Aah the old days when you wanted to talk to someone you corked your message inside of a bottle and hoped for the best. Then it was about creating an email list with a couple hundred names on it.
Nowadays, it is about getting a whole list of people.
There are many ways to get a list going. Personally I like online the best. There are some great companies out there that make list building online an easy to manage process.
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 list 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
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.
I will cover these three items in greater detail in another “Email” post, but thought I better mention it here before someone runs off and builds (and burns) a list before getting to that chapter.
By the way, “professional” does not mean you can’t have fun or be personable with your list – quit the opposite.
But I Don’t Have a Restaurant!
Still “hooked” on that restaurant example aren’t you? Ok…
The fact of the matter is just about anyone can build a list of raving and responsive fans. Don’t think for a second you even have to have a brick and mortar store.
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 may get a lot of sign ups.
List Building and Beyond
List building goes well beyond the scope of promoting just your own stuff. A well-managed list can yield additional income and opportunities on so many levels.
You may not have anything to “sell” your list. Even if that is the case (which I am finding hard to believe) you are going to want to stay in contact with them with periodic updates.
In the end, whatever your business, Email List Building needs to be a part of it.
Need Help? Email me!
Be The Lime Consulting Packages À La Carte! – Do you just need a quick tune-up, second set of eyes, or brainstorming with YOUR needs in mind? Email me at Info@BeTheLime.com* and let’s squeeze some limes!
*You want to know something really weird? The email actually goes to ME. No minions. No Lackeys. Just me. So, give me a little time to respond.