Email Marketing is Bad

To me, the term “email marketing” used to be right up there with home phones and TV antennas. “Oh, you need email marketing? Sure thing. Let me drive my horse to work and stamp that up for you on my printing press.” This mentality was only reinforced by never learning about it in school. I majored in advertising, so I was learning about billboards, television, Bill Bernbach and Marlboro. I wasn’t learning about email marketing. I wasn’t even learning about email. Why would I? It was something I needed for school, to log into things. It was something my dad used for work. It was something that people got viruses from. It was boring, and I wasn’t learning about it.

It Turns Out Email Marketing is Really Important.

It’s surprising that I never learned about the strategies involved in email marketing. I never learned about workflows, newsletters, or subject lines. However, now that I’ve been in the professional industry for a while, email is the one thing everyone uses to communicate. Yeah, you have stuff like Slack and Teamwork to coordinate groups and teams. But what do clients use – to talk to each other and other… Well, clients? It’s email.

So, if all these professionals in all these different industries have email accounts, why aren’t more businesses marketing through email? It seems far less expensive than television or billboards. The ROI is there – with services like HubSpot and MailChimp – you can see who opened your email, clicked it, where they went after, what they did. You can track people’s preferences and habits in the most non-invasive way. You can’t do that with a magazine ad. You don’t know how many people are listening to your radio spot and, of those people, how many made a purchase because of it. You can send out a survey asking them, but that sounds even more dated than a home phone. Plus, nobody is going to fill it out unless you give them something. Why would they – it’s just spam.

Spam. Junk.

Most email accounts have a folder that’s labeled one these because that’s what most people get: spam, junk, and trash. The way I used to think about email marketing isn’t unique. I was not an outlier assuming it was just another platform to be bombarded with things you don’t want. I was not alone in this thought, but I was wrong.

Email marketing has a bad reputation. It has been around forever and misused so many times that it now seems like a dead horse beating another dead horse. The key – just like every other platform – is to use it correctly. Email is what professionals around the world use to communicate, so it’s fertile soil for brand growth. However, just like television and billboards, there’s a lot of noise.

Just like any platform, if you don’t do something different, you are bound to blend into that noise. You’re going to perpetuate the notion that email marketing is dated and pointless. You have to stand out. You have to speak to people like people. And, if you see everyone moving in one direction, you have to head in the opposite one.


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