It’s common knowledge that opt-in list building is one of the pillars of building a home based internet business. As one writer says, “The list is your business.” But why is it then that so few who are starting an internet business actually do their own opt-in list building?

This is the first in a series of three articles on this subject. In this article I answer the question, “What exactly is a list?” A clear understanding of what a list is and its strategic role in building an online business is foundational to building a quality email list. Secondly, I address the question of “quality.” Many advertize ways of building a huge list, but few address the question of insuring the “quality” of the list. The difference between having a mediocre list and a quality list is huge! The latter will make you so much more money. The third article answers the question, “Why give opt-in list building priority?” I will be showing you some hard facts on the relationship between list building and money making.

By the end of this article, you should have a clear understanding of what opt-in list building actually is and have several images that will help you visualize the strategic role of list building in starting an internet business.

Definition of “Opt-In Building”

What is variously called an “opt-in list”, an “email list” or just a “list” is the data base of people, their names and email addresses, that are interested in you and in your niche. They are the people who like what you provide and are willing to hear from you periodically. These people are looking for information about any one of hundreds of subjects (the best cell phone to get or how to use auto-responders or whatever) You make a value exchange with them. You offer them information, in the form of a report, a newsletter, a course, etc in exchange for their name and email.

The reason for this is that statistically 95% of customers will not buy a product the first time they look at it. They visit your site and see your offer and then are gone, likely forever! You want a chance to put it before them periodically. It is said that it takes about 7 exposures for the average buyer to make up their mind to buy. Furthermore, even those who don’t buy might be interested in other products that you will offer in the future. You’d like the chance to continue to give this interested group of people, your opt-in list, information of value and expose them to other products that would serve them. That’s the theory of an email list.

The way to do opt-in list building is by offering an information product (an e-book or a subscription to a newsletter) on a “squeeze” page where they must give their name and email to get your offer. Or there might be a registration form on a home page of a website to get the product.

A List Is: Images for visualizing the role or function of opt-in list building

· A List Is An Audience You Can Sell To. A store builds a customer base through its location, its publicity and its reputation. They know that if there are no customers coming through their doors they will make no sales. With the internet, your email list is your customer base. Sure, you can drive traffic to your site through umpteen different means, but they are just one time visitors. The profitability of your online business depends on having a customer base. It is your audience. You have to grow your audience otherwise you have no one to sell to and you make no money. These are the people you constantly seek to give value to and in doing so you build trust and rapport with them. You want them to be a loyal audience who love to give you business.

· A List Is a Beeper to Remind Your Audience That You Are Available to Serve Them. It takes time to build a relationship. The saying, “Out of sight, out of mind” is still true of people. Hence, your opt-in list provides you with a way of regularly getting the attention of your loyal audience of customers. You keep reminding them of products you offer and of value you want to give them.

· A List Is a Key That Opens the Door to Success. You’re starting an internet business. Your goal is to make money with the hope of one day replacing your job income and permitting you to retire or some such goal. The two most important assets for being successful in your home based internet business is first “information” and second “your email list”. Without information you have nothing to offer people to make them want to be on your email list. But just as important, you may have lots of good information, but if you have no list, or a small list, or even a mediocre large list you still can’t make much money. So your opt-in list building is your key to making good money on the internet.

You now understand what opt-in list building is and you have these three visual images which graphically illustrate the role of an email list: 1) the list as audience to sell to, 2) the list as beeper to remind loyal members of your offers, and 3) the list as key to making good money online. In the next two articles in this series I will discuss what makes for a “quality list” and why and how to make opt-in list building a priority in your online business building.

Leave a Reply