Buddies: Building a Relationship with your Followers
Now that we’ve got a base of operations set up it is time to start building a strong relationship with your followers. In fact, this is the main reason we are building our online business- to have a strong relationship with people. One of the most effective tools for doing this is by building a list.
WHY IS THE LIST SO CRITICAL
- There is no better way to build your followers
Social media has a very “sexy” appeal. We get instant gratification by seeing those number of followers and likes and hearts grow. Plus we get the satisfaction of knowing that the whole world can see those same numbers we do. The problem with the social media community building is that each platform is rented space. And, like all rented space, you have to live by the rules and regulations of the landlord who may change the rules without notice, limit your access, or evict you altogether!
A list, on the other hand, is not rented space. You own it! No one can change the rules of this relationship. No one can evict you. This is your property, free and clear! You have direct access to your followers.
- A list is a point of trust
With social media the bar is held pretty low. People don’t have to have a high level of trust to follow you on any given social media platform. All it takes is a click and they are in, but they may still be really uninvolved. Posts can be ignored, tweets can be missed, pins can be forgotten. But, when someone moves beyond a simple click to follow and actually trusts you enough with their precious email address… that is a whole new level of trust. Sales and marketing 101 teaches us that people typically only buy from people that they know, like, and trust. Well, you’re well on your way with their gift of trust.
- Better access to you (and them)
As good as your website is and all the effort you put into it, the truth is that most people don’t check your website all that often. The typical person doesn’t wake up in the morning, grab their cup of joe, and then open a browser to your website to check in. Most “regular” visitors to your site may check in once a week, or month, or whenever they happen to remember it.
By developing a list and actively interacting through it, you end up becoming less ignorable and less forgettable because you are not just in their bookmarks; you are actually in their inbox. As a result, they have better access to you and you to them.
- This is where the money is made
A moment ago I mentioned the sales and marketing 101 lesson about people buy from people they know, like, and trust. Your list is a group of people that meet all three criteria of that mantra. They obviously know who you are. They like you enough to seek you out. They trust you enough to have access to their inbox. Boom! These are your perfect customers. They are ready to buy from you because you have nurtured a great relationship with them.
TOOLS TO USE
Like any job out there, tools are the key to making a task easier. Here are a few tools to put in your toolbox.
~ List management service
Pad and pen. This is the classic approach- set out a “guestbook” and let people sign up down at the farmers market. It works, but it’s really a lot of work transferring it into your contact file.
You can go really down and dirty on this one. Google has free way to help you keep track of your list. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that anyone who is serious about their business, but it can do the job and it is free.
MailChimp will help raise the bar and for better success. With MailChimp you can get a free account that will allow you to grow your list for free up 2,000 contacts! With a little bit more investment you can use MailChimp to automate your list building and responses. Their analytics are very helpful in seeing which email campaigns are making the most impact. Lastly, for when you are out and about MailChimp has an app for collecting email addresses. It’s called Chimpaddeedoo.
GetResponse is another great service, but it isn’t free. Your list size will determine the amount you will be paying on a monthly or annual basis. They do have free trial period that you can use to see if it is the right fit for you. Having said all that, their analytics are way and above those of MailChimp. Their features are amazing in that you can do A/B testing to see which campaigns are working the best and which forms get the best results. And when you are on the go and you want to add people to your list, the GetResponses app, Forms on the Go is a great, easy to set up and use solution.
ActiveCampaign is another robust list management service. Like GetResponse, ActiveCampaign has a ton of bells and whistles to choose from and will help you send newletters, manage contacts, and automate marketing. Plus their analytics are stellar (analytics are really a key part of your marketing plan). From what I can tell with ActiveCampaign their way of email collections through an iPad is a third party device called Guest’d. Because it does an automatic integration with your ActiveCampaign data, this is an okay option.
There are more expensive services and a ton of competitively priced ones, but in my opinion these are great and relatively easy to learn and use. Yes, make good work. Have a social media presence. But, above all else, grow your list.