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When I first started Affiliate Marketing I heard the saying, “The money is in the list.” 

I’ll be honest with you: I never understood what that meant, at least not until recently. 

 

In fact, I assumed it was one of those colloquial sayings that Affiliate Marketers said amongst each other to sound cool. I probably even had the thought, “maybe one day I’ll be cool enough to say that too,” with a fancy and sophisticated James Bond British accent, while holding my fancy martini in hand. 

 

All joking aside, I now understand what this means.  Let me explain. 

The term, “the money is in the list,” is referring to your email list, in other words, the money is in your email list.  Your email list is composed of the audience that has chosen to follow you, to receive emails from you. You’re not chasing these people to send them an unsolicited offer… this email list we speak of is comprised of those who have shown they want to be engaged with you… and whatever you’re sharing.

 

When you attract an audience that chooses to be on your email list, this allows you the opportunity to communicate and stay in front of them regularly. 

 

I hear you saying to yourself now, “doesn’t social media do the same thing?” 

Unfortunately, no.

Social media does not accomplish the same thing. People generally follow hundreds, if not thousands, of other people and/or businesses on social media.  Of those people that follow you on your social media channels, you may only get seen by a small portion of your audience. Your content (i.e. videos) will only be viewed by a small segment of people that are following you. Yes, these people have opted to see your videos on social media; however, simply put, there’s only so many videos and content that social media platforms can literally put on any one person’s feed. They have to prioritize what gets seen and what doesn’t.  What gets seen and what doesn’t is then a conversation about algorithms amongst the platforms, but that’s a conversation for a different day. 

For anyone to claim they understand the algorithm behind these social platforms I think is a bit presumptuous.  Not only are these algorithms kept under lock-and-key (so it seems) and understood by very few, they are constantly changing and evolving… likely so those that are trying to “crack the code” don’t ever figure it out, or so I presume. 

I’ve also mentioned before that “putting all your eggs” in the social media basket as far as a primary way to communicate and interact with your audience comes with a very high risk.  You always stand the risk  of your content being removed or your account getting shut down or blocked at any given time.  This should petrify you, or at least it does me, when I consider the ramifications of my businesses’ livelihood, should that occur.  That’s something out of your control because you do not own that asset.  You don’t own your social media account, you’re just borrowing it for a while.  So, should you get shut down (regardless whether justified or not)… that’s really a “too bad, so sad,” moment. 

 

So what’s a gal to do to?

How are we supposed to gather an audience and communicate with them regularly, being assured that the majority (if not all) of that said audience will actually see your content?

You guessed it!  Your email list.  

(You didn’t see that coming, did you?)

When someone opts in to receive emails from you, you can be rest assured that when you send an email, it will land in your audience’s inbox (of course, barring it going into a spam folder).  Yes, the recipient still needs to open your email to read it, but that aside, you can have 100% certainty that your audience is receiving your emails, as opposed to your content being filtered on social media.  

 

People who have chosen to hear from you, who want to hear from you, is what we would term a “warm audience.’  A warm audience knows you, to some degree, or they have been exposed to your content already.  Even if its on a small level, they feel like they have some connection to you.  They are warmed up, primed, and way more likely to take action from your emails than compared to an audience that is cold, or one that doesn’t know you well or hasn’t built any connection with you. 

 

So when you hear those in the online business world say things like, ‘the money is in the list,” this is in part to the fact that you own your list, and you own the contact on that list. When your audience has opted in to receive communication from you via your email list, you have the right to contact every single person on that list.  And since this is a “warmed up” list, this audience is more inclined to read the emails you put in their inbox, ultimately following your recommendations.

As I am building my online business, my efforts are focused on gaining an audience that opts in to want to be on my email list.  The goal for your online business should be (actually I’m going to make a bold statement that this goes for any online business) focused on building your email list with a quality audience and then nurture that audience with quality and engaging content. The more my audience reads from me, the better the relationship. This is the know, like, and trust factor, and it pays huge dividends over time.  And best of all: I am in control this relationship. 

So… how do you get people on your list?  

This is where the discussion of traffic comes into play.  Traffic refers to taking those people who are interested in hearing more from you, and directing them where you want them to go.  For me, my goal is to get people to my website (blog) and ultimately onto my email list. For me, this journey starts on social media (notice I didn’t say it ends there).  The easiest way for me to get in front of a cold audience (i.e. an audience that has never heard of me or knows anything about me) is to introduce myself to them on social media.  If (when) someone discovers me on any one of my social media accounts and is interested in what I have to say, they are directed then to my newsletter or my blog. Another good way to describe this, is they are then directed into my world (my blog and newsletter) as opposed to somewhere else that I don’t own or control (social media).

 

My goal for you is to know where to invest your time and energy in regards to your business.  There are aspects to this online business, your affiliate marketing business that are important, and there are aspects that are very important.  Know which is which. This will hopefully minimize burn out and frustration throughout your journey, as well as set the stage for you to achieve success more quickly.

And always remember: you can control your business or it can control you.

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11 thoughts on “Where The Money Is”

  1. I knew Amazon used affiliates, but didn’t realize it was such a large part of what they did. That’s a great example of how significant, and obviously legitimate, affiliate marketing is as a business.

    I like what you say about do what they do, not what they say. It’s funny when I see ads on Facebook from people telling me about this great new way to advertise and how I don’t need Facebook – but then why are they using Facebook?

  2. Kate Loving Shenk

    Your blog is beautifully laid out, as always. The money is in the list is a mercenary approach to relationship building. Nevertheless, it’s a saying that persists. I need to email much more often, as Dean suggested this week. And I will. Just sent out a brooadcast this morning.
    Kate Loving Shenk recently posted…Baby Boomer Homelessness In AmericaMy Profile

  3. Lauren, I think you do a great job on your Blogs, Well laid-out and good content……my opinion of course.
    I have make a decision to take my emphasis in a different direction. Blogging is just not my strength.
    Keep it up girl, I have you in my emails!

    Success is yours!!!!!
    John

  4. Hey Lauren – Yep, the list is where it’s at! I did not understand that concept either when I first started, although I thought I did. It has become very clear to me that not only developing the quality list is important, but a list that can be accessed regardless of what may or may not happen to the many social media platforms. Hopefully, the social media platforms do not fail. But as we’ve seen from recent events on a few of the platforms, there are no guarantees. That’s why I agree that having your own “owned asset” is vital and that this owned asset can house a quality email list. I look forward to hearing how your list expands and to hearing how your list not only produces leads and sales but how it provides value to others. After all, that is one of the reasons that we do this business. Hope you have a fantastic week!

  5. Alison Blaire

    Great post! It’s funny how “the money is in the list” sounded so mysterious at first, but now it makes perfect sense. The way you broke down the importance of building and maintaining an email list is super helpful. I totally agree that relying solely on social media is risky because of ever-changing algorithms and potential account issues. The email list is really your way to build a relationship and make offers in a way you can control, and as Sophie says, you need to grow and nurture your list with great emails if you want to scale and grow your business!

  6. Nakina Lawson

    Hi, Lauren!
    I like how you distinguish between important and very important parts of your business. There are variations, aren’t there? Traffic is essential, but follow-up with those following is even more important.

    I admire the way you write. Your blog is very enjoyable to read, and I enjoy your videos on TikTok.

    Have a great week!
    Nakina

  7. Lauren, Thank you so much for sharing your insights and experiences with affiliate marketing and email lists. Your journey from initially not understanding the importance of email lists to now recognising their value is both relatable and enlightening. Your explanation of why social media doesn’t offer the same level of engagement as email lists was particularly eye-opening. I appreciate the clarity with which you explained the concept of a “warm audience” and how nurturing this audience through quality content can lead to greater trust and conversions. Your emphasis on focusing on building a quality email list and directing traffic to your website and newsletter is invaluable advice for anyone starting out in online business. Understanding where to invest time and energy in one’s business journey is indeed crucial, and your guidance on this matter is greatly appreciated. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and empowering others to take control of their online businesses. Thanks Atif

  8. Another great read from you. Loving the videos too. One of the points you made really resonated with me. I have over 1300 followers on TikTok right now. When I first attained the 1000, I was under the misconception that every time I post from now on, 1000 people will be notified and get to see my latest effort. Not true. I’d be lucky if 100 people view them. With sending an email, you know that it will arrive in someone’s inbox. (Whether they read it is another matter.) No social media algorithms here!

  9. Eleanor Hope

    Yes indeed, Great reminder.

    Let your business control you or you it.

    It’s so easy to get distracted or to focus on the wrong things meaning the area you like instead of the areas that may be difficult but that’s where you need to be.

    It does take a while to sink in but when it does, it’s really clear where you need to spend your time.

    Good to keep the core areas in mind and you won’t stray too far.

  10. Sarah Goulding

    Yet again, your blog is bookmarked and added so much value to my day. This article brilliantly highlights the true value of an email list in affiliate marketing. Unlike social media, an email list consists of an engaged audience that has chosen to hear from you, making it a more reliable and controllable asset. Building and nurturing your email list with quality content fosters a strong relationship and increases the likelihood of conversions. I need to do this more, and build relationships through e-mail rather than social media…. You always provide wise words! Thank you

  11. Denny Medeiros

    Hi Lauren,
    Another amazing post! Really enjoy reading your blogs.
    That list is CHA CHING 🙂
    I like to think about the difference of using social media versus our owned asset (blog), as if I was selling hotdogs on a borrowed cart verses owning my own cart. Once the cart is taken away, no hotdog sales can happen. If I own it no one can take that and everyone continues to get hotdogs… can you tell, I’m having an unhealthy craving for a hotdog cart experience 🙂
    Looking forward to your next post!
    Denny

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