Is Email Marketing Dead? A Must-Read Guide

Many people have been debating whether or not email marketing is dead and how long is email marketing going to last.

The funny thing is that this debate has always been taking place ever since email marketing was a thing.

Some people say email marketing is a complete waste of time and highly ineffective, while others say it is the best marketing channel to bring in revenue and establish credibility with your audience.

But is there any clear answer to help you understand what the reality is? Fortunately, I have got you covered.

Is email marketing dead? The number of email users will surpass 4.6 billion by 2025 and for every $1 spent on email marketing bringing in $44 in return, prove email marketing is not dead. Email marketing is the top customer acquisition channel for 81% of SMBs (small business owners).

The number of email users are growing rapidly all across the globe and hence, more and more businesses will continue to double down on email marketing.

Table Of Contents

Let us look at how the number of email users have grown over the course of a few years.

Growth Of Email Users Worldwide

YearNumber of Email users
20173,718 million users
20183,823 million users
20193,930 million users
20204,037 million users
20214,147 million users
20224,258 million users
20234,371 million users
20244,481 million users
20254,594 million users
(Data from Statista)

As you can see, the number has always been growing quite impressively and it will continue to grow.

Here’s another infographic that has some numbers proving email marketing is far from dead and it’s a great way to reach out to your potential customers.

Is email marketing dead? Email marketing statistics

If you are still not convinced by the notion that email marketing isn’t dead, I just did a quick search in Google Trends (a tool that tells you how popular a particular topic or industry is), and this is what it showed me.

Is email marketing dead? Google Trens chart

The trend looks pretty constant, which means more and more people are learning about and getting into email marketing to scaling their businesses.

Is Email Marketing Still Effective?

With 9 out of 10 marketers using the power of email marketing for distributing content to their audience and millions of businesses using email marketing as a customer acquisition and retention channel, prove that email marketing is still very effective.

Just think about it…if it wasn’t that effective, why would marketers and businesses be using it, right?

But this is quite of a broad answer. For some business owners/individuals, email marketing can be less effective and for others, it can be substantially effective.

All of this depends on your industry, approach to connect with your potential/existing customers, and the audience itself.

If you use email marketing to simply spam your subscribers’ inbox with loads and loads of promotional emails (which the marketing gurus on YouTube teach you), it will be less effective if compared to the industry standard or not effective at all.

On the other side of the table, if you focus on providing real value to the audience, the process is going to be much more effective and you will never feel like email marketing is dying.

Look at the table below where companies shared their primary communication tool (study by Adobe).

Primary Communication ToolPercentage Of Companies
Email 52%
In-person meetings20%
Phone13%
Instant messaging9%
Video conferencing4%
Enterprise social network2%
Other0%

If that many companies are using and preferring email marketing, it’s only because it’s still relevant and effective in the business world.

Why People Think Email Marketing Is Dead…

There are quite a few reasons why people say email marketing is dead or it’s not at all bringing in any good results to their offline or online businesses.

Let’s have a look at the reasons and then we’ll get into the details;

  1. Focusing more on promotion instead of value
  2. Not optimizing emails and sales funnels for mobile
  3. Not understanding the customers
  4. Subject lines are way too generic
  5. Not personalizing the emails
  6. No time-to-time list scanning
  7. Not understanding the statistics
  8. Being way too aggressive
  9. Not using a good email service provider

1. Only Focusing On Promotion

One of the top reason why email marketing come across as dead is because often, individuals and businesses just focus on promotion, promotion, and promotion.

Promotion is important, but it’s not always about the deals and offers. People receive thousands of emails from hundreds of companies every week. If you want to have a high success rate with your campaigns, you can’t just do what everyone else is doing.

Providing tons of free value is the best solution to this problem. When you do that, your audience/customers are likely to trust you even more and this will make your process smoother than ever before.

2. Not Optimizing Emails For Mobile

More than 81% of people check their emails on mobile phones. And it’s pretty surprising how a lot of people are not even considering optimizing their emails for mobile.

If you are one of those individuals who simply types an email and doesn’t even bother to check whether the email is mobile-friendly or not, you’re conceivably missing on a lot of (actually a whole lot of) potential customers.

This could be a reason why you probably are not seeing any good results with your email campaigns.

3. Not Understanding The Customers

Understanding your customers is the most important part of your business. If your targeted audience lives in the United States, you won’t want email subscribers from any other country.

This is just a rough example (and maybe the worst example) but you kinda get the point. Knowing the demographic, as well as, the behavior of the audience pretty well matters a lot in your marketing strategy.

If you don’t know what your ideal customers look like, you won’t get good email marketing results no matter how much effort you put into writing or designing your emails/content.

Also, you need to perform segmentation the right way or you won’t see any optimum results.

4. Keeping Subject Lines Generic

We’re living in an era where customers want a reason for everything. The content you produce or the products you often should get them curious, interested, and engaged.

There are thousands of companies that send emails. If you simply write a subject line that people get to see all the time, you will have a hard time succeeding with email marketing.

Just look at the two subject line down below;

  • (New Blog Post) Email Marketing In 2021
  • Is Email Marketing Dead This Year? Find Out…

There’s no doubt about it that you will want to click on the second one instead of the first one.

So, if you aren’t using interesting subject lines that trigger curiosity or simply make people click, your email marketing campaigns will just die.

5. Not Personalizing The Emails

Recent email statistics tell that 62% of the emails are opened because of a personalized subject line.

What this means is that if you aren’t personalizing your emails, you are already missing out on a huge subscriber base. If you don’t your email marketing campaigns to be dead, it’s time to work on personalization.

And, it’s not just about personalizing the subject lines. It’s about personalizing the content inside the email as well.

6. Not performing list-scanning

This is a very common reason why entrepreneurs and businesses fail with email marketing. If your list contains (and it always does) an outdated audience, it can actually affect your overall deliverability rate.

If you have a decent list of email subscribers, go to a list scanning or verification tool and you will be surprised by how many outdated subscribers you will get to see.

7. Not Knowing The Numbers

Knowing the numbers, statistics, and insights is an incredibly important factor that can make or break your email marketing campaigns for sure.

Keeping a track of your success, knowing what’s working and what’s not, understanding how your customers/subscribers behave to different approaches, and a whole lot of other stuff plays a vital role in defining an effective or ineffective email marketing strategy.

8. Being Way Too Aggressive

Businesses, individuals, and marketers often treat their email subscribers as bots. Your subscribers at the end of the day, are humans. Why flood their inboxes with tens of emails every single week?

Put yourself in the customers’ shoes and think about it. How would you react if I constantly send irrelevant emails every single day?

You will be annoyed, right? That’s what happens with your list’s subscribers. Therefore, you should not over-do it.

Once you stop overdoing it, you will also notice that very fewer people will unsubscribe from your email list(s).

9. Not Using A Good Email Service Provider

The last reason why people struggle with email marketing and they think it is dead is because of not using the right email service provider.

You can’t use a low-quality/low-deliverability email service provider just because it is ten or twenty bucks cheaper than AWeber, CovertKit, GetResponse, or ActiveCampaign.

The money is in the list…so, make sure you use a reputed email service provider that has a track of high deliverability rate as well as reliability.

Is Email Marketing Legal?

I’m pretty surprised to see people are searching for this. But I also can’t ignore the fact that a lot of people on the internet are doing illegal activities such as scrapping emails, phishing, and providing fake information. However, that doesn’t have to do anything with email marketing as an industry.

Okay, let’s get straight to the point and cut the fluff out.

Is email marketing legal? According to the laws in the United States and many other countries around the world, email marketing is completely legal and a legit marketing channel that businesses use to connect with their potential customers.

So, yes! Email marketing is legal and it will be legal in the future as well.

How Email Marketing Has Changed

There was a time when the email marketing industry had little to no competition at all and you could simply do better by sending out crappy emails that had little to no value for the subscribers.

That’s been changing a lot over the years. People don’t care about you and your business. All they care about is themselves (and that’s practical).

Email marketing has drastically changed with time. Today, businesses have to focus deeply on value, design, mobile-friendliness, personalization, GDPR regulations, and segmentation for obtaining good results.

Here are the things that have changed drastically in the email marketing industry;

  • Unlike earlier, protection of your customer’s personal information is becoming more and more significant
  • More and more mobile and Gmail users are rising
  • Text-only emails are becoming more efficient in many industries (not all)
  • Establishing credibility with the service provider and customers at the same time will be crucial

These were some important changes that are taking place in the email marketing industry.

What Is The Future Of Email Marketing?

One thing is pretty clear, email marketing is not dead and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. As a matter of fact, it will continue to grow even more in the upcoming years.

Marketers and business individuals will have to focus more and more on personalization, valuable and non-promotional content to establish trust, and relevance to stand out from the crowd.

If you aspire to get positive results from your email marketing campaigns in the future, these are the points you will have to keep in mind;

  • Targeted emails will be the new normal
  • Email marketing tools will offer incredible functionalities and features
  • HTML emails are going to be dead
  • Branding will get more and more popular/important
  • Animation will enhance engagement to the next level
  • New ways of list building will arise
  • A rise in AI and machine learning will transform the whole industry
  • Storytelling will still be relevant no matter what happens

These are some of the major changes that are going to take place in the future.

In Conclusion

If you have read the full article, you know that email marketing is unquestionably not dead and it’s here to stay in the long run.

However, there are a lot of things that have changed in the last decade. Not essentially changed, but I would rather say the industry has evolved just like the internet and we humans have.

Value, relevancy, personalization, privacy, analysis, segmentation, and mobile-friendliness are the key takeaways for running effective marketing campaigns.

I hope you found some value in this post and if you have any questions or experiences to share, feel free to jump into the comments section right below and let the community know what you think.

[FAQs] Frequently Asked Questions

Is email marketing worth it?

For every one dollar that is spent on email marketing, bring in a Return On Investment of 44 dollars…It’s definitely worth it.

Is email marketing legal?

The short answer is, yes! In the United States and all of the major countries of the world, email marketing is legit and legal.

How long email marketing will last?

Email marketing is likely to last forever because a person can change other channels (for example, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.), but an email is rarely changed and plays a vital role in a person’s business/financial/political life.

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