Relationship Marketing - Peeling Back The Onion

Relationship Marketing Is Vital When Building A List

Building A List Starts With Subscriber Relationships

If someone were to offer me two choices for a list: 1) a list with 5000 credits or 2) a list with 500 trusted subscribers, I would choose the second one. Why?

If I were to recommend something, I would get better results with the 500 trusted subscribers. Why? Because those guys trust me. Trust is the keyword when it comes to customer/client and business/owner relationship.

In this blog post, we will take a look at various means through which we can build strong relationships with our newsletter subscribers. In effect, using a mild form of relationship marketing to establish trust and retain active subscribers. Let’s start:

Relationship Marketing And Your Subscribers

So, how exactly can you apply relationship marketing with your subscribers? First, we need to understand that the termRelationship Marketing is not some shady marketing tactic to make quick sales; just the opposite. Relationship Marketing is geared toward subscriber retention and satisfaction, in short, building relationships.

So, how exactly can you build a strong relationship with your subscribers? The answer is both easy and simple. Think about your own life. You know a lot of people. You have a lot of friends. How did you meet these guys/gals? Do you have a strong positive friendly relationship with them? I am sure, you will have at least 5 friends with a strong relationship. You may also have friends from other countries, from other cultures. Thanks to the globalization of the world. How do you maintain these relationships? How did you build them? Think about it. The answer is within you mind. You just have to take that answer an apply it to your subscribers.

Treat Your Subscribers as Best Friends!

Yes, treat them as your best friends. Communicate with them as best friends would. For example: In your newsletter, ask them whether they need any help with their niche, ask them what they really want to read in the newsletter. Be social. Talk to them as a friend would. Be a conversationalist. When you write your newsletters, write as a friend would. The subscriber should feel that they are treated special. This helps us to build trust among the subscribers.

Don’t Recommend Too Much!

Don’t just fill your newsletter with unwanted recommendations and others. Let me ask you a question: Would you talk “rubbish/nonsense” stuff with your best friend? (Yes, I do understand that we talk rubbish sometimes πŸ˜€). If you do that a lot of times, wouldn’t it affect your relationship? Same is true for your subscribers. If you send them junk stuff, it will affect the trust between you and your subscriber. Recommend when you need so. When you recommend, tell them that why you used it, how you used it and what results you really got (yes, to do is, you should have used the product before. Only recommend stuff that you have used and found useful!). Try to make your recommendations interesting too. Think about this. Have your friends ever recommended you something? I bet they have. It doesn’t have to be direct. It could be something like:

Hey buddy, did you know I tried a new dish from this new restaurant, it tastes great. You should try it!

Well, that’s how friends usually recommend. And most of us hearing this statement would at least have some motivation to check out the new restaurant in town. Be unique. Try to make your newsletter interesting.

Make Your Newsletter Interesting!

Other than your usual stuff, include something special in your newsletters. And tell your subscribers that it is just for them πŸ˜€ You could give them anything that is useful (Examples: Tutorials, Extra Tips, Interesting Videos, Funny Images etc). Make your newsletter unique. Many of us have subscribed to all kinds of newsletters. Look at those newsletters. What do they lack? What would make them more interesting for you? Add that to your newsletter. Remember that your newsletter doesn’t always have to be links to yours or others articles. You could include anything. Like I mentioned earlier, you could include funny comics/images in the newsletter and relate them back to your niche (You may even get article ideas by doing so). Another thing you can include is a list of articles that you are going to publish until the next newsletter (Also include a description of the article). This will help the subscribers to watch out for any articles that they really need to read (this helps both you and your subscribers).

Your Thoughts On Relationships And Building A List?

I’d love to hear your examples and ideas of relationship building and what you expect from a newsletter as a subscriber. Do you have a list? How do you build your reputation and build your list with subscribers that trust you?

Image Credit: reachshalabh / Creative Commons 2.0

About Jeevan Jacob John

Hey, my name is Jeevan Jacob John and I am just a blogger who believes in simplicity at its best. I write at Blog Networking 101 and at Blog Preneurs.


  1. Great post Jeevan, I appreciate you sharing it on Hot Blog Tips. Just like blogging, subscriber relationships are critically important. Last week I posted on past email marketing mistakes and I could have added this one in there as well. It’s a lesson many of us learned the hard way. I’m sure this article will help others get started the right way.

  2. But who knows, that 5000 list might just be better. Why? Because if you’re good at building relationships, you could get more than 5000 subscribers πŸ™‚
    I know it’s a long stretch, but it might just happen.
    Back to reality, i get what you’re saying. It’s difficult getting loyal subscribers but it’s even more difficult to keep them if you don’t treat them well.

  3. It is important you maintain the right relationship with your email subscribers. Blasting the subscriber’s mailbox with mails with just affiliate links and no useful information can be very dangerous. You break trust, you break relationships.

  4. No problem Brian πŸ™‚ Thanks for publishing it πŸ˜€

    Yeah, this post here also summarizes my experience with list building. You know, back when I used to blog at TechpupiL, i didn’t really spend much time on providing value and building positive and strong relationship with my subscribers (I regret that mistake and hope to correct it for my new blog).

    Appreciate the comment, Brian!


    Jeevan Jacob John

  5. Yeah, you are right. If you are good at building relationships and if you apply that “skill” to your list, then you are more than likely to get more subscribers.

    But, most bloggers don’t use that skill. They just built the list and try to make money using it.

    Yeah, I agree. It is even more difficult to keep your subscribers in your list (What do you expect out of a newsletter? Answering this question will help you to make your own newsletter a little better).

    Thanks for the comment, Stan!

    Appreciate your time and effort πŸ™‚

    Jeevan Jacob John

  6. Treating subscribers as best friend, never thought like that. Good point

  7. Michael Wong says

    It’s hard for a lot of people (as you say) to that relationship doesn’t mean schmoozing and being fake.

    But I guess that’s the way of the world. It’s like bragging. No one likes it when someone brags, but when we do it, it’s ok. So when these same people put together their newsletter, all they think is what they want people to read, instead of what people actually want to read.

    I think it was Dale Carnegie who said that people’s chieftest need is to feel important…that’s something that could be worked into a newsletter.

    Also, we tend to forget that many of our key decisions are made by consulting our friends. Choice of lawyer? Who does a friend you trust use? Choice of financial advisor? Who do you friends use?

    That’s why I liked this article so much, because it encourages us to abandon our ego-centric views and think about our customers. That’s always works, but too often businesses forget that.

    Like with complaints. In my opinion, complaints from customers are great, especially online. One, you get feedback. Because every successful business caters to what potential customers want. Businesses fail when those same customers they wanted to hear from, tell them negative things. Second, feedback especially negative ones are a great opportunity to show that you will go above and beyond to find a solution.

    It’s basically about being a nice person.

    But selfish people just don’t understand.

  8. When your subscriber list grows into the hundreds, a personal relationship with each subscriber becomes impossible. Most of the Internet articles on relationship marketing overlook the impossiblity of personally reaching more than a few dozen people. In the end, high-quality content is what gives you the ability to make readers feel as if they have a personal relationship with you. The trust comes from consistently creating engaging content. Thanks for your insights!

  9. Adam James says

    Hi Jeevan, great article – there really is a lot to consider with list building.

    The trusted subscribers is definitely what I’d go for too.

    Some great points about not recommending too much, but I guess it depends on what you’re recommending and whether you truly believe it will benefit your subscribers. Then there’s how targeted is your list, if you’ve got a well targeted list recommending would be much easier and with far less unsubscribes.

    I think the first thing to decide is what sort of list do you want? a marketing list or a newsletter. The marketing lists tend to be full of recommendations, but burn out far quicker.

  10. Yes, I agree with that, Doug. It is indeed very hard to build a personal relationship when you have thousands of subscribers. In that case, you could change your newsletter to feel as if you are speaking to a single person (and offer them help). High quality content is also important to build trust with the subscribers. Even if your list is in the 1000s you could still build a good relationship with each of your subscribers (Well, that depends too, on who the subscriber is and whether he/she is a blogger or not). But, we could still use some of the techniques to customize the newsletter to have a personal feel.

    Thanks for the comment, Doug!

    Appreciate it,

    Jeevan Jacob John

  11. Carmen Swade says

    Hello Jeevan,

    Glad I found your blog through Mitch. Establishing a good relationship to your respective subscribers is the key to have a successful marketing and the most trustworthy award goes to you. By the way thanks for this information because I pick some things here that I need to learn.

  12. Hey Tushar,

    Thanks for the comment!

    Yes, I agree. Many bloggers sent out emails full of affiliate links (just so that they can make money). Yes, of course, they will make some money out of it. But, it wouldn’t be the same as what they could have made by building relationships first and then sending out the [best] affiliate links – based on your experience with the product- slowly.

    Thanks for the comment, Tushar!

    Appreciate it πŸ™‚

  13. I guess you should treat them as best friends from now on πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for the comment, Dave!

  14. Hey Wong,

    Thanks for the awesome comment! Appreciate it.

    I am glad that you could relate this article to real life experiences πŸ™‚

    When it comes to bragging, no one likes to hear some one else bragging. But, bragging is still important. You do need to showcase (a kind of bragging) your articles and other stuff to get more out of it πŸ™‚

    Yes, I understand that. People don’t always think about user expectations. That’s why I included the question: what you really expect from this newsletter? in my autoresponder series(I hope that it will help me to get write better newsletters :D).

    I am glad that you like the article, Wong! Thanks a lot πŸ˜€

    In this world of business, it is impossible to create a perfect business/product. Yes, there will be complaints. As a good networker, we are supposed to solve the problem (and if the problem takes some time to fix – keep the user happy till then).

    Selfishness is just an underlying trait of humans. It is really hard to control it. But, we can do it. Through persistence and patience πŸ˜€

  15. Hi Adam,


    Yes, I agree. It is hard unless you have a really targeted audience. But, if you have a targeted niche, I guess that will be pretty easy too. For example: If your blog is about social media, then most of your subscribers will be people who are interested in social media. You could recommend products that help social media fanatics in overall (products to improve twitter performance, face book marketing etc.).

    But, I wouldn’t recommend a person to “recommend” too many products for his list. I have seen several lists in which those bloggers bombard my inbox daily with some kind of affiliate link.

    That is also a good question to ask yourself. Identify your goals with list building. Is your primary goal to make money? Well, here is one thing you have to understand: People don’t really care whether you are there for the money or not. All they care is that they get what they expect (or something beyond their expectations).

    You could make money and keep your newsletter an interesting one at the same time. Like I mentioned in the article, conduct giveaways, include funny images and comics which you can relate back to your niche. Give them special tips. Keep your newsletter simple and entertaining at the same time!

    Thanks for the heads up, Adam!

  16. Hello Carmen,

    I will take that as a compliment πŸ™‚ Thank you.

    Yes. A good positive relationship with your subscribers/readers will also help you with successful marketing campaigns:D

    No problem.

    Thanks for the comment!

  17. Maintaining trust of the subscribers is very important. If the relationship with the subscribers is not good then one is going to suffer from it. Mailing subscribers useful information is one of the steps for maintaining the subscriber relationship. Also the subscribers should be made attached to the newsletters by subscribing them with interesting articles to read.

  18. Tigari Electronice says

    Great article Jeevan. I am starting to learn a lot from this one. I can see that is very important to have subscribers and keep them.

  19. Anonymous (Read Comment Policy) says

    You are right about everything! Especially it annoys me when I get a letter which consists of tens of recommendations. To be honest, I usually don’t read them all, if there are a lot of them. So that’s why it is very unproductive for those ones who send it

  20. Lennart Heleander says

    Unfortunately, misusing some of the big bloggers today their image and the reputation that every week by just trying to sell things that they have a good commission and newsletters contain nothing of value.

  21. Nice post Jeevan, It is really important to make connections and build trust. I would prefer getting few subscribers who would open my emails and respond rather then many who won’t even open it. I think aim should be to help them and make them grow along with us rather then earning money with them.

  22. Abhi Balani says

    That’s true! Recommending too much, unnecessarily can annoy our subscribers easily. Now, making newsletter interesting. That’s and interesting and a little difficult task. LOL but surely going to work on the tips shared. Thank you.

    I’d be so grateful if you’d read the post linked below and, if you enjoyed it, leave a comment to let me know!

  23. Murray Newlands says

    Jeevan, that onion diagram is basically a sales funnel but applied to trust instead of sales. Was this intentional? πŸ™‚

  24. Hey Emily,

    Yes, I agree. It is important to make our newsletter interesting and go beyond the expectations of our subscribers. Make our newsletter stand out!

    Thanks for the comment, Emily!

    Appreciate it!

  25. Thank you!

    I am glad that my article helped! I hope that you apply what you learned to your own lists πŸ˜€

    Thanks for the comment!

  26. Thank you πŸ˜€

    Yes, it annoys me too. And I figured out that lots of people do. That’s why I added that point to this post πŸ™‚

    They might get some people to signup by recommending a lot (it is easier to keep on recommending than building trust first and then recommending slowly). They are just after the money. I mean, that’s okay. But, they also need to care about their subscribers.

  27. Hey Lennart,

    Yes, I agree. Many bloggers are doing that in order to make money. They just don’t care about building trust and relationship with their subscribers.

    Thank you for the comment Lennart!

  28. Thank you Sanjeev!

    Same here. I would rather see a few subscribers opening and reading the emails that I send them. Yes, I agree.

    You could still make money by helping your subscribers. Make your newsletters interesting and recommending stuff – that you really have tried and you feel useful for your subscribers (that also depends on how targeted your list is)

    Thanks for the comment, Sanjeev!

    Jeevan Jacob John

  29. Thanks for the comment, Abhi πŸ™‚

    I hope you have great success with it πŸ™‚

    Making newsletter interesting is difficult; you have to think of creative ways to make your newsletter stand out from other newsletters that are available online.

    Yeah, sure. Thanks for asking!

  30. To be honest, I didn’t put that image up.

    Brian did πŸ™‚

  31. Such a great post! I really like your point on the personal relation between the marketer and the customer. I totally agree, with the several SEO processes you can reach a higher traffic and page rank, but when it comes to the conversion, it depends on the trust between marketer and customer.

  32. A very detailed explanation here. It is really important for you to have a good relationship with your customers in order for you to possibly build a better list which you can make use even until any future transactions.

  33. While creating a email list one should always keep in mind which are trusted subscribers. Agree with you Jeevan, relation with subscribers can be maintain only with one word and that’s TRUST. Subscribers will only be attached to the newsletters only if their trust is not destroyed. Your post have given very useful tips which can help to maintain the relationship with the subscribers for long period.

  34. I will say its a tremendous post. I loved all the point and specially the point “Don’t recommend too much”. I quite agree with this point because when you start recommending too much then its not easily digestible for your readers. Then can be irritated by you.

  35. Relationship marketing is a good concept for building mailing list. This can be achieved only by mailing your subscribers useful information. This will help in maintaining their trust which is very important while marketing. One can make most from relationship marketing if done in a right approach. This will help in making high profit.

  36. You have pointed out a very good point which is very important in internet marketing business. The relationship marketing is very important for the online business. I think the subscriber’s emails must not be filled with unwanted mails. The mails sent to them should be of high quality. Because this will make their subscriber’s attached with their newsletters. Otherwise it will take no time for them to unsubscribe your newsletter.

  37. You’ve laid out a great point! Trust between you and your client is very important, that’s why I value their thoughts and has plans to improve my customer services.

  38. Hey,

    Thank you! I am glad that you agree with.

    Thank you for commenting on the post!

  39. Hey Samantha,

    I am glad that you agree. Yes, customer relationships are important to achieving success (and more profit) in business.

    Thanks for the comment πŸ˜€

  40. Jeevan Jacob John says

    Hey Steve,

    I am glad that my posted helped. I hope that you apply these tips to your own newsletter – if you have one.

    Thanks for the comment, Steve!

  41. Yup! Like what most businessmen said, customers are their bread and butter. Without them, nothing can be achieved by them.

  42. yes it’s good point.

  43. That is completely true. Having a healthy list of subscribers and maintaining that is essential. Also, everyone likes interesting newsletters with quality content.

  44. Hey Sam,

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Yes, of course. You need to send them what they need (Ask them what they need) and build a positive relationship with them while doing so.

  45. Hey Samantha,

    Yes, of course. Nothing can be achieved without customers. Treat the customers in a good way (considering that the businessmen are also customers; they should do so).

    Thanks for the comment!

  46. Thank you,

    I am glad that you like and agree with me πŸ˜€

    Thanks for the comment!

  47. Hey Renny,

    Yes, list emails must be interesting and informative for readers!

    Thanks for the comment!

  48. Hey Milena,

    Thanks for the comment!

    Yes, of course. But, these days it is becoming harder and harder to find good newsletters.

  49. I think something people forget is that blogging is often social media marketing. I believe that the type of market your email lists is in stems directly from it’s roots. If you’re a blog involved in social interaction and use an email marketing campaign…that email marketing campaign is a social media campaign. You can’t just shout out sale pitches. You have to remember the social in social media.

  50. Unfortunately, misusing some of the big bloggers today their image and the reputation that every week by just trying to sell things that they have a good commission and newsletters contain nothing of value.

  51. hello,
    nice to meet you again mate , very nicely explained πŸ™‚ keep sharing more guest articles on HotBlogTips πŸ™‚

  52. Hey Brian, i agree with you mate, there are some useful tips. But another thing is Spam now a days i see that people send newsletter only with the affiliate links. Thats a wrong approach, if you want to send your affiliate links then its better to write a review in the email that will give far better results. Cheers

  53. Danica Green says

    I agree that trust is a very important factor in marketing. Large quantity of subscriber does not always mean that you have an effective marketing strategy what matters is the quality of relationship you have built with the people in your list.

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