How to use your email list for more than just newsletters

There is no question that email is still the best channel for reaching your prospects and customers and getting them to convert. A 2016 article by eMarketer showed that email marketing far outpaced that of the social, direct mail, paid search, and online display channels.  That is why nearly every seasoned blogger will tell you to focus on building your email list, above just about any other tactic you can focus on when running a blog. Social networks and web communities can come and go, but email is something that everyone has and most use multiple times a day.

According to McKinsey data, email continues to be the dominate digital channel as it pertains to ROI.

According to McKinsey data, email continues to be the dominate digital channel as it pertains to ROI.

However, when most bloggers think of email they think of using them solely for email marketing new products or services and newsletter distribution.  But your email list offers a lot more value than you might think.

One of my go-to tactics with email lists is to use them as first-party lists to build custom audiences in channels like Facebook and Google.  By doing this, you can reach your audience across several channels, to keep your message and/or offers front and center.

Let’s take a look at an example of using your email list to target ads in Facebook.  The process for building a Custom Audience in Facebook is pretty straightforward.

How to create your Custom Audience in Facebook

  1. Create a TXT or CSV file of your collected email addresses

  2. Go to the “Audiences” tab in the Facebook Ad Manager tool

  3. Click the “Create Audience” button

  4. Select “Custom Audience”, then choose “Custom List”

  5. Upload the TXT of CSV file of your email addresses

  6. Facebook will build your custom audience, which can take up to 30 minutes to complete

How to use your new Custom Audience

Now that you have your custom audience ready to go, it is time to put it to use.  Here is the approach you take:

  1. Create your ad using the Facebook Ad Manager, which will guide you through the process. You can select to show your ad in the News feed or on the right rail of Facebook.

  2. After the ad is created, you choose your custom audience and more specific targeting options, like location, age, etc.

  3. Create your budget and launch your campaign.  Only those email addresses that you uploaded that match a user’s email in Facebook will see the ad

Maintaining and expanding your Custom Audience

As your email list grows, you should continually update your email file in Facebook.  Each time you do, Facebook will continue to match user email addresses and expand your ad’s reach.

If you are starting with a small email list (less than 1,000 email addresses) it might be best to use Facebook’s “Lookalike” feature.  When you create a “Lookalike Audience” in Facebook, they increase your targeted reach to those Facebook users who are not on your email list but share similarities (interests, demographics, etc.) to those on your email list.  This is a great way to reach new prospects.

Expand the use of your email list to get the most return

When you run a blog, it is hard work to get email addresses.  Therefore it is important to use your list as much as possible to get the most value back from that hard work.  The Facebook process I laid out above is only one example.  All of the social networks, including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest, offer custom audience options.  Google also can help with maximizing your email list through Search, Gmail, Shopping, and YouTube.  Because advertising on Facebook is so affordable, it is often worth a test to see how it performs, so I encourage you to give it a try.