Why bother with a mailing list?

Why bother with a mailing list

Why bother with a mailing list?  This is a question my clients ask a lot.  I don’t want to write a newsletter they say.  Newsletters are old fashioned.  Social media is the modern way.

And yes!  Please do NOT write newsletters.  Newsletters ARE old fashioned.  (More on this below.)  And please DO use social media, that is definitely a valuable part of the modern way.

But still, you’re really missing a marketing trick if you don’t collect email addresses and build up a mailing list.  It’s simple to set up, and MailChimp and others will do most of the admin for you for free.  If you add a subscribe form to your website, it can sit there passively collecting email addresses for you, quietly building up a valuable resource.  (There’s one at the bottom of this page.  Please subscribe!)

The owner of your mailing list is you

Provided you have the consent of your peeps to email them, and you are complying with your local data protection laws, you should be able to email them for free, forever.

The owner of your Facebook fans is Facebook

Once upon a time, Facebook also let you communicate with nearly everyone who liked your Facebook page, for free.  But, then came the Reachpocalypse.  (Yes, seriously, that’s a thing.)  In fact, a whole series of Reachpocalypses.  An ongoing Reachpocalypserama.  (And Facebook is not necessarily doing something sinister here, they just have to somehow ration the avalanche of content that we’re all trying to throw at each other.)

And who owns your relationship with your Facebook likers and followers?  Facebook.  You can plan on further Reachpocalypses.

How to try and bypass the Reachpocalypse?  Well, by paying Facebook money to extend the reach of your posts.  Also, by making your Facebook posts as engaging as humanly possible (for example, here’s my blog post on how to choose a great blog post title).

But anyway, your Facebook likers and posts are in Facebook’s hands.

Facebook will hardly show your posts to anyone

Now, this is a generalisation, and it depends on variables like how engaging your post is, but estimates are that Facebook will only show your posts to 2-6% of your page followers.  (I mean, for free.  For money they’ll push it a bit harder for you obvs.)

Whereas MailChimp’s data is that more like 15-27% of people will open your emails.  (Again that’s going to depend on how good your relationship is with your subscribers and how engaging your content is, but that’s a big old difference.)

Subscribers are more engaged

The received wisdom is that newsletter subscribers are a pretty engaged bunch.  They’ve got a pretty strong level of interest in you, compared to your Facebook page likers.  And the data supports this: a good MailChimp email should generate 2-5% clicks (people actually clicking through to your website), where Facebook apparently averages 6 engagements per 1,000 fans (0.6%, and even that may be them just clicking ‘like’).

But writing a newsletter is such hard work!

Yes.  Don’t do that.  Don’t laboriously create new content just for your subscribers.  Use your email list to promote the best items of your existing content.  (See my blog post, how to reach all of your fans at once.)

Do not ‘write a newsletter’

And don’t write ‘a newsletter’ with like six different stories in it.  Who has time to read that these days?  Send them an email with one cool thing you want to share with them, and maybe include a short paragraph at the bottom with links to a couple of other things you want to highlight to them.

For example, when you publish a blog post, send out an email which includes the headline, image and text snippet from your post, with a ‘read more’ link.  It’s that simple.  Taking the content you’ve worked hard to produce, and spending a few extra minutes to make it work hard for your business.

I’m happy to help

And if you’d like some help, just get in touch.

About Jessica Kennedy

Authored by Jessica Kennedy, the Marketing Chihuahua. Jessica writes text for the websites of small businesses and charities, and provides coaching in blogging and social media. She really enjoys helping people and organisations express themselves fluently online, in painless and practical ways.