Without a doubt, no matter what business you are in, the single most valuable asset of your business is the list of people you maintain contact with on a regular basis, at least by email, and possibly by mail as well.
If you do not have a list, the time to start building your list is now. And that does not mean gathering the email addresses of everyone you know in Outlook and sending out mass emails using your bcc: function.
It does mean signing up with a CRM provider that specifically manages email lists, such as Infusionsoft (my chosen provider for advanced business owners who want to combine mailing list with ecommerce and affiliate tracking), iContact, or mailchimp.
Once you do that, you can then add people to your email list every time you speak, network, and via online landing pages and free giveaways created specifically for building your list.
You can see some examples of the free giveaways I have created for the legal community by checking out the free law practice management resources and video series teaching lawyers a new law business model I created.
For my business that serves entrepreneurs, I have done the same thing.
In my law firm, I did the same. By the time I sold my law firm, I had 5,000 people I communicated with each week by email and each month by mail. It was my relationship with these people that made my book on legal planning for parents a bestseller as soon as it was released and built my law firm into a million dollar a year enterprise in just three years.
Three days ago, I left Colorado in my RV and drove to LA. Along the way, I stopped at Mystic Hot Springs, hosted the Whole Truth Show, listened to the entire Tina Fey Book Bossypants on my Kindle and thanks to my relationship with my email list enrolled 5 new lawyers in an $800 program (do the math, that’s $4,000 in new business, from an email, while I was driving).
This morning when I woke up, I sent out another email. Very likely that email will bring in another 5 lawyers (and close out our offer because we are only allowing 10 lawyers in total to beta test our new program before we roll it out in a big way next year) and another $4,000.
Last week, I hosted my good friend Laura Roeder on a webinar about Creating Fame online. I sent out two emails, spent 60 minutes with her on the webinar (actually 40 because I got my time zones messed up and was late!), and about 30 minutes doing some random follow up stuff and enrolled 8 or 9 people in her program, which will bring in another $2,600.
Now, these are not huge numbers, but relative to the time I invested in earning this money, they are massive returns on my time investment.
I am not telling you any of this to brag or make you feel bad for your lack of a list, but to impress upon you the importance of cultivating and nurturing a list, no matter what business you are in. And, to have a relationship with your list (because a list without the relationship is totally not valuable).
Because I want you to be free and not trapped in the interminable slog of trying to earn money when it simply does not have to be as hard as most people are making it.
If you are a blogger, do not just communicate with your people on your blog, shift those who want a deeper relationship with you on to an email list and build a deeper relationship with your peeps there. It’s these folks who will buy your stuff when you are ready to offer it.
(You can see exactly how I do this myself by checking out the free offer you can see at the top of my blog for evolutionary entrepreneurs to join our Eyes Wide Open Evolution and get a free book, series of interviews and other goodies. Having a blog without an opt-in offer on it is a mistake IF you want to monetize your blog.)
If you are a professional services provider (lawyer, doctor, coach, consultant, etc.), put out great content online and always have it lead back to a landing page (aka opt-in page, squeeze page) where you give away something super valuable and educational in exchange for people’s contact information so you can build a relationship with them. Then, when you have a special offer on your services or an event that you are speaking at, you have a built in base of people ready to say yes.
(Check out this cool site I made for parents to name legal guardians for their kids for free as a way to build an email list for my law firm and now for those of our Personal Family Lawyers around the country or a far more simple example of the kind of page you could easily create like the one here for business owners who are ready to learn about legal, insurance, financial and tax strategies for their business.)
If you sell products, books, or anything else that is not related to your time, consider giving away a sample of your product in exchange for the contact information of the people who want that sample and then build a relationship with those folks, some of whom will want all you have to offer when you put it out there.
So, all that to say — after years of building all sorts of business on different models — bricks & mortar law firm, online information marketing businesses, membership business, subscription based models – the single most valuable asset has been, bar none, building myself a list of people interested in what I have to offer and creating an ongoing relationship with my list.
Do you have any questions about that? If so, ask them here in the comments or apply to be on the Whole Truth Show where I can give you some live, FREE COACHING to help you have more freedom (more truth) in your life and business. I’m committed to helping you build profitable freedom business that supports you to be who you really are without compromise without you having to invest millions of dollars (in coaching + mistakes), like I did. So, ask for the help you need.
Update to this post: Today is my birthday and if you have ever had a birthday on Facebook, you know — it’s fun. Everyone you know posts happy birthday wishes. Well, at least a handful of people also sent me this free birthday numerology report as a “gift” — it’s the single best list builder I think I have ever seen. http://www.freenumerologistreport.com/ I’m going to sign up and watch what they do with my information, how they build a relationship with me and what they offer me to buy after the free report. I’ll keep ya posted. Feel free to share here in the comments other great list builders you have seen around the web.