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How do you create a list?

Alice

Start with who you already know. Send out an invitation to all the people you have contact with, but make sure that they are eligible. The prequel to this post reminded you how important it is to understand your customers, so focusing on a relevant audience means you won?t be wasting your efforts.

Other ways of gathering more contacts is through your website and excellent content. The former is to make it easy for visitors to sign up, and the latter is to gain a reputation as a useful source of information. Remember to work on your customers? problems by providing a relevant and poignant solution.

To encourage signups from your website, the subscription form on the webpage should be a priority for capturing visitors? contact details. Don?t hide it away under the fold or behind some innocuous link, make it blatantly part of the decision making process each website visitor undergoes when they land on your website, such as: is this website the correct one, and what can I do on it? ? eg click on a link to go further into the site or sign up to something like an e-newsletter with its incentive.

Unfortunately an incentive is almost imperative: many people now expect something for nothing, so create a free offer in exchange for their contact details, as well as a regular newsletter. This could be an ebook, special report, teleseminar recording, interview with an expert, sample chapter of your book ? as long as this is not expensive for you and provides good value for them. Position a graphic of this incentive next to the sign up form; promote your expertise and provide some relevant and valuable information your customer would certainly appreciate.

Another incentive would be the quality of the information you are providing; not just from your special offer, but also from what they expect to receive for their subscription. If they can view past newsletters or articles you have written, to give them a flavour of your expertise, they would be more likely to respond favourably. You could also encourage a wider audience through a ?send to a friend? button or a similar device to make it easier to share your newsletter, and by using RSS your content could be fed to social networking websites to reach a different readership. All this should be accompanied with a strong call to action to stimulate the readers to sign up.

My next post will talk about what you can do with your list once you’ve collected enough contacts, and I welcome all comments and questions you may have.

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