Don't Rent, Build a Home for Your Audience

Apr 30, 2015

With Facebook's announcement of upgrades to the personal news feed, brands once again felt the brunt of Facebook's wrath. The underlying message that came out, for brands, was that if the content they put up is not super relevant or useful to their audience, they will continue to get their messages throttled back.

Why is Facebook doing this?

Facebook's stronghold over the biggest network of connected people gives it the freedom to make the rules as it goes along. When the rule became "pay to play," brands ponied up the dough. And, ladies and gentlemen, this is not going to stop.

The plain fact is that brands have budgets and they need to get spent somewhere, and when Facebook continually provides results--whether it be via ad products or boosted posts, etc.-- brands will continue to pay for results that meet their KPI's (Key Performance Indicators).

We all have KPIs. It could be ecommerce conversions, leads, webinar sign ups, or video views.  Whatever it is, Facebook delivers results. Trust me, the brand I work for tests and iterates frequently, and time and time again Facebook delivers solid returns for our dollars.

But this leads me to my greater point: Don't rent a home, start building one.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others will continue to follow this example of pay to play and soon enough brands will get their access to their "fans" or "followers" choked by algorithms. What does this mean?

You have to start building and capturing email addresses right now and make your number one lead generation goal to build the biggest, most engaged email list you possibly can. There are so many examples of success with email lists, but here's the catch, they all start with solid content.

It starts with building an audience that trusts you to deliver the goods and then, and only then, you can sell to the audience that you own.

Don't be fooled, Facebook owns your fans and it will give you access to that list only if you are willing to pay for it. Twitter is not far behind.

An email list give you the ability to own your audience. The only thing you have to pay is a little fee each month to put those email addresses in a safe place like MailChimp, Infusionsoft, Aweber or other services.

Seth Godin is the epitome of email list-building success. Godin has built trust with his audience. How has he done this? By delivering a daily blog post to his readers for years.

I wait for it, I expect it, and he delivers it daily. I trust him to do this.

And then, as Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, he delivers right hooks. Now Godin does this less frequently than others but just recently he wrote and published a book completely on his own. The book is called What to Do When It's Your Turn (and It's Always Your Turn).

Godin launched the book through his own microsite, using his own list and the customers flocked to it. Why? Because they trusted him after years of delivering quality content.

Think about this, he pre-sold over 30,000 copies. His most popular package was five books (not three as he lists it on the site, because he generously gives you two extra to spread the word--brilliant) at $69.

It does not take a mathematician to figure out that he pre-sold (at an average book cost to the user of about $20) $600,000 in books.


And ladies and germs, the only way Seth was able to do this was by having a ridiculously loyal and trusting list that he can call on at any time to help fund his next project.

The moral of the story is this, don't rent your home from Facebook or Twitter, build your own by having a place where people can consume your trustworthy and valuable content and ask them to join your list. Then deliver products to them that solve their problems and add value to their lives. Start building a blog and an email list now. You will never regret it.