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Using Mailing Lists

Another great place to find customers is in mailing lists. Mailing lists are a little different from newsgroups because they foster discussion through email rather than on the Usenet. These lists require direct subscription; to participate, you send an email message to the list and include a command (such as "subscribe") in the body or subject line. You then receive messages posted to the list by other members and can join the discussion.

The subscription and delivery method is what makes mailing lists interesting and valuable. Since list members must seek out and choose to subscribe to the lists, they tend to be more deeply involved in the subject matter.


Tip > There are two major search engines that provide links to many of the mailing lists that exist on the Internet. The best one is Liszt, located at www.liszt.com. It contains over 90,000 listings. There is also the List of Lists located at catalog.com/vivian/ interest-group-search.html.

Many mailing lists are privately moderated and unreceptive to advertising. As with newsgroups, using the participatory approach is best. Study the instructional message you'll receive after subscribing; it will contain the rules of the list. If you think advertising is allowed, sending an email to the moderator just to be sure can help facilitate good will.

Other lists are actually sponsored by advertising, which can be a much more direct route to customers--relatively inexpensive and quite focused. When you subscribe to a list, find out if it is supported by advertising. Then, become a participant before you actually buy advertising. This will let the members know that you are helpful, knowledgeable, and open for business.


Joe's Take:  Mailing lists are great places to find customers. But keep in mind, they're moderated far more closely than newsgroups, and you should participate frequently. It takes work to produce useful information and join lively debates. Try working just one or two lists at a time. Members tend to stay on mailing lists, so you can work one for several weeks before moving on to another.
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