I often find myself having coffee with leaders in both business and ministry about their potential for building something valuable in the online space.

We may talk about things like how to get more Instagram followers or how to use Facebook ads well. Does blogging still work? What about search engine optimization? Can you really make money with affiliate marketing?

Wherever they may be in the journey, I always ask them the same question…

Are you building an email list yet?

Me? No. Why would I? What do I have to email people about? Do people even read emails anymore?

I’ve been working in the digital marketing space for a decade now. Social networks have blown up in prominence. Video has taken over. And pretty much anybody can easily launch a website now with almost zero technical knowledge.

Things change very fast in this arena, but one thing has remained constant. Email matters. It’s here to stay.

Email is the original social network. It’s more personal than any other platform. It requires trust. It opens conversations.

And the fact is, even though people complain about getting too much of it, most people are far more inclined to make decisions and take action based on emails than any other kind of advertising or marketing.

Marketers often say that “the money is in the list.” And they’re right.

From a digital marketing perspective, most of the channels you’re using should point people to your email list.

And your email list should point people toward actionable next steps.

I recently had coffee with a friend who has done very well in the real estate space. He has a ton of knowledge and he shares it freely on social media, but wants to know how to build an educational business around it.

I explained that building an email list is like investing in a new property. When you invest your money into a rental property, you’re purchasing an asset that will produce income and cash flow while gaining in value over time.

The same is true of investing into building an email list. It’s an asset that only grows in value over time. As long as you are faithful to build trust, you will increase your earning potential.

In other words…

Building an email list is the single most profitable thing you can do online.

When should you start? A year ago!

You don’t have to have a blog or website to get started. Even if you’re working only on social networks, you can be offering value to potential subscribers and inviting them to receive more updates from you.

My email list-building tool of choice is ConvertKit. I’m a HUGE fan, and I’ve tried at least two dozen platforms in the last couple of years.

ConvertKit is, hands down, the simplest way to get started with email marketing. You can quickly create forms and landing pages, grow your list, segment it by interest, and write emails that look like emails and not sales circulars.

They give away a great free book, whether you choose to use their platform or not.

Click here to download The Complete Guide to Email Marketing.

Things have changed a lot, but one fact remains.

The single most profitable thing you can do online is build an email list.

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