You know that one trusty knife you use for everything when you’re cooking. There are other knives in the drawer, but you keep reaching for that old friend. You know it works, and what you can create with it.
That’s how I feel about email in a marketing strategy.
Sure, there are new platforms out there. There always will be the shiny new thing, and, they have their place! If you’re one of the first brands on a new, growing platform, it can have an impact on your business. We all want to connect with the people who are going to be interested in our business. Because the newest seems to also be the loudest, we forget about the tactics that have proved themselves reliable year over year.
I’m out to play the long game. Slow and steady, intentional growth. Email is the tool for that kind of strategy.
I hope you’re asking yourselves “why” right now. Why is the old tactic still the place to invest time and resources? In short, because you own your email audience, and you rent your social media audience.
Owning vs. Renting
You should have a presence on social media channels and leverage those tools, but you don’t own that platform. There are no guarantees your posts will be seen by the people who like or follow you there unless you tell them to set up notifications for when you post.
If the owners of the social media channels learns that the people who use their platform are more likely to engage with cat based content, they’ll start making sure “kitty cafe” posts are top of the feed. But what if you train dogs for a living? Well, you might want to start training cats.
That example is exaggerated, but that’s a similar scenario to what Facebook did a few years ago. They decided that the people who use the tool would rather see content from their friends instead of brands (or Pages). So Facebook changed the algorithm to prioritize content they thought people would rather see. Their goal, and the goal of most media platforms, is to keep eyeballs in their tool, so they can sell more ads. It’s in their favor to place content people want to engage with at the top.
Side note: controversy and conflict sells. Remember that when you’re watching the news or scrolling through feeds.
In their effort to monetize the platform and keep more eyeballs glued to the tool, they limited the reach of brand pages. This caused brands to purchase ads to get in front of their audience. This is a normal part of doing business, social media or not, but it does make it hard for small businesses.
A Valuable Relationship
So what can a small business owner with limited resources do?
Make sure you’re paying attention to the group of people who gave you their email address. This is direct access to their inbox, and it’s a valuable relationship that you don’t want to neglect.
Deliver helpful, consistent content. It doesn’t have to be in-depth, but try to make the subject lines and messaging memorable.
Even if the emails you send aren’t being opened all the time, your name is passing through their inbox. Like a small billboard, your brand’s name is making an imprint on their memory.
This is when it pays to have done the upfront work of clearly defining the problem your company solves and effectively communicating that to your audience. So that when that person is dealing with the problem that you solve, your name will be top of mind.
Don’t be discouraged if someone unsubscribes from your list. That means they weren’t your target audience anyway. By unsubscribing, they’re helping you clean up your list and making it a stronger group of contacts who want to hear from your business.
Email Isn’t Going Out of Style
Even though email is over 50 years old, it should still play an important role in your marketing strategy. Email doesn’t suffer the whims of social media algorithms and or the barrier of pay to play. Email is the virtual real estate your brand owns.