Live and die by your database

Every social network allows people to follow, like, or friend you in some capacity. But at the end of the day, every social network is just rented land. The social network controls how and when you may contact those that have opted-in for your updates. For instance, Facebook recently made it much harder for your content to show up organically to all those who have liked your Facebook page. Looking through this TechCrunch article, they showcase this decline. Now, if you want to guarantee that they see what you've shared, you have to pay to do so. This upset many companies as they had spent years building up their following on Facebook and now can't access them as often as they'd like.

Your website and your e-mail database are the only online properties that you completely control, and thus, it is critical to always be growing both. Whenever possible with your content marketing efforts, look for ways that you can encourage new people to sign up for your newsletter. This can be done with calls to action at the end of each blog post, a permanent sign-up box on your website, or a special piece of content you create that can only be downloaded after somebody submits their e-mail address. This would be a good time to mention that it is never a good idea to manually add people to your mailing list.

Just because someone gives you a business card at a networking event, it does not mean they want your newsletter. A successful and useful e-mail database is made up of people who have signed themselves up and opted-in to be marketed to by you through your newsletter. Building a substantial e-mail database will not happen overnight. But if you keep sending out valuable content and promoting or giving reasons for new people to sign up, you'll find success through your e-mail list.