Email Marketing Isn’t Dead, but Old Practices Have Become Obsolete

WM Circle Logo

By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on August 26, 2021

It’s true that talks about the demise of email marketing have been going on for quite some time. “Social media is taking over”, “other marketing channels are more efficient” and numerous similar myths have been circling around.

The reality however is different! Nobody is pulling the plug on email just yet. Despite the obvious rise of social media in our everyday lives, people still receive emails in their inboxes and they expect it more than ever. The email remains the “king” among digital marketing channels driving a tremendous ROI for businesses.

What seems to be dead (or obsolete, to be exact) are the strategies used and the email marketing methodology followed by some businesses!

The Truth About Email Marketing

While email marketing is not something new, it’s still alive and kicking and far from dead according to the numbers. Specifically, according to recent statistics, email is an integral part of our daily online life. The number of global e-mail users in 2020 amounted to four billion and that number is expected to grow to 4.6 billion users in 2025.

To put things into perspective, 3.6 billion people used social media in 2020. So, there are more people using email than social media.

What’s even more interesting is the fact that the trend towards mobile devices has also affected emails, and almost 50% of total email opens occurred through mobile devices. So, people can effortlessly check their email even away from their PCs.

As for the email’s effectiveness as a channel, 47% of marketers agreed that it is the most effective marketing channel, followed by social media marketing (39%), SEO (33%), and content marketing (33%).

What’s also changed throughout the years is the affordability and functionality of email marketing services. The market is now full with robust tools with advanced features, while their pricing is affordable even for start-ups and small businesses. Some of the top email newsletter software right now can be found here.

These tools offer drag-and drop email builders, meaning that you can create professional-looking emails without struggle. Moreover, you get pre-made email newsletter templates that help you save crucial time, while also being mobile-responsive.

Additionally, studies evidenced that companies turned to three key communication channels as a response to the pandemic, with email coming second after live chat. This shows how vital email is in the digital marketing world we live in today.

Now let’s dive into some engagement statistics to see if we can further validate our point.


Engagement rates are probably even more important than usage and reach, since if people were ignoring emails, it wouldn’t matter whether the whole world uses them or not.

Specifically, the average open rate for email newsletters across all industries is at 21.33%, while the other vital metric, the click-through rate, is at 2.6%. And this is great news!

Social media on the other hand have lower engagement rates. Looking at Facebook statistics, the average engagement rate for a Facebook post is 0.27%. Similarly, Instagram and Twitter manage to achieve an average engagement rate per post of 1.73% and 0.046% respectively.

These results are disappointing to say the least, compared to marketing emails which are “supposedly” dead.

However, this happens also due to the fact that social media platforms have altered their algorithms so that organic reach is limited. Of course, that is an attempt to persuade more brands into paid social media advertising, to achieve the desired results.

Return on Investment (ROI)

One of the key factors deciding the success of any marketing tactic is ROI. When it comes to email marketing, it is understandable that there is the need to invest some of your budget for the proper tools as we said before, and some businesses might be worried about it.

Moreover, you’ll need to invest time and money to create high-quality content or employ other people to do it for you. As a result, brands want to know whether email marketing has the potential to drive conversions and increase the company’s revenue.

According to recent data, the good news again is that email as a channel delivers an impressive ROI of about $48 for every $1 spent.

This means that not only is the email not being replaced just yet, but it is also the primary channel for both marketers and consumers when it comes to communications across all stages in the customer lifecycle.

Additionally, as Kate Barrett, the founder of eFocus Marketing says, the email “is the pivotal channel on which our omni-channel strategy should be built around” if we want to satisfy our customers’ needs and deliver the appropriate message at the right time.

So, the future of marketing practically needs the solid foundations of the email marketing channel.

Now, let’s take a look at the essential strategies for successful email marketing. Email blasts and email list purchasing should stay in the past!

Email Marketing Best Practices

As mentioned before, email marketing can deliver an impressive return on investment on one condition, that it is done right and some best practices are followed. Let’s see the three most prominent ones:

#1 Build an Engaged List

Buying an email list isn’t going to do any good and it should be strictly avoided. Not only do you not get value from purchasing a random list, but also the people you’re sending marketing campaigns to didn’t opt-in to receive them in the first place. So, this is an infringement of their data or GDPR rules, in any case.

What you should do is ensure you’re building a list of engaged subscribers through your website’s signup forms. Provide incentives for people to join your newsletter (in the case of an ecommerce store, for example) or alternatively provide real value to your subscribers by sharing useful knowledge or providing solutions to their pain points.

In some cases, it’s also a good idea to encourage newsletter subscriptions by giving away free materials (an ebook, checklist, etc) that your audience can use immediately in exchange for their email address.

#2 Properly Segment Your Audience

The power of email marketing lies in its ability to deliver personalized experiences to the right people at the right time. To do so, you need to carefully segment your audience based on the data you’ve collected about them.

Without segmentation, your campaigns will feel “impersonal” and they won’t manage to convert your audience. Email marketing tools allow customer segmentation based on various criteria ranging from demographics to behavioral data and action-based triggers.

It comes as no surprise that segmented email campaigns yield 100.95% higher click-through rates in comparison with non-segmented campaigns.

#3 Craft Eye-Catching Subject Lines

Subject lines can make or break the open rates of your email campaigns. It is the central element over which your email is based. If it fails to attract attention or interest the user, then your open rates will plummet.

Use clear and concise subject lines that immediately state the value of opening your email. Moreover, be sure to use emojis to make your subject lines stand out from the rest. Peak your subscribers interest and make them want to open your email!


Email marketing is far from dead. It is the most profitable among the marketing channels and an irreplaceable foundation for a multi-channel or omni-channel marketing approach. If businesses steer clear of bad practices and invest in the proper tools, email marketing is a guaranteed way to bring more conversions to a business regardless of its size.