Why You Need To Build a List – List Building 101

By Mark / February 20, 2012
listbuilding 101

listbuilding 101If there’s one thing that divides people more than anything else in internet marketing it’s list building.

As a marketer you either hate the thought of list building or you love it.

As a consumer you either welcome being on lists or you do everything to avoid being on a list.

Either way the root cause is the same… perception.

People think that email lists are created for one reason and one reason only to sell products. With this slight generalization I am referring to 90% of marketers and probably nearer 100% of consumers.

But that perception is wrong, an email list is a way of building a relationship, at least that is the way it should be. Unfortunately most marketers are convinced that a list is just a way to sell products day after day.

If you get on a list like this then do what I do (unless I am deliberately watching a marketers processes!) UN- SUB-SCRIBE.

Email lists are very powerful tools, If I wanted to make a extra $20,000 this month I could do it with quite easily by emailing my lists every couple of days with a different offer.

The trouble is that I would probably lose quite a few subscribers and would need to replace them by aggressively building my list, this then becomes a vicious circle and is the main reason that email marketing has such a bad name.

There is a different way and it’s not as profitable in the short term but it does bring long term rewards.

Why You Should Build A List

Firstly lets look at why you should build a list, Google Sucks , no really it does, one day you’ll have a site ranking well and earning you money the next the traffic dries up and you are back to square one.

With a list of subscribers you can bypass these fluctuations in google, the subscribers you pick up while you are ranking highly in google are still there after the traffic dries up.

Take this post for example, even if google doesn’t index it I know that it’s going to go out to the 2000 or so subscribers to this blog via the automated blog broadcast I have set up.

How powerful is that?

I can also email my other lists and direct them to this post, once again a potential readership of 8000 without relying on google.

I talked a few weeks ago about why you should build a personal blog even if you are just starting out on your online journey. If you add a list building element to your blog you can start to build a relationship with your subscribers and as long as you are honest and transparent with them they’ll stick with you for a long time.

Part of that relationship building process is opening yourself up to them and letting them know about you and your values. It doesn’t involve trying to sell OPP (Other Peoples Products) at every opportunity.

How to Build a List

Building a list is simple. You need 3 things..

An Autoresponder such as Aweber, or Get Response (I personally prefer Aweber)
A Form with which you can capture the email addresses (provided by your autoresponder)
A series of emails with which you communicate.

Thats it.

It can help to offer a “bribe” to get people to sign up a guide you’ve written or a video series. As you can see I don’t do that, thats not to say I don’t give my subscribers “bribes” , I do, but I don’t want them to sign up just because I am going to give them something.

I want them to sign up because they want to read my posts and get the information I offer.
This way I get fewer signups but I do get higher open rates.

This is also why i’ve stopped using pop ups, I used one for a while offering a book I have listed on amazon for free rather than the $12 it costs. However although it increased signups I never really felt happy with using pop ups so I stopped using them.

How To Communicate with Your Subscribers

This is the bit most people get wrong, generally marketers can resist selling so they are immediately on the offensive trying to sell a product.

Don’t do this.

Your one and only job when you get a subscriber is to ensure that they stay a subscriber. You do this by building a relationship and getting them to know like and trust you. Then and only then should you try to sell them anything.

Lets get something straight – there is nothing wrong with selling something that’s good and offers value and that your subscribers will find useful. What is wrong is offering products for sale just to make a quick buck.

Resist the urge!

It makes much more sense to create products that your customers want rather than to promote products that other people have created that don’t address the needs of your customers.

I’ve seen the same marketer offer his list 4 similar products from 4 different marketers in 2 weeks because he believed that “They Only Like Traffic Generating Products”

I really can’t understand that mentality, If I thought my subscribers were that deluded to believe that traffic generation was the only thing that worked i’d create a free product to show them the error of their ways not try to sell them more products about traffic generation!

Be honest and upfront with your subscribers if you believe a product is going to be useful to them then show them why make sure they know what they are getting before they buy. If you don’t think it will be useful then don’t promote it.

Also make sure that your subscribers get the best possible offer on your products if you create them.

When I created “ A Fresh Approach to Affiliate Marketing” and “List Building Debunked” I made sure that my subscribers not only got to see the Part 1 before the release but I also used a dime sale and made sure my subscribers knew the second it went live so they could buy it at the lowest possible price.

Finally, the one last piece of advice I can give you is… Know why you are building a list.

Leave a comment and let me know about what you think about the post (and don’t for get to share the post…thank you!).

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Mark

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14 comments
Mike From Maine

I’m considering building a list for other people who are interested in making money making lots of little niche sites. I feel like I need to show my success, though, before I can gain their trust. However, I think I should begin sooner than later so they can see me go from start to finish.

Thanks for the kick in the butt, Mark 🙂
Mike From Maine recently posted..Mid-month expense report for FebruaryMy Profile

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Mark
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It’s never too early to start Mike, Not building a list sooner was my biggest mistake

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paul nicholls blog

good post mark

i always enjoy reading your posts and always enjoy reading list building articles and posts in general because its such an important topic one that i know most marketers overlook

im maybe one of the minority but ive always loved building lists and and as you say “you either love it it or hate it” bit like marmite i guess which i think is sick btw lol.

i think one of the reasons why i take list building a lot more seriously is because i paid $297 for a list building course a few years ago which really taught me some powerful stuff. Back then i wasnt experienced enough to really appreciate the information and i have only started to implement the stuff from that course in the last 12 months

i always put myself in my subscribers shoes and try to think that if i got the information that im giving away for free would i find it valuable, and i def would so thats how i usually look at things and i often get emails from people saying they love the videos too which is always great to hear

anyway went through your report and it was really good, cheers mark

paul
paul nicholls blog recently posted..6 Secret Cash Cranking Ingredients That Your Mom Never Gave YouMy Profile

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Mark
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Paul… I like marmite…especially on toast!

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Rich Russell

I am just starting to take my personal blog seriously including adding an autoresponder series.

I never really wanted to be in the ‘How to make money online’ niche, so my emails are more about mindset and avoiding the pitfalls. I am probably guilty of telling them what I think they need to hear rather than selling them what they want to buy.

That might be the fast way to go broke but my target audience are people who are willing to take this seriously and treat it like a business.

The ones who are still looking for the easy button can join somebody else’s list.
Rich Russell recently posted..Google and Losing the Content FarmMy Profile

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Mark
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Rich,

Thats a good attitude to have!

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Ron

It is funny I joined WPG 3 years ago and back then you preached against building a list. I have been in the forum long enough that I have watched you evolve and change your business. I know I trust your opinion and if you now think list building is the way to go I guess I need to start building a list. After all WPG made it possible for me to make money online.
Ron recently posted..Budget Rent A Car Los AngelesMy Profile

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Mark
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You are right Ron, I used to hate the idea of building a list then I finally realised that io could do it on my terms and not have to do what everyone else does.

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Sue

I certainly agree with your view on selling to your list. I have unsubscribed many many times when the emails are nothing but selling day after day. I didn’t sign up to get the hottest new product, I signed up to get information, training etc. I can think of several well known marketers that their list is sent nothing but crap daily, I will put up with it for a little while to see if any good information comes along but if it doesn’t I unsubscribe.

On the other hand I haven’t started a list because I feel like I don’t have enough to offer people without sending junk simply to send an email. If I am going to send out emails, they need to be worthy and of interest. I guess when I figure that out I will start a list.

Thanks for your post
Sue recently posted..A Romantic Country Garden With Plants that Taste as Good as they LookMy Profile

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Mark
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Sue,

Even if you just send notifications of your new blog posts initially it’s a good start, then a while down the line when you do have something to say you have your list already built

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Sue

Thanks Mark,
Food for thought. This is one area I haven’t really studied yet. I have a couple of your products and I really like them. I guess I better get “List Building Debunked” too.
Sue recently posted..A Romantic Country Garden With Plants that Taste as Good as they LookMy Profile

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Dave E Wilkes

I built my first website ten years ago, and in the last few years have built more.
Up until now I have just had subscriber boxes on odd pages and I thought that my readers would sign up if they wanted to.
The result?
Small lists! .
And when I say small, I mean microscopic!
Now I am convinced that having a list and keeping in contact with my subscribers is the way to go.
My only regret is that I didn’t start list building earlier.
Thanks for the info you offer, Mark. I am learning a lot and expect that soon I will be getting your List Building Debunked.
Dave E Wilkes recently posted..How to Feel Better About Yourself in One Easy StepMy Profile

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Robert @ Internet Marketing

Thanks Mark for this great article.

I started building a list from Feb to start protecting my blog from “Google Madness!” but I have not really started to build a relationship with my list as yet.
Robert recently posted..Top 5 Tips To Find Ideas For Writing BlogMy Profile

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