Building a Customer Base
Let me ask you a question: do you think it is easier to sell your product or services to a complete stranger or to a person you have had contact before; whether it's an email conversation, forum participation or even an existing customer relationship (i.e. He has bought something from you). Without doubt, it would be harder to sell to a total stranger who does not know whether or not you are an honest seller, and whether or not they should trust your words and believe that your product or services will truly benefit them.
This is precisely why you should build up a customer base -- a group of people who trust you and will most likely buy a product that you offer to them. This will ensure that you have a recurring and consistent source of income. When you release a product or make an endorsement, you have a group of people always ready to hear what you have to say.
There are several sources that you can tap into to start building a customer base. For example, you can participate in an online discussion forum and give advice and help for free. It won't be long before people start to recognise your name and stop and listen everytime you have something to say. You will become a valuable friend and teacher, and gain the trust of these people. Would you buy something your close friend recommends?
Another way to build a customer base is to build a mailing list. There are a gazillion methods to collect subscribers, but when it's boiled down to the very essence, it's all about proving your value to the crowd and offering an incentive to make people become part of your mailing list. A typical example would be a website choke-full of freely available, helpful and quality articles on a certain subject plus a "special report" that can be downloaded for free provided you give your email address. The rich content provides value, and the "special report" is the extra incentive.
Yet another source for your customer base, which is often...