Is Email Dead?

I often hear clients asking me  “Is email dead as a channel?”.

My answer to that is an emphatic YES.

Pat comes the next question – “Then how do CRMs work? Are they not all about Email? If email is dead, how will CRMs work”

I answer – an emphatic NO.

CRMs should be more – a lot more than just an email engine. Its the repository of your business database – the key digital asset for any business.

They are not only Email Engines. They can be used to send emails, but thats not  their primary function.

But lets address the question about Emails….

Why do people say that emails are dead?

Emails to our clients are still, and will remain for some time, the primary mode of communication for most businesses. Its not going away anywhere.

Whether sales email are dead – well I think so.

Google brought AI assisted email segmentation and created the Promotion Folder.

AOL also went the same way.

Office 365 and Outlook based filters are notorious in pushing even conversation emails into junk….

Forbes mentions this in a great post.

One of the standard double opt in messages is “In case you do not find our email in your inbox, check your junk or spam folder” Really….?

Effectively, all email engines have resigned to the fact that over 50% of all emails which originate from their IPs are going into spam. Its a hard hitting fact, but its true.

The bottom line is that “Blind Blast email is dead”

Whats the solution then? What about the millions invested in making workflows, the content creation engines, the delivery platforms etc?

All that is now a nought??

What I strongly believe now is that emails as a supporter of a Sales engine are dead. Dead as in DEAD.

The overuse, the mad rush to send email blasts for everything, the unending email barrage which potential customers were getting with the hope of casting a wider net had killed the medium as a sales engine. Even good content oriented towards a sales message is not producing results anymore.

The same however can not be said for using this as a Marketing engine. There is a difference between being a sales engine and a marketing engine. Its subtle, but very pertinent.

The way I see many businesses use email as a channel to communicate with their prospects is NOT the way they should. Email – which was a one to one or a one to many “communication channel”  has been turned into a sales engine over the last few decades. That as a system is now failing.

How should emails be used ?

Emails are to be used as an information channel that drives a subtle point of engagement. Get a response – either through an email or through some other channel.

These channels are what make emails so indispensable. There reasons why I still believe that emails are really valuable as a Marketing Channel are :

  • Its Free, or almost – Gmail, Yahoo, Aol and almost all CRMs offer you free email service.
  • Its a one to one or a one to many communication medium. You can send a simple message to multiple people with the same effort it takes to send to one. Easy as is.
  • Its conversational and leads to people responding. You can elicit a response from a prospect if you have crafted a good message. Its often the start of a great conversation.

Emails are useful, effective and cheap.

All we need to do is to start using them properly.

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