Don’t Build Your Business on Rented Land

Transcript of my email from 9th May.

If you prefer to listen:

Elon Musk caused a stir a couple of weeks ago when he bought Twitter.

He has talked about taking it private, mooted charging a fee and pondered making the Twitter algorithms transparent. The Twittersphere is wondering what the future holds.

Any algorithm-change speeds up the pulse of businesses that rely on their social media platform to get their message out, attract followers and build sales.

A change can wipe out your followers and reduce the reach of your posts.

Past algorithm changes on Google have caused some companies to lose so much revenue they’ve had to lay off employees.

No business should ever base itself entirely, or even primarily, on a social media network or a platform that they do not control.

But Facebook, along with Instagram and WhatsApp, has spent a lot of money and effort developing and promoting eCommerce features to get businesses to do exactly that.

I know of several small businesses who have no ‘home base’ – their entire businesses are based on Facebook’s eCommerce platform.

The problem with that is that they are not in control of their business, Facebook is.

An algorithm change could seriously affect their business, and innocently infringing revised terms and conditions could see their pages removed.

Upcoming algorithm changes are rarely announced in advance, so businesses will typically wake up one morning to find that their reach has changed, or their pages have been closed.

They’re left wondering what happened, and what to do about it.

So should you be avoiding the social media networks?

No, not at all.

But use them sensibly and, most importantly, make sure you have a ‘Home base’ that you own and control.

Structure the relationship between them and your home base as in a hub (your wholly owned website) and spoke (your social media site).

The social media platforms make great outposts from which you can build your brand, announce special offers and strengthen relationships with your customers and followers.

Just don’t make them your home base, because that puts them in control, not you.

This week’s links

The first link this week takes a deeper look at Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, and the risk of basing your business on Facebook.

I’ve also covered 3 KPIs that will double the revenue your website generates, best practices for landing pages, and a case study on growing an email list from 2,000 to 25,000 subscribers.

Don’t build your content on rented land

Robert Rose discusses the dangers of relying too heavily on social media and influencers, and shows how to use them in a way that brings advantages to your business, not their platform or brand:

Don’t build your business on rented land

3 KPIs that will double your website revenue

In this 16-minute podcast, Sara Nay and Michael Buzinski discuss how to rationalise your activities to those that generate the most revenue from your website, and cut out the rest, to give yourself room to double your profitability:

3 KPIs that will double your website revenue

Landing page best practices from META (Facebook)

Andrew Hutchinson reviews (and provides a link to) Facebook’s latest white paper on how to improve your landing pages.

Even if you’re not advertising on Facebook, the tips and suggestions in this paper are gold dust.

And if you’re paying for advertising on any platform, following these recommendations will improve your conversion rate and reduce your cost per acquisition:

Landing page best practices from Meta (Facebook)

Case study: growing an email list to 25,000 subscribers

Femke van Schoonhoven explains the steps she took to grow her email list from 2,000 to 25,000 subscribers.

Heads-up: this article is on the Convertkit website and describes the Convertkit functionality that Femke used. The tagging and automation steps that she describes are offered by most email service providers, so you do not need to be a Convertkit user to be able to follow the process that she describes.

Case study: Growing an email list to 25,000 subscribers


Just so you know: this email may contain affiliate links. If you click one of them, and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission as a ‘thank you’ from the product or service provider. I only link to products or services that I use, or have used, and am proud to be associated with. There is no additional cost to you.

Cool (and smart) people and businesses to follow

Smart, current and insightful tips from:

Sean Malarkey

Kevin Mesiab

Useful resources

Spam protection for your website, from humans as well as bots

Book-keeping made easy

Fun flashback

I was a big fan of Genesis in their day. Here they are performing ‘Mama’ live at Knebworth in 1990, when (at least in my view) they were in their prime:

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