Unless you have been hiding under a rock while working online….. no doubt you have heard the term “List Building”. People like me go on and on about it all the time, Right? That is because I know from my own experience that it works. It has helped me to build multiple teams to over 1000 people and has made me a lot of money in the process.
However, I do know there are a lot of people who just don’t get it, think it is all hype, or its just about us professional marketers trying to sell you tools so we make a commission on them.
Today I am going to talk about list building in a way that you may not have heard before…. especially from a marketer who knows that it works. I am going to talk about the problems and limitations as well as the benefits. In other words I want to look at the whole story without trying to sell you anything.
What is List Building?
Just so we are clear about what I am talking about, list building in the context of marketing is all about the creation of a contact list. That contact list is niche specific. For example I could create a contact list of people who are interested in health, or cars, or movies (or anything else you can think of).
EVERY business has a contact list (unless it is brand new). This could be as simple as a written list of customer names, a list of credit card payments, or even a file of invoices. Obviously not every business has a way of contacting their customers, but most online businesses have to have some kind of contact information – How else can they send you your purchase?
List building is basically just a way of organising those contact details so it can be used to send information quickly and easily.
Why Does List Building Work?
The simple reason why list building works is because the people on that list are either already customers of a business, or have demonstrated an interest in it (by creating an account for example). Every person on that list therefore is part of a very specific target audience. There is no one on that list who is not interested in the products or services that business provides and as a result more sales or “conversions” are made (its not always about making sales).
When Does List Building Not Work?
Usually list building does not work when there is a disconnect between those on the contact list and the business (or sender). This happens for many different reasons, for example, it could be due to someone not giving the correct email address, or giving one which is never checked. It could also be due to the fact the customer only wanted to purchase a one off item, or looses interest in the products or services of that business.
People loose interest in things frequently, but a major reason is when they receive an overwhelming amount of correspondence all saying the same thing. People also tend to get irritated if they are constantly receiving pressure to make purchases.
One of the main benefits of list building is the ability to create loyality, a sense of community and to strengthen the relationship between the sender and the receiver. List building also does not work when these things are not the focus of communications sent.
The Main Problem With List Building
The main problem with list buiding is the fact that it is often abused. There are people who sell databases of contact information for example, who don’t really care who is on the list and if it relates to the product or service of the person purchasing the list.
In addition, especially with people new to the industry, it is not done very well.
With the development of list building tools which can be used by practically anyone now, it is obvious that there are going to be mistakes made, bad practice and abuse. That in turn can and does impact on the effectiveness of list building in general.
Is List Building Complicated?
In some ways list building can be a bit technical, but it can also be quite simple. You can build a list just by asking people for their email address for example, or you can use specially designed webpages which gather the information and organise it for you.
The part that new marketers find most difficult is being able to write emails or produce newsletters in a way which does not cause a disconnect. The most common mistakes made are:
- trying to be too “salesy”
- not working on developing a relationship and trust
- sending the same information over and over again
- not focusing on value
Fact is it is impossible to please everyone all the time, so disconnects are to be expected. When you are learning how to write good emails chances are you will get it wrong more often than when you have more experience….. but there are ways to reduce that happening too.
Know that some marketers actually work to get disconnects because they know this can be a very effective way of getting a very specific type of person to remain on their list – everyone else gets filtered out and they are left with a smaller but more effective contact list!
Is List Building Worth The Effort?
Here I just want to scream out yes yes yes…… but instead I am going to ask you 2 questions:
Do you think it is easier to get sales and referrals from people who have already told you they are interested in what you have to offer?
Do you think you would get more sales and referrals with a list of 100 people who are interested in what you have to offer than if you have 10 interested people?
Yes there are a few issues with list building as I have explained already…… BUT if you stick at it then you will ultimately end up with a large list of people who WANT to hear what you have to say.
Just like any skill that you have to practice to get better at, list building can seem hard at first. It will seem like it is not working at times and you will get frustrated and demotivated. However list building also teaches you how to be a better marketer with EVERY ad you test, and EVERY email you send. The more you do it the better you get.
Oh and just so you know the best emails to use are the ones that are NOT salesy, let your personality be seen, and focus on being genuine. In other words just be yourself and tell people you are just starting out – they will help you to learn!
How to Start List Building?
If you want to start list building then there are many ways you can do it. You may already have some kind of contact list if you have been working online already. For example if you have a social media following, or a list of people who have purchased from you already. If you do then all you need to do next is work on a way to organise that information so you can use it effectively (see tools below).
If you don’t have any kind of list already then you need to start from the perspective of who is it that you want to be on your contact list. Only by knowing who you want on your list can you start to design a method of gaining the right contact details.
What are the people you want to connect with interested in?
That is the only question you need to ask yourself – it will tell you how to filter those people out and get them onto your list (because you use that to create your ads). It also tells you what you need to talk about in your emails. In fact when you know what someone is interested in then you also know how to find them….. The internet is full of groups of people who have specific interests!
Do You Need A Large List To Be Successful?
Some people think the more people they have on their contact list the better, but actually this makes it a lot harder. It is easier to manage a list of 50 people than 500. It is even easier if you have just 5 people who really love what you do than 100 who are not so interested.
I recommend you try to start with gaining just a couple of people onto your list. How? The easiest way is to ask them. Explain what you are trying to do and the fact you are just learning about how to do it. People you know already are likely to be much more receptive and forgiving than people who don’t know you yet. This is especially true when you explain you are just learning….. so be honest about that.
What Tools Are Needed?
Technically you can start list building with a notebook to write down the details of your contacts. You can use a gmail account, a spreadsheet, a Facebook or Twitter account etc. It is only when you want to design newsletters and send emails to everyone on your list at one time that you need any kind of marketing tool at all. Even then you can use some simple options and you can get some that are 100% free as well.
What do I Recommend?
I do not want to try and sell anything on this post, but I do know people reading it are likely to want a recommendation……. so lets stick with free!
Personally I would recommend an account with Leadsleap (you don’t need to upgrade to get access to the tools). This account will grow with you as your knowledge grows, and it has a lot of guidance available too. To be honest it is the only account you will ever need when it comes to list building – I have tried them all and nothing else has everything this account has.
Do I have More Training Available?
At the moment I have a limited amount of training material written about list building and about using the account with Leadsleap. I am writing more ASAP and will organise and publish it on my website Elite List Building – Yes you can join that for free as well…..
I hope you have enjoyed this post…. do let me know below if you have any comments or questions.