Is Email Marketing Dead?

The idea that email, as a form of communication and a marketing channel to customers, is dead, has been kicking around for a while now. There’s over 1.5 million Google searches on this subject. Surely no smoke without fire, right?

Well it seems the claim that email is dead, given the rise of social media, new messaging apps (Snapchat, WhatsApp), and image based social networks (Instagram, Pinterest) is greatly exaggerated. Despite these new ways to communicate email is still an essential part of how people talk to one another.

According to Marketo, it is still the most relied upon way businesses connect with customers. A survey found that 94% of Americans use email regularly, with 58% checking email first-thing in the morning. Businesses continue to put more money into email marketing – with 64% increasing investment in 2013 – because it is the best, fastest way to reach customers with the highest rates of return.

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Why does 86% of email go unread? Think back to the last email you received that was irrelevant to you. Did you read it to the end? Check out this Case Study on how to re-capture your audience’s attention in your own campaigns.

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Better For Customers & Brands

Provided customers have given permission, meaning they’ve opted into receiving emails, it is the preferred method of communication for 77% of them when hearing about their favorite brands and retailers. It is by far the most preferred for millennials.

Compared to other channels email generates a minimum of a 2x return, with brands getting $40.56 back for every dollar spent, according to 2011 data.

The Evolution of Email

Email isn’t dead, but the batch and blast model where every customer gets the same email most definitely is. Returns are reducing when customers feel like just one in a million, not one unique person, within a million.

The way to keep your email marketing alive is to produce emails which are the following:

  • Trusted. Giving customers useful information they can depend on, which means having the right content marketing assets in place, will ensure they are looking forward to get your emails.

  • Conversational. No one likes to be talked at. So don’t blast campaign copy into inboxes. Instead engage in a genuine dialogue.

  • Relevant. Segmentation will help determine what kind of content should be going to which segment of your customer base. This is the first step towards creating relevant campaigns.

  • Cross-channel. Customers can have up to 23 touch points with brands before they buy. The best way to keep the message consistent and to support them down the buyers journey is to ensure content is consistent and engaging across every marketing channel.

  • Strategic. This comes down to what is best for the customer, not you. Contact them at the right time in the right way with the right content. That’s the best way to engage them on a genuine level, with the aim being that they convert into a loyal customer and brand advocate.

Email is far from dead. Right now it is evolving. Brands who take advantage of this evolution now will be in a better position than those who sit and wait. At the end of the day you’ll be the one with engaged customers. Find out more from the infographic below.

Struggling with your marketing campaigns? Investigate the ways others are tackling similar challenges and attend an online demonstration here or read more about how others are doing it.


Attentive.ly is a social behavior platform for modern marketing teams. We help brands and organizations predict how customers and supporters will behave – even what they might do or buy – from social data. It has been used by over 100 companies and organizations to improve thousands of email marketing and social media campaigns.