In the realm of once upon a time there was a term that was often used to describe a secret list of potential dates for the owner of the list. The term was ‘a little black book’. The notion was picked up in movies, books and as a means of poking fun at someone else.

The idea of the little black book had, at its core, the idea of list building.

Others have used the term to describe contacts they might have in business that may be called upon when the salesman needed to reach a specific sales goal. These were customers you could count on to make a purchase if you just asked, So the salesman kept their names and only called when they really needed that extra boost.

Some things about marketing have changed, but not the idea of a list. Businesses realize they need to develop contacts that may have an affinity for their business and/or product line.

These contacts are needed if the business is to conduct an effective email marketing campaign. Because this should be an opt-in process the customer has the option of continuing to receive your email notices or be removed from the list.

I don’t know if there is anything more frustrating for a business startup than to have a business in place with products to sell and customers are not beating down the doors to get to the product.

This scenario may have a lot to do with the fact that cyberspace is a really big place and it can take a while for customers to find any new business. Work hard at Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies and be prepared to wait. While you’re waiting keep working at marketing strategies and seek to initiate list-building strategies that take advantage of consumer interests.

Build a little cyber black book that contains the email addresses of individuals who may be interested in your business and product line.

These names are important because they have a history. These names are not just randomly selected and placed on your list. No, these names represent either customers or prospects who have already shown enough interest in your business that they have willingly supplied you with an email address so you can contact them about upcoming sales, discounts or an expanded product line.

You wouldn’t expect a business to assume that their contact list was every name listed in the phone book. While there may be potential there these business owners realize it may make more sense to work more efficiently by matching names against those who have already visited the store or made a purchase. These names provide a much better target for the business.

List building is an important means of taking small successes today and building on them for potential successes tomorrow. Virtually everything about marketing is designed to work like links in a chain. On their own they are just an oval shaped piece of metal, but together they can provide a significant ability to tow your business from startup to trusted business resource.

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