A Surprising Way To Increase The Lifetime Value of a Customer

Don’t sell them anything.

That is, at first.  Instead, the initial goal should be for them to opt-in to a list.

Preferably, an email list.

Here’s why:

One-off purchases are great.  But when someone opts into a list you have the potential to do two things:

  • Build the necessary relationship to make the first sale
  • Build the necessary relationship to make multiple sales

Particularly for prospects that are in the information gathering stage of the purchase cycle, a full-court press offer won’t likely yield the best results.  Sure, you will convince the occasional visitor to buy but the majority will head for the hills.

Instead, offer something of value to them if they opt-in to a permission based email list.  Send them content that helps them.  That educates them, inspires them, saves them time, saves them money, entertains them, etc.

If you use email software like AWeber, you can set up an autoresponder or “drip email campaign” that will do the heavy lifting for you.

It’s not always the right move.

But I would love to hear what you think.  Would you rather have a single sale or an opt-in to an email list that could lead to a lifetime customer?

Here is some great reading about this from KISS Metrics that details how and why Perry Marshall uses this strategy.


  1. Very timely Russ! I’m just in the process of creating an autoresponder and I can see the real benefits it’s going to offer my business. It’s definitely better to make a customer rather than a sale. And then it’s important to keep communicating with people who have brought from you to nurture repeat sales, referrals and word of mouth stuff.

    P.S: Thanks for the Kiss Metrics link, that was an awesome post.

  2. Great post – one of the best ways to get your patients to opt-in is to offer valuable information. It can be a white paper or a monthly newsletter. Both work — as long as the information is genuinely valuable to your patients and you are not just “selling.”

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