This week’s Dance First Spotlight is a special note about Ontraport, our communications service that we get asked about a lot.

Here’s a Thanksgiving tip about a service worth sharing. One of the things we do for our Dance First members is to help you navigate the world of marketing and messaging with the goal of building stronger practices. I often work with our members one-on-one, as well as in groups on the overarching philosophies of outreach and audience attraction.

So I thought it would be interesting to share some tips with our entire community and highlight one of our primary tools. One of the first things to remember when you’re growing your audience or building your practice is that marketing is storytelling. Selling is persuasion, and that comes later, once people are engaged with your story.

Anything you can do to be more consistent and engaging with your storytelling is going to help you a lot. Maybe you think that your story is not that interesting? What makes you so special? Well, here’s a little secret. The mundane details of your day-to-day life don’t make good content. All those pictures of food on Instagram? Boring. Here’s what’s fascinating — a behind-the-scenes look into your creative process.

Where do you get your ideas? How do you develop your lessons? What anecdote from your childhood informs the work you do now? And don’t make it all about you — the insights you get from the folks you facilitate are the building blocks to your creativity, and are really interesting to your readers!

One big mistake I see people making all the time is putting all of their marketing eggs into the social media basket. I always ask clients how much time and energy they are putting into posting and promoting on Facebook etc, versus the amount of effort they’re putting into building an email list. All too often people have no list at all while they chase the vanity metrics of more likes and followers to exhaustion.

News flash: Vanity metrics don’t matter. They’re a sugar buzz that might make you feel good for a moment, but they have little impact on your bottom line. And all that content you post on a big social media platform? Guess what — they own it, you don’t. The people you’ve worked so hard to connect with there can be gone in a flash. The algorithm changes, the company is sold, your account gets hacked.

A list of email addresses however is yours and yours alone. It’s an asset you can take with you from platform to platform. You build equity in your practice as it grows. And think about how your mind works when you’re online. Email is one step away from your calendar and bank account, where decisions are made and money is spent. Social media is built for time-wasting, you’re always just one cat video or ugly politician away from total distraction.

What do I recommend? Use your social media to build your mailing list. Look at your social streams like a garden that you can cultivate to harvest emails. Once you move people from being passive followers to active readers, you have a much more valuable online community. How to easily maintain an engaging newsletter and turn your fans into paid participants is a topic for another note, but for now, remember, the value is in the list.

That’s why I’m spotlighting our number one tool for list maintenance and online marketing, Ontraport. We’ve been with Ontraport for several years, and without a doubt, they are the best list automation service out there. Obviously, when you’re first getting started you’ll probably start with a free service, ( I recommend Mailchimp), but when it’s time for a more robust and full-featured solution, Ontraport is where it’s at.

They’ve got the best customer service and support of any company I’ve ever worked with, and a library of tutorials and trainings that are basically like an internet marketing university. Besides sending newsletters, you can manage your entire database of contacts, create order forms, accept credit cards, host WordPress sites, manage orders, set up memberships, automate lesson plans, build if/then sequences, and much much more.

So there you have it! Trust that this tip-of-the-hat to Ontraport, our number-one communications and member relationship resource comes in handy for you! Click on any of the Ontraport links here to learn more.

(Would you like to write an Insight Column for Monday Love and be featured on the Conscious Dancer website? Send us an email today!)