If you own or are thinking to own a business online or offline, I suggest you read along. This is something that interests you. If you are not using the principles of "List Building", you are making your business a lot harder than what it should be.
If you have or have not heard of this term, I will tell you exactly in the following paragraphs.
The first thing I did was jump into Google and make a search on "List Building Definition." However, not to my surprise, nothing relevant came up!
Seriously, I could not believe it! A key process, probably the only process that matters the most when it comes to online marketing does not have a clear definition. It is pretty much named everywhere among Internet Marketers! No wonder why everyone is so confused.
So, given I did not find what I was looking for, I changed my search to "What is list building". Somehow, I got a definition from Wikipedia. Although it is not a reliable source, Wikipedia is a good starting point. Here's what I found:
"(List builder) A list builder, also known as a dual list, dual list box, disjoint list box, list shuttle, shuttle, swap list and two sided multi-select is a graphical user interface element in which a user can select a Set of text values by moving values between two list boxes … "(You can read the rest if you want on Wikipedia? HINT: This is not List Building)
Well, I was not any closer to getting the definition that I needed, but on this same search I found an article from Derek Halpern that definitely helps on understanding why everyone must do it. The article basically tells you that if you are not doing list building, you are an idiot. By the end of this article, you can draw your own conclusion about this statement.
It also somehow told me what to do but it did not tell me what List Building really is, so I decided to explain it myself. To make it very clear, let's dissect the concept in two parts: List and Building.
In the internet marketing jargon, it reflects to a list of prospects that you can contact multiple times until they unsubscribe from that particular list. The components of this list are email addresses that people entered on a form.
As its definition, building refers to the act of making something. In this case, we are referring to the list. Building is the process of getting email addresses into the list.
Converting visitors / users / seekers into subscribers and followers is the essence of building a list. The user / visitor has 100% control on their decision to opt-in or out to that list. Normally, users / visitors will enter their email address in exchange for a gift or give away.
After reading several paragraphs, you might already have an idea on you head of what list building is, but give me the chance to give you a better definition.
"List Building is the process of getting people to enter their email address into a form strategically placed on your website normally in exchange for a gift."
Now you know what list building is. We are getting there, but you still need to know an acceptable reason why you need to know this.
The list is an asset and probably the most important asset for you business.
Why do you need to do List Building?
Let me give you an example. Imagine you go to a restaurant, you have dinner, you pay, and you leave. How many times do they ask you if you want to leave your personal details or your email address?
Not many, right? This is a clear example of people getting listing building wrong. It's precisely the same process for people to come to your website and leave.
Read carefully and with understanding. When you leave the restaurant, chances are they may come back if there is a good service, the food is good, and it has a good environment. You may even recommend the restaurant to your friends.
Now, everything is fine so far, and then the restaurant owner must be pleased because there would be the chance of them to return (if they did all the above right).
Think about it. After you leave, the restaurant owner has no way to contact you later on, follow up with a survey, send you an offer, or a simple thank you card. Can you see the problem here?
If you can not see anything wrong, it's fine. I am actually here to tell you what is terrible wrong here and how you can get it right. After this, you may start enjoying having more returning customers and visitors on your online or offline business.
Now looking at the statistics, it is six times harder to please new customers than loyal customers (BizGrader.com). How can you create loyal customers? Getting them to sign up a form with their email address. Yes, exactly.
Using the principles of list building, you will not just please more customers with less effort, but also spend less money on your overall marketing efforts. This is proven and in the case of restaurants where only email subscribers purchased 17% more than those who were not on their email list (Forrester Research).
Simply imagine, if this is the case of a restaurant that has a minimum online presence, what would this do to your online based business?
Can you see now what was wrong with our example? When a visitor comes to your website / business and you do not have a way for them to leave their details, they will leave and you will have no way to contact them EVER again.
This is why I was saying that The List is an asset. List Building is the only way for you to follow-up and create a connection with your audience and customers.
Now you know why List Building is critical for your business. Before I tell you how to implement its principles, let me add something to our previous list building definition:
"List Building is the process of getting people to enter their email address into a form strategically placed on your website normally in exchange of a gift with the aim of building a loyal customer base, add value and sell products with less effort."
Your email subscribers list is an asset for your offline or online business. Why? It contains the list of previous customer and potential customers that you can contact in a matter of minutes (if not seconds) directly to their email inbox.
If you are already doing an online business, but have not started your list, I hope you are convinced now of beginning the process. If you are an offline business, I suggest you think about this as well.
If you have something to think about before getting started, you definitely did not understand the concept. I would encourage you to read this post again before proceeding to the next paragraphs.
If you are ready, keep on reading because the following paragraphs will tell you how to do list building. You can start enjoying more free time to focus on other parts of your business instead of doing the hard sell and chasing customers.
How to Get Started on List Building
Start from day one. However, if you have been online or you have an online business and you have not yet started, you do not need to worry. You can start in a matter of minutes. All you need is to understand the system required to do this.
To build your list, you simply need an Email Autoresponder service.
As I mentioned before, the emails are captured in a list using a form. Once captured, they are stored in a database from which you will be able to send emails with a few clicks.
An email autoresponder service will provide you all the necessary tools to create and maintain your list, form creation, email list storage, and send emails at any time to all your contacts.
There are multiple service providers out there that provide a similar service. The difference usually comes down to the cost and possible integrations that you would want to use.
I personally use Aweber. This autoresponder provides satisfying service and tools. It is very easy to integrate with your website and other systems.
Aweber is easily scalable. It grows with your business and you can create unlimited lists. Although, I would suggest you start with one list and then start creating sublists. Afterwards, use them to segment your market as per your business requires. You can also separate loyal customers from prospects or by products.
Of course, you desire to know what's going on with the emails you are sending out. You want to receive feedback on what is working and what is not. Keep an eye on two main statistics – open rates and clickthrough rates.
I know it sounds complicated, but in simple words, List Building means watching how many people open your emails, read your message, and how many people click on links that you send on those messages.
There are few more statistics that you will want to watch but these two give you an overview.
Looking at statistics will allow you to understand your customer and make changes. This increases your engagement and creates of your list a raving fan list.
If the concept of email autoresponder services still seems a bit abstract, you can watch this video it will make it a lot simpler.
Now that you understand this concept, there is one last thing that you need to understand. This is what makes the whole list building concept so powerful.
As the name states with the email autoresponder services, you can create emails that are automatically sent to your subscribers. On other words, you will be able to maintain a close relationship with your customer / prospect in Autopilot.
You can send offers in Autopilot! (How do you think all those internet millionaires make money?)
Best of all, you can do all this while working hard for your business or even while you are relaxing on the beach.
If this does not excite you to get started, you are missing a lot!
Your business will suffer if you do not do list building. Let me sum up. The REAL definition of list building is:
"List Building is the process of getting people to enter their email address into a form strategically placed on your website normally in exchange of a gift. We do this with the aim of building a loyal customer base, add value and sell products with less effort . List building is possible by the use of tools such an email Autoresponder system which allows the process to happen in Autopilot (while you are in the beach). "