How to Tackle List Building

Today Kathleen Gage (@KathleenGage) offers advice about list building, one of the most important online activities for anyone wanting to sell anything, including books.
How to build a list

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The heart of any online business, including a writing or publishing business, is a responsive subscriber list. Without this, you are on an uphill climb to success.

In the early days of online marketing, it took a lot less effort to build a subscriber list than it does today. It didn’t take much to get someone to say “yes” to a free offer. With little competition for someone’s contact information, conversion rates were a lot higher in the mid- to late-nineties than they are today.

In addition, email open rates with follow up email messages were much higher than they are today. Fast forward to the latter half of 2014, and things changed significantly. What worked like a charm is oftentimes now considered an annoyance to many of your end users.

Unfortunately, many people are still trying to build their list and market position with strategies that simply don’t work.

Additionally, most people are not tracking their efforts. Without knowing what’s working, you might be putting a ton of effort into what you’re doing with little return on your efforts.

How to Get Email Subscribers to Take Action

To convert visitors to subscribers and subscribers to buyers you need to understand what gets someone to take action. The primary reason people opt in for a offer is simple: They want  to solve a problem.

Your job is to make sure you are easily found when someone searches for a solution to a problem. This takes commitment, time and effort on your part. Far too many people get frustrated because they don’t feel they are getting a fast enough response to whatever it is they are offering.

Here’s a fact:

It’s really quite simple and, yet, many people fail to keep this in mind as they strive for market position.

Regardless of your industry, there many people are likely vying for the consumer’s attention and money.

How to Build an Online Presence

To build a successful online presence and build a profitable business, you have to view what you do in the long term. You also have to have a multi-prong approach to reaching your market.

The world of business, online and offline, is extremely crowded. In the consumer’s mind, there may be no distinction between you and the next person doing what you do.

That’s why your most important task is to position yourself as the go-to expert.

One of the greatest hurdles to overcome in positioning yourself as an expert is believing in yourself. Another obstacle may be recognizing what it took for you to gain the knowledge, experience and skill you possess.

Simply put, an expert is a person with a high degree of skill in, or knowledge of, a certain subject and/or field. This knowledge is gained from years of paid work experience, volunteer activities, hobbies, passions, and interests, in which you have invested a great deal of time and effort.

When you begin to look at your own areas of experience, hobbies, passions, and what your successes are, your expertise begins to reveal itself.

As you recognize what it took to get to your current position, the easier it becomes to put your message out to market AND to charge what you are worth.

When you clearly define your expertise:

  • You are sought out by clients, customers, the media, bloggers, and joint-venture partners.
  • It is easier to communicate “why you” to your market.
  • Customers pay more for an expert’s knowledge.
  • You bolster your confidence and willingness to promote your skills and knowledge.
  • Ample opportunities await you.
How to Define Your Expertise

Here is a simple process to define your expertise. Answer the following questions:

  1. What makes you unique?
  2. What do you do that others don’t?
  3. What experience do you have that people would be willing to pay you for?
  4. What results have you achieved that others have not?
  5. Have you authored products and/or books?
  6. What specialized training or certification do you have that sets you apart from your competition?
  7. What beliefs and values do you stand by that set you apart from others?
  8. What solutions are you qualified to provide?

By taking time to dig deep into these questions, it’s likely you will have a much easier time positioning your message. When you position your message, it becomes easier for people to eagerly say “yes” not only to getting on your subscriber list but also to look forward to continuing to receive your information.

The more people anticipate your information, the more trust you build. The more trust you build, the easier it is for people to feel good about exchanging their money for your expertise.

Make it a part of your daily process to do whatever you can to position your expertise and your message. By doing so, you put yourself in a better position to have the influence and results you desire.

About the Author

Kathleen Gage headshotx175As an early adopter of online marketing, Kathleen Gage is known for cutting through the fluff and helping people leave their sob stories behind so they can stop focusing on the past and start looking towards the future. She speaks and teaches about what she believes are the core elements of a successful life: accountability, integrity, honesty, and living with passion and hope. Although Kathleen Gage is best known for her no nonsense approach to life and business, when she’s not working with clients, creating information products, writing books or speaking on the platform, Kathleen can be found training for a marathon, walking her dogs, working in her many flower gardens, feeding her horses or playing a fierce game of cards.

Kathleen is the author of Power Up for Profits: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Online Marketing.  Visit her website at


  1. “The primary reason people opt in for a offer is simple: They want to solve a problem.”
    This is so true! After leaving because I was so limited in what I could offer as a sign up bonus, I struggled for over a year trying to get my sign up to bring in more than a trickle of new readers a month.
    When I switched two months ago from having a minimalistic style signup page to having a long form appeal to the major consequences of not taking advantage of my offer, sign ups jumped dramatically.
    Of course, if I didn’t believe what I was doing was going to make a huge difference in people’s lives, why would I bother trying to talk to them? So, what you’re teaching here is quite important.
    I would say becoming an easy to find expert is a necessary key to becoming successful, but even so, learning *how* to be easily found and learning to drive home the need for expert help is going to be equally vital for most of us.

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