Is Email Marketing Dead? What Do the Statistics Say?

Is Email Marketing Dead? What Do the Statistics Say?


Let’s face it, email marketing has been around for quite a while. 50 years to be exact. Which, as far as the rate of change of the internet is concerned, makes email some sort of ancient artefact. But is email marketing dead? 

Of course not! 

Email has truly defied the internet odds. Outliving countless other digital communication platforms – we’re talking MSN Messenger, MySpace and Bebo – and has remained the world’s most widely accessed form of online communication. 

In fact, we are all a bit email mad. Collectively sending over 102.6 trillion emails every year. Yep, trillion. With 3.9 billion people using email in every country across the globe and 99% of people checking their emails every day, it’s fair to say it’s a popular communication method. 

But when it comes to effective digital marketing, can it really compete with the prevailing popularity of social media today? 

We’ve done all of the hard work for you. In this blog, we will delve into all of your burning email marketing questions:

  • Is it really worth investing in email marketing in 2021?
  • Do people really care about brand emails anymore?
  • How does email compare to influencers when it comes to spreading brand awareness & boosting sales?
  • What are the email trends paving the way for brands today? 
  • Can you revive a dead email marketing strategy?

Let’s get into it, shall we? 

It’s a Generational Thing

When you think about exchanging emails, what comes to mind? 

Odds are, it’s probably not an image of a young, trendy, tech-savvy millennial, right? For a lot of people, email marketing is often associated with an older audience who maybe aren’t so well versed in the art of social media. 

Well, as it turns out, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Millennials are, in fact, the most active email users in the world. 98% of millennials confess to peeking into their inbox every few hours throughout the day. So whether they are on the move, eating, working or socialising, millennials are keeping that unread pile to a minimum. With almost a quarter of all millennials having less than 5 unread emails in their inbox. Something some of us can only dream of! 

So it turns out that millennials are pretty obsessed with their email, and from the look of things, older generations aren’t much better. 95% of baby boomers regularly check their email and if you’re in the market for some great word-of-mouth marketing, baby boomers are your go-to demographic. They are 19% more likely to share content they enjoyed compared to any other generation, so they could literally be doing the work for you!

Email marketing is truly universal. It breaks down barriers of communications, from generational to cultural, and provides access to everyone. Literally, everyone. From grannies to grandkids, everyone has an email address and better yet, they use it too. 

Email Vs. Social Media – Winner Takes All 

It’s official, we are addicted to social media.  

We all knew it was coming, but the stats are in:

  • 45% of the world’s entire population is active on social media.
  • The average user spends 3 hours per day on social networks and messaging. 
  • 500 active Instagram stories are shared every single day. 
  • 91% of social media users access the platforms via their mobile device. 

With stats like this, it’s no wonder that brands are jumping on the bandwagon and investing huge chunks of their marketing budget on social media marketing. Especially as 73% of marketers report their social media marketing as being beneficial to their business. 

You can’t really argue with that, can you? 

Disclaimer: we aren’t here to bash on social media. We love social media as much as the next guy. It is an undeniably effective tool in modern digital marketing communications, BUT it’s not the only tool. It’s important that social media is a well-resourced tool in your marketing arsenal but that doesn’t mean it should necessarily be the main event. 

There is still a place for email marketing, particularly when it comes to brand visibility. Email marketing reaches, on average, about 85% of the people you send it to. With social media algorithms, it’s becoming increasingly impossible to reach anywhere near that with any post or advertisement. So when it comes to ROI for marketing material, email marketing is the reigning champ as more of your audience is going to see it. 

This exposure means increased awareness and increased likelihood of purchase as your brand will be at the forefront of consumers’ minds. What more could you ask for? 

Well, it’s actually more a case of what your audience is asking for…

Give the People What They Want 

People want choice. They want to choose what they see and when they see it, and email marketing gives them the opportunity to do exactly that! 

We’ve all been there. You’ve mentioned a product to a friend in passing and the next thing you know, it’s ALL over your newsfeed. You can’t escape the thing. Well, it would seem that your consumers don’t love this approach to marketing. 

Instead, 77% of people prefer to be marketed via email as a form of permission-based advertising. They appreciate the fact that they have elected to be marketed to by your brand and not having your products or services forced into their day via social media. 

Audiences are happy to receive and read your email content. Especially when it involves an exclusive discount or sale. After all, who doesn’t love a bargain? Consumers can feel like they’re an insider, gaining access to special email subscriber privileges, whilst your conversion rates get a welcome boost. It’s a win-win!

Although, beware of the over-selling curse. Many brands lose sight of what their audience wants and lead with sales-driven content with every email. This will have your audience racing towards that unsubscribe button faster than you can say, “20% OFF.” 

Instead, focus on creating meaningful content that is going to add value to the lives of your subscribers. What does this mean we hear you ask? Well, if you’re a book retailer, why not try sending out content featuring popular authors? Or the must-read releases for that season? Maybe you could provide tips on how to get the most instagrammable bookshelves? You get the idea! 

The average person receives 13 commercial emails every single day. So if you want to stand out from the crowd then quality, interesting content is going to be your best friend. Keep it fresh and engaging – with the odd sales message in there for good measure – and watch that subscriber count soar. 

Keep an Eye on the Metrics 

What’s that we hear you ask? How do you really know if you’re getting your email content right? It’s all in the metrics! 

One of the greatest aspects of email marketing software is that it provides accurate, real-time data on how your emails are performing. You can see how many opened your email and how many people engaged with the content. In other words, who went searching for more on your website or social media platforms. 

This instant feedback loop is a great indicator of whether your content is hitting the spot, or not. If you see that open rate creeping down with each weekly email, it’s maybe time to reevaluate your content strategy. Think more about what your audience wants to see and start to create content around those ideas. 

Change it up and if that doesn’t work, change it up again! 

A Personal Touch Goes a Long Way

We all want to feel special and the same goes for your email subscribers! 

There are some handy email marketing tricks that work a treat with audiences around the world and they all centre around a personal touch. You want your audience to feel like you’re speaking directly to them. That this content is for them, and them alone. 

How do you do that? Well here’s a couple of our finest tips: 

  • Include the customer’s name in the email.
  • Focus on that subject line – make it friendly and captivating for readers. 
  • Send exclusive birthday emails to subscribers, potentially offering a celebratory discount just for them. 
  • Use behaviour-triggered emails, if a subscriber has gone a bit quiet why not send them a reminder email that you’re there? 
  • Ask for reviews and feedback, give your audience the opportunity to interact with you and gain some quality insight along the way. 

With so many new techniques to try out with email marketing, it definitely ain’t dead. Allow us to tell you a little more on how you can get your email marketing strategy into the recovery position and breathe life into it again! 

Revive Your Email Marketing Strategy 

We are about to let you in on the secret to email marketing success in just three small words: short, simple and visual. 

The average attention for an email is an eye-watering 13.4 seconds. Marketers have literally less than 15 seconds to capture the imagination of an audience member and convince them to convert. This is why those three small words are going to make all of the difference with your email content structure. 

If you have 13.4 seconds to grab their attention and the average adult reader can read between 250-300 words per minute. That means that you have roughly only 50 words to work with. That’s ain’t a lot of words, we know! 

But fear not, this is where the visuals are going to take centre stage. If the audience doesn’t want to read then it’s time to switch it up and show them instead. Make your email come to life using video, imagery, colour and graphics – keep your audience engaged with movement and design to inspire them to explore your brand a little more. A GIF can certainly go a long way these days! It’s time to up the ante with your email design and wave goodbye to those drab, standard email templates. 

There are so many ways you can make your email come to life and have fun playing around with different ideas. Experiment with animated call-to-action buttons, rollover effects, interactive product carousels, accordion features, surveys, polls and user-generated content, the list is endless! 

So that covers short and visual, but what about simple? 

In a nutshell, you want it to be as easy as possible for your audience to convert. Consumers today don’t want to have to invest any effort into brand marketing engagement. Make sure all of your social media channels are just a tap away by embedding social media buttons and for any offers, make sure a quick click will take them straight to the specific page. Remember, time is money!

It’s Not Dead, It’s Different 

Email marketing is here to stay. It’s been with us since the 70s and isn’t showing any signs of stopping and remains one of the greatest tools in any marketer’s kit. 

Email isn’t dead, it’s different. The world is mobile now and email is too. Brands need to stay on top of trends, produce fresh and engaging consumer-led content and analyse their performance with every campaign. Don’t let your brand miss out on the power of email

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