Market Offline to Build Online Lists: 21 Small Business Profit Boosters (#14)

dollar.jpgOne of the biggest challenges in building your online business is to build a large e-mail list.

A list of prospects and buyers that you can use as a foundation for your online business.

It's harder than ever to build e-mail lists online, as customers are more reluctant to opt in for free e-zines (or other mailing lists) than ever before.

What's the best way to build an e-mail list? Rest assured, e-mail marketing is just as important now as it ever has been, and perhaps even moreso. So what do you do? My advice is to use offline marketing to build your online e-mail list. This is a tactic that is seldom employed by online marketers, and yet it is the most powerful way to build an e-mail list I know of. Why is this? Because people who move from an offline promotion to an online mailing list make up the most responsive e-mail list you will ever have.

Here are three ways you can use offline media to build your online mailing list.:


Radio is an overlooked but inexpensive and effective medium for building an online e-mail list. If you're going to use radio, make sure your radio ad is a direct response style. The key to this kind of ad is that it simply directs people to a landing page (or squeeze page) that offers them something for free in return for their name and e-mail address. Even though the squeeze page technique is harder to implement in today's online marketing world, with the people who move offline to online response rates are stellar.

Direct Mail

Using postcards, you can build an e-mail list very quickly using inexpensive direct mail promotions. Make sure that you buy quality, targeted lists to mail to. Also make sure that the copy you used in your direct mail is targeted, effective, and powerful.

Outdoor Advertising

If you can squeeze your opt in message into seven words or less, including the domain name, consider using outdoor advertising. Billboard companies frequently make killer, bargain-basement deals to fill up unused billboard space each month. Negotiate your deal toward the end of the month, and let them know that they are competing with other media for your business, and you should be able to get the best available rate.

Use these offline methods to build your online list and watch response rates rise.

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • nickblackman

    What are the approximate costs associated with each technique?


    • The costs vary widely, so it's not really possible to give you an accurate answer here.

      It is worth noting, however, that just as in all things, there are deals to be had. So shop carefully. And track ROI like a madman!

  • I stumbled across your blog post and it was EXACTLY what I was looking for. I have been reading Bob Bly's blog for a while and this post is very relevant for me right now. I'll be back.

  • If you want to optimize your radio ads look up a man named Dan O' Day. He's consider a radio advertising guru.

    Clayton Makepeace did a Roadhouse Rant interview with him and it rocked. When I start a radio campaign I'll go to him to make sure I'm getting the best bang for my buck.

    For direct mail and media buying advice get your hands on Ted Nicholas's “Magic Words That Grow Your Business Seminar.” This man lays out all kinds of stealth secrets for getting kick ass media buys and his expertise in direct mail is second to none.

    Note Taking Nerd #2

    • Dan is a friend of mine from my old radio days, and he really knows his chops. Anything he says is worth listening to.