My wife loves lists. I find post it notes with mini lists of to-do’s all over the house. I’m not such a list man as she. More a scribble on whatever scrap of paper is at hand man. Not a great way to stay organised, admittedly.
But I do have one list that I take great care to cultivate. My email list.
In the online eco-system email is the lion of the tribe. Social media is seductive but fickle. Building your base on social media is like squatting on somebody else’s property. At any moment, the landlady or landlord can evict you without notice and with no explanation.
An email list, on the other hand, is owned. The people who have legitimately shared their permission and details with you have done so willingly, and within the bounds of your agreement requested that you use their details to maintain contact and build a relationship.
List building is not a mystery. It is an exchange. Much like a purchase, but this time the currency is permission. You can offer an enticement, an invitation to progress the relationship through a micro commitment, and if the offer is valuable and beneficial a name and email are exchanged for the goods.
Like most realms of expertise, list building has its own lingo.
- Landing pages
- Lead captures
- Lead or Reader magnets
Despite being a massive, and very important subject, essentially it boils down to just two things.
and an opt-in.
The offer can be anything from an invitation to receive updates from your blog, to an entire online course, or a coaching call.
The offer will be fitted to the market you are selling to, and the road you plan to take them on.
All traffic and subscribers are not created equal, and quality leads result from quality offers. Encouraging people to opt-in to receive a free iPad won’t necessarily bring you the folks you are looking to know. It will bring lots of people who want free iPads, for sure, but most likely a very small percentage of them with be keen to continue the conversation beyond that initial transaction.
Making your offer relevant, valuable, and visible is the key. Relevant and valuable specifically to the people you want to bring through the front door, and who will be potentially interested to continue the journey further inside your kingdom. Visible because an offer not presented to a prospect is pointless.
This is where social media and other platforms can play their part. They act as the wide net that channels the relevant future friends toward your hook. They allow reach and targeting otherwise difficult to engineer.
But the aim is not a like or a comment, it's a click to the page where you ask for their email.
And once the invitation is accepted, the relationship begins.
In a noisy marketplace even here you can be drowned out in the deluge that we call an inbox.
Carefully craft your messaging to speak directly to your prospects. Let your love and grace ooze from every interaction. Construct pathways that layer value and relevance, and sincerely seek to share something of worth.
Once someone is on your list, you have the opportunity to carry them from the threshold of your house all the way to the sanctuary, but even here let’s be careful. Don’t propose marriage on the first date. Don’t just say that you care. Show them that you do by layering honesty, value, and vibrance to your communications. Then they might eventually care what you say.
The purpose of a list may vary. For me, the above is my aim, albeit badly executed at times.
What about you? Why do you want to build a list?
Let me know, and where you plan to begin. What offer will you present to your prospects that might entice them into the ongoing conversation you would like to engage in with them?