March 22, 2022

By Intrigue

I’ve been working in email marketing for the better part of four years, and ever since I entered this field, I’ve heard the same objections and myths about email marketing over and over again. They are:

  • Email marketing is dead
  • Email marketing is spam
  • Inboxes are saturated with marketing emails
  • Young people use social media, not email

While I understand where these arguments are coming from, they are statistically incorrect.

Listen, I’m not writing this blog to convince you of anything. This isn’t a sales pitch. It’s simply the byproduct of hearing these objections and myths for years and wanting to address them, one by one, so that those who wish to understand the undeniable value of email marketing can do so.

The 4 Major Objections to Email Marketing

1. Email Marketing is Dead

When it comes to return on investment (ROI), email marketing is the king of the digital marketing world with an average ROI of 38:1 (Some reports have the ROI as high as 44:1!).

To achieve such an ROI, you need to do basic things correctly, and unfortunately, many companies don’t, which is why email marketing can get a bad rap.

Every organization that’s sending email newsletters, updates, e-blasts, etc., should, at a minimum:

  • Provide value
  • Have a clean list
  • Segment their audience
  • Make it easy to unsubscribe

Marketers who segmented their list saw email engagement increase by as much as 760%, proving that messages sent to the right contact at the right time are not only well-received by the contact, but profitable.

Speaking of profitability, if there was one statistic to prove that email marketing has a pulse, it’s the fact that global email marketing value is expected to rise from $7.5 billion in 2020 to $17.9 billion in 2027.

Things that are dead don’t rise in value, so it’s fair to say that email marketing is not dead.

2. Email Marketing is Spam

I’m going to offer a revision to the words “email marketing is spam”. It should be “LOTS of email marketing is spam”.

Everyone has received email from brands they’ve never heard of or don’t remember subscribing to. This is an unfortunate aspect of (bad) email marketing that annoys people — especially email marketers!

That being said, when done right, email marketing is not spam — it’s timely, personalized, problem-solving messages sent to people who are interested in a product or service. If the messages you send check those three boxes, people will soak up the content and act on it.

Here’s an example from a law firm we work with. An automated series of emails are sent to prospective clients when they inquire about wrongful dismissal or workplace harassment and/or discrimination.

Drip campaign results for a law client

Both automations are three emails long with an open rate of 74.5% and 83.1%, respectively. It’s not outrageous to assume that if three of every four people are opening and reading your emails (roughly 4x the industry average), your emails are important to them.

We see other outstanding engagement rates in different industries, such as landscaping:

Breakdown of how 4 emails are performing in a drip campaign.

This automation is sent to people who inquire about getting a pool built. It has an average open rate of 63.1% and a click rate of an astonishing 11.7%.

Again, sending emails about pool construction after someone asks to learn more about pool construction is not only welcomed, it’s a no brainer!

Why wouldn’t you educate people about the very thing they asked about?

Lastly, here’s a newsletter for a window and door company:

Analytics for a newsletter from a window and door company.

Both the open rate and click rate are double the industry average.

You might be thinking, “Do people really care so much about windows and doors that they’d want to receive emails about it?”

Yes. Absolutely, yes.

Windows and doors are large purchases — you better believe that people want to be educated before spending big bucks.

Pro Tip: Make it Easy to Unsubscribe

As an email marketer who’s had his personal email hacked and used to sign up for THOUSANDS of marketing emails, the one thing that annoys me almost as much as those damn hackers are companies that make it hard or confusing to unsubscribe from a marketing list.

At the bottom of every email we send for a client, there is an unsubscribe link. It’s always underlined and easy to find, and our process to unsubscribe is just one step: Click the link.

There’s no “Are you sure you want to unsubscribe?” message. There’s no Pepe the Unsubscribe Donkey. There’s none of that. Click the link and that’s that. Adios, amigo.

Pepe the unsubscribe donkey

When your unsubscribe link is consistent and easy to find, you make people happy. I strongly advocate for making people happy wherever and whenever possible.

All this is to say that when you work with a reputable marketing partner, you can expect this to be part of your standard operating procedures for email marketing.

3. Inboxes Are Saturated with Marketing Emails

With 319 billion emails sent and received every day (no, that’s not a typo) I can see how someone might believe that inboxes are saturated with…well…junk.

However, the fact of the matter is that 7 in 10 consumers would prefer to receive business communications via email, rather than direct mail, SMS, or push messages/notifications.

The love for email doesn’t end with the consumer. Marketers and business owners agree that email marketing is an integral part of their company’s success:

“The importance of email continues to go up year-over-year. In 2020, 78% of respondents said email is important to overall company success, compared to 71% in 2019… 94% of respondents say email is in their top 3 most effective marketing channels.” —Litmus

I urge you to not ignore the advice of 94% of businesses who attribute a part of their success to email. I suggest that, if you’re hesitant, that you at least give email marketing a try.

4. Young People Use Social Media, Not Email

Perhaps the biggest myth of all is that “young people” are exclusively dancing on TikTok, sharing selfies to Instagram, and yelling on Twitter. The truth is far different from this fiction.

When it comes to how the Millennial and Generation Z demographics would prefer to receive communications from brands they enjoy, email is by far the preferred medium for those communications.

A breakdown of how baby boomers, generation x, millennials, and generation z prefer to receive brand communications

Across all demographics, 68% of people prefer to receive brand updates via email. For Millennials, this number is 62% and, somewhat surprisingly for Generation Z, it’s higher at 65%.

Moreover, 64% of Millennials and 60% of Generation Z said that when it comes to receiving communications from brands that feel personal, email is king.

In short, regardless of one’s age, email is far and away the medium in which they want to hear from your brand…so don’t miss out.

Have Your Thoughts About Email Marketing Changed?

I promised this wouldn’t be a blog that tried to sell you on anything. I just wanted to make the case for email marketing by addressing some of its biggest critiques and challenges.

My hope is that I was able to at least get you thinking about the merits of email marketing. It’s a growing marketing channel for most businesses and we’re nowhere near the peak of its influence in the digital marketing world.

Here’s my only ask from you: If you have any questions about email marketing (maybe I didn’t answer a burning question in this blog), send me an email or a DM on LinkedIn.

I want to make sure that your questions are answered, regardless of whether you choose to use Intrigue’s services, do email marketing yourself, or go with another company. That’s how much I believe in the power of email marketing!

Intrigue is a Canadian digital marketing company delivering solutions to help businesses get noticed and found. Guided by a commitment to empower leaders to strengthen communities, Intrigue offers website design and development, branding, online advertising, content marketing, graphic design, video production, SEO, and analytics. Take your marketing to the next level and Get Noticed. Get Found.®

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