Giving Great Stuff Away is Not the Purpose of Your Email List
Everybody gives lip service to having a mailing list. When I say everybody I mean everybody. Where you go with your list from there, however, differs.
Some bloggers, site owners, and marketers send out a weekly newsletter here and there. Some have a sequence of emails they send out automatically for awhile after you subscribe. Some mail relentlessly, promoting affiliate offer after affiliate offer, or product after product. Some send nothing at all, then blast an offer out of the blue. Then of course there's a mix of all of the above (and everything in between).
What should you do? Why should you have a list? That's what this series is going to look at. Today's topic is the real why.
The Real Why
Since everyone gives lip service to their list, I had an opt-in form on my first niche site from almost the very first day the site was up. It was to my web host's default mailing list program, and I sent out an email newsletter every month or two. I actually got a fair amount of sign-ups, accumulating a list of around 2,500 subscribers.
Now some people say the purpose of your list is to send great content. The reasoning is: great content = loyal fans.
I think this is good reasoning, but it's fundamentally flawed. See, loyal fans are wonderful. But you want something else.
Your list is to create loyal fans, and provide you a return on your investment.
You don't invest your money just to make the bank your loyal fan! You expect a return on your investment. Right? The fact that the bank likes you and sends you nice perks here and there is, well, a nice perk.
I'm not saying don't create good content. But your list is there for you to provide value to and receive a return on the investment of value. Another example: your doctor provides high-quality care, but he expects payment for that. Your college professor pours his life into educating you, but face it, he expects his paycheck in return for that investment.
You are helping others through your mailing list. That's one “why”. That builds relationship and a loyal following. But you also want a return on your investment in business and in enriching the lives of others. That's your other “why.”
If you never ask your subscribers to buy anything, you've created a list of loyal freebie-seekers. Ask them to buy something one day and they'll probably cry mutiny.
Only great content = loyal freebie seekers.
Great content and great offers = loyal fans who benefit from your deeper trainings.
Does that make sense?
You're Still Providing Value
Let me make this clear: you're not going to mail offers to your list relentlessly and that's it. You are going to provide value, or “great content”, “epic content”, etc. in today's trendy internet marketing lingo.
It's important to really provide value.
But look, you can't give all your information away for free.
Regardless of your niche, you have expertise to offer. You're valuable and you have a lot that you can pour into someone else's life. You can give some of that, awesome parts of that, here and there in your email newsletters, email sequence, etc. But surely there's more to you, more you know and can share, more ways you can personally help.
Maybe you choose to create a product. Maybe you want to coach people in your niche. Whatever you choose, that's deeper, more intimate help. Your loyal fans need to know you can help them 🙂
Have a mix of great content and offers for great products. Maybe they're life-changing. Maybe they greatly increase somebody's enjoyment in life (think of hobby-related products). Maybe they just solve a pressing problem (think of all the marketers selling menu-planning services, or cooking and cleaning how-to's).
Whatever you offer – life-changing, satisfaction-bringing, or problem-solving – you can offer great content and provide great products.
A mix of both gives you the ideal list:
Loyal fans who benefit from your basic information, and who want your deeper information — and are willing to pay you for it 🙂
Photo by grenade