Imagine having a following of people anticipating the release of your book, awaiting your next seminar, or planning on working with you in the future. And imagine these people are your ideal clients, having self-selected themselves to receive your marketing messages. These are the people you write for, the people you want to build relationships with, and the people who your information can help. With a pool of readers waiting to hear from you, making sales would be a whole lot easier than scrambling to find the next person interested in what you have to say.

Folks, this is the first secret of successful marketing: you must have a list of people interested in what you have to offer, whether you're selling services, books, or seminars. And you should be constantly working to build a list of people who are interested in what you have to offer.

Here are a few basics of building your list.

1. Add an Opt-In Box to Your Web Site and Blog
When an ideal client comes to your web site, but isn't ready to take action immediately, you don't want that person to get away. You want the ability to follow up and keep in touch with them. To do this, create an opt-in box, or web form where people who come to your web site can enter their name and e-mail and be added to your list. In a one-sentence, catchy sales blurb in the box, describe the benefits you provide to your readers. Then put the form in the upper right-hand corner of every page of your web site and on your blog.

2. Send People to Your Site
To get people on your list, you first have to get them to your site, which means you need to be generating a steady flow of traffic. Writing and publishing articles online, distributing press releases, blogging, and social media are free or cheap ways to find new, ideal readers. Make sure you link all your published materials to a place where your readers can give you their contact information, and make it easy for them by telling them exactly what you want them to do. For example, "Click here to sign up."

3. Give People an Incentive for Signing Up
Okay, they've read a little about you in your article or press release, and they've clicked the link to go to your web site. Now you want to do EVERYTHING you can to make sure that person gives you their contact information. The best way to do this is give away a free special report or other offer that provides information they want. Write your report so it introduces you and your compelling story or "aha" moment, provides useful information, and entices them to take action by calling you or buying your products.

Building a list is one of the best, most efficient ways to market and sell your services and expertise online. All authors and experts can sell more by building a list of followers and continually marketing to them. It's never too early or late to start. Put a form on your web site, generate traffic by writing and publishing marketing materials online, and offer your ideal audience something they want to get them on your list. This simple process will have you collecting names of readers and potential clients right away!

Author's Bio: 

Melinda Copp helps speakers, coaches, consultants, and self-employed professionals write and publish to establish expertise, build relationships with their clients and prospects, and make more money. For a free copy of "Write to Grow Richer; The 7 Secrets of Writing to Sell Your Services," go to