Is Email Marketing Dead In 2017?

At least once a month someone asks me “is email marketing is dead?”.

It’s a fair question.

With the rise of various social media and growing choices of instant messaging platforms, does email really stand a chance?

Is email still the all-powerful (and profitable) marketing tool that it once was?

The short answer is: Yes

Now before I plead my defense for email marketing let’s look at email by “the numbers”. These are some telling metrics that I’ve collected from a few different sources, starting with…

Is Email Marketing Dead
Email VS Facebook – The Numbers Don’t Lie

Facebook is the biggest social media platform by a significant margin and is the most common argument when people ask me is email marketing dead, but the numbers really tell another story…

email marketing statistics

Looking at these numbers alone, email still reigns supreme and even with the massive rise of social media and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

I’m mean, do you know anyone who doesn’t have an email address today?

The only person I know is my grandma and she just turned 90. To counter that though, my grandfather who passed away at 91 last year used email and was online every single day.

And let’s not forget that we need an email address to sign up for just about every social platform there is.

Then just about every social media platform uses EMAIL to send us updates.

In other words, the supposed killer of email relies on email to communicate with its users. Hmmmm…

Let’s also not forget that if you want to create an account for just about ANYTHING online (SAAS, online banking, Amazon, etc.) you still need an email address.

And now before you say, “But Derek, you can also create accounts and log in with your Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc. accounts” let me remind you that when you click the “Login With [SOCIAL NETWORK]” button, said social network is sharing your email address.

Convinced yet? No?

That’s okay, I’m not done…

Complete Control: Email > Social Media

Here’s the problem with social media…

You can spend tons of money and time building an audience on Facebook, but if you every want to get a message in front of that audience it’s going to cost you money. The bigger your audience the more money it will cost.

I’ve built an audience of over 17,000 people who’ve liked my Facebook page but if I post something on my Facebook pagethat I want them to see, only a tiny percentage of those 17,000 people will see my post show up in their newsfeed and I have no control over who they are.
Facebook’s less-than-generous algorithm makes those decisions for me.

Facebook’s less-than-generous algorithm
makes those decisions for me.

Take the following post for example…

As you can see, of the 17,000+ people that liked my page only 1,114 people saw this post… unless I’m willing to spend $50 or more boosting the post.

In other words, if I want to reach my audience I need to pay.

Every single time.

A lot of money.

And I still don’t actually know who saw it!

Now let’s compare this to email…
Email on the other hand has no such restrictions.

When someone gives you their email address you can communicate with them whenever you want, and although you will pay a monthly fee for your email marketing platform that one-time fee typically allows you to email your list as often as you please.

In other words, you have complete control over your email communication.

You can choose who gets what email and when.

You’re not at the mercy of algorithms that give you very little insight into who gets your messages… even when you are paying a lot of money.

But Derek, we get so much damn email, who’s going to read mine?

First you need to realize that you probably get more email than the average person.

How could I possibly know that?

Well you’re reading my blog, which indicates you either have a digital business or are thinking about starting one which means you are already in a minority that is subscribed to WAY more stuff than your average Internet user.

So, quit projecting your “email overload frustrations” on to your customers.

Their inbox may look very different than yours.

Second, today our inboxes are LESS cluttered than they were a few years back.

To demonstrate this point, let’s rewind back to the year 2000…

  • Email marketing was the wild west.
  • Governments were working on spam laws.
  • Spam filters sucked and our inboxes were abused.

Fast forward 17 years and spam filtering is so effective there’s almost zero spam in our inboxes.

99% of the emails you get
are the emails you asked for.

I can’t recall the last time I had a real spam email land in my inbox.

Now that doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot of noise in our inboxes still. I probably still get 50+ commercial emails per day, but these are from people and businesses that I’ve given permission to communicate with me.

Do I read all of them? Nope.

And if someone abuses this relationship with me I won’t hesitate to unsubscribe.

For example, a few weeks ago I was at Toys-R-Us with my son Hunter. He’d saved up his money and was buying a new RC car. When we were paying for the toy car we also purchased the extended warranty which required I give them my email address.

Within 24 hours the daily email onslaught from Toy-R-Us began and it wasn’t long before I unsubscribed because they abused this relationship and I didn’t ask them to email me.

On the other hand, I belong to numerous mountain biking, marketing, entrepreneur, health and investing lists and I look forward to reading what they send me.

Some are commercial in nature and some are purely info, but these are emails that I asked to receive.

Do I read all of them? Some yes and some no, but these are ongoing interests so I stay subscribed.

In Summary: Email is King

Even with the rise of social media and instant messaging, email still reigns supreme as the highest performing and cheapest marketing channel.

Every 6, 7, and 8 figure digital entrepreneur I know relies on email to communicate with their customers and it’s not going to change anytime soon.

Where does social media fit in?

So how does social media fit in with email marketing?

Here’s my answer…

  • Social media is another channel to help drive traffic and build our email lists.
  • Social media is a complimentary channel to work in conjunction with and support our email marketing efforts.

The good news is this: We don’t have to choose between the two, and the most effective marketing will employ a combination of both.

But if I had to choose one as the primary means of communicating with my audience I’d choose email every time.

 

Happy emailing!

Derek Gehl

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