The Death of Email Marketing: Fact or Fiction?

On December 21, 2012, the world was supposed to end.

An ancient Mayan prophecy had predicted that a “mysterious planet” would collide with Earth on this date bringing the end to civilization as we know it.

Of course, as we all know, the clock did hit 12:01am on December 22nd and the earth and all of civilization was still alive and kicking… phew!

Of course, this was just the latest “end time” prediction that has come and gone over the years. The only thing for sure is that there will be another such prediction coming soon.

Well, just like these end time predictions, the “Death of Email” has also been predicted over and over again by all kinds of “experts” for the last decade.

The “experts” predicted…

“Spam will kill the email marketing industry.”

In the early days of the New Millenium, you might recall logging into your Hotmail account and seeing 200+ spam messages waiting for you…. ugh. Wasn’t that painful?

The experts at that time predicted that the “Spam Epidemic” would annihilate the email marketing industry.

But, amazingly, email marketing lived on.

“Spam blockers and filters will kill the email marketing industry.”

In response to this spam problem, we saw the emergence of all types of sophisticated spam filters and blockers designed to keep those bottom-feeding spammers out of your inbox. Of course, the big concern was that all of the credible email messages would be filtered out as well.

But surprisingly, email marketing lived on.

“RSS will replace email.”

In and around 2003, there was lots of talk about the exciting development of RSS (Real Simple Syndication) Feeds that would completely revolutionize the way to we communicate on the web. It was a cool technology that was never fully adopted as a communication tool by the non-geek population. In fact, in the last few weeks, Google shut down their RSS Reader program.

Email marketing prevailed once again.

“Social Media will replace email.”

In 2006, Facebook took the world by storm with a Social Network that quickly grew to unparallelled size. Twitter followed suit in 2007.  At that time, experts predicted that Social Networking would completely replace the need for email and traditional inboxes would become obsolete.

Well, the ironic part is that social networks like Facebook actually depend on their email notification system to feed messages to our inboxes to make sure we don’t miss social media conversations.

So, to officially put the debate to rest… email marketing is very much alive and well, and continues to be the most profitable marketing channel for virtually any online business today.

There are basically FOUR key reasons why email marketing lives on today…

1.  Almost every person visits their email inbox daily.

Currently Facebook has over 1 billion members. Statistics show that about 50% (500 million) login to Facebook on a daily basis. With email, almost 100% of the population will visit their inbox daily.

2. There is NO other tool that gets right into people’s personal inboxes like email.

Believe it or not, people have a very personal relationship with their email inbox. When you get permission into their personal space to send them an email, there is power!

I don’t know about you, but I have lots of “acquaintances” on Facebook that I connect with sporadically, but those with access to my inbox tend to include my trusted friends, colleagues and credible blogs and publications I subscribe to.

Your email inbox is a much more coveted and profitable piece of real estate than your Facebook Newsfeed.

3. There is WAY more control with email over other communication channels.

When you post a status update in Facebook, you can’t control where you will show up on a fan’s Newsfeed or even if you’ll show up at all. With Twitter, you are one of a gazillion tweets that are bogging down people’s streams and it is often very hard to get noticed.

But, email is different.

If you have established a trusted relationship with your email subscriber and have gained permission into their personal inbox, you can be certain your email will get way more visibility than other marketing channels.

There is simply no other medium that enables you to reach out and communicate like email. You don’t have to wait for the prospect to come to you, email allows you to reach out and initiate the interaction.

4. Email still remains the most powerful marketing channel available today.

The facts don’t lie.

A 2012 study from Exact Target revealed that Email is the #1 way to reach potential customers and influence their buying decisions.


As you can see here, 66% of online Americans polled made a purchase based on an email they received.

That was three times the number of those that purchased something from a Facebook message or ad. Even text messaging fell way below the response of good old email!

So, there you have it…. just as the human race survived the Ancient Mayan Prophecy, email marketing continues to live on.

Of course, no one can be certain how long email will last, but for now email list building and marketing continues to be the most profitable activity for your business here in 2013!

What’s your experience been with marketing via email vs Facebook?

The Jeff Walker Team

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