Illustration of a hand clicking on an envelope which signals an email, with text 'Is Email Marketing Dead?'

Is Email Marketing Dead?


This is a rumour that has been continuously resurfacing lately, and it is about time we addressed it. Countless claims have been made that email marketing is dead, and I am here to set the record straight.

‘Batch-and-blast’ emails are dead. Email marketing, as a channel, is not dead. You must not confuse the two.

What has happened, is change. Like all other aspects of marketing, email now exists in a different space than it used to, up against an ever-growing army of digital marketing platforms, email marketing has lost some of its stature. It is also true that it can be harder to stand out from the crowd due to the fact that our inboxes are saturated hourly with promotional emails.

Email isn’t as easy to do well as it once was, more effort must be made for email to become effective and for people to read past your subject line. However, the trick is to evolve your email marketing efforts, don’t give up. Consumers don’t like spam, but they do still check email daily.

Research has shown that emails generate more ROI than any other form of digital marketing, this evidence combined with its low production cost, explains why businesses won’t be giving up on this supposedly “dead” platform.

Aside from quality content and engaging visuals, like almost all forms of marketing, relevance, responsiveness and personalisation are key.

Focus on your subscriber list

Your subscriber list is one of your greatest assets and you should do all you can to make it grow. A quality subscriber list will mean that all your hard efforts have less chance of falling upon deaf ears.

Opting in to a subscriber list cannot be underestimated as a sign of brand interest. A friend of mine once described it as being similar to giving your phone number to someone you would like to date, and they’re not wrong. Consumers only opt into a subscriber list when they feel the company in question really has something to offer them, something they have a real interest in.

One size does not fit all

Identify various groups and segments in your subscriber list and then personalise by segment to deliver the most relevant content to each. Most email service providers, such as MailChimp, dotmailer or Pure360, have several tools for personalising emails, so you can create, send and test the effect of personalised mails. Take advantage of the analytics services provided by online email clients and make sure that you are tracking and tailoring accordingly.

Responsive design

The continued importance of email stems from the increased usage of email via smartphones. Where the desktop email client may be suffering, smartphones are picking up the slack. It may go without saying, but you MUST use a responsive design that appears well on all devices.

Marketing will continue to grow and change as audience needs adapt, and I can’t predict the future, but I am certain email marketing will continue to be an incredibly useful source for those marketers that know how to use it well.