I Almost Quit Trying to Build a List

As business owners we all realize at some level that getting a list of people’s names and emails should be pretty important.

Yet most of us don’t do it.

Seriously, one of the biggest things we can do to grow our business goes completely undone.

I think I know why – most of this advice doesn’t fit my business (and I’m guessing doesn’t fit yours either).

If you go online you’ll find a ton of advice.  You’ll hear lots about “giving away something of great value” and “free ebook” and “downloadable kits”.  This advice is all well and good if you actually:

  1. Have a blog or some type of online presence.
  2. Already have some type of downloadable PDF or free goodie developed.

Otherwise, who has time to aimlessly post on a blog or can find an extra 20 hours to write an ebook?

Ok, so let’s back up for a minute.

Maybe you aren’t a techie.

Maybe you don’t have a blog or a website.

That is perfectly fine because building a list of potential clients can be done just the same (or better) offline than online.

Ways I’ve Tried to Build my List Online

Here is a list of just some of the methods I’ve tried to generate opt ins from my blog:

  • Blog home page – Free give away, One Page Manifesto
  • Blog home page – Free give away, Ebook
  • Blog home page – Free give away, Block of 4 Video Lessons
  • Landing page – Free give away, Ebook
  • Landing page – Free give away, Video training session

I have driven traffic to these opt in pages through just about every channel including

  • Facebook Ads
  • Posting to my Facebook Profile
  • Posting to my Facebook Page
  • Posting to Twitter
  • SEO

I would have to say that most of these have left me with incredibly miserable results. In all I think I’ve had about 20 opt ins from all of these tools.

About 3 months ago I became so frustrated with my online efforts that I decided to take matters offline.

Here is one offline list building hack that is working quite well for me. In fact, I just used it last night, and I’ll bet that nearly anyone reading this page can implement this simple technique with similar or better results by the end of the day.

Offline List Building Works Better for Me

What these experts don’t address is how to start from a zero base, how to start from nothing when you are building a following.

This is my situation as I have paltry site traffic, and don’t have 3 years to blog every day in hopes that the gods of SEO will favor me. I must take matters into my own hands.

You can do this without feeling gimmicky or smarmy, and it is perfectly safe for introverts, too.

You can do this much the same way I have, just tailor the wording to fit your business.

Here is one technique that has been working for me.

I know you’ve seen these things several places in your town, maybe at a grocery store, your dry cleaners, or in a local mom and pop restaurant.

businesscardsboard-2

Go find one of those cork boards where people tack their cards by the dozen. You’ll find things like realtors, mortgage people, your local Avon rep, and then you’ll find a lot more. I love working with new and aspiring business owners, so I’m looking for business cards that, quite honestly, look like they’ve been done for the first time.

I came across such a cork board a few days ago and harvested 20 cards from it. At home I simply use email (introverts unite!) to reach out to people one-to-one. Here is the exact text I used in my outreach letters that I sent last night.

John,
I know you are busy, so I won’t keep you…

I just wanted to know if I could stay connected with you?

I research entrepreneurs and offer classes to help 
you build your business and make more money.

The classes that I offer through Rowan Cabarrus Community
College are FREE to the general public.

I’d love to add you to my list.

Is that ok?

Enjoy your evening,

Jason

P.S. - If you’d like to check out my work and what I do, 
just jump to my site jasonrowens.com.

P.P.S. - I have a class in SALISBURY coming up soon. I can
notify you when registration opens.

There are a couple of nuances here that help. Sure, I could have just copy/pasted this same text on everyone’s email and been done in half the time.

However, I found that using the last P.P.S. to customize the email to be very important, and this single piece of customization accounts for most of my opt ins.

Examples that I use are “I love the owl on your business card”, “My daughter has been taking riding lessons most of the year”, “I really like how you integrated your ETSY store into your site” or anything else that adds a little touch of customization to the email.

You come across as being very genuine here because you ARE being very genuine.

Here is one of the exact responses I received last night. “Thank you for contacting me. Yes, I’m interested in hearing what you offer. PS: thanks for the compliment …. I love owls.”

In the span of 5 minutes at the cork board I have 20 names. What I’m looking for at this point is engagement. Typically I get anywhere from a 10% to 20% optin rate from these emails.

There is a way that you can put all of this in turbo mode and really jack up your opt in rates. If you want to know how I boosted my opt in rate to over 50% using a variation of this offline technique, just ask.

[reminder]What have you done to boost your list-building efforts? Please leave me a comment below.[/reminder]