List Building 101 & Why You Should Always Be List Building

I didn’t see the value in building a mailing list. I told myself that I wasn’t salesy and a mailing list was for people that

were salesy. I also told myself the right people would find me because my services were awesome.

Well, that didn’t work out so well.

This approach works for only those people that are ready to buy right now, which ends up being less than 10% of people. As you can imagine, my sales were sporadic and inconsistent because my approach made it much harder.

I didn't like that my business would ebb and flow depending on my level of networking. So, I committed to my mailing list and focusing on educating my audience. It has been incredibly gratifying because my audience appreciates what they are learning and I love to serve in this way. The bonus is that I am creating future clients.

What is list building?

Simply put, it is the process of creating a list of emails of people that are interested in hearing from you and have agreed to allow you to send marketing communications to them.

This is done to enable the business to send newsletters, promotions, and nurturing campaigns to the mailing list with the intent to convert subscribers to clients.

It is the one channel of communication that a business fully controls and owns. Your mailing list is an asset to the business.

Why List Building Is Important?

It is the one channel of communication that a business fully controls and owns. More importantly, when a business is consistent about email marketing, 59% of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel for generating revenue (Emma). If that isn't enough, let's look at the seven reasons to always be list building.

Reason #1 Increase the reach of your message

Social media algorithms are a way of sorting posts in a users’ feed based on relevancy instead of publish time (SproutSocial). That means the social media channel is in control of who sees what ... not you. Social media channels make a big deal about how many people are on their platform and how much time they spend daily on their platform. They don't all talk about how that translates to your reach. How many of your contacts are actually getting a chance to see your posts?

Let's just look at Facebook. Ad Espresso reports the average organic reach for a Facebook post is 5.2% of the Page’s total likes. Take my Facebook business page. I have 197 likes, so my organic reach is maybe 10 people per post.

They also emphasize “average.” Because it all comes down to how engaging the content is to begin with.

Aamplify reports that a 2% LinkedIn engagement rate of your followers is considered good.

Compare this to the average of 16-22% open rate for emails. My mailing list is 550 people, so if 20% of my list open my email that is 110 people.

REACH means that your message is actually connecting with people.

Reason #2 Email is more personal

Building a mailing list requires that you've made a connection with that person in some way. Either you've met them networking, downloaded a guide, scheduled an online appointment with you, attended an event, or any number of ways. The point is that they decided to get to know you or your business better. They've made the relationships "personal" by opting in to be on your mailing list.

The great thing is that you can now return the favor and personalize messages to them because you know a little bit about them. Who doesn't like being referred to by their first name? Sending emails that include the person's name will increase the know, like, and trust factor with people. This is something you can't do in social media.

Here are some must-do actions to build your list and personalize:

  • Make sure to always ask for first name and make it a required field
  • Add a newsletter opt-in question to online appointment scheduling
  • Ensure all the ways people connect with you includes an opt-in question

Reason #3 Your next client is already on your mailing list!

It takes multiple "touches" for people to make the choice to buy. Reading your emails on a regular basis allows them to develop the know, like, and trust factor with you more quickly so that they feel more comfortable making a purchase.

Also, this is your warm market, because they have already said they would like to hear from you. And your list also includes those who have actually made a purchase from you in the past, which drastically increases the chances of them purchasing again. These are your people!

Reason #4 People spend more time on email than anything else

According to Adobe's email survey, they found that workers spend on average 7.4 hours per weekday on email! Also according to the survey, they found that people preferred receiving marketing offers via email (49%), followed by direct mail (22%). Only 8% preferred marketing offers via social media.

Clearly it makes sense to focus on marketing through email if you want more people to see more of what you have to offer.

Reason #5 Send the right message to the right people

As mentioned, with organic marketing on social media, you have no idea who is reading your posts, and you have no control over it.

When you email your own list of subscribers, you know that they have have opted in to hear from you. You also have the ability to tailor your emails to subgroups of subscribers based on factors such as how long they've been on your list, interests they've expressed to you, prior purchases, demographics, or other variables.

You can even include the option for subscribers to give you feedback about what offers they want to hear from you about, and those they don't want. Talk about customizing the content to their needs!

Reason #6 Email drives buying decisions

I know I've shared this before because it is so important. For every dollar spent on email marketing, you will receive $42. That is one hefty return on investment (ROI). Because 60% of people say they’ve made a purchase as the result of a marketing email they received. In contrast, only 12.5% of people consider buying on social media.

How do you calculate your ROI? The equation is pretty simple... (Gain – spent)/spent = ROI. The way I determine "gain" is by how long someone has been on my mailing list before they engage with my as a client. If someone has been on my mailing list for more than 2-3 months, I include that in my "gain." Because I email twice a month very consistently, I know the are seeing my emails and building a rapport with me...even if we haven't spoken.

Reason #7 Emailing valuable, educational material builds trust

Omni-channel marketing is a must. The top three marketing channels among B2B marketers are social media, email, and blog. While all three have their place, emailing straight to their inbox lets you provide value on a regular basis that builds trust.

What's Needed To Build Your List

So, what do you need to build your list? Really, it comes down to just three things: a way to invite your people to say yes to receiving emails from you, a tool to actually deliver the emails, and a free offer to entice them to give you their email address in the first place.

1 - Opt-in Form

An opt-in form is a simple online form where people can enter their name and email address to opt in to being on your email list. It can be a pop up box, part of a landing page, on the sidebar, or at the top of a web page.

2 - Email marketing tool

You need an email marketing tool that will make it easy to schedule and send emails to your list. What should you be looking for in an email marketing tool? The Work Smarter CRM makes emailing your list easy. Not only can you easily make your emails look professional, but you can also manage all your client information in one place so you can customize the email content you send. Also, having everything in one place makes your life easier.

3 - Lead Magnet

Your lead magnet is the freebie you offer in exchange for them sharing their email address with you. But it's not just that. It's a way to start wowing your client right from the get-go with valuable, helpful information. Not sure what to offer for your lead magnet? It can be as simple as a pdf checklist. Download my free 20 Ways to Build Your Email List, and you won't have to spend time wondering what to do.

Are ready to serve your people better and grow your business faster? Make building your email list a priority. You've got this!

Start Growing Your Mailing List

Mary Sue Dahill, Founder & CEO of Work Smarter Digital

Business owners look to us when they are tired of wasting time and money on digital tools that don't make a dent in their business. What they want is a one-stop-shop for their digital solution and CRM support that "...just handles it" and starts making them more money. Schedule a Work Smarter Consult to explore what’s possible.