The “Dough” Is Not in “The List”

By MaryEllen Tribby

Email marketing is essential for every online business, regardless of the niche or category.

In fact, it is my favorite channel for marketing online. One you should use to experience real and lasting success with your business.

But I don’t believe “The money is in the list.”

I believe “The money is in the community,” a community of like-minded folks you cultivate, advocate for, educate and nurture. It’s a community of people whose trust you have earned and in return you value that trust.

So many just send generic information out to random subscribers. Well that will never pay the bills.

Today, smart marketers build a relationship with each of their subscribers and understand what they need and what they are looking for and then provide it in their email communication.

Today, you need to communicate with your community in an intimate and personal way if you want to reach your online marketing goals.

Three Important Reasons Email Marketing Is So Effective

Email marketing is known to be effective and it’s not just talk. Email marketing is still the single most effective form of marketing ever invented. And it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Why do you think every single business and company (including big movers and shakers like Amazon) require an email address to do business with you?

They require it because they want to be able to contact you directly.

They want to market other products and services, and collect important demographic and behavioral information from you so that they can improve their offerings.

It’s really a win-win for both the business and the customer, and here are three main reasons why:

1. It’s Personal – Email addresses are special and personal. If someone gives you theirs, use it wisely. People hold their email addresses close to them at all times via their mobile devices. They check email often during the day and yes, they still read, respond, and buy things due to emails sent. Plus, due to technological advances you can personalize every message you send, making it even more personal.

2. You Can Add Value Easily – When you have a targeted community, you can add value to the lives of your subscribers easily by sending them information that is important to them. Content marketing is not specific to blogs. Your content can be shared via email, directed toward your community, about topics near and dear to them.

3. It Works – The Direct Marketing Association says the ROI on email marketing can be as large as 4,300 percent. With that kind of ROI, why wouldn’t every business owner take part? Well, smart marketers do, and according to a survey by Gigaom Research, marketers say that email marketing is their digital workhorse.

Email marketing can be very effective, but like race car driving, it’s only as effective as the person behind the wheel. It’s important to know how to use email marketing correctly to get these kinds of results. And, it all starts by using email as an effective and respectable relationship builder.

Understanding Your Community’s Needs

What is it your subscribers want? What are their biggest pains and worries? What keeps your community member up at night?

When you can answer these questions, then you can take your email marketing to an entirely new level.

Because all you really need to be successful is to offer a product or service that someone else wants enough to give you money for it. It should be a product or service that can help take away the pain or solve a problem.

But, to do that, you first need to understand your audience well enough that you can offer the products and services they want and need the most.

  • Do Your Research – Before you send your first email, study your ideal audience so that you know what they want and need. Understand their pain points so that you can offer real solutions that will blow their socks off.
  • Create Buyer / Subscriber Avatars – It helps for you to create buyer personas or avatars so that you know whom you’re offering solutions for. Being able to focus clearly on a real person will help you not only attract the right people to your community but will keep them in your community due to the amazing content you create and offer them.
  • Create a Targeted Freebie – Once you’ve done your research and created subscriber avatars, you can create a freebie (a lead magnet) for your audience that will amaze them so much that they’ll not only want to sign up, but they will stay subscribed and become very responsive to your offerings. After all, when your freebie is amazing, your community members can’t wait to find out how great your paid offerings are.
  • Study Your Stats – Once you have people in your community, it’s important to gather analytics to study. You will learn a lot by watching their behavior. How do they react to certain headlines? How do they respond to different types of calls to action?
  • Ask Them Directly – Once you have a community, you can ask them directly what they need and want via a survey. It’s always a good idea to add some type of engagement to your community, whether it’s inviting them to a private group on Facebook or asking them to simply respond to a question via email. Your audience will appreciate it; after all everyone likes to offer their opinion. Then they will actually be more likely to open your email because your messages are interactive and not just one way.

By doing a good job with your research, tracking your results, and creating an interactive environment via email you’ll take your email marketing to the next level. You’ll start to build true relationships with your community and your customers. Relationships pay off big time when it comes to marketing.

If you’re ready to build better relationships with your subscribers, be sure to get my “Relationship Building Checklist” HERE (plus 19 more checklists on how to effectively market by email)!

MaryEllen About MaryEllen

MaryEllen Tribby has helped thousands of people start a new business or grow their existing ones. MaryEllen is the Founder and CEO of, the world’s leading newsletter and website for the empowerment of the working mom. Prior to founding WMO, MaryEllen was Publisher & CEO of Early to Rise and President of Weiss Research where she added millions to their bottom lines in just a few months. She also ran divisions at Forbes, Times Mirror Magazines, and Crain’s New York Business. MaryEllen is the best-selling author of Reinventing the Entrepreneur: Turning Your Dream Business into a Reality and co-author (with Michael Masterson) of Changing the Channel: 12 Easy Ways to Make Millions For Your Business.