Likes, follows, hearts, and shares. There’s no doubt that building a big social media following feels rewarding, especially when you’re trying to have a successful online launch. You get immediate feedback that people see what you post and like it. There’s engagement and interaction.
Email, on the other hand can be frustrating. You spend a bunch of time crafting what you feel is the perfect thought provoking message, only to hear crickets when you send it out to your list.
The balance of social media and email
It’s understandable that people prefer building up their social media following more than focusing on their email lists. Email feels like work. It’s the nerdy smart kid in a room full jokesters and jocks.
But that’s okay. Let’s expand on my bad middle school example for a second. The jocks and jokesters may have more fun, but they need the smart kids in their ecosystem or they’d never get anything done. Why do you think teachers invented group projects?
In the same way, as online business owners trying to do a successful online launch, we need a social media following to attract people to us, to let them know who we are and what we do. But we also need email to teach them what we want them to learn. To take them deeper, to give them an education.
You can’t just be all fun and games and cool photos all the time. When it comes to launching courses and memberships online, you still need a list and here’s why…
A great social media presence isn’t enough for a successful online launch
How many email subscribers do you need to successfully launch an online course?
Launches are all about numbers. Obviously, the more people you have on your email list, the more people are likely to buy your online course. That’s why you want to build an engaged email list before you launch. Common recommendations are that you have a minimum of 300 engaged people on your list before your first launch. An engaged list interacts with you, knows you, and is more likely to buy from you than a larger list full of people who don’t open a single thing you send.
How to grow your email list
When you’re first starting out, the idea of building a list of email subscribers can be daunting. Where will you find all of these people? One of the best strategies I’ve come across is to hang out where your idea client hangs out and provide tremendous value by giving free help and advice. And, when I say give free help and advice, I don’t mean dropping a link everywhere so people will opt in for your freebie. Instead, answer questions, give a helping hand, participate in conversations whether that’s online or at a networking event.
Think of it this way. Most of us run the other way when we see a stranger coming up our driveway with a briefcase or vacuum cleaner case in their hands. Even if we need a vacuum, the idea of someone walking up to our front door and saying, “Hey, I have an amazing vacuum that’s going to change your life” feels intrusive.
Instead, we’d rather find the vacuum on our own. We want to do our own research on our own time, in our own way.
It’s the same with adding email subscribers. You may know that you have exactly what someone needs, but if you go around dropping that url everywhere, you’re going to be thought of as the unwanted vacuum cleaner salesperson no matter how good your product is.
List building strategies to use with social media
In addition to providing help to people, make sure all of your social media profiles are optimized to encourage people to join your list. If you participate in a lot of Facebook groups where your perfect customer spends time, make sure they can easily find their way to your website. Have a link to your business page in your profile and make sure it shows up if someone hovers over your name. Put urls for your freebie landing page in the descriptions for your videos on YouTube or in your bio on Instagram. Even though you can’t openly promote in many social media groups you participate in, there are definitely ways to make sure that the people consuming your content can find you and add themselves to your list.
The reason a list is so important for a successful online launch
When it comes right down to it, the biggest reason you want to move your social media followers over to your email list and that you want to have an email list in the first place is because by doing so you aren’t stuck running your business according to the whims of someone else’s platform. We don’t own Facebook, or LinkedIn or Instagram. The algorithms change, the platforms change, and what we can do on them changes daily. When you’re ready to launch, you want to be sure people are seeing your content, not hoping they happen to be online when the social media platform you’re using chooses to show it to them. If the social media platform crashes or changes its rules or does any number of other crazy things, you don’t lose contact with your raving fans if you have their email addresses.
You don’t need to leave social media or even spend less time there in order to grow an email list so you can have a successful launch, but doing both is simply good business.
For more tips and tricks on building your email list, check out How to Build Your Email List.