When you run an offline business you usually have regular customers with that you have built relationships and they return to do business with you time and again. Many business owners that create online businesses fail to understand that ongoing customer relationships are just as important to the sustainability of your online business as it is for a brick-and-mortar business in the offline world.
A few Internet marketers are under the impression that because they can market to the entire world that relationships are not important and nothing could be farther from the truth. If you are going to establish sustainable long-term income for your business and reap the rewards of your efforts for years to come you must develop lasting relationships with your customers.
One of the ways that online business owners do this is through list building. Just like you have a mailing list for your brick-and-mortar business you can build lists for your online business. The only difference is that there are many tools available online that make it easier to build lists and keep in touch with your customers for the long term.
List building is not only used to provide your customers with the latest news about your business, it can also be used to get to know your customer wants and needs so you can offer backend products in the future that address those needs.
Although list building may seem like a lot of work it all depends upon how you go about it. One thing is for sure if you offer quality and you are consistent your customers will want to maintain a relationship with you. If you are full of hype and repeatedly communicate that it is all about you and the sale, list building will of course be a lot more difficult.
Building High-Quality Lists
If you want to build a list of highly targeted customers then you must position yourself to offer products and services that address an audience with specific needs. This is called targeting your niche. For example, if your product is shoes you will attract a lot of customers however if you are going to establish a relationship for the long term this might be difficult since the topic is so broad.
Your customers may stick around and they may not. On the other hand, if you offer custom-made shoes that address specific foot problems you are more likely to attract a highly targeted audience to which you can offer related backend products in the future.
Once you have identified your audience and the problem that you are going to help them solve it is customary to offer a place for them to opt-in to your mailing list. You have probably seen opt-in forms on websites that offer you something for free in exchange for joining your mailing list. You can use your website as the focal point for getting people to join your mailing list.
The other part of building your mailing list is your marketing efforts. If you cannot drive highly targeted traffic to your website then it will be difficult to grow your mailing list. Thankfully there are many online tools for accomplishing these tasks.
Some of the tools include social networking sites, article marketing sites, blogs, video marketing sites, advertising in newsletters related to your topic that have a large subscription base, and other tools such as pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimization.
Managing Your List
By now you are probably thinking that this is going to take you hours to manage your list once it grows and keep in touch with your subscribers. Well, the good news is that there are many list management tools available for managing your lists and automated tools for keeping in touch with your subscribers.
For example, there is a tool known as an autoresponder that will automatically distribute your newsletter at a time that you designate. You can also set it to offer follow-up messages, mini-courses, articles on demand, and any other type of information that you want to offer to your customers and potential customers.
You simply load your information into the autoresponder and configure it according to your preferences. Autoresponder services are very cost-effective and there are a few quality services available online that are very reliable and cost very little to operate.
There is also a variety of list management software available both paid and free that will help you to manage your lists as your subscriber base grows. This is a lot different than the old ways of managing and mailing to your subscriber base with a brick-and-mortar business and you will save a lot of money in postage in the process.