One of the keys to online business is effective list building. This may seem like a simple process, but for any business owner that has tried to develop a list they know that list building is a necessary, but difficult process. One of the first knee-jerk reactions business owners may experience is to purchase a third party list of email subscribers while others may rent a list. The evidence for success (or lack thereof) is in the number of recipients who consider your email an intrusion or worse yet, spam. You may ultimately find a few receptive customers, but for the most part this approach feels a bit like those dinner calls from telemarketers. One of the fallacies of online marketing is that in order to be most effective you need to have a very large list. The truth is you can have a relatively small list of recipients if they are highly motivated. These individuals enjoy receiving your email and you make sure what you have to send is quality material. Don’t look at the size of your email list as the litmus test for your success in business. I would much rather have a small organically grown list filled with individuals who love what I have to offer and are inclined to come back often than a larger list of individuals who simply hit delete when they se my email. I would much rather have these customers email me with positive feedback instead of those who express great anger that they receive the emails at all. By developing your own opt-in email system for list building you improve the chances that those who do sign up are likely to be converted from prospect to customer. It may be best to leave shot-in-the-dark email marketing methods behind. Give your site visitors every reason to sign up. It’s not a bad idea to give them more than one reason. You can develop free downloads or extra knowledge-based content available with sign up. You might even go so far as to provide a sample email or ezine for prospects to look at so they can get a feel for the type of information you will be sending. Keep your content laser focused. While you may have diversified interests, chances are pretty good your customer signed up because you stated (or implied) that you would be providing content, information and opportunities associated with a particular product or topic. Don’t disappoint your customer’s or prospects with information that is out of focus. List building is an important way to gain and keep valued customers, treat your list building efforts as the development of long term friendships. Seek to serve the customer first and they’ll likely be first to come back for more.