing else
  • It keeps you front of mind
  • It’s proven to be 40x more effective than social media at selling
  • Email doesn’t have an algorithm – your subscribers see all of your emails in their inbox – unlike social media
  • It’s a great way of future-proofing, if there’s another lockdown or if your chosen social media platform shut tomorrow.
  • It’s a great way to serve your most loyal customers

Here’s your email challenge:

  1. Set up a platform! Don’t overthink this and keep it simple. My go-to is Flodesk – you can sign up for a free trial here.  Another great platform to try is Mailchimp. Try to decide on user experience – not whether it’s free or not, as you won’t use it at all if you don’t like it – which isn’t such a bargain if you think about it!
  2. Create a form for your customers to use to sign up to your list – you can do this within your chosen platform.
  3. Start emailing your customers regularly – even if it’s only your Mum, your BFF and your cat on the list – it’s important to start NOW and get into the habit of emailing regularly!

Just think where you’ll be in a year, if you start now!

Podcast transcript:

So what’s your backup plan? You know, what are you going to do if we ended up having another pandemic, and another lockdown? And yet again, we couldn’t get out of the house to promote our businesses and talk about them. What would you do then? Not to scare you, but it’s a really important thing to think about because if it did happen again, and you haven’t thought about it, you’ll be absolutely kicking yourself.

I spoke to a lot of business owners during the pandemic and I noticed they all had one thing in common – they all had an active email list, that they contacted their customers through regularly. It wasn’t necessarily a big list, but it was a list. And what was the one thing that business owners who didn’t do well during the pandemic had in common? They didn’t have an email list that they emailed regularly. There were no exceptions to this – every business owner I spoke to that did well had a list, and every business owner that didn’t do well either didn’t have a list, or never emailed them.

Email marketing can transform your business

Yes, you got it. This episode is about email lists – but please put any preconceptions you have outside the door. Have you done it yet? And don’t look at them again for at least another 10 minutes or so because I’m going to change your mind about email marketing by the time you’ve finished this episode. All the negative thoughts you have about email marketing not working, about it being too hard and taking too much time – all those misgivings – they’ll all have soon disappeared quicker than a pack of chocolate Hobnobs.

Marketing is all about the know, like and trust factor

So, let’s go back to a really basic marketing lesson. The whole reason we do marketing is to get someone to know, like and trust us. That’s what we need potential customers to do, before they can buy from us. If they don’t like you, then they won’t buy from you. If they don’t know who you are, they can’t buy from you and if they don’t trust you, they still won’t buy from you, even if they know and like you. They have to know, like AND trust you before they’ll buy from you – especially if they’ve never met you, and you run an online business. Just think about any time you spend money online – what’s the first thing you do? You read reviews and testimonials to check someone is trustworthy first, right?

That’s why getting people to know, like and trust you is essential to having a successful business and that’s the whole aim of marketing – any marketing. Any content you put on social media, any blogs you write and any emails you send. In fact, ANY communications you make with potential customers should be for one purpose – to try to persuade them to know, like and trust you. And if you can get enough people to do that you’re probably going to have a successful business (or at least be able to sell enough to make it viable, as long as the costs aren’t too high and you can keep up with demand).

Email marketing is a great way to boost your trust factor

But what often happens with marketing is that business owners put all their efforts and energy into the ‘know’ and the ‘like’ part of the equation but forget about the ‘trust’, so they spend all their time on Instagram and Facebook posting all their best content. Then it can feel like flogging a dead horse because people often don’t respond. This is because not many of your audience actually see your posts on social media! So, you’re putting all that effort in, but your audience still isn’t getting to know you better, because they’re not seeing your posts.  Instead, imagine if you spent some of that time emailing your audience, those people on your email list that have already shown an interest in your brand. Fact: email marketing is a brilliant tool to encourage trust in your audience.

There is no email list algorithm – all your audience should get your emails if they’ve opted in, and when they see your emails, they’ll get to know (and trust) you more. You get so much more bang for your time buck when you use email in tandem with social media. In one study it’s been proven to be 40 times more effective than social media at selling.

I speak to so many people who don’t want to believe this. They say, “I sell on Instagram, I don’t need email.” And if they’re selling on Instagram (which isn’t easy), I’m impressed.  Because I know they could sell so much more on email.

It’s easier to build relationships and nurture your audience by email

It’s simply easier to build relationships by email, so if you’re selling stuff on social media you could be storming it on email. Think of a social media platform as a busy cocktail party. You get to meet new people, and it’s exciting and fun, but you don’t invite those new people round to your house to stay over straight away do you? Nope. You invite them out for a few lattes at Sloppy Joes coffee house, then maybe round for a pizza or two…and then eventually, you might offer the spare room after a night on the vino.  You build a relationship with newbies before you trust them enough to invite them into your home. Anything else would be plain weird. So, should it be any surprise that people probably aren’t going to buy from you the very first time they gaze upon your business on social media?

So, why is email marketing so powerful then?

As we’ve said already, it’s a way of getting to know and nurture that relationship with your customers without that pesky algorithm getting in the way (and being able to post links wherever you want without falling foul of the Insta police).

The truth is we don’t have any control over what the algorithm does and it could change at any moment. So you could spend all your time chasing down the algorithm and if it changes next week, that time would all be wasted. In fact, a social media platform could just close down tomorrow and you’d have no control over it. What would you do if Instagram closed (or blocked your account) tomorrow? Would you still be able to contact your customers? What would you do? How would you tell people about your products?  If they were on your email list you could just drop them a line to let them know. 

That safety net to be able to contact them, even if your social media platforms close down tomorrow, or even if we went to another lockdown and we can’t go and physically meet people at events is the other great thing about email. It takes the pressure off.  

I know myself when you go to events, markets or fairs you’re under this huge pressure because you think you need to sell so many products. But the thing is people aren’t buying on the spot as much as they used to. They like to go to events to peruse what’s available, to get the tactile experience. And then often, they like to be able to go back and buy from your website when they’re ready. And the unfortunate truth is that no matter how much they love your stuff, their life is busy and they simply forget about you. There’s so much stuff competing for their attention that if you don’t contact them an email to remind them, they’ll probably forget about you. 

Email takes the pressure off selling at events

That’s another great thing about email. It takes the pressure off selling at events and social media because you know you’ve got a way to contact people afterwards and check up on them and check they’re ok and serve them and build a relationship with them, when the event has finished, or the algorithm is going against you. That’s especially handy if you have a high-⁠end product or service to sell. And when you email them you’re putting yourself front of mind. 

For example, if you specialise in engagement rings and someone sees your products at a craft fair, but they’re not ready to buy because maybe they’re not in the market to put a ring on it quite yet, but they might love your stuff, then they might sign up for your email at the craft fair. Then you can keep emailing them regularly and then a year later, when they get engaged and your email pops into their inbox, they remember, “Oh, yes. I love this person. This is who I want to make my engagement ring,” and they get in touch. 

People aren’t always ready to buy when they first see you, so it’s really good to have them on your email list so they can get to know you until they’re ready to buy from you. They’ll have built up a lot of trust if you regularly email them. And you’ll feel like a trusted friend.

But there’s another reason why email marketing is the bee’s knobbly ones. And that’s because your inbox is a sacred, trusted place. There’s just something special about your inbox that’s highly personal to you, and when you get an email, it feels more personal than when you see a random post on Facebook. It feels like it’s just for you. And that helps you when you’re emailing your customers, as they feel they’ve got a personal message from you. Of course, logically they know you’ve sent an email to all the people on your email list…but it feels far more intimate than any social media post…and that’s powerful.

Are your limiting beliefs holding you back from reaping the benefits of an email list?

So, for me, email is an absolute no-brainer. But the reality is business owners don’t use email enough. The number of times I ask one of my coaching clients – “Have you got an email list?” And most of the time, I get either a straight no, or out-and-out avoidance of the question.  Business owners just have a funny thing about sending emails.  They tell me they don’t like getting emails, or they hate bugging their customers. Or they don’t have the time to email, or there aren’t enough people on their list.  

But I think the real reason goes way deeper than that. I think that’s often just excuses for what’s really going on. And what’s really going on is that email marketing makes business owners feel uncomfortable.

Email marketing is so powerful and personal that it makes business owners feel like they’re invading someone’s space. So here’s how to never feel icky about email marketing again: truly believe that you’re serving your customers by emailing them. Truly believe that by emailing them you’re offering a free service that makes their life better. You’re offering something for FREE for freak’s sake. How can you feel icky about that?

Don’t miss out on this amazing powerhouse of a way to sell (and sell in a non-icky way). It’s not annoying, no matter what people say about email marketing. In fact, it can feel really natural if you do it the right way.

Before I started email marketing I believed the myths too: it’s too annoying, it’s old-hat, it’s so (insert previous year here). And if you believe all that then it’s not going to work. So why not ditch these false and limiting beliefs and just get on with it? 

Here are my top tips to get past those email-related limiting beliefs:

It’s not as tricky as you might think. Because once you’ve identified you do feel a bit funny about email marketing, and you’re holding these limiting beliefs, you just need to normalise them.

  • In my experience as a coach, the best way to normalise doing things you might be scared of doing, is to do them. The fear of putting yourself out there will sink faster than an undercooked souffle when you just do it anyway. It’s pretty bonkers how quickly that fear disappears.
  • Make an easy email plan you can stick to. Commit to writing a regular email, put it in your calendar. And use regular themes if it helps. However, you can make it easier for you, do it.
  • Write about whatever you want that you think would help people. Don’t overthink it. Don’t stress yourself out. You can refine the process later, but for now, just practice putting yourself out there and connecting with those customers who want to hear from you. (You know this because they actually opted in to hear from you in the first place).

After sending just a few emails, you’ll wonder why you were ever worried about it. And after sending regular emails for a while you’ll have developed an email habit and you may even enjoy sending emails (yup, this actually happens with quite a few people I work with! Because once you prove to your fears that there really is nothing to worry about, and you feel that connection with your audience, then it’s actually a very lovely feeling). The key is to making it so simple to get started, that you can ignore those voices in your head and get on with it anyway.

Which email marketing platform to use?

Email platforms (like all kinds of platforms) are very much the same, they just cost more depending how many features you want to use. I recommend finding one you like and then sticking with it. I personally love Flodesk (it’s what I use) and I know a lot of people that have moved to Flodesk on my recommendation and love it. It’s especially great for business owners who are time poor or don’t like dealing with tech because it’s super simple to use, doesn’t cost too much and the emails and forms look effortlessly gorgeous. They also do a free trial while you’re trying them out. If you fancy a free trial, you can check them out here. (Full disclosure, I do get a thank you gift if you decide to sign up to a paid account with Flodesk).

Or why not subscribe to my Slurp Mails that I send from Flodesk – to get a feel for what the experience is like for a subscriber? You can sign up to Slurp Mail here. Another website I can recommend is MailChimp which is free for a certain number of subscribers. I’ve never really got on with it, but I know a lot of people use it and it integrates with a lot of other platforms.

Whatever you do, don’t get into platform paralysis when you’re choosing. They all do pretty much the same things, so my advice is to pick one and stick with it.

So there you have it, email marketing can be one of the best things you can do for your business.

Email marketing plan of attack:

  • Get started (ignore those voices telling you it won’t work)
  • Start simple – create a really easy regular email schedule and stick to it.
  • Find a platform you like (and stick to it).
  • Write content you and your audience love (and don’t overthink it).
  • Check out the email challenge in the podcast notes at the top of the page to get started.

Just imagine where you be this time next year if you actively start building your list now. Enjoy email. It’s easier than you think.