You might think that in this day and age of social media, search engines and multiple online advertising options, email is a bit ‘old school’.
Do people still put as much importance on their email? Do they check it as often as they check social media?
Well, I don’t know how often you personally check your email but according to research, a whopping 66% of people who have an active email address (who doesn’t these days?) check it several times a day with 13% out of those checking their email every hour or even more often.
When you compare that against Facebook for example, research shows that 70% of the people who have an active account on the platform, log into Facebook at least once a day.
So does that mean that a person who follows your business page on Facebook is as valuable to you as a person who you can contact through email?
Far far far from it!!
You see, when someone connects with your Facebook page, you don’t ‘own’ that potential customer or lead!
Let me ask you this:
- Can you send a direct message to each of your Facebook fans whenever you want?
- Can you send them customised marketing material and promotions whenever you want?
- Can you be guaranteed that they will be able to see every post or personal communication you send them through Facebook (whether they choose to read it or not that’s up to them)?
- Most importantly: If Facebook suspended your business page or ceased to exist completely tomorrow, would you still be able to contact those people?
Having your own website gives you a ‘home’ on the Internet in which you can do as you please and gives you total and complete control over what content you put on that website and how you promote it.
However, there is one crucial aspect over which you do not have control, even with your own website.
This aspect is the primary reason you have an online presence in the first place and without which, building such presence is a futile exercise.
That element is visitors to your website or what if often referred to as “Traffic”.
A website without traffic is like a shop without buyers and a business without customers.
The problem is that unfortunately, you have no control over this most important resource.
That’s in the hands of the likes of Google.
If you do what they want you to do, they will ‘reward’ you by giving you a high ranking in the search results. This will lead to more traffic and hopefully more sales and a healthy bank balance.
However, if ‘master’ Google changes their algorithm and decide they don’t like you any more and as a result your ranking in the search results tanks, you could see all that traffic disappear very quickly.
The only exception to that is if you were able to collect email addresses from all these visitors who came to your site.
If you did that, nothing can stop you now (not even mighty Google!) from contacting these people any time you want and bringing them back to your website, promoting your products & services to them or just building relationship and rapport with them.
Did you know that most visitors that come to a site never come back again?
They either didn’t find what they want on your site or maybe they did, got the information and moved on with their lives.
The only way that you have a reasonable chance of bringing them back at some point is if you collected their email address.
Maybe you don’t even want to bring them back to your site?
Maybe you want to market your products and services to them instead or just further develop a relationship with them in the hope they will become customers (or even repeat customers if they’ve already spent money with you in the past)?
Maybe you want to congratulate them or make them a special offer on their birthday or some other meaningful day in their lives (e.g. wedding anniversary)?
Whatever you want to do, you need a reliable way to contact them directly and without intermediaries.
The easiest and the most cost effective way to do that is still email and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
What about if you have a shop or some other business premises where you have customers or prospective customers coming through the door?
Do you collect their contact details?
Have you noticed that people are a lot more willing to give you their email address than their phone number?
Having someone’s email also gives you much more flexibility as far as when and how often you contact them.
You don’t have to worry about disturbing them at dinner time or when they are asleep (if you have customers located across different time zones or who are shift workers).
Email is less intrusive but, if done right, can be as effective as a phone call (and sometimes even more).
Having someone’s email also allows you to take the relationship with them to the next level and ask for their phone number and a permission to contact them and discuss business over the phone.
If you have been in contact with them over email first and they can see the value in what you can offer them, most people will be only too happy to give you their phone number.
Bottom line, keeping an email database of your clients and prospects gives you a great level of both flexibility and control and there really is no one that can come in the middle and prevent you from contacting them as long as they are happy to keep hearing from you.