A couple of years ago the mantra in Internet Marketing circles was ‘build your list’.
It made a lot of sense to build a list (a warm market you could promote to for free), but it kind of overlooked the fact that in order to get a list you first had to get people to your website so they could opt in to it.
So you still had to do all that marketing and promotional stuff.
Today it’s a lot easier. In fact you may not even need a list.
You have Twitter.
The logic behind developing an active, valuable list was that you were creating a relationship with your readers (list members). Once you had this relationship you could promote anything you liked to them and they’d buy. (Well – that was the theory).
There was all sorts of advice on the correct mix of promotional emails versus ‘giving useful information’ emails, and so on.
And you had to deal with spam filters and deliverability rates, one of which was becoming ever tougher and the other ever lower as a result.
You also had to spend time writing informative emails. Coming up with valuable content so your list didn’t see you as simply sending them promotion after promotion.
But the problem I found was that my emails were competing with a hundred-and-one other emails in my lists’ in boxes. And getting any interaction going was well nigh impossible.
So creating that relationship was pretty tough.
But today it’s all so much easier.
Firstly, you can find yourself a genuinely warm market by doing some simple market research.
Just use the Twitter search function to find people asking questions related to your product.
Then answer those questions.
No self promotion. Just answer the questions that you can, accurately and politely.
As you do that, people will start to follow you, because you’re providing useful information.
And it’s a heck of a lot easier to develop a relationship with your followers. Instead of sitting down to write a ‘useful’ email, you can just respond to questions they’re asking. In 140 characters or less.
They’ll probably thank you, and then you have a genuine conversation going.
Pretty soon you’ll have a list of followers who make up a very warm market – just like your list was supposed to do for you.
And if you then use TwitterFeed or something similar to deliver your blog posts to Twitter via RSS, they’ll get to see all your new posts each time you put one up.
And you’ll start getting more visitors to your blog.
Assuming your blog is focused on your product, you’re now getting a whole raft of new visitors exposed to your products. And they’re already your warm market.
Which was exactly the logic behind developing your list.
So yes – for me, Twitter is the new List.