You may be surprised to hear an experienced business person who has used internet marketing to start and expand many businesses over the years say that list building is not required…

Up until 2-3 years ago, I would have said the opposite – so why the change? 

The quick answer is that “list building” to most people means email list marketing which *can* still be effective but is quickly being replaced by other methods of staying in contact with and converting leads into buyers.

In short, your options are now far more vast and that should play right into your hands when it comes to effective marketing online. 

List Building And Beyond

Getting out in front of your market, attracting their attention, turning them from “cold leads” into “warm leads” and then into hungry customers is perhaps the most important part of the transformation we take people on through our training site Information Marketer’s Zone. 

But gone are the days where list building = the only way to capture and convert leads. 

Remember, list building is nothing more than one technique to collect “cold” leads and use elements of relationship selling to turn those leads into repeat customers.

The same process is used offline, through direct mail, and perhaps less effectively through indirect sales such as telemarketing. 

The key to lead generation and then lead conversion into sales is the following:

  • Capturing the attention of your audience (relevant traffic)
  • Getting “cold” traffic to make a small commit giving you “permission” to continue communicating with them
  • Offering strong content that “warms” your prospect toward one or more offers
  • The offer that converts that warm lead into a buyer
  • The follow ups that both reinforce your customer’s buying decision and tap into your buyer for future projects and sales

What’s Changed Then Today?

Everyone builds a list to one extent or another if you sell online.  

For example – at the very least you have a list of buyers…if you sell through Clickbank, Paypal, or use your own shopping cart and sell through merchant account – you have a list of buyers contact information that you can (and should be) using to reinforce your products, get new product ideas and sell additional products/services to.

Building a group of loyal followers is SMART marketing – I think anyone who has grown a business would agree that the one-time, shotgun, hit-and-run approach to convincing a cold lead to buy is the least effective and most costly method of marketing. 

So yes, you want to have a method through which you “warm” your lead, turn them from skeptical, semi-interested prospects into hungry, eager and desperate buyers – but does that have to be email marketing anymore?

What Does Lead Generation And Content Marketing Look Like?

Today, that list may just as likely look like a group of loyal followers to your blog, your FB page, your Twitter, YouTube, Pintrest or Instagram feed.

If you follow today’s online marketing masters you will find that they either don’t collect emails AT ALL or if they do, it is a secondary path for communicating and converting their followers into buyers. 

People like Gary Vaynerchuck (video bloggers and podcaster), Tim Ferris (blog, books and podcasting), Pat Flynn (Smart Passive Income) rely very little on email marketing and instead focus on other methods of reaching and converting their market.

For example, my son is into League of Legends gaming and follows this dude’s YouTube channel daily and has purchased some products from the recommendation this guy has made – no email involved just following his channel.

Same thing for podcasting – many people now follow their influencers via podcasts and then buy upon their recommendation after a relationship has been formed – no email involved.    

To be honest, in many markets we have not yet reached the point where email marketing is dead, however there are a growing number of online marketing entrepreneurs that are getting far better results through blogging, video marketing, podcasting and social network platforms than ever before. 

Play To Your Strengths


Instead of being “forced” to adopt email marketing as your sole source of lead generation and sales conversion – instead be aware of the other platforms around you and play to your strengths. 

If you are a brilliant writer that has success converting people through words, then email marketing still may be your “go to” marketing method, but if your better at creating videos, podcasting, producing hard-hitting articles (which you can build a following around on sites like Medium), or creating “dynamic” content and networking on sites like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram – then work with your strengths. 

You will find that you can convert just as many (if not more) from alternative “connection points” with your market than if you try to force yourself into one method (such as email marketing) where you simply aren’t that effective. 

What is your preferred method of reaching and converting your customers?


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