Is Email Marketing Dead? The Reasons Why Email is Still Going Strong


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17 min read

Email marketing remains an important part of many businesses’ marketing campaigns.

And with 99% of people checking their emails every day, it’s not hard to see why.

Even amongst all of the new marketing strategies that are evolving, email marketing is certainly not dead.

In fact, here’s another stat for you:

73% of millennials prefer email communication when receiving marketing materials – Hubspot

With numbers like this, your business shouldn’t be disregarding email marketing in exchange for more ‘trendy’ strategies such as utilising TikTok.

Whilst TikTok and other social media channels can (and should) be part of your marketing campaigns, email marketing still has its place.

It’s not time to wave goodbye to it just yet!

With that being said, it is time to wave goodbye to some email marketing tactics. This includes impersonal introductions, boring subject lines, and a failure to track important metrics.

In this post we’ll be exploring why email marketing is still going strong, and the strategies you can use to improve your email campaigns.

Let’s start by addressing the most important question…

Is Email Marketing Dead?

As we’ve touched on, email marketing is still an integral part of your wider marketing strategy.

People use their phones every single day, and for many of us, checking our inbox is one of the first things we do.

As such, email marketing is still vital – but your message delivery might need some reworking.

The problem with email is that people receive so many messages on a daily basis, that it’s so easy for your email to get lost.

As a quick exercise, check your own email inbox now.

I bet you’ve already been inundated with emails from brands trying to get your attention and offer you something?

Now imagine sending your email to a customer who is receiving the same amount of emails as you.

How are you going to grab their attention?

If you’re struggling to generate ROI from your email marketing, then the chances are email isn’t dead, your strategy is.
dead pink and white flower

Which Email Marketing Practices Are Dead?

If you’re not catering your message towards your audience, and using reporting tools to monitor what’s working against what’s not, then your email campaigns will always underperform.

To help improve your email marketing efforts going forward, here’s some email practices that need to be left behind.

Impersonal subject lines

Email marketing starts well before your audience opens your email.

After all, if your subject lines have not captured their interest, then they’ll either delete your message or scroll right past it.

Either of these scenarios are your intended goal.

You want to engage and excite your audience so that they are encouraged to open your message to find out more. They can only click through to your website or get in touch, once they have opened your email.

Therefore, capturing their interest from the outset is key to the success of your email campaign.

Below are some good ideas when creating a catchy subject line:

  • You’re missing out on points!
  • 10 of the must-have fashion items
  • Last day to see what this email is all about
  • A new product you won’t want to pass on
  • 30% off your favourites
  • A slice of luxury at a small price
  • Flash sale!
  • Your finance issues, solved.
  • Stop wasting your money on xxx
  • How to survive your next meeting.

What all of these email subject lines have in common, is that they drum up interest.

Whether that’s identifying a customer’s paint points, or driving a fear of missing out, they all make you stop.

That’s exactly what your email campaigns need to do, otherwise customers will simply skip past them and click onto something more interesting.

Forgetting to optimise emails for mobile devices

When you checked your emails before, did you check them on your mobile phone or desktop?

My guess is that you checked them from your mobile phone.

Our mobile phones are quite literally glued to our hands, which means all of your email campaigns need to be optimised for this format.

There is nothing worse than opening an email and realising it doesn’t load or work properly when you’re trying to scroll the content.

As a result, people will simply bounce back to their inbox, which is why your bounce rates are through the roof.

When crafting your email, make sure you check it on both desktop and mobile previews. If the design or layout looks terrible, then you will need to switch to something else.
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Poor email design

As well as a good subject line, your emails also need to be visually appealing.

Brands have woken up to the importance of this and have begun incorporating a whole load of fancy imagery into their email campaigns!

From animated gifs, to full-length videos, to infographics, your email shouldn’t just be a load of plain text.

You need to put yourself in your customers shoes.

If all you see is the same old drab design with paragraph after paragraph of text, then you’re going to be switched off.

When did you last read an email that contained no visual elements?

If you want to pull readers in, then it’s time to get creative with your email design. Gone are the days when you had to play it safe.

As long as the design elements don’t affect the user experience, then the choice is yours!

Ignoring GDPR standards

Essentially, abiding by GDPR means the reader has given their permission to receive marketing communications.

GDPR was created so that customers know how their data is being used so that they have more control over their personal information.

They can ‘opt in’ or ‘opt out’ of your email campaigns, depending on what brands they are interested in.

This is great news for marketers, as it means your messages will only be sent to people who are genuinely interested. Because consumers have been given the option to ‘opt out’, this basically means they are more qualified as they have chosen to stay subscribed.

Being GDPR compliant also means you’re not breaking the law and ensures all of your marketing materials are legal.

Not using metrics

It’s important to track metrics so that you know which of your email campaigns are performing.

By understanding what works with your audience and what doesn’t, you can tailor your email campaigns to pique their interest.

Metrics can reveal a whole load of information when it comes to understanding your audience, including when they open your email, what links they click on, where your audience are from, and how long they stay in your email.

As such, all of these factors drive your future decisions as you can identify which campaigns have performed best.

For example, did you change a subject line from a fact to a question and see an increase in open rates?

As a result, your subject lines going forward should be a question as this is what captures your audience the most.

You might also notice a high bounce rate when checking the metrics, which means people are opening your email but not engaging with the content.

This insight is crucial, as clearly your subject line is doing its thing (i.e. your customer had opened the email in the first place) but the content isn’t enticing them enough.

This allows you to tweak your strategy and think of ways to make your content more engaging.
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Why Email Marketing is Still Going Strong

Whilst the above email practices are dead, it’s important to remember that email marketing in itself, is still going strong.

It’s just your strategy that needs tweaking to make your email campaigns more effective.

Let’s take a look at some reasons why email marketing is still an integral part of your marketing strategy.

Stay in contact with your audience

Emails keep your audience informed about what’s happening in your business.

It’s up to you what you choose to include, but emails are a great way of announcing product launches, changes to the company, top content, promotional discounts, service offerings, and more.

As such, it creates a connection between you and your customers as they feel valued and involved.

By personalising your email campaigns you can also give them a feeling that you are thinking of them. For example, by saying ‘Hey Amy, here is a special offer!’ it’s as though you are directly talking to your customers on a personal level.

This is highly effective and increases the likelihood of your customers clicking through to view your content.

It’s affordable

Email marketing can be one of the cost cost-effective ways of reaching out to your audience and generating more sales.

And when it comes to managing your budget, this has to be a good thing for any business owner!

There are lots of cost effective email platforms available including MailChimp, Email Octopus, and Active Campaign, all of which offer a range of subscription plans.

This allows you to reach a large volume of people without spending a fortune.

Allows for targeted messages

When it comes to lead nurturing, email marketing is absolutely key.

The idea is that your customers will each be at different stages in the sales funnel. Take a look at the below infographic if you’re unfamiliar with how a sales funnel works:

Canny marketing funnel on black background

Whilst some of your customers might be in the ‘interest’ stage, other customers might be ready to make a purchase. As such, these two types of customers need to be served two different kinds of content.

By segmenting these customers into appropriate email marketing lists, you can target these groups much more effectively. Customers need information that is meaningful and relevant to their stage of their journey in order to move them onto the next stage.

By creating the right type of content can facilitate this transition and guide them through the process. Your main priority is to move prospects down your sales funnel as efficiently as possible.
woman using a megaphone

Increases brand awareness

Contrary to what a lot of brands think, social media isn’t the only platform that helps increase brand awareness.

Think about it this way.

If you’ve acquired a number of customer email addresses then they must have a level of interest in your company. As we mentioned earlier in the blog, they must have chosen to opt-in to your marketing communications which shows they are engaged.

With email marketing, you have the opportunity to increase that level of interest further and raise brand awareness.

It’s important to note, that this doesn’t mean you should bombard customers with 5 emails a day.

In fact, this will have the very opposite effect as you’ll start to irritate customers who might unsubscribe altogether.

And after 5 emails a day, I wouldn’t blame them!

Instead, use email marketing strategically and explore topics that are relevant to your audience. Sending them lots of content is absolutely pointless if it doesn’t mean anything to them.

All too often companies only focus on selling their products/services via email marketing, and overlook the importance of building brand awareness.

This also limits the possibility of building customer trust and adding a sense of personality to their brand.

Easy to measure

Most email marketing platforms offer the ability to track the effectiveness of your email campaigns, including delivery rates, bounce rates, unsubscribe rates, click through rates, and open rates.

All of these metrics give you a better understanding of how your email campaigns are performing which allows you to adjust your strategy (or get rid of some emails altogether.)

These metrics are an important part of your marketing campaign as a whole as they allow you to create more strategic content.

Whilst there are various studies and surveys that suggest optimal numbers to aim for, it all depends on your target audience.

For example, if your customers expect to receive emails on a daily basis, then this is what you need to serve them.

However, sending too many emails to consumers who only want to receive one email per week, will cause your unsubscribe rate to rocket.

It’s all about understanding your customers so that you can best serve their needs.
card machine on orange background

Email marketing drives sales

As well as being a great marketing tool, email marketing is also a fantastic sales tool.

You can use this space to promote your new products or services, offer discounts, or encourage customers to complete their purchase after abandoning their cart.

Furthermore, your email marketing campaigns can incorporate messages to encourage a purchase to an audience that’s already engaged – because they’ve opted-in to your messages.

This all comes back down to GDPR, as you’ve given them the option to unsubscribe from your emails, yet they’ve freely chosen to continue receiving your updates.

As such, you can nurture this interest and get them over the line.

Email marketing can also automate part of your sales process by sending emails to prospects who your sales team want to follow up with.

For example, if a customer has downloaded an ebook about brand strategy, this indicates they are interested in learning more about this subject and possibly getting some help to develop their own brand strategy.

Using this information, you can set up automated emails to follow up with the prospect including blog content about brand strategy or relevant testimonials.

As such, you are nurturing the lead, and increasing the likelihood of them making a purchase.

Generates more traffic to your website

When you produce great content on your website, how do you promote it to your customers?

Email marketing should be top of your list when it comes to distributing your content. After all, there’s no point in creating a great video or blog post if no one is going to see it.

You need to take advantage of your email list, and drive contacts to your website where you can guide them through the sales process further.

For example, many of you would have landed on this blog post through an email from Canny Creative.

We send emails out on a weekly basis, and always include links to the top content that we have posted on our website.

As such, this not only keeps our audience informed, but also drives more traffic to the blog posts.

If you’re not including links to your content in your email marketing campaigns, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
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Email marketing statistics

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of email marketing, and why it’s still going strong, let’s look at some statistics to back this up.

After all, the proof is in the numbers!

So, if you’re thinking about ditching email marketing all together, you might want to think again…

1. There are 4 billion daily email users. This number is expected to climb to 4.6 billion by 2025.Statista, 2021

This represents the growth of email marketing which is expected to increase over the next couple of years. Not incorporating email marketing into your wider strategy means you’re missing out on a huge proportion of people.

2. 4 out of 5 marketers said they’d rather give up social media than email marketing.Litmus, 2020

Contrary to popular belief, social media marketing isn’t the only tactic that’s important. The fact the majority of marketers would rather exchange social media for email marketing shows the important role this plays.

3. 81% of B2B marketers say their most used form of content marketing is email newsletters.Content Marketing Institute, 2020

Email marketing in the B2B sector is huge. By providing newsletters that contain high-quality content, B2B brands can engage their target consumer and educate them about their products and services.

4. 87% of B2B marketers say email is one of their top free organic distribution channels. Content Marketing Institute, 2020

We’ve mentioned this earlier in the blog, but email marketing is a fantastic way to distribute your content. By including links to your blog posts or snippets of your content, you can drive more organic traffic to your website.

5. Nearly 55% of global website traffic is generated from mobile devices, excluding tablets.Statista, 2021

This emphasises the importance of optimising your email marketing campaigns for mobile devices. With so many people using their mobile phone to access content, your email needs to provide a seamless user experience.

6. Nearly 1 in 5 email campaigns is not optimised for mobile devices.SuperOffice, 2020.

By failing to optimise your email marketing for mobile devices, you’re less likely to engage your audience and generate traffic.

7. 99% of email users check their inbox every day, with some checking 20 times a day. Of those people, 58% of consumers check their email first thing in the morning.OptinMonster, 2020

This statistic shows how checking emails are built into our everyday habits, as the first thing we usually do is check our inbox. Therefore, your audience is there waiting for you – your job is to grab their attention with a winning subject line and great content.

8. 78% of marketers in 2020 said email is important to overall company success, compared to 71% in 2019. Litmus, 2020

Over a one year period, this is significant growth and shows that email marketing is NOT dead. In fact, it’s on the rise with more businesses prioritising this tactic.

9. 31% of B2B marketers say email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads.Content Marketing Institute, 2020

By segmenting your audience into lists, you can serve them relevant and meaningful content via your email campaigns. This helps guide prospects through the sales funnel from the initial ‘awareness’ stage through to making a purchase.

10. Globally, Fridays see the highest email open rates (nearly 19%), compared to the lowest open rates (17%) on Saturdays.Campaign Monitor, 2021

This stat shows the importance of testing your email campaigns to identify what works best for your target audience. Following this data, you should send your email on a Friday and a Saturday, then check the metrics to see which day produces the best results.

Is Email Marketing Dead? The Reasons Why Email is Still Going Strong

So, I hope we’ve cleared up your question about email marketing being dead.

Hold off on the funeral, because we’re here to tell you that it’s still going strong and remains an integral part of your marketing strategy.

From enabling you to connect with your audience, to generating more organic traffic, the possibilities of email marketing are evident.

The most important thing to remember is, whilst email is still an effective marketing tool, some of the tactics you use might not be.

As we covered in the blog, you need to create personalised, engaging emails that will make your reader stop to read your content.

Rehashing the same dreary design with a boring subject line isn’t going to do the job. Get creative, think outside of the box, and monitor the performance of your campaigns to see which tactics work best.

Getting your content marketing efforts right can be a headache. That’s why it’s best to leave it up to a team of content experts.

Enter: Canny Creative.

We have the tools and expertise to help bring you closer to your audience. Whether that’s through email marketing, videos, or blog content, we create high quality content that supports your business goals. All that’s left to do is get in touch!