“The List”, can have a huge impact on your success both online and offline these days. So it is important to have a list (names and emails of people who are interested in you, your company, and your products, services and information). Many of the small business owners I work with don’t have a list and aren’t doing the things they need to do to start building one. Others come to me with a small list 200, 300 or 400 people, and they’re not doing anything with it, they think they need to wait until it is larger before they start using it.
It is true, like most marketing and sales strategies, the numbers are important, but using the list is also important, otherwise it becomes as useless as using the phone book, making one cold call at a time.
In case you do not understand the value of having a list of contacts to market to, let me explain it, briefly.
A list of the Names and Emails, of people who are interested in the type of content you publish or the types of products and services you sell is like having a list of pre-approved buyers. When people “optin” (trade their Name and Email for something, usually free information) for something you are offering for free on your website, or a newsletter you send via email, or even those that subscribe to your RSS feed, they are pre-qualified prospects, individuals interested in what you have to offer!
There are other types of lists, list with Names and Emails you can purchases, this is as effective as cold calls. List of local chamber of commerce business members, or the stack of business cards you pick up each week from those networking meetings you go to. However, you are likely to have the most success with the first list mentioned, the one where people are opting in themselves. These people are pre-qualified, the other three types of list mentioned, most of the time, these people will wonder who you are and how you got their email (they will think you are spamming them – not good!).
You should know that the strategy I’m going to share with you could work with any size list, but it works extremely well with a small list, something with less than 600 contacts.
The whole system can be completed in 4 simple steps…
Let’s say we are working with a list of 400 contacts, and we’ll say that the list is a mixture of both, existing clients/customers, website optins, and networking contacts.
We have our list, now we just need to find out what the people on our list are most interested in.
Identify four (4) different topics you’re an expert in. The easiest thing to do is identify 4 different ideas or topics you teach or talk about the most. The core components of your business.
Create a simple one (1) question poll using a free tool like, Polldaddy, listing the four topics you’ve identified form step one and asking which of the four they are most interested in learning more about.
Them create a very simple email, telling everyone that you want to better serve them, and you have four popular topics, but want to know which they are most interested in learning more about first.
Within the email have the list of topics (ideas) along with a brief description, what they can expect to learn. Make sure the topic idea is linked to the poll.
Ask everyone to answer the poll, by selecting the topic they are most interested in. Make sure there is an obvious button at the end of the email for everyone to click on to get to the poll.
NOTE: You may want to put a deadline on the poll, this way you create a sense of urgency, which will cause more people to take immediate action.
Collect the responses, identify the topic with the most votes, and develop an educational information product or program around that topic.
Once the program or product is ready for sale, you’re going to send at lest two different emails.
One email will be to the individuals who voted for the program you just created. In this email you are going to have to do little selling. These are the people who wanted it, so now all you need to do is let them know it’s available.
The other email will be to everyone else, those that didn’t vote for the topic your program is on, but remember these are people who know, like, and trust you so they will still buy from you. This email will just need to be a little more on the sales side, helping them understand why it’s an important topic and how the program/product will help them.