Is Email still an Effective Marketing Tool?

The main digital marketing tool that I have focused on throughout the year has been the use of social media platforms. They are without a doubt the current trend within this digital age, and I have solely focused on this method when carrying out my own digital marketing strategy. This led me to wonder whether the “traditional” email method still has a part to play in this social driven, Google powered world we now live in? This answer is yes! Many academics and practitioners still believe that email marketing is still the most effective method regarding digital marketing, so lets find out why.

Email is not dead!!
Email is not dead!!

How to get the most out of your Email Marketing campaign

Pavlov et al. (2008) state that email marketing is a legitimate, lucrative and widely used marketing tool. The word that stands out here is “lucrative”. According to a census carried out by E-Consultancy (2015) the revenue generated by email has increased proportionately by 28% in the last year. In recent years, the ROI that is generated from email marketing has reduced, but it is still ranked as the most profitable tool available to businesses. Pavlov et al. (2008) do go on to point out that it is in danger of being overrun by spam mail, which may be a contributing factor for this reduction, as well as the increased us of other marketing tools available.

The effectiveness of email is primarily because it is permission-based. The consumers on business’s email list have given the go-ahead to send them emails. This means that they’ve already bought in to the business and want to find out more. I have put together few measures businesses may consider when executing their email campaign:

1. Add a personal touch
Personalization can go a long way. On the whole, the research I have found suggests that recipients read the email for a longer period of time with emails included the recipients name than those that didn’t. It attracts their attention and makes then feel more valued as a customer. This doesn’t work for everyone however, so alternatively you can look at consumers previous purchases and offer them alternatives or add-ons, showing your appreciation for there previous purchases.

2. Write a “killer” subject line
It’s all well and good having a fancy, well-designed email, but recipients will not click on it unless the subject line looks interesting and worth their time. It should include enough information in order to entice them, but not too long that they lose interest straight away.

3. Clear call to action
There must be a point to the email. It must be clear to recipients as to what they need to do next. Each email must only include one call to action or else the recipient may become confused as to what you want from them.

4. Time of the Day
Believe it or not, but the time in which a business sends an email to their consumers has a huge effect on whether they chose to open it or not. The Quarterly Email Report by Experian (2015) suggests the best open rate was between 8pm to midnight. This is probably due to the fact that this is the time of day when most people are back from work and are ready to relax. In addition to this, research also shows that the weekend is the best time to send emails, as this is presumably where most people have more free time to check their emails.

Mobile is changing the game

It is suggested that the biggest change to face email is peoples increasing reliance on smartphones and other handheld devices. The email testing tool provider Litmus (2015) reported that 53% of all emails were opened on some sort of mobile device.

With this change, businesses need to make their emails compatible for mobile devices. The layout is critical; it needs to be easy on the eye of users so that they can take action within seconds. Campaign Monitor suggest 4 things to consider when creating an email compatible for mobile devices:

• Single-column layouts – Making it easier to read for users.
• Links – The links on the email should be bold and easy to click.
• Font Size – It needs to be big enough so users can read it and so you message can be put across clearly.
• Concise Message – The main point of the email must be concise and at the top of the email. Failure to do so may result in users disregarding the email. You must make it easy for the user!

Furthermore, here is a fantastic journal article that is definitely worth a read, highlighting the importance of email going mobile.

Email Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing

Davaney and Stein (2013) suggest that too many businesses are loosing out by forgetting the importance of email marketing. They stress the importance of incorporating both email and social media into your digital marketing strategy, as it is the most effective way to market your business. Simms Jenkins, CEO of BrightWave Marketing agrees with this, stating that each method offers different benefits to businesses. As explained above, email generates a better ROI, and as Jenkins stated, “on emails people want offers”. Whereas on social media users want to be “more touchy-feely with the brand…they want breaking news and updates”. Email is more aimed at targeting specific groups within your email list, whereas social media works best at engaging users and promoting a positive brand image. Therefore you simply cannot choose one or the other if you want to outperform your competitors in the digital marketing world.

Here’s a great article by Forbes, putting forward their own points on why email marketing is still better than social media marketing.

Concluding Comments

So there we have it, I was wrong to dismiss this continuous force that is the Email when carrying out my own digital marketing strategy and in the words of Stansberry (2014), “you should be focusing on email marketing in a big way. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a restaurant or a shoe store, it should be one key part of your marketing strategy.”


Journal Articles

Pavlov, O., Melville, N. and Plice, R. (2008). Toward a sustainable email marketing infrastructure. Journal of Business Research, 61(11), pp.1191-1199.

Online Resources

E-consultancy, (2015). Email remains the best digital channel for ROI. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 May 2015].

Experian, (2015). Email Marketing Benchmark Study Q3 2014 | Experian Marketing Services. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 May 2015].

Kaplan, M. (2015). Email Still Effective Marketing Tool?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 May 2015].

Stansberry, G. (2014). Why Email Is Still One of the Most Effective Marketing Tools Around. [Online] OPEN Forum. Available at: [Accessed 16th May. 2015].

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