List Building With the Best Possible Prospects

by John Forman - Date: 2007-01-24 - Word Count: 866 Share This!

"The Money is in the List"

You've probably read that statement or heard it thousands of times if you have been in, or even just exploring, the business of marketing on the internet for more than about a week. It's cliché, but it's also true. Long-term marketing success and profitability is much more likely with a good, strong, well-developed mailing list. It increases conversion rates and customer profitability through repeat sales opportunities, either directly or through affiliate commissions.

With that said, the question then becomes how to build a good list. To do that, we need to think about the composition of a good mailing list. There are different ways names get on a list, and therefore they have different values as customers and prospective customers. Let's go through them.

Random Entries These are people who come to your list without any kind of filter or screen. Imagine just being given a list of names and email address of people which have nothing specific in common. Unless you're a spammer (and I hope you aren't) the value of this kind of list is practically zero.

How do you promote and sell to these people? It's a hit or miss prospect at best. You conversion ratio is going to be extremely low. That means your profitability per member of your list is going to be low as well.

Lists of this kind are practically worthless. It amazes me that anyone would even think to develop one this way - perhaps by purchasing leads - but it happens.

Subject Qualified The next step up the chain in terms of list member quality is the prospect that has been screened somehow based on the niche you operate in and the type of product or products you will be marketing to them. This sort of list is going to be much more responsive than one based on random inclusion. At least you know these people have an interest in the subject matter you are covering. That means better conversion and per prospect profitability.

Purchasing mailing lists is one way to get these prospects.

Your Content Qualified This particular category of prospects is the one most internet marketers focus on and is the basis of many strategies you might have heard of to this point. These are people who get on your list because they somehow requested content of yours or otherwise made a request for something you were offering - content, information about an offer, a coupon, etc. The process of them doing so qualifies them as being interested in both your niche and the particular product or offerings you have or will be making available to them.

Hopefully you can see the increased value of prospects that have been qualified this way. Since they have already declared their interest in you and/or what you might be putting in front of them by way of promotions and other offers, they are much more likely to be responsive, and therefore should convert at a higher rate.

Here are some of the common strategies employed by internet marketers to build lists with prospects of this kind:

Give away free reportsProvide access to a free videoOffer free attendance to a tele-seminarCo-registrationSqueeze page leading in to primary sales offer pageIntegration marketingYou can probably think of others that you've either heard about or are employing yourself. Some are slow and steady ways to grow a list. Others can operate much more rapidly, if you get them set up and running effectively.

Purchasers of Related Products On a similar, perhaps a bit higher, level to prospects that are qualified as having interest in your specific niche and content are those who have purchased similar or related products in the past. These are folks who have actually spent money on the sorts of things you are planning on selling them and/or marketing to them.

The one big drawback to many of the strategies used when building a list of qualified folks the way most people are going about doing it is the fact that they will inevitably end up with a lot of freebie hunters on the list. These are folks who provided their name and email address to receive a free report, video, audio, or whatever, but don't really have any intention on putting up any money. If you can build a list of proven buyers you are likely to see higher conversion ratios and per member profitability from you list.

Buying leads is one commonly used method for building a list of this sort. Integrated marketing in which one marketer sends buyers of their products to another marketer as prospects for theirs is another way.

Purchasers of Your Products Now we get to the ultimate list member!

If you provide a quality product and/or service to your customers, they are likely to be repeat buyers. It is much easier to promote to them and achieve high conversion rates to your existing customer base than with any other prospect group. Of course, a list made up of your own customers is also the most challenging and expensive to build.

The more your list is weighted toward the latter end of the category spectrum, the better. Make sure you take every opportunity to get as many buyers on your list as possible by whatever means you can.

Related Tags: marketing, internet marketing, online business, list building, prospects, email list, mailing list

John Forman is author of The Essentials of Trading (Wiley - April 2006), and a near 20 year veteran of trading and analyzing the markets. For more information on forex trading, check out John's free forex guide which will answer your questions about the currency market.

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