Is It Necessary to Build a List?

I often heard from many peers of mine talking about list building as the fundamental step to become successful online. The truth is when I first started online as an affiliate marketer, I don’t even have a list yet am still be able to generate some handsome affiliate income online on a monthly basis.

So the discussion today is: “Do you really need a list to be successful in affiliate marketing?”

It seemed like lots of guru always emphasize on the necessity to build a list! In fact, I do not disagree with that though I have a second opinion.

For me, the ANSWER is YES and NO:

But before we kick off, it’s essential to know what exactly is email marketing!

What is Email Marketing?

email marketing 101Email marketing is a form of marketing strategy whereby you are establishing communication via direct mail, broadcast or newsletter with your prospects, potential customers or existing buyers via mode of email!

It’s vital that your emails methods are CAM SPAM compliance; That being said you does have the opt in permission to emails your audience. Without any permission, the approach will consider as spam mail!

When NOT to Build an Email List?

The truth is it is not 100% a requirement for you to build a list to become successful online. Below are some cross reference of NO LIST Needed checklists:

  • Products that have high revenue potential BUT people will not likely to repurchase again!
  • Products that doesn’t have potential to earn recurring revenue!
  • Products that belong to a rare category whereby cross sell opportunity is limited
  • Narrow yet super targeted niche that doesn’t have potential to trigger future sales opportunity
  • You are building targeted Adsense or Infolink related site


The truth is not every business of yours need a list! There are some affiliate sites that only cater for very small and specific audience. Give an specific example, a blog that talked about hammock (furniture example) or freezer (Household Item). These typically are very niche specific and the topic is narrow enough, so the opportunity to upsell related products might not be necessary! Lets think about it! For someone who buy a hammock or a freezer from you, what are the chances that he/she will re purchase another hammock from you? I would say changes are pretty low!

When DO YOU Need to Build an Email List?

Exactly the opposite of the “NO LIST” criteria. You will definitely need to build a list provided the following are met:

  • A hungry market whereby people are always looking for various solutions and answers
  • Market that is big enough that you can always find offers to promote
  • Market that appeal to a wider audience; What I so called the big three: 1) Business Opp/Financial Niche 2)Health and Fitness 3)Relationship!
  • You are ready to establish a mutual relationship with your subscribers and engage them on a regular basis!


List building takes time and when you do decide to do this! You would have to start thinking from a long term perspective on how to collaborate with your audience and keep them abreast of news and trends of your selective niche.

Top 4 Benefits of Email List Building

In my opinion, there are top four immediate benefits you can derive from list building strategy.

1) Educate Yourself yet Educate Your Audience: You should always be in touch with your audience, at least once a week. And allow audience to provide you with comments or feedback on your blogs to encourage two ways communications.

2) Building Long Term Relationship: Take the opportunity to know your prospects, turning them into buyers, and from buyers to retention customers.

3) Building Yourself a Database: The truth is you will always wanted to build an email lists if you are in the top three lists as I mentioned. eg, you might loss everything due to search engine algorithm chance, but you still have a powerful list data you can communicate to.

4) Embrace the 20/80 Rules: Regardless what is your list size, you will always have 20% of the people always come back to you and another 80% belong to opportunity seekers. The goal of an Internet marketer is always focusing on deepening the 20% relationship and keep cultivating and creating rapport with the 80% prospects.

In Conclusion

From a business point of view, it will make sense for you to build a list if you,re doing business on a long term basis just like what I did for my blog: Internet Marketing Quest. Nevertheless, I did build countless affiliate sites that doesn’t have a list yet till reward me with passive income over and over again! But If I have to start all over again, I will start my list building approach early and optimize for the long term success:)

I use Aweber as my list building provider. Personally, I like it because it comes with a 30 days free trials with just $1, thereafter, $19 dollar on a monthly basis. To conclude, to build a list or not to build a list is purely a personal decision of yours. I hope by now you will have a better idea whether list building is right for your business:)