Marketing Automation Consultant | Johan Claeys
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Why do businesses still use email?

Email has been widely accepted by business, governments and non-governmental organizations in the developed world, and it is one of the key parts of an 'e-revolution' in workplace communication.

In this post key-points are covered on why the use of e-mail can be your biggest ally when doing business online....  

Tip: Why do businesses still use email? - is also available as an ebook (pdf) for offline reading. 

Even the giants rely on email

Google, Amazon, Ebay, Microsoft - all know that they by building an email list can create a more focused and much stronger relationship with their subscribers and customers.
Email is used as their primary marketing channel for communicating with their customers.
Let me go on to show you why the use of e-mail can be your biggest ally when doing business online.


In this post we will look at the potential of email. How building your connections and relationships to potential customers through collecting e-mails has the potential to vastly strengthen both your focus and your business infrastructure.

We will consider how to get consent to email your contacts and look at the different ways that you can collect the e-mail addresses that you need, all the while ensuring that you get the consent of the owner. We will identify the pitfalls, those things you must avoid when trying to build up your email list. 

We will look at ways you can follow your contacts’ activities, and see what interests them as they click through your pages.  We will contrast email with social media. Show you why email stands heads above social platforms, but also how they can be used together.
Together we will see how to build and monitor email Campaigns. I will share with you how it is not complicated to design email Campaigns that can help you to truly focus on your business goals.

At the end of this I hope that you will agree with me that a qualified email address is ‘gold’. That email truly has the greater chance to result in responsive and active customers.
To my mind it is a shame that a lot of business owners with an online presence still focus on increasing their website visitor-ship or their social media following rather than putting energy into learning about the potential that email offers

Just Look at the numbers

  • Twitter > 328 million active users
  • Facebook > 2 billion active users
  • Email accounts 3.7 billion! (The Radicati)

With Twitter’s 328 million monthly active users and Facebook’s over 2 billion monthly active users, it’s tempting to believe that social media is the most effective way to reach the masses.

Yes, these are impressive numbers, but what is not so frequently shared are the statistics on email usage.

The total number of worldwide email accounts amounts to 3 point 7 billion! Nearly 54% of the entire planet is currently using email!

How does anyone today start their journey on the internet?

This might be surprising
But - yes - it all starts with email. Most internet journeys begin with your email address
The first thing you need to fully interact online is an email address! Without one you can’t sign up to any services like Amazon, Google, or Ebay. 

Even for social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube… - to join you need to register with an email address.

login social

Also, email has a very long reach! 90% of email gets delivered whereas only 2% of your Social followers even notice your posts!


Unless social posts are paid advertisements, 98% of your followers never see your posts in their News Feeds. And, you have no control over this! So you have no idea when - or even if - your communication will appear in your follower’s stream. (Numbers according to Forrester Research)

Let’s consider Social

Is Social worth it?

Over the past few years, many brands have invested lots of effort and money into building a large social following in order to be able to communicate and engage with an audience.

social media kubus

I wonder myself if it is wise to put so much business effort in channels that are controlled by third parties and have your marketing at the mercy of changes they make to their platform?
I say this because on social media platforms your organic reach decreases over time. I will explain…

There are issues with Social

Social platforms often change their ‘algorithm’ I say this because on social media platforms your organic reach decreases over time. 

diagram clock

Social platforms often change their algorithm. An algorithm is the reasoning method behind how their platforms work. Each algorithm change tends to leave you with far fewer views on your shared content than before.

Let’s do the maths to compare Facebook with email

Let’s do the maths. With 10,000 followers in Facebook, only around 200 would have a chance of seeing your message in their Facebook Newsfeed.

But if you sent an email campaign to 10,000 email subscribers at least 9000 of them would receive it in their inbox. 

Message seen in News Feed

Message seen in Mailbox


200 (2%)

10,000 email subscribers


9,000 (90%)

So, this means your message is 45X times more likely to be seen using email than Facebook. That’s quite impressive!

Another issue with Social...

Another issue with Social is that private messages on social platforms can look plain. Yes, you can share text, images, pictures and links, but you have absolutely no control over design, format and display.





Email is much more customisable

With email you have full control over the content, design and display of your email. So you can put more information in email without making the user experience too distracting.

email customisable

In the case of social media sites, you are stuck with the limited capabilities of the social platform you are using.

Let’s consider Campaigns

Is it like wine in the basement?


If you know how to qualify and customise your can turn your email lists into a valuable asset for your business......and segment them to focus your efforts.

Unlike social networks, where you send status updates to every follower regardless of their location, interests and purchase history, with email you are in control because you can decide to which segments you are going to send each message.

Building up an email list is thus a stable long-term investment that will pay off for many years to come.

Just like your wine in your basement!

Campaigns can reflect gender or geography

Campaigns can reflect gender or geography. If your business is using an automation solution, - like ActiveCampaign - you no longer need to import and export data into spreadsheets.

You can sort, filter and even group contacts that share characteristics and exhibit similar behaviours straight from within the solution. 

The built in campaign builder will help you create email campaigns that best suit your message. 

Women Jacket

women jacket

Men Wetsuit


For example, if you know the gender and geographical location of contacts you could ensure that females in Europe received a promotion about ski jackets during their winter months while males in South Africa received one about wetsuits during their summer months. 

Different mailing campaigns can be sent to appropriate lists

Different mailing campaigns can be sent to appropriate lists. You can laser-target your communications.

The more data you collect about your contacts through a marketing automation tool the more relevant you can be. 


A campaign builder increases the overall Return-On-Investment of your email marketing campaigns as you focus and target your email campaigns to maximise relevance and minimise annoyance.

Delivering highly personalised and relevant messages is the ultimate driver for click-throughs and conversions! Something called A/B testing can further improve your messages, identifying the best wording and images for each campaign.

Tweaking & testing your Campaigns

Outcome of Campaigns : Split Testing

Split Testing is all about improving the performance of your campaigns. Which day of the week leads to higher open rates?


What subject lines are most effective? Should you use a different name in the "From" field? Does sending time influence click rate? Will the use of different templates, content, or calls to action affect subscriber engagement?


Decide what type of test you’d like to run, and determine the size of your sample groups. Start with 3 variations on each test, using different content, send times, and more.

Perform the test and see which option worked best. The winning campaign from the A/B test will be executed on the remainder portion of your list that didn’t receive the test.

Testing for mobile


Remember to test your campaigns on Mobile too. Mobile is today the preferred method of opening email. More than >50% of email opens are made on a mobile client. Almost half of adult cell phone users receive and respond to email on their cell phone. Fully read email is more common on mobile.

Email reader apps are included as standard with smartphones. Always test email campaigns to make sure that they can be accessed from mobile or desktop devices. 

Always test your “campaigns” for mobile! Check mobile first !

  • >50% email opens are on a mobile
  • >50% adults respond mail on mobile 
  • Larger Attention Span 
  • Smartphone reader apps are standard 

A good email system allows you to monitor outcomes of campaigns

A good email system allows you to monitor outcomes of campaigns.

You can see the percentage of emails that were delivered and the percentage that were opened and also the percentage of links that were clicked.

The Click-through Rate is a metric that shows real engagement. It shows whether your email campaign is nudging people into action.


The Conversion Rate is another important metric and measures the percentage of successfully delivered emails that resulted in sales, signups or the specific action your emails were intended elicit.


Email will be around forever…

Email will be around forever… Social Media platforms come and go - Google+, MySpace, Digg, Blab, Vine, Orkut, Hyves and Friendster are all gone.


Imagine if you’d invested significant amounts of time and money building an audience on any of these social platforms, only to find it a ghost town just a year or two later! The impact on your ability to reach and engage potential customers would be catastrophic.

… and email outstrips other marketing media. In my opinion, investing in email - unlike building a social media following - is a stable long-term investment that will pay off for many years to come.

Sharing is caring - Click to tweet this message

Email - unlike building a social media following - is a stable long-term investment that will pay off for many years to come. #intelliweb

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Email has been around since the beginning of the internet and isn’t going anywhere… and it outstrips other marketing media.


Email is a much more professional medium and people expect to receive information about products and services through that channel.

In fact, a 2015 study by Marketing Sherpa showed that 72 percent of people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media.
In my opinion, by using emails, you will have a greater chance to build a responsive and active customer base.

About the Author Johan Claeys

I am a fluent multilingual Digital Automation Specialist, focused on listening to needs in terms of digital marketing. Interfacing with clients to help them with their online marketing, working with the client to nurture their customers via robust systems for collecting and managing emails. Via carefully thought-out Lists, Tagging and Automations helping to turn a jumble of emails into a valuable Contact Directory where contact is maintained without spamming.

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