Are you experiencing lacklustre results with your social media marketing? We look at the most common cause of the problem and show why starting a mailing list in 2018 is still a great way to supplement your other inbound marketing efforts.

Why start a mailing list in 2018?

To understand why you need an email mailing list you need to understand why Facebook and others have become less effective. In 2012, email marketing seemed obsolete as social media assumed its functions. In fact, many businesses invested into building an audience on social media at the expense of their email marketing. But, as Facebook matured they monetised themselves and they also needed to create a solution that resolved the rapid saturation of business’s coming onto the platform.

In pursuit of this, they incentivised page owners to buy advertising by otherwise limiting the visibility of posts. As a result, posts on your page will have an organic reach of 0-30% of your fanbase. Facebook disproportionately reduces the visibility of promotional posts even further.

So the take away from this is that social media platforms like Facebook have a life cycle where their viability as a standout inbound marketing channel peaks, and then declines. This also means that to get the best results out of social media platforms you always need to be looking for those that are growing in popularity rather than those that have peaked. Instagram, for example, is still yet to peak, so it offers excellent reach and post visibility without the need to pay. But this will change over time.

Social Friendly VS B2B Businesses

For ‘social friendly’ businesses like a pet shop, the situation is not ideal. But they are able to continue to get tangible results because they are able to achieve a domino effect. Where people like a post, and Facebook puts that post in front of more people as a result. But for B2B or less exciting industries engagement is harder to achieve and in some cases less relevant.

For example, for website design, a post is only going to appeal to a small segment of Facebookers, and that is all that is needed. When I post this it might result in 1 lead, whose lifetime value exceeds the energy exerted to create the post. This is to say Facebook has failed to fully consider high value, low volume businesses. As a result, the mechanisms they have to mitigate the impact of their pressure to pay for feed visibility do not apply to some businesses.

This is where the value of a mailing list can first be realised, they are free to use and they scale well. As the cost of sending an email to 100 people is about the same cost as sending an email to 1000. In contrast, Facebook effectively has linear costs. This means that if you increase your fan base by 100% you increase your advertising costs by 100%.

Note that there are countless benefits to email marketing but that’s a topic for another blog post or a Google search.

A Fragmented User Base

The original usages of Facebook have also been diluted. 5 years ago, a business could have had an issue they needed to tell their customers about ASAP. Facebook represented the perfect medium because it was dual use, user’s would still be using Facebook at 9PM and they could all be reached instantly. Today, the same cannot be said, the business could post that it had to close early, and only a fraction of their fanbase would see the message.

User fragmentation is also an increasing issue for social media marketing that is often ignored. A few years ago, Facebook was the dominant platform and it was the obvious choice for small businesses to adopt for their social media needs.

Today, the same cannot be said, the number of players in the social media market has increased with Snapchat and Instagram taking a significant amount of user attention away from Facebook. While Twitter and LinkedIn, are making inroads into building themselves as viable alternatives for professionals.

Facebook is still the common denominator, which all people use but less time is being spent on it. Indeed, Facebook’s domination of the industry has led competitors to create alternatives that cater to niche markets.

How to collect email addresses

The best method for collecting email addresses is going to depend on the business type. However, the three main initial methods are:

  • Social media profiles
  • Your website
  • Existing accumulated emails

Converting your social fan base to email is an excellent way to get started. To do it, you will have to take into consideration the weaknesses of social media and pay to reach all of your fanbases. But this cost is worth it as it’s a one-time cost to switch them over to a mailing list.

How to use them

Now, of course, ideas are great but the execution is just as important. So how do you leverage this new mailing list to yield results for your business? The first choice is hiring a 3rd party such as AIC Technologes to design, manage and send emails on your business’s behalf. However, there is a 2nd option, MailChimp Snap.

MailChimp Snap is an app designed by MailChimp to be a substitute for its full product.

The benefit of the app is its simplicity and while its usage cases are limited by this simplicity its application by a cafe or other small business to engage customers is clear.

Closing Thoughts

Social media is always evolving and for each platform you invest in, you become committed to enduring the decisions that platform makes. So it makes sense to diversify into emailing.

Even if you do not intend on taking advantage of it straight away, you should be building a mailing list. Their cost effectiveness is almost unequal and in some cases it may be an outright better medium to engage with your customers.

To clarify, I am not saying Facebook and other social media accounts are a dead end, far from it. Only that established social media platforms like Facebook are not always going to be the best fit for every business. But in the case of B2B and low volume businesses, use Facebook as a lead generator, and work to convert new fans to email as quickly as possible.

This post was originally published on the 7th of January and has now been updated to provide up to date information. 

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