We’ve heard it all before: “email is dead”, the headlines tell us. Forget email, they say, pointing out that people now use social media to exchange messages. Then we’re told that email is old-fashioned technology – after all the first email was sent 43 years ago in 1969. Gosh, Facebook’s inventor wasn’t even a twinkle in his mum’s eye at that stage…! We now live in a different world to the one in which email was launched. So it therefore “must” be so old it is useless.
Except the statistics tell a different story to the one that headline writers would like us to believe. There are almost 4 billion email accounts in the world which between them send out more than three million email messages EVERY SECOND of the day. Who said email wasn’t popular? Since 2008, the number of emails being sent every year has risen by 15% each one of those years. Far from email declining, it is increasing at a faster rate than the sign-ups for social media. In spite of rumours to the contrary, email is very much alive and thriving.
That means if you ignore email marketing in your business you are missing out – potentially in substantial ways. Several studies provide testimony to the value of email marketing. One researcher, for instance, found that for every $1 companies spend on email marketing the average return is $49. That’s not a bad return on investment, is it?
In fact, research consistently shows that email marketing out-performs websites and social media in gaining business. Part of the reason for this is the growth of social media. It seems we now “compartmentalize” our online communications. We appear to be using social media as our preferred method for personal messages, leaving email for business communications. That means when people open up their inbox they are more receptive to sales messages because it’s the place where they expect to see them. On social networks, people like sales messages much less because it intrudes into their personal space too much.
Now, new research shows that email marketing is getting more successful than ever. Open rates have increased, once again, over the previous year and click-through rates have almost doubled for some email lists. What this data really tells us is that if you develop your own mailing list of people interested in your products and services you can sell more to them if you use email marketing wisely.
Other studies have also shown that email usage is more popular than social networking use so all the hype about social media marketing could lead you to focus in the wrong direction. Social media marketing has its place, for sure, but all the usage data suggests that this is BELOW email marketing. In other words, if you have a choice between social media marketing or email marketing, choose email.
It may be less sexy, it may be less sophisticated, it may be old – but it sure is profitable.
- Which Links in Your Email Marketing Get the Most Clicks? (hubspot.com)
- How to Successfully Integrate Social Media and Email [Free Ebook] (hubspot.com)
- Email marketing mistakes to avoid (hodgesnet.co.uk)
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+