Growing your list is all the rage now. Given the fact that social media platforms can be here today and gone tomorrow, or rather the trend today and not tomorrow, your email list is the one medium in which you can always count on to directly communicate with your audience. Number one, because you own it, it isn’t owned by any one else or company, and two; those who have chosen to join your list have done just that, made the decision to be a part of your community.
In a nutshell, this means that you have a group of people who want to hear from you and are looking forward to it. However, in your communication to them, there is one major thing you must always do: Provide value. This is a secret to building and growing an engaged list full of raving supporters.
I’m sure you’ve heard this time and time again, but it is crucial that you make providing value to your list your first and foremost priority when sending emails to them. So at this point, you may be second guessing every email you’ve ever sent your list, but to be honest the best thing to do is to not think about what you’ve done in the past and focus on doing better in the future.
Providing Value = Giving Not Taking
When I first started emailing my list, way back in the day, I didn’t even understand the whole provide value thing. Like, I had no concept of “providing value”. My goal was to inform those on my list and in my community of what I posted on my blog, driving traffic there, and giving small updates about my personal life. I didn’t know how to use email as a way to further help, educate, and support my community.
I had a more take than give mindset, in the sense that my goal was to drive traffic and build my blog’s readership. I honestly didn’t even see my list as an extension of my blog, just something that would get people to it. I didn’t set out to “take” from my community, I just simply didn’t really get “giving” to them, i.e. provide value.
Worst off, for the longest time, me emailing my list consisted of me sending out an automated RSS feed email to them. Granted I was posting to my blog 4-5 times a week at the time, but still, that’s providing zero, big fat ZERO, value to my list…and it was redundant. Redundancy isn’t always a bad thing, but accompanied with no real purpose (or effort), it is.
Sidenote: My recommendation for anyone who has an automated RSS email campaign setup to send their list, ensure that you’re not using it passively. There’s nothing wrong with sending your list updates from your blog, but in do so, add some additional valuable content to the email.
This may be going into more detail about what you’ve recently discussed on your blog, letting them know the “why” or “how” you shared or did whatever it is that you posted about. Once you do this, you can include the RSS feed into your email, making it easy for them to access the content on your site.
Having a Purpose for Emailing Your List
The thing you don’t want to do when emailing your list, is to email them without a clear, specific reason.
When I brainstorm content to send my list, the method in which I do so is very similar to that of how I do it for my blog. I put much of the same time, effort, and energy into it, if not more, because I take it seriously.
Everything’s A Choice
I realize that this isn’t someone choosing to drop by my site and read a post, but that this is someone who chosen to invite me into a personal space of theirs by opting into my list. It means that not only is this person okay with me popping into their inbox, but that they want me too and welcome it. I treasure that, and so I make a well concerted effort to make sure that I’m giving them something useful, valuable, and actionable. I don’t want the time they take reading my email to feel like a waste when they’re done (if they even finish) reading the email.
The Value of Providing Value
The more value you provide, consistently that is, the stronger of a community you will build. You will see more engagement, more growth, more support, and when it comes time to launch or sale something they’ll be responsive. If they don’t purchase or participate themselves, they will have no problem spreading the word to others. This is the place I strive to get to with my list, and not so much because of money per se, but because I really want to help people.
Sidenote: In order for me (and you) to help others to the fullest extent, I need the resources to do so. These resources are afforded through creating profit and generating an income, so that I may number one: live and number two: reinvest in my business.
My business is to help others create content that is in alignment with their brand by way of strategy and design, however it’s unreasonable and impractical to do it for free 100% of the time. In running a business, you need to be profitable, and the more profitable you are, the more resources you can afford and have at your disposable to help you do so.
Providing value to others, especially via email (the one platform that you own, that is most stable) is how you will get there, it is how I will get there. Social media and your blog will only get you so far, I can assure you, because I’ve experienced it myself. When I didn’t focus on my list and providing value through it, I didn’t see any real growth or engagement. I was missing the opportunity to position myself as an authority on the very purpose of my business, because I was underutilizing the one tool to really show people my chops.
As a result, my list growth (as well as social media and site traffic) remained stagnant. My community wasn’t getting out of my what they should have been able to, because of my ineffective use of email. If you’ve been making these same mistakes, or similar ones, I’m sure you can relate and have experienced much of the same thing.
The #1 Reason for Stagnant or Slow Growth
I can bet you that if you’ve likely experienced the numerous unsubscribes or lack of list growth, it’s been because you’re either not providing value or enough of it, and again consistently. You must provide value consistently, whatever that looks like for you and your community. They should come to know and expect when they will receive emails from you and what kind.
Processes & Systems, and delivering valuable content
Sometimes, unfortunately, it’s hard to establish a consistent schedule for getting content to those on your list. This is where discipline comes into play, by way of processes and systems.
Processes and systems allow for you to set up strategic ways for getting work done efficiency, and most importantly consistently.
Without the two of these things in place, growth will be be slow or come to a halt altogether. As I mentioned before, this is something that I’ve struggled with in recent months.
Personally speaking, there are specific things that I’ll be implementing in order to insure that I can not only get valuable content to my list, but consistently. In providing this value consistently, it will set me up for success when I get ready to launch a new product or service, because I will have shown my community my expertise and authority on my business’ purpose.
More importantly, I will have built trust with my community over time and they will be that much more comfortable (and excited) supporting and purchasing from me. This is the place you want to strive to be in as well, especially if it’s your goal to monetize your blog or sell anything online.
Selling online requires three main things: trust, value, and the ability to effectively relay both to your community in a personable, none sleazy way. — This! ??
*If you’re in a place, having the value that you’d like to provide to your list, but no system or processes in place to get it to your list, take heed soon and start creating some. Don’t know how? I gotcha ??…that’ll be the next post up on the blog next week!
Rather listen to this post? I gotcha! Listen below (and don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes):