Research Backs Email Marketing as The Biggest, Baddest Medium on the Block

email marketing

Why are marketers so intent on killing email marketing? (Or everything, for that matter?)

Email marketing is NOT dead. In fact, if you aren’t using it you’re probably not the brightest light in the chandelier.

There. I said it.

You know what’s dead? Bad email marketing.

So, stop throwing the word “dead” around and read this post for better email marketing insights.

B2B Email Marketing Is Alive (And Well)

B2B email marketing is alive and well says the research.

According to Emma’s 2017 Email Marketing Industry Report,

  • 47% of marketers report that email generates the most ROI for their organization
  • 58% of marketers plan to increase spending on email marketing in 2018

CMI and Marketing Profs showed that 77% of B2B marketers are using email marketing as a tactic for content marketing.

email marketing

GetResponse, which provides email marketing automation, released their Email Marketing & Marketing Automation Excellence 2017 report which says,

  • Less than 20% of marketers rated email marketing as “very poor” or “poor” as an effective digital marketing channel (over 50% said it was “excellent” or “good”)
  • 23% of marketers said email marketing helped them generate more leads
  • 19% noted an increase in sales due to email

And it’s not just B2B marketers who are continuing to see good results with email marketing …

B2C Email Marketing Is Gold (Especially With Millennials)

Sure, some B2C email habits, like how much time we spend consuming email, has decreased.

But even though Adobe reported that the number of hours consumers spend on email each day decreased 27% from last year, in their Adobe Consumer Email Survey Report 2017 they also showed that consumers also still love email.

  • More than 50% of 18-24-year-olds still check their email while in bed in the morning
  • 43% of millennials aged 25-34 admit to doing the same
  • I’m old (37) and I’m totally guilty checking email first thing, too!

And when it comes to social selling? Adobe says 61% of people now prefer to be contacted by businesses via email.

In fact, Bambu by Sprout Social released a similar report saying that 46.4% of consumers want to be contacted about products and services by brand on email, followed closely by social media and direct mail.

email marketing

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Stop Treating Email as an Afterthought

Email is one of the only mediums where people have said, “sure, market to me.” And yet, marketers continue blasting emails out sporadically to push their product/service/event.

It’s no wonder so many of you think it’s “dead.”

Email marketing – when done correctly – is one of the best ways to:

  • Interact with both customers and prospects
  • Build relationships
  • Utilize storytelling
  • Upsell customers or drive repeat business

Additionally, marketers need to aim to keep it simple.

Matthew Montoya of Constant Contact says to remain uncomplicated, emails need to contain:

  • 25 lines of text or less
  • Key content on top (above the scroll)
  • 3 links or less
  • One column only

And it goes without saying that emails should always be mobile friendly since email open rates from mobile devices have grown by 180% in three years.

email marketing graph

Still not getting results from your email marketing?

Let’s figure out why bad email marketing is so bad, and probably making you feel like email is a “dead” marketing tactic.

What Goes Wrong

Here’s a general scenario I think many marketers are facing.

A prospect shows interest in your lead magnet, gives you their email address (and permission to market to them), and then you start sending them emails.

If that prospect opens your email and,

  • Isn’t wowed by the content, or
  • Is overwhelmed by the design, or
  • Finds that your information isn’t all that helpful or relevant …

… you’re going to be deemed as irrelevant.

These people will continue to ignore your future emails and even though you have the “right” to market to them, you’ve lost them.

Check your email open and click-through rates. If they’re below industry standards and benchmarks this is probably what’s going wrong.

One of the easiest ways to fix crappy email content is to segment your email list(s).

50% of marketers still aren’t doing this (and I want to bang my head against the wall).


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Since nearly all email providers have an option for segmentation, my only guess is that businesses and marketers just don’t have the desire or will to segment their lists properly.

My Take On Email Marketing

While it’s more than obvious that email marketing isn’t dead, there’s a bigger problem at play here.

Marketers are always complaining about not having enough people to market to, and yet, they have these lists (some with thousands or tens of thousands of emails!) that are being wasted by poor planning, lack of segmentation, design overwhelm, etc.

Do me a BIG favor. Take the number of people on your email list(s) and multiply that number by your average [service/product] cost.

For example, let’s say my average social media package is $2500 and my list is 1,000 people strong.

That means my email list has the potential to generate $2,500,000 in business. 2.5M!

Now, we can’t serve the perfect message 100% of the time. Nor can we expect 100% of our list to convert.

But with those kinds of dollars sitting in a 1,000-person list, do you think I ought to pay a little more respect to my email marketing efforts?

We need to stop thinking of email campaigns as broadcasts to our entire list and figure out a way to build a connection, segment by segment.

No, email marketing is certainly not dead. But bad email marketing can kill your business.

What’s your take on email marketing as a tactic for business? Let me know in the comments below!

Brooke Ballard for {grow}Brooke B. Sellas is an in-the-trenches digital marketer & CEO at B Squared Media, blossoming blogger, and a purveyor of psychographics. Her mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout on Twitter.


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