Six Reasons To Go Back To The Mailing List

by Michael Bernstein on January 11, 2023

When tough times are forecasted and you need to make the most out of your limited resources, it’s always a good idea to go back to the fundamentals and revisit any low-hanging fruit you can take advantage of with little to no extra costs. We’ve been on the record before saying that email lists are underutilized, and that’s a drum we’ll probably never stop beating. The reason that more companies don’t do it isn’t because it isn’t effective, it’s because it isn’t easy. It’s going to take hard work to create an email list or resuscitate one you’ve been neglecting, but hopefully this post can inspire you to do just that.

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Here are six reasons you should consider getting back to basics by working on a regular rhythm for emailing your users and customers regularly:

1. You’re probably already collecting emails

The best advice is sometimes something that you can just get started with right away. If you don’t already have an email capture form everywhere on your marketing site, boom! There you go, a marketing task to work on. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

Now that you’ve got a form to capture people’s email addresses, you can start actually emailing people! Seriously this is the best reason to take your email list more seriously – you’ve already got a list! Even if it’s only a few people. We’ll write another post in the future about how to get more people to join your list, but that’s a question for a different time.

2. Efficacy is extremely easy to measure

If you give your email audience a very clear Call To Action (CTA), then it should be very simple to know how effective your emails are. If you’re asking people to try a new feature, or sign up for a conference, or book a demo call, or get a free Amazon gift card, or download a white paper, you should be able to record whether or not people are doing it, and also know where they’re coming from. This is extremely valuable. If you’re getting even one or two people to perform some high value action as a direct result of your emails, that’s a big deal! Go buy a bottle of champagne or kombucha or something. You’ve earned it.

This efficacy, by the way, is in stark contrast with many other higher visibility and higher cost marketing activities that may make a splash, but are sometimes very hard to justify. Something to think about.

3. Forces you to know your user base

If you’re regularly trolling your list, grooming it, and most of all, writing to it, then guess what? You’re more in touch with your user base than you were before you were doing all of this email stuff. That is a very important and awesome thing, and is a much better use of your time than creating new fancy automations or hiring someone to program some bespoke workflow for your users when instead you could be writing to them directly! Segment them out, know where they came from, think about what they would be interested in. This is the key to success.

4. Writing is always useful

When you’re writing emails, guess what? You’re writing! You can repurpose this writing. You can even use stuff you’ve already written elsewhere as fodder for your emails. There’s no way in which taking the time each week, or on some regular schedule, to crystallize your thoughts into writing that people can use in the future is ever going to be a waste of time or resources – if you’re efficient at it, which I hope you are!

Your emails will get better over time, as your writing will, but even if you start small and simple, you will always be happy that you took the time to write.

5. You can template it

Speaking of writing and being efficient, of course we would recommend using a template of your own creation to make creating your regular emails that much easier. Think about different sections that would appeal to your user base – consider link roundups, bits of interesting news, and highlighting activities from Open Source community information (Discord, GitHub commits, etc.), for example. Keep product announcements and internal news to a minimum, and focus on educating your audience, aligning your brand with a very specific area of expertise and most of all, remaining useful and relevant.

No one expects you to come up with all of this from scratch every time you need to send an email. Make it easy – template it!

6. ROI is very high if done right

Even with minimal investments, like paying someone for an illustration, infographic, or other imagery to make your email stand out, the cost to produce your templated, targeted emails should be very low, and the potential ROI is very high. For existing customers, you’re staying in touch and letting them know that your organization is still thriving and innovating. For potential customers, you’re staying at top of mind and becoming the experts in their mind that you need when they’re ready to make a decision.

Unlike sending a team of developers to a conference, rebranding or redoing your website for the fiftieth time without reconsidering your fundamentals, or spending money on targeted ads, consider sending more emails. It’s just simple enough to actually work.