When Oprah has 16 million Twitter followers, and your mother is waiting for you to accept her friend request on Facebook, surely we are officially in the age of Web 2.0? Perhaps not. In 2011, roughly 43% of online adults used social networking sites everyday. However, email proved to be more popular still, being the daily habit of 61% of the same group.
The same study showed that 89% of those same internet users are sending or reading email, the highest percentage of the study.
Whether at work or home, almost everyone who’s on the Internet at all is using email, and there are no signs of that number declining. Certainly some activities—like photo sharing and status updates—that used to occur via email are now separated out into other applications, but email still remains the one online communication tool that everyone understands.
Where websites rely on you visiting them, email comes right to your inbox, and because of this it feels somehow more important and personal. Businesses everywhere know this, and so a relatively small but outperforming email marketing industry has grown. Wait, don’t panic! Email marketing is a lot more than mail-order brides and genuine replica watches.
Every day, millions of businesses—from sole traders to multinationals—send email to their clients, subscribers, suppliers, and partners. Commercial email returned a whopping $43.62 for every dollar spent on it in 2009, according to the Direct Marketing Association’s Power of Direct economic-impact study. With email marketing still providing the highest return on investment of any form of marketing, it’s safe to say that email will be around for a long time to come.