Here's The Reason Why You Should NOT Build A List

40 replies
There's solid info on how to BUILD a list

...but little on why NOT to.

Because...

Knowing what NOT to do is just as important
as WHAT to do.

Here's a simple rule I live by these days:

Do NOT build a list.

Crazy thought?

Hear me out.

Like many, I was obsessed with the biggest
list I could possibly build.

...but that's like holding a pan of dirt calling
it Gold.

It's the yellow stones buried IN the dirt that
makes it worth digging for...

...not the dirt itself.

The Gold...

...are the people in the list.

And those yellow stones are human beings.

People like you and I are FAR more valuable
than all the dirt you could dig for in the
world.

Subscribers are not cogs in a machine.

They have personalities, dreams, desires,
families, and friends -- just LIKE you.

So if you approach your email marketing with
THIS in mind...

...with a heavy dose of humanity...

Building a list no longer becomes, "building
a list".

It becomes growing a community.

A tribe.

A following.

Or fans if you're an international bad ass
like me :-)

What's your best tip?






#build #email marketing #how to build list #list #listbuilding #reason
  • Profile picture of the author RWBiggs
    Great Title! Got my attention.

    You are right of course, build a community. But it still is a list that you market to.

    Maybe it should be known as building a Friends List or a Customer List.

    Or Your Community List.

    Best Tip = Talk to people. Really talk to them, but listen really well.

    Just my two cents worth.
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  • Profile picture of the author andybeveridge
    I make my living or at least 80% through list building and I agree with you. The day I recognized subscribers as people my fortunes changed. My tip for budding list builders is to start using video as soon as you can, because it makes it that much easier to build trust etc.
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    • Profile picture of the author aprilm
      My best tip is to engage your subscribers. Get them to communicate with you. Help them to feel like a valuable asset to the tribe. Use your emails to them to find out what they want, and then give it to them. If you have a website, find a way to somehow publicly recognize them. Mention that they contributed x or y to the discussion. They are real people so treat them with respect.
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  • Profile picture of the author Hattrick
    My best tip: Build that list but sift out the dirt and take the nuggets. In simple language, make your list as targeted as possible. Eliminate the tire kickers and freebie seekers from your funnel first.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Hi Joe,

    Super!

    One note; this applies to every aspect of your life. When social media, list building, meeting people offline, etc.....etc.....etc...becomes all about inspiring people to feel good and live their dreams your life becomes magic.

    I am writing these words from Chiang Mai, Thailand. Traveling the world for 3 years. Why? I stopped playing the numbers game. I played the energy game.

    I intended to lift people's energy wherever I showed up. Online. Offline.

    Here I am.

    Great share!
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    • Profile picture of the author Karen Blundell
      Originally Posted by ryanbiddulph View Post

      Hi Joe,

      When social media, list building, meeting people offline, etc.....etc.....etc...becomes all about inspiring people to feel good and live their dreams your life becomes magic.
      this! I am a firm believer of this - whenever I take the time to help out someone without thinking what's in it for me, something magical happens - every single time!
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  • Profile picture of the author oppyeaunome
    The title did get my attention that's an awesome headline. Anyway that's the problem I had when first beginning you think to yourself that the way to make money is to build a list which is true but sometimes you get so caught up with just building the list that you forget to build a true deep relationship with the people on your list. When you think about it the more you list WANTS to hear from you the better. I'm on Jason Fladlien's list and he provides so much value that when he doesn't send an email for a few days I notice one time I actually was scared that I may have opted out of his list by mistake because he offers so much value. Its like you say its because I have become a raving fan and raving fans are created by provided over the top quality VALUE.

    So my tip : put yourself in the seat of your prospect and cater to THEIR needs find out what THEY want not what you want but want THEY want and give it to them. Eben Pagan talks a lot about that. Once you give them what they need they become fans!

    Peace
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  • Profile picture of the author jasondinner
    I get what you're saying and it's a good approach but the approach of just treating lists as data works just as good.

    Tell this to all the multi million and billion dollar companies out there.

    We are just data to them. And they seem to be doing ok.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      How does one business owner getting personal with his subscribers make a community?

      "Growing a community," it seems to me, suggests enabling the members to freely interact with one another ... like in a forum or a membership site where open dialogue can take place without the owner necessarily being involved.

      Many of us have been nurturing our subscribers and promoting personal interaction between "us and them" for many, many years but I wouldn't say we're enabling a community.

      If you don't have a way for members to interact at your web site you are probably not growing a community.

      One web site owner getting personal with his customers does not a community make! That distinction seems important to this discussion.

      Good luck to all,

      Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        My best tip?

        In this context, it's using your opt-in process as a filter, not a trap.

        I want as many of the right people as I can get subscribed to my lists. I also want as few of the wrong people signing up as I can manage. A big part of that comes with the benefits you promise, from the premise of your list to the freebie you might offer. Craft your offers so that they appeal to the right people and turn off the wrong ones.

        For example, if your emails tend to be long and text-heavy but your landing page is a couple of vague bullets and a video promising the moon, you might well have a mismatch.

        It also means delivering on the promises you make. If you promise the moon and deliver stinky green cheese, the odds of building a mutually beneficial relationship are pretty long.
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        • Profile picture of the author Stuart Walker
          Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

          My best tip?

          In this context, it's using your opt-in process as a filter, not a trap.

          I want as many of the right people as I can get subscribed to my lists. I also want as few of the wrong people signing up as I can manage. A big part of that comes with the benefits you promise, from the premise of your list to the freebie you might offer. Craft your offers so that they appeal to the right people and turn off the wrong ones.

          For example, if your emails tend to be long and text-heavy but your landing page is a couple of vague bullets and a video promising the moon, you might well have a mismatch.

          It also means delivering on the promises you make. If you promise the moon and deliver stinky green cheese, the odds of building a mutually beneficial relationship are pretty long.
          Indeed I don't want everyone and anyone on my list. I want the people that not only WANT to receive my emails but look forward to them.

          Better to filter out the freebie seekers and uninterested right from the start.

          In most of my niche sites I don't give away freebies anymore because it attracts people who just want the freebie and then often they never open emails and just clutter up my AR and drive down open and click rates whilst increasing spam and unsubscribes.

          When I do offer a freebie I never have it as the main reason to sign up. Merely a bonus.

          The content on your site should be so good anyway that you don't have to bribe people to get them on your list - they'll want to by their own accord.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Still sounds like building a list lol. I've always made more with my list when the paid traffic is targeted - and when i get free traffic too. I dont put too much thought into it... it's like a system or "machine" to me.
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    • Profile picture of the author talfighel
      Originally Posted by Randall Magwood View Post

      Still sounds like building a list lol. I've always made more with my list when the paid traffic is targeted - and when i get free traffic too. I dont put too much thought into it... it's like a system or "machine" to me.
      Amen to that Brother. I am with you on that.
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      .

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  • Cool.

    I haven't got a best tip, but I do have tip: Stop using curiosity to build email lists. The less people know about what's on offer, the more likely they are to give you false details. So keeping in line with your post Benjamin, building relationships starts before any details get entered into a sign up form.

    Many believe their abysmal open rates are because people decide to not open their email messages. That's only partially true. Chances are they haven't given you a primary email address in the first place. So, they're not opening your messages cuz they aint seeing them.

    Something worth considering?

    Declan.
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    • Profile picture of the author Joe Benjamin
      Originally Posted by ryanbiddulph View Post

      Hi Joe,

      Super!

      One note; this applies to every aspect of your life. When social media, list building, meeting people offline, etc.....etc.....etc...becomes all about inspiring people to feel good and live their dreams your life becomes magic.

      I am writing these words from Chiang Mai, Thailand. Traveling the world for 3 years. Why? I stopped playing the numbers game. I played the energy game.

      I intended to lift people's energy wherever I showed up. Online. Offline.

      Here I am.

      Great share!
      Love the blog, Ryan.

      I thought I had balls.

      ...but petting adult tigers.

      Geez.

      I'm going to have to do that I guess
      since it scares the hell out of me.

      ...I'm getting goosebumps at the thought.

      Even more reason to do it.

      Maybe I'll see you there this year?

      Bookmarked your blog. It's excellent!

      And you're totally right about it affecting
      ALL areas of life.

      And I mean ALL areas

      In fact...

      I'd venture to say this is the LAST area
      that's positively affected by it most.

      So I guess it comes down to the persons
      energy and vibe...and how they view life.

      Because if this little thread attracted the
      likes of you and Declan to connect with...

      ...then it was definitely worth the effort!

      Originally Posted by oppyeaunome View Post

      The title did get my attention that's an awesome headline. Anyway that's the problem I had when first beginning you think to yourself that the way to make money is to build a list which is true but sometimes you get so caught up with just building the list that you forget to build a true deep relationship with the people on your list. When you think about it the more you list WANTS to hear from you the better. I'm on Jason Fladlien's list and he provides so much value that when he doesn't send an email for a few days I notice one time I actually was scared that I may have opted out of his list by mistake because he offers so much value. Its like you say its because I have become a raving fan and raving fans are created by provided over the top quality VALUE.

      So my tip : put yourself in the seat of your prospect and cater to THEIR needs find out what THEY want not what you want but want THEY want and give it to them. Eben Pagan talks a lot about that. Once you give them what they need they become fans!

      Peace
      Excellent...

      ...and thank you

      Originally Posted by Declan O Flaherty View Post

      Cool.

      I haven't got a best tip, but I do have tip: Stop using curiosity to build email lists. The less people know about what's on offer, the more likely they are to give you false details. So keeping in line with your post Benjamin, building relationships starts before any details get entered into a sign up form.

      Many believe their abysmal open rates are because people decide to not open their email messages. That's only partially true. Chances are they haven't given you a primary email address in the first place. So, they're not opening your messages cuz they aint seeing them.

      Something worth considering?

      Declan.
      Well Mr. Declan,

      I suppose this is as good a time as any to
      say...

      "Thank you".

      It was YOUR information that made sense
      to me most and, I took action applying it.

      You're like the lone wolf in a sea of lions,
      but you consistently stand by your word.

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    • Originally Posted by Declan O Flaherty View Post

      Cool.

      I haven't got a best tip, but I do have tip: Stop using curiosity to build email lists. The less people know about what's on offer, the more likely they are to give you false details. So keeping in line with your post Benjamin, building relationships starts before any details get entered into a sign up form.

      Many believe their abysmal open rates are because people decide to not open their email messages. That's only partially true. Chances are they haven't given you a primary email address in the first place. So, they're not opening your messages cuz they aint seeing them.

      Something worth considering?

      Declan.
      I'm a bit late to this thread but I think Declans' advise is worth it's weight in gold.

      I'm not an expert but I have learned from some huge mistakes.

      If you're going to use 'curiosity' then use it in your forum signature or a blog post etc but always make sure the link takes them to a squeeze page that is honest, helpful and informative.

      Unfortunately there is a whole industry that has built up around..

      " Conversions "

      You only have to look at all the "Guru Style" Landing page products that are available now at enormous expense, and that teach you that conversions is the only thing that matters.

      You know the ones I'm talking about. Fancy whole background images with nothing more that a pretty girl on a beach staring lovingly at a curiosity themed headline for a freebie.

      So what does a pretty girl on a beach have to do with " Want To Know The 7 Headline Hacks That Gets Every One One of My Emails Opened"?

      Nothing.

      But there's no denying that people will sign up out of curiosity, just incase you have even one new hack they haven't heard of or tried.

      And if they can just master a few more hacks, they too will be able to sit on a beach instead of slogging away in an office and working for someone else.

      And feedback from comments on various blogs etc suggests that your conversions will be higher.

      But where do you go from there?

      You can have the most amazing opt-in gift but it's of absoloutely no use to you if it's of no use to them.

      When they download it and realise they've got a ton of other freebies all saying the same thing, chances are they will unsubscribe.

      And it does nothing for your credibility because, even if it wasn't your intention, they will feel liked they've been tricked.

      Think about all the lists you've subscribed to out of curiosity and then opted out of because it wasn't relevant to you.

      I feel that if your squeeze page is honest and tells people exactly what they're getting, then they will make an informed decision as to whether they want to subscribe or not.

      They will also be far more likely to give you a real email address because you've ensured that they know what they're getting, once they've handed their details over.

      You can start building a relationship with them because You know what They want.

      And the people who don't subscribe are not your audience anyway, so let them go.

      High conversions mean nothing if they're not going to stick around long enough to hear what you've got to say.

      Sorry if this turned into a rant.

      All the best

      Debbie
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  • Profile picture of the author ZedyDiamond
    That's interesting Joe, you have a mind of a successful person Great share!
    Building a community with people's trust is way better then list building.

    Giving out a lot of impressive free stuff is one of the keys to get people's trust!
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  • Profile picture of the author RogueOne
    In this context, it's using your opt-in process as a filter, not a trap.
    You should design a course on that John, see how it flies against the "wholesale slaughter" approach taught by most.

    Quality over quantity, I totally agree.
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  • Profile picture of the author datingworld
    Whether it's a community or list, the subscribers or the community are still targeted to buy
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    • Profile picture of the author billspaced
      There are lists and there are lists. I, too, want to build a community. The community I want to build is made up of people like me, just perhaps a little lower on the learning curve. I want to pull people up with me.

      The "danger" is that the pupil overtakes the teacher. Such is life. That's a risk you have to take.
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    • Profile picture of the author TatiW3B
      OP I love your spin on listbuilding vs your thread title.

      You asked for input on tips... I would say that my best tip is to be consistent about e-mailing the list. I've made the mistake before of ignoring my list for long periods of time. Oops!

      Add to that: asking questions and aiming for responses to your emails.

      A great way to foster a sense of tribe and "community" as well would be encouraging your list to connect with you on social sites aside from your website. This really depends on the type of marketing you do.
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  • Profile picture of the author ephicil
    I see what you did there. Very clever. Point taken.
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  • Profile picture of the author clever7
    Your controversial title got my attention, but I was expecting another kind of information. Building a list always is a good thing, even when you don't have the time to transform it into something special.

    You should build a list anyway. You may find out later how to have better results.






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    • Profile picture of the author Joe Benjamin
      Originally Posted by TatiW3B View Post

      OP I love your spin on listbuilding vs your thread title.

      You asked for input on tips... I would say that my best tip is to be consistent about e-mailing the list. I've made the mistake before of ignoring my list for long periods of time. Oops!

      Add to that: asking questions and aiming for responses to your emails.

      A great way to foster a sense of tribe and "community" as well would be encouraging your list to connect with you on social sites aside from your website. This really depends on the type of marketing you do.
      Thanks for sharing, my friend

      Being consistent about emailing a list is a
      discipline itself.

      Such as everything in life from romance,
      family relationships, spiritual, working out,
      dieting, etc.

      It's all about consistency.

      Originally Posted by clever7 View Post

      Your controversial title got my attention, but I was expecting another kind of information. Building a list always is a good thing, even when you don't have the time to transform it into something special.

      You should build a list anyway. You may find out later how to have better results.
      True.

      It's ALWAYS best to get it going FIRST,
      make adjustments later.

      All the preparation in the world can not
      replace the facts of life:

      You will make mistakes. And often.

      What this thread is designed to do is to
      help those who are already in the trenches
      making those mistakes and giving them
      ways to improve.

      It's a basic idea, but a proven philosophy.


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  • Profile picture of the author jigsneth
    Great info Joe! That's the real meaning of listbuilding. Build relationship with your subscribers, build tribe or raving fans.
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  • Profile picture of the author DarioMontesdeOca
    Fundamentally you're still building a "list", but I like the attention grabbing title.

    Everyone should take this as a perfect example of good marketing that stands out to a targeted group of list building Internet marketers

    Now what title should you send your next email of targeted leads?
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  • Profile picture of the author sanjaybanerjee
    Vow,excellent post.Thanks to all of you for contributing to our thoughts
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  • Profile picture of the author dmarseller
    hhahahahaha Good title! As I alsways say....quality over quantity always! perhaps you feel you are losing money or chances to get rich or get sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author spearce000
    Very thoughtful and thought provoking. I was told years ago: The money's not in the list, it's in your relationship with the list. You put it somewhat better than I could.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stuart Walker
    The reason why people get low 10% open rates if they are lucky (and get excited about it too!) is because they focus on building a big list at the expense of a responsive list where they have trust, authority and a relationship with.

    Big isn't always better. Small lists can wipe the floor with big lists.
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    • Profile picture of the author Joe Benjamin
      Originally Posted by spearce000 View Post

      Very thoughtful and thought provoking. I was told years ago: The money's not in the list, it's in your relationship with the list. You put it somewhat better than I could.
      There are always unique spins on old
      principles.

      My understanding of it is different from
      other peoples. It doesn't make it better
      or worst. It's about what works best
      for me.

      Originally Posted by Stuart Walker View Post

      The reason why people get low 10% open rates if they are lucky (and get excited about it too!) is because they focus on building a big list at the expense of a responsive list where they have trust, authority and a relationship with.

      Big isn't always better. Small lists can wipe the floor with big lists.
      Not to mention smaller lists are easier to
      manage (and are less expensive).

      I'd rather build a list of people who WANT
      to be on my list, then a list of people who
      DON'T want to be on my list or just going
      through the motions.
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  • Profile picture of the author bobson8788
    You are so right Joe, thanks for the posting
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  • Profile picture of the author thetitans
    A list is heart of any business, show me a business without a list...Managing your business (your list) is the next step. If you cater to their needs and feed them what they are looking for, your response rate will stay high and they will repeatedly buy from you.
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  • Profile picture of the author mark healy
    i agree with what you said, people are human beings and you need to treat them with respect, don't just build a list for the sake of it like everyone else does, have the right attitude and build a great relashionship with your list and you will see magic happen
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  • Profile picture of the author gcbmark20
    Hi,

    YES I have to agree with that my friend.

    Everyone human being who joins your list are looking to you for HELP!

    They joined your email list because they have hopes, dreams & desires.

    Just SHARE what you know.

    Show them how YOU achieved a particular result, something you've just
    discovered that could really help them with a particular aspect of their
    online business.

    Once you notice that you have people (your people) have been opening
    your emails for months (and even years) reading your emails, taking your
    advice, buying your products etc then that's where it all becomes more
    than just trying to make a quick buck here and there.

    YOU SEE THE LIGHT!

    THE GATES OPEN, YOU CAN SEE WHY YOU ARE REALLY BUILDING A LIST.

    That's where your confidence soars and you look forward to helping your
    people every day knowing that they're waiting for your next email.

    I MAY OPEN THE ODD EMAIL WITH A CATCHY HEADLINE MYSELF
    NOW AND AGAIN.

    But I NEVER bother clicking on those emails that have 3 lines in them and 2
    of those are links.

    Just so off putting.

    People want to CONNECT with you.

    It really is a win win situation once you connect with your readers.

    Tell them your stories, what you did over the weekend, your struggles
    when you first started your own business.

    Great post, very honest, I like it.

    Have a great weekend everyone at the W.F.

    You're all awesome!
    Gavin
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  • Profile picture of the author Chad Eljisr
    You should do both: Building your list and building your tribe. They are not the same thing though... Only a small part of your list will become part of your community. They are your "core audience" - the people that relate to you and feel they are sharing with you a similar journey - even though you may be slightly ahead of them.

    And with some few exceptions, email is not the platform for building a community, as most of the communication is going in one direction. Facebook Groups, a forum, a mastermind work better for community building.
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  • Profile picture of the author extrememan
    Interesting! When people say "Money is in the list" that is WRONG? It's in the relationship you build with your list, so people should say "Money is the relationship".
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
    Originally Posted by Joe Benjamin View Post

    There's solid info on how to BUILD a list

    ...but little on why NOT to.

    Because...

    Knowing what NOT to do is just as important
    as WHAT to do.

    Here's a simple rule I live by these days:

    Do NOT build a list.
    Seems like an intense statement in fairness given that you really aren't suggesting to not build a list but rather how we should treat and regard a list.

    With that aside though, the overall message is spot on.
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