Is email marketing dead or just evolving and is it worth a company pursuing it as a digital marketing strategy?

Email marketing has been under intense scrutiny by the public and public bodies, as it has become increasingly more irritating in the eyes of the consumers with unsolicited and irrelevant emails flooding mailboxes every day. It is also difficult to avoid giving out an email address as any online business asks a consumer to sign up with a valid email address before purchase. There is also the tick to ‘opt out’ instead of ‘opt in’ boxes, which leads consumers to end up in email databases without sometimes realising it. So with this in consideration is it really worth a business using email marketing as a strategy?

This post will look into some of the main aspects that take effect on email marketing to assess whether they are still worth the time and energy for companies to introduce or continue doing.

Legal Restrictions

The increasingly irritated consumer has led to legal restrictions being put into practice that stop businesses from using an email address that has not been permitted to receive emails, using fraudulent means of getting email addresses e.g. harvesting from websites or routing information, creating false or misleading content, continuing to send emails after the opt out option has been requested, and regulate misleading subject lines and misleading as to where the email has been sent from. They must also be able to produce the permission for each individual account if requested, where the address was obtained from and some areas prohibit ‘spam’ altogether. This provides the insight into the only way to protect your company from email marketing legal restrictions, is to ensure they are permission based and honest in the communication of content (Freeman, Nemiroff & Zeltzer, 2003).

For a company already implementing email marketing or about to set out this could be a deterrence as it is so heavily regulated and likely to continue; so it is for the company to ensure they follow the rules in order to stay within the law but also have an effective email campaign. This may require more inventive ways or more expense to keep this form of marketing relevant to the company.


There is also the factor of whether your company is likely to receive good open rates for their emails as certain industries report differing success. Open rates for industries differ from 13% for voucher, daily deals and coupon companies and 29% for companies that relate to hobbies or lifestyle. This is a big difference as it shows certain industries can have more than twice the success in open rates, so therefore are closer to getting some form of return on investment through the emails. Some of the top industries that have the higher open rates out 47 industries researched are; sports, religion, photo and video, non-profit, home and garden, hobbies, government, and arts and artists. These industries all have a 25% or above open rate (Mail Chimp Research, 2015). This shows that it is worth investigating your industry before setting up an email initiative as you may decide it is not worth the time or investment from the average industry results.

However, it has been found that the size of the company does not make much of a difference to the open rates that range from 21-23%. This is a positive showing that the size of your company will not gain an advantage or disadvantage for open rates compared to other companies (ibid).

To check out the full list of industries, afore mentioned, and further information about the measurements of effectiveness in email please see the link below:


It is a common occurrence with today’s technology that most emails are opened over a mobile device, which has made text heavy emails illegible and difficult to read. This has had a major effect on email marketing and could be the reason for some industries, which rely on a rich source of information to get their message across, receiving a drop in open rates (Minsker, 2014). It is becoming increasingly important for companies to adapt and change to this technology as it has been found consumers scan emails rather than reading them (US News, 2015). This is even more important in a mobile format as it is difficult to read emails that have been designed to view on a computer screen (Minsker, 2014).

An example of how it should be adapted is below:

email marketing mobileSource: (ibid)


Here it shows how they have developed by being the right size and scale for the phone, as previously they had too much content to be legible. For an email to take notice they must have usability features designed specifically for mobile so that the recipients can scan in the same they normally do.

This post has examined some key features a company should consider before taking up an email marketing strategy as it is evolving due to legal restrictions and technology updates. The differences between industry results vary as well, so with that in mind the question to ask is; is the content your industry communicates going to be successful or suited to the new face of email marketing? If you believe it is you may be interested in a previous blog post exploring how to write successful emails. The link is below:


Freeman, R., Nemiroff, E., Zeltzer, A. (2003) Email Marketing: A Survey. The Licensing Journal. Vol. 23, No. 5, pg. 18.

Mail Chimp Research (2015) Email Marketing Benchmarks [Online] [accessed 30/04/2015]

Minsker, M (2014) The future of Email Marketing. CRM Magazine. Vol. 18, No. 2, pg. 24.

US News (2015) 8 tips for writing an email people will actually read. [Online] <> [accessed 14th February 2015]

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