Email is so last decade. Or is it? The world is talking about social media this and social media that. Likes, followers and tweets dominate the headlines. Most people think, “We need to be more active on social media.” They’re not thinking, “We need to use email more.”

In fact, when most of us think of email, we think of a never-ending stream of time-sucking requests, to-do’s and priorities that we swat away like little gnats on a humid day. We’re on a constant quest for the mythical “inbox zero”, that dreamlike scenario when we have no emails in our inboxes. Keep dreaming.

But, while email certainly isn’t perfect, there is a valuable, business-building secret hiding within it. We’re building a business on it, and you can, too. Here’s how.

Social media is sexy, but so is email

Social media certainly gets a lot of attention, and it should. With social media, it’s possible to get in front of people like never before.

But, it’s a moving target and is becoming a “pay to play” endeavor. In other words, don’t expect much by simply posting content and hoping for the best.

In many ways, that underscores the “problem” with social media. We have very little control over it. Facebook, for example, can show (or, as often the case, NOT show) your precious little post to whomever they want. Facebook has the control. You don’t. And that’s why it gets frustrating for many of us…unless we pay for ads.

Paying for ads isn’t a bad idea. In fact, it’s becoming all but a requirement. But, unless you enjoy paying for Mark Zuckerberg’s massive Hawaii plantation, part of your strategy should include regaining some control over who you reach and why.

And that’s exactly where email comes in.

The human side of business

At Forge3, we post articles and send emails weekly. We’ve been doing it for years now. In fact, most of you reading this article came from our email. That alone should help underscore the power of email. You’re here because of it. Think about that. No email. No you.

And that, on the surface, is how it works. You build your list of email subscribers via social media, paid ads and your customer/client list and then stay in touch with them on a regular basis (we do it weekly, but monthly could work, too).

By the way, here’s a tip that helps us write. Envision someone specific on the receiving end. Who is that person? What do they look like? What would they like to read? How can you provide real value to them? In other words, don’t spam them!

The powerful results

When done correctly and consistently (it takes time, be patient), you’ll see some incredible results. The traffic to your website will increase. Your phone will ring more. You’ll get more “contact us” form submissions. Good stuff will happen.

But, what I enjoy most is when people take the time to share how our writing makes them feel. We have dozens of examples of this. Here are just a few I grabbed to illustrate the point.

In response to Power to the Pita (a story of being different)

I really don’t know how you do it. I’m swamped today. More work than I can possibly accomplish in one day. I wasn’t going to read any non-important email. I wasn’t, I wasn’t, I wasn’t. I saw your name in my inbox and knew it was one of your newsletters. I enjoy the newsletter but I’m not going to read it right now. I’m not. I’ll read it later. Maybe tomorrow when I’m off. Damn it; I read it! I couldn’t not read it. I had to know how a family visit and a pita made you think of business. Well played, Jeff!

I don’t know you and I am not a business owner or prepared to hire a firm like yours, so I am of absolutely no use to you (sorry). But, if I can’t not read your newsletter, I’m sure I’m not alone and the right people are reading it too.

In response to 50 years from now

I read the article about “50 years from now” and loved it. Very well written and a great first paragraph that got me to open the link to read more.
Thanks for sharing the story.

In response to Doolittle Raider Richard Cole, pride of work

Thanks so much for sending this. It certainly gives one pause to be grateful for the sacrifices of our WWII veterans. I forwarded your document to my son who will be teaching 8th grade US History next year. I thought it would be great for him to save it and show to his students.

In response to Are you a fruit fly?

I love reading your newsletters! Trust me, I get a lot of them and I do NOT love reading any of the others. Your newsletters are relevant, engaging and brief – everything a newsletter should be but rarely is. Kudos!

In response to Our Forge3 office is everywhere

I like keeping up with your company and other social media groups. Just wanted you to know that your emails are not going unnoticed! A lot of your advice and articles help me with my research. I look forward to more posts from you!

Notice anything in common?

Those are just a few of the replies. What’s not included above are all of the other comments online, social sharing and the other emails and phone calls. My guess is that we have hundreds of them at this point.

So, when you add it all up, emailing on a regular basis and sharing good stuff works. It’s as simple as that. Doing so builds trust, shows expertise and ultimately builds relationships. And that’s good for business.

And, yes, the personal and behind-the-scenes stories have the greatest impact. Hands down.

It’s an important reminder that business is, and always will be, about people…

…and email is still the best way to connect with them. Boring, but true.

Author Jeff Teschke

More posts by Jeff Teschke
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