I’ve just finished three days at a marketing workshop, where I’ve had the chance to talk with many entrepreneurs and solo professionals and hear about their businesses. One of things that hits me hard is that so many people told me they have either a very small database of potential clients (prospects) or, despite years in business, have no list at all. This is a major issue for entrepreneurs, one that will quickly hamper their success and make it a lot tougher to make much money. After hearing this so many times both at this workshop and over the past few years, I’ve wondered why this is such a common problem.

I’ve wondered if entrepreneurs don’t realize why their list is truly the heart of their business. If you have a business but no database (commonly called a list) of prospects, you are in heavy water. You have not created a program to pull customers toward what you have to offer, you don’t know who has been interested in your products or services up until now (because you have failed to gather their contact information into a database) and, worst of all, you have no way at all to reach out and touch those prospects over and over again, keeping them in your marketing system. Instead of having a golden egg that makes you money, you have a badly cracked egg.

* Prospects need and want to hear from you over and over again. Research shows that most people will not buy from you on the first contact (we’re talking contact by e-mail or Internet here). It takes an average of 6 to 9 contacts. Why is this? People want to feel like they know and trust you before they open up their wallets. You are probably just the same way. And, over the Internet, it’s harder to build that know and trust factor because you are not standing right there in person, face to face. (By the way, this is one reason that video works well in Internet marketing, but that’s a whole other blog post!)
* If you don’t have a system that automatically gathers up the first name and e-mail address of people who hit your website, you never even know who might have been interested in buying from you. You’ve paid to put up a website, but it isn’t supporting an automated marketing system. This is a sad thing! Don’t you want a good portion of your marketing to be automated? It sure does save time and money! And it helps you to pay for that website’s design and hosting, too.
* Every business prospers only to the extent that it keeps new customers coming in the door. Even businesses that are running at capacity and can’t currently take more customers still must be marketing, because customers come and go. Constantly building your list of prospects and keeping in touch with them so that they will remember you when they do need what you are offering is critical.

If you have been negligent about building a list, the time to get started is right this minute! One thing you can do set up a system into which your list will be placed and from which you can send out e-mails and e-zines. You’ll probably use a service such as 1shoppingcart or aWeber or Constant Contact for that.

The second thing you can do is join me on Monday night, April 26th, for an absolutely free teleclass about list building. I’m talking with Alicia Forest, who works with entrepreneurs to build six-figure incomes. She excels at list building, and so can you. To see what we’ll cover on Monday and to register for the call, go to this page. Even if you can’t make the call, those who register will automatically receive the MP3 audio file afterwards. You don’t have anything to lose, but you’ve got a whole lot of new business to gain. So start building your list right now, and get some free help from Alicia and I on Monday, too!

Author's Bio: 

Sue Painter is the founder of The Confident Marketer. She is an expert in helping self-employed professionals create the right mindset and business systems for thriving businesses. You can subscribe to her "Marketing Tips and Mindset Shifts" e-zine at http://www.confidentmarketer.com.