You may have heard the phrase “list building” as it pertains to starting an online business. First, allow me to explain exactly what listing building is. Your list consists of the first names and email addresses of the people who have come to you to learn more about your niche topic. If you have experience in the offline world, the list would be referred to as the database of your prospects, customers, and clients. By filling in their contact information in the subscription form you have set up on your blog or website, these visitors have given you permission to send their email messages about the products and services you have to offer until they choose to unsubscribe and opt out of your list at some point in the future. This is “permission based marketing” in accordance with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, signed into law by then President George W. Bush.
The importance of building this list (and by “building” I mean both growing the number of subscribers as well as serving those already subscribed) every day cannot be overstated. When you have the ability to stay in contact and to communicate with your prospects, and eventually with your customers you are truly leveraging the power of the internet. Whether I am sending out an email to them while sitting on a bench near the beach in Santa Barbara or writing to them from an internet cafe in Amsterdam, the result is the same; almost instantaneous communication with the people in my global community.
If you take the time and make the effort to place the activity of list building at the top of your to-do list of tasks to accomplish for your online business each day, you will be rewarded with both personal and financial satisfaction for many years to come. Also, you will have your finger on the pulse of what is truly important to your prospects as they communicate back to you as to what they want and need from you in regards to your topic.
By now you may be asking how you can best go about building your existing list. I’ll share a few ideas with you that continue to work well for me and for my students. Here are some to get you started:
- Offer a free giveaway, also referred to as an “ethical bribe” that is irresistible. What information do you possess on your topic that will be seen as highly desirable and a must-have by your readers? Observe your own behavior as you surf the internet in search of excellent information on topics of interest to you; when you come across someone’s site that you are not yet familiar with and who has not been recommended to you as a source of information, how does their free report or other giveaway make you feel about exchanging your name and email address in order to receive it?
- Share your blog posts far and wide. Social media works extremely well for this purpose. I like to manually share my posts on my Facebook wall and within the groups I manage or are a part of, as well as on LinkedIn and Twitter. I also use a blog post sharing site called Just Retweet to submit my posts to be shared by fellow bloggers in my own or in complimentary niches.
- Send a short description of your post, and the link to it (known as the perma-link) to your list and contacts. No matter how large your list grows, it is always a smart idea to remind them that you are still actively blogging on your topic.
- Repurpose everything you write and speak about into new blog posts and more. I may record an audio training (my Ask Connie Anything calls become new podcasts regularly) and turn that into a post, or combine several posts on the same topic together to create a short report. If I am speaking at my own or someone else’s event, even my PowerPoint presentation becomes the basis of many new posts over time.
As you can see, building a list through writing and sharing information and ideas on your topic on your WordPress blog and elsewhere is an excellent marketing strategy for online entrepreneurs.