Skip to main content

I usually don’t bother replying to critics, but I just read an interesting review of my book on Amazon and I thought I’d shoot a quick video response. This one’s for Penny…

Similar articles

Two of the Most Valuable Skills I’ve Ever Learned

“What are the top two skills you’ve intentionally developed that have benefited you most?” It’s…

A Key Takeaway from My “AI-enabled” PLF Live™

I just spent three days last week at PLF Live™ showing folks how to use…

Two Questions I Ask Before Every Launch

Marketing used to be a lot more straightforward. Just a few years ago, you could…

31 Replies to “We all have critics…”

  1. It is amazing the range of thinking out there, and how some people think they are ‘expert’. i prefer to listen to people who demonstrate their opinions with how they execute their business! I hope Penny sees this Jeff 🙂

  2. Jeff, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Innovation Adoption Curve… you know, the Innovators, the Early Adopters, etc. It sounds like Penny is a member of the Late Majority or someone who might have ‘tried’ email marketing, but did not persist. I find that because people are all in different places on the curve, that means we will always have critics.
    Without a doubt, email marketing is currently very powerful and works well for those who are diligent about it. I can testify to this, partly due to your PLF programme. Thanks.

  3. Maybe Penny is right for her business. Who knows? I don’t get why she would attack someone like Jeff Walker on the use of e-mail when that is his thing. Maybe Penny wants to use different tools for her business — that’s her choice.

    But the core point is there — we are all going to get a lot of critics as our businesses grow — many of them unfounded.

    Thanks for keeping us thinking!

  4. Great point Jeff – I need to remind myself of this daily. I look at list building like brushing your teeth – something we have to do every day, preferably 3 times a day – no matter what. Hope Penny sees this . Thanks Jeff, now I’m off to build my list!

  5. Hey Jeff,
    Thank you for sharing this video and for giving your response to Penny.

    When I came to watch this video (via an email), I had in mind that the video was going to go in a different direction than you focused it. In my mind, email is *not* dead, but email is more challenging now-a-days because people (at least me) are a lot more hesitant to sign up to someone’s list, and some people are facing email overload and simply ignore the dozens of emails they get from the lists they sign up for.

    This does not mean email is dead, but it does mean it is more challenging to enter than it was several years ago. This means we must have a compelling offer and a reason for people to want to give their email address, and this also means that we should have a relevant and appropriate gift to give those who do sign up, whether it’s a PDF download, an ebook, or even one of those infographic pictures.

    Email overload is a problem for consumers, but it is a problem that marketers themselves cannot directly address — except to say that they must write to the individual and build the relationship, with the aim to help people connect with them via their list and help those on their list actually want to open their emails.

    Email isn’t easy, but it also isn’t dead. Hopefully Penny realizes this and thanks again for your video response Jeff. These have been my 2 cents on this topic. 🙂

  6. Always a pleasure to get your Sunday emails in my inbox, Jeff. And I second Patrick: what is usually missing in the critic’s equation is the commitment and consistency piece. I see it a lot in my own industry. Email works. But you have to work it.

  7. Hi, Jeff if Penny read these comments, i can just tell email marketing is always alive and really work.

    I have a very small lists with a total of 2900 subscribers. Few days ago i needed extra money to pay my bills, cloture my month 🙁 and i have remember the following words from a marketer :

    “Money is in the list” (maybe you Jeff !! i don’t remember where i heard this)

    Anyway, it’s true MONEY IS IN THE LIST, with 4 emails and 4 differents affiliate products i have found on clickbank, i ve made 300 euros.

    It will pay My annual getresponse subscription next month.

    It’s not much but i will not need to take the money from my pay.

    That’s why i want to make PLF training next year to create a real business online and make a full time income with my online business.

    Best regards,


  8. SOCKET WRENCHES DO NOT WORK!!! I have tried using a socket wrench for weeks to fix my car and it just doesn’t work! I just can’t get my radio to play any louder. No matter how many times I try to fit my socket wrench over the volume control knob it just doesn’t work.

    Wait!!!!!….. What?????? What do you mean I’m doing something incorrectly? It can’t be my fault! It has to be the tool’s fault! I will never use a socket wrench again!

    I agree with you, Penny!

  9. I am not an expert on this topic. It seems as my email gets flooded with an overwhelming amount of stuff, I focus on only the best tribe leaders.It seems, as so many people practice the same list building strategy, quality and not quantity count. Quality seems most import for list builders AND those that join the list (tribe leaders and followers).
    As people start using fake or rarely visited email addresses, many lists are worthless or worth less. As so many capture attention, tribe members have to be careful about how many tribes they join.
    Penny seems correct-but-not perfectly correct. Jeff is probably more correct-but-no one seems capable of predicting which way trends are headed. I think Penny was trying to say something like; “live by the sword, die by the sword!” Maybe she was saying; start working on plan “B”, tribe building trends might be too trendy.
    I only have time to keep track of Jeff, Michael Hyatt and a few other best of the best tribe leaders. I try to invest only as much time as necessary to provide the highest quality of trustworthy expert help.

  10. Hi Jeff,
    Just leaving a comment about your Penny Podcast. I have to agree with Penny, if you are solely relying on an email list to build or increase your tribe, the process will be disappointing at best. The day of just having a blog-site and enticing people to join by leaving their email is over. In the early days this was easier but today an email list must be combined with another strategy. An email list is nothing more than a tool and as with any project you need more than one tool. For instance, yes I signed up for your incredible insight but only because a friend of mine told me about you and my friend found out about you from social media. It was at this point I joined your email list. Most people get the idea that this process works backwards: you have a blog-site, people stumble upon it and join by leaving their email to get some enticement (a how-to pamphlet, a special report, a list of ways to better one’s life, etc,). I admit, after reading your book, if I had not been reading closely I would have misread the idea of an email list and walked away thinking it is all I need to generate success. I use an email list successfully but also use social media as a support. Of course, as with any venture – word of mouth has worked best for me!

  11. i am spending a small fortune my life savings on going to Maryland to spend 5 days in the company of a top multimillionaire email marketer and i know Penny is totally wrong but she has probably run the gauntlet of trying to make money online before and failed.
    In this game be prepared to fail and learn each lesson but never give up if this is what you really want never give up. Because the breakthrough is very often just around the corner. Read the story Three feet from gold TAGR Napoleon Hill

  12. Thank you Jeff, for yet again revisiting this topic! We PLF folks, and I love it by the way, need to hear this since it’s new to many of us. Thank you!

  13. I watch your videos every week and look forward to opening your email on Sunday morning and having coffee with you. 🙂 And let’s just say my copy of Launch is well loved.

    It’s a shame that some people aren’t able to receive what you offer. I’ve heard good advice in the past that I wasn’t ready for, so I get it. Resistance sucks. I hope Penny finds her way.

    Jeff, I’m so grateful for your insights and willingness to share what you’ve learned. Thanks for being you and for your good work in the world.

  14. Elizabeth Thomas


    I know the sentiment well. In 12 great PLF style launches (was even a case study finalist for Jeff Walker in 2015) I’m finally moving to evergreen. I’m going back to the PLF section on evergreen, really studying how to mimic classic launches in an evergreen fashion.

    The thing that strikes me the most? It’s all about the email. In all the flurry about word of mouth, content marketing, social media marketing…all those are great. But at the end of the day if your content isn’t SO powerful that someone wants to join your tribe, the chances they’ll ever buy are low. And how can you grow if you have nothing to measure? If it’s literally just throwing energy, time and cash out without any concrete “thing” to measure. (I measure conversion rates from how many emails are on my launch list to how many buy. I literally have no idea what you’d measure if you just “ask the universe” to buy…. since few people ever see any given Tweet or video or Facebook post.)

    Now you may say that’s okay. I can still improve the world. To that I say absolutely! But for those of us who aren’t trust fund babies and not only need to earn money to pay our mortgages, but pay for our staff, we literally can’t keep giving free content if we never get money in return. Plus, I’d argue, if nobody would ever pay us, are we really doing good in the world? Does it not signal the information is really generic if it’s not exciting enough for someone to want to let us in their inbox (and then potentially open their wallet?)

    Ryan Diess has a great line: if someone won’t give you their email, they are almost certainly not going to open their wallet. That’s the core of why email marketing is necessary. And as you say in the video even if you’re a non profit and your primary source are donors to fulfill your mission – DONORS have to give an email to be solicited! 🙂

  15. Building a list is like creating your own highly targeted marketplace, and its free to send them mail! I love email …especially when it’s not unsolicited.

  16. The list is crucial, but it’s really tough to build. I have one subscriber. I would love to have 100. I will spend the next month promoting my list and see what happens.

    • All lists , even the biggest , start with one subsciber ! Hang in there

    • Not so long ago, my list had been in the teens for awhile because I never promoted it. I was a guest on ONE podcast episode and tripled the list size overnight – literally.

      Get out there and promote it, and it will grow!

  17. Great video, Jeff! I love the idea of creating a tribe for your digital products and services. You’re so right that relationships from who follows you are so important. Those relationships can’t happen without email lists. Keep being awesome, Jeff!

  18. Hey Jeff!

    You nailed it on the head with this one! If you think email is dead go to the website of almost ANY company that is creating revenue and see if they want you to sign up for their email list! Why would they “bother” their customers by asking them to opt-in to a list if it didn’t return something to them?! Always great stuff!

    Rob Anderson

  19. Isn’t the truth that Penny doesn’t understand the evolution of E-mail and the 180 degree shift from the senders having clear access to someone’s E-mail Inbox (CASL legislation in Canada etc …) to the owner of the E-mail selecting to “who” they receive info from. No E-mail isn’t used as much for personal contact, no … so that is maybe where she is basing her assumption

  20. Jeff, I have learned to respect your wisdom, and always listen to your podcasts with interest. As someone who has watched the impact of technology for over 50 years, may I suggest a re-framing of your response to Penny. Firstly, I think you were uncharacteristically not respectful of her opinion (unless there was more negativity than you chose to read). Secondly, I would recommend caution in stating your own view, Of course you are right about the current value of email, but all technologies have their time, and, with the accelerating speed of technological change, it would not surprise me to see email replaced by something new, probably emanating from some social media within a year or two. It would be prudent to recognize that there is a generation starting to become buyers who do not use email (including my 23-yearold daughter). The Facebook Messenger Bot is a possible replacement – or not. The point is that Facebook or LinkedIn must recognize the power of creating competition for email with a large potential pool of customers. On the other hand, all the basic principals that you and the other internet marketing gurus teach about building relationships with your tribe are now true, and always will be – even if the tools change radically! Thank you for all you do!

  21. Thank you for revisiting this, Jeff! I always appreciate your words and guidance. Funny timing, but just this morning I was asked to help an events designer start and build their email list. I’ve only been at this for a short time with you, but already in my small town I am known as the list builder guy. Crazy proof that the money truly is in the (relational) list.

  22. Thanks Jeff, your philosophical videos are gems that keep delivering -all via email. Always learn more insights from the comments as well. You show how to turn critique into learning!

  23. As always, great stuff Jeff. I just discovered that if I let the video run, that it gets linked to other videos on the same topic–so I just watched three. Please share with us how that happens.

  24. Thanks Jeff – I have learned by sad experience the mistake of not focusing on an email list. In a past company we had an email list of 150,000 of excellent users and I still regret not focusing enough on using and talking to that list. We sold that company (which was very attractive the buyer BECAUSE of the list and the marketing position). A list of customers is powerful even in multi million dollar brick and mortar business.

  25. As a very selective consumer of email subscription I can attest to opening my inbox to only those offering me true and immediate value. I think the key is having a central place where all this “value” arrives, from the various media sign up points. Right now email serves that purpose, but if a better centralized “hub” evolves in time, I will be using it. My dream is to have a central dashboard where I can find all my media interests and view the offerings they generate as well as a means to respond, all in one place.

  26. My husband and I sat down to watch this video on YouTube yesterday and I had to come and comment as we both burst out laughing at you relaying Penny’s comment. At the idea that the person, who for my husband and me, is the king of email marketing should be made aware that email is an obsolete marketing strategy, it was just too funny. I used to work in a digital marketing agency in London and I heard this over and over again. Now I run my own online business where sales are driven by….. emails!

  27. You’re correct; and although social media is important; email marketing is still crucial. For example, one thing the youtubers are frantic over is the recent big ad revenue drop; If they’d built lists w/their videos they’d be in better shape to monetize; eg “go to —.com to get your free ebook on xyz” (congrats btw on your yt campaign) As always the mix to test is content vs pitch ratio vs frequency.

    Kind of like (incorrectly) saying long-copy salesletters are dead. Or back when I pioneered a lot of IM online video in 2001 & marketers on forums said video is no good/too slow. I only use email marketing & long copy (w/vsls) when I want to Launch & make a lot in sales, by connecting w/my customers to tell the story & add value.

    However testing sales funnels w/social + email marketing; that’s key, for attentuion & engagement.


  28. That’s ridiculous that person says email marketing doesn’t work. It has to be one of the most important asset for my biz.

  29. I would receive your emails every week and watch the videos on a regular basis. A couple of months ago I switched my email provider to Gmail. After about a month I realized that I wasn’t getting your emails. I went back to the site to re-subscribe but I am still not getting your emails. The point here is not my technological problem, the point is that I don’t listen to your videos (or interact with your brand) anymore because I don’t get an email to remind me. Maybe your email went to my spam box. Maybe it went to the Promotions tab. I agree with @Nick Arden – every technology has its time. Email worked very well 10-15 years ago. Now we as marketers are plagued with our email ending up in the spam box and users deleting our emails before they even read it. It’s a VERY crowded space now. Email is working but it is on a downward spiral. In my opinion a new technology is on its way.

Your Email address will not be published.

By submitting this form you agree to our terms and conditions and our Privacy Policy.