There can be little debate as to the most important resource in your business. Employees are of great value but they do retire, quit and even die; the business replaces them and continues on its journey. Your physical assets can be quickly destroyed by fire or a natural disaster (Katrina type storms, earthquakes in California or tornados in Kansas); you salvage what you can, buy new stuff with your insurance proceeds (if any), and rebuild the best you can. Your intellectual properties are imperative in identifying your brand in a crowded market place, but you can switch brands and your customers will follow, if done correctly (look at: AT&T to Cingular or Pick & Save to BigLots).
Hands down, without any doubt, your mailing list is the most valuable property your business possesses. Your mailing list is the life-blood of your business. If you operate your business online it is what gives your business a heartbeat. Search engines can become unpredictable and very choosy in how your site is ranked. A change in their algorithms can drop your ranking from hero to zero overnight, erasing months or even years of diligent SEO efforts.
The articles you write over time will become stale and only serve as worthless links that deliver little or no traffic to your website. Consequently, over time your gems of wit and wisdom will become over-saturated, repetitive, boring, and even parochial; this article is no exception to this rule. The same is true of the products and services you offer. This is why your customers are always open to upgrades of your offerings and new stuff. The old become tired and you need some new zest to continually appeal to your customers.
The one starlet in your business ingredients is your mailing list. If it were a plant, it would be an evergreen. It is your source of traffic and revenue when all other avenues fail. This is your potential built in clientèle base to introduce new products and services or your audience for new affiliate programs. The tried, the true and the trusted! Your mailing list is there when Google no longer ranks your site well or high. When your blogs or MySpace page no longer generate the buzz they once did, you still have your mailing list to depend on.
I hope, I trust and I pray that you include an email address field as part of your mailing list. If not you MUST make it a top priority as you build, grow and develop your mailing lists. Another high-level priority is to protect your database by having a backup plan to protect it.
As you build and develop your website, keep in mind that your website aside from selling whatever product or service you offer, should be designed to aid in building and growing your mailing list. Develop creative solutions to get people to register and leave their contact info, along with an email address. Try offering a FREE newsletters, FREE trial subscription to any software you sell, a free mini-course, or whatever may appeal to your visitors. Remember the object of the game is to convert them from visitors to customers. Do whatever is legal and ethical to get them to want to be on your list.
Do not focus all your efforts and energy on getting e-mail addresses; but also develop a strategy to effectively communicate a message that resonates to your recipients once they open your email. If you message doesn’t create an urgency to take some actions, resources are being wasted. Develop marketing strategies based on your bottom line, be it lead generation, direct sales, cross-selling, up-selling, customer retention or some other criteria you establish and can effectively measure. This is your goldmine. A quality list utilized correctly is money in the bank month after month. Now that’s a most valuable business resource.