Imagine a situation. You want to start a cafe.
You are looking at different places to rent. You come across a good looking space.
You get in touch with the landlord.
Your budget is Rs.X/month. You communicate this to the landlord.
The landlord tells you – “I will give you this at half of Rs.X/month”.
This comes as a pleasant shock to you.
Then the landlord says – “I will also furnish your cafe at no extra cost.”
You begin to feel ecstatic.
“That’s not all. I will even make sure I get you in touch with the best suppliers and also do a bit of marketing for you to get your initial customers”.
Now you can’t wait to sign the lease.
“But there’s just one thing”, interrupts the landlord. “There are three conditions you have to follow:
- All your customers data will be passed on to me. You cannot keep it. In fact I can use that data for whatever reason I want.
- I am legally entitled to cancel the lease without notice if you break any rules while running the business. The catch is that I will never communicate these rules to you properly and they can change anytime.
- The civic body in the city is notorious for having vague boundaries between commercial and residential property. Tomorrow if they close down the cafe, I won’t be at fault. You will not even get your deposit back.
So basically if something goes wrong, your cafe will be closed and you will have to start from scratch.”
Would you sign such an agreement?
But people sign these kind of agreements every time they decide to build a business on a social media platform like TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
The number one thing to learn from the TikTok ban is that you should never run your business in such a way that it entirely depends on a platform over which you have no control or influence at all.
People with millions of followers on TikTok suddenly found themselves jobless after the ban was announced.
Most of them were blaming the govenrment.
They were wrong.
The problem was that they established their “business” on rented territory over which they had next to no control.
But does that mean that you should not use social media platforms at all?
Absolutely not. You should definitely use social media platforms.
But the number one thing you have to do is to leverage your social media followers to build your own assets.
To build something that you own completely.
To build something that can never be taken away from you.
But Kush, what is that thing?
That thing is your E-mail list.
That’s the one thing no one can take away from you. Not even your e-mail marketing service provider.
That’s why it’s an asset.
If the TikTok celebrities understood this, what they would have done was to find a way to direct their followers towards a marketing funnel which builds their e-mail list.
That can be via lead magnets, contests, offers, etc. The method is not that important. What is important is that you are turning the followers on an external platform into your subscribers.
Imagine a smart TikTok celeb. Not easy is it?
Imagine anyway :p
Let’s say he or she had 100k followers.
Let’s say even 40% of his followers got into his marketing funnel. That means he created an e-mail list of 40k subscribers.
He wakes up to find TikTok being banned. Yes it’s disappointing but he is way better off than the other TikTok celebs.
He just has to find the next promised platform like Instagram Reels or something and then create an account there. Then send an email to those 40k subscribers and BOOM! He suddenly has a massive following on Day 1 of being on this new platform. Yes, it’s not 100k but it’s also not 0k.
It’s very easy to not create assets because these social media platforms give you everything ready made, just like the landlord in the aforementioned example.
Most of these influencers don’t even create their own website, let alone an e-mail list.
A website and an e-mail list should always be the base of any business. Without these things you will never have a proper online business.
Even in the online coaching industry I see a lot of people who want to skip the step of creating their own website because they get lured by a lot LMS platforms which tell you that they will provide everything to you – A built-in website, an e-mail marketing service within the LMS and so many other features.
I always tell people to never rely on those extra services as a base for their business because it’s not going to be under your control. The main job of a LMS is to host your course securely and that’s what it should be used primarily for. All other features are just a bonus but not something to base your business upon. Tomorrow if the LMS company changes some policy, removes some features, changes pricing or shuts down, it’s not going to be a pretty affair because the base was shaky.
The base has to be your own website on which you blog, create sales pages, present offers and tie it up with an e-mail marketing service provider to basically turn your whole website into an efficient funnel to which you send people from the different social media platforms.
When you build your email list, you will feel powerful not only because you will not be entirely dependent on external platforms but also because you can even shut down your own business and start a new one if you wish because you will be one email away from generating brand awareness about this business as you already have a ready audience.
The bigger the email list, the more powerful you will feel.
The key is to start. And then never stop the process of growing the list.
It’s the only process which will never go out of fashion.
It’s the “Rahul Dravid ” of all marketing strategies. Always dependable.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. And do check out this article where I tell you a personal story of how I realized the importance of email marketing.
Want to learn the entire process of creating and selling online courses and starting an online coaching business?
Then check out my main course called Online Course LaunchPad which takes you from A to Z of launching your first ever online course.