There is an old saying that Email was the first Social Network. But for all the discussions about building community, increasing Facebook Likes, driving people to your online “forum”, and building your Twitter following, nothing is said about one of the oldest technologies on the web, the simple Listserv. For the last 12 years, I have built a vibrant community using just this simple tool. And in that 12 years, I am constantly amazed at how powerful the email channel is for building strong, engaged communities.
So what is a Listserv?
A listserv, like the old Mailman software, used to be the main way that communities were built at the dawn of the Internet era. You would “subscribe” to the list and you would post your comments to an email address. Once sent, the email goes out to everyone who is also subscribed, and any responses are also sent out to everyone on the list. It is the ultimate “push” channel with discussions going on in “real-time” and landing in your inbox as they happen. This gives a sense of urgency and immediacy to the posts that is missing when members are required to go to a website to view the latest discussions.
So how do you begin to build your Email Community. In this article, I will outline exactly how I built Only Influencers into one of the top communities for email marketers using only a simple Listserv to do it.
Step One: Take advantage of dissatisfaction and crank up the exclusivity....