Mailing List Vs Social Media – Does Size Matter?
Are you questioning mailing list vs social media in your art business? Does size really matter? Is size influencing your decision about the effort you put into these 2 resources within your online business? Are you striking the right balance for the right reasons?
I hope if you have been reading my blogs regularly you have some idea how important a mailing list is. If you haven’t check out 15 – Do I Need A Mailing List For My Art Business, 18 – How To Get More Mailing List Subscribers and other mailing list blog posts. You might also want to check out my free download 20 Best Ways To Grow Your Art Following. This free resource is full of other ideas to help you grow your lists.
Today I want to talk to you about one of the biggest mistakes involving mailing lists. Mailing lists can be one of my biggest battles getting new customers onboard with. Understandably customers don’t want to invest resources when time is so precious in something that doesn’t generate results. Where this usually goes wrong is looking for the wrong results i.e. sales at the wrong time i.e. instantly!
If a customer is going to spend time doing something they want to see results immediately. They don’t want a single sale they want multiple sales and they want them now not sometime in the future. Many customers I see are starting from zero on their lists and quickly give up and spend more time on social media. If they can only change this mindset they will get so much more back from their mailing list.
The number 1 mistake people so often make is to believe that ‘Size Matters‘. People are so quick to assume that the numbers are the key thing here. They look at their mailing list and see 50 or 100 people. Then they look at their social and they see 1000 followers. So where do they focus all their time and energy – social media of course!
People look at a small mailing list of 100 people growing at 1 or 2 people per week perhaps. They compare this it to social where they might get 5 or 10 new followers per week. They think that size is all that matters and because it is so much easier to grow their social followings with bigger numbers they ignore their mailing lists.
Mailing List Vs Social Media Is Not Comparing Like With Like
If you are on my mailing list you might have attended one of my free masterclasses where I dig into this much more. If not subscribe now, stay tuned and you will get to hear about one coming up in the near future. In my masterclasses I explain how mailing lists and social followings are not comparing like with like.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating focusing all your time on your mailing list and ignoring social media. Both are key components to growing a strong sustainable online art business. They do, however, have very different purposes.
‘Owned’ Mailing List At The Core
Your mailing list should be right at the centre of your business not on the periphery. Your social media should be designed to find new contacts and drive them to your mailing list. The reason for this is that you own your mailing list. It is not owned by a 3rd party – you are in complete control. This is very unlike a 3rd party platform like many of the social media channels where you are at the whim of that 3rd party. In these platforms you are relying on their decisions and business models rather than your own.
Cut Out The Distractions
Your mailing list, whilst slower to build and involving smaller numbers, has none of the distractions of social media. There is no 3rd party constantly changing an algorithm that may or may not decide to show your content to people. You do not have to keep changing the way you do things as the algorithm changes so that you continue to be seen.
In your mailing list your customers will be in a private space where other competitors are not bidding for their attention. Email will wait until people have time to read it allowing readers to digest rather in their own time rather than have a very limited 24-48 hour lifespan like a lot of social media does.
Engagement Beats Size
Who hasn’t spent an entire day writing a really lengthy email to 100 subscribers for it not to result in a single sale? We all have I am sure and for many that is where they give up on email thinking it is too time consuming and simply doesn’t yield results.
But do you know what – the experience above is TOTALLY NORMAL. This is what happens. You simply need to work through it if you want to experience great results.
It is engagement that you need to be focusing on not size. The sales will come – perhaps not instantly but they will come. I have seen people have consistently great results with 400 subscribers on a list. Far better than ones with 2000 on a list. In my research I have come across people having great results with only 100 people on a list. In a podcast yesterday afternoon this was brought home when I heard about someone generating $12000 in 2 weeks with a list of only 100 subscribers selling a digital course.
The key is that the list does not have to be huge it simply has to be very engaged. Of course a list with 10000 engaged subscribers is going to do better than one with 100 engaged subscribers. Research last week, however, mentioned the example of a maker with a 10k list. That maker hadn’t sold a thing through that list because the list simply wasn’t an engaged one.
Consistency Is The Key To Engagement
So how do you get engagement? Well the number 1 thing I see so often is that people attract customers to join their email list. Some miss the first great opportunity of not sending them their first welcome email. A welcome email is an opportunity to introduce yourself and signpost customers to key parts of your business.
The next biggest mistake is then not to send another email until Christmas. This is a bid to capture sales from that busy quarter. This will often generate a handful of sales. What these people really don’t get right away is that this is only a small fraction of potential sales that could have been. The majority of people buy online from sellers that they know, like and trust. Unless you are constantly being in front of people it is very hard to build that relationship.
You need to be emailing customers at least every month to engage with them. Consistency is key and having a regularly email routine will help. If you are posting on social you have news you can reuse it in email. It doesn’t have to be so different and twice as much work. Keep it short and interesting. Plan at least 12 emails per year. If something comes up in between that you have to tell people about such as a show announcement for example, don’t just add to make a long email, throw in some shorter ones 2 weeks apart to get that news out.
Its Not All About Selling To People
Whilst consistency is essential you also need to make your emails interesting if people are going to engage. Send email after email about products for sale and people will switch off. You will see some sales in the 4th quarter around this kind of email because people are in a buying mindset at that time of year. If, however, you have not been warming that audience up earlier in the year with other content the sales at that time of year will be a fraction of your potential sales!
Plan content for your year. Obviously there will be things like Christmas order dates to get across in the 4th quarter. There will be Valentine day opportunities at the end of January / beginning of March. There will be Mothers day opportunities, summer sales, studio sales etc. Around all of that plan content for people to get to know you. Introduce them to your processes, your studio, where you live, some of your interests, pets, personal stories and so on.
Subtle product placement around this will work far better than emails just full of product. This strategy will help to convert a cold audience to a warm one over a period of months as well as develop loyal customers with a much higher lifetime value.
When Is The Best Time To Start Emailing
Whether you have 1, 100 or 1000 people on your mailing list now is the best time to start working on this. Don’t wait for your list to get bigger. Don’t be put off by lack of sales. This is a long term investment and believe me it will pay off. Start now in April and be consistent (at least monthly) between now and the last quarter and you will see a big difference in the last quarter trust me! Just remember – it isn’t size that matters – it is engagement!
Want To Digger Deeper Into Mailing Lists and Social Media?
Mailing lists are one of the key foundation stones for a successful online art business that grows year on year. You shouldn’t be thinking mailing list vs social media and investing your time in one or the other. You need to think in a certain way to help them compliment each other.
I believe it is so important that I have dedicated a whole module to mailing lists and another to social media in my Simple Art Marketing Academy online course for artists, makers and photographers. Join me there if you want to dig a little deeper with me and see how all the components for your online business should work together.