You’re probably running in some circles trying to figure out how to adapt to ever-changing SEO algorithms. It’s harder than ever to be seen on Facebook.
Reaching your audience … well, it ain’t easy when the game is always changing.
However, there’s one channel that remains (slightly more) constant than others: Email.
The problem is, building that email list is challenging. Really challenging. But the fact remains: You have to do the hard work to build it anyway if you want to make an impact.
We just ran across a great discussion about this from our friends at Technical.ly Philly. One of the cofounders, Chris Wink, wrote a very thoughtful piece about how new media (specifically, a new Philadelphia venture called Billy Penn) can succeed. He offered up some lessons he learned while building his publication.
Of particular interest was this observation about email. Here’s an excerpt of what Wink said:
Get really good at email collection … Email is smart because social media is getting more proprietary (Facebook and surely soon Twitter will become pay-to-be-seen operations), and good old email is reliable and long-lasting. The single biggest challenge [BillyPenn.com] is taking on is that it is far harder than anyone ever talks publicly about to collect (opt-in) email addresses for a specific local niche. We at Technical.ly Philly are five years old, have enormous sway for our (doubly) niche audience and (I think) have pretty great (and rare) content. Still, even when including our events list, fewer than 10k subscribe to our emails. Granted, we’ve long said one of our biggest mistakes was underestimating email early on and we’ve done a crummy job for a long [time] in building that, but it speaks to how hard it is to collect emails ethically. We’ve never done something clever around serious email collection. Learn from our mistake. Pretty much the most important next step Billy Penn could do would be to have the cleverest way to collect a massive amount of real, local emails to drag them into their community. Great content will help, but scaling local niche audience is a bear.
A Few Strategies
Here’s a great post that illustrates why email is so important. A few highlights:
- There are more than 3.2 billion email accounts today. 95% of online consumers use email and, 91% check their email at least once a day
- According to the 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, 60% of marketers say email marketing is producing ROI and 32% believe it will eventually. For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment.
And here’s what Copyblogger has to say about why email is so durn effective. (Spoiler alert: Email is so much more personal than social.)
The upshot for you: Grow that list. Make an offer. A download, premium content, a discount … obviously, it depends on what will grab your specific audience. It might be damn hard to find out what that “thing” is, but having that insight could pay dividends for a long time.