It’s 2018 and email marketing is still king—long live the king.

Here we’ll share some of our marketing principles for small and medium-sized brands trying to grow their business in 2018.

Humanity in 2018

Objectively, things are going great for us as a species. The health of the business ecosystem is much more uncertain.

Business in 2018

Scott Galloway suggests we should break up the monopolies of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google—all of whom he argues have evolved from technology companies into media companies. Do The Four (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google) really take our best interests to heart?

Early-stage investing is trending downward, and the sharp upturn and subsequent cryptocurrency price correction has shown the world the dangers of unchecked economic confidence. Are we easing into an economic bubble in 2018?

What to do?

These questions are indicators that a downward market is coming our way. To combat marketplaces that don’t support sustainable practices, businesses should focus their growth efforts in 2018 on growing marketing assets they fully own.

Here are ViralSweep’s marketing principles for 2018:

1. Growth comes from within.
2. Build assets you own.

1. Focusing Inward

You don’t own your social media profiles. You do own your email list.

Your profiles on Facebook, Twitter, et. al. are all homes we’ve been privileged to use rent free for most of their existence. Our digital landlords can change the locks or start charging rent whenever they like, for as much as they like.

Getting locked out

You may even be locked out of the house accidentally. We’ve experienced this first hand — whether it was an errant algorithm or a insidious competitor, it took us over a month to regain access to our ViralSweep Facebook page.

We asked Nathan Barry, CEO of ConvertKit what he thinks…

With constantly changing platforms and social algorithms it’s so important to own a direct connection with your audience through email.

* ViralSweep integrates with ConvertKit.

Brands on social media are the definition of a captive audience. The value of a Follow or Like is diminishing—in turn causing the network’s revenue per user to increase as brands are forced to compete on price to show up on the ever-crowded News Feed.

Facebook average revenue per daily active user, from Recode.

Facebook is going to further cut brands’ access to the News Feed. This change is good for the Facebook ecosystem, but it will come hand-in-hand with diminishing returns for brands.

Barry also says,

As Facebook changes their algorithm so your posts don’t get seen, you’re in trouble. But if you decide you don’t like your email provider you just export and import into a new provider. You own the relationship and that gives you control and safety in your business.

The idea behind this statement is still true today. It’s in Facebook’s interest to keep people on Facebook and not to help brands more than they need to.

Prioritize building owned media: your brand’s email list.

2. Owned Media

Email is the central gatekeeper for our online identity — as was the mailbox before it. Email acts as the intermediary between a person’s online presence and their physical home.

We check our bills through email. We track package shipping and payments through email. These are all important aspects of being a consumer which we still don’t trust social media to handle.

Being given access to a customer’s inbox is the highest privilege a brand can be bestowed.

A customer joining your list is an open invitation to interact with them. That’s more than you can say for a Facebook Like.

A strong email list is the beating heart of most ViralSweep customers. Much like marketing on social media, email marketing it’s a constantly evolving game.

Here is some recommended reading to improve your email marketing in 2018:

It’s easy to be overrun by feeling you should try every marketing trick in the book to optimize your business. Focus on the things you can control. Say “no” to opportunities or new technologies by default — double down on what already works.

If your brand is successful with Facebook or Instagram advertising, realize that customers you attract now aren’t likely to be using the services five years from now. They may still be a customer of yours, but how will you communicate with your audience long-term?

For most brands, the answer is email.