You’ve probably heard multiple times that “the value is in the list” (of emails). But actually it goes far beyond than that. These days, especially with the advent of GDPR in Europe, the value is in the audience.
IT ALL STARTS WITH THE EMAIL
Both notions cross in the way an audience can be materialized, through the smart compliant collection of emails. What you have to understand is that your front-end funnel (which usually ends up with your first sale or a strongly qualified lead) is just the tip of your commercial iceberg. Most of your business / profits will come from your so-called back-end funnel. If you limit your efforts to the first phase, not building an audience, you’re missing out on the most profitable chunk of the model. To be able to master the art of the back-end funnel, you need an optin audience which you’ll be able to address and nurture in a multichannel approach.
BEYOND THE INBOX
A few years ago, collecting emails had usually a single purpose: enroll the users in a traditional newsletter programme. It’s still part of the equation. But an email has a value which transcends the inbox. It’s an efficient identifier which enables you to engage with your users on multiple platforms. Via the good old email channel, of course, but also on Facebook (custom audiences) or on Google Adwords (customer lists) or on Linkedin (matched audiences) or on any other distribution channel which enables you to target your users via their platform.
Concretely you are simply distributing your news(letter) via alternative channels. But the essence of the consent agreement remains the same. So if you get the unambiguous consent of your user to be contacted by your organization when they sign up to your multichannel newsletter and if you specify in your Terms of Service that communication will be channel-agnostic, you can enhance the value of your email list, which becomes a fully empowered audience (In your TOS: “Using the email you provided us, we will contact you via email or via other platforms where your email enables us to personalize our communication, incl. Facebook, Google, Linkedin and other providers”).
Obviously you can also create a custom audience on Facebook, Google on Linkedin using the data collected via their proprietary pixels but bear in mind that this requires an extra layer of explicit consent for each individual cookie (since you can’t identify Linkedin users with the Facebook pixel…), whereas collecting the email for a multichannel news distribution scheme simply requires one affirmative consent: Yes, I accept to be contacted via my email address (on all the channels where you can address me using this email address).
Start building your audience today, using the email as the best unique cross-platform identifier.