Is List Building Dead?

Do you think list building is dead?

People are constantly asking me, “Lisa, what is the best way for me to build my mailing list?”

Although there are strategies to help you do this, you should be mindful that people are constantly unsubscribing to mailing lists… which should have you wondering if list building is as hot as it once was.

When it comes to list building, there are three things you should think about, and three strategies that may work for you, too.

1. Instead of thinking about list building, think about reach.

How many people are you reaching with your message?

In the work that the Lisa Larter Group does to support marketing for clients, we have this thing called a Marketing Analytics Dashboard and we use it to measure reach.

Part of reach is list building, but it also includes the number of people that you’re connected to on LinkedIn, your YouTube subscribers, Twitter followers, etc.

We look at the collective size of your reach, your influence, your impact, not just with your list in isolation. We look at it all because there are ways you can influence and interact with people beyond your list.

I encourage you not to be dissuaded if your list isn’t growing as quickly as you would like it to, or if your list is declining a little bit.

We’re going through a period of time where people are recalibrating their inboxes, especially at the beginning of the year in order to ensure that only the best stuff gets to their inbox. This means that instead of just focusing on list building, you should also be focusing on delivering quality content to people if you want them to continue wanting to hear from you.

Instead of just focusing on #ListBuilding, you should be focusing on delivering quality content if you want people to continue wanting to hear from you. Read More: Share on X

2. Quality is more important than quantity.

Quality of content is important, but the quality of the list is important too.

I received an email this morning from somebody whose mailing list I never signed up for. I thought to myself, “Really? Why did you add me to your list? Do I look like I’m your ideal buyer?”

There are things you can do to build a ginormous mailing list. But, I don’t want 20,000 people on my mailing list if they are 20,000 of the wrong people.

Is #ListBuilding dead? There are ways to build ginormous mailing lists. But, I don’t want 20,000 people on my mailing list if they are 20,000 of the wrong people. Read more: Share on X

I’d rather have 2000 of the right people. I would rather have a quality-based list that is responsive, that hits reply when I send things out and that engages with my content.

They are buyers – they are not just browsers.

Don’t lose sight of the quality of your list. Don’t lose sight of having the right people on your list in an effort to reach some vanity metric that some marketer told you you needed to hit six figures in your business.

I have not followed any of those rules in my business to hit any of the sales goals that I have hit.

3. It’s not a one and done activity.

This is the biggest mistake I see people make when it comes to list building.

They create a free offer, treat it like a tactic instead of a strategy, do it one time and the exact same offer – that e-book they wrote in 1987 – is still on their website today.

List Building is an active task, not a passive one. You don’t just build it once and leave it. If you did, how would you know if your list isn’t growing because of the tool you created, or if it’s because list building is dead?

If you are actively trying to grow your mailing list, you need to think about new ways to build it all the time.

Three tips for building your #MailingList: Create something people can #Subscribe to, give them something valuable to download and ask them to join you. Here's how: Share on X

Three-Step Strategy For List Building

1. SubscribeSubscribe button on device screen. Internet and digital marketing concept

The first thing you want people to do is to subscribe to your content so they hear from you regularly. So, you need to create something people can subscribe to. Donald Miller has Business Made Simple daily videos, or there’s Notes From The Universe.

These are daily drippings of good content that people want to subscribe to. And, they have a name – it’s not just “subscribe to my newsletter.”

Nobody wants into the newsletter, but they do want value.

2. Download

The second thing you want people to do is to download something of value. Maybe it’s an e-book, a white paper, a toolkit, or a spreadsheet. Maybe it’s a PDF on how to map out your social media content for 52 weeks at a time.

You also need to make sure that the tools and resources you are offering are actually valuable.

One of the reasons people stop subscribing to lists is because they get inundated with junk. And, one of the reasons you can’t get them to subscribe to your free thing, is because it’s not compelling enough, helpful enough, or valuable enough.

Make whatever you are offering valuable enough that you could actually charge people for it.

3. Join

The third thing you want them to do is to join you in some way so they can get to know you better. This furthers their journey of getting to know, like and trust you.

I remember years ago, I saw someone who created Facebook Group communities that you could only be invited to if you subscribed to her mailing list.

Maybe you have a forum or a webinar and you want people to join the webinar. Don’t just give away the replay. Make it so they have got to actually join you in order to get the material.

Get creative about the ways that people can subscribe to your learnings, can download your tools and resources, or join you in a live stream environment or community and get to know you more.

Be mindful of creating too many free things for people looking for free things because they have no money to spend.

If you are constantly targeting the wrong audience, creating free things for people who are in startup mode or of you’re creating for the lowest common denominator, instead of creating something that’s highly valuable for somebody who might invest in working with you, you’re wasting your time.

I have worked with people that have 20,000 people on their mailing list and businesses that do less than $100,000 a year because they had mailing lists filled with buyers with no money.

You need to be strategic and make sure that the sequence, the pathway, or the journey, is for the right audience. Otherwise, you’re not going to attract any buyers and you’re not going to make any money.

You may have a great list, but you’re not going to have customers.

What do you think? Is list building dead? Let me know in the comments, below!


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Lisa Larter Bio Image of Lisa x400

Lisa Larter

Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.

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