Creating a marketing list of 150 doesn’t seem like it would be enough to put your business over the top, but then again…

Setting smart goals means dealing with all sorts of numbers and being accountable to them. Over the holiday I read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s a book about how the little things can make a big difference and there is a whole chapter dedicated to the power of one hundred and fifty.

It seems that, we humans, work better in groups of 150. As soon as a group gets too big is starts to break itself up into smaller groups or it tends to fail as a whole.

Another interesting point Gladwell makes is that most of us can personally connect within a similar sized group. You can probably list off 100 or so names of people you know.

This chapter in The Tipping Point got me thinking about email marketing campaigns and how we go about building lists and if we should be looking at the rule of 150.

Lists are built by opting in. Most successful list building techniques offer a freebie, such as an e-book or newsletter, as a thank you for adding your name. But as a list grows with just a name and an email address, the space between you and your followers grows as well. This may not be as important in certain circles, but for most of us I think it should be.

Think of all the online media outlets you sign into and create a profile. Why, because that profile helps categorize you. It puts you in contact with other like minded individuals and in what would seem counter intuitive, expands your network.

Using a similar profile approach, you can come up with a few categories for people to fill out during an “opt-in”. In the future that information can help you focus your marketing efforts. For example, if you’re a traveling artist, it doesn’t always make sense for you to send out a mass email to everyone on your list, if you’re actually promoting a show in a specific town. If you use your list to market shows, than it would be a benefit to both, you the artist and the over saturated email, to capture location information during the sign up. Essentially creating lists of 150 until you’ve reached your ultimate goal.

The email list is a circle game. You market, people come to your blog or website, sign up to your list, you email these people and drive traffic to your blog or website with a focused goal of selling something.

How you market will determine who opts-in. Who is your audience and how do you attract them? Knowing the motivation for your list will help determine the information you want to collect.

I’m sure there is a fine line between having people sign up to your newsletter and scaring people off by asking for too much information.  You’ll have to be the judge of that, but taking a look at your marketing and seeing how you can create niches within your niche seems like a great way to connect with an audience you’ve already captured.

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