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How To Build Your Money-Making Email List

By: Kevin Nunley

Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice, copywriting, and promotion packages. See his 10,000 free marketing ideas at Reach Kevin at or 801-328-9006.

I'm often asked, "What's the best way to build a business when you don't have much money to spend."  I never hesitate when I answer. Build your own email list!

A good email list that you collected yourself is worth its weight in gold.  My list, that I started with an AOL account and pasting subscriber addresses into Text Pad, now generates six figures in sales every year.  I know a consultant who pulls down even more with her home-grown email list.  And there's the guy who keeps his business humming by sending his thoughts to his list whenever he feels like it, once a month, once every three months, once a week.

None of these people have any special tricks to use a list to generate $17,000 in a weekend (you've probably seen sales pitches that promise that).  They simply attract people who are interested in getting their information, put them on their list, and send them good info on a regular basis.

If subscribers don't buy from you now, they will eventually. It's standard to hear from new customers "I've been getting your newsletter for years and figured it was time to buy."

Your email list becomes a continuous source of non-stop sales for you.  Want to know how most of the successful online businesses stay profitable year after year? They have a good list.  Want to know why so many small businesses fold within months of starting? They don't have a list.  It's often as simple as that.

How do you get your list?  Here are several commonly used ways.
  1. 1.  The original and most common method to get people to subscribe to your list is to offer information.  Offer up a newsletter filled with information of real value to a specific kind of audience.  Offer free reports, white papers, or email alerts.

  2. 2.  When people buy from you, get their email address.  Have your order form ask if it's OK to send them valuable information from time to time.  Usually half to 80 percent say yes.

  3. 3.  Create a contest and have people subscribe to your newsletter as a requirement for entry.  Of course, you will give them a chance to unsubscribe after the contest is over, but most will opt to keep receiving your messages.
Now let me get all gloomy and say a few words about purchasing lists of names.  Lists of addresses you buy, even from the best of sources, usually don't work very well.  For some reason the immense power of an email list doesn't kick in until people learn about you, then sign up to get your information.  It doesn't workvery well to send information to people who have never heard of you.  You can send and send until you're blue in the face and very few will ever buy anything.

OK, all sounds good.  But where do you get the information to send to your list?  "Kevin, you're a writer.  This stuff is easy for you.  But I hate to write!" I can hear you cry.  And that's exactly why you should use my articles, or the articles of any other writer who will let you (and most will if you also include their contact information at the end of the article).

Subscribe to lists that cover the same kind of information you do.  When you see a great article, email the author and ask for permission to reprint it.  You can also paraphrase information you find.  Just put the information in your own words.

List building is highly effective, but it's not a get-rich-quick method.  It often takes a full year to get your list up to the point where it starts getting results for you.  It could take several years before it becomes a source of income that seriously changes your lifestyle.  But in the scope of things, that's a pretty quick way to achieve the success you deserve.

© 2002

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