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Marketers leverage the power of email marketing to nurture leads and influence purchase decisions. When executed correctly, email marketing can also boost customer engagement and retention.
Other tools, such as social media marketing and SEO, have also invaded the internet. As a result, marketers have been drawn to these channels. They invest a significant amount of time and resources into harnessing the potential of these channels.
This has led many to ponder the fate of email marketing. “Is email marketing dead?” It is one question that has been plaguing brands and digital marketers. The question has become even more pertinent in the light of growing privacy concerns.
Before we explore whether email marketing really is dead, let's take a closer look at this marketing technique.
Understanding Email Marketing
In order to understand the concept of email marketing, it is important to understand what it is not.
Amateur marketers often confuse bulk mailing as a form of email marketing. The truth is that spamming people with promotional emails is not what email marketing is all about.
Email marketing is the technique of sending personalized and targeted emails to your potential and existing customers.
You can use email marketing to send information about your latest discounts and offers. You can also send valuable content in the form of insightful newsletters.
A successful email marketing campaign is more than bulk mailing. It requires proper planning and a deep understanding of your subscribers. It is equally crucial to send your emails at the right time of the day and at the optimal frequency.
When executed correctly, email marketing can help you develop long-term relationships with your audience. Consequently, you can utilize it to strengthen your brand reputation and reinforce brand trust. It is a much more cost-effective form of direct mailing.
Let's now try to answer the most pressing question, “Is email marketing dead?” In the following section, we will explore whether email marketing is as relevant and useful for today’s marketers.
Is Email Marketing Dead? Here’s What The Numbers Say
While some marketers argue that email marketing is a lost cause, there are others who still believe in its merit. A look at the latest email marketing statistics will give some insight into this debate and help answer the question.
According to Statista, the total number of email users in the world crossed 3.8 billion in 2018. This is higher than the total number of social media users worldwide (2.62 billion in 2018). Moreover, the figure is expected to reach 4.4 billion by 2023.
In addition, a total number of emails sent and received was more than 280 billion emails per day in 2018. This number is set to grow to 347 billion by 2023. These figures clearly indicate that email marketing has the potential to reach an extremely wide audience.
It is also important to note that 99% of email users check their inbox on a daily basis. Another survey revealed that more than 50% of the respondents in the U.S. check their emails more than 10 times a day. They also agreed that emails are their preferred medium for receiving updates from brands.
Moreover, despite the rise of social messaging apps, emails are still preferred as a communication tool by most millennials. In fact, 91% of U.S. internet users in the age group of 15 to 24-year-olds used emails in 2017.
All this data makes it evident that emails are still a popular communication choice for internet users across the world.
Therefore, one can’t dismiss email marketing as an outdated or irrelevant technique. The key is to target the right segment in this plethora of email users.
“Is email marketing dead?” This question has become more pertinent since the rise of social media platforms. Most of your potential and existing customers are already using at least one social media platform.
This often leads brands to believe that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are the only channels to connect with their audience.
However, the engagement rates on these platforms have a different story to tell. According to Rival IQ, the average engagement rate per post on Facebook was just 0.16% in 2018.
The average engagement rate per post on Instagram and Twitter 1.73% and 0.046% respectively.
This is disappointing considering the large number of active social media users. The disparity is largely because social media platforms have changed their algorithms to limit the organic reach of your posts. It is an attempt to attract more brand towards paid social media advertising.
In another study, GetResponse analyzed 4 billion emails sent between July and December 2018. It revealed that email’s worldwide average open rate of 22.86% with a CTR of 3.71%.
This clearly indicates that emails have a far better chance of grabbing the attention of your audience.
One of the key factors to judge the success of any marketing campaign is ROI. When it comes to email marketing, you may have to invest capital for proper software.
In addition, you may have to hire people to publish high-quality content and create attractive newsletters.
This often makes one ponder if email marketing is effective in driving conversions and increasing revenue. Otherwise, any investment in terms of money and effort may not be worth it.
In other words, the ROI of email marketing is a crucial factor for determining its effectiveness.
A recent study revealed that email marketing delivers an ROI of 4400%. This means you can get $44 in return for every $1 you spend. This is far higher than the ROI of other digital marketing techniques such as influencer marketing.
This clearly reveals that email marketing is far from gone. With such a huge ROI potential, it has the ability to grow your business by increasing sales. The key is to fine tune your message so that it hits the right chord with your audience.
One of the biggest advantages of email marketing is that it offers immense scope for B2B marketers. Individual consumers can be reached out via social media or influencer marketing.
However, fostering B2B relationships using such techniques is often difficult.
Email marketing, on the other hand, is a goldmine of B2B opportunities. Senior-level decision-makers of most businesses would prefer to learn about a new company and its offerings through an email. This form of communication is more credible and trustworthy.
In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, 93% of B2B marketers use email as a tool for content distribution. Moreover, 40% of them agree that email newsletters are crucial for the success of their content marketing strategy.
Image via Content Marketing Institute
This clearly indicates that B2B marketers are actively using email marketing and will continue to do so. The question of whether email marketing is dead doesn’t even apply to these marketers.
A crucial benefit of email marketing is that you have complete ownership over your subscribers. Irrespective of the email marketing software being used, those subscribers can’t be taken away from you. Email marketing platforms can’t delete or block or your lists.
On the other, you don’t have any control over your social media profiles. Platforms such as Facebook are capable of suspending your profile temporarily or even permanently. In such a scenario, you could lose access to all the followers you have garnered over time.
For instance, Austrian skydiver, Felix Baumgartner temporarily lost 1.5 million fans when his Facebook page was suspended. Fortunately, the page became available following backlash and outrage from his fans.
However, the ownership argument only applies when you send emails to subscribers who have given you explicit permission to do so.
Unfair practices such as buying lists or adding email IDs from business cards can lead to adverse effects. It can trigger email marketing platforms to penalize your account and prevent you from sending further emails.
Is email marketing dead? From a marketer’s point of view, it certainly doesn’t appear to be the case. Let's now see how consumers feel about email marketing.
Is Email Marketing Dead? The Recipients’ Perspective
The rise of messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger might make you question if emails are still in fashion. However, as discussed previously, studies have shown that emails are still a preferred choice for communication.
This is especially true when consumers are looking for information from brands. They would rather read a detailed email about a new product than receive annoying text messages about it. Emails are just as popular among the tech-savvy millennials.
Image via Campaign Monitor
In fact, according to Sale Cycle, 59% of consumers claim that their purchase decisions are influenced by marketing emails.
All you have to do is send them the right offers and use a tone that connects with them. Use of personalized subject lines is likely to catch their attention.
From a user’s point of view, email is not a nuisance. Rather, it is a preferred communication medium for interacting with others and getting new information from brands. It is evident that email marketing hasn’t died for consumers just yet.
When a subscriber receives valuable content and offers from your brand, they are likely to look forward to your emails.
This helps you retain existing customers and turn them into brand advocates. In fact, 80% of SMB owners claim to use email marketing for customer retention
Image via Emarsys
Even amidst the growing privacy concerns, consumers don’t mind sharing their personal information. However, a majority of them want to know how their data is being used.
It is worth noting that consumers have the power to report irrelevant and intrusive emails as spam.
Consumers are also likely to get annoyed if you send them too many emails too often. In fact, 53.49% of the total emails sent in 2018 were reported as spam.
Therefore, it is crucial to get the frequency and content of your email marketing campaign right.
Is Email Marketing Dead? The Verdict
The continued use of emails combined with the latest studies clearly shows that email marketing is here to stay.
It isn’t dying a slow death; in fact, it is far from dead. It has an immense reach, far beyond that of all social media platforms combines.
In addition, it delivers a remarkable ROI of 4400%. Therefore, when executed correctly, an email marketing campaign is extremely cost-effective. It can help you win new customers as well as retain existing ones.
“Is email marketing dead?” This isn’t the question that marketers and brands should be worried about. Instead, they should focus on renewing their strategies to improve the performance of their email marketing campaigns.
Email Marketing Best Practices
Email marketing continues to be an effective tool for connecting with your potential and existing customers. However, purchasing a list of email IDs and spamming them with promotional emails will do more harm than good.
A discussion on the topic of, “Is email marketing dead?” is incomplete without outlining the steps to create a solid email marketing strategy. Let's now discuss a few tips to make your email marketing campaigns more effective.
Curate Your List
Anyone remotely familiar with the intricacies of email marketing will discourage you from buying email lists. The idea is to send emails to only those people who express an interest in receiving information from you.
The easiest way to build your list is to include a, “Subscribe to Newsletter” button on your website.
Make sure you link this button to an opt-in form on your email marketing platform. You can also use pop-ups in different web pages to encourage website visitors to subscribe.
In addition, you can entice them to provide their email IDs in exchange for a free trial, ebook, webinar, podcast, etc. This requires a deep understanding of the needs and preferences of your audience.
Most email marketing platforms allow you to your subscribers based on different parameters. You can segment your list based on subscriber activity, location, preference, open rate, etc. This enables you to tailor your communication for a particular segment.
The biggest advantage of segmentation is that it doesn’t require you to broadcast a generic email to the entire database. Instead, you can target particular segments with highly personalized emails.
For instance, subscribers with the maximum open rate can be rewarded with special perks.
Segmentation is extremely useful in boosting the open rate and CTR of your email marketing campaign. In addition, it helps you drive conversions by making your communication direct and specific.
In fact, marketers who used segmentation have reported a 760% increase in revenue.
It is recommended that you make segmentation an integral part of your email strategy.
Scan Your List
The most crucial asset of your email marketing strategy is the list of subscribers. It is important to scan it periodically and remove inactive subscribers. This prevents your list from becoming outdated and boosts engagement levels.
Before removing a subscriber, you can send them a last-ditch-effort email and ask if they want to remain subscribed. In addition, you should contact your existing subscribers regularly and ask if they would like to update their preferences.
Craft Eye-Catching Subject Lines
The subject line of your email is one of the first things that a recipient is likely to notice. Therefore, it is crucial to make your subject lines compelling and attractive. They should pique the recipient’s curiosity and motivate them to open the email.
There is no concrete formula for writing the best email subject lines. However, personalized subject lines that contain a recipient’s name will immediately grab their attention. Likewise, you can include offers and discounts in the subject line to make it more appealing.
It is also important to keep the tone of the subject line conversational and casual. You can even use numbers and emojis to make them attractive.
Tone, Timing, and Frequency
In addition to personalizing the subject line, you should also customize your emails so that they resonate with your audience. Segmentation helps you target different subscribers using communication that has been tailored for them.
It is equally crucial to include valuable content and a proper call-to-action in your emails. Refrain from sending promotional emails too often. You should also use a conversational tone that hits the right chord with your subscribers.
In addition, it is important to send your emails at the right time of the day. Monitor your open rates to find out when your subscribers are most likely to be active.
You should also find the optimum frequency so that your subscribers don’t suspect that they are being spammed.
Is Email Marketing Dead? Final Thoughts
Email marketing holds potential for marketing in the future. It continues to be a popular and relevant communication choice. Instead of asking whether email marketing is dead, marketers should focus on refreshing their strategies.
When executed correctly, email marketing can widen your reach and help you earn increased profits.
The success of your email marketing strategy largely depends on how well you can customize your emails for your target audience. Segmentation and personalization play a crucial role in deciding the fate of your