Lately there has been a lot of talk about “lists”. Growing them. Building them. Marketing to them. Selling to them. In traditional marketing terms, your list is the Holy Grail. It is what you strive to build, it is to whom you market your products and services, and lately it seems that it is being used more and more in joint ventures with other businesses.
But ask yourself this: With all the leveraging of lists going on, have you invited your list to the social media cocktail party? Or have you left them sitting in the corner without a drink in hand?By “party” I mean this: Your list can be one of two things:
- static (ie stuck in the corner without a drink in hand, watching the action from afar) or
- dynamic (ie handed a cosmo, invited to join the conversation, engage, provide input and feel like they belong in your community).
If your list has been given a cocktail and asked to party with you, then you would be in the minority – you see, most businesses forget to involve and engage their list! They see their list as a static “list” of names that they market TO instead of as a dynamic “community” of people that they engage WITH.
By “engaging” your list, you have more chance of keeping them interested, making them feel involved, valued, and wanting to see more of what you have to offer…more of your content, and more of your products and services.
When your “list” or database becomes truly dynamic, it can grow exponentially through word of mouth and referral!
So, how can you ensure that your list comes to your cocktail party (and stays on afterwards to buy your products and services?)
- start thinking - ‘How can I engage my list and make them feel part of a Community?”
- start giving – the more valuable, practical content you can give to your list, the more they will want to comment, like, ask questions and participate. And the more they will want from you..including paying for your products and services.
- stop talking – if you are sending marketing email after marketing email to your list then consider this….it is a bit like being at a party and talking “at” somebody without allowing them to participate in the conversation. Often their response, finally, after not having a chance to participate, will be to “unsubscribe” from your one-sided conversation. Start listening instead!
- start protecting - if you have built up a substantial “list” over time, be very selective about whether you will market the products, services and businesses of others to your list. If you do choose to engage in list-promotion in exchange for a joint venture or other agreement, then consider carefully whether the information or service you are promoting adds value to your “list”. If it doesn’t, don’t risk it, as your loyal followers will have their mouse hovering over “unsubscribe” before you know it.
- start engaging - give your “list” a variety of options for doing so. For example, add a blog to your website with comments function, add social media plugins to your website, and make sure your “list” can easily access your website from your social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.
And my final piece of advice. Stop using the term “list”. Start using the term “community” and watch how this simple shift in mindset and terminology will have people “subscribing” to your new, dynamic way of thinking!
What about you? Are you successfully engaging your list and building a community that can’t wait for more of what you have to offer? Do you have any ideas to share for building an engaged list?