Should I Build A List?

In my previous post, I wrote an article on Should I Start A Blog or a Website First? and some of you shared very good comments in the blog. Today I shall attempt to discuss another common question – “Should I build a list?”.

To kick start the discussion, let’s take a look at what I did when I first started online……

I built an info-rich website in an unpopular niche. As the website started getting some traffic, I prepared an email tutorial series, delivered through autoresponder, as a bait to entice visitors to opt-in to my list. Every email tutorial sends the reader back to my website to read the full tutorial that has Adsense ads in it. Within each tutorial, I also try to promote affiliate products. Other than that, I do not follow up with the list anymore.

Did I regret spending time to build the list? Not at all. Despite my lack of maintenance, it is still adding a few hundreds into my pocket every year, until today.

If you are going to spend time and money promoting a website, yet you are not building a list, you are leaving money on the table, period.

But DO NOT build a list for the sake of building one. In the past, I may simply build a list by offering a PLR or MRR ebook, thinking that I will follow up with the list in the future. I never did. Yes, I’m lazy, but I believe most of you are lazy too.

If you were to build a list, you have to know EXACTLY how you intend to monetize the list. Else, list building will really be a waste of time for you.

In my example above, I offered a free tutorial. Those who opt-in are looking forward to that tutorial. When an email tutorial comes to them, they must go online to read the tutorial. And I monetize every tutorial through Adsense and affiliate sales.

I always tell my regular advertisers that if they are spending money to advertise, they should build a list, especially when they are advertising products in the same niche. But they often tell me things like:

“Kenneth, I’m only interested in the money, not in maintaining a list.”

Building a list is one issue, maintaining the list is another.

You can build a list and get more sales out of your existing traffic without providing any form of maintenance.

For example, there are some lists whereby I simply load some standard email tutorials that come with the affiliate product I’m promoting into my autoresponder. People opt-in to get the tutorial and since every tutorial ends up promoting that product, I manage to get some extra affiliate sales. For such lists, I do not provide any form of maintenance. If they want to unsubscribe, they just have to click the unsubscribe link. But very few people will unsubscribe because after the autoresponder series, they won’t hear from me anymore.

I am not saying this is the way you should manage your list. In fact, this may be the worst list management strategy you may hear. But the worst strategy can increase your profit. Moreover, you are not doing something evil or unethical. Your subscribers get free tutorials on the subject they are interested in. You get more affiliate sales. It’s win-win.

Note: Some marketers may teach you to keep blasting offers to your list until they either buy something or unsubscribe. I don’t do that. I want to maximize my profit, but I am not that hungry.

I need to reemphasize that this is not the way you manage ALL your lists. If you are building a list in a niche that you want to establish a name in, you will have to provide lots of support and follow up emails to build relationship with the list. This kind of list will need a lot of maintenance effort, but the potential return is also much higher.

When is the right time to start building a list?

There isn’t a single answer for this.

If you are building a niche site, you may want to wait until the website starts getting consistent traffic. You won’t want to spend too much time preparing the material before the website shows any potential.

But if you are promoting some program big time, you may want to start building a list immediately.

The key is if you foresee a lot of traffic will be coming to your website, always get your opt-in form ready. You’ll want to retain and recycle that traffic instead of letting the traffic flow through your website.

24 thoughts to “Should I Build A List?”

  1. That’s pretty solid advice Kenneth. I’m a firm believer that marketers should be capitalizing on their advertising and website traffic by giving visitors a chance to subscribe to their list. Unfortunately, most marketers are building someone else’s list by promoting straight affiliate or distributor links. The first step for anyone who is serious about making online income is to have their own domain(s), website or sites, autoresponder account, and hosting. It will cost some money to get started but that’s where I believe newbies need to do in order to be successful.

    Click my name to see a site where you can get all that and more, plus the hosting company will pay you for your referrals. That’s pretty cool, as most hosting companies only pay you once for referrals.

  2. How does one unsubscribe to your crap? You make it virtually impossible unless one has the login details and can actually login to an account. I simply don’t want to receive any more of your bulllshit emails.

    1. You need to login to cancel your account because it’s a membership. Or you can simply send us a support ticket and we’ll do it for you (usually within 24 hours on weekdays). Anyway, I’ve terminated your account for you.

    2. Dear Jim, it seems you have lost some money on other sites before for whatever reasons. But let me tell you that Kenneth Koh provides loads of value to all members – both Free and Pro. LeadsLeap provides simple and effective marketing information plus leads and traffic. I have earned over $270 in affiliate commissions by referring 247 members here. Plus I also got thousands of visitors to my sites already. So LeadsLeap works great and Kenneth Koh is a well respected and successful Internet Marketing Guru.

      Moral of the story:
      Donot post public comments unless you contact the Support team of the respective site. Every online business normally has a Support department / ticket system which customers like you can always use for fastest response. Wish you all the best in your search for Online Income!

  3. Blimey Jim! Of all the 100s of emails I get daily, Kenneth’s is one of the very few I actually enjoy reading and learning from, as he talks the most common sense. You don’t hear from him often!

    As ever, Kenneth is dead right about building your own list. I could cry when I think how much time and money I wasted before doing that.

    The plan I use (click my name) is really affordable when you’re getting started, and grows with you. If you choose to introduce others, you can break even with just two referrals. If anyone would like to learn more, just ask for the free report.

  4. Thanks Kenneth,

    Anybody else see opportunity when presented with it?

    Results 1 – 10 of about 15,700 for “email anger management”.

    Results 1 – 10 of about 44,200 for Who crapped in your cornflakes

    Yea I’m just goofing off.

    I will add one tip. If you use a prewritten autoresponder series from another marketer make sure that it is not full of self serving links back to the marketer who sold or gave it to you.

    I have had the experience of watching people unsubscribe after
    the same numbered email was sent out.

  5. Yeah of all the courses i’ve taken/bought they all ask that you build a list. But as of now I have no idea on how to monetize it or what I would even provide to my list. I think as I get better I should add a list IE for return customers but right now i should focus on getting the basics down.

  6. wow kenneth,

    this was the first time i read to the end of your post. yes i would agree building a list is really important, yes you can make money without list, but it needs a long time to make even for 1 sale..

  7. Hi Kenneth,

    Another great post. Hopefully this will get me inspired to start building. I am one of those lazy people that you speak of. I know that I should be building a list but just keep putting it off. I guess one of the reason is that I don’t like a lot of the email that I get when I sign up for a list.

    Another problem for me is that autoresponders are so damn complicated and confusing to me that I become frustrated and loose interest after awhile.

    Keep up the great work,

    Robert Sexton

  8. I agree that building a list is an important step in any marketing venture, I am not so sure about not keeping in touch with your list once you build it though. I try to make sure I get out newsletters and such to my list, building up a good rapport with your list helps to establish trust and allows you to better brand yourself online.

    1. Need to make sure this message is put across:
      In general, you have to build rapport, trust and your brand with your list. But if you are building tons of very small lists for tons of different niches, it’s too time consuming and not profitable to do that. For such small niche lists, just load the list with autoresponder that can squeeze a few more sales from your existing traffic.

  9. There are 4 main reasons for creating a website:
    1. Sell a product or service directly at that site
    2. Generate leads to build a list
    3. Create content to build authority for your brand or company
    4. Serve as the on line front door to your company or brand

    Mixing up the purpose of your site confuses people and leads to visitors doing nothing.

    The simplest type of all is the landing page or squeeze page, which should have only one purpose, to collect email and possibly name information in exchange for some type of ethical bribe.

  10. Once again Kenneth you are spot on! I totally agree and your blog is one of the few I ever read to the very end because it is always full of great advice, common sense and you never pressure people to buy anything. I enjoy web design and website building and believe it provides a strong foundation to building a list focused on your niche once you add a subscribe box.

  11. I still think some affiliate sales products are better to just send right to a sales page rather than trying to collect a persons info first and then sending them to your affiliate link.

  12. I don’t mind receiving weekly newsletter from Leadsleap. At least I’m not blasted almost every single day as some list that I signed up do. I like reading tips from Kenneth. He has been providing good articles so far. It’s no crab as stated by Jim.

  13. Kenneth,

    Thanks for all the excellent resources you provide at LeadsLeap. You really gave a differnt perspective for “Should I build a list” discussion.

    I liked your point of view on building a list vs. maintaining a list – an issue that is useful for internet marketers to know.

    I posted it on my blog so my subscribers could read it as well.

    Your weekly newsletter is a gem. I looked forward to reading it and always a finding a “diamond in the rough”.

  14. Is a list always the best way? I mean I hardly ever buy something additional from the lists I join.

    Most I join just to get the free stuff then I never even read another email.

    You know they just try to sell something you dont really need with each email, or something you can get for free.

    Only real web businesses should start a email list.
    not mlm bull.

  15. A lot of people says that Money is in the List. In order to make this work, you need to have a relationship with your list members. Not trying to make a sale only.

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