Internet Marketing – Is List-Building a Legitimate Skill?
A few weeks ago, sales conversion expert Mike Morgan publicly asserted that list building was not a fundamental Internet Marketing skill. At least not an independent one.
While acknowledging its importance to online success, growing and maintaining a subscriber list is, according to Morgan, a by-product of two business fundamentals:
1. Traffic Generation.
Nobody can succeed online without the ability to drive traffic (ie, motivated and legitimate aspirations)
to a sales page. Today, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, joint ventures (JVs), and article marketing are popular methods used to get website visitors.
2. Sales Conversion through Copywriting.
Monetizing your prospects by persuading or convicting them to take the action you want
(eg subscribing to a newsletter, making a purchase, etc.) in an ethical, moral and legal
Where does list-building fit into the Internet Marketing universe? Without reading too much into Morgan's motivations (he is a copywriter, after all!), Other high-level marketers are likely view list-building as an invaluable part of their business. Some claim that if they lost everything today, rebuilding their list would be their number one priority.
If Internet Marketers could agree on list-building's core definition and requirements, we could determine whether or not it is a fundamental skill independent of traffic generation and sales copy. Two list-building concepts immediately spring to mind:
- Formal, permission-based e-mail correspondence with multiple subscribers on a continuous basis.
- Long-term relationship marketing independent of specific sales techniques. Mostly text e-mails, but increasing use of audio and video messages in the future.
Clearly, purchases encouraged by targeted traffic generation and a relevant sales letter boost list-building. An initial sale serves as a strong first impression, sort of speak.
However, focused list growth and careful list maintenance are what spur sustainable, long-term business success. Both of which depend on properly executed marketing prowess, ie:
- Optimizing the subject line, opening paragraph and closing paragraph in e-mail communication.
- Developing the "know, like, and trust" factor between list owner and subscribers.
Beyond first contact, skilled marketers can pre-sell their lists over and over again without resorting to formal sales letters. Subscribers who trust your judgment will bypass copy to take action immediately.
"You mean they'll ignore the sales copy, scroll down to the bottom, and click the 'Buy' button right away?"
Exactly. No matter how good or bad the sales page is.
Does not that make list-building an essential, if not vital skill to possess?
Traffic generation methods are the fuel that drive "eyeballs" to both a list builder's opt-in page and a copywriter's salesletter. Copywriting techniques (ie headlines, benefits & features, "irresistible" offer, etc.) definitely influence a "squeeze" page's conversion rate.
However, it's common knowledge that satisfing existing customers is the key to repeat sales and long-term profitability. So, instead of using precious resources to find new customers, why not nurture better relationships with the subscribers you already have?
Consider affiliate marketing as a combination of your list-building and another person's sales page. With a devoted list in place, even simple e-mails can successfully generate so-called "autopilot" income.
… but only with time and a dedicated effort to building your marketing skills; ie your list-building skills.
So, is list-building a skill on par with traffic generation and copywriting? Perhaps Mike Morgan and noted list-building expert Tellman Knudson could turn their friendly private discussions into a teleseminar debate.
I'll buy the popcorn …