Let go of “Building an Email List”

Instead, build an engaged audience.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

“How do I grow my email list?”

A lot of people have asked me this question over the years. They hear from many business experts that growing an email list is the most important thing to do in marketing.

  1. When you instead focus on “building an engaged audience” you’re thinking about the relationship — and whether they care about your message. Your actions will be aligned with their needs and wants, rather than a soulless numeric metric of “email subscribers”.

Meeting people where they are

Email list-building was hot in the 2000’s. It was still kind of cool to receive emails from brands you like. Then marketers started to notice that audiences grew tired of being on lists.

  • You watch Youtube videos? I’ve got a channel there.
  • You prefer podcasts? You can subscribe to my podcast.

If you care about your audience, go to where they are.

Of course, this needs to be balanced with your limited time. I’ve written about this before: Focus your marketing on just the few channels you’d like to become great at. For example, I’ve decided not to have a podcast at this time, as Facebook and Youtube keep me plenty busy. There are more than enough people in any one channel you choose, e.g. Facebook, Youtube, Medium, Podcasting, etc.

Holding desires ransom with a “free gift”…

Many people find this annoying about marketing:

  1. …but they require our email address before they give it to us.
  • Even if they receive it, you can’t guarantee they’ll open it…
  • Even if they open it, you can’t guarantee they’ll care about your message!

What can you control, if not your email list?

You control only your behavior: whether your content is authentic, relevant, and consistent.

  • Relevance = Caring enough to find the intersection between your interests and your audience’s wants
  • Consistency = Being reliable so your audience can depend on the rhythm of your content

When your audience cares about you, they will look for you.

On Facebook, they will seek out your posts, in the rhythm they’ve become accustomed to seeing from you. Their behavior will train the algorithm to show them your posts.

So… should we build our email list?

If your audience wants to receive your content via email — and if you don’t mind sending a consistent email newsletter — then yes, offer it as a service of convenience to your audience.

The Bottom Line? Your Intention.

When it comes to building an audience, release your fears and need for control. Dive into your caring and generosity. Share your truth, love your audience, and they won’t let algorithms get in their way of finding your content.

Written by

Authentic Business Coach & Author of 4 Books including "Authentic Content Marketing" and "Joyful Productivity" https://www.GeorgeKao.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store