Whether you know exactly what list building is, or have only seen the phrase in retweets and blog posts, you’re going to walk away with a clear understanding of what list building is and what it can do for your side hustle or business.

List Building and Why You Should Have an Email List Pin

How many emails do you get a day? Think about it. Do you get more emails than phone calls? More emails than text messages? Look in your junk folder and in your promotions tab. I’m willing to bet, unless you’re a receptionist or do most of your work on the phone, that you probably get more emails than any other form of electronic communication.

And that’s because people read emails.

We check our emails to stay in touch with people we care about. We check emails to communicate at work. We check emails to find out that the shoes we’ve been meaning to buy are now half-off. Then we check our emails to find out when that new pair of shoes will arrive.

We read emails for both work and for play.

If you intend to sell to anyone, especially if you intend to make sales online, I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t want to be in the email marketing game. In order to do that, you need to start list building ASAP.

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So, what exactly is list building?

List building is the marketer’s term for the practice of growing an email list. And, in case you weren’t sure, an email list is a list of email addresses of people who have signed up to receive emails from a brand or company. The people on that list are the ones who receive email blasts about new products, specials, and other updates.

An email list is a valuable tool because the people on that list have asked to hear from you—meaning they want to hear more about what you have to offer. Basically, they’re asking you to sell to them. This is a very targeted group of people and, because they’re so targeted, they should be easier to sell to than any old person you find on social media or elsewhere.

Try and think back to how you got on the mailing lists you’re on. Take a second and think about the list building strategies that people used to get you on those lists.

When you shop online, this is easy to figure out. You’re buying something and you either need to make an online account—with an email address—or you add your email address at the end so that you can get your receipt and shipping updates.

If you get emails from a place that you shop in-store, you might not remember how you got on the list. Think back. Do you remember them asking you for your email address when you bought something? Or do you remember signing up for a loyalty card? That’s list building.

Yep. Email lists are also effective when selling to people who buy offline. So, no matter how you sell, you want to collect email addresses—ethically—whenever possible.

Now what?

OK, so you’ve thought about the lists you’re on, but how does knowing all of this do anything for you? Communicating with your existing and potential clients and customers via email keeps them in the loop of what you’re selling. This is how they find out if you’re having a sale or a special or selling a new product. Because you’ve kept them connected.

And now, because you’re connected, you can reach your audience instantly. No matter where they are, and no matter where you are, you can reach out and speak to your email list quickly—the moment there’s something you think they should know about.

Having an email list is way more effective than expecting to reach your audience exclusively on social media. Social media requires you to be present on the channel when your audience is present. Which means if your target audience is online at 3pm, then you need to be posting at 3pm. If they miss your social media post, they’re not going to scroll back to look to see what you had to say.

However, because your audience is likely to have less emails than social media posts on their timelines, you’re more likely to be seen in their personal inboxes than in their social media feeds.

Also, your customers should feel that they can reach out to you in a place where you’ll actually see their message—privately. Some customers might not want to share their comments with the entire social world, but they may appreciate being able to hit reply to one of your emails and feel confident you’ll see it and get back to them.

Extra Perk

List building can help you build those kind of relationships.

Having an email list can do wonders for your business and income, but also do wonders for your relationship with your customers and clients—which is what selling is really about.

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