Last Month’s Earnings


The Smart Passive Income Podcast

AP 0250: What Is the Future of Email Lists?

AP 0250: What Is the Future of Email Lists?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 250 Episode Transcript

?Pat Flynn: What’s up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 250 of AskPat. Two hundred fifty—that’s awesome, thank you so much. I hope your year is going well so far; mine is. I’m getting a lot done, including more episodes of AskPat coming your way. We have a great episode and question today from Rebecca Decker.

But before we get to that, I do want to thank today’s sponsor, which is AWeber is the email service provider that I use to help collect email addresses, send broadcast emails, and also set up an autoresponder email, which means I can send emails out to people sequentially over time after they subscribe to my list. I pre-write those emails, and they go out automatically so I can keep in constant contact with my audience and also send not so cold emails when I do send out a live broadcast email. And if you’d like to try AWeber for 30 days for $1, you can check it out at You can also see a video testimonial from me with more information about AWeber there as well. Again, that’s

Sweet. Let’s get to today’s question from Rebecca.

Rebecca: Hi, Pat. My name’s Rebecca Decker, and I’m the founder of My mission is to get research evidence on the best practices for childbirth out of medical journals and into the hands of expecting parents, inspiring them to make more informed decisions about their care. My question has to do with the future of email lists. Over the past year I’ve built an email list with more than 6,000 users, but I can’t help but wonder, what’s the future of email lists and what will take their place for entrepreneurs of the future? You see, I work with a lot of young people and email is just not their thing. So as I continue building my business over the long term and these young people grow up to become customers and follow my brand, what can I do that would be proactive, knowing that they don’t really use email? Should I be collecting some other form of information instead, such as phone numbers for text messaging? Just curious if you have any thoughts about the future of email newsletters, and what might replace them in the future, and what we can do to prepare for that? Thank you so much!

Pat Flynn: Rebecca, thank you so much for your question. I think this is the perfect question to start the year, because every year we always hear about people who say that email is dying. And I’m not saying that you are saying that email is dying. Obviously it’s been around for a while, and it’s going to stick around with us for a while, because email is, and will continue to be, one of the top ways to communicate with an audience, and communicate individually, and create those unique experiences like I was talking about when I was talking about AWeber just a second ago. And email is not going anywhere.

However, you do bring up a good point. Younger folks aren’t necessarily using email quite as much, but there’s one thing I want to say with that. Even when I was young, I wasn’t using email very much, and yes, that was in the early 2000s. However, when I got into the job … space, when I got into the corporate world, I then started using email every day. And that’s when I picked up my personal email address that I use now and all those sorts of things. When I was introduced and sort of became an adult, that’s when I started to do … things with my email address like I do now. And I think depending on the niche that you’re in, you’re going to have to look at not only your demographic, but where will they be when they are going to consume your information, and want to get information from you to help better their lives and provide value for them. So, if you’re thinking about young people and they’re not necessarily using email, well you know, a lot of them aren’t even necessarily using Twitter as well. But, when they get into the workforce, when they get into the job world, they might be introduced to that. And by then, they are probably going to be using email, I would assume. A lot of them are going to be having to be able to communicate with people in email. There’s just no faster way to write a message to somebody that is more worldwide and accepted than sort of an email.

But, I do like this idea of looking for other ways to communicate with your audience. And whenever you can have your audience communicate with you, and whenever you can have your audience communicate also with each other in a way that is unique and specific and centric around your brand, that will take your whole brand to new levels. And I think that’s the wave of the future for brands. And right now, it’s something that a lot of big brands are doing. Obviously, we have the giants like Facebook, where people are using Facebook to communicate with each other, instead of email. I feel like in the future people are going to have the ability to create little tiny Facebooks within their own community. Not blog comments and … social stream comments, because those are sort of worldwide still, but I think more brand-centric in a little kind of enclosed community. Communication in that way, in a form like an app … is where I think things are headed for most brands.

Like I said, I think that happens a lot with bigger brands now. And they have their own way of communicating, and you know, a lot are still using email of course, but like I said, there’s Instagram that has their own direct messaging platforms now. There’s Facebook, and Twitter has their own direct messaging platforms. I envision that in the future, that little brands and even individual bloggers and stuff will have a way to create these little communities that are sort of closed off to the rest of the world. It makes you feel special to be in them, and you have control over them. And this is sort of something I’ve already begun to experiment with, not in terms of communication, but creating an app for myself and a Smart Passive Income brand. If you go to, you’ll actually have access to download the free Smart Passive Income iPhone application, or Android application, whichever platform you’re on. When you download that, you’ll see that you get instant access to all of my content across all the different platforms I have, minus the video, which is going to be included in, uh, in a forthcoming update. But, you’ll see that you get to communicate with me through the content that I publish on all different spots in one single spot. And right now, there isn’t a way to actually send messages directly to users, but that’s something that’s in the pipeline. I would love to be able to communicate with everybody who has downloaded that app by … finding some sort of admin panel somewhere, or creating some sort of admin panel. Maybe it’s on the back end of, or maybe it’s own thing where I can type a message and automatically, the people who have that installed on their phone, on their iPhones, on their Android phones, they would get a pop-up notification saying, “Hey, Pat Flynn says, ‘Hey, I hope you’re doing awesome today, and something similar to what I would write in an email.'” I could perhaps put in a text message … in that format through the application. A notification through the application. And I say that more so than text messages and phone numbers and things like that because people are very protective of their phone numbers. Even more so than their email addresses.

So I feel like … especially for young people, although I, I don’t know, I’m not quite as young anymore. I don’t know if they just hand out their phone numbers to anyone anymore in the same way that we do with our email addresses right now. But, uh, you know if that’s the case than maybe, you know, collecting text message, uh, capabilities through peoples’ phone numbers is the way to go. Uh, but, I really think that this sort of closed environment, this community that is closed off to the rest of the world, that is very brand centric where you can communicate with your audience through app notifications and things like that. And even desktop notifications I feel are where it’s at too for specific brands as well. And then also having your audience and community being able to communicate with each other through public messages within that community. And also private messages and direct messages within each other in there as well. If you can create that community that uses your platform to be able to communicate with each other and … to be able to directly send them notifications in that way. That’s where I feel like it is, and it’s already starting to go there. You might get notifications from certain applications right now that you already have installed on your phone. So just something to think about.

Right now, I don’t think it’s necessarily the idea of collecting more information, but sort of being aware of these technological advances that we could perhaps use to … to get in front of more people in different ways in the future. So, for now, I would stick with email, but just keeping a close eye out like you are, Rebecca, which I think is really smart, for new opportunities to communicate with your audience in this type of way, because obviously everyone is on their mobile phone now. And, you know mobile texts pop-ups are … You know they have the highest open rate ever. You can’t not see them. You have to click to get out of them if they’re on your phone, right? So, that is the advantage that has over email, where, email, your open rates might be anywhere between 10 and … or maybe lower if it’s abysmal, but 10 to 50%. Or maybe a little bit more if you’re doing a good job.

But … that’s what I would, that’s what I would say. Anybody else out there have any thoughts about the future of email marketing and maybe even expand a little bit on my idea of sort of a closed environment, closed community where they can communicate with each other, and also you can communicate with them through your own controlled platform? I think that’s definitely where it’s headed. If you would like to share some more thoughts about this, head on over to Twitter and use the hashtag #AskPat250. That’s #AskPat250, ’cause this is definitely a cool topic to talk about, and it’s cool to speculate. I don’t necessarily love to predict the future. I’ve never done one of those prediction posts, but … Who knows, we’ll see what happens. So I’ll keep an eye out, and I’ll definitely keep you all updated on the blog if I hear about anything of this sort later on.

Thank you so much, Rebecca, for the question; an AskPat t-shirt is headed your way. For all of you listening out there, if you have a question you’d like potentially featured here on the show, all you have to do is go to and ask using that SpeakPipe widget that you can click on right on that page. Use any mic that you have handy. Just need to hear you; doesn’t need to be the best quality.

And, I also want to thank today’s sponsor, which is We talked a lot about email marketing today, and it is still alive and going strong and something I use every single day. And I use AWeber every single day to collect email addresses, send broadcast emails, although I don’t send them every day, but I do send auto-responder emails based on when people sign up. And one of the biggest mistakes I made when starting my businesses was not starting an email list. And I made that mistake twice. So don’t make the same mistake as me. Get started, and use AWeber to help you out. Great customer service, super easy to use, and you can try it out for 30 days for $1. Check it out.

And finally, thanks to Lewis Howes. I found this quote on his Instagram page from somebody who is unknown, but I love it. And that quote is, “Someone once told me not to bite off more than I can chew. I told them I would rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity.” Boom. What a way to start the year. Cheers. Take care, and I’ll see you in the next episode of AskPat.

Let's figure out what works!

Join 150,000+ active members in the SPI community

Email address required
No thanks, I'll pass for now :)
  1. 1. Free Stuff

    You'll get instant access to free resources, including my most popular book, Ebooks the Smart Way! (Downloaded over 125,000 times!)

  2. 2. Content Tailored to You

    Over time, I'll get to learn more about you and deliver content that actually matters.

  3. 3. No Hype

    Just real content that's meant to make a difference.