Before Launch4Life first launched we did our homework.  We met with business coaches, devised a marketing plan, completed entrepreneurial courses, attended various marketing workshops and seminars, participated in countless webinars, and read a ton of books. One thing we repeatedly learned was the directive – “Thou Shalt Build a List”.  More specifically, we learned that building an email list of all your existing and prospective customers is critical to building a business.

Sounds like great advice, but who had time for that?  Not us.  After all, we needed to focus all our time on building the infrastructure of our business. There was so much to do when we were launching.  Incorporate our business.  Set up a bank account.  Build a website.  Set up social media platforms.  Create all the products and services we planned to market.  And if that wasn’t enough, there were all the computer programs we needed to learn to support our business.  Just connecting our Google Calendar with an online payment program was enough to give us a week-long migraine!  So the idea of building a list was destined to remain at the bottom of our To Do pile.

Unfortunately, we soon discovered that it does not pay to resist the list.  Unlike in the Kevin Costner film, “Field of Dreams” where we hear “If You Build It, They Will Come”, in the business world that’s not always true.  When you launch a business without a list – they won’t automatically come – because you failed to implement the best way to get the word out.

Just like us, too many business professionals waste time – resisting the list.  They build their business only to discover they don’t have a reliable system in place for communicating with customers.  Despite the popularity of social media to market your business, an email list is still the most reliable method to engage with your contacts on an ongoing basis.

Here’s why building a list is so important. Say you have tons of business cards you’ve collected of potential prospects, if you don’t have an email marketing system to add them to, those contacts are worthless.  And, when you begin to learn how to effectively participate in email marketing, you will soon discover there are rules in place that could get your business into hot water.  There is a fine line between sending out bulk emails and spamming customers.  Most importantly, the standard email programs that most of us use for business, such as Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo, are not appropriate for mass correspondence.

Once we realized that resisting the list was hurting our marketing efforts, we called a major timeout.  Instead of resisting the list – we embraced the list.  We learned all about the different email marketing programs out there to determine which one worked best for us.  While I am glad that we finally made the decision to bite the bullet and learn all about email marketing, I just wish we had started earlier.

If I could go back in my time machine I would heed the advice – building a list is critical in launching your business.  I now believe building your list should be at the top of your To Do list.  Instead of focusing on WHAT products or services you are going to package/sell, it might be better to think about WHO you want to sell to and HOW you’ll communicate with them on a consistent basis.  Set a goal to learn the basics of email marketing first and then follow up with a plan on how email marketing can work for you.

For anyone that has already launched your business, it’s imperative to know that it’s never too late to build a list.  You can start today.  So don’t resist the list.  Instead, just start where you are right now and begin.

If you find you need help building your email list, know that the Launch4Life team can help.  Whether you’re in need of an overview on how to get started, need to formulate an entire email marketing strategy, or just need advice on the various email providers, reach out to us for help.

We can provide you with a free 30 minute coaching session to help you get started.

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

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