Email marketing vs content marketing – what’s the difference?

In May 2019, Harry Dry posted his first marketing blog post on his website, Marketing Examples. At that moment, he did not have an existing audience and any subscribers on his mailing list. One year later, his list exceeded 19 000 subscribers.

During that first year, he developed a system that made it possible to use the same piece of content on multiple platforms and made sure that as many people as possible would sign up for his newsletter.

He posts the same content in a blog post and as an email to his mailing list. He then creates and posts a Twitter thread. He shares it on Reddit, Hacker News, and Indiehackers. He then goes on to share parts and visuals from the full article on Facebook and Slack groups. Among other platforms.

That one piece of content is spread across multiple platforms online. And they almost all end in the same way: by asking them to sign up for his newsletter if they enjoyed what they just read.

“My strategy is simple. I share my whole article. Then, I politely ask if the reader would like to join my email list.”

– Harry Dry, Marketing Examples

Your mailing list is the backbone of your entire marketing system. It is what makes sure that every lead captured is taken care of and nurtured. It is the communication channel that’s being opened up when someone signs up and the only channel that you fully control (in contrast to social media, your website, your Youtube channel, and so on).

But without content, your mailing list is nothing. There’s no way to Google the content of emails or newsletters. To get people on your mailing list, you need content that people can find. This is consistent, and continuous content creation is so important. Each time you post a tweet, write a blog post or record a Youtube video, you add another way for people to find you and get on your mailing list.

Similarly, creating content without having a way to get as many people as possible on your mailing list is like threading water without a plan for how to get to shore. 

The Internet is so fast-paced and constantly changing that you need to grab every person showing the slightest interest in what you have to say by the collar and duct-tape them to their seats as soon as they just happen to open the door an inch to peek into the classroom.

Email marketing is content marketing. Content marketing is email marketing. 

One can’t work properly without the other. And you need to plan and build them simultaneously – knowing exactly who you are building it for (your target audience) and why they should be interested (the pain points you help them solve).

Where does your mailing list fit into your marketing?

If put to good use, mailing list is like a huge bucket.

It is a way to capture leads and make sure you are able to keep talking to them.

To build trust, learn more about them and show them how your product can make their lives better.

Whatever kind of content you create – updates on social media, podcasts, videos or blog posts -your mailing list will do 2 things for you:

🧲️ Capture and nurture as many leads as possible.

🎯 Help you qualify the ones you have: to sort out the ones that would really benefit from your product.

Instead of using it as a way to “poke” people every time you post a new blog post or have a new offer – which will make people walk away from their inbox and into the very distractive internet – your mailing list should be a content platform of its own.

How To Build an Audience Before Launching Your No-code Product

About 400 years ago, mankind believed that they were the center of the universe.

Today, lots of no code creators and app makers still think they are.

After spending months building your tool or product, you want people to use it, right? You need an audience.

But if you wait until launching your product to start building an audience and interest, you’ve wasted a lot of time.

Waiting until you have a ”finished” (it’s never really finished, is it?) product, is like waiting at a red light with your bike.

[READING TIP: The 4-part Landing Page Your #No-Code Project Need]

When the light turns green, it’s gonna take a lot more energy to get rolling, compared to coming towards that red light and arriving just as it turns green – you just swoosh by!

The question for most is “How do I talk about with a potential audience if my product is not up and running?”

Well, you don’t. And you do.

Dammit. Let me just explain a few things first!

No one cares about you or your No-Code project

Yeah, sorry. But this is the truth.

Every individual wants to thrive. We want to solve the large and small problems we have in life and become better versions of ourselves.

Yes, we have an inherited drive to help others, but first and foremost we want to help ourselves.

I don’t pay my accountant for the sake of having an accountant. (That’s a weird-ass status symbol…)

Or because I want her to have more money on the bank?.

No, I pay her because I *SUCK* at doing accounting myself and want to make sure I don’t mess up my book-keeping and have to pay like a million bucks in penalty fees.

The same goes for every thing, tool or service we buy – we buy it because it will make our lives better.

For you, your product is the center of the universe. But for everyone else – you and your thing is just another satellite somewhere out there.

If you want to succeed, you need to stop believing that anyone is interested in you or your product – and realize all the want to know is:

How will this thing make MY life better?

Your audience probably doesn’t care HOW you created your product either

With this little punch-in-the-face-wake-up-call fresh in mind, think about this:

You probably love talking about No Code and the tools and trick.

I know I love talking about it.

And the huge (and constantly growing) no-node community on Twitter certainly loves to hear what kind of No-Code tools you used, the cool workarounds you invented to solve that annoying problem or to upvote your product on Product Hunt.

But unless your target market (the people who will actually use the tool when ready) are No Coders – they won’t give a sh*t about that.

Because? None of that will make their lives better.

When you share the process of your build, you have to share the things that give value to your potential user – not those interested in building no-code apps!

I don’t care HOW you managed to connect your “Focus App for Unfocused Entrepreneurs” to the Fitbit API through a series of GET requests. (I googled that, I have no idea what I am talking about.)

But I do care about the fact that it will notice when I’ve been sitting for too long and tell me to do 15 pushups because I need a boost of dopamine!

See the difference? If you want to share the process – make sure to talk about the things and in a way that your target audience find interesting.

One exception from this is to ask people for advice and suggestions. We love to be included and to help others:




I build in public and tweet about what I’m working on. That helps me get an idea of what kind of demand there is for the idea and also helps me build an initial audience.

The main thing I did was that I did polls on Twitter when I was unsure about an idea.

JOSHUA TIERNAN, NoCode Founders & ernestly.com

Also; there’s a limit for how many times you can talk about the fact that “you are launching soon”.

At the time of writing this post, there’s one no-code founder about to launch their tool online (ain’t gonna name names) and the fact that they are launching “soon” is the ONLY thing they’ll add to any discussion on Twitter.

Whatever you ask about, using the #nocode hashtag, they answer with “You can do that with [Our Platform] when we launch soon!”.

Ok.

Sooooo, how is that helping me?

Right now. When I need that help?

Keep it down. Let us know, but don’t make it in every tweet!

A rule of thumb is to only talk about you, your company and your product no more than 20% of your total communication.

That’s 1 out of 5 tweets.

So, what should you talk about for the other 80%?

Start with the problem your tool will solve

The reason for you deciding to create your product or tool – was most certainly because you wanted to solve a problem.

Photographer Andrew Vernon decided to create one tool to rule them all, after using several tools for his photography business:

Maybe you decided to create a tool because there was something you found really annoying.

Or, you started hearing more and more people b*tching about something and realized something missing “out there”?

Regardless, it all sprung from a problem.

This problem is the key to finding things that are interesting to your audience.

If you tie your content to the same problem that your product will solve, you will attract the followers that will gain from using it when it is launched.

Understanding the difference between External and Internal problems.

If I were to ask around for an accountant, it is not because I need an accountant, per se.

My problem is “I am not sure how to do my accounting and I am afraid to make (costly) mistakes!”

This internal problem expresses itself as my external problem:

“I need an accountant!”

An external problem is what I talk about with others and sometimes even believe is the actual problem.

The same goes for everyone trying to decide which To-Do list app to use out of the millions in existence.

They don’t need “a to-do app” (that’s an external problem).

They want to get better at getting things done, or getting organized, or time-management, or prioritizing.

Those are the internal problems, and when you start talking about those, people will listen. Because everyone is striving to make their lives better!

If you can help people solve their problems and reach their goals you will become very interesting to them- and that will make them trust you.

How To Build an Audience Before Launch

The reason why (and how) people are buying things today, is vastly different from only 10 years ago.

Today, we don’t buy a product – we buy into a company or a person! 

It is very important for us to share (or at least accept) the values of the person behind the product we are thinking about buying.

If you keep quiet all through the process, just to start bombarding your feeds with ”Buy it now!” messages at launch, people will quickly stop listening.

Heck, they won’t even start listening in the first place.

“An audience” might sound very big and intimidating. But you don’t need a huge crowd – what you need is a small group of dedicated fans:





I’ve seen lots of discussions around “build an audience before you build a product”.

On one side I agree because it will make it much easier to reach more people that might be interested in what you’re creating.

On the other hand, I’ve seen people with less than 300 followers build multimillion businesses so I’m not sure who wins the discussion.

In the end it’s all about knowing your audience and who’s problem you’re solving/who you are providing value for.

BRAM KANSTEIN, No-Code MVP

I want to share a simple framework that has worked for me and lots of other entrepreneurs.

As with everything online; add, subtract, change and test it to fit your needs!

Step 1: Block of time!

Do you want to build an audience before your launch?

If yes, you have to schedule time to do that.

There’s no short-cut.

You will not “do it when you have time to spare” (because you won’t have any time to spare unless you plan it).

Depending on what works best for you, you could either plan something like two afternoons per week or 90 minutes a day.

Treat those slots as any face-to-face meeting.

It is uncancelable! Don’t push it forward if something else comes up. Stick to it.

✔️ Open up your calendar now, and block of specific and recurring time slots every week! Either 90 min a day, or two afternoons a week.

I created an interactive template to help you do this entire process. Get it by entering your email here:

Step 2: Define Your Target Audience

It sounds counterintuitive, but the smaller your target market is, the easier it is to reach your audience.

A fitness app “for everyone” will drown in all the others on app store.

A fitness app for “Skinny Nerds” will be the obvious choice for every skinny nerd that finds it!

Define what the common denominators for your end-users are.

There’s a lot of different ways you can segment your market:

? Vertical – a business (dentists, yoga instructors, entrepreneurs)

? Horizontal – a need (faster website, more structure, getting the tax papers in order)

? Psychographic – a value (“the earth is flat”, “eating animals is wrong”, “no-code is the best thing since sliced bread”)

? Demographic – a persona (stay-at-home moms, 45+ CEOs, Couples in Denver)

? A specific platform (WordPress, Adalo, AirTable)

A rule of thumb is to use at least two different markets to define your market audience:

Entrepreneurs (vertical) with ADHD (demographic) that want to be able to focus better (horizontal)

✔️ Write down your target audience – and be as specific as you possibly can! You can’t be too narrow.

Step 3: Go On a Waterhole Safari!

All around the Internet, people gather around to talk about similar interests and to share tips and knowledge.

Naturally, this is also where people go to find answers to their questions.

Whatever you are about to create, there’s without a waterhole dedicated to just that:

? Twitter hashtags

? Facebook groups

? Subreddits

? Internet forums

Get in there, and start looking around.

Look for the common ways to start a question; “How do I..”, “Why can’t..” or “Anyone else having trouble with…”

Also, look for words connected to feelings. “I love when…”, “.. is awesome…” or “I hate when…”.

Look for problems your target market has, and the things they are interested in talking about.

✔️ See if you can find any topics or themes that are recurring – those are your main topics! Write them down.

Step 4: Map out your topics and sub-topics

Now, let’s give you an array of topics to share with your audience.

Take the main topics you found by the waterholes and divide them into sub-topics.

If “not having enough time” is a big issue for your target audience, you probably already realized this is an external problem.

They don’t really need more time (they can’t have it even if they want it), what they need is to manage the time they have better (internal problem).

Your main and sub-topics could then look something like this:

Topic 1: How To Get Things Done

? Planning and organization

? How to work more efficiently

? Distractions and how to prevent them

? Brain and body hacks for productivity

? Digital and analog tools

Wach of these subtopics will give you ideas for dozens of tweets, blog posts, and videos. And this is just from one of your main topics!

Here’s a chat I had on Twitter, with the founder of Nocodery, a job board for No-Coders:

Talking about things that interest your audience – instead of talking about yourself – will make them trust you and stick around for more.

Also, if these talking topics are closely related to the problem your product will solve, you will start attracting the perfect crowd for the actual product.

[READING TIP: The 4-part Landing Page Your #No-Code Project Need]

It becomes a natural sorting system – those not interested in what you are talking about (i.e. not interested in the problem your product will solve) won’t stick around.

But the people looking for solutions to the problem your product will solve will listen when you talk about them before launch!

✔️ Write down at least 3 main topics, and try to come up with at least 5 sub-topics for each.

Step 5: Choose your platforms

You probably want to jump on every social media platform – because then you will reach the most people, right?

Don’t.

Getting a real result, will need a lot of effort from your part – that means a lot of time.

In the startup phase, you won’t have an indefinite amount of hours to put on creating content. It is better to focus 100% on one or two platforms.

I suggest you choose one social media platform (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) for reaching a large number of people.

Then, combine that with an “evergreen” platform. These are platforms such as a blog, your Youtube channel or a podcast.

The difference between the social platforms and the evergreen is that everything you create on the latter will still be there tomorrow.

Yes, everything you put on social platforms will technically be there tomorrow, but it will disappear in the feeds and won’t be seen by anyone.

A blog post, on the other hand, will show up on Google years (even decades) after you publish it.

Youtube is the second biggest search engine in the world – whatever your search for will show a multitude of new and old videos.

If you publish something on an evergreen platform, it will keep on sending traffic your way for years!

Which platform to choose differs from case to case – you need to spend some time researching where your target audience spends their time.

✔️ Pick one social platform at first, and one searchable platform. If you are good at writing, start blogging. Video? Youtube. Good at talking? Start a podcast.

Step 6: Start sharing!

Before you get at it, know this; nothing will happen overnight. It will take time to get the ball rolling – and you will doubt if it is even working.

But stay at it. Put in the work and people will start noticing you.

I suggest you focus the first month on creating content for the social platform.

This will get people to start noticing you, following you and become interested in what you have to say.

I try to post at least 10 tweets every day about my main topics.

(Sidenote: I’m using an awesome app called Hypefury to schedule my post for the entire day in the morning. If you are serious about upping your Twitter game, try it out for free! It’s an affiliate link.)

When I started out, those topics were quite broad – Digital Marketing in general.

But as I posted more and more, I saw what kind of tweets that resonated more than others.

I could use my tweets as a guide to what people were the most interested in.

After a while, I realized that a lot of No code people were really good at creating cool projects, but sucked at reaching the people who were going to use it.

So I focused more on tweeting about that.

This first month can give you valuable insights into what people want (not too different from how growth hackers are getting a market fit product).

Naturally, you will find topics within your sub-topics (we are going full Inception here) that are a good fit for a longer blog post or video.




“Before you actually build a product you should validate if you actually should build that product.

You can do this with different types of MVP experiments, customer interviews etc.

If you come to the conclusion that you in fact should build that product you will already have a first possible customer group (the people you validated with) that you can distribute that product to.

To me that is the most efficient way.”

BRAM KANSTEIN, No-Code MVP

If you’ve paid attention and talked about the right topics, you will now have a group of followers that will read and share your longer format content pieces.

Bonus Step: Look For Ambassadors

Most of the people that you reach before launch will not take to much notice about what you are doing. 

A like. A comment. A ”Cool.”

But a small group of the people seeing what you do and get completely sucked in. They will realize you are building something that will change the way they live their life or do business.

That you are solving that problem they’ve struggled with without even knowing.

Those 2 percent of superfans will have more impact than the other 98% combined.

These are the people that will retweet everything you post when launching, they will upvote on ProductHunt and IndieHackers and they will continue to send suggestions and feedback

Noticing and interacting with these people before launch gives you an opportunity to attain a small army of people that will give you a huge push at the launch date.

Conclusion

Building an audience before launch will help to give you momentum and to make that launch a success.

It doesn’t have to be as difficult as many thinks, but you have to block off the time and be sure about what to take about.

Most importantly; it will take time and effort, so the faster you start building your group of fans, the better!