Sometimes it feels like an endless cycle.
Pay for Facebook Ads (or Instagram Ads or Promoted Tweets or YouTube Ads), watch your traffic soar, make some sales, repeat.
Or maybe you work hard to create YouTube videos and post perfect Instagram pictures. You might get a lot of traffic from Pinterest. They spend hours creating content, choosing the right descriptions and filling in all the metadata. And it works. The traffic comes in – and with it the sales.
Then your third-party platform hits you with an algorithm update.
Whether you’re paying for ads or just being smart about how you publish your content, an algorithm change shakes up the whole game. And then your traffic is gone and you need to figure out how to replace all those leads.
Whose platform are you building anyway?
While building your following on third-party platforms can be a way to drive traffic to your site and covert sales, the reality is that every time you place content elsewhere, you’re building someone else’s business.
For example, if you spend time and energy on YouTube and live your best content there, you are interacting with your community and potential customers on others’ terms.
“You don’t have control over someone else’s platform,” says Ashley Patrick, money coach and founder of Budgets Made Easy. Patrick sells a workbook and an e-book on her website, and she finds that selling through her own email list is more effective than just hoping for third-party conversions.
“I’m in control of my sales and my content,” says Patrick. “I can set up automations and know that my content will be delivered reliably.”
When you spend time on a third-party platform, you don’t know for sure whether potential customers will see your posts. And, even worse, if an algorithm changes or your channel is demoed for some reason, you could lose everything.
And never forget – what constitutes grounds for demonetization or bans or anything else is entirely in the hands of the platform owner. You can appeal or complain but the bottom line is you are at their mercy when using their platform to grow your business and you rely on them for your sales leads.
Cut out the middleman by using your email list
Instead of selling through a third-party platform, focus on getting into your email list.
“Almost all of my money comes from selling to my email list,” says Patrick. While she uses other platforms to add to her list, she’s working to move away from them.
Patrick doesn’t rely too much on one platform, and she feels that even an algorithm change at one of the social media platforms she uses wouldn’t have a big impact on her bottom line. “I’m doing things beyond using other platforms to grow my community and my roster so I can survive algo changes,” she says.
Your email list is a more reliable way to reach people for three main reasons:
1. You own the list
If you get kicked out of Facebook or any other platform, you suddenly lose access to your followers. You have to start from scratch.
However, your email list is yours. You always have access to the list and can contact the people on it at any time. Nobody can take it away from you. If your business experiences setbacks, you can always reach out to your list.
2. You are in control of how and when customers see your content
We’ve all been through that. Scrolling through Instagram only to see a friend’s post for the first time a few days after it was published. If you rely on other people’s platforms, you can’t control when your customers see your content or how it’s viewed.
Email marketing puts you in control. You design the emails, approve the content your way, and decide when your customers see it.
Sure, there are tools you can use to schedule social media posts, but there’s no guarantee these tools won’t get banned from the platform or that something about the presentation will change. Set up a funnel or schedule a promotion – it’s up to you.
3. Algorithm changes will not affect your email
Living at the mercy of an algorithm is the worst. You think you’ve broken the system, it’s working like clockwork, you’re making money and you’re reaching the right customers. Then an algorithm change comes and destroys all your hard work. You’ll either have to pay more for different ads, or you’ll start learning the algorithm all over again (and even then, it’s not an exact science).
However, with a solid email marketing strategy, you don’t have to worry about what the social media platforms are doing with their platforms. Since your email list is full of people who want to hear from you, there’s a better chance your sales will be consistently high. You go straight to your customers without worrying about a middleman who could change the game at any moment.
Email Marketing Best Practices: Build a funnel that works for you
Instead of wasting your precious time and energy trying to crack the code of the latest social media platform, it makes more sense, according to Steve Chou, a successful ecommerce business owner and marketer and founder of My Wife Quit Her Job to develop a workable solution funnel.
“Most sales require at least eight touch points,” says Chou. “You can’t guarantee eight touches from someone on social media. You can’t even guarantee your followers will see a post.”
Chou uses a variety of tools as part of his email marketing strategy to encourage people to enter his funnel. He uses webinars to sign people up for his email list and then provides good content that interests them. His potential customers have gotten to a point where they are looking for what he has to offer – and as a result, they are more willing to buy something.
“Random traffic from a social media platform just isn’t that valuable,” says Chou. “An effective sales funnel can increase your conversion rate well beyond what you would get for cold traffic from a third-party platform.”
When creating your funnel, you should ask yourself six key questions:
Are you offering something compelling? Does your funnel align with your offering? What story does your funnel tell? Is your funnel compelling? Can you take your readers on an emotional journey? What content should be included in each email?
Trying to build a funnel like this on someone else’s social media platform just isn’t that effective. Some of the most effective emails are long and tell a compelling story that encourages the reader to take the next step.
Stop chasing algorithms
Now it’s time to stop chasing algorithms and focus on building your email list. Instead of hoping that tomorrow’s hot platform is here — and sending quality leads — create something you know will be around.
Your business is too important to be left to third-party platforms. Take control of your business, grow your email list, and watch your sales grow.