What is the number one thing you can do, right now, that could have the greatest impact on your business or brand – and, here is the kicker…will cost you next to nothing?!

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My “Notes” when I did this podcast (in other words, expect some typos). This by no means covers everything in the podcast…so download the podcast for all the tips!

Last week we talked about “Social Laryngitis” – when you don’t know what to say online…whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Your website…whatever…so…if that sounds like you, you might want to go back and download that episode.

But this week…we are talking about one of my favorite subjects….

The Golden Goose!

This is a magic bullet when it comes to marketing when done right.

Most people know about it…few people do it…and even fewer people do it right.

So, what are we talking about?

Email marketing.

Now, if you just rolled your eyes and had visions of spammers hitting your email box with Viagra and tinnitus ads, this episode is REALLY for you!

You can email marketing WITHOUT burning your list and getting people pissed off.

Matter of fact…done right….people LOOK FORWARD to emails from you AND it can have an immediate effect on your bottom line (insert SALES HERE)…


Why does every successful company (online or offline) talk about the potential of their email “list?”

And why do so many companies make a BIG mistake thinking that email “lists” don’t apply to them?

First of all…

A “list” is basically a collection of information you have on your clients or customers.

At the most basic level, it is having their email address.

Since I do most of my personal marketing online, I am very motivated to get an email address.

Having an email address means we can market to them whenever we want…at essentially zero cost.

Proper list building and marketing can add a substantial boost to the bottom line of any business (even if you think yours does not apply…).

If you have an online business, the results are clear.

You have something to sell, you put a link in an email, and they click and buy.

Now, there is a whole lot more to it we will get into in future episodes, but let’s keep this at a 30,000 foot level for now.

…let’s start with an OFFLINE example…

Let’s say you own a small restaurant that specializes in seafood. For the weekend, you order 50 pounds of Halibut to be delivered on Thursday.

When the order comes in you accidentally get 500 pounds of Halibut (which frankly sounds like a lot of Halibut to me).

After a lengthy conversation with your Halibut supplier, you both agree that the additional 450 pounds is yours at an amazing discount unheard of in the Halibut industry (or whatever one would call it).

Things are about to get fishy

No time for any traditional print media promotion.

You can throw a sign out front, but what are the odds that someone walks by with a Halibut craving?

You do have one ace in the hole. You have an email list of people that come in to your restaurant and you have permission to contact them (via email).

Well, it is time to call in that mark.

You walk over to your computer and type out a short email. If I were writing the email for you, it might look something like this…

Email Subject Line: How I gained 450 pounds…

Our fish company just made a whale of a mistake…

…actually a halibut of a mistake.

They just sent me an extra 450 pounds of premium

Halibut filets. I am talking top shelf stuff!

When I tried to send them back, they offered

me an amazing price I could not refuse.

I mean this is once-in-a-lifetime kind of price

and I am passing it on to you.

Here is the deal…

Come in Friday or Saturday night for

Buy One, Get One on Halibut filets!

Our only rule is when they are gone,

they are gone and no take outs.

Hard to believe, but at this price, I will

go through all 450 pounds…FAST!

Yep…we are getting our Halibut on. The

Distributer’s loss is our gain!

Call 555-555-5555 to reserve your table now!

See you this weekend,


Frank’s Seafood Stop

P.S. This really is a once-in-lifetime deal and I

am sharing this with my best customers. Make

your reservation now (555-555-5555)

Now send the email out to your list.

If you have been building your list and courting them correctly, you will not only get some great email responses, you will get a big hit on reservations for the weekend and unload that Halibut*

*Here is one interesting fact. Many of the people that come in may not even order the Halibut. But your email reminded them of you, your restaurant, and how they would love to come by again. Either way, you made money off your list.

I know what you are saying. “Fred, I don’t own a restaurant. I just sell xyz or service xyz clients.”

Well, I don’t care if you sell rocks or provide a service that cleans rocks…there is a list to be built and money to be made from it!

I have had clients with all sorts of products. Many of which had products or services that I had no idea existed.

Even some of the more bizarre ones still had other people with the same interest that were out there looking for information. When that happens…ta da….a list is born.

There are lots of ways to communicate with your “list.” – I think email is one of the best ways to get an immediate response from your list.

Having a list of people you can market to (on demand) can be an invaluable profit center when you need it most.

So, if you think you don’t need an email list OR you think that your business is “special” in some way and you can’t create an email list…think again…

*Fred’s note: No Halibuts were harmed in this chapter. The Halibuts mentioned are works of fiction. Any actual Halibuts in real life resembling those mentioned in this chapter are purely coincidental.

So…how do you even start building a list?

Well before I answer this question…I want to talk about my LIME of the Week.

Now, whom I chose this week is going to get a few people not agreeing with me.

This particular campaign did not fair well in some ciricles.

I actually made this exact company the LEMON of the week back in episode one…

Yep…we are talking about McDonald’s again.

IN this case, we are talking about the “Signs” advertisement they ran.

If you saw it, you know exactly what I am talking about.

It is a serious of pictures of the McDonald’s marquee board with a variety of messages.

If you have missed the video for some reason you can see it our website at

Anyway, the messages on the signs say things like…

We believe in your Crystal

Happy 30th Ed and Beth

Welcome home 442nd Fighter Wing

But they also say things like…

Boston Strong


Save the Miners

We Remember 9/11

So, what did they do wrong?

Well, some people felt that it was incentive. That they mentioned tragedies to help sell burgers.

At the end of the day, I think McDonald’s is part of the community – good and bad. And I applaud a corporation that was willing to acknowledge both the good and bad things that happen in our lives.

Look, you don’t have to eat at McDonald’s. But you do have to acknowledge that people work in those restaurants. And people are affected both good and bad by what goes on.

I also think the limited backlash McDonald’s received points them in the right direction of what they need to focus on in their marketing the coming year.

So, some would have given the ad a “Lemon of the Week” I am on the other side of the fence…I give them the Lime of the Week!

So, back to where we left off..

There is no question the immediate benefit of an email list.

It costs next to nothing to build. Next to nothing to send out and email AND can have IMMEDIATE results…

…it is why I think it is, when used right, the Golden Goose of marketing for individuals, brands, and businesses.

So…how do you even start building a list?

There are many ways to get a list going. Fill out your name on a piece of paper…collect business cards…an online form.

Personally I like online the best. There are some great companies out there that make list building online an easy to manage process.

If you have a website, people are already there…you just need the sign up form.

If you have a brick and mortar business, you just need an iPad at the register with a quick form.

Let’s just say that people who visit your website have the opportunity to sign up and get on your list. I am sure you have seen this many times on sites you have visited.

Rule #1 – Why should I sign up for your emails?

This is a big question you better be able to answer.

When people come to your site and are presented with an email sign up, they know what is coming….emails.

People get plenty of emails, so they want to know if they sign up for one more message to clutter their inbox, there better be something valuable. This is done in two ways…

A Bribe or Ongoing Info (preferably both).

A bribe is something the person will immediately get; Free lunch, extra piece of pie, 50% off their next purchase, special report on unicorns.

It is called a “bribe” because that is just what you are doing.

You are bribing them for an email address, in exchange; you will give them a shiny object they want.

It is not a bad thing.

It is a just a fair exchange of information. Their email in exchange for

[Insert bribe here].

I am presented with these all the time online…sometimes I find the bribe worth it and sign up…other times I don’t.

Most people are of an “immediate” benefit mentality. So an immediate “bribe” is usually the best route.

The other route is an “Ongoing” benefit.

You have to be careful with this.

You don’t want to give people the impression that they will see their inbox jammed with emails from you every hour.

I would say something like; “From time to time we pass on special opportunities to our exclusive guests via email.”

Sounds fairly safe to me.

Rule #2 – See Double

No matter what type of “bribe” you offer, with few exceptions, I recommend using what is called “Double Opt-in.”

This is an industry standard that protects those signing up on your list (and ensures you have valid emails).

Basically, the user must “confirm” their sign up by clicking a link sent to the email address they signed up with.

It also means that you are not spamming anyone.

Your list provider is more likely to be happy with you when a few complaints come in – “Hey; THEY signed up for it (and “Double Opt-in” is your proof).”

Rule #3 – Be Professional (aka Don’t be a dork*)

*I actually had a word other that “dork” but Tracy made me take it out.

I want to mention three things here…

Don’t send out too many emails.

Don’t send emails that have nothing to do with why they signed up in the first place.

Don’t make everything a about selling them something.

By the way, “professional” does not mean you can’t have fun or be personable with your list – quit the opposite.

Many people have businesses that exist ONLY online.

For those businesses, online list building can be the biggest factor in success or failure.

Matter of fact, if you show me a successful online business that is not building and utilizing a list, I will show you company that could probably double or even triple their profits!

What about people that walk into my business (ie: not on the website)?

There are many ways to handle people that are “in person” but the rules are very much that same.

They need a reason to give you an email.

Remember the old “Drop your business card to win a free lunch?” – Yep, that was a bribe.

In person still needs to have a reason, but also a BIGGER reason if you want to get them on the Double Opt-in list.

It may be worth the expense of having an Apple iPad or similar device; right up front were people can sign up online (but still be in your business).

You might be surprised if you ask people in person, and have the right bribe, you will get a lot of sign ups.

That is where I stopped on “Notes for Podcast” certainly more info IN the podcast itself. 🙂