List growth is important. Email list growth. Not grocery list growth. That’s another topic for if we spin-off a food blog some day. Email lists are a vital tool in reaching and building an audience. We covered this in a couple of episodes of the podcast: we touched on how email lists fit into crowdfunding with Christina Raia, and discussed ethical list building with Louisa Solomon and Eli Oberman of The Shondes.
Why is email important? Your audience doesn’t have to go somewhere for your message. Your message is going to them, meeting there where they already are. It’s always best to go to where the audience is, rather than trying to make them come to you. Selling snow tires on a deserted Caribbean island isn’t a good plan, no matter how good your snow tires are. Email, being something most of us use at least once a day, is a great tool for reaching your audience. Of course, in order for this to work, you need a quality list of as many audience email addresses as possible, and there are a lot of ways different people will recommend you get that.
You can try pop-ups, and special offers, and free stuff, and all sorts of other incentives, and calls for people to join your list, but do those methods work? Sometimes, for some people. At the time of the writing of this post, there is a pop-up on our site enticing you to join our 4MileCircus email list. I’m also planning to put a “call to action” to join our list somewhere in this post. By the time you’re reading these words, though, those may have been changed, because as we recently shared: “When Things Don’t Work, Change Your Course.”
I attended a webinar on list building a few month ago at the request of a client. They wanted more information, this webinar was being hosted by a particular marketer with a great track record, and it was free. It was an interesting webinar. We took some of the information and applied it to our own efforts, because we are big on being flexible and trying new methods of audience outreach and building. Some of it has worked and some of it hasn’t quite clicked for us.
Have we been getting email sign-ups from our experiments in list growth? We have. The problem we were running into was the growth methods we were implementing just didn’t feel quite like us. We’re 4MileCircus. We have circus in the name. We’re not clowns, but we’re fun. Or at least, we like to think we’re fun (we’re fun, right? Right?) We’re maybe a little looser or rougher around the edges than your typical social media managers and consultants. We like to think of ourselves as a little less self-serious and a bit more Rock’n’Roll. Our list calls to action and our newsletters weren’t feeling very Rock’n’Roll, though. During internal 4MC discussions of this seeming conflict, I came across this article: “This is the Exact Opposite of Every ‘Grow Your List’ Article.”
This article hit us at just the right time and reinforced everything we were talking about. What works best for us? When we’re ourselves. We’re horror fans and filmmakers. We’ve got an affinity for the retro and the whimsical. We’re Rock’n’Roll. We are serious about succeeding in our various endeavors and getting our projects out to the widest audience, but we don’t take the trapping of professional promotion all that seriously. We’re not huge on jargon or the cult of expertise or not cursing. Holy shit, do we like cursing.
The audience we’ve really connected with most are the people who enjoy the same things we do, or appreciate that we can help them do what they need to do–not because we’re marketers who’ve read the right books, have the right certifications, and drop the right names, but because we’ve learned from years of actually doing. We know how to help, because we’ve been there.
So, we’re taking the advice of this growth article to heart and we encourage you to do the same. Embrace what makes you, your project, your organization, your company, or whatever you’re trying to build an audience for unique. Market that to people, and be genuine in how you do it. You’ll be seeing some changes in our approach in the coming months as well. We’ve got some fun plans. So, join our list to see more of how we’re adapting.