It’s Not Dead…Is It?

Forgive me if you’ve heard this one before: email marketing is far from dead. On the contrary, email is alive and kicking, despite the ever-increasing pressure from competitive marketing channels. 

It’s been more than a decade since Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg first declared that email was dead. Over that decade, Facebook has had its own lunch eaten by numerous social media startups. They’re not the new kid on the block anymore. Today, Facebook is more likely to be the social network your grandparents hang out on rather than your go-to, all-consuming social media darling.  

While Facebook is far from dead, it perhaps won’t be too long before it joins the ranks of new media starts that burned too brightly, too quickly.  

Meanwhile, email marketing has evolved, despite several bumps in the road (the Gmail Promotions Tab, GDPR, and iOS 15 Mail Privacy Protection, to name a few) and remains more resilient and powerful than ever. 

Email’s strength resides in the fact that it remains a native application on the technology platform most of us engage with multiple times a day, everyday — the smartphone. There are millions of apps you can download on your smartphone. Email, however, is the only application that you will literally find on every device. 

In recent years, new publishing platforms like Substack have been built primarily around email, attracting prominent name authors and journalists away from traditional print and digital media outlets and towards the email inbox. In 2021, an email marketing firm famed for its small business freemium offer was acquired for $12 billion.   

Does this sound like a medium that is on its last legs? I don’t think so.  

Email Marketing—Owning the Relationship

Marketers have never had more choice when it comes to attracting the attention of potential customers. From the instant gratification of paid search and social media activities to content-heavy organic social media campaigns on Instagram and TikTok, alongside blogging, podcasting, YouTube, and influencer marketing…it would be too easy to dismiss email as a bygone channel.  

If you were to abandon email as part of your online marketing strategy, however, you’d be missing out on one of its most valuable benefits — ownership. 

When you create and nurture an email marketing list, you own that relationship. For the life of that relationship (approximately 18 months if you’re looking for the average lifespan of an email), there is no better method of building and maintaining a highly personalized marketing strategy.  

Email marketing isn’t the blunt marketing tool it used to be. When you take the time to really get to know the people behind every email address and send the right message to the right person at the right time, your campaigns will always appear relevant, timely, and engaging. And when you trade up your old email marketing platform to a marketing automation platform and integrate it across your Martech stack, including your CRM system, your campaigns become laser-focused.  

Competitive Markets

On most other marketing channels, you’re playing in someone else’s garden with someone else’s ball.  

This means that the rules can be changed in an instant. In the worst-case scenario, the ball can be taken from you right when you are about to score a goal, hit a home run, or (insert your preferred sporting analogy here). 

In any competitive market, the cost of paid media will only head in one direction. Any failure to carefully monitor and analyze your results can be catastrophically expensive. Similarly, any algorithmic change on the major social networks can leave your campaigns high and dry with virtually no action. 

Then there’s the threat of “content shock.” 

The problem of content shock is defined by the ever-increasing volume of content produced on a daily basis. As a result, consumers can become paralyzed by the sheer scale of choice before them, meaning they may never consume your content. 

You could hire a high-profile influencer to cut through all the noise — but in the fast-moving world of online influencers, just knowing where to start can be a challenge. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should just give up. Acquisition marketing is very much part of email marketing’s journey. A business that doesn’t take advantage of the marketing channels its clients engage with every day probably won’t be as successful as their potential. You’ve got to meet your audience where they are, including in their inbox. 

Getting Better at Marketing

If you think it sounds difficult to get better at marketing on every single channel that your clients frequent, you’d be right. You cannot possibly be good at every form of marketing available to you.  

At emfluence, we recommend you concentrate on the marketing channels you feel the most comfortable with and speak to agency partners who can help you with everything else. 

Marketing will always have a cost.  

When we talk about channels like paid media, content marketing, and social media marketing, that marketing cost is typically referred to as an acquisition cost. This is where email marketing comes into play. 

Unlike all of those acquisition channels, email marketing remains a retention marketing channel. As anyone who has been in business for any length of time will tell you, it’s always cheaper to retain a client than win a new one. This essentially means email marketing is, as it has always been, the most profitable component of everything else you do to promote your business. 

So rather than stating email marketing is either dead or dying, perhaps we should look at it another way. Email marketing is actually the savior of the wider marketing ecosystem. 

If you stop thinking of email marketing as a victim and start thinking of it as a hero, it suddenly becomes more emboldened and vibrant. 

To learn more about how email marketing can strengthen your entire marketing output, contact us today at expert@emfluence.com.   

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