Experienced digital marketing consultant and copywriter Carmine Mastropierro brings us some practical advice on the theme of this months issue, should you build or rent your digital property? Carmine suggests we hedge…


Facebook.

Twitter.

YouTube.

What do all of these have in common for businesses?

While they’re great for acquiring customers, brand awareness, and driving traffic, they all share one huge critical flaw: you don’t own them. You rent them.

Think of it like owning a house vs renting one.

In the first situation, you’re able to do what you want. Renovate it. Use it as leverage. You get my point.

The latter? You lose some freedom and flexibility. The landlord (Facebook) can come in at any time and make changes that aren’t always in your favor.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against these marketing channels (nor against renting) but let’s talk about what businesses need to be doing in 2020 and beyond. 

Create their own audience through email marketing.

Why your business needs email marketing

It’s not a maybe. Or a recommendation. Or an option.

Email marketing is absolutely essential in 2020.

Why? Firstly because it generates up to a 40x ROI. Who doesn’t want that?

Secondly, it empowers businesses to not rely on rented channels where rules can be changed in an instant.

Don’t you remember the organic reach fiasco with Facebook Groups?

Starbucks amassed a following of millions on their official Facebook page.

After Facebook released an update limiting their organic reach, they were forced to run paid ads to engage with the audience they spent so much time building. That doesn’t sound fair, does it?

With an email list, you’re invincible. You own it. It’s your asset to tap for promotions, nurturing, and staying in touch with customers.

You can plug it into a CRM like HubSpot or keep it within email marketing software like Mailchimp.

How to get more email subscribers

You’re pumped to get started with email marketing. Great.

You choose an email marketing software, create a list, and the subscribers are just going to roll in, right?

Not so fast.

You’re going to need two resources: a lead magnet and form.

A lead magnet is exactly what it sounds like, something that attracts leads which you offer in exchange for their information. Normally this is just their email and first name.

Take Marketo’s resource section for example. Many of their reports and guides require you to enter information before downloading them, getting you into their funnel.

This will drastically increase the conversion rate of the second component which is a form. Forms can be a popup, in a sidebar, as a welcome mat, or embedded directly into web pages.

In fact, clearly communicating what users are getting out of opting in can increase opt-in rates by 85%!

What to do once you’ve built your list

As you begin generating more subscribers, there are a few important steps to take to respect their inboxes and maximize ROI.

The first is to keep Pareto’s principle in mind. This is also known as the 80/20 rule.

In terms of email marketing, keep 80% of the emails you send out value based. This means that they share information, news, and updates. 

The remaining 20% can be promotional in nature to sell products or advertise. You do this to build trust, authority, and not annoy subscribers.

Next, it’s important that you use automation to your advantage. There’s no need to hand write and send out every single email. That’s a good recipe for carpal tunnel.

Instead, any major email marketing software will allow you to create sequences or drip campaigns.

These are automatic emails that are sent on very specific intervals down to the minute.

This saves you from having to send out these emails again and again to new subscribers. It also allows you to engineer sequences that have the perfect mix of content, news, and selling to drive revenue.

Final thoughts

Many businesses are built upon rented channels. These are channels that we don’t have ultimate control over and thus are at the whim of the company that does.

In a lot of cases, this isn’t terrible. You need social media, a website, and other assets hosted on external platforms. They generate brand awareness and valuable traffic.

The problem arises when we have nothing else and updates happen that limit organic reach, traffic, and other KPIs.

One of the best ways to hedge this is with email marketing. You can use email marketing software to build a private list of subscribers for promoting content and products. 

You can take an email list anywhere you go and it’s extremely mobile compared to something like social media. 

Leverage all of these channels and platforms, but begin building an email list that you can begin renting out one day.

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