The process of list building may best be defined as a worldwide Rolodex. You have information to share, but it's hard to let people know about it if your 'Rolodex' is empty.
List building is the process of gathering email addresses for the purpose of sending information, offers and other marketing information to clients and potential customers.
It might be tempting to gather all the email addresses you have in your email account and place them on a list to receive your information. You might also think that purchasing an email list from an online source might help you build your list, but there is a much greater likelihood that you will be reported as a spammer if the recipients don't know you and isn't thrilled to receive email from you.
Building an organic list can take time, but you stand a better chance of actually connecting with a receptive audience.
You may find that list building is best achieved by providing site visitors with information gathering forms. An autoreponder can often manage the automated distribution of the information they seek, but the customer information is gathered and can be used to invite them to participate in redeeming money saving offers from you. Some forms include an 'already highlighted' box that indicates the individual wishes to receive future e-offers. The premise behind this is many customers do not look at every field in the form and may not uncheck the box when submitting their information.
No matter the method you use to gather names in your list building process make sure to honor requests to unsubscribe. If you manage the list manually make sure to remove the name quickly or risk a report of spam.
One way to grow your list is to make sure the information you deliver is targeted, above average and something the client will look forward to receiving. The content could be information or it could be a simple sales flyer, but by staying on target you will be more likely to connect with your client.
Don't abuse your list by sending them a significant volume of email. Carefully plan each mailing and make sure it is strongly related to your core objectives. If you send too much - too often you may be perceived as only slightly better than those incredibly annoying forwards that we all delete from our email files.
List building is a proven method of devising solid contacts for online marketing, but make sure to avoid spamming techniques the reputation of your online firm may be at stake.