“Email is dead!”
I’m sure we’ve all heard this one – it’s been doing the rounds for at least 5 years now.
Apparently, it’s all happening on social now.
But can you build your audience on social platforms alone?
Well, of course you could – you can do anything you want. After all, it’s your business
But it may not be the best idea.
On the positive side, social platforms make it relatively easy to find your tribe.
There are groups for every conceivable topic. Most likely multiple groups. Full of your potential customers.
You can gain a lot of intelligence about what your target market really wants by listening in these groups.
Then you can start adding value by answering their questions.
Eventually, people will start following you.
Once you build your followers, you can start selling to them.
Sound simple right? (let’s leave aside the question of which social platform to choose for a moment).
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, what if the platform you’re building on decides even though you’ve built your own audience they’re going to charge you to talk to them?
This is a common business model for social platforms, made popular by Facebook.
Basically, everything is free to use in the beginning, and it’s easy to get your content seen and build an audience. This is not just for your benefit, but to encourage users on to the platform. Then once they have a critical mass of users, the rules change, and suddenly your content is not reaching near as many people. Not even the ones that have indicated they want to hear from you.
Now you have a choice – you can either start paying to get your content seen like it used to be, or you can move to a new platform.
Staying and paying obviously eats into your profit margins.
But starting on a new platform means you lose everything you’ve built and have to start again.
You might think that you can just take your audience with you. But the reality is that even if you can reach them all to advise you are moving, odds are most won’t make the effort.
Then there’s the possibility of a sudden death – you contravene their “community standards”.
You’re out overnight. No opportunity to contact your followers at all!
You might think that his won’t happen to you, because you’re not talking on a “controversial” topic.
But in the current “cancel culture”, who knows what the public is going to get upset about next?
So, here we are back in a position where a company you don’t have any control over can cut off your income at any time – the exact situation we started this journey to avoid!
Would we have this same problem with an email list?
Short answer – NO!
Once someone is on your email list, you can email them whenever you want.
Sure, you pay the email service provider (my preference is ConvertKit) to deliver the emails, but it’s much cheaper than paying advertising fees on the social platforms over and over.
They are also less likely to cut you off because you contravene “community standards”.
And even if they do, you simply take your last download of your list and load it up into a new provider – no need for your contacts to re-subscribe on a new platform. In fact, your audience will most likely not even know you have moved.
So, an email subscriber can’t be taken away from you at the whim of some external player. This means you have the opportunity to continue to sell to your audience, regardless of what happens.
Sounds like a more secure option to me 🙂
And here’s the kicker – it doesn’t have to be one or the other.
You can use the power of the various social platforms to find and engage your audience. But instead of just interacting with them on the platform, find a way to get them on to your email list. Then you can continue to engage and sell to them even if your relationship with the social platform sours in the future.
This strategy also allows you to easily move between social platforms whenever it suits you, without worrying that the audience you worked hard to build will be left behind.
How do you get people from social on to your email list?
We’ll talk about that next time 🙂
PS – If you missed the last email where we looked at what business model would best suit you, catch it here.