The Death of the Email

Is-Email-Marketing-Still-Effective1It's amazing how many people are queuing up to announce the death of the email.
It's not unusual to hear individuals claiming social media has replaced it, or announcing that no one has the time to read emails anymore.

As a result of these beliefs, some marketers are choosing to spend time and money looking for other ways to communicate with prospects.

Are you worried about being left behind if you continue to use simple, old email marketing?

All the evidence suggests you have absolutely no reason to be.

Is Social Media Replacing Email?

A study by Merkle in View from the Digital Inbox (2011) found that text messaging is favoured by 18-29 year olds for personal communication, while all other ages chose phone calls.

Email sat comfortably in second place, more than twice as popular as social media.

For commercial purposes, the study revealed that email is still way ahead. The data showed it was preferred by 65%-78% of those questioned.

A measly 0%-4% said social media was their method of choice.

While there's little doubt that social media is making something of an impression on how people communicate – especially in the younger age groups – it's equally clear that email is still the go-to communication method for most people, and wipes the floor with the other options for business use.

What Good is an Unread Email?

The data shows that email is still popular, but it's pointless emailing if they never get read. MailerMailer's report – Marketing Metrics – showed that the open rates of marketing emails have fallen by almost 3% in the last three years (from 14% to 11.4%).

It's important to remember this is an average figure, however.

The numbers of emails being sent has increased, and the quality of these emails is often poor.

Good emails that capture the interest of prospects – and use effective subject lines – are still being read.

It's also true that the more important statistic – click rates – show that there has been no shift.

The Danger of Bombarding

Companies and individuals that accept the value of emailing, are often reluctant to send out mass emails too often. They fear creating a negative response by clogging up the inboxes of prospects.

In my experience, the people who have this fear tend to send one email per week or month at most.

I recently chatted with a marketer who had begun emailing on a daily basis.

Amazingly, his open rates have been completely unaffected, and his unsubscribes have all but dried up. He is also receiving more enquiries than ever before.

Of course, you don't have to email daily, and that approach wouldn't work for everyone. The lesson is simply that you don't need to fear sending extra emails.

I believe it can only really be classed as bombarding if the emails are valueless. Anyone who's going to become irritated and unsubscribe because of an extra email each week is unlikely to ever realistically become a client anyway.

Surely, I need Graphical Emails Though?

I must admit I was a little annoyed when I recently spotted a high profile sales expert claiming graphical emails were now required to interest prospects. Unsurprisingly, he was marketing a way to create graphical emails at the time.

I'll be straight about this. Research from MarketingExperiments found:

  • Emails with high levels of graphical content received 34% fewer clicks than emails using only plain text.
  • Emails with a small amount of simple formatting – such as the occasional word emboldened or underlined – saw clicks increase by 55% when compared to plain text.

The reason for this is simple. Emails that are gently formatted look like they've come from a trusted source – perhaps a friend or a colleague.

Fancy, graphically intensive emails just scream ‘advertisement' to prospects.

These emails are also often incompatible – or unreadable – on mobiles. With research by Knotice highlighting that 13.6% of emails are now read on mobiles. This is too high a number to ignore.

So, Email Should Still be a Priority?

A definite ‘yes'.

Figures in a Direct Marketing Association report – ‘The Power of Direct' – showed that email returns $40.56 per dollar, while catalogues return just $7.30. Search marketing returned $22.24, internet display advertising $19.72, and mobile advertising $10.51.

The evidence proves it – email is still alive and kicking.

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