How To Grow a List | Small Business Marketing

How to grow a list is a big topic in my small business marketing world! That is probably my number one question I get, followed close on its heals by what should I send to that list?

Getting Started – What Kinds Of Lists Should You Be Growing?

Growing an email listThere are SO many different lists we have to manage now. Small business marketing has never had such a wealth of ways to communicate with their clients, customers and prospects before.

That having been said, all those lists can quickly get out of hand and unmanageable. PLUS, how do you know that your list building efforts are actually going to pay off?

Here are just a few of the lists that you should be cultivating:

  • Email list – lifeblood of your business!
  • Facebook friends
  • Facebook likes (business page connections)
  • Twitter followers
  • LinkedIn connections
  • Google+ circles
  • YouTube subscribers and contacts
  • Misc industry related groups and websites

This is just a start of the lists you should have, but it is a good start! Having people who you can talk to is vital to your online (and offline) marketing success.

Why Should You Care About Your Lists

There is a secret society of people with big lists (I KNOW, it sounds like the Illuminati of old, but it is true!). I have big lists of social media contacts, website readers and email recipients and almost every day someone contacts me to see if I will post something for them, or send something for them or basically sell out my lists for money. I choose not to do this as it could harm my relationships with these people, but growing big lists and monetizing them is one business model that unfailingly works well.

Here it comes…the secret to building big lists! Drumroll please, work like a farmer.

You think I am kidding, right? Nope. I love the concept of “thinking like a hunter, working like a farmer”. What you want to do is figure out who to target with your lists and then grind out growing them. While there ARE ways to jump start a list (doing affiliate emailings to someone else’s list is one biggie, but it costs money or credibility OR buying a list) but most of them work about as well as you think they might, not at all. the one exception to this is buying a direct mail list, they usually have between a 2% and 4% response rate

Just the other day I heard a snake oil concept about growing a Facebook Profile to 5,000 then magically transferring that over to a business page (which allows sales while the profile does not). While that instantly made me think YAY, I immediately knew that I would not do that for myself or my clients. Seriously, that would be the fastest way I can think of to get banned from Facebook if it is even possible to do.

If you are a small business owner and not a spammer, there are things that you should and should not do. Here are some examples:

  • DO start growing your lists by finding people who you are interested in and who interest you, then interact with them
  • DO schedule some time each day to grow each of those lists (I schedule 20 minutes a day for list building)
  • DO make easy for people to join your lists (have your contact info on your business card, have an opt in form on your website, offer something free for joining, etc.)
  • DO add every human you meet in person to your list
  • DO have a signup sheet or contest to collect names at in person events
  • DO get that stack of business cards off of your desk and into a database program like Constant Contact or Office Auto Pilot (what we use)
  • DO NOT buy an email list of people to spam
  • DO NOT try “tricks” to get big lists (they ALWAYS backfire)
  • DO NOT listen to internet marketers – this is a HUGE secret! Internet marketers are great at making money OFF OF YOU! Seriously, if they are actually raking in $70,000 a day selling something, do you REALLY think that they are going to be selling a $47 ebook on how to make money on the internet? They are great at building big lists and sending out hope to people, NOT at helping you actually succeed.

So, what do people with big lists talk about when they are chatting with each other? How to grow lists…:) Seriously, this is really interesting to some of us and could almost be considered a talent (a kind of twisted, not fun, grind it out talent, but a talent none the less). WHO KNEW on November 30, 2007 when I started tweeting that Twitter would grow to become important to marketing. I did not, but I knew that it couldn’t hurt to get an account and start growing it. (Google+ is at the same point now, make sure you jump in there and get started TODAY).

Just by jumping in then, I was able to increase my reach and grow followers easily. The same thing happened when Facebook started their pages, back then you could get anyone to like your pages and trade suggestions to like, but now it is MUCH harder to get likes.

So, make sure you are staying ahead of your competition by focusing on building your lists. Put time for it on the calendar and make a strategic plan to implement!

Neat tool I used to find out how long I have been tweeting!

Small Business Marketing Entrepreneur Doodle

small business marketing planning callIf you would like to find out some specific suggestions and goals for your small business marketing list building efforts (plus a handy-dandy worksheet I use to make it easier), give me a call today or check out our Small Business Marketing Planning Call today!

Small Business Marketing Entrepreneur Doodle


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