Mailing Lists: foundation of all online business?
I've been selling stuff on the Internet for a little while in a small way, and now I need to go big-time. Most of the really experienced marketers out there keep telling me that the money is in the list, but is it truly? It's not always easy to build a big list starting from scratch, especially as nowadays many people have become highly suspicious of any request for personal details including email addresses.
There are, of course, other ways to find customers once, notably on-line advertising of all kinds including ezines. But what I'd like is another way to reach a ton of customers, and go on reselling to them, without all the hassle of building a list and maintaining the database. So far I've found three:
- Free and cheap ads on the get paid to surf model. The trouble is, it seems to take an amazing amount of surfing to get worthwhile amounts of advertising exposure.
- Blogs do seem to get loads of traffic if you keep your blog refreshed often. Some people, notably Dave Taylor's PC and technical support site, seem to be making a pretty good living that way. But unless you are already an expert in a really popular area, it could take some time for this approach to pay off.
- Desktop Lightning is the new kid on the block. This takes a whole new approach, with the customer signing up to the central Desktop Lightning site but as YOUR customer. And if it works out as expected, all the overheads of mailing lists may be gone forever.
Desktop Lightning is an application that the customer
downloads to their desktop, where it runs in the background
all the time. Whenever you send out a broadcast, all your
customers or whatever set you request get the
message. No more worrying about spam filters or whether the
email will actually get read.
And it gets better: customers who like this approach can sign up other people below them, up to five levels deep, with each level getting the same privileges but a smaller slice of the affiliate earnings. So, in addition to your own direct customers, you get access to those in the tree below you, and all the admin is taken care of by Desktop Lightning.
Growth is viral to an amazing degree. To quote another beta tester: "I invited just a handful of people only a few days ago and I already have 48 members on 5 levels below me. I am going to keep promoting this, but I see it has a life of its own now. I couldn't stop my network from expanding if I wanted to!"
My only worry is that ordinary users - who are not
into internet marketing - will resist signing up. I'll be
testing this one out over the next week or two, and will
post the results here. If you want to try it for yourself,
here is the link again