You own your brand. You own a business. You own your equipment. You may or may not have a staff. You’ve put countless hours into building an audience across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn and the list goes on. An audience of which you hope to eventually convert into loyal customers. Question is, do you truly own that audience? Do you really have direct access to them or do the social platforms currently 'own' that asset?
What would happen if tomorrow one of those platforms simply decided that they were again going to modify their feed algorithm to continue to give you less organic visibility? Or better yet, they decided they were going to sell or discontinue the service all together. Or even worse, your account gets hacked, you lose access and they never give you the support you need to reclaim it.
My friends, this is a major issue, and in my opinion, the greatest risk facing all brands in existence. In addition, this has developed into a great abuse of power from the five or so platforms that currently hold this ownership. If you haven’t noticed, your organic reach has and will continue to decrease substantially as more and more users jump on to each of these platforms. If you currently get a reach of 10% of your entire following on your posts, you’re lucky.
Let's not forget that these platforms are publically owned companies with pressure to continue to drive increasing revenue. In order to do so they must continue to increase ad spend. And what does this mean? A continuation of decreased organic visiblity for you brand and increased paid visibility for advertisers. Therefore, either pay up or expect nothing. I don’t know about you, but this really bothers me. Bothers me so much that I’ve built an entire platform around it.
Originally my mission was to identify a way to own my own audience. How could I obtain the core contact information of my following, along with some level of geographic information? Specifically, I was looking for the following items:
- First Name
- Last Name
- Email Address
Wouldn’t you rather obtain the full contact and profile information of your potential customer, rather than just a follow on a social platform? A follow of which will likely mean they won’t even see your posts.
Simply placing an email submission form on my website was not enough. Here are the many reasons why:
Reasons why Email Subscription forms are BAD:
They Require Email Verification
An email submission via form requires a second and third step ‘by the user’ to verify their email address. The user needs to receive an email that could potentially go into their ‘Junk Mail’ or ‘Other’ folder and click on the link I’ve provided. We no longer need to undergo this process and I’ll explain why. The last thing you want to do on today’s internet is add on to the tasks you are asking of or assigning to a user that YOU need.
They Don’t Pass the Thumb-Friendly Test
It is now a well-known fact that a large percentage of the traffic on websites today come from mobile devices. By placing an email submission form on a website, you are asking the user to completely readjust the hand/thumb position they have on their mobile device simply to enter their email address. While this may sound like a menial request, it is yet one additional reason for a user not to subscribe and just like that, you’ve lost them forever. They got to as far as your website and poof… now they’re gone.
They Don’t provide for Personalization
Typically when you have an email subscription form you tend to request just the email address as to provide the user with the simplest experience as possible. The problem with this is that this does not provide for personalization of your communications to your subscribers moving forward. Personalization is currently one of they key megatrends of digital marketing and this approach completely derails the movement towards leveraging this tactic.
They Don’t provide for Targeting
Let's say you're preparing a campaign to promote an event you're holding for your business in Boston, Massachusetts. Would it make much sense to bother a subscriber of yours who resides in California or Australia for that matter? With the email subscription form you wouldn't have any idea where they reside and would need to ask them that question in a follow up form, yet again asking more of them.
Identity Providers and Social Subscriptions
My alternate option was to provide what is known as social login on my website. As you may know, Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, among many other platforms currently provide the means to obtain the user information of the users who opt-in to your app. By doing so, they are referred to as ‘identity providers’. You may have seen images such as these as you’ve navigated websites or mobile apps and opted to 'Continue with Facebook':
The reason for providing such an option is simply for the platforms to create a dependency to them by other online services. The more hooks they have outside of their platform, the greater the potential of their long-term existence. Typically, you only see this option on more advanced websites or mobile apps as it requires an advanced skillset held by developers to integrate such functionality.
A recent study performed by e-commerce platform Gumroad, shows that email referrer conversion rates on purchases are much higher than those from social platforms:
- Email: 9.4%
- Facebook: 6.4%
- Twitter: 5.4%
- YouTube: 2.2%
Notice how Instagram is not even on that list. We'll go into that topic in a seperate blog post.
After going through the process of developing the full solution for myself, after just one year I had amassed over 11,000 subscribers. 11,000 email addresses that had already been validated by the identity provider including all of the additional profile information I needed. All without them ever having to lift their thumb from their mobile device screen.
Now, not only did I want to provide multiple forms of social subscription on my website, I also wanted to provide it across a variety of brands that I own and manage. Therefore, as a developer, the logical solution was to build an underlying centralized service from which I could provide the logic for subscribing from the various identity providers.
Long story short, why not go one step further and provide this service to EVERYONE. That’s right, if I need this, so does the entire world. And it’s for this reason that I created Modern Appz. An entire platform centered around ‘Owning your Audience’.
Of course, the first of many products is ‘Subscriber’, a software service that allows you to create your own web app in the same fashion that you would create a Facebook Page for your brand or business. Often referred to as a 'Like' page. However, this tool actually provides you with direct access to your subscribers along with all the elements I mentioned above (first name, last name, email address, photo, city, state and country). You can simply download your subscriber data and work with it as you please. Upload the subscriber information to the email marketing platform of your choice such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, Twilio SendGrid, etc.
Finally, why not provide a version of it free. So here you go my friends... Own your Audience!
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