You spend a lot of time writing, promoting, coming up with new ideas, building a community, the list goes on.
Somewhere in there, you’re more than likely building a Facebook group, an email list or both but which one is more worthwhile and which one will be better for you in the long run?
That’s what we’re going to discover in this blog post — the pros and cons of each and which one you should pursue in order to build the best community you can as a B2B digital marketer.
What Are You Trying to Achieve?
We’ll start with the obvious question:
What are you trying to achieve?
While I have a personal opinion on which of the two is better, which you’ll see at the end of this post, you need to think about what you’re trying to do.
The answer to this will help guide you in the right direction but let’s get this straight — don’t try and build both when you’re starting out.
You need to put all your focus into one of them. Trying to do both will be counterproductive.
Going Down The Facebook Group Route
Facebook groups are a great way for you to build an active community. They give you the ability to directly communicate with your audience and share your content easily.
The above is an example of one I started.
But Facebook Groups have their limitations as well…
Facebook Group Pros
Direct communication with your community
A Facebook Group gives you direct access to your community. Meaning that you can comment on the content they post in the group and you can market your content to them.
Facebook groups tend to have a much higher engagement rate then a mailing list plus they can actually respond.
Builds a community rather than an audience
As you can see from the above image, people have the opportunity to engage with you and with anyone else in the group.
This is something that a mailing list doesn’t offer.
Growth through referrals
Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world.
People ‘like’ and comment which is documented on the news feed.
When someone joins your group, other people are notified of this giving you exposure to a broader audience.
If you keep the group ‘public’ when people comment or like posts within the group this is also shared through the news feed.
Another advantage is you can connect your Facebook page to the group.
Facebook Group Cons
Facebook is going downhill
It said that Facebook has another 2–3 years before small businesses and personal bloggers are outpriced on Facebook.
With the increasing amount of people joining and limited newsfeed space, ads are getting more and more expensive as we all compete for what small space is available.
As you may have noticed, engagement is decreasing. Especially, organic reach.
It’s expected to continue to drop as well!
So putting all your effort into building a Facebook group might not be the best idea for the long run.
Facebook groups are a lot of work
Unlike an email list, Facebook groups take a lot of work.
You need to be posting and engaging with them every day. Posting new content, commenting on posts, liking posts and trying to get people to join.
This is in addition to you putting out content every day.
How to Start a Facebook Group
Step 1 — Click the ‘pages’ tab on the Facebook sidebar.
Step 2 — Click the ‘Create Group’ button.
Step 3 — Name your group, add people and select your privacy.
Step 4 — Go to your new Facebook Groups settings and fill out all the sections.
Going Down The Email List Route
An email list can be the best thing you do in terms of growing your community.
A person who signs up to an email list has given your personal information that they’re willing to trust you with. Meaning that they want you to contact them.
With this information, you can use the list to sell your products or promote your content.
Email List Pros
Emails are here to stay
Through the ‘ages’ email has always been the constant.
It’s a pretty fair bet to say that they will be here to stay for a long time. Much longer than Facebook. Or at least, they will be around longer than Facebook will be worthwhile for bloggers and people trying to build an audience.
Don’t forget, Facebook content reach is dropping month on month.
Not only that, but a person trusting you with their email means they want you to contact them. Whereas a Facebook group, you can’t directly message the people within the group.
Don’t require time apart from set up
Once you set up an email list, the upkeep is nothing. You don’t need to constantly post content or monitor the activity.
You can instantly start directing traffic and post emails whenever you need.
Whereas Facebook groups need you to constantly post content and constantly monitor.
Highest return on investment
Since people have trusted you with their email, they know what you’re about, what you’re doing and, if you’ve built your list in an honest way, they know you’re going to sell something.
Whether that’s ebooks, courses or products, people on your list are more likely to buy compared to people in a group.
Email List Cons
People will unsubscribe
Every time you send out an email, you will lose subscribers and if you’re not adding enough subscribers, your list will decrease more than it increases.
In some cases, I’ve had up to 15% of my list-unsubscribe after sending one email but don’t let this get you down. Those people were never going to engage or buy from you anyway. Treat it as if you’re weeding out the people who shouldn’t be on the list and strengthening your relationship with the ones that should be.
See what Gary Vee has to say about email here.
They can become costly
Once you hit a certain amount of subscribers, you’ll need to start paying.
For Mailchimp, this sits at 2,000.
Other email platforms are around the same as well.
Once you hit this point, the price gets very expensive very quickly.
So before you hit this, make sure you have some kind of product or services that you can sell.
How to Start an Email List
Step 1 — Sign up for Mailchimp.
Step 2 — Start a new audience.
Step 3 — Download Mailchimp for WP plugin to your WordPress site.
Step 4 — Connect your new list in the settings and set up the forms you want to show on your site.
Which is Better to Invest Your Time?
Now we get to the important question.
Which one is better to spend your time?
While both have their own pros and cons, considering that Facebook’s organic engagement is going down, I lean towards putting a bigger focus on developing an email list. This is due to a couple of reasons:
- Email is here to stay
- Facebook’s organic reach is going down and ad prices are going up
- Mailing lists take less time to manage and are self-sustaining in terms of you don’t need to directly promote them. You can focus on your content and your list will grow
Once you’ve built up your email list you can start to branch out to different channels.