If you’ve been online for any length of time trying to generate any kind of income, then chances are, you’ve heard the notion “money is in the list”.

But is it really true? Is it an old-time folk myth? Was it true years ago and now email marketing is simply dead?

Or is it the real secret to making money online? Keep reading as I’ll answer all these questions for you in this article.. So we can put this never-ending debate to bed. Once and for all!

So where did it all come from anyway?

Nobody seems to know where the notion “The money is in the list” originally came from.

Some say that it goes back to old times, even before internet marketing existed, back to the days of direct response and mail marketing. Back then, marketers who had bigger “lists” of mailing addresses, made the most money. Well, it’s a simple numbers game, isn’t it? But what does that have to do with email marketing?

Well, this opens our eyes to the fact that “list” does not have to be limited to email marketing only, there are other types of lists that a marketer can tap into. I’ll touch on those a little later.. But first, let’s answer the below important question, shall we?

Is email marketing really dead?

This is one of the most frequent questions I see asked around on Facebook and in groups. And I can’t say I’m surprised to see it often. Why?

  • Because more and more marketers are following the good ole’ advice and jumping on the bandwagon of email marketing on a daily basis.
  • Because marketers know that the more you mail, the more money you’ll make. This has led to some of them mail twice, 3 times or even as much as 7 times a day! Shocking, I know, but unfortunately, it’s true!
  • Because email service providers (ESP’s) keep cracking down on promotional emails using their state-of-the-art AI based policing technologies and keep sending marketing emails to “Promotions” tab if we’re lucky, and straight to spam folder if we’re not so much.
  • Because people are glued to their social media accounts and no longer spend as much time checking emails, let alone reading them and taking action

Oh wow! What a dark picture that is! So email marketing is really dead, isn’t it? The answer is…


Far from it, actually!

In fact, if anything, email marketing is and will always (for the foreseen future at least) be the single most important channel of communication for businesses with their audiences..

Marketing, or otherwise. How do I know? Think about it. When you sign up to a new online service, what do you use?

Your email

When you purchase a physical product online, what’s the first piece of data they ask you for?

Your email

When you want to login to your account on social media, what’s your username?

Your email

And if you’ve forgotten your password, where do sites usually send your reset link to?

Yep, you guessed it. Do you see where I’m going with this? Can you imagine the internet without email? OK great, those are all “transactional” situations, but what about marketing?

The answer is simple.

If you need to login to your email account several times a day to confirm, check, reset a password or even search for an old document scan you sent to someone years ago then being on email is inevitable

People simply can’t survive online without email. Which means, we, marketers, have a chance to show our messages right where they are. Their email inbox. But what about all the low open rates, busy inboxes, AI-based spam filters and all the points I mentioned above?

Well, while it’s true that reach of emails is declining, we can’t ignore the importance of building an email list, just because we don’t see high deliverability compared to other types of lists such as SMS, chatbots and push notifications, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t build email lists.


I just realized that I answered the question above about what other types of lists an online marketer can build these days. So now that I “accidentally” mentioned them, let me touch on a few facts related to these other types of lists real quick. SMS, Messenger chatbots and push notifications all have much higher open rates and click-through rates.

We’re talking close to 100% vs 5-20% higher than email. I guess you can see now why marketers are turning into other channels of communication. Immediately, the smart marketer in you will notice how building a list in these channels of communications can be the way to go. But building a list on those other channels means that you no longer need to build an email list..




Because your email list is an asset that you fully own and control. At any point, if your autoresponder service provider decided to shut you down, you’ll still be able to move your lists to another service provider. And you’re back in business in a day or less

PRO Tip: While most autoresponder services allow you to download your lists in case you shutdown your account, you should make it a habit to have a backup of your lists.

But what happens if you lost your Facebook account or your push notification service provider shut you down? You’re out of business!

But what about SMS? You do own that list don’t you? Yes you do. However, SMS can be a little costly since you’re paying per message.

With email marketing, you’re paying one fixed monthly fee to send unlimited emails. Unless you’re using an SMTP service, but even then, the cost per message is way cheaper. Does that mean you shouldn’t be building your SMS, chatbot and push notifications lists?

No, not at all

It’s all about priorities though. Email lists should be the very first and the most important point of contact of your audience

If you can then get your audience to subscribe to your chatbot, part with their mobile number and/or subscribe to your push notification service, then that’s an added bonus that will pay dividends

The golden rule is this: Always start with an email, then everything else next.

I’m sure by now you know the “not so secret” formula to building a list fast

Step 1: Create a lead magnet

Step 2: Build a funnel (squeeze page + thank you page)

Step 3: Send traffic

And just like that, you can build a list of tens, hundreds or even thousands of leads, super fast. All that’s left for you to do to start making money is send a few messages and viola, dollar signs will cha-ching all over



The old ways of building a list and making money with it is DEAD! There used to be times when there were not a lot of us marketers competing for some real estate in our audience inboxes. In 2019 and beyond, that’s no longer the case!

And just because the other channels of communications are newer and have less competition than email, doesn’t mean that rule is not applicable to them

Email, SMS, chatbot, push notifications, social media following, etc. etc. etc.

Whichever way you choose to go, you have got to stand out If you’re interested in making money online, that is.


The easiest and fastest way that will guarantee you the highest conversion rates is building a relationship with them building a list in itself should never be the goal, it’s just the beginning.

The beginning of an ongoing journey of building and relationship that’s based on you making a real impact by giving your audience “value”

What comes after the lead/customer lands in your list is really where you need to focus most of your efforts on.

I mentioned above impacting lives through value and to most, value means “free crap”. This is where many marketers make mistake. Value does NOT necessarily mean charity! After all, you’re running a business and you need to make money

So you need to pitch and sell, otherwise you won’t even afford the service fees you’re building your lists with

Value means provide whatever it takes to help your audience

This could mean giving them tips and tricks on how to use a certain product or service that you’re recommending to them as an affiliate, aka value stacking

As a product vendor, this means offering aftersale support and be there to answer any questions they might have. Regardless of the business model you’re running relationship building is the name of the game when it comes to list building

And if that means putting in more time to answering email replies or sending your audience valuable bonuses, then so be it.

The bottom line is this

Those who build the strongest relationships with their audience are the ones who make the most money, period.

So as you can see, the money is NOT exactly in the list, the money is in the relationship you build with the list

Sounds simple, yet I can’t tell you how many marketers still treat their subscribers as numbers

Marketing in general is the art of attracting people to you and once you got them to know you, like you and trust you, amazing things will happen.

Email, SMS, push notifications or chatbot lists are no different.

These are some of the things I learned, both the easy way and the hard way, as I was navigating my way around internet marketing.

Speaking of easy way, when it comes to fast-tracking your success and avoiding the newbie mistakes that most people do, I can’t recommend John Thornhill’s teaching highly enough.

I can safely say, and I’m not saying that because this article is on his blog, but John’s coaching program contributed the most to advancing my career as an internet marketer.

So if you’re ready to cut through all the noise and go to where the real knowledge is, allow me to invite you to a free workshop by John Thornhill where you’ll learn some eye-opening secrets about how to make money online by creating automated sales using a simple formula.

You won’t regret it .. I promise.

Register here now and chances are, you’ll never look back.

Momen Khaiti


This is a Guest Blog Post written by Momen Khaiti, if you would like to be considered for a guest post please contact me.

    2 replies to "Is The Money Really in The List? The Answer Might Surprise You!"

    • Ken McDaniels

      I’m just getting started on doing things the right way, so your information about building a relationship with you audience makes perfect sense and at least I now know how to get my list started.


      • Momen Khaiti

        Thank you for taking the time to read the post. I hope it has at least inspired you to take some action and start building your list.

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