You may have heard it repeated ad infinitum the money is in the list but, with the many varied available communication methods, many of which are free or cost very little, you may be wondering if list building is really that important.
Although success online is possible without a list, having a list gives you tremendous leverage.
Success in business depends on having customers and having a list means you have access to people that can be readily converted into customers. Studies indicate obtaining new customers can cost six times as much as maintaining current ones and one of the most valued assets of any business is the list of customers.
There are several methods that can be used for building a list. Some may work in some situations and may fail completely in others. The factors that contribute to the success efforts include the niche and the method used but, what is critical, is how when and where the method is used.
The fuel required to power the list-building engine is traffic. Nothing happens online without traffic and the more traffic the better. There are hundreds of methods for generating traffic and, again, some may be more effective that others.
If you have a budget, and you should, even if it is a small one, you can consider buying advertising, either in the form of banner ads or pay per click ads, such as Google AdWords where you bid for keywords and only pay when the link is clicked. You can also buy solo ads in ezines, or ads on high traffic sites such as Facebook.
Before buying ad space on the seemingly unlimited amount of available cyberspace, some research is necessary to find out the type of audience the space receives. Sending messages to the wrong audience will negate all your list-building efforts.
If you are like most people, you may have a preference for free list-building strategies. These can include social bookmarking, article distribution, blog posting, cross promotion, co-registration and, of course, search engine optimization. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method, and the suitability of each method for the purpose of list building should be carefully examined.
List Building and Traffic Generation are Complimentary
Traffic generation does not require a list, but list building does require traffic and there are other components that are absolutely necessary to build a list.
You need a way to capture the information that goes into the list. Lists can be made up of simple e-mail addresses, or they can contain much more information such as names, addresses, telephone number, age and sex.
The details captured will depend on the purpose of the list and the niche in which the business operates. The site or page to which you direct the traffic must have a double opt-in form that captures the information and automatically enters it into a database.
The attached autoresponder will respond to any messages received. You will also need a facility to communicate with list members. E-mail still remains the most popular and cost-effective method for communication, but other methods can include text messaging.
You now have to answer these questions: What may be the most important determinant of success? How do you get subscribers to opt-in to your list?
The design and placement of the opt-in form: A more attractive form translates to more visitors and the content on the form is just as important. Testing has shown higher opt-in rates result when less information is needed.
Where the form is located: Some more testing may be required, but generally, presenting the opt-in form at the top portion of the page, can increase opt-in conversions.
The offer: Visitors are becoming much more sophisticated and you must give them a compelling enough reason to get them to give their contact information. The offer should express the value it represents. It should not be monetary value, but in time savings or added convenience.
How the message is delivered: There are reasons why video is popular in delivering messages. It can increase credibility and you may wish to include video in your messages.
There may be several others strategies, and each should be thoroughly tested and modified to achieve optimum results.
Margaret Mackay writes about Internet marketing and list building on her website at http://internetmarketingveterans.com/.