Remember That Time Everyone Said Email is Dead?

Last verified Jul 13, 2020

It’s 2015, but email is still humming along smoothly. With reports of its decline starting as early as 2009, email has long been the punching bag for media, venture capitalists, and founders. Yet, in the B2B space, email still reigns supreme. 51% of B2B marketers cite email as their most effective lead generation tactic. McKinsey reports state that email is 40x more effective in acquiring customers than Facebook or Twitter- combined. So even while email has seen a decline in its share of time spent on communication, it arguably has increased in value due to its effectiveness. At Guru, we believe in the evolution of email, and for good reason too (us being integrated into gmail, for one).

Email not Optimized for Collaboration

A big misconception today is that email should be used for all kinds of communication. Many apps like Slack, Trello, and Hackpad have revolutionized how teams collaborate and communicate internally. They have successfully shifted tasks that email previously was used for (internal messaging, to-do lists, and collaborative editing, respectively) and replaced them with stand alone apps. As a result, our workflows have adapted. We now know to update our team in Slack and prioritize tasks in Trello, reducing our inbox clutter in the process. However, now there is a disconnect between these apps that are trying to replace email and the business purpose of it today.

While these apps are great for internal communication purposes, they cannot overtake communications in external, professional relationships. Founders who have “banned” email, have even resigned to the fact that they could not completely replace it for external communications. Email has maintained its professional image and will continue to be used to communicate with potential and active customers due to its convenience and ubiquity.

Email Marketing Still has the Highest ROI

In our world dominated by the stream, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find the signal amongst the noise. We all know the feeling of trying to keep up with our Twitter stream, but never quite getting all the way through. With the average half life of a tweet being 24 minutes, missing important news is actually very easy. As a result, email newsletters that aggregate relevant content and tell us what we should be paying attention to, have seen a huge rebirth. In a survey of 940 global executives, 60% use email as their primary news source.

From a marketing perspective, email is continuing to add value as well. 60% of marketers say email marketing is bringing them positive ROI. Contrast that with social media marketing, where 52% say they have difficulties in accurately measuring the ROI of social channels. A key to that difference is the ability to customize your message to each individual in email marketing efforts. Social media marketing can cast a wide net, but will they even see your content (much less click through) amongst the sea of other content your competitors are producing?

Conversion rates for email have proven to consistently outperform both Search and Social combined. So with this in mind, how can we go about further improving email?

An Emergence of Apps that Augment Email

Even with internal messaging apps and more targeted email newsletters reducing the clutter of your inbox, it still can feel like a black hole.

  • The average business user sends and receives a total of 114 emails per day

  • 28% of the workweek (11 hours) is devoted to checking and answering emails

  • Average time to locate a document in email is 2 minutes

Apps such as Accompli (recently acquired by Microsoft) and Inbox from Google have exploded in popularity because they automatically filter email for you based on your previous interactions with your inbox. While you are working these apps are running in the background, augmenting your email experience. Imagine if these apps just save you 30 seconds per email. That would equate to 57 minutes of time saved per day (given the 114 emails you send and receive per day). The productivity benefit of apps that can augment your email becomes clear once you quantify the time saved.

We know that email stresses you out. The bad news is, it’s not going anywhere yet. But the good news is now you can have the tools necessary to fight against the clutter of your inbox.