How to Bulletproof Your Customer Base Using Lists

I’ve been hesitant to publish this blog post for some time now.  The post takes on some issues that could make it appear that I am being negative, and I don’t want anyone to presume that.  I also don’t want anyone to think I’m bashing social media, or TpT in anyway.  I’m so grateful and forever indebted to the doors that both platforms have opened.  I love social media, and I’m as bullish as they come on TpT.

What I’m going to teach you in these next couple of posts is how to bulletproof your business.  I want you to be prepared in case any external changes happen that you may not have control over.  Think of this post as the blueprint the third little pig used to build his house. Before we start I want to throw some hypothetical scenarios out there.  While you’re reading through them I want you to consider how you would respond to these situations.

  • Pinterest makes a change that blocks you from linking any of your pins to Teacher pay Teachers without paying a fee to ‘boost’ that post.
  • Your blog hosting company goes bankrupt and closes shop before you can export your site to another host.
  • Teachers pay Teachers makes a change that cripples your store in some way.
  • Teachers pay Teachers somehow goes out of business (let the record show that I believe TpT is a fantastic company and is in great health)

How would these things impact your current business model?  How could you continue to sell all of the phenomenal products that you have spent so many hours creating?  The answer to all of these questions is in the list, and I’ll show you how to set it up. If you think I’m being chicken little, let me walk you through a couple of changes that have happened over the years.  Facebook is continuously updating it’s algorithm which determines which posts we see in our news feeds.  Did you know that when you post status updates to your Facebook page that not everyone may see it?  Check your insights.  These changes were made within the last year and have devastated a lot of small businesses.

Another change I recently heard about was a podcast hosting company that sent out an email saying that they were going out of business and that users had 7 days to transfer their files off of the site.  What happens if you were on vacation during that time and didn’t have a backup?  Yikes!

The Day I Lost it All

One of my other businesses is StubSearch.com.  It’s a ticket broker site that sells tickets to sold out events.  I used to post ads on craigslist to hot events.  It made me a ton of money.  There were several months each year that I was making ridiculous money ($xx,xxx per month).  I generated nearly 3 million dollars in revenue over a few years, but I was totally dependent on craigslist.  That was my fatal flaw.

One morning I woke up to post my daily ads and noticed craigslist had made a tiny change.  They were now charging $5 per ad (free prior)  if you wanted to post in the tickets by dealer section.  They have every right to do that, but I was crippled overnight.  I was literally devastated.  Although it is still lucrative to post paid ads in some markets, my traffic totally died.  I had no way to contact previous customers and basically watched a thriving business turn into something that just pays for my son’s daycare. In the midst of the trauma I learned a valuable lesson.  I should have been keeping an email list of former and potential customers.  If I had a list I would still be able to market to them and have some control over my future.

The Money Is In the List

Since that dreadful day I have been studying internet marketing from the best of the best.  I listen to podcasts. I read the blogs.  I’ve taken some courses.  I have even joined a small mastermind group where we help each other with our online businesses. When successful internet marketers are asked, “What is the most important piece of internet marketing?”, nearly every one of them responds with, “Build your email list first.”  Jeff Walker, a top internet marketer, takes it a step farther and says, “You list is a license to print money.”

If you sat down and discussed important assets with anyone from TpT they would almost certainly include their massive email list as one of their top assets.  They realized early on that the email list was super important to growing their business and connecting with their customers.  We should be doing the same with our customer bases. I’m not suggesting that you should try and sell your products on your own.  The TpT marketplace is on fire and you would be a fool not to focus your energy there.  They know what they are doing and I firmly believe that we are still in the beginning stages of what this company is going to look like in a couple of years. However, I am suggesting that you need to be prepared for changes that are beyond your control with all aspects of your TpT business.

The next blog post will describe how I have setup my list and engage my tribe.  Stay tuned.

9 Responses

  1. Christina August 29, 2014 / 11:44 pm

    Chris, as always you are a wealth of information! I am looking forward to your next post!

  2. Linda Groce August 30, 2014 / 2:33 am

    Hi, Chris, This is information a lot of us should definitely read and really think it over! I love your insights here and what makes it good is to know you have been through it. Thanks! Linda Groce

    • Regina Frazier September 6, 2014 / 12:40 am

      Terrific post! I am eager to learn more. Since TPT does not let us know who our buyers are and what their emails are, I’d love to know how we can generate a list.

  3. The Artsy French Teacher September 6, 2014 / 12:46 pm

    Wow, Chris! I’d never even thought of these things!…Chicken Little indeed! But how do I build a list? I have no idea who follows me!
    moi

  4. Justin September 11, 2014 / 3:29 am

    I’m the biggest believer in having a mailing list!!! I’d rather someone join my mailing list than buy something from me (initially). I’m excited to here how you do things!
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. san September 17, 2014 / 3:47 pm

    Thanks Chris for a good idea. I am lucky enough get to your site. I have one request. Can you write for new person how he do research for making his own product.

    San

  6. Renee July 3, 2015 / 6:12 am

    First off…thanks so much for the great ideas. I read every post today and took notes. One quick question…where do you get emails of your customers? I must be missing something…hope you can share. I am so appreciative of this…I haven’t had a way to get ideas unless I google. I can’t seem to get any connections…any tips on that too?

    Renee

  7. Candace October 7, 2015 / 2:11 pm

    Great Site! I saw that you posted “The next blog post will describe how I have setup my list and engage my tribe. Stay tuned.” But I can’t find that one…Where is the post that tells how to get the list? Thanks 🙂

  8. The Ginger Teacher June 4, 2016 / 9:19 am

    Thanks for this post, it really got me thinking. I don’t think you sound negative at all it is just smart to consider possible scenarios.

    Great post

Comments are closed.