Tips on How To Build a Tribe and Successful Business from "The Budgetnista"

List building is the marketing method of choice for some businesses, but is it appropriate for every business? Should the owner of a landscaping business try to build a list? What about someone who runs a bakery or a laundromat? If you’ve taken a pass on list and tribe building or aren’t putting much effort into it, this article is sure to convince you otherwise. In a recent interview, I spoke with Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche whose amazing success, real life examples, and expert advice will convince you once and for all that EVERY business needs to build a list.

List and Tribe Building “Budgetnista” Style

Tiffany is a financial educator who teaches personal finance lessons, such as how to budget, how to save money, and how to get out of debt. She shares her knowledge in seminars, workshops, blogs, books, and more. In addition to blogging for The Huffington Post and US News & World Report, her advice has been featured on platforms like Good Morning America, PBS, The New York Times, Forbes, and others. Her two books, The One Week Budget and Live Richer Challenge, are both bestsellers.

Tiffany attributes much of her success to list building, and she believes that EVERY business should be actively building their list. Although each business owner should take their own unique approach, here’s how Tiffany did it.

Two years ago, Tiffany started a movement called the Live Richer movement, aimed at helping people live a better life. Within the movement, she started the Live Richer Challenge. Her goal was to help 10,000 women get on financial track in 2015, and each person who signed up was taking on their own challenge of getting their personal finances in order. Starting in January, members who signed up would receive free daily emails telling them what they need to do to get on track. For example, Tiffany would email a template and step-by-step guidance on creating a budget, or share a script that members could use to ask about discounts from their service provider.

To supplement the list, Tiffany also created a private Facebook Group for members of the challenge, where people would report on their progress and encourage each other. In doing so, Tiffany created not only a solid list but a tribe of followers.

The Live Richer Challenge is now in its second year. Over 90,000 people have signed up, and the Facebook group currently has about 72,000 members. Having such a large list and tribe has allowed Tiffany to boost her business through paid offerings. Although Tiffany gives away plenty of free resources, she recently launched the Live Richer Academy where, for a small monthly fee, people can take their personal finance knowledge to the next level and get access to other financial experts. The list and tribe members were already sold on Tiffany’s financial expertise, so she didn’t even really have to “sell” the Academy. Just a short time after launch, she was already making $20,000 per month and is on track to reach $1 million in revenue by the end of 2016.

A Laundromat with a List?

Tiffany’s success is amazing, but you may be wondering, can this same idea scale for just about any business? Does it only work for informational-based businesses, or can it work for mainstream businesses too?

Tiffany says that EVERY business should be engaging in list building, and to prove the point, she gave an amazing example of her friend Mark who owns a laundromat and was skeptical about list building. Mark had the opportunity to purchase a booth at a college orientation event, and Tiffany crafted a clever way that Mark could build his list.

Mark put together a package that, for $600 per semester, students could have all their laundry needs taken care of. The package would be marketed to parents – but Tiffany knew that not everyone (even those who were interested) would want to commit on the spot.

A list would be an ideal way to connect with parents again in the future, so the perfect way to gather names and emails for the list was a giveaway where one person would win a free semester of services. In exchange for their name and email, parents would be entered into the drawing. Mark could then follow up with information emails that have tips for caring for clothing – and also reminding people about the laundry service package by offering a coupon at the bottom of the email.

As Tiffany mentions, “Now you have potentially hundreds of people, that would have just walked by you, on your list and you can market directly to them by one, being a resource, and then coming on in with ‘hey, I have a product or service.’ People that would walk away, and you’d never see them again, you’re connected to them now.”

A laundromat with a list. It doesn’t sound so crazy now, does it? This is why list building works for EVERY business and why you should get started now.

Tips for List Building

I encourage you to listen to the interview in full, where you can learn more about Tiffany’s story, Mark’s story, and other advice for list building. I won’t give away all the details, but here are some of Tiffany’s tips for list building.

1 – List building doesn’t have to be expensive.

“You have to run a business, so run your business. But that doesn’t mean you can’t figure out a way to list build.” Like Tiffany, you can start to build your list organically for free. Mark started his list by purchasing a table at the college orientation – a small marketing expense that ended with big returns.

2 – The sooner you start, the better.

Your list will grow stronger with time, so start right away. The longer people are with you, the more trust they have in you through your free resources. That means when it comes time to offer a product or service, converting these leads into customers will be easier.

3 – Offer free resources and give from a genuine place.

You should be providing value to the people on the list, and do so genuinely because people can spot BS when they see it. “People don’t want to be sold to. They will buy from you; they do not want to be sold to,” says Tiffany. Nurture your relationships through free resources and you’ll see better results when you try to make a sale.

List building makes sense for any business, whether you are online or a local brick-and-mortar store. The importance of building your list is summarized nicely in this quote by Tiffany: “You know for sure that if they leave, there is no business there. But if you get their name on your list, then you know there is a potential for business.”

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