If you were to talk to 100 successful online marketers and ask them “what is the one thing you would do differently if you could go back in time and just be starting off?,” the unequivocal top answer would be “I would start my list sooner.”
For most companies, building a list of people who volunteer to receive your regular communications is more important than anything else. Without brilliant content already in place, list building is very slow and does not seem so important in the beginning. But it is.
Look at some of the internet marketers that have hundreds of thousands of people on their list. All they have to do is keep their list happy and growing, and they have a more sustainable business model than many traditional brick and mortar companies who are hoping the next customer is going to phone in or walk in the door. What a wonderful “turning of the tables” to have your prospective customers give you their email address and know that every time you produce content, a respectable portion of the list will open what you send and consume its content!
The Elements Of List Building
The simplest way to build your list of loyal followers is to produce great content that attracts them in the first place. Getting a portion of your traffic to opt-in to a list is not hard, so long as your marketing plan provides a logical process for doing so.
If your content is contained within a tight niche inside of an industry, then most likely there exist many different products or services that fall within the general scope of that niche. If you happen to write an article about a certain “widget” that serves to solve a common problem found by consumers in your niche, than a logical list to form would be the group of people most likely to encounter the problem that the widget solves.
For example, if your company manufactures and sells medical equipment, then perhaps an x-ray machine might be something that you could promote on your medical equipment website. As you create and publish a superbly informational blog post about the “Ten most important issues one should consider when buying an x-ray machine,” you must also create a link and a promotional piece that encourages people to join the “Informed medical equipment consumers” list.
Perhaps you could offer a free white paper on “How to save money over the life of ownership for most of the equipment in a medical office.” I suspect people who have the responsibility for selecting and purchasing medical equipment might be interested in such a document and would gladly trade their name and email address for a well-written document on this subject.
And this is why your content must be excellent. For visitors to be enticed into responding to your free offer of a white paper, they must already be “sold” on your ability to produce quality information in an easy-to-digest format. They must believe the content will live-up to the bold statement of the title, and if they think the content in your blog is superb, then they most likely will want to check out your other free offerings.
We build our lists so that we can implement a list marketing program. The following post of the Internet Squeeze focuses on how we use these lists of email subscribers to promote and sell our products and services.