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So what’s your backup plan? What you’re going to do if heaven forbid, we ended up having another lockdown, another pandemic?

If there was another time that we couldn’t get out of the house to promote our businesses and talk about them, what would you do then? 

I’m not saying that to scare you, but it’s a really important thing we think about because if it did happen again and you hadn’t thought about it, you’d be absolutely kicking yourself. But I’ll tell you this. When we were in the pandemic, I spoke to a lot of business owners and that’s one thing I noticed that they all had in common, one thing that they all did, and one thing that people who didn’t do very well during the pandemic did as well or didn’t do. And it was email marketing. And that is to say that they had email lists that they used to regularly email their customers. 

Every single person I spoke to that either survived or even thrived during the pandemic were the ones with active email lists and that emailed their customers regularly.

The ones I spoke to that were struggling were the ones who didn’t email their customers or have an email list.

Even though I love email, that was still completely shocking to me. I mean EVERYONE that did well or survived had an email list and the people that didn’t were the ones without. That is the power of an email list. 

Now before you stop reading – yes, this is about email lists – but please put any preconceptions you have outside the door, shut the door, get rid of them out there and don’t look at them again for at least 10 mins or so because I am going to change your mind about email marketing. In the next 10 mins I’m going to change your mind about all the negative thoughts you have about it. All the thoughts you have about it not working, and the thoughts you have about it being too hard. 

Leave those negative nancy thoughts. Just leave them, and read this. 

So let’s go back to a really basic marketing lesson as our foundation –  the whole reason we do marketing and marketing is just simply us putting ourselves and our business out there on social media or networking in real life or by email, or however else. We do all of that stuff to achieve three things and that’s to get someone to know, like and trust us. That’s what we need people to do before they’re going to buy from us. 

If they don’t like us, they’re not going to buy from us, right? If they don’t know who we are, they can’t buy from us because they don’t know us at all. And if they don’t trust us, they’re also not going to buy from us. Because that trust is so important. You think about it yourself – if you go to buy something (online or in person), you ask for a recommendation or you look up the reviews online, before you buy – that’s trust.

You’ve not only got to deliver on your promise of giving them a product, it’s got to be a good quality product. It’s going to be a product that fits them. 

That’s why getting people to know, like and trust us is essential to us having a successful business. 

And that’s the whole aim of any marketing. Anything we we put on social media, it should be to try to get someone to know, like and trust us – our ideal customers, to know, like and trust us. And then if we can get enough people to do that and serve them well, then we are going to have a successful business. 

So how does that fit into email? Well, what happens with marketing is business owners pour all their efforts and energy into the ‘know’ and the ‘like’ part of the equation. But forget about the trust. So what they end up doing is they go on Instagram and Facebook, do all the social media. They chase after an audience to put themselves out there. It can feel like flogging a dead horse because nobody talks back sometimes and it can be a struggle. And they forget about that last thing. Building trust. That’s so important – because without the trust, you’re unlikely to make many sales, especially when you’re selling online, when people can’t see you and they can’t meet you. 

Trust is so important, and email is brilliant for building that. 

Without email, you’ll sell to people you know, your family or people who have got to know you well. But not many people see your posts on Instagram, so it’s very difficult for you to build trust there. Enter email! That’s why email is so brilliant, because it’s so much better at building trust than social media. Is social media important? Yes, because it can attract your customers. But if you want to sell successfully online, you need to get your customers to trust you too. And that’s why email is so important. 

But it doesn’t stop there. Email has also been proven to be 40 times more effective than social media at selling – 40 times more effective! I speak to a lot of people and so many people don’t want to believe this. They say, “I sell on Instagram, I sell wherever.” I’m sure they do. But if they sell on Instagram, they could sell even more on email because it’s such a powerful platform for selling – 40 times more effective than social media. It’s easier to build relationships by email as well. Now I like to think of a social media platform as a busy cocktail party. It’s where you meet new people. There’s a buzz, it’s exciting, it’s fun, but it does take a lot of your energy. If you met someone at a cocktail party and you wanted to get to know them better, what would you do? You’d invite them out for coffee or invite them to your house for coffee. 

And that is what email is. Email is helping them to get to know you better and what you can offer them. It’s a more intimate medium because their email list is very personal to them. Your email inbox is very personal. So when you go in there and email someone, it feels more personal straight away and hence why it’s so much easier to build trust. 

The other great thing about email is there is no algorithm, which is brilliant. 

So many people moan all the time, “The Instagram algorithm doesn’t like me. The Facebook algorithm doesn’t like me.” And the truth is we don’t have any control over that. We have very little control over what the algorithm does. And it could change at any moment. So even if it favours you at the moment – next week, it could change. A social media platform could just shut down tomorrow and we’d have no control. Imagine if your customers were on there, all your customers that knew you followed you on Instagram but didn’t have any other way to contact you and you had no way to contact them and find them and it shut down tomorrow. What would you do? How would you tell people about your products? How would you sell? 

Having email gives you that safety net to be able to contact them. Even if our biggest social media platforms closed down tomorrow, even if we went to another lockdown and we can’t go and physically meet people at events, we can still contact people by email.

Email takes the pressure off

I know myself, you go to craft events and you’re under this huge pressure because you know 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 think about things. They like to be able to go back and buy again online. But very often they will forget, no matter how amazing your products are, no matter how much they love them, there is so much stuff competing for their attention that if you don’t contact them on email to remind them, they probably will forget about you. 

So that’s the great thing about email – it takes the pressure off selling at events and on social media because, you know, you’ve got a way to contact people afterwards and check they’re okay and serve them in that way. 

And the other thing about email marketing that’s really handy, particularly if you have a higher-end product to sell or higher-end service, is that when you email them, you’re putting yourself in front of mind for them. So 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 getting engaged, but they love your stuff – they might sign up to your email while they’re there. And then and if they do that, you can keep emailing them regularly and then a year later they get engaged and your email pops into their inbox, and they think, “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 you can keep serving them, keep showing up, until they’re ready to buy. 

By then, they will have built up a lot of trust. If you’re regularly emailing them, they will have got to know you and you will feel like a trusted friend. So all those reasons for me, email is an absolute no-brainer. But the reality is business owners don’t use email enough. So why? If it’s so amazing, why don’t people use email? 

Maybe you’ve tried. Maybe you’ve tried to set up a list because somebody told you to, but you don’t really know why. So you kind of didn’t persevere with it. You didn’t know what you were doing. You didn’t have a clue what to say on your emails. All these are common problems I hear around emails. 

If that sounds like you and that sounds familiar, then you’re not alone. Believe me, you are not alone. Most business owners are told that they need to set up an email list. They kind of do it half-heartedly, because they don’t really understand why, and they don’t really understand how. So it just kind of falls by the wayside. Please don’t let that be you, because you are missing out on this amazing powerhouse of a way to sell to your audience and a way of selling that is NOT sleazy. It’s a way of selling that is not annoying. No matter what people say about email, it’s not annoying. And it can feel really natural if you do it the right way. 

So, why do people let email slip by? And there are two reasons, really. Like I said, most people don’t understand how effective and powerful email is. But that’s not you, because you now know how powerful email marketing is. Because I’ve just told you. 

But the other thing you might come up against is you’re limiting beliefs around email marketing.

Now, this means that you have deep-held beliefs about email. Beliefs like,” It’s intrusive, it annoys my customers. It doesn’t work.” These are things I hear all the time. They’re things I believed before I realised the magic of email. And they’re beliefs that you pick up subconsciously over the years and you just accept them as truths. So when you come to start your email list, if you really believe deep down that it’s going to annoy your customers, you’re not really going to put that much work into it and it will hold you back because any time you try and do your email, it won’t work and it will stop you from actually getting started. 

And as we know, if you don’t embrace email, you’re leaving money on the table. But not only that, you’re not serving your customers as well, because by emailing your customers, you are serving them and you’re serving them for free on a regular basis. 

You need to believe that by sending your customers emails, you are serving them regularly and that will help you get over your limiting beliefs about email marketing. So why do people have these limiting beliefs about email marketing then if it’s so successful? I believe it’s purely for fear. Because you have to be really brave to put yourself out there. Email is very personal, which is why it builds trust so well. But it’s also setting you up for fear of rejection. You’re going into someone’s email box, a very personal place for them, and you are worried about being rejected. You are worried about people unsubscribing. It’s much easier to chuck out content on social media into the ether. We don’t see what happens. We’ll just throw it out. And if they want it, they can have it. You have to be really brave to actually put yourself out there. 

So what we do is we tell ourselves the email doesn’t work. We tell ourselves that it bugs our customers. But we know that’s not true. 

We know it works because we’ve seen the stats. It’s 40 times more effective than social media, remember? And after working with me, my students now have customers actually email them to tell them how much they love their emails! So, you really aren’t bugging them, you are SERVING them. What you need to do is if you want to get started on email and unlock this powerhouse for your business, you need to ignore those voices in your head. I know that’s easier said than done, but just become aware of it and start ignoring them and telling them that, “Okay, you know, they’re trying to help you, but you’re not going to listen to them,” and then just get it going. And all you need to do is get some momentum and start. 

Don’t worry about you being perfect. Don’t worry about everything being right because it won’t be. It never is perfect the first time. 

Think of the first time you learned to walk. You fell over. You will probably fall over now. But the only way you are going to get better is if you start. 

Here’s your email challenge: 

  1. First of all, you need to find a platform now. 

Don’t stress about this because so many people get stuck on this. Don’t stress. A lot of platforms are very much the same. They just cost more depending on how many features you want to use. 

Two great platforms I recommend are MailChimp and Flodesk. You can sign up for a completely free trial on Flodesk here (which is what I use). MailChimp is another great platform. So just take a look at those two and decide between those two and which one you’re going to do and just commit to it. 

  1. You need to create a form on that platform where people can sign up.

Messy action is best. Just put it out there. It just needs to be somewhere where your customers can sign up to your email list. Don’t overthink it, because that will stop you taking action. You only get clarity and you’ll only get better as you start taking action. You need to take action first. It’s really important. 

  1. Start emailing REGULARLY.

That’s really, really important, because so many people set their email list up and then don’t email. And very often they say it’s because they’re scared of people unsubscribing, which actually, when you think about it, is really funny because if you never email your customers anyway, what does it matter if they’re subscribed or not? It doesn’t actually matter. 

So don’t worry about people unsubscribing. Just email regularly. Find your voice and just start writing, because it’s only by starting writing that we can get better. Now, I recommend either fortnightly or weekly because remember, we’re in this to build trust and nothing builds trust like consistency. You showing up regularly is going to build trust like nothing else. 

If you show up every month, I don’t think that’s enough, because if you show up every month, people might forget who you are within a month. Show up weekly or fortnightly and then you will really build the trust. 

I don’t care if it’s only your mum, your best friend and your cat on your email – just START! 

So before you tell me I’ve only got my five friends on there, I don’t care, you’ve got to get into that practice of writing and writing regularly. Make it a habit. It’s the habits that we create that create success in the long run because it’s those small actions that get us to where we need to go. So make sure you make it a habit and start your email list now. 

So just to sum up, here’s your email challenge. First of all, find a platform (don’t stress), then create a form so people can sign up (messy action – remember, that’s what we need.) Then just start emailing regularly. No matter who’s on your list, just commit to a certain schedule and write to your customers regularly.

And that’s it. That is all you need to do to start unlocking the power of email marketing – don’t let those limiting beliefs get in your way.

Don’t let them tell you that you’re annoying your customers. You’re not and it’s amazing what momentum you can get once you start going – just imagine where you’ll be this time next year if you actively start building your list now. 

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