Michael Smart, Principal of Michael Smart PR
Michael Smart, Principal of Michael Smart PR

By Anna McDermott

In his interview with Nancy Marshall for her podcast, The PR Maven® Podcast, Michael Smart, an independent communications trainer for public relations professionals, said something surprising. “The secret to my success happened by accident. I pasted some code onto my homepage of my website so people could sign up for my email list and thousands of people did.” Michael said if he had done that sooner, he could have two or three times as many followers as he does now.

Before that, Michael had been building his email list by inviting people to drop their business card in a box at his speaking events, but he hadn’t really put his email list to good use until he started sending a weekly email with tips and advice for public relations professionals. His excellent free advice is so popular, his email list is now up to 17,000 people.

Michael’s advice is that any time you have people’s attention – like while networking or speaking at a conference or training – give them a chance to stay in touch with you. If you capture those people’s emails so you can reconnect with them, it is a great marketing tool in the future. Getting a person’s email is still the best thing for your business, even in today’s social media-heavy world. Michael says that the best marketing tactic he uses is email, and he focuses all his efforts on building his email list of trusted followers. Nancy always says that your email list is truly yours, while the content and connections you have on Facebook or Twitter ultimately belongs to those platforms and could be taken away some day.

Michael also shared a story about the power of good, old-fashioned email marketing. Brigham Young University’s social media manager wanted to get some media attention for one of the college’s athletes, a luger who danced to Beyoncé to warm up before her runs. He found Beyoncé’s publicist’s email on a gossip site and contacted her about this young woman. That day, the publicist wrote back, saying check out Beyoncé’s Facebook page later today to see a post about it. The story was picked up by media outlets across the country and it all started with a simple email.

Don’t underestimate the staying power of email. Just like Michael, it could be the secret to your success.

The PR Maven® Podcast is presented by Marshall Communications, creator of The Marshall Plan® strategic process. The Marshall Plan is a fully customized document using our 65 proprietary steps and leads to a playbook for your success. If you think your business or organization would be a candidate for a Marshall Plan, you can take our Marshall Plan quiz to find out. Visit Marshallpr.com/quiz.