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Why You Don’t Need an Email List to Start a Business

There’s no denying that email marketing plays a huge role in the growth of many successful businesses. Unfortunately, some digital marketers become so caught up with the idea of building a booming email list that they think it’s the only way they can achieve huge growth and lasting success.

It isn’t. An email list can be a great way to keep in touch with your sales leads, but there are other strategies and methods that can help your startup make it through the first five years when approximately half of all new businesses fail.

For email marketing to be truly successful, you typically need to grow your list organically. For most businesses, that isn’t going to happen overnight. However, the following strategies will help you better promote your brand to lure in new customers and leads while building your email list along the way.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

Content marketing

Effective content marketing can help potential leads discover your business in a more positive light than an unsolicited email ever could. Publishing a guest post on a well-known site with high readership is a great way to encourage new people to visit your own website, sign up for an email list or start a free product trial.

Smarter networking

We’ve all heard how networking is important to success in the business world, but far too often, we associate networking with uncomfortable business luncheons where everyone is more focused on making a sales pitch than actually connecting with other professionals.

It doesn’t have to be this way. If you express a genuine interest in others, you can put yourself in a much better position to build lasting business connections.

Says Sterling Griffin, a sales and business coach, “When I get asked the famous question ‘What do you do?’ I respond by turning it around and asking, ‘Well, I do a few things, but what’s your story?’ When I ask about them (showing I care about them), it’s like Christmas came early and they found an unexpected gift under the tree. Then, when they finish sharing their story, they inevitably ask about mine. And since I showed I care first, they respond by caring back about my answer.”

While these interactions require more one-on-one, in-person work, they can also result in some of your most valuable leads. Someone you’ve formed a genuine connection with is far more likely to take a lasting interest in your business.

Related: 4 Ways to Market Your Business for Free

Facebook lead ads

While Facebook’s incredibly large user base can make it seem like an intimidating area to focus your marketing, the social media giant’s advanced targeting metrics make it an ideal tool for customer outreach.

As I’ve noted in the past, carefully selecting your campaign parameters is vital for a successful Facebook advertising campaign. You need to make sure your message matches the interests of your target audience while also presenting a clear call to action that encourages customers to sign up for your email list, follow your page or buy your product.

Hashtags aren’t going to make or break your Facebook advertising efforts, but continually optimizing your campaign’s copy, targeting and call to action will allow you to achieve a better cost per impression and conversion rate so you can gain new customers.

PPC and landing pages

You can’t ignore the power of Google and pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. While search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns can take months to deliver noticeable results for your business, PPC advertisements can bring in new customers the day after your campaign begins if you adhere to proper messaging and targeting practices.

Of course, quality PPC ads aren’t enough to build a customer base. Your landing page should also be a top priority, as this is where interested users are actually going to decide whether they’ll sign up for your email list or place an order. A clean, simple design that highlights your headline, the key benefits of your product or service and a signup form can ultimately make all the difference in generating sales and leads for your business.

Related: Use These 5 Steps to Create a Marketing Plan

Conclusion

As the above tactics illustrate, building a booming email list — and more importantly, a solid base of loyal customers — isn’t out of reach, even if you’re starting with zero email subscribers. By using the above tips as a starting point, you can achieve the necessary growth to get your business on the right track.

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Once you’re “KNOWN,” here’s how to stay that way

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known

By Ian Cleary, {grow} Community Member

In Mark’s book called “KNOWN,” he walks his readers through an excellent process for becoming known for something as a way to build your personal brand.

But everyone who is ‘known’ for something shares one common concern – losing that recognition.

And that concern is valid.

Just because you are currently known as one of the top experts in your niche, there’s no guarantee that things are going to stay that way.

If you want to stay known in your niche, then you need to work on it!

Here are five ways to make sure you don’t lose the status that took you a lot of hard work to achieve:

1. Build relationships

When you become known, you’ll naturally start building relationships with other influential people in your niche and their recognition of your expertise will help solidify your ‘known’ status.

Don’t let those relationships slide. Continue to support and promote their work.  Meet them at events and continue the conversation. In short – put in the effort to sustain and strengthen those relationships.

But keep in mind that it’s not just about the existing relationships, because the important people in any industry change.

Are there new kids on the block you need to start reaching out to?

2. Never stop learning

Change and innovation are inevitable in almost every industry. You will see changes happening in your niche and staying on top of what’s happening will help keep you ahead of the curve.

You need to constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to further educate yourself to stay inspired and relevant, and generate new ideas.

In order to stay in a constant learning mode, practice the following:

  • Regularly attend industry conferences and learn from your peers
  • Buy relevant training courses online to advance your skills
  • Attend free webinars that focus on different topics relevant to your niche or industry
  • Read influential blogs in your niche.

I recently attended a free webinar by Andrew Davis about building a speaking career and I realized that I have to change my content if I want to become known as a keynote speaker in my industry. One hour of my time will result in a lot of extra revenue!

There are some pretty great people in my niche and I allocate time to stalk them. Mark Schaefer is one of those people.

3. Create valuable content

Often I see people become known in their field, and then completely forget about how big of a role content plays in keeping that authority.

Most of them will typically have the same excuse – they’ve become too busy doing “actual work” to create content on a regular basis.

However, keeping yourself known in the industry requires that you consistently share expertise and provide value to your audiences and your peers. And content is your best chance to achieve that!

Plus, strategic content helps you:

  • Build community
  • Formulate your ideas
  • Generate more awareness about your personal brand
  • Become a thought leader

Mark’s book emphasized the importance of consistency. Keep at it!

4. Evolve Incrementally

As our industry evolves what we became known for may need to evolve, too.

But you don’t want to take a big leap in a new direction because that will confuse your audience.

Analyze where your industry is going so you understand how you need to evolve and make changes incrementally over time.

5. Listen to your audience

How are the needs of your audience changing and how does this effect what you do?

You need to keep your finger on the pulse of your audience and there are several ways to do that.

The most obvious one is getting the answers you need via surveys. Even though surveys can be a useful tool for gathering feedback, you can’t rely on them to provide 100% straight answers.

The best way to truly understand your audience is to track their behavior online. This will give you a much better idea of what their needs and interests are.   What links are they clicking on in your emails? what emails are they opening? what web pages are they visiting? and how long do they spend there?

Summary

Mark has made it a lot easier for people to become ‘Known’ through his awesome book.

But unless you keep working on your “known status,” you can easily lose it. Just follow the five tips above and you won’t have to fear losing your authority.

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