Tradational list building is a slow process: there is a better, legitimate way

How to build a list

Building a list is a simple procedure. There is no need to take a week-long workshop or pay for an online course. I will give you the basic steps here free.

First, I recommend that you subscribe to an autoresponder service. Without doubt, the best one out there, which I highly endorse is eWeber. It will cost you $20 a month, but it is well worth it. They have amazingly helpful tutorials complete with videos about how to do everything, and that is where you should go to learn how to do list building—for free.

Basically, you design a popup or slideout page, for which eWeber provides the templates. The form asks for your visitor's information in return for whatever you wish to give as an incentive. The data are recorded in aWeber database, which you can access at any time.

When you have a respectable list of a few hundred members, you can plan periodic email campaigns to distribute your new letters, send out special offers and so forth.

However, it can be a long and arduous process and could take years to build a list in the thousands. Many people give up before this ever occurs. Just keep slugging away, and you'll eventually get there. Please remember to respect your list members, and don't inundate them.

Building your opt-in list is basically an exercise in the online marketing of your site in order to entice people to visit. Then you have to cajole them into giving you their contact information with some enticements.

Are there faster ways to do eMail marketing and list building?

Yes. You can buy email spider programs that crawl all over the Web and indiscriminately harvest email addresses from various Websites that you think may be relevant to your world. Sometimes you can be lucky enough to find a directory of like-minded people and you will have a bonanza.

I do not recommend this approach. You will not have a list of all important opt-in names. These people will not know who you are and they will most likely feel invaded and demand to be removed.

Your ISP will get wind of your activities, and your account will be shut down. Your domain could be black listed. You could be blackballed on the Internet and have a difficult time ever getting a site again. It's not worth the risk.

To get around these problems, some people do email blasting using offshore services, which can cost a fortune and could still get you in trouble.

Yes, you can buy so-called opt-in names from various list services for a handsome price. But, again, you have the problem of getting shut down for spamming, and having the recipients resent you, in which case you would have very poor sales.

Don't forget that it is against the law to SPAM. You could get a fine of up to $500 per email and actually go to jail. There are SPAMMERS sitting in prison right now, and you don't want to join them. So, don't SPAM. It's no no, no matter how tempting it may be.

Certainly the attraction and the power of email marketing is that it costs so little compared to PPC (pay per click) or direct mail advertising. But, as I hope I made abundantly clear above, the costs can be very high if you don't do it properly.

The questions remains, is building your own opt-in list, slowly and painfully, the only proper way to go? The answer is no. There is a far more powerful alternative. That alternative is Joint Venture Marketing.

Joint Venture Marketing

Joint venture marketing is when two parties join forces to offer a product and mutually share in the proceeds. Online joint ventures usually involve someone with a product approaching someone who has a nice fat, juicy opt-in list. The list owner, if he likes the offer, will agree to blast it out to his list in return for say 50% of the profits.

Here is the best of all worlds. You get your product out there instantly to thousands of people who are presumably interested, and it didn't cost you a penny. Way to go!

The only problem is that it can be difficult to find a list owner interested in your product and willing to potentially jeopardize his list for you. I will have more to say about this and how to go about finding these people under the subject of Joint Venture Marketing.

In the meantime, perhaps I should mention that I probably have one of the biggest opt-in email lists in the industry having been in the list business since 1988.

For the first time, I am exploring the possibility of allowing my list to be used for a few very special joint ventures. If you have a worthwhile product or campaign, and you need an opt-in list to launch it, let's talk. Send me your proposal.

Another good thing about joint venturing is that it is also list building. While the list owner will not share his list with you. The customers who buy as a result of the campaign become your customers, and you can add them to your list.


Email marketing is a powerful tool because it is a cheap way to reach a great number of people who are an opt-in, targeted audience. However, the dangers are many if not done properly.

Unfortunately, list building can be a long, arduous task. It can take years to build a respectable sized list.

You can harvest names with an email spider application, but you don't have an opt-in list, which makes it both dangerous and of very little value. Avoid this approach.

Yes, it's possible to buy or rent so-called opt-in email lists, but they can be expensive. The people don't know you and may complain that you are spamming them, which could have dire consequences.

Without doubt, the best solution for jump-starting your business if you don't want to build a list from scratch, which can take forever, is to enter into joint ventures using other people's opt-in lists.

While joint ventures can be powerful, they can be difficult to find and to negotiate. If you have a legitimate and profitable product or program you want to market, send me a proposal, and I will consider it.

To learn more about Joint Ventures, please visit that section of this site.


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