Is Email Marketing Dead? Not Even Close…

10th March 2022

Here’s a great story courtesy of MailChimp.

“In 1978, a marketing manager at Digital Equipment Corp named Gary Thuerk used this new method of direct communication to send out the first commercial email to let people know about a new product. His email list only had 400 addresses, but the emails he sent resulted in about $13 million in sales.”

This was only 7 years after the first email ever was sent in 1971, and being the first person to do anything in marketing is a pretty incredible feat. Nowadays, more than half the world’s population has an email account – and most of them are more than happy for the brands they love to take up space in their inbox.

Email marketing is an all-encompassing term for sending promotional and commercial emails to a list of subscribers who have given you permission to do so. This includes newsletters, updates on special offers and events, welcome emails, abandoned cart emails, order confirmations, delivery updates and lots more.

You Can’t Argue With Facts: Email Marketing in Numbers

Email marketing often takes a back seat to the ever-present social media marketing, but it’s still a major player in the mix. I am a big fan of email marketing, and by the end of this post, I hope you will be too!

There were 4 billion emails users in 2020, with about a 3% increase each year. In comparison, there were 3.6 billion social media users in 2020, and these days we regularly see large numbers of people shifting to new platforms or giving up social media completely.

73% of millennials say email is their favourite way to receive communication from businesses.

44% of users check their emails to find deals from brands they like, compared to just 4% who would go to Facebook for a bargain.

Still not sold? How about this: email marketing has a return on investment (ROI) of 3800%. You’d be hard-pressed to find a figure like that anywhere else.

Turnhouse’s Top Tips for Great Email Marketing

1. Segment and Personalise

Segmentation is the process of separating your contacts based on a number of different factors. Personalisation is using those factors to engage people in a way that will resonate with them.

Here’s a very basic example. You sell candles, and you offer shipping across the UK. Your purchase process contains an opt-in form for your newsletter, so most of your past customers are on your mailing list, and you’ve segmented them geographically. Now you’re planning an event in Bristol, and you want to get the word out. It’s probably not worth sending that email to your customers in Edinburgh. I’m sure your candles are good, but they’re probably not ‘travel 400 miles to get one’ good. Especially if you can buy them online and get them shipped out. So we can send a personalised email along the lines of “Bristol customers, come to our event and make your candle dreams come true!”.

According to SendinBlue, there are four main types of segmentation.

  • Demographic – concrete information about who contacts are (e.g. age)

  • Psychographic – subjective characteristics of contacts’ personalities (e.g. values)

  • Behavioural – contacts’ past interactions with your business (e.g. abandoned cart)

  • Geographic – where contacts are located (e.g. timezone)

As you can see, these are pretty broad and the possibilities are vast. Revisit your email marketing goals to figure out what would be most beneficial for your business.

2. A/B Testing

Should I add that emoji to the subject line? How about another paragraph of copy – would that lead to more clicks? They say the little things can make a big difference. Luckily, A/B Testing helps you figure out which little things actually work.

A/B testing is a clever little tool that allows you to send two slightly different campaigns to your audience. Then you can look at the data and find out which performed better, and use this knowledge to make better decisions in the future.

As business owners, we feel like we have to have all the answers. But sometimes A/B testing can prove our hypotheses wrong. Don’t be disheartened – instead, think of it as an opportunity to learn more about your customers.

Here are a few things you can A/B test:

  • Subject line – (long or short, emojis or no emojis)

  • Content – (more or less copy, more or fewer images)

  • CTAs – (how many, where are they placed)

  • Schedule – (day of the week, time of day)

3. Clear Out Your List

Chances are, you’re paying for your email marketing provider per contact on your list, so make sure those people are worth it! If you haven’t used your list in a while, start with a retargeting campaign to draw people back in with an enticing offer. After a while, clear out any contacts that haven’t interacted with your emails at all. Make this a regular habit to ensure your list is always up to date.

4. Optimise for Mobile

Over 70% of people prefer to read emails on their mobile, so don’t forget to check the mobile version before hitting send. The good news is that 1 in 5 commercial emails are not optimised for mobile, so getting this right could help you stand out from the competition.

Here are a few things to consider before scheduling that campaign.

  • Mobile devices will show just 25-30 characters of a subject line, so keep it short or make sure your key points are included at the beginning.

  • Some email apps don’t show images by default, so think of any images as a bonus, rather than the main event.

  • Make your CTAs clear enough to show up on a small screen, and big enough to easily accommodate a tap from a fingertip.

  • Test before sending! Always send a test email and view it on as many devices as possible before you hit send.


GDPR legislation can feel super intimidating, but don’t be afraid. Essentially, its purpose is to give people more control over their data, and it certainly doesn’t spell the end of email marketing. If anything, it means those people who choose to give you their data are going to be even more engaged with your business, leading to a more valuable list.

A few things to consider here:

  • Make sure everyone on your list has given clear consent to be contacted by you, and keep evidence of this consent.

  • Only ask for the data you really need (this is important both for GDPR compliance and to maximise sign-ups, as a long form will put a lot of people off).

  • Use a reputable email marketing platform (MailChimp is great for beginners), and a lot of the complicated stuff will be taken care of for you.

Of course, by entrusting your email campaigns to Turnhouse, we can put all this into practice for you. Find out more about email marketing and the services we offer.


About Turnhouse Marketing

We help small businesses maximise their marketing potential. We offer strategic and implementation support across a range of disciplines to develop a marketing plan that works for you.

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