An online audience is essential to anyone looking to market information and nearly so for anyone offering physical goods.
Social media, like Twitter or Instagram, are excellent tools in the attention-based economy, but they are rented, not owned. At any moment, given the current crisis of online commons, your ability to participate can be taken from you without recourse, especially if you are less well-known, which is most of us.
The ability to engage the audience you have cultivated is at the mercy of corporations entrenched in cultural skirmishes and legal disputation, likewise with platforms that assist with creation and distribution like Shopify, Gumroad, and Teachable.
The best course of action is to leverage audience-building tools so you can continually suggest alternative grounds with which to meet and distribute your goods—ones you have more control over.
To that end, email and a self-hosted website (or app) are still the best ways to accomplish this. While they are not entirely in your control (e.g., hosting providers, payment processor/gateway), the balance of power is distributed and heavily weighted on your side.
Among the many benefits:
- Email is the most widely used, known, and reliable form of online communication.
- Your online hub builds authority and credibility without platform dilution.
- Your online hub encourages longer, not shorter, attention spans, and therefore engagement is more direct, meaningful, and impactful.
- You control the user experience from end to end.
- You own the marketing insights and have a full view of detailed analytics.