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List Building – How Important Is It?

Sometimes I am asked questions that are brilliant in their simplicity. I consider them brilliant because they open a door to understanding that I may not have thought to explore or articulate before. For instance I have always said that list building is an important concept in email marketing, but I was asked the question, “How important is list building?” At first glance it would be easy to say, “It’s really important.” However, that expression simply provides a vague portent of doom if the client fails to build their list in a comprehensive way. Let me paint a picture for you. You have developed an online business using products derived from a supplier that your immediate contacts are raving about.

As you apply list building techniques more and more email addresses are added to your database. There may come a time when the supplier of the products you sell goes out of business. If you have developed your entire business on one specific product you may come to believe your business has come to an end or that you need to start a new business from scratch. If, however, you can develop two or more product lines sold under one business umbrella then something wonderful can happen when a supplier goes the way of the dodo bird. This is the point where your email list becomes more important than the products you are no longer able to sell.

Why? If you have built your list organically and the individuals represented by that list have discovered a trust in you then the occasional shift in product lines can often be viewed as a greater service to the customers. Do you see what has happened? The list building becomes more important to the success of your overall business than the product lines you carry. At some point the customers develop a trust in you and your ability to provide quality products and service. It is even possible to have an occasional revolving door when it comes to product lines and still hold on to most of your list. When you are able to establish trust with a large list you gain greater flexibility in product lines and business opportunities because most of the list will remain interested in your business even if they don’t take advantage of every offer you send. This scenario is impossible to duplicate with rented lists. Admittedly this process can take time to develop, but it holds the greatest promise for long-term email marketing.


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