Everyone involved with internet business will tell you how important list building is and why you cannot succeed without a good list. However, when they are asked to explain lists and list building, they often stumble and are at a loss for words. If list building is to be explained, the best way to do it will be to describe a list as a database of people who would be interested in the goods or services you are selling and list building as the process of expanding your base of potential customers. To put it another way, your list is your market and list building is the activity of increasing it.
The reason why people come to your site (how they come there is another subject) is because they find something there that interests them and they want to learn more. But just visiting your site does not mean that you will get their business - in fact, very rarely does a first visit result in any sales being concluded. The way to get sales is by building up your brand (your website and business in other words) and the way to do this is by constantly reminding people who you are, what you have to offer and how buying form you is better than buying from anywhere else. To do this you will need to be in regular contact with them and keep sending them information that will excite their interest along with reasons why they can satisfy their need by buying form you.
Selling online is based on creating trust among your customers and the only way that this can be done is by establishing a link with them through regular communication so that in time they feel they know you and can safely buy from you, although you are a faceless online entity. The basis of all this communication is your list of email addresses and that is the market you will be selling to.
Many newcomers make the mistake of thinking that the bigger the list they have the better. It doesn't work that way - what good is list of 10,000 email address of people in Iceland when you are trying to sell Bermuda shorts? A good list is one where there can be a good conversion rate, not one that is simply full of email addresses - a conversion rate of 20% with a focused list of 1,000 addresses will be far more profitable than a list of 10,000 that results in a conversion rate of just 1%.