My Failure in Building An E-mail List
I have failed pretty miserably in building an e-mail list. In my failure to build an e-mail list, I succeeded in building a relationship list.
I have a view that won’t be very popular in marketing today. I have stopped focusing on building an e-mail list. This may seem odd to all of you reading this since you receive a blog post from me each Monday. When I first got started in building my coaching business, I followed some others in the industry like Michael Hyatt, Jeff Goins, and Dan Miller who were all big supporters of building an e-mail list. I spent a lot of the early days of my business building an e-mail list. It seemed like everywhere I turned I saw articles and publications about the power of building an e-mail list. I tried hard to implement the strategies they suggested and it was hard to get the kind of traction that they spoke of.
After months of spinning my wheels, I decided to change my strategy. I decided instead to build a relationship list. I made a list of all the people I had a relationship with including friends, business contacts, and acquaintances. I then did something novel. I sent them a personal e-mail or I picked up the phone and called them if I had their number. I reached out simply to catch up to see how they were doing, and I told them a little bit about my business. I didn’t try to sell them anything but I asked for their help and asked if there was any possibility of me doing a speaking engagement or some type of coaching for them or a friend. I was pretty nervous about the whole thing, but I pressed forward. It couldn’t go any worse than what I had been doing. If I wanted different results then I had to do something different.
To my surprise, the response was overall very positive. Sure some people seemed a little off-put with my call and some people never responded to my e-mail, but the ones that did were happy to help. I booked 8 speaking engagements at local businesses and churches. Another contact decided to provide coaching for one of his employees. I picked up some clients from my speaking engagements. Last but not least, I also picked up more e-mail subscribers from my speaking engagements than I had gained in months of building an online platform.
In a culture that is moving online and to social media, I think someone willing to put in the grassroots work of building relationships can set themselves apart. The market is now flooded with e-mail marketing and at some point, it will become less effective. I don’t know about you, but I have become more and more frustrated with the amount of selling that comes to my inbox. I have found the ratio of valuable content to selling to be overwhelmingly headed in the direction of selling. I would venture a guess that this is because it is becoming less and less effective. I have made a real effort to bring you valuable content each week and sparingly make any kind of sales pitch.
Whatever the reason you decided to read this post, the moral of the story to me is to focus on building relationships. It seems like some counter-cultural advice today but it has sure worked better for me. I also enjoyed it a lot more and got to know quite a few more people on a personal level along the way.