When people talk about list-building, they are talking about building an email list, or a database of prospects to communicate with on a regular basis.

Why is building your list so important?

Because the people on your list are the ones that will become your clients and customers. Online, if you don’t have a list, it’s a lot harder to create income. Also, much of your job centers on driving traffic to your website or blog so that prospective clients or customers can find out more. One of the best ways to increase the chances that someone will eventually buy from you is to build an email list.

Essentially, you want to have a way to capture a person’s email address and name so that you may keep in touch with them, build trust, and make offers in the future. List-building is important whether you sell online products or you are selling your services or you have a brick and mortar store. Why? Because you are building a relationship with people and keeping yourself top of mind.

However, online methods are not the only ways to build your list. While those types of tactics seem to get the most attention, some of the most valuable contacts I’ve ever added to my own list were via live events. Here are several foolproof ways to take advantage of this yourself as well.

First, use the valuable real estate on the back of your card to advertise a freebie they can grab at your website. When you’re chatting with someone and getting to know about each others’ businesses, this is the perfect time to let them know where they can go to learn more about what you do—AND get a free gift. Simply hand them your card and point to the URL on the back. To get the freebie, they need to opt-in to your list.

(Be sure to come up with a little bit of a snappy sentence such as “Claim your free 5-part e-course on how to use social media to skyrocket your business” or “Discover the 3 keys to optimum heath right now through Yoga” or whatever it is that you are offering. Always think, “how can I make this enticing for people to check out?”)

You can also follow up with the person afterward, within a day or two. Send them an email and remind them where they can go to sign up for your freebie. Personalize it by referring to something the two of you spoke about when you met, and close it by telling them to keep in touch and to let you know if there are other ways that you can help them.

If you’re a speaker for an event, there are also several things you can do to build your list. I have done a lot of speaking in-person over the past two years and they are always great opportunities to expand my community and grow my list. One of the simplest things to do is to send around a sign-up form. (Be sure you have the permission of the person who has invited you to speak first.) Have the sign-up form explain what they will be getting. For example, when I send mine around it says really bold at the top “Sign up for free social media tips!” This is a great way to get a good number of people on your list at one time.

(Also, remember that many email list services these days require a double opt-in process. What that means is that to comply with spam laws, when a person signs up for your list, they aren’t just sent your freebie automatically. There is another step—they must CONFIRM that they really do want to subscribe.)

Finally, another option if you are a speaker at a live event is to do a drawing. Maybe give away a strategy session with you or a copy of one of your products. Pass around a basket or a bowl, and in order for someone to enter, they need to give their business card. You can say “if you’d like to be sent my free tips/report/newsletter then just circle or write your email address on your card.”

So, next time you’re out and about networking, use the face time to take the business card exchange and chit chat a step further—think of it as a great opportunity to GROW that list!

Have you used other methods to gain subscribers while you were networking in-person? Let me know in the comments!

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