An email list is a list of emails that you’ve collected from people who’ve subscribed to your list. They can be customers, potential customers, or anyone who’s interested in what you do.
You can have one general list, or many lists specific to the subscriber’s interests (so subscribers may choose to only be notified about information that’s relevant to them). An online clothing shop that sells mens and womens clothing, for example, may give the option for subscribers to choose if they’re interested in men’s clothing, women’s clothing, or both.
You can use this list to send out pertinent information to your audience. Send them information about sales, services, updates with your business, or use it to share more about your business to form a stronger bond with your subscribers.
Why An Email List Is Better Than Social Media
Unlike social media, an email list is the only way you can directly communicate with your audience. Social media platforms are always changing their algorithms and you can’t always reach everyone who follows you. Emails go directly into your subscribers inbox so you have a better chance of reaching them. You don’t have to worry about posting at the right time or getting enough engagement on your posts like you do with social media.
When a subscriber gives you their email address, it’s a bit more personal than just simply following you on social media. They’re giving you a direct line of communication. It’s a great opportunity for you to be really authentic and gain their trust. You don’t have to fit what you’re trying to say within a certain number of characters and you don’t have to worry about using hashtags. It’s your time to really shine!
That’s not to say that social media isn’t important as well because it is. It’s great for finding new people that you can then try to funnel into your email list.
Don’t Be Spammy
It’s important to know that you must have your subscribers consent before adding them to your list. There are laws on this subject but we’re not lawyers so we’re not going to get into the details on that—just be sure to always err on the side of caution with people’s personal information such as email addresses.
Say you have an online store and customers must provide their email address to complete their order. Even though you may be able to see their email address, you can only use it for order related communication. You can’t add them to your email list without them requesting to be added.
Maybe you have a business card collection with email addresses of colleagues, clients, or potential clients. You can’t just add them to their email list without their consent either.
If you’re sending mass emails (emails to multiple people) regularly from your normal email, your account may be marked as spam and messages from you may go directly to your correspondent’s spam folders. Not only can the mass emails go into the spam folder, but one-on-one emails may also be filtered into the spam folder because your overall account seems spammy. That can really negatively affect your business.
It’s also very important to have the option to “Unsubscribe” or “Opt-out” on all of your emails that you send to your email list. You need their consent to add them, and you need to make it possible for them to unsubscribe at any time.
This may all seem quite overwhelming, but it’s all made very simple with Mailchimp (or other similar providers such as Constant Contact or AWeber—personally, we use Mailchimp so we’ll refer to that). MailChimp will store your list of emails and you can send your marketing emails directly from their platform (unsubscribe button and all).
Mailchimp To The Rescue
With Mailchimp, you can create a signup form to gather information from people who subscribe (usually just name and email address) and they will automatically be added to a list within your Mailchimp account. You can put a link to the signup form on your website. Mailchimp is free if you have under 2,000 subscribers (as of October 2018).
Within Mailchimp you can draft and send your emails. They have templates to easily make your emails look professional or you can also send super simple plain text emails.
Mailchimp will include an unsubscribe button at the bottom of every email you send to your email list so any of your subscribers can unsubscribe at any time. When someone unsubscribes, Mailchimp automatically removes them from your list so you won’t keep emailing them.
Mailchimp will also hide the email addresses of everyone on the list from others on the list. Email addresses are very personal—like a digital phone number. It’s important to keep your subscribers information safe and private.
Hopefully after that overview you understand how important an email list is for your business and you can start taking steps to start yours. If you have any questions please let us know in the comments below and we’d be happy to help!