A popular saying among internet marketers is, “The money is in the list.” Other similar phrases abound but the basic meaning is that once you sell to one person on your list, the likelihood of them purchasing from you again increases dramatically.
Why is this true?
It goes back to good old fashioned sales and customer service. If someone likes you and trusts you, they will more likely purchase from you than a complete and total stranger. Likewise, if they have already purchased from you and they like your product and received good customer service, that memory will last and they will purchase from you again.
Think of your own real life experiences going into a brick and mortar business. Were you greeted when you arrived? Did anyone ask if you needed help while you shopped? Was someone available to answer your questions or to search their stock room for a different size?
If the business owner was genuinely happy to see you in his store and went out of his way to make sure you were happy, you will remember this experience and think of this store again in the future, even if you didn’t make a purchase that same day. This is an example of liking and trusting the business owner.
If, however, you didn’t see anyone in charge and felt like you were being ignored, what are the chances you’d go back there? Slim to none, I would guess. The same situation is true for those with online businesses. Potential customers want to know who you are first, to know that you’re trustworthy, before they spend money with you. Once you have proven yourself and have met their expectations, these same customers will remember your name and come back in the future.
It’s part of human nature.
Who wants to repeat a bad experience on purpose? Generally we all prefer to have good experiences with our purchases, whether online or offline.
Equipment Necessary forListBuilding
Absolutely every single business owner should have a list and that includes brick and mortar offices or stores as well as online business or blog owners. The vast majority of people use email these days and this is the easiest way to stay in touch with customers. Even if you don’t have a website yet (and you absolutely should have at least a website but definitely a blog!) it’s very simple to set up a list and start growing it.
A list is nothing more than the names and emails of people who want to receive your notices and/or newsletters. However, it’s widely recommended that you use a third party email marketing service to keep these names organized and to abide by the CAN- SPAM rules and regulations. The free Yahoo and Google email accounts are certainly budget-friendly but if you start sending hundreds of emails from those email addresses, you will certainly be flagged as a spammer based on the volume of emails you send.
Step One – Find a Good Service
You’ll need to do a search of email marketing services but two of the best are Aweber and Get Response. There is a monthly fee for each (though both do offer 30-day trial periods) and there are certain limitations to how large your list can get before the price increases but both are just fine for starting out.
Step Two – Make a List
Once you create your account, you’re ready to create your list. This consists of a few steps, such as naming your list, adding your company branding and contact information, as well as adding a signature that is attached to every email you send. Both of these email providers have very easy-to-follow setup wizards that make the process stress-free.
Step Three – Build Your List!
The next step will differ depending on if you have a brick and mortar business or an online website. For brick and mortar businesses, you will most likely collect the emails on a handwritten list usually kept by the register. As customers are paying you can ask them for their emails in return for a special coupon or for advance notice of sales. Since they are adding their names to the list themselves, they have already given permission to join. All you have to do now is enter those names and addresses manually into your email program.
If you have an online business, you will have a box on your website (aka the opt-in box – such as the one below this post or in Blogelina’s sidebar) where they will enter their name and email.
In order to confirm their permission to add their names, the customer will have to watch their inbox for a confirmation notice from your email provider. Within the text of this email will be a validation link. If they click the link, they have granted their permission to be on your list. If they ignore the link, nothing happens and they will not receive your emails.
The nice part about using the opt-in box is you don’t have to physically add the names to your list. It happens automatically once the confirmation is received.
Now you officially have the beginnings of a list and the fun begins. Obviously you have to promote the fact that you have a list, which means you better have a plan for what kind of information you’re going to send out and how frequently. If you want to send out monthly sales coupons to your list, tell them that. If you have a monthly newsletter filled with information and tips, make sure that’s clear. Be transparent with your plan and with how frequently you will send information so you won’t be labeled a spammer.
Even if you’re clear about your plans, some people need that extra push to sign up for a list. That extra push can be in the form of a freebie, such as a free report or a short audio. Basically, you’re agreeing to give them valuable information immediately, for free, in exchange for their email. The genius of this move is that the link to the freebie is sent in the very first, immediate email message, which the customer can only receive if they click that confirmation link. It’s a win-win for both the list owner and the customer.
Another wonderful feature of an email provider (autoresponder) is the ability to schedule notices to be sent on future dates. Essentially you could sit for an entire afternoon and schedule messages for the next 4 months (or more) and they will be sent according to the terms you set. Remember, even if you have just one person on your list, you need to fulfill your promise about sending valuable content, so get started right away.
Once your list is set up you might see an immediate interest with people signing up right away. Be sure to analyze your sales each month to see if those who are purchasing are on your list. Also check to see if those who purchase are quick to sign up for your list.
But eventually that interest will fade unless you make a concerted effort to market your list. Creating a specific marketing plan for promoting your list using the ideas on the following pages will help reignite interest in your list. Also try switching your freebies and track which freebie gets the most attention. This will prove that either the topic or the format is what your customers want. Just as each business is uniquely different, so are the ways to market your list. It really takes some testing and tweaking to find the best combination for your business.