Why You Need To Build An Email List, and Not a Social Media Profile

Why You Need To Build An Email List, and Not A Social Media ProfileGuest Article

I’ve got news for you — when you’re building your social media profile (and not your email list), you’re setting yourself up for failure. Here’s why: Your goal with social media should be to drive traffic back to your own website.  Once your target lands there, you’d best have at least three ways to get them to give you their email address.  Without a way to follow-up with more helpful information, your chances of converting a visitor into a customer are quite slim.  Here are more reasons why you should focus your marketing efforts on building your email list first — before social media.

#1 When you build your social media profile, you’re at the mercy of a third party company that you don’t control. One day Facebook might change their EdgeRank, and you’ll have to start paying to talk to your own fans (oh wait, that already happened). Another day, your account might get banned for no reason. Another day, another travesty. Do you really want someone else to control YOUR business? Put your best effort into a platform you control, your website.

#2 When you build your social media profile, you’ll be plagued with mediocre results forever. Here are some numbers: If I share a link with my 16,000 Facebook fans, I might get 200-300 hits… MAX. If I share a link with 16,000 email subscribers, I’m going to send AT LEAST 2,000 hits. Now, I know you can’t spend hits, but those hits are people. And the more people you can send to your website, the more money you can make. Period.

#3 Despite email not being sexy, it’s still the BEST way to keep in touch with YOUR ideal customers. Think about it. When people use social media, your business competes with close friends, party invites, and photographs. When you use email, your business competes with other businesses–and possibly coworkers who want your subscriber to do something they don’t want to do. I don’t know about you, but I would rather buy a new John Varvatos jacket from Gilt than another set of business cards.

How to Start Building An Email List

Now that you want an email list, the question is, how do you start BUILDING the email list?

#1 Three High-Converting Places to Add Email Signup Forms to Your Website

When you want to build your list, you’ve got to place email signup forms in the right places. Why? A form at the top of your site converts almost 5 times higher than a form on the bottom. Small changes–just like that—mean big results.

Where can you place them?

Try The Halpern Header

When you go to SocialTriggers.com, you’ll see a big box at the top of the page. A box that spans across the top of my content and sidebar. I call this the “Halpern Header.”

This box at the top converts amazingly well. Whether you’re running a blog or not, giving prime real-estate is a surefire way to start turning more of your visitors into leads (and customers).

You might think, “Well, won’t people get sick of seeing it?” And the answer is no. Why? Because once people get on your email list, they’ll rarely visit your homepage anymore. Instead they’ll follow your emails directly to content.

(Note: Even if you don’t run a blog, creating a Halpern Header works because it’s asking for an email in the most highly viewed part of your page)

The Top of your Sidebar

Most websites have sidebars, and yours is likely no different. Most people put an email signup form at the bottom of their sidebar, but they shouldn’t. An email signup form at the top converts almost twice as much as an email signup form at the bottom.

One note: You should put your email signup form ABOVE your social media profiles. As we talked about earlier, email crushes social media.

Try the bottom of your content pages

When a website visitor reads your content, and reads the entire thing, and they love your work (or at least like it enough to actually read it) Why not ask them to sign up right after the post ends?

It converts well, and it grabs a reader right when they’re feeling great about your work.

#2 How to Start Getting Traffic To Build Your Email List

Now that you’re ready to convert visitors into subscribers, the next thing you need is traffic. Traffic that converts.  And that’s where what I call “The Drafting Technique,” comes into play. Here’s the deal:

When you’re racing at high speeds, like with cars, there’s wind resistance that slows you down.

But you can eliminate that resistance by drafting, which is fancy for “get behind the guy in front of you.”

How? You see, the person in front breaks the wind resistance, and the people behind him can maintain their speed while expending less energy because they take advantage of the “slipstream.”

Now, like with racing, top bloggers also have a slipstream, or better yet, a “link slipstream.” What’s a “link slipstream?”

Bloggers (or journalists) have a history of linking to businesses, websites, or topics. It’s your job to find people who write about the same thing you’d like to be featured for. You do this by looking for people who wrote about competing products, competing companies, or even someone just like you.

As an example, back when I started Social Triggers, I looked at someone like Lewis Howes (a friend). I discovered he was landing interviews all over the place, and decided to try and get interviewed by the same people.

This works because the people already had a history–a link slipstream–of covering people like me so I knew I could land the same interviews.

See how that works? This is the exact strategy YOU can use to start doing this as well!

And that’s it!

You can start building your list TODAY.

Now that you know why you should build a list… and how to convert traffic into email subscribers… and how to get traffic… you’re all set.

How do you plan on using these strategies to grow your business? Leave a comment and share!

Derek HalpernAbout the author: Derek Halpern is the founder of Social Triggers, a top marketing blog with 102,532 subscribers and a top marketing podcast on iTunes.

At Sign Aeroplane Shows Web Mailing Communication courtesy of Stuart Miles / www.freedigitalphotos.net

Become Your Own Boss Now!

Order SmallBizLady's new book Become Your Own Boss, 2nd edition! It includes everything you need to launch a small business and new chapters on crowdfunding, build a great website, content strategy, and leveraging social media.


  1. says

    Thanks for having Derek as a guest blogger, Melinda. Great information. Having just started a new site, these tips are invaluable. Look forward to coming back to your site! Best, Casey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *