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List Building 101

By Michele Royster
Posted Wednesday, August 18, 2004

One of the topics I tend to harp on most is the importance of having an opt-in list. I swore that I was going to abandon this topic in 2004, or at least do a little less 'harping' on it, but since it is the backbone of any business, online or off, I've got to touch on it some more.

It never ceases to amaze me how regularly business owners fail to collect their customer's contact information.

Listen, if you are new to Internet Marketing, I can't stress enough how important it is to be able to follow up with your customers long after they've purchased something from you.

When business is slow, you may decide to slash your prices by 50% to get rid of your stock, but how will you be able to tell your customers about this fabulous sale of yours if you haven't taken the time to collect their contact information??!!

By having their information, you can send them a quick flyer that announces your sale and literally make a killing in sales!

While your competition is struggling to make it through a slow period, your list will have kept your business going strong. I don't care whether you own a website or a corner grocery store, each and every time someone visits your business, you must make certain there is something set up strictly for the purpose of collecting information.


In offline business I recommend having a guestbook that your customers can sign, or maybe a discount coupon flyer where the customer completes the top part of the coupon with their contact info. and retains the lower portion to redeem at their next visit.

You may also set up a container for people to drop their business cards into and at the end of each month, randomly pick a card and give the winner 5% off of a future purchase.

You get the idea right?


Online business is a little more complex because unlike an offline business, when someone visits your site they don't necessarily do so with the "intent to buy". When people get online they usually do so to "get information".

With that in mind, be sure that your website provides your visitors with some sort of information that will be useful to them via a Free newsletter or report. You can also offer a Free software download or run a contest.

All of these are good ways to collect information because your visitor will have to submit their name and email address to download the freebies and reports, or enter the contest.

On of the simplest and FREE methods of list-building I've found is through LifeStyle Networkers at ( . They literally provide you with a 3-Step plan for building a professional online advertising machine to promote whatever program you may be involved in.


Once you've gotten your prospect's contact information, send them emails at regular intervals inviting them to check out more valuable information/contests that you are featuring at your site.

When they visit, ofcourse you'll have your products displayed or at least have links that direct them to your products.

You don't have to HARD SELL, just let them glimpse what you have available.

Each time you update your site with valuable, free information, be sure to email your prospect and let them know. This keeps them visiting your site on a consistent basis and enables you to build credibility as being a useful source for information.

Give your prospects a REASON to keep visiting your site other than "shopping", and you'll find that they'll look forward to returning frequently.

About the Author
Michele Royster is the Editor/Publisher of the "Ezine Express" newsletter at ( She has also published a Report entitled "Leads 4 Life", and an ebook entitled "The Quickies" (


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