In the early stages of a startup, it’s easy to get enamored with the idea of building a massive social media following. Don’t get me wrong; a strong social media presence is important. However, the thrill of seeing your follower count rise can distract from a more intimate and arguably more effective form of communication: the mailing list.
The Social Media Dilemma
While it’s true that social media platforms offer incredible reach, the dynamic is inherently different. The audience is far less captive; your posts are just one among hundreds or thousands that your followers scroll through each day. There’s also the taxing task of growing your follower base organically, which requires consistent posting, engagement, and time—a daunting endeavor for a startup hustling to get off the ground.
The Mailing List Advantage
Emails offer a direct line of communication to your audience. When someone opts to subscribe to your newsletter or leaves their email to download an eBook, they’re expressing an explicit interest in what you have to say. For my startup, Favoriot, this direct approach led to a more global audience. By offering free eBooks filled with tips, tutorials, and articles on IoT (Internet of Things), we not only gained an audience but also provided value upfront. This strategy led to a global following, including overseas customers who subscribed to our platform.
Value Before Selling
One key to successful mailing lists is providing genuine value before ever making a sales pitch. People are savvy; they know when they’re being sold to and can easily be put off by overt sales tactics. On my LinkedIn, for instance, my newsletter isn’t just about Favoriot. It’s about my journey in entrepreneurship and my general insights into IoT. This balanced approach helps establish trust, rapport, and credibility—all crucial for a startup looking to build a loyal customer base.
Cutting Out the Middleman
What’s more, once you’ve built a substantial mailing list, you gain independence. Unlike social media platforms, where algorithms and policies dictate your reach, your mailing list is yours to control. In my experience, I no longer need third-party mailing software to send out thousands of newsletters.
A Global Objective
My objective is clear: to gain more followers and customers, particularly from overseas markets. The key is to strike a balance, sharing valuable information without making the reader feel like they’re merely a potential sale. People want to know who you are, what you stand for, and how you can add value to their lives or businesses.
While it’s tempting to pour all your efforts into building a social media following, remember that emails offer a more direct, intimate line of communication with your audience. Done right, a mailing list can be a powerful tool for customer acquisition, retention, and global reach—all while adding genuine value to your subscribers’ lives.
So if you’re in the early stages of your startup, or even if you’re more established but haven’t yet explored the power of mailing lists, now is the time to start. Trust me, your future self—and your growing customer base—will thank you.