4 Reasons Why Traditional "List Building" Sucks… and what to do about it!

4 Reasons Why Traditional "List Building" Sucks… and what to do about it!



handing emailThe money is in the list, right? That’s what everyone says you need to do… build a list and then sell them some stuff?  Why then, do so many businesses have a list of names and email addresses full of people who won’t buy?

That’s the million dollar question!

Here’s how traditional “list building” works:

  1. Get a lot of prospects to come to your website (or “Squeeze page” as us insiders call it)
  2. Give the prospect something for free (an E-Book or video) in return for name and email address
  3. Send the prospect a barrage of emails until they buy something from you or unsubscribe
  4. Repeat over and over until you become a millionaire

Here’s what’s wrong with this approach:

  1. It’s actually expensive to drive visitors to your website!  If you use paid advertising, you have to pull out your wallet and pay for people to get a free report from you. But what about free traffic? Sure. You can get “free” traffic by paying a SEO company to get you “free traffic.” What about using the lists of other people, isn’t that free? Sure. But what business would send an email to THEIR list to promote YOUR business, without being paid for it? What about Facebook or Twitter? That’s free, isn’t it? Yes they are free to start up, but here’s the problem.  You have to pay Facebook for ads to attract fans to your page, and then you have to pay facebook again for promoted posts to talk to your fans! That sucks! And any good social media strategy is going to be labour intensive, and labour costs money.
  2. People have seen so many “free special reports” and white papers and free videos that are useless. So it’s getting harder and harder to get people to “opt-in” and receive a free report. In the end, it’s another expensive way for you to build a list.
  3. Most online marketers treat their list like a big bunch of people that receive your emails and “should” buy things from you. Don’t do that! If you aren’t providing anything of value, they will soon get sick of it and unsubscribe. All that effort and money you pumped into building your list in the first place is all ruined!
  4. If you keep throwing time and money into “building a list” that doesn’t return any money to you, either your boss, (or your husband or wife if you’re a startup) is going to put the hard word on you and call it off!

I don’t mean to paint a picture of doom and gloom, but these are the issues that come up in everyday business and nobody ever talks about it publicly.

So how do you fix this?

My recommendation is to look at what your end objective is and work backwards from there. Here’s how we do it in our business. We offer a free website health check.  After a prospective client fills in the health check request, we send back a manually built, custom report that shows where the website is strong, how it compares to the competition, and what areas there are for improvement.

It is about providing something of value with a personal touch, even before calls have been made or a sale is to be signed off.  In our case, the client is free to either implement the recommendations themselves, or even shop around and find another company to help them with their marketing. By building up trust and credibility upfront before asking for any payment, you are already nurturing your list without even realising it.

Can you see how this is so much stronger than just sending a free e-book or demanding people to “join my newsletter?”. Would love to hear of any email list building stories you may have – good or bad!

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We’ve been in the digital marketing field for over 18 years and worked with hundreds of Australian (and international) businesses to grow their web presence. Specialising in SEO, search ads (PPC), social media, content marketing, email marketing and conversion rate optimisation.

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