MORE important than the number of followers that you have on The Facebooks, the Instagrams or anything else is the number of people you have on your 'mailing list'.
Having 'followers' is nice, but having a mailing list is better. Why? Well, you can post something on Facebook but only about 16% of your followers will see it - and social media not a particularly personal way to contact your audience.
If you can send them an email, though, 100% of them will receive it - and the actual process of giving someone your email address and permission to contact them again is as personal and intimate as giving them your phone number.
"Following" on Facebook or Instagram is as personal and intimate as politely allowing them to merge in front of you in traffic - so your business needs to build a mailing list as a priority, not 'followers'.
To actually HAVE a mailing list, though, you need to have something called an "AutoResponder".
Essentially it's online software that gets someone's email address (and name) when they 'Opt-In' to your mailing list they get added to your database of emails.
(Usually that opt-in is done in exchange for something called a Lead Magnet, which is a free piece of content given away for their mailing address)
The 'Autorespond' part of that comes when your software automatically mails them back - to give them that content, introduce yourself to them and set the scene for what they can expect from you in the future, etc.
There are LOADS of options out there - starting from the free and simple autoresponders all the way up to the hugely powerful and complex ones like InfusionSoft (which you should DEFINITELY not get if you're new)
I'll run through the three most popular and easy-to-use options that you should consider below, but here's a golden rule to follow when making your choice:
Choose something that will let you do everything you need it to do - and fits the budget you had in mind before you read this.
Nobody is going to make you sign a contract - you can leave at any time and upgrade/downgrade if you want to do more (or less) advanced & fancy stuff later, or if your list grows.
Yay! You can have this for free (until you get to 2,000 subscribers, or want to send more than 12,000 emails per month).
It's usually the go-to, Gold Standard for a start-up business that lets you do pretty much everything that you'll want with an autoresponder, namely:
Send emails, check how many people opened and clicked on it, automate a series of emails to be send out to people when they subscribe to your mailing list, and a (relatively) simple way to actually connect opt-in forms (where people enter their name, email etc.) to your site.
To get started, you don't need any more than that.
Slightly more expensive - starting from $19/month (if your list is below 500), BUT at the moment it's better in some ways.
Why? Well, you can create "Automated Campaigns" in AWeber and MailChimp, but they're far better in the latter.
NOW we're getting into the territory of "Something Called CRM", which stands for "Customer Relationship Management".
Check this out - the single WORST thing you can do is email people constantly asking them to buy stuff if they're not interested. They'll stop opening your emails, unsubscribe and leave you - and rightfully so.
An autoresponder simply sends out a series of messages to your audience when they take one action - like opting-in. CRMs are a bit more dynamic and track things like WHO opened WHICH email, WHICH of your subscribers CLICKED on a certain email, and then you can contact those specific people.
That's important - because you don't want to 'burn out' your list by constantly trying to sell.
If you send out an email letting people know that you're having a quick sale on one of your programs about meal planning (for example), it makes sense that the people who click over to check out the details are interested and the ones who DON'T are not.
If they're interested enough to click, they're interested enough to know when the sale is ending - and with AWeber you can send out a "Sale Ending Soon!" email to those exact people. If they're NOT interested enough to click, don't email them about it again.
You won't lose any subscribers, and you won't burn out your list.
Slightly less expensive than AWeber (although their pricing is confusing), BUT you get more advanced 'Campaign' options AND you can create landing pages with them.
(A landing page is a simple page on your site that has one goal: to get your lead magnet in your audience's hands and grab their mailing address from them - nothing else)
Actually, you can create ONE landing page with them - it'll cost you $49 per month to get their "Advanced" Landing Pages option - but given that sites like LeadPages (which do NOTHING but create landing pages) cost that much anyway, this is a worthy option.
This is a shoot-out between AWeber and GetResponse (unless you want to start for free, in which case MailChimp is your go-to).
Ultimately the entrepreneur will ALWAYS win, because the competition between companies who serve YOU is ultra-intense.
If you think you'll want to be use Landing Pages in the future, start with GetResponse.
If you KNOW you'll be using your autoresponder for at least a year and pay upfront, GetResponse will give you an 18% discount.
As you get more and more advanced, you'll find that GetResponse will probably allow you to do more clever things with your mailing list - and having Landing Pages will certainly become more important as you grow.
They get my vote, but it's a close call. I don't think you can lose either way.
i asked over a dozen successful online health business owners, marketing experts & business consultants if they'd share their BEST advice with you on how they'd suggest you build your following and grow your mailing list....
And they were really helpful! Click below & I'll send you a copy of their answers in a PDF called "Ask The Experts: How To Build A List"
The founders of companies like Undergound Wellness, Holistic Wellness, The Earth Diet & The Institute for Nutritional Endocrinology want to share with you how THEY think you should start to build a list - let me know where to send your copy of the "Ask The Experts: Build A List" resource!