List building is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: the process of building lists! Generally, though the term list building is used to describe a specific kind of list with the most common being email marketing lists.
Here the term list building refers to the creation of a list of email addresses or other contact details that can then be used as part of a marketing campaign. This is a big aspect of digital and content marketing and one of the more effective ways to reach a large audience, engage and build a relationship with them online.
Things to consider
The thing to be cautious of when list building, is that the lists need to consist of emails for people who have happily shared their details. These subscribers are granting you permission to contact them (double opt-in processes are great for this). It would be very easy to create an email list of a million emails long or to purchase a list. If you did not care in any way and added every email address you could find, this would do more harm than good and you would not be engaging your target market. – see Why You Shouldn’t Buy an Email Marketing List.
If you send out emails to people who haven’t given you their permission then not only will you potentially face some legal issues but you will also likely damage your reputation and not get any sales or newly engaged subscribers anyway. They will unsubscribe from your email straight away and then report your content as spam because they are not engaged in what you are saying, nor are they interested in the information that you are providing.
Effective marketing of any kind should be targeted so that your target market are receiving your messages. Otherwise, it is not worth putting the time and effort into collecting the contact details.
Methods of list building
So how do you go about list building?
The most popular method online is usually to have a sign up box on your website usually with an incentive. Using incentives to engage subscribers is a great way to build your list. The sign up box can go in your side bar, on the front page or sometimes in a ‘pop-up’ that will appear when you view the website. This will then give the visitor the opportunity to ‘opt-in’ to your messages and to receive communication from you. This is what you call an engaged subscriber.
Having an added incentive to try and encourage more people to subscribe themselves to the mailing list – either providing discounts, an ebook or other opt-in options can really boost your email marketing list to skyrocket. Sending relative content after can increase sales and engagement.