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The Money’s Not In the List, it’s In the Connection

This post was written by the Web Marketing Ninja—a professional online marketer for a major web brand, who’s sharing his tips undercover here at ProBlogger. Curious? So are we!

What impact will changes to the flow of communications on the Internet cause by the rise of new options, like social media, have on the old marketing adage, “the money’s in the list”? I was asked this recently, and I’ve been pondering the question ever since.

For quite some time, in all honestly, I dismissed the question, because I’ve literally made millions of dollars through email marketing—I’d be hard pressed to ignore that.

But then I thought about the main reasons I’ve been able to use that communication method as a monetization tool. The answer? It’s about the connection, not the practical outcome of having someone’s email address.

Then I realized that the money is not in the list, it’s in the connection with a customer.

We shouldn’t fear the changes new communications methods have brought to bear. We should see them as a great way to expand our channels to build even more connections with customers.

The same principles apply

It even gets better. You can take exactly the same approach you’ve been refining for your email list-building activity, and apply it to these new channels—the basic principles are exactly the same.

The four core attributes of successful email marketing are:

  • Make your email capture findable.
  • Provide incentives for people to sign up.
  • Craft well-written, engaging messages.
  • Give more than you ask from your list.

Now let’s look at how that might translate into a social media channel like Facebook.

  • Findable: Set up your vanity URL and Facebook page, and link to it from your site.
  • Incentives: Offer something unique to your Facebook followers (a coupon or ebook, for example).
  • Engage: Put together a publication schedule specifically for your Facebook page—don’t just syndicate your blog or Twitter feed.
  • Promote: Seed your promotional messages with real value, quality content, and so on.

The key here is to not treat the channel as a method to build your email list, but to see it as a new method to develop a connection with a customer in the place where they feel most comfortable communicating. If you’re trying to fit Facebook pegs into email holes, you might be able to jam a few in, but you’re costing yourself valuable leads in the process.

While these new channels need unique approaches, and different regulations govern what you can and can’t do in each, at their cores, they’re the same.

Patience pays

It took us all years to master the intricacies of marketing via email, so don’t expect instant income from these new channels. But stick with it, and you just might discover greater success was you step away from the norm and embrace new methods of connecting with your customers.

As long as the medium allows for me to communicate with my list, and my list to communicate with me, I’m happy.

Stay tuned from most posts by the secretive Web Marketing Ninja—a professional online marketer for a major web brand, who’s sharing his tips undercover here at ProBlogger.

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Comments

  1. Simon Dodd says:

    Great post Ninja,

    You really do have to treat your list well to be able to sell them anything. If you are constantly bombarding them with things for sale there is no way they are going to stay on your list for any time.

    Giving free information and free offers to them and then every 3rd or 4th email you send them something for sale with more free information you will get a much higher response from them.

    It’s all about the relationship!

  2. It’s not only the connection with your customer.

    It’s also the connection with others in your niche…who can promote your own products as well.

    Satisfying the needs of both audiences….*that’s* where the money truly is.

  3. Blog Tyrant says:

    I could be wrong but I think giving away ebooks to Facebook subscribers contravenes their TOS.

    Anyone?

  4. Thanks for sharing this post. When someone gives you their email, there’s a sense of trust there. They trust that you’re a real person and that you won’t abuse that information. So treat it as you would an actual person. Be respectful and build a real connection.

  5. Social Networking indeed is a more targeted way to gain higher conversion rates, albeit when conducted in a discreet manner. You can’t keep stuffing your profile, messages and posts with blatant advertisement or soliciting.
    I think FB and Twitter can be used to spread the message indirectly, rather than by direct solicitation.
    @Blog Tyrant : I couldn’t find any terms related to FB pages that concern distributing material to enhance your business. You might want to point at a specific clause.

  6. Vaas says:

    @Freddy Rodriguez: I second you. If i break customer’s trust, i would not be able to win it back again. And all the future prospective links would get lost.

  7. By the same reasoning, the conversion rates of the social media channels will always be much less compared to email. There is so little opportunity to really engage with the audience and even lesser opportunity to differentiate ourselves from the next person

  8. dotCOMreport says:

    Great post.

    @Blog Tyrant, I don’t know about ebooks contravening Facebook TOS; it would be nice to find out though.

  9. Jay Neely says:

    Do you have any examples of social media presences improving the performance of email marketing?

    Are there any numbers showing that people who are your fans on Facebook are more likely to act on emails you send, or anything like that?

  10. Email is another tool in our toolbox to communicate and engage. I think it has a more intimate feel because it is something that people opt-in for- they are telling us that they trust us enough to want to her more. So it’s part of our end of the connection bargain to provide even more valuable information than what we offer those who simply visit our blog. Great reminder!

  11. Couldn’t agree with you more about the money being in to connection. I hope you also mean how well your connection trusts you. People think that once they optimize a site that sells a product or service, the visitors are going to buy. I constantly remind them that the consumer needs to have your trust first.

  12. Florian says:

    Absolutely true. It’s not different from a website, visitors aren’t just traffic numbers, they are actual human beings and shouldn’t be adressed like dumb “buy bots”…since they aren’t.

  13. You make a good point about having a separate publication schedule for your Facebook page rather than just pushing your regular stuff there. I have been guilty of that but am working on having additional content just for that space. It feels the right thing to do.

  14. Great points. It is in the connection that is made. Email, blogging and Social Media it is about making the connect that brings the solution to the problem.