List building is the adding of subscribers to an optin list for the purposes of future marketing and promoting products and services to subscribers. List building, which is also known as relationship marketing, is widely regarded as one of the cornerstones of running a successful and profitable business online. A list is a very powerful business asset because it does not rely on search engine traffic, specifically Google traffic, to grow. For example if a website had high-ranking pages and the website was hit by a Google update which took away its rankings, the website owner could still build their list by other methods.
Having a list enables you to keep in regular contact with your audience. By maintaining an ongoing dialogue with them you can build a valuable relationship, increasing their trust in you, getting them to look forward to your emails and ultimately they will support your business by buying from you and referring others to you. List building is also extremely cost-effective and gives you more control over your income and power to grow your business with some degree of reliability.
An autoresponder is a software program, usually run by a third party, that automates the sign up and response process of list building, stores new subscriber emails, and enables the list owner to create, preload and send out broadcast and other followup emails to the subscribers. There are many companies who offer autoresponder services, some free, some paid, and it is highly recommended to use a paid service for professional list management and high email deliverability.
Free Autoresponder Services
Paid Autoresponder Services
The most effective method of enticing a site visitor to sign up to a list is to offer some sort of high value freebie or giveaway. Some popular examples include a free 7 day course, a free guide (e.g. in PDF or video format), a short report, a free product (e.g. graphics, PLR book, audio), an expert interview, webinar access. Alternatively, it could be something as simple as giving away a free coupon, gift certificate or promising free updates.
A squeeze page is a special type of landing page designed specifically to persuade prospective subscribers to enter their email address and sign up to your list. The page itself will have very few distractions and the copy will usually be as short as possible. Just enough to get people to enter their details and not have to think too much at the risk of them "clicking away". A good squeeze page should be carefully designed to target a specific group of people thereby filtering out those who can't benefit from what you have to offer.
To create the most valuable list, you need to attract targeted traffic to your optin form. It is easier to build an untargeted list with a "shotgun" approach to marketing but it invariably causes problems down the line. For example, it is difficult to know the value of an untargeted list, more people tend to unsubscribe or become "dead-weight" and inactive subscribers, and there is also a higher risk of receiving spam complaints. Conversely, getting targeted traffic to sign up to your list, creates a smaller but highly valuable and focused list of subscribers who will get more value from being on your list, and likely result in more sales for you.
It's common practice to create a number of follow-up emails in advance of opening up a list for new optins. This sequence will lead the new subscriber down a certain path designed to get them to take certain actions in exchange for offering them value. So you would deliver valuable information as promised when they signed up and put offers in front of them to make money or encourage them to take other actions. These can be "loaded" into autoresponder programs and scheduled to go out at times and dates you configure.