One of the most important things you can do when starting your business is building a list of customers and potential customers. This list can consist of anyone and everyone who has ever visited your website, bought something from you, came to your booth at a trade show or listened to your podcast. Lists can be a very powerful tool, yet, I talk to entrepreneurs every day who haven’t created one for themselves. They might have a customer’s information who bought from them before, but what about those customers who clicked on their Facebook ads or visited their website but didn’t buy? To go after that customer and make a sale, you need to build a list to market to them!
The people on your list are your potential customers who need to know you, like you and trust you before they buy. They’re just getting familiar with you, so putting them on a list so you can market to them will help facilitate them getting to know you and your business better.
Here’s an example I shared with one of my coaching clients recently. Let’s say you’re a business owner who ran ads for your business on TV every day for an entire year. This strategy may not be the most effective one because it’s very expensive, and even though you’ve run hundreds of ads, you have no data on who actually watched those ads in order to target them again. You’re missing their IP address to deliver ads to, their email address to send newsletters to, and their phone number to send text campaigns to.
When you run digital ads, however, you’re automatically building a list. Digital ads allow you to capture names, phone numbers and email addresses with lead generation campaigns, as well as IP addresses without the prospect even having to input their information. You can install a pixel on your website and the landing page of your ad, so you can capture the IP address of anyone who clicks on them — meaning you can deliver another ad to them any time.
Research says it takes seven to 11 times of getting in front of a potential customer to convince them to buy from you. You’ve probably seen this happen to you without even realizing it. You go to buy a cute pair of new shoes online, then end up changing your mind or getting distracted, so you don’t go through with the purchase. The next thing you know, you’re seeing ads with those shoes everywhere — it’s like they’re following you around! The pixel captured your IP address when you clicked on the shoes and is now firing off more and more ads until they convince you to buy. There’s really no better prospect to follow online than someone who has already shown interest in what you have to offer — it’s brilliant marketing!
We’ve been running digital ads for our clients for years. Those clients have built up massive audiences by doing this, meaning they have a long list to target. This list is the people who already know them, like them and trust them, so they react quickly to the ads.
The same principles apply to in-person events. I was pitching our services to a real estate agent the other day who had been in business for 20 years. They hadn’t done any online marketing but were very well known in town and had hosted hundreds of open houses, crossing paths with thousands of prospects over the years. I asked them how long their list was, and they looked at me like they had no idea what I was talking about. Think if they held a simple drawing for some sort of prize at each of these open houses and captured thousands of names, phone numbers and email addresses for potential clients. That’s 20 years’ worth of people who could have bought and sold several homes with this agent, had they only captured their information and marketed to them over the years. That would have created a sense of top-of-mind awareness, so when these people were ready to buy or sell a home, they would immediately think of this agent.
Maybe you’re looking to build up a business and sell it one day. The potential buyer will look for these three things:
- Your net revenue
- What processes you have in place to duplicate and scale your business
- How big is your potential customer list
When Griffin Communications offered to buy my website, the whole reason we were able to sell was because of our list. We had 100,000 moms in the Tulsa area on our website — a massive amount of potential buyers for their advertisers. Our revenue was substantial — we were making $70k a month from advertisers with little overhead — but that number wasn’t that important to them. They wanted our list!
Here are 5 reasons you need to build a list:
- You can quickly reach large quantities of people who are familiar with you to market a new product or service
- You can personalize your messaging
- You have control over your list — it’s yours and can be used for years to come. If all of your followers are on Facebook or Instagram, a platform you don’t control, they could be gone tomorrow.
- It’s a great way to build trust
- If you are looking to exit your business and sell, your list is HUGE for the potential buyer
Whether you’re just starting your business or are someone who’s been in business for 20 years, now is the time to start building your list!