Your email list can be one of your most valuable business assets. That’s why this week’s episode talks about why to have one, how to use it, and how to keep it safe and sound.

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Hello, and welcome to season two, episode three of the Grow Your Side Hustle Podcast, the podcast for entrepreneurs who want to grow a side hustle into a main business or just a second income stream.

I’m your host, Jennifer Roland Cadiente.

And today we are talking about email lists. Specifically, do you really need to have one? And the answer is yes. But why do I feel that way?

Well, first, even if you are doing most of your business on social media, and that, you know is very, very common right now social media is the way that a lot of people first find out about your business. If they hear a name, they’re going to look for your social media profiles, and see what you’re about and if you’re a fit for them.

And that’s true, whether you’re selling products or services, anything online, but you don’t really know who those people are. You don’t have a way to contact them if someone hacks your social media account, so you can’t get access, or that social media account decides that you’ve done something that’s against the terms of service and shuts you down.

But if you have an email list, you have those people’s email addresses at the very least, hopefully, you’re also getting their names to so that you know who exactly your customers and potential customers are.

Having an email list also lets you give special things to the people that have gone to the trouble of signing that up signing up for that list. You can retarget people who’ve purchased you can try it you can track their activity, you know, you can see what links they click on. You can see if they’ve made a purchase, depending on you know how you’ve got your sales and your email marketing linked.

You just get so much more information than you get from social media. Although you know, I love social media, because it lets people comment and ask questions in a way that is public that everyone can see. And people are more likely to you know, just click comment and leave a question than they are to go into email or go to your site and use the contact tool there, whether it’s a form or just an email link, but your email list is going to be one of your most powerful business assets.

So I’m not going to go into how technologically to set that up. You know, it’s going to depend a lot on which tool you’re using. If you haven’t started one, you know mailer Lite, has a free option for a small new list. I believe MailChimp still does. There are a lot of ways to get your email list going without spending money. And you know, once you get a big list, then you might have different needs, and you might want to change the email marketing provider you’re using. But that is a relatively easy thing to do. So don’t spend too much time figuring out which one is going to be perfect for you now and 10 years from now just pick one and start an email list. Figure out how to integrate it with your website so that you can track your signups and get people who visit your website to sign up.

Speaking of signups, just putting a form there for people to sign up is usually not enough to get them to actually actually sign up. So you’re going to want to offer some sort of incentive. If you’re selling products, a coupon is a great thing. All you have to do is just create a coupon code in your sales tool and send that out to people when they when they sign up. If you’re selling a service, then a resource related to that service is really useful. Here at grow your side hustle, you get access to the resource library which currently has the leave your day job checklist to get you ready to ditch the day job when your side hustle is going to be your main income producing activity and a mindset worksheet that will help you improve your mindset about your business success. On my other list, I give away a social media calendar. And because that is my CU Social Strategy Podcast and business, that’s where I help credit unions manage their social media in a way that is effective and efficient.

So you can spend some time brainstorming, you know, look at the questions that people are asking you on social media what what do the what people really want to learn from you? Or think about, you know, when you were starting what you’re doing, what do you wish that you had known, something like that will help you figure out what the right tool is to offer. And if that tool doesn’t seem to be driving, signups that’s okay, create something new as you learn more about what people want. None of these things are something that you’re locked into forever.

The one thing that I would advise is, if you do start offering a new freebie or a new incentive to sign up, go ahead and send that out to the people that are already on your list as well. That way, you know, they feel they don’t feel like they’re being punished for having signed up earlier. And they don’t keep trying to sign up to get that new thing. Because depending on the way that your email marketing software works, you could end up with people in there multiple times. And eventually, even you know, if you’re on the free level, you are going to get to the point where you’re going to start paying, and you typically pay per contact. So you don’t want to have the same person the same email address on there multiple times, because you might end up paying between two or you might end up paying more than you need to.

You can also look at what other people are offering in your area as their incentives to sign up. See if you can do something better. Something similar, but different. Obviously, do not copy anything that someone else is doing. But use it to inform you and guide you on what is going to work for your audience and your perfect prospective customers. One of the things that I’m going to do is change probably from that social media calendar for at least a period of time to offering a discount on a social media audit on my CU Social Strategy list to see you know how that drives signups. So you can always experiment, if something doesn’t work, change it back. So don’t throw away your old drafts of crimson and things just create a new one so that you can easily go back.

Once you have your email list set up, you’re going to need to make sure that you’re sending things to it regularly. I do still like a double opt-in list. So if someone signs up, I get an email to confirm that they really meant to sign up. And then they get your incentive or your freebie. I think that that leads to a healthier list in the long run. Because you’re not getting people who are super inactive. It’s a little bit of a hassle for the person that signs up. I know I sign up for a lot of email lists. And I don’t always love doing the Confirm step. But I still do think that it’s the best thing for your business to be using a double opt in. And your email software will let you, you know, toggle that on or off however you like to like to do it. I like to try to send things weekly.

So for this email list, the Grow Your Side Hustle list, it works really well because I can send out notification of a new podcast episode going live. If you are running a product site, you could highlight top sellers, you could highlight something new. If you’re you know running more of a service, you could talk about new services you’re offering. Give some customer success , with the customer’s permission of course. And you could talk a little bit about your business and how your life and your business work together, if that makes sense for your brand.

But you will need to be consistent so that people don’t forget. There’s nothing worse than signing up for a list and then not getting any thing after the welcome email for like 90 days, and then that email comes in, you’re like, I don’t even know what this is, and you just click spam. So then you as the list owner have gotten a spam report, which hits your deliverability. It makes more email software, think of you as a spammer. So it goes into spam or it goes into that promotions tab that no one ever looks at. So consistency is one of the most important things. Also, you want to back up that list on a periodic basis. And you can do that by exporting it and downloading it as a spreadsheet file. Typically, I do a comma separated spreadsheet, but you can do an Excel spreadsheet, you can do other forms like tab delimited, or even text only. Whatever is going to work for you. But that is a protection for you. If something happens with your email, like it gets hacked, and spammers send out inappropriate things so that you get marked as a spammer and your list provider shuts down your account. And these things don’t happen a lot. You know, if you enable two factor authentication and do all of the things to keep your login secure, it’s not likely to happen. But still take the precautions and download that list every now and again. And it can help you if you know something happens catastrophic to the email providers, site and backups. So that you will still have a record of your subscribers, you can take that to another another email provider or you can use the same email provider, you know, depending on what the situation is.

And, you know, when I mentioned switching providers, that’s what you’re going to need to do is you need to download the list of your subscribers and then you would upload them to the new thing. So that will help you know exactly how to do those steps if it’s if and when it’s time to move to a different provider. So I hope that I have convinced you of the importance of an email list. If you have any questions. You can always post on social media and add me tag me. Depending on which tool you’re using. Send me a DM on Instagram, send me a voice message here on the podcast. And maybe we’ll talk about it on a future episode.

Would you like to be featured on the Grow your side hustle podcast? If so, leave me a voice message. You can either click the button for the message or you can use the link depending on what podcast player you’re using. So if you are just hoping to start a side hustle and you want some coaching, or you’re already growing your own side hustle, or you already grown it to be your full time business. I want to hear from you. So leave me a message and tell me about yourself in your business.

Thanks so much for joining us today. Don’t forget to subscribe so you won’t miss any of our future episodes with other side hustlers and some experts to help you deal with some of those small and large issues that come up when you’re running a side hustle. I’d also love it if you could share this episode with any of your friends that you think would be interested and leave a review and a rating in your podcast app. See you next week.