If the frightening Facebook and Instagram blackouts of 2019 taught us anything, it’s this: business owners must never put all our eggs in one basket.
At around noon Eastern Time on March 13th, some Facebook and Instagram users, unable to login, began to hyperventilate. Other users could log in, but couldn’t post to their personal or Business Pages and Profiles.
And when the issue lasted longer than everyone affected considered a reasonable period of “down” time, business owners (especially) lost our collective mind as we began to hemorrhage sales and our outreach campaigns came to a grinding halt.
For too many business owners, Facebook and Instagram are our sole storefronts. We depend on them to communicate with existing customers and to engage potential customers.
That’s not usually a bad thing. Except when it is!
The “great social media blackout of 2019” was a powerful reminder that business owners must create additional ways to connect with potential and existing customers.
Although we use these handy-dandy free platforms, we don’t own our Business Pages or Profiles. We don’t own our list of followers. The platforms we’re using own them. That, right there, is sufficient reason to realize how vulnerable we are.
What we do own are our email lists. Do you have one?
Many small business owners hold tight to three misconceptions when it comes to building email lists:
It costs too much to build an email list.
Not so! If you’re just getting started, MailChimp is a great, free tool to build email opt-in forms, create contact lists and produce email campaigns to nurture your contacts.
I don’t have enough time to create all the pieces necessary to build my email list.
There are many free and low-cost options (MailChimp is just one of them) that lets you build email opt-in forms and create contact lists in just minutes. Today’s email marketing providers have created user-friendly, intuitive interfaces that make setting-up email collector pages a breeze. Most of the time, you can create a professional-looking opt-in page in under ten minutes, even if you aren’t tech savvy.
My customers don’t respond to emails.
There’s no denying it: today’s inboxes are crowded and competitive. But if you’re always delivering unique and useful insights, articles, tricks and tips or other treasures, your customers will eagerly anticipate receiving every email you send. Offering real value every time will improve your relationship with existing and potential customers. And consistent email communication can shorten your sales cycle and improve your conversion rates. Most importantly, regular communication keeps you top-of-mind, so your recipients don’t forget about you and buy from a competitor.
If you don’t already have a list-building funnel for your business, take an hour this week to set one up.
- Get a free list-building account at MailChimp, SendinBlue, Moonmail, or Benchmark. Read the fine print in each option to find the one that’s best for you. (Some are free for email lists of just 100 people; that’s usually not enough! MailChimp is free for up to two thousand email addresses and you can send up to 12,000 emails per month. In any 24-hour period, you can send up to 2,000 emails.)
- Be sure that the people you add to your list-building account have opted-in to receive email from you. (If you don’t, your account can be suspended for “spamming”.)
- If you’re just starting your email list, think of something of known value that you can offer for FREE in exchange for opting in. Be sure your communication states that they will be opting in to receive email from you, and let them know that opting out is just as easy as opting in.
If you have questions on growing your business quickly – over the next 30 days – sign up for one of our upcoming free online training sessions.