why do you need a mailing list? - small business need to know series

“Get yourself a mailing list!” It’s all you ever hear when you’re a small business owner. But it’s just another thing that you have to add to your ever growing to-do list and, if we’re totally honest, you prefer making things over sitting down and writing yet another email or brainstorming possible content.

Everyone knows that running a business is bloody exhausting. As is having a mailing list really something that your business truly needs?

What’s a mailing list?

A mailing list is a great way of connecting with your customers through email. It’s usually an automated online program that lets you edit and design emails (or newsletters) and send out on certain dates and/or when certain events happen (someone joins your mailing list they could receive a series of welcome emails to welcome them to your tribe).

Pretty cool, pretty straight forward. If you receive emails from a company on a regular basis then you’re already familiar with the consumer end of mailing lists. Even better!

So…why should I be sending emails?

There are so many reasons that you should be sending emails and/or collecting them. I’ve provided you with a few of my favourites but to learn all the reasons why download your free guide to your ultimate mailing list – I fully cover the myths, the whys, the hows, and the whats.

Social Media Doesn’t Owe You Anything

You could be on Facebook or Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn and perhaps you have a really solid following, great engagement, and you’re happy with how things look. But what if Facebook, Instagram, [insert favourite platform] shut down tomorrow, changed their rules of engagement, or for whatever reason you lost your account? Would you still have a way of accessing your customers? Would you still be able to connect with them?

While I love social media for the community it builds and the openness it offers, it’s really important to remember that social media doesn’t owe you anything. If you are communicating with customers on those platforms then your messages, the names of your followers, and your engagement do not belong to you.

It’s really easy to lose your accounts because of a faux pas that you didn’t even know existed. Or perhaps they’ll arbitrarily change those posting rules again. If you are connecting with your customers through email then you own the information been sent out. It’s easier to create lists of the people you’re contacting and maintain that information regardless of the social media that you’re using next week.

if you don't own the platform you don't own the access to your customers

Your Audience Has To Interact

If you’re posting to social media then there is a good chance that your post will get lost amongst the algorithms and the overflowing feeds. An email has to be dealt with. Whether it’s deleted, archived, or opened. Your reader had to interact. And that’s huge.

Learn About Your Audience

The really cool thing about emailing your customers is this: you’re able to track behaviours and learn about what your audience likes or wants. This means, you’re able to work to provide them with more of what they love and less of what makes them hit delete.

For instance, not sure if the blue or the pink bracelet is more interesting to your customers? In an email, you could have two images side by side, you can track which image is clicked on more. That data is readily available in most mailing list platforms and, if you’re willing to get a little creative, it can really open up doors to the inner workings of your customers heads.

What Would I Send Out?

There are so many things you could send out but figuring that out can be a hard starting point. Try reviewing this list and see how many relevant topics you can come up with for each. Examples are in italics.

  • What do you do: Write about your business, why you do it, how you do it, and what goes into it.
    • Jeweler: what are the important things you keep in mind when creating jewelry, what jewelry inspires you, what do you love about making jewelry, do you have favourite stones or gems, what’s the process of sourcing supplies, is there a questionnaire you hand out that helps you connect with customers with custom orders?
    • Knitted Goods: What wools or yarns do you use?, When did you start knitting and how did that grow?, A quick video into the needles you use, how do you choose your colours?, Where do you get inspiration from, what does your workshop look like, what are your storage and inventory solutions for keeping track of everything?
    • Art Gallery: What artists have you connected with this week?, What artists made you most excited about art and what has that experience lent to your business?, Detail your process for creating an exhibition, Explain the complexities of trying to get large exhibits through the doors etc.
  • What inspirations have you experienced recently? Think about sharing colour trends, relevant complementary businesses etc.
    • Jeweler: Celebrity spotlight – what products are making you excited?, Your Pinterest Boards, Focus on historical jewelry and how you are seeing revivals
  • Business Events: Write about what’s been happening in your business, what’s new, and what you’re making a move towards
    • Knitted Goods: Are there any upcoming craft shows or sales that you’re taking part in? Detail a behind the scenes look – your setup, your banners, share the event name, and directions to it. Have you learnt any new techniques? – Tell people about it, maybe even share a picture. 
    • Art Gallery: Mention your exhibits, talk about upcoming classes, show a behind the scenes GIF of putting up art, or celebrating a sale.

Download  your ultimate guide to creating 52 weeks of email content.

Where do I start?

Try mailerlite or mailchimp. They are both great starter email lists and they’re free up until a certain amount of subscribers. You can create multiple lists and emails to keep people separated but I recommend starting off with just one list. Both websites are filled with comprehensive intro guides to help you get started.

Remember to download the ultimate guide to making your mailing list sparkle. It’ll save you time, help you get your message out quicker, and support you in creating content that your customers want to read. With over 50 pages of solid advice and guidance it’s a steal at exactly $0. I’m giving it away for free! Because I don’t think this information should be inaccessible. I want to make your online business development as smooth as possible. Download here.

Why do you need a mailing list?