Be reassured, I am not going to start saying that email is dead or this kind of stuff.
I am myself spending hours per day on my emails. It's probably the first thing I do when waking up and the last when I go to bed. I check emails during breakfast, while walking to work, etc... way to much to be honest.
I could argue that I have a job that requires me to be responsive at all times and that all those emails/requests are business critical but still... way too much time spent on emails.
Now, this stands true for my "work email inbox". My personal inbox is a totally different story and is the focus of that article
So, I don’t know for you, but for me, reading emails means scanning through my inbox to identify the actual valuable ones. Reason is, most of those emails are not only not worth reading but not even worth deleting.
The most frustrating is when I miss an important email because it is drown in an ocean of pointless marketing emails.
This is why, every once in a while, usually every 1-2 months, I go through an unsubscribe exercise across my inbox.
I observe in those moments how much junk I have accumulated and I am not talking here about my spam folder but of my main personal inbox.
And as I go through this exercise, I realise how few I have actually opened. As a matter of fact, I have maybe opened 5 emails the last month that wasn’t a bill or something of the sort.
And that's when it stroke me: I mainly use my personal inbox to receive my gas/electricity bills, bank statements, online purchases confirmations and invoices.
So what about the rest? why aren't they hitting the mark and what's my reasons for unsubscribing?
Certainly, some exceptions exist. Those are notably the ones that I proactively subscribed to in order to get good and valuable content with benefits to me, the reader.
But even though I open them, do I actually read them? Not really to be honest.
They are usually 5-10min long to read and 95% of the time I say to myself that I’ll come back to it later, which of course I don’t. The positive thing though is, because they are valuable, I don’t unsubscribe and the company sending them is staying top of mind for me. And whenever I have a block of time, I might venture on their site/blog or on my RSS aggregator to consume their latest articles. In that case it's typically me pulling the information as opposed to the company pushing it to me, in case I might be interested.
So, with the above in mind, when I read across many articles that "Email is the most performing marketing channel of all", I have a hard time relating to it looking at how limited value I get from my personal inbox.
Now, when I go through those studies in more details:
Then, if we talk about work email, yes, that's aligned to my experience.
So what happened with my personal inbox? we used to be so close but now so distant...
My take on that is that few years ago, people were still using emails to stay in touch with their acquaintances and had reasons to look at their emails.
Nowadays, facebook, linkedin, skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp and many others are preferred to emails as a mean of communication. Even my mother is all on Wechat & facetime... Now my mother might be an exception but I guess that it's just a matter of time till she's not anymore."Not fit for purpose"
Another important reason: the fact that my inbox doesn't have a clear purpose. It's all mixed up!!
When I want to talk to friends/family, I use skype/facetime.
When I want to message people then whatsapp/wechat/facebook/linkedin are my preferred channels.
When I want to talk sport or show off on my latest performance, I go to Strava.
When I want to watch beautiful pictures from my friends I have instagram.
When I want to watch videos on a specific topic that's youtube.
In a nutshell, my eyeballs are less and less on my personal inbox and increasingly on other real estates.
So if you want to reason with me and prevent me from unsubscribing once I have consumed your "lead magnet", here are few tips: