Most small business owners know that having a website and being on social media are critical to connecting with their customers and building their business.

What I found most surprising when I first started learning about internet marketing for my own small business was that the website and social media aren’t enough. In fact, they aren’t even the most important things you need in your digital marketing strategy.

The most important element you need to market your small business is (drumroll, please!): an email list.

Who knew?

While it was a shock to me, having spent the last few years building email lists for my own businesses, I now see just how powerful this tool can be. Today, I’m going to share four reasons why an email list is something every small business should have.

1. People check their email constantly

While it’s true that many people are on social media on a daily basis, many more people check their email daily. Some people (like me) check their email several times throughout the day. What this means is that when you send someone an email message it’s much more likely that it gets read and read quickly. This means that the likelihood is higher that your message gets through and in a timely manner.

2. Your audience will actually receive the message

When you email someone, there is a much higher likelihood that they will receive the message than if you post something on Facebook or Twitter. Facebook has an algorithm that determines who receives the messages you post on your business page. I’ve heard that as few as 10% of the your page’s fans ever receive your posts, depending on the particulars of the page and the post. Just 10%!

On Twitter, your followers will always get your message, but it’s very easy for your tweet to get lost in the thousands of other tweets that are posted around the same time. If your followers aren’t online the moment you post, the chances are slim that they’ll see your post at all.

With email, unless your message goes to the spam folder (which would be rare unless you’re, well, spamming people), your message will actually make it to the recipient.

3. Email is personal

When you write someone an email, it’s a lot like giving them a call. It’s got a personal touch to it. Contrast that with a tweet, which is a bit like putting up a show poster on a telephone pole. People tend to feel much more connected to the people who email them than who interact on social media.

In other words, you can build very strong relationships through email. And since people do businesses with people they know, like, and trust, relationship building is very, very important.

4. Getting an email address from someone represents a first transaction

You might not think of it this way, but when someone gives you their email address, they’re giving you something of value. That means a transaction has occurred, which makes the person who gave you their email a “warm lead”. They trust you enough to give you something they value.

Think about it. Have you ever been asked at the checkout of a clothing store for your email address? Did you give it right away? Did you cringe? Did you refuse? For most people, they won’t just give their email address away freely. So when they do share their address with someone, it represents something of significance.

The take home message here is that when someone gives you their email address, you’ve engaged in a transaction with them. This means they know, like, and trust you enough to give you something they value, and are much more likely to do business with you in the future.

Hey baby, how big is your list?

Do you have an email list for your business? How has it helped your business? Tell the TCC community in the comments section below. If you don’t have a list, leave a comment anyway and let us know what’s in the way of you getting started. We’d love to help!

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