It'sThe LIST, Stupid!

by Jim Rannazzisi

You recall that famous slogan written on a blackboard in the Clinton war room during the 1992 campaign: "It's the economy, stupid!" It helped the Clinton campaign stay focused, and a catch phrase like that can work for you, too.

Imagine this. You have the 10 best Internet marketing gurus together in a war room to develop a strategy for your on-line business. You ask them to craft one slogan that would help you the most and they propose something like: "It's the LIST, stupid!"

Don't make this mistake in your on-line business--be it network, referral or affiliate marketing. You might say, "That list stuff is for those gurus selling their own info products or publishing ezines." You do what your upline does or your affiliate creator recommends: promote your opportunity or program. But is that the smart thing for you to do at this time?


"On the Internet, it's not the products that make money, it's lists (products don't sell, lists do)."

Michael Southon

Michael Southon, one of those on-line gurus, says in a recent book review:

"On the Internet, it's not the products that make money, it's lists (products don't sell, lists do)."

Don't promote your opportunity or product(s) to the marketplace; promote your list!

Jim Rannazzisi


I'm going to propose something heretical to many of you Internet marketers, regardless of whether you are of the network, referral or affiliate variety. Brace yourselves, now...this could be revolutionary...especially to your upline.

Don't promote your opportunity or product(s) to the marketplace; promote your list!


To explore why, let's first look at a very common marketing approach: email "drip" campaigns to purchased opt-in leads.

A drip campaign is one where you send out a series of prospecting letters to a list, usually of opt-in leads. Because it takes multiple impressions to convert a prospect, you "drip" letters on them over a period of time.

With the exception of custom lead generation programs, those leads that you purchased did not opt-in for YOUR program or opportunity. In fact, when they opt-in the leads are usually told they will be contacted about several on-line businesses. And the diligent opportunity-seeker may be on several lists. Your leads are going to be getting a lot of email from competing programs.

The prospecting letters in a typical drip campaign for an opportunity are written either by: your upline, you, or a combination of both.


Let me use a well-known Powerline program as a real example of what can happen if you blindly promote your opportunity first using your upline's campaign. How would you like to be on the receiving end of a blitz of emails over a 12-day period with these subjects?

Your account will be deleted!
2nd Notice, your account will be deleted!
Final Notice, your account will be deleted!
I'm waiting to place people under you!
Are you ignoring me?
Let me explain
Help me, help you!
I'm done!

If you want to know more about how Powerline programs work, visit

These guerrilla marketing tactics turn off many prospects. Some of the replies they send you can be downright nasty, too. Even if they don't opt out of your email campaign, those prospects will never join you in any business. Period! They just delete anything you send. In the above example, you have squandered your "marketing capital" with a heavy-handed promotion that's a loser in the long run.

In the continuation of this article we'll examine what happens when you promote your list in the drip campaign. It's available to you instantly at

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About the Author

Jim Rannazzisi is a recent convert to on-line list building. Get your FREE eCourse and ezine that are unlike anything anywhere. They build the relationships that build business for you. Visit or

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