List building

Peter Hanley looks at List building for all businesses. The value of your list can be greater than any other asset and must be managed in a way to success.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Why have a list anyway?

We are talking about a list of names, addresses, and phone contact of people that have bought or might buy from you. They must be obtained in a legal manner without spam content.

Lists are about sales by Wikipedia

If you are in bricks and mortar business, online business, retail, wholesale, or any selling entity the list is your asset. However only if it is a format that can be used and as important to having one if you use it.

I had a client with a small pet shop specializing in live Fish and aquariums etc. Unfortunately, Hanna went broke and closed the business. I tried to help her dispose of some assets and rang a competitive shop in the area to see if they could help.
They did not want any stock or hardware but offered a very good amount for the customer list. An amount that would cover her losses.
A good story except that Hanna did not have a list she could use so the deal was never done. This one event has stayed with me for a long time and drives me to this day.

What goes in a good list anyway

First, all the normal personal details.

Name, business, email, mobile phone, physical address. all the contact details.
Business interests are also important. When sending out information it is no good sending dress sizes to carpenters wanting a hammer, unless, of course, it is Valentine's Day.

Where do you store the list when you have them?

This starts as a spreadsheet on something like Excel which can be sorted and used at anytime. If you are using a carrier to send information they will store your list under many categories.
Then there are off-the-shelf CRM programs from free up to hundreds per month.
This basically depends on where you are in the cycle and money.
However, when you have your list it can be moved at anytime to a new location.

What do you do with a list?

There are so many ways of creating opportunities for new business.

  • Sending a single email to a client
  • Sending emails to a similar group
  • Using an Autoresponder
  • Bulk email
  • Newsletters
  • SMS messages
  • SMS broadcast
  • Mailing
  • Telephone call
  • Surveys
  • Link to Social media

    This is just a sample of things you can and should use along your journey to increase your business.

Will it make a difference?

I have talked about the rule of seven where a customer will only trade after being touched seven times in someway that also maintained the know, like, and trust rule. Ok, quoting rules is a bit tough but we have found that they work wonders and support all your efforts.

When you add the above to social media and your own efforts, you present a powerful approach to a market that can be maintained overtime.

I use many of the above on a daily basis without committing a whole bundle of time.

When things are too hard or complicated they won’t get done or will not be done properly which is just as bad.

List building and starting

How do I build a list?

First of all, let’s get the old Spam warning out of the way. Your list must be built from contacts made with your business. From selling, marketing, or any activity where you have had an association of some kind.

Every sale made should gather a name and email address, and phone number.
Plus every inquiry should be documented
Run a survey or competition to gather names
have a contact button on your website
Then have followed me on Facebook or social media.
Ask for the information.
offer a special
Set up a VIP list with regular specials
Have open days and trade shows

Anywhere you can get a name and number

Fish and chips

Good marketing strategies for small businesses

Around me are many Fish and chip shops with take away meals. The last entrant had a loyalty program where they asked for your details. You could qualify for a bucket of chips or similar after spending so much money overtime

It did not stop there. They now regularly email with a super special. A family pack at a great price or something special.
Buyers line up with vouchers in hand on Specials Night, increasing the trade considerably.

The old non-active shop that did reign supreme is now almost closed.
Marketing has moved the buyers.

And another.

A popular Sydney restaurant is booked months ahead and tables and bookings are really hard to get. Everyone has a slow time and this is no different.
On a slow night, they will send out a bunch of SMS messages offering a place at a discount for the first x bookings. They fill the restaurant every time.
Why? They know who the customers are because they have gathered contact details on every booking.

List building and newsletters

Newsletters place you above all the other sellers

There is no doubt that regular newsletters work. I send out a regular supply of emails and I watch my better customers following the trend.
They don't do a lot of selling, they do a lot of information and entertainment so that when you are ready to buy they are a choice.

I read automotive news, sign writing, curtains and carpets, pet news, and marketing Ideas. loans and mortgages and all sorts of great things. I can tell you every company that sends them and I make sure I open them every time so I don't get cut adrift.
They keep me up to date with a lot of activities going on.

They don't take a whole heap of time and they keep your contacts up to date.

I went to a client recently over another issue in his business. As I was leaving, he said, ” I love your newsletters, they provide really good reading, keep them up.”
This is a client I see once every half a dozen years so the feedback was great.

Friends own wholesale businesses across Australia, and every couple of months they have a supplier-paid breakfast for all their customers, who are Tradies.
They send an SMS a week before and one in the morning and attendance far exceeds the old wasted phone call time and saves them a lot in labor.

Email series

does email marketing still work

What you are reading is part of an email series. There are about a dozen emails on current successful marketing methods. Our readership has been very consistent and the click rate for more information is quite high.

I am not selling anything ( well not yet anyway. LOL)

But marketing is my interest and I want to share my results with you so that perhaps one small idea may make a difference to your business.
Business is tough at the moment and the roller coaster ride has been consistent for some years. Maybe there are a few out there killing the pig but most of us are battling along valiantly trying to break the cycle.

Email takes a bit of time to set up but then it can be automated so it works without your constant attention.
Lots of companies do this for you and you will see I use Constant Contact as my preferred supplier.

List building and rejection.

Don't be afraid of rejection

Many businesses that start any sort of media campaign get fragile with those that Opt-Out. There will be some for all sorts of reasons but consider it list cleansing. It is not personal. In fact, it can be good for you.

Social Media and lists

The purpose of your social media is to send buyers to your website or business to make a purchase decision.
On your website always have a sign-up form for your newsletter or ebook, maybe a VIP club, frequent shopper plan, or something that will interest them.

It was interesting in the USA recently they were giving away free cash cards with $20 cash in them. The problem was that next month's fees gobbled up most of the cash.
My point is that the campaign was very successful because everyone wants something for free without appreciating the consequences.
They were handing out the cards at shopping centers to get the buyer's details.

Is cold calling dead?

List building. image of girls
No, but maybe it needs a change

It is a very hard road but warm calling gets results.
When you have contact with clients using the various methods above they generally both know you and like you. If they didn't they would simply unsubscribe.
So making a phone call gets a warm response plus they generally know what you are flogging. The marketer is not having a meltdown trying to cold call and customer acceptance is often a thank you for thinking about me.

Quiet times need the most opportunities available maximized to a result.

So many ways to achieve a list success

We can go on for days talking about your web Page and SEO. How Youtube is working and paid advertising and marketing with AD words and re-marketing tools are gaining traction. Paid for clicks and professional marketing plans. These certainly work in some circumstances but here we have concentrated on your list and what we can do about it

The list is long and we will cover that another day

In conclusion, on lists

I have tried to give a few ideas that you may consider utilizing sometime soon. However, I rarely recommend those things that require a considerable investment of your funds when the Free ones have a great opportunity at breaking through.
Therefore, if you do it then do it well and be consistent in your approach.
If you want instant results then utilize SMS because the feedback is very quick.

List building, image of author
Peter Hanley


List building by Peter Hanley

I am always available to share my knowledge

Peter Hanley

I have been in business for many years and the internet to find ways to grow your business faster

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Fran

    Thank you for this post, Peter.  I have a list started from old customers in my jewelry business, but wasn’t really sure how to use it.  I think it’s a little early for me to use it in my business, but it should be of great value later on.  

    I’d like to put some kind of form on my website that asks for an email list.  Can you recommend an easy form that I can use?  Is there a certain number of names that’s optimum to have on your list before you start using it as a marketing tool?

    I also like the idea of using some kind of voucher to draw in traffic.  I’ve been thinking of offering a limited number of free copies of my book to the first buyers in a campaign (It’s just a $9 book, and only cost me $2.38 per copy).  Do you think that would be effective?

    I don’t have a great deal of traffic on my site yet.  How large a following do you feel I should have before I start using an email list?

    1. Peter Hanley

      Hi Fran.
      If you have a list of any size you can use it in a nice way. The jewellery one would be a start with informing them where you are and what you are doing. No selling just communicating.then a newsletter style ongoing
      I would not give away books until you have traffic unless in a competition as an idea.
      The best forms I use are on my Aweber account and my constant contact account. set up a free site. You can get free for 60 days so you have a good idea if it works. I used MailChimp but they are very strict on rejections but it is an option for 500 free.

      Thanks for the comments and best wishes.


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