What's in a List?

Jen Adams here, taking over The Writer’s Life this week in the name of introducing you to one of the most influential skill sets you can learn as a freelance writer:

List building.

Now, just to be clear, list building in the direct-response world is very different from the list making you might do in your regular life. It has nothing to do with your usual to-do lists, goals, or bucket lists.

In the direct-response world, “list” is the term used to describe a company’s master file of customers and prospective customers. These are the people who want to receive the firm’s newsletters, special offers, and sales messages. And, when you’re writing a sales letter for a client, the list is your audience.

The size of the list directly impacts a firm’s future. A healthy, growing list – with new people being brought into the fold at all times – means more opportunity for sales and profits.

That’s why marketers are so interested in list building …

List building means getting new people to agree to have their names and contact details added to a company’s master file.

But you don’t need to be a big company to benefit from list building. It’s very beneficial for freelance writers, too.

That’s why this week, I want to show you the basics of how list building works, so you can reap all the benefits of being able to regularly contact people interested in your services.

So, let’s get started.

Today’s action step is to make a list of all the people who you could contact to let them know about your writing skills and services.

If you’re just starting out, you may not have any names – and that’s okay. All lists begin with the first name … that first potential client contact. And you can use these tips from Tom Kavala to help you uncover who some of your first names should be. (Hint: Start with your personal circle of family and friends.)

Share some of the places you’re finding names for your list in the comments. And then tomorrow, I’ll be back to tell you how to get prospective clients to volunteer to give you all their contact details – for free!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: February 24, 2014

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