Is Email Marketing Dying?

Note: This post was archived from the Infusionsoft Blog. More details here.

Some marketing thought leaders and pundits out there claim that email marketing is dying. Some have even claimed that it’s already dead. I’d argue the opposite. In fact, I think these people are being contrarian merely to get publicity about the latest social media craze or the hottest new tool they might be pushing.

The facts show overwhelmingly that email marketing is alive and well, and extremely beneficial for business. Let’s review some of these facts.

Research firm, ForeSee Results, published a study early this year that was conducted during the 2010 holiday shopping season. They asked people who made purchases online about what influenced their visit to the respective e-commerce sites.

This graph below shows that familiarity with the brand was the number one driver. Promotional Emails was second. And it far outnumbered (by over 300%) the seventh driver – social media.

Is Social Media Worth the Cost (Chart)

Next, in an attempt to find out what people prefer, they asked the study participants how they prefer to hear about sales and promotions. The chart below shows the results:

How do you prefer promotions? (Chart)As you can see, the overwhelming majority (64%) stated that they prefer to hear about sales and promotions through emails. Only 8% of respondents stated that they prefer to hear about sales and promotions via social media.

To dig in further on the social media front, they asked the participants which social media would be their first choice for receiving communications from the company where they made their purchase. Luckily, as you can see, they included “None” as an option. Because 47% stated they prefer to not be contacted on social media sites with promotions.

The following graph by SmarterTools doesn’t necessarily prove my point, but it is interesting data.  This graph shows that email still dominates the communication world when you look at total number of accounts and total number of messages sent (even after excluding all spam).

Infographic: Value of Email

As Perry Marshall posted, “Email is King.”

I’m not interested in which medium has more accounts, or which one is growing faster, or which one has the hottest buzz.  My specific interest is which medium is best for converting sales. I’m sure as readers of the Infusionsoft Blog, you would be wondering the same thing.

I’m a firm believer in social media. A couple of years ago I ran an experiment where I grew an email list of 2,000 people in 2 months strictly from Twitter. I then launched an information product to that list and it sold well. Twitter was an amazing traffic source for me in that experiment; my activity there was more than profitable. I can directly associate the revenue generated back to my activities on Twitter.

But, as a business, what would I rather have?

  • An opt-in email list of 1,000 people
  • 1,000 Facebook fans
  • 1,000 Twitter followers

I’d choose the opt-in emails all day long.

Email is still the “inner sanctum.” It’s still the place where intimate conversations happen.  It’s also the place where commerce begins for many e-commerce transactions.  Even automated email conversations can be extremely personal and relevant – enough so to develop relationships that turn into sales.

I’ll be the first to admit it if that ever changes — and it might. Social media is changing the way we communicate. But, for now, social media remains to be a great a traffic source. Businesses should at least consider using it to drive people to valuable blog posts. At the bottom of your blog posts, include a lead capture form so interested people can request more information. Follow up with them via personalized and relevant email campaigns. Nurture the relationship with email. And when the time is right, encourage the sale through email. This seems to be the winning formula to make social media profitable for small businesses.

So, is email marketing dying? Tell me what you think in the comments below.

[Image credit: rodaniel]

3 thoughts on “Is Email Marketing Dying?”

  1. I have a scuba diving business in Cancun. Email marketing is the best tool for us. I generates good leads and then we make the sale. Of course there is a follow up process on each sale, but it works! I´m developing a new strategie for this area. Our conversion rate 5.21%

  2. Tyler,

    You won’t often find me criticizing social media. But, I can’t deny the fact that social media is a poor way to make sales. Simply, people use social media to engage in discussion, not to engage in commerce. Glad you dug up the stats that support these bold and even unpopular claims. 🙂

  3. Anish Prasad Sah

    Hey Tyler,

    I don’t think email marketing is dying. But I feel that it needs some modifications, as we are in 2017 now.

    I am Anish Sah, SEO Analyst at Elance Digital Media Pvt. Ltd.

    I wanted to share my thoughts about this “Tool” that gave me an email open rate of 93%. It’s called shot messenger.

    Basically what is does is, it sends messages via Facebook Messenger to all your fans and followers on Facebook. There’s no way the recipient won’t open the chat head and read what’s in the message. haha.

    That’s kinda awesome. Here’s a link where you can see the full demo of this tool in live action:

    http://earnwithanish.com/shot-messenger-review/

    I hope it was helpful

    Thanks!

    Anish Sah

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