3 Reasons to Focus on List Building Over Social Media Growth

I’ll start with a horror story...

A fellow coach recently told me over dinner that her Instagram account, with 7,000 hard-earned followers, had been suddenly and without warning…shut…down.

No reason was given other than, “The account has been removed for violating our terms of use.” And trust me, this coach is NOT someone who’d violate anybody’s terms of use. She couldn’t even guess as to what she might have done wrong. And good luck trying to talk with anyone at Facebook/Instagram – not even a freakin’ bot.

Through a miracle, and only because she knew someone at the company, she was able to get her account and 7,000 followers restored. But she vowed, “Never again! I will never be dependent on a platform that has that kind of control over access to my audience.”

(She then informed all her followers that she’s leaving Instagram, inviting them to join her on an emerging text-based platform, where she has the control.)

Sadly, this horror story is not uncommon, and could happen to any of us at any time. (It happened to another coach I know just days before the launch of his online course!)

But what does this have to do with list building?

While our social media channels are critical to building our awareness, like/trust factor and ultimately our business, too many of us solopreneurs are obsessed with growing our Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter following, at the expense of growing our email list.

And this horror story points to the first of several reasons our primary focus should be on the latter….

You Own Your Email List

You’ll never hear of a solopreneur having their email database deleted by MailChimp/Constant Contact/etc. (Unless they’ve committed some egregious fraud, I guess.)

Those hard-earned email addresses are yours, not theirs, and you can pick ‘em up and take ‘em to another email marketing platform any ding-dong time you like.

But Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.? They own your followers and control your access to them.

Now, I grant you that the odds of one of those channels pulling down your profile for no reason are slim. But there’s still their increasingly stingy algorithms – whereby fewer and fewer of your audience will see your posts, and instead see more of what they want users to see (i.e., ads).

Another reason we coaches and solopreneurs must prioritize email list building is that…

An Email Trumps a Post Every Time

This may seem obvious, but consider the order of magnitude by which this is the case:

The average email will be opened by 23% of the recipients, while…

The average social media post will be seen by less than 5% of its audience – and engagement (a like, click or share) well below 1%. 

So, when you’re trying to promote something – whether your latest blog/video/podcast or your upcoming course launch – you absolutely want to use social media, but your email will drive the vast majority of awareness of and traffic to that blog or offer.

Here’s a big one that doesn’t get talked about enough…

Email Is Where She’s Most Receptive 

You’ve no doubt heard some form of the marketing axiom, “To reach your ideal prospect, you must go where she’s spending her time,” (i.e., “Fish where the fish are!”) Indeed, you need to know what social media platforms she uses most, and reach her there.

But while the average consumer spends several hours on social media each day, that presence is s p l i n t e r e d – to say the least:

When she’s in social media mode, she’s seeing potentially hundreds of different posts from hundreds of different friends, coaches, companies, and so on. Maybe even hopping from one social media channel to another.

This splintered information consumption tends to be more passive than, say, reading a well-crafted email!

Indeed, not only is she in her email inbox many times a day, when she is, there is much less for her to choose from. And when she sees your email with a killer subject line, she’ll open it and spend way more quality time with it than she will a clever meme or quote card.

And here’s a bonus reason to put more elbow grease into growing your list…

Your List = Growth Potential

I realize that not every coach or solopreneur has a present need for a growing email list – let alone a big one. In fact, many of the coaches I’ve worked with are fully booked with a waitlist, yet do nearly zero conventional marketing: doing just fine on word-of-mouth, referrals, speaking/interviews, etc. (My coaching with them is therefore focused more on productivity than business-building.)

But I still encourage them and all my coaches to do some list building. Because we don’t know where our business model might be a year or two from now.

We may, for instance, decide to reduce our 1:1 coaching hours and move toward more passive and/or recurring streams of revenue.

But whatever the future of your business model, your list will be the single most indispensable asset for its success.

Want to attract clients from a new demographic or lifestage? You’ll need a healthy list. Thinking about adding group coaching? Need at least a few hundred. A membership or a $500+ online course? You should have at least 1000 – better to have a few thousand.

As online marketing guru Amy Porterfield says, “The future energy of your business is directly tied to the quality of your email list.”

Summing Up…

Whether you’re just getting going with list building or already have a list of 10,000, unless speaking or authorship is at the center of your business model, the #1 job of your website should be to get leads in the form of emails. That’s right. Not to inform and create general interest – that’s Job Two. Not to generate revenue – that’s Job Three. Job One is lead generation.

OK Alan. You gonna tell me how to grow my list? Of course I am! In THIS POST, I cover some key best practices for list building (some of course using your social media channels).

What are your thoughts on this topic? I'd love to know. Shoot me an email at [email protected] or DM me on Instagram @alanpbrown.

Watch this space!

And remember: Whatever’s in your way is yours to CRUSH!


P.S.  If you haven’t already taken advantage of this freebie, I invite you to...


CLICK HERE to grab my complimentary checklist: The 10 Biggest Mistakes Coaches Make on Their Homepage. It’s likely you’re making one or more of these (very fixable) mistakes that impact your business.  -apb


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