Far too many small business owners gauge our success on the number of social media followers we have.
Although the number is an important indicator that shows how well we’re engaging our community, it can be a costly distraction.
Case in point: in February, an Instagram “glitch” impacted the number of followers displayed on Business Accounts.
I can’t tell you how many emails we received from panic-stricken entrepreneurs who brought their businesses to a screeching halt, single-handed, while they panicked over “lost” followers.
“Last night I had 10,738 follower and this morning I woke up to less than 9,000. What is going on with Instagram?!”
Whether you’re in the start-up stage of your business, just beginning to build your customer base, or you’re a seasoned business owner with a large, highly-engaged social media following, it’s important to remember that you don’t own the user lists on any social media platform. At any time, a social media platform can experience a “blackout” or “glitch.”
Your account can even be temporarily or permanently deactivated if the platform feels your messaging doesn’t comply with its terms and policies.
And if your account ever gets hacked, and it can take hours (even days) to regain control.
So, although social media is a crucial part of every successful marketing strategy, it’s important to remember that your email list is your most important asset. You own it and you have complete control of it, so no third-party platform can dictate how or when to communicate with your existing and potential customers.
If a social media platform goes down for a day and you have an email list your business won’t come to a screeching halt. You’ll still be able to communicate with existing and potential customers and safeguard your cash flow.
So here’s how to begin growing your email list, starting today.
- Create an enticing offer (perhaps a discount) and post a pop-up form on your website. Privy is a free tool for creating professional, high-converting pop-ups for most websites (Shopify, WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, etc.)
- Capture email addresses from customers who visit your brick and mortar location. Ask customers for their email address at checkout or provide a paper sign-up form near your register. You can even create an online email collector landing page using MailChimp, Privy or your email marketing tool to display the page on an iPad at your register.
- Host a giveaway for an item your customers truly want or need. A golf course in our community recently offered a basket which included a Yeti cooler stuffed with golf tees, towels, hats, and other supplies. They posted the giveaway as an organic (free) Facebook post. Users had to share the post and complete an entry form, which included a required field for an email address. In this small community, more than 800 Facebook users entered and the Club was able to track more than 30 new memberships directly resulting from email follow-up sequences launched after the giveaway.
- Key takeaways: offer something valuable and desirable. Encourage new subscribers to tell their friends (word of mouth is a powerful, free marketing tool)! Create a follow-up email sequence to engage and inform new subscribers so you can turn them into paying customers quickly. Pro Tip: You can also create a giveaway or discount tab on your Facebook Business Page. Most email marketing providers offer integrations that let you do this quickly and easily!
- Promote a freebie offer (discount, video tutorial, PDF Guide) via Facebook and Instagram. With Facebook and Instagram ads, you can laser-target your audience to make sure your posts appear only to users with the means ($$) and motivation (interest) to buy from you.
- Add a Sign Up Call to Action button to your Facebook Business Page, and link to a giveaway or promotion opt-in form that you can create (for free) through MailChimp or Privy.
- Sign up for one of our free webinars on building your email list and growing your business quickly.
A word of caution: don’t become so focused on building an email list quickly that you’re tempted to buy email subscribers. Not only is this usually a costly of your hard-earned money, doing so can actually reduce your email marketing provider’s delivery rate!