Connecting with customers and forming long, loyal relationships that benefit them and your business is what marketing is all about. There are, of course, a wide range of ways this can be done, but the important thing is that you choose what makes sense for the things you sell, the brand you’re building and the people you are doing business with. On the web, there are plenty of different methods to try, but one of the most powerful is known as list building which is what we are going to learn about now.
We are going to show you this technique, talk about why it is important, discuss how to build a list including all the elements that matter, and than discuss ways of earning money from that list. By the time we’re done, you’ll know a lot more about this powerful method of Internet marketing and see why people find it such an incredible way to drive sales and earn money, as well as a useful technique for those involved in charities or simply trying to make a name for themselves.
The Definition of List Building
In general, ‘list building’ refers to a list of email addresses that a person or organization builds up in the same way one would do if they had a newsletter. Today, a list can also include subscribers to a blog or social media profile connections, too, but in general the list of email addresses is what most people would be talking about if they brought up list building.
Email lists are subscribed to by the user themselves as unsolicited emailing is not considered proper to do, being spam instead. When a person ‘opts in’ to a list they are signing up for bulk emails that are sent out to everyone on that list at the same time. Once the person opts in, they will then be sent a confirmation email which will verify that they intended to sign up for the email list and that their proper email address has been obtained. This helps prevent people from signing up someone else’s email address or accidentally typing in a misspelled version of their email address.
Generally, the confirmation email will contain a link the person will click on as a way of responding and confirming that they do, indeed, wish to be part of the list. Typically, each email a list subscriber receives will include an option for them to unsubscribe at any time, as well, to protect the list owner from complaints of spamming.
Subscribers to a blog can sign up to a list by inputting their email and confirming their subscription. These lists sometimes simply send out partial blog posts with an invitation for the reader to click to read that post if they would like to. RSS feeds are another option people may use to stay connected to a blog and subscriptions are now part of Facebook pages, too. Social media friends or followers also count as part of a list, though in a different way.
Email remains the preferred method because it tends to be something people check whereas social media content needs to be sought out. The less work a person has to do, the more likely they are to subscribe and stay subscribed to a list.
Why List Building Matters to Entrepreneurs & Businesses
One of the most important things about list building is that you are essentially building a list of people who have purposefully chosen to make contact with your business and given you permission to contact them at regular intervals. This is quite different from having a store and hoping people will come to it. With a good list, you know your customers and you can send them information on what you have to offer. You have their email address so they are quite likely to actually read what you have to say since most people do read their emails.
No matter what kind of business a marketer is promoting, a list is an exceptional way to do it. The costs are extremely low and since nearly everyone on the planet has an email address by now, it gives list building the possibilities of connecting you to every single one of your customers as long as you pitch the idea correctly to them and they are respond. Having a website is great, but a list goes further because it reduces the need for the consumer to check your website for updates. The same goes for brick and mortar businesses – you can let customers know about sales or events far faster once you have their email address.
Lists can be run in an automated fashion, needing only the content for each mailing in advance so that there is little work for the owner to do. This is a smart move and a lot faster way to promote a business than other methods out there. Even getting sign ups for list building can be more or less automated, vastly simplifying things for the marketer.
For entrepreneurs, the benefits are huge because they do not need to establish a full-fledged website and bring traffic to it on a regular basis in order to build a functional, legitimate and profitable business for themselves. In most cases, the work needed in list building can be done by a single individual, if they take the right approach and leverage available tools, without needing a large team of people to assist them. Very few other kinds of enterprises are this easy for just one person to own and operate on their own.
How Does One Build a List?
The process of building a list is one that is likely to take time, but this is evened out by the relatively low costs of such a venture. To begin with, a list owner will need to sign up with a service that allows them to send out bulk emails to their list. Aweber is an example of this, as well as Constant Contact, but there are many others available now. Signing up with these services is generally a simple process and the best of them ensure that fewer of your bulk emails will wind up in the spam filters of those on your list.
A fee is usually charged for set up as well as a monthly subscription rate which will generally correlate with the size of the list you can have and the number of mailings you can do per month. We personally use Infusionsoft, for its CRM capabilities, and we also use Aweber for affiliate list, we have a few friends that swear by Constant Contacts though
Sing up on list
Once set up with a good service, the next step is to create a way for people to sign up for your list. This generally means creating a capture page or including a way for people to sign up on an existing website you already run. This is where they will input their email address. Depending upon the type of list you run, it may be necessary to include some reasons why people will want to sign up for your list. A great deal of advice on how to do this is available in books and in online courses.
After a proper way for people to sign up has been established, the next step is to begin driving traffic to that page to encourage sign ups. This can be done a number of ways, basically the same way you would drive traffic to any other kind of page. Once people begin signing up and confirming their email addresses, you will want to start off by sending them a welcome email which should be uniform and sent to everyone upon sign up.
It is important to mention here that the real meat of having and maintaining a great list that earns income is in the content. Each email you send out should add value to the customer’s life and make them glad they are signed up for the list. People have been known to remain subscribed to lists for years and years, actively reading and responding to offers. Success will come down to planning and delivering, consistently, the best possible content. Focus is crucial and lists must always be tightly focused because you must know the needs of your audience first and foremost so that you deliver what they expect from you. PLR content can come in handy when creating your email campaigns.
Funnel Pages for List Building
An important element of proper list building is the funnel page, also known as a capture page. Many marketers will spend a lot of time crafting an ideal page that wins people over and causes them to sign up for the list. Some even given free offers such as an ebook, helpful video or other goodies. The concept is that people will input their email in order to get the free gifts. This can be both positive, because it builds your list faster, or it can be negative because people signed up to get the gifts rather than because they purely wanted to be part of the list. Each marketer should evaluate the pros and cons of incentives before taking the time to create such incentives to give away.
On your funnel page, you will need to make a case regarding why your list matters to the prospect and convincing them that signing up is worth their time. Those doing niche marketing often focus on the content of their emails and how it serves the niche audience. Those promoting a store or brand will want to appeal to the needs and desires of their target audience.
Once your funnel page is fine tuned then it is ready to have traffic pushed its way. If you will be spending money, this is generally the part that will cost you. However, people do use social media and other free techniques to send traffic to a funnel page and this can work just fine if you are skilled at those types of marketing.
Advertising is Often Key to Building a Phenomenal List
When doing list building, different business, entrepreneurs and organizations all approach things differently. Some with heavy social media presences will be able to include links to their sign up page there and bring in new subscribers that way. Others will want to purchase advertising. Generally speaking, search engine optimization (SEO) is not very fruitful for funnel pages since search engines do not tend to like these types of pages.
What could work well is purchasing pay per view (PPV) advertising, banner ads or other types of ads. This generally keeps costs relatively low and is still capable of driving a substantial amount of traffic to your list. You do need your advertising to be carefully focused, however, in order to make sure that what you are buying is relevant to your list. It can take some time to find the right audience, but the fact that you can build a list of loyal, active customers does make list building worth the effort and expense.
Before purchasing advertising, it is a good idea to determine what a subscriber to your list is worth to you. It may take some time to develop a value if your list is brand new, but once you do then you will know how much to pay for advertising. When first starting out, it is nearly impossible to know these details and is merely a process of trial and error.
The Use of Autoresponders in List Building
Autorespenders are part of the bulk mailing service needed to run a list. They will allow people to sign up, send them a confirmation email and then usually a welcome email letting them know more about the list they are now subscribed to. This is a basic cost of running a list and absolutely necessary unless you are building a list without email addresses (such as through a blog or simply with social media profiles)
Be sure to carefully read all the information the company that runs your autoresponder offers you. It’s wise to know all of the ins and outs of this kind of service even if you are not tech oriented. If people have any issues with the autoresponder, you will want to be able to help them right away. It’s also a good idea to find out what happens if subscribers reply to one of your bulk emails. Sometimes, helping people who try to connect with you can build your audience and improve sales because if they have a good experience they may tell others or end up buying more from you.
Can a Person Make Their Living From a Quality List?
There have been numerous instances of solo entrepreneurs creating a focused list and earning significant income from it. It’s not something that a person sets up one week and then makes a full-time income from the next, but it certain can be a viable business if run, promoted and maintained with care.
It is possible to promote or sell nearly anything through lists and this is why they are such a flexible tool for marketers. As long as the content surrounding the offers is very strong, and the list itself is composed of individuals who want what you’re offering, then profits can be high. Usually, lists convert better than a standard website or other types of advertising.
Remember that the relationship component of list building is what makes it truly thrive as a marketing platform. You are making a more ‘intimate’ connection with the consumer because they have presumably invited you to contact them via their private personal email address. Use this to your advantage and practice ethical marketing and the sky really is the limit.
Consider Learning From a List Building Pro First
As easy as list building sounds, there are bound to be areas of challenge that you will need to overcome in order to reach your list’s full potential. Since list building has been a marketing tactic for well over a decade now, it is one type of Internet marketing that there is a wealth of information available regarding. Finding a mentor or choosing a course to learn from can be a very good idea and it can make the difference in not just whether or not you succeed with list building, but the level to which you succeed.
Experienced list building experts will know a variety of techniques that they can teach you and, if working with a coach one on one, you may be able to get specific advice regarding your specific niche. This can definitely turn the tide in your favor and help you not only build your list more effectively, but also help each email you send out generate more sales. There is definitely an art to list building and once you are skilled at, the differences in your income will definitely be apparent.
Strategy & Planning Will Always Matter in List Building
Your list will thrive if you remain consistent about sending out emails and if you have quality content to deliver. Even if you struggle with generating content yourself, there are professional writing services to help and even places to get photos to include or graphic design. Consider these if you want your emails to catch your subscribers’ eyes.
Before you can get very far with list building and really generate excellent revenue, it is necessary to lay out your plans. You want a schedule made well in advance as well as to have the content you will need. Even if your content will be time sensitive, you need to develop a routine of content production in order to make sure that your list thrives. The same is true for your promotional efforts at building your list. These, too, should be budgeted and planned out thoroughly before attempting.
Your strategy may need to be adjusted over time to get the results you want, but be sure to lay out a strategy anyway. Fine tuning will be needed, but you want to approach list building with as much intelligence and after as much research as possible.