List Building: The 5 Pillars to Profiting


List Building: The 5 Pillars to Profiting It all comes down to ONE component that separates the top dogs in a marketplace from the underdogs and bottom dwellers and that’s…


Stellar products, outstanding customer service, a powerful story, compelling and valuable content and the right tools and resources matter, there’s no question about that, but in the end it comes down to whether the brand has an email list and if so the size, engagement and loyalty of that email list.

Gone are the days of brand-centric marketing where companies PUSH their products and agendas to the masses through advertising, cold calling and mailing lists. Today we live in a customer-centric world where brands need to PULL consumers in by utilizing less intrusive marketing methods such as SEO, social media and permission based marketing.

What’s permission based marketing? I’ll get into that in a second but first I want you to understand…

…Consumers have no patience for “in your face” or unsolicited cold call marketing anymore. It became such a problem that the US government even put together a “No Call Registry” just to try and combat this rampant problem.

It’s the principles of permission based marketing and how to leverage those principles that alludes most online brands (new or not) from breaking through and enjoying the success all us entrepreneurial types seek, so let’s dive deeper into that.

 Interrupt Marketing vs. Permission Marketing

Marketing of the 1980’s and 1990’s centered predominantly around interrupt marketing. Interrupt marketing relies on interruption of the consumer at times chosen by the brand. We’ve all experienced interrupt marketing. You know that maddening moment when you just sit down for dinner, the phone rings and without fail there’s an overly scripted, arrogant and long winded sales pitch from a very persistent telemarketer on the other line. To put it bluntly, interrupt marketing is a blatant disregard for a customers preference and time.

Sadly, these aggravating “sales” calls and the belief you have to channel some sleazeball sales persona is a large part of why so many of us entrepreneurs fear selling. And I get it! No one wants to be that telemarketer we’ve all hung up on. No one wants to annoy a potential lead, which is exactly what interrupt marketing does.

 The good news is, there’s a much easier and well received way to reach out to potential leads, to build lasting relationships and to sell in a way consumers will thank you for. It’s called…

 …permission marketing!

Permission marketing relies on a consumers explicit permission (i.e. opting in). It allows a consumer to choose exactly what information they want to receive from a brand and when they want to receive (i.e. frequency) it.

For instance, if you have an email newsletter instead of sending it out to folks that have never asked for it, you want to create a way for folks to “opt-in” and give you permission to send it to them.

The truth is brands that successfully employ permission marketing achieve greater visibility in their market space then those that use interrupt marketing, while at the same time building a massively loyal and engaged community of raving fans.

Let’s circle this back to list building.

 It’s easy to get caught up in the madness of social media these days, but the fact remains, email marketing is still the only medium to move your leads through what experts call “the know, like, and trust funnel.”

At the base of this funnel is repeat sales and free word of mouth marketing, which is when your customers believe so strongly in your content and message that they become voluntary promoters for you. Actively spreading your message based on their pure belief in you.

How does some of that unwavering support sound? YES PLEASE!

 The 5 Pillars of List Building

Building an email list of loyal word of mouth promoters and repeat buyers IS the big secret to running and growing a thriving online business these days.

While practicing permission based marketing is crucial to achieving this type of list, it’s only a small piece of the whole puzzle. To see the greatest and fastest traction in your market there are five pillars of list building a brand needs to address to build, grow and ultimately and massively profit from their email list.

 PILLAR# 1: Define Your Message

List Building: Pillar # 1  Most business owners do themselves a huge disservice by not taking the time to define their message and identify their perfect or “best” customer. The fact is both of these elements are absolutely critical, not just good to have; I mean a non-negotiable foundational pieces of your business that are essential to building a profitable email list.

It can mean the difference between weeks and month or even years when it comes to bringing in profits from your list quickly. How so? You MUST have crystal clear clarity on your message and perfect customer to use and leverage in your marketing strategies and campaigns to gain traction quickly.

Just like any other time you want to get your message across you need to know what points you have to make and who you want to make those points to otherwise it typically falls on deaf ears.

 The two biggest reasons most brands struggle to build responsive and engaged email lists are:

1. They target a MARKET, instead of a PERSON. Yep, singular. Just one human being (your “perfect customer”).


2. They water down their message to attract the masses.

Think of it this way…

We don’t want to be all things to everyone! We want to be everything to the RIGHT person. By getting clear on your message and talking to that ONE perfect customer in your marketing you will by default reach more and more of the RIGHT people and detract all the WRONG people. It’s all in the message and targeting.

 PILLAR# 2: Create Your Content

List Building: Pillar# 2 So after you have your message defined and your perfect customer identified, it’s time to create the content you will need for your marketing campaigns and promotional efforts.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise how incredibly important the content creation process is when you accept that, as cliche as it’s become, Content IS King in the online space. The truth is, without your own content to release and promote, gaining any type of traction in your business and with your email list – quickly or not – is going to be virtually impossible.

The most important thing to keep in mind when creating content, in fact the most important golden nugget to NEVER lose sight of is the 80-20 rule.

If you haven’t heard of this rule, it’s use in many, many different aspects of life and business but it’s called the Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule. In its most basic terms it means 80% of the causes, come from 20% of the effects. In terms of content creation, the 80/20 rule means spend 20% of your time creating content, and 80%of your time promoting it.

SOOO, instead of spending your days, nights and weekends and every spare second you have feverishly creating content for contents sake, focus on creating content strategically so that it can be re-purposed into different modalities (even if over time and not right away) so you can distributed it on different social networking sites and communities.

 PILLAR# 3: Build Your Marketing Funnel

List Building: Pillar# 3 Next up, it’s time to build the online infrastructure that will allow you to capture leads and deliver solutions (free and paid).

Contrary to popular belief, getting new customers is not magic and it doesn’t take Jedi mind tricks, it actually just takes a lil strategic planning (i.e. work). Enter your marketing funnel.

Part of understanding the fundamentals of building a profitable list is understanding that folks need several encounters with you (or touch points as some call them) to make the choice to give you their money. Think of your marketing funnel as the stages a new leads goes through to convert them from a new lead to an existing and/or repeat customer. It’s really just the decision making journey a lead takes.

See, you HAVE TO stay top of mind with your list and your leads so that you can establish your credibility and expertise AND so leads can qualify you as a viable and preferred resource to them. That’s the purpose of a funnel. See, it’s your job as the brand or business to help those you want to work (your perfect customer) recognize that you do in fact understand them and you do in fact have the right solutions for them.

Here is a quick and dirty flow of a typical marketing funnel.

 PILLAR# 4: Craft Your Campaigns

List Building: Pillar# 4 A huge mistake I see a lot of folks making in their email marketing efforts is sending their list an email promotion, which is a single touch point, like sending out a sales discount or a one off email. Sound familiar?

What you should actually be doing is sending out an email campaign, which is a series of touch points deliberately setup over an extended period of time that builds up to your killer sales offer. When I finally understood the difference and starting implementing campaigns into my email marketing, well that’s when the real magic started to happen!

 Email campaigns are designed to provide a new lead with a series of free premium content that builds them up to your sales offer. Do you see the difference in approach from a promotion?

By giving and giving to your email list subscribers FIRST through a campaign you can build your credibility, authority and goodwill with them while at the same time getting them well qualified to buy . Then, when it comes time to approach them with your sales offer, like your product or program, they are much more likely to bust open their wallet, drastically increasing your sales conversions and ROI.

 PILLAR# 5: Generate Traffic

List Building: Pillar# 5 You can have a killer message and create top notch content and killer email campaigns but if you aren’t generating traffic it’s ALL for nothing. Like I mentioned in the 2nd pillar of list building the content creation phase you should be spending 20% of your time creating content and 80% promoting it. So as you can see generating traffic is driven predominantly by getting your free premium content into the right peoples hands, or should I say in front of the right peoples eyeballs.

No matter what business model you follow or what type of business you run, there are traffic generating strategies for social media platforms, joint venture or promotional partners, article directories, ppc advertising and so much more.

Where to start? To best decide where and how to generate traffic you first need to know where the leads you want to attract are hanging out. If they are on a certain forum, start there. If they are on LinkedIn, start there. If there is a large community of them already established (through a blog or brand), start there. Depending on where your leads are hanging out, you can formulate your traffic generation strategies from there. For instance, if you are going to promote to bloggers and existing brands you need to start being an active participate in those communities (if you aren’t already), where as if you’re going to use advertising on Facebook, you will need to have compelling ad copy, headlines and images ready to entice new leads to click through to.

Without a constant stream of traffic visiting and engaging your content and email list you’re never going to be able to profit from your email list in any substantial or reliable way.


List Building: The 5 Pillars to Profiting

 Use the 5 Pillars of List Building as a guide to create, meet and complete each milestone needed to begin building and growing a profitable email list. Remember, none of the five pillars are independent of the others, they are simply a cohesive flow from one point to the next that creates the necessary cycle of actions needed to create and grow a profitable email list.

Well that’s it for now!

So, if you’re not on the Chic Geek Academy email list get on it! I’ll send you more list building articles and tv episodes like this one and you’ll gain access to premium training that I ONLY share with my email subscribers. So sign up on the sidebar above!

Now I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and let me know where you are in your journey to create a massively profitable email list. Do you have a list? Are you profiting from that list? Which of the five pillars of list building are you struggling with most? I’ll be reading all your comments and creating training based on your feedback so let me know how I can help!

And hey, if you know anyone that you think would benefit from learning the 5 Pillars of List Building do me a favor and share this article with them. They (and I) will love you for it! (Big ass virtual high five)