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My friend John Lee Dumas runs the top-ranked business podcast Entrepreneur on Fire. He asks this famous question to all his guests:
“Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to earth, but you knew no one.
You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have. Your food and shelter are taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500.
What would you do in the next 7 days?”
To me, the answer couldn’t be any clearer.
“Start building an email list.”
Maybe you’ve heard this before: “The money is in the list.”
After 12 years of running an online business and generating millions in sales, I can tell you this is 100% true.
Here are 3 reasons why an email list is your greatest asset:
One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was NOT building an email list from day one.
When I launched my blog 12 years ago, people would land on my site, read a few posts, and never hear from me again. Why? They had no way to join my email list.
And that ONE mistake cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years.
Email is the bedrock of my business today. It's by far my #1 source of revenue. It's how we launch new products and how we reach our customers.
Email is the engine that's generated millions of dollars for my business — more than every other channel we’ve used combined.
And it's not just our business that depends on email.
Turns out, having an email list has a 40X impact on your bottom line. Yes, you read that right.
According to a 2014 study by McKinsey and Company, for every dollar you put into email marketing you get back 40X more than you would through Facebook, Instagram, and almost every other marketing channel.
40X more revenue!
Don’t repeat my mistake.
If you’re serious about building an online business, an email list is critical.
My good friend, Tim Ferriss, has over 1.3 million Twitter followers and more than 577,000 likes on his Facebook page.
Recently, I was a guest on his podcast. And he asked me why I thought building an email list was so important.
My reason was simple: it’s a huge risk to build a business on a platform you don’t own.
Facebook can change its policies overnight.
Google can blacklist your site and cut your traffic in half.
But you own your email list. Nobody can take it away.
I could almost hear sirens going off in Tim’s head as I said this.
Yes, he has a huge social following, but he doesn’t control it.
Since our conversation, Tim’s worked on growing his own email list.
But the moral of the story is this: don’t leave your business in somebody else’s hands. If you build your audience on some external platform, you’re at their mercy. And you’re not in control.
What’s the worst possible marketing method?
Door-to-door selling. It’s one person walking from place to place, pitching anyone who (hopefully) opens the door.
It's time-consuming and ineffective. Ugh.
I say door-to-door selling is the worst, but if you think about it, most marketing efforts are like this. You hand someone a flyer. You print a brochure. You talk to someone over the phone.
These messages are created once, seen/heard once, and then — poof — gone forever.
But thanks to the power of email marketing and automation, you can write ONE great email and profit from it again and again.
Whether you have 10 people on your list or 100,000 subscribers, email scales exponentially.
For example, I wrote this email in 2011:
Over 450,000 people have read that email in the last five years. All automatically. I didn’t lift a finger.
When you put the scaling power of email to work, you’ll have more time to focus on growing your business. That will help you generate even greater returns.
NOTE: If you don’t have a business yet or don’t know where to start, I put together a special report for you: 30 successful online business ideas.
In the next section of the guide, I’ll show you how to get people to join your email list in the first place.