Is Email Dead?

Many have made the suggestion that email is dead, yet in 2021, more emails than ever before are being delivered


Ben Shelley

2 years ago | 4 min read

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Email has been around for years. Used to death, relentless, never-ending. Email is always there, at the backs of ours minds to provide us with instant access to updates from the brands and people we love. It is the constant in our lives, as whilst social media will come and go, email has endured.


I check my emails twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, yet read only 1% of them. The rest end up in the bin, unread and unloved, the subject lines not resonating with me. They could contain the most amazing content in the world, yet with little money to spend and most of what I want already purchased, I have no need to read on.

It’s not that these emails are not well written, as many of them may be, it is simply that I get so many and have no real need in life. I have everything that I need and whilst a new Pikachu lamp may entertain for a while, it will not sustain my interest and therefore, I would rather save the money.

I could attempt to unsubscribe from the emails yet that only works half of the time. What I mean by this is that I employed unsubscribe me once before, yet somehow, I ended up back on their lists the next week.

Now, this is most likely an illegal manoeuvre but I simply cannot be bothered to make the complaint and fill in all those forms, only to be told I have actually been contacted legally under some random sub-clause of GDPR. With this in mind, I simply continue to highlight all and delete.


Every Marketer uses email in some way shape or form. Whether that is through targeted campaigns or emailing suppliers/guests for an event you are showing, you use email. Every day, always there, never-ending.

Despite the bells being rung and the industry leaders declaring that email is dead, it is still here. Pushing on and placing all of those doubters to the side of the road. It is an ancient form of communication but one that is still prevalent on the world stage.

According to, nearly 307 billion emails were delivered across the world every day in 2020 and by 2025 this figure is set to top 375 billion a day.

It is a significant number and one that is set to continue growing and so whilst many have wanted to phase out email, it is still a top marketing tool.

The problem is that with so many emails being delivered by so many different brands, click through rates are now measured in very small percentages. For example, if you delivered 1,000 emails to your audience and you receive a 1% click-through rate, then this is deemed to be above average. For every 1,000 emails that you send, maybe one potential customer will click your link and later on, get in touch with you.

Measuring Success

For a couple of days of work (researching the email, the user journey and creating any associated content) you may receive one click in every thousand emails that are delivered. It is a little depressing.

In a similar fashion to a long term relationship that has lost its allure yet you cannot bring yourself to move on from, email success is hard to earn, yet easy to deliver.

With email, you are able to reach thousands of potential clients instantly. Some addresses will bounce and some will unsubscribe but the odds are that at least 90% of those you deliver your message to will receive it. From that 90%, a handful will engage and then at least one or two of them will contact you for further information, potentially securing the sale.

Email is continually employed as a marketing channel as it does work. You will receive the odd sale but your success criteria have to be greatly lowered in order to not get frustrated.

Rather than 10 to 25% click-throughs and emails asking for demonstration you will receive less than 1% back in return. For a million emails delivered you would therefore receive 10,000 responses, ranging from purchase orders and requests for more information to general feedback.

It is a very one-sided relationship with the potential customer holding all of the power, yet as no other form of communication is as regularly used, we carry on.

The Power of the 1%

When you really think about it, we are moving on from the era of mass communication and into that of the niche. The empowerment of audiences to choose what they listen to and what brands they want to invest in and tune out all of the rest. With so many voices screaming in our ears, the 21st century has provided us with the opportunity to mute that which is unimportant.

We are masters of our own destiny and whilst that may initially appear a little depressing for marketers, it is not. We can do the same.

We can now focus our efforts on the 1% of the world that wants to buy what we are selling and therefore provide a better service to those we serve, rather than dilute our offering to those who don’t want or need us.

If every company has 1% and focused on them, serving them and ensuring that the service provided is the best that it can be, then the world would be a better place. Loyalty and long term value would be prioritised over short term growth and diluted product pools.

A Final Thought

Email is not dead. It is the simple yet effective communication tool that millions of us use every second of the day. It is universal and has been used for years to appeal to the mass, yet now, in 2021 it is the mass that is dead.

Email still has its uses yet it is continually misappropriated. It is used to appeal to as many people as possible and that should be the first port of call but after you have delivered your first campaigns and found your niche, those that have clicked through and asked for more information should be focused on.

This is what email should be used for. To find your niche and then deliver information to them. Offer value, not be greedy and continually use it in the attempt to offer more services to more people who have no interest in what you are selling.


Created by

Ben Shelley

#husband #marketer #writer #runner #reader #travel







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