Adam mentioned list building as one of the best things you can do to make money online. I want to talk about that in much greater detail. Basically I want to talk about why.
When you’re building your internet business, you focus a lot on traffic acquisition. Without traffic, this whole venture becomes dull very quickly. The problem with traffic though? It’s fleeting. Your SERPs are fleeting. They’ll fluctuate. Google could change their algorithm…
This traffic is key toward business growth, but lasting growth comes from your list.
You’re standing on a beach and I’m Google. I shovel a bunch of sand in your face, you squint, and hold a cup in the air. Some sand lands in your cup. That’s yours to keep. It’s the beginning of your sandcastle. I shovel more sand, you hold the cup in the air and catch some more. You add that sand to your castle. Eventually, you’re castle’s going to be HUGE and you don’t have to worry nearly as much about getting sand thrown in your face. You have a castle!
You can monetize your one-time visitors with ads, or offers, but when they’re gone…they’re gone. When you’re shooting for the list and building a quality list, you’re investing in your business for the long term. You can call on that list when you have a new product launch, a new offer, etc. As your list grows, your opportunities grow right in step with it. Do you have a related product idea (or affiliate relationship) that your list would want? Make it and sell it.
There’s quite a bit of this that goes on in the internet marketing industry. A lot of times it feels like one big inter-linked JV. You push Guru A’s product to your list and Guru A will push your product on his list…
Your list will soon become your goto resource for ideas, feedback, insight, etc. If you’re launching a new product, why not ask your list what they would want to know? Why not ask them what problems they’re facing? Have them help you betatest a new software product…the opportunities, as I mentioned above, are limitless.
I’ll reiterate: focus on that list. Focus on email address acquisition and stay completely above the board with how you get the emails and how you treat the people on your list. You have their permission, so don’t squander it (read Seth Godin’s book Permission Marketing) if you want more insight into that.
Let’s do a bit of math for kicks. You first start out and you have 100 people on your list. You send out a great, relevant, targeted offer and you get 5% to convert. 5 people pay you — for the sake of easy math — $20. You made $100. ($1 per person in your list per offer is not out of the question — it actually is eerie how much that appears to be the norm).
Six months down the road your list is now at 6,000 people. You send out a targeted, relevant, great offer and 300 people pay you $20 each. You made $6,000.
Six months later you look back and see you’ve busted your butt to build some great tool that’s going to help your list however you’re qualified to help them. You made quite a push during the pre-launch and added another 10,000 people to your list (this isn’t at all out of the question by the way — gotta have some sand shoveled in your face though for sure!). You’re up to 16,000 people and you’re likely to make $32,000 (why $2 per person on your list? Because you made the tool yourself so your margin is a lot higher).
And 16,000 people is not a big list.
But do you see where the long-term value is coming from? Suddenly you have a bit of leverage. You can leverage your list for all sorts of cool things that will help you and help your list. If you do it correctly, it truly is a win-win.
You should always be gathering email addresses.