Shut it down... email is dead

Philip Morgan

Common questions about email marketing include the following:

  • Is email marketing more or less effective than [social media, blogging, etc...]?
  • Millennials don't use email, so how can email marketing be used to reach them? Or can it be used with millennials at all?
  • Does email marketing work with people who are hyper-protective of their inbox? How about really important or busy people like CTOs?
  • Is email marketing in general dying or dead?

Adobe recently released the results of a survey of 1000 "white collar workers" RE: email.

You can read the whole thing here but I'll pull out some of the more relevant points for you:

  • Time spent with email is up 17% year over year (YoY).
  • Millennials—consumers ages 18 to 34—spend the most time with email of any age group and rely primarily on their smartphones (90%) to do so.
  • People identifying smartphones as their primary device to check work email grew 21% YoY.
  • 49% of respondents said they prefer email marketing communications, followed by direct mail (22%).
  • Respondents also said that less than 25% of emails are interesting enough to open.
  • Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they have checked email while watching TV or a movie, on vacation (53%), in the bathroom (45%), and while on the phone (44%). Also, 17% admitted checking while driving.

I know this is just one study with a somewhat limited sample size, but it fits the larger trend I see, which is that email is not dead. It continues to be the best marketing channel you can use to reach buyers and recommenders, even if they are millennials. :)

Here's a brief list of email marketing best practices:

  1. To maximize open rates
    1. Make your email content itself valuable and relevant. In other words, make your emails worth opening. :)
    2. Make sure the following elements are interesting and relevant to your audience: 1) the mobile phone preview of the email content 2) the subject line
    3. Use your human name on the FROM field of emails to your list
  2. To maximize engagement with your list
    1. Think of your emails as episodes of a popular television show. Be very consistent about when and how often you email your list.

    2. Focus your emails on problems and needs that are relevant and important to your list.

    3. Again, provide value. Education is one way to provide value, but do not ignore the value of entertainment. On a somewhat recent survey of the 100 most trusted people in America, 7 of the top 10 are entertainers, Bill and Melinda gates are #7 and #9, and Maya Angelou is #5. The highest-ranking politician in terms of trust is at  li.li1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 22.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000}span.s1 {font: 12.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: 0px #000000}span.s2 {font-kerning: none}

      #24 (Jimmy Carter), the highest-ranking judge is at #43 (Stephen Breyer), and the highest-ranking religious personality is at #67 (Billy Graham). There's a lesson in there for anyone using email marketing. :)

    4. Treat your list members like the intelligent people they are, not like numbers to "convert" at any cost.

    5. Have an opinion or a stance on stuff your list cares about, and be polarizing but not harsh.

There are more best practices, but let me just point you to a recent Dev Shop Marketing Briefing with more: /dev-shop-marketing-briefings/dsmb-email-marketing-mindset/

Talk to you soon,

If your dev shop got fewer than 10 leads last week, you need to take this free email course -->