Email marketing isn't dead, it's just different

When I speak to coaches, I often get asked, "isn't email marketing dead?".  This is somewhat surprising but it is a common misconception.

Usually, this misconception arises from bad advice given by either people who don't know anything about marketing, or people trying to sell other forms of marketing like social advertising.

In my research, I've learned these statistics from a reliable source:

  • 99% of people check their email every day;
  • 58% of people check their email first thing in the morning;
  • But only 14% of people check their social media first thing in the morning.

So, what do these stats mean?

Clearly, email is still very important, especially if 58% of people check their email first thing daily. 

Email marketing is far from dead, it is used differently than it was fifteen to twenty years ago.

If you aren't doing any email marketing to promote your business, then you are missing out on engaging with your customers and potential customers through one of the most popular and effective digital channels.

Email is still one of the best ways to build trust with your audience, especially if you're using it to provide help with problems that your customers are struggling with, instead of just selling your products or services to them.

Video version

Text version

Hey there, Cam here from Training Tilt. Welcome to day 11 of creating the best version of your endurance coaching business.

I'm using the screen recording tool that I used two videos ago. I'll put the link to this up again now. I'm really enjoying using it, it's awesome. I'm going to use it to create this video about email marketing.

Thoughts around email marketing

I've spoken to a lot of coaches who ask me, "isn't email marketing dead?" Or they tell me, "no one opens their emails anymore."

That's somewhat surprising, but its a common misconception. This advice tends to come from people who either don't know what they're talking about or who are selling social media advertising.

I guess it is safe to say that email marketing has changed a lot in the last 10 years but its definitely not dead. Fifteen to twenty years ago, when email was booming, the "email open" rates were about 80%. People were successfully selling products and services online through email marketing.

But that statistic has reduced with the rising popularity of other mediums of online marketing.

Everything moves in cycles

When people say email marketing is 'dead,' what they really mean is that it's not as effective as it was ten years ago. It could be that people started saying this with the rise of social media advertising.

Social media is really popular now, but it will also go through a cycle. Facebook ads are not as effective as they used to be. Facebook itself doesn't have the same growth that it had five or ten years ago.

Everything moves in a cycle. The one thing that doesn't change is that people don't stop checking their emails.

The importance of email

I check my email every day. Most of the things that are important to me in my business happen via my inbox.

Email marketing is still a valid way to build your business. The thing is, you now have to do things a little bit differently using email marketing than you might have done 10 years ago. Now, you should avoid constantly trying to sell your products or services using email marketing.

I'm always reinforcing that before you can sell anything to anyone, they need to know, like and trust you.  I use email marketing to build that trust, to get people to know me.  I send emails to help my customers or potential customers with the problems they are having in their businesses.

Most of the emails I send out contain links to videos or other tutorials that will help people with their business. This is to build trust. Once that trust is built, it solidifies my existing relationship with my customers or attracts new customers. My focus is to try to help with problems that are closely related to my software, Training Tilt.

The proof is in the stats

Here are a few statistics that I've researched from a credible source:

Ninety-nine percent of people check their email every day

I've checked my email every day for the last five years without missing a day.  A lot of your customers will be professionals, people that work in an office. They are likely to be checking their email every day.

Email is the first thing that 58% of people check every day

Here's another good stat to reiterate my belief that email marketing is not dead. It's the first thing that 58% of people check every day.

Social media is the first thing that 14% of people check every day

Now, let's compare this to the social media stat. Only 14% of people check their social media first thing every morning.

This stat in itself shows that although social media is popular and people spend a lot of time on it, it's probably not the most important thing to them.

Email open rates today

As I mentioned earlier, "email open" rates used to be about 80%.  Currently, those rates are about 22%.

This means that if you send a hundred emails, on average, 22 of them will be opened. Open rates depend on a number of factors; how good is the content, what connection do you have with your audience, the subject of your email. All these things are important to get people to open them. This statistic is an average rate across industries, and it's a decent rate.  If one in five people open your emails, you should be happy.

I've got customers who are getting a 30 and 40% open rate. They're doing really well. It depends on how well you can engage with your customers, how relevant your content is, and importantly that you are not selling something to them every time they get an email from you because they'll definitely stop opening them then.

Social media engagement rates

Let's compare the engagement rates on social media to today's email open rate.

Engagement rates on social media posts are only about 0.58%. That's just over half a percent. Compared to 22%, engagement on social media posts is significantly less than getting someone to open your email.

This is an "apples and oranges" comparison but it is a good indication of the difference between social media and email and how engaging through email compares to a single social media post. This has a lot to do with the bloated nature of social media, how many posts are out there now, and how many businesses have Facebook pages. There are now so many social media posts that each individual post receives diminished engagement as posts proliferate.

Add email marketing to your business

Now that you are aware of the statistics around email marketing, hopefully it convinces you that email marketing should be an integral part of your business marketing mix.

At the very least, you should have an "opt-in" form on your website that will allow your customers and potential customers to join your email mailing list. That's a good start.

Then you can start sending them out emails. These don't need to be traditional newsletters. The worst thing you can do is send out a monthly newsletter with a generic subject line eg "July Newsletter".  This doesn't give anyone any reason to open your email.

Although it could be a monthly newsletter, the subject should reference a problem that you know your customers or potential customers are struggling with or something that will help them. Ensure you put them first. What's in it for them? Why would they open your email? Here's a good example of engaging with your audience  - "subscribe to monthly tips on getting faster at triathlon". 

Make it about your customers and how your emails are going to help them, and you'll get a lot more subscribers.

Recommended email marketing platforms

Below are examples of email marketing platforms that you might consider using for your email marketing campaign. If you are using Training Tilt, you'll see that we integrate with many of the email systems that we talk about.


MailChimp was the first email marketing platform. They were the first, the biggest and the best platform and one that is familiar to many people.  We don't integrate with them at Training Tilt simply because we believe there are better alternatives available now with a more sophisticated suite of features.


Intercom contains an email marketing platform.  Its an excellent platform but we wouldn't advise beginners to start with this platform. Intercom offers in-app messages and website chat widgets. It's very powerful but can get expensive as your audience grows. It's definitely a platform to consider for further growth down the line.


Drip contains an email system and additional features such as marketing automation. It is also relatively expensive.

We use Drip at Training Tilt. This is much more advanced marketing automation compared to others on this list. You can integrate Drip with other platforms like Facebook advertising, Google AdWords and your website.


ConvertKit was originally created for creative people to monetize their products and services but is now much more mainstream.  

Like Drip, it is also an email system with marketing automation.  ConvertKit has recently launched a free plan where up to 500 contacts can be managed under one subscription.  This is similar to the cheapest plan on ActiveCampaign mentioned below.   It also offers built-in landing pages allowing you to build your own sales pages inside the system.

I personally really like ConvertKit and follow its' founders because I like them as a company.


ActiveCampaign is similar to ConvertKit. They don't offer a free plan, but they do have a low priced monthly plan allowing for 500 contacts and unlimited sending. In addition to email marketing, subscribers can send newsletters, create subscription forms and engage in marketing automation. Like ConvertKit, they offer built-in landing pages which means everything is integrated without having to figure out how to plug things together. It's definitely an advantage and you don't need to create a new page on your existing website if you need to put a campaign together quickly.


I wanted to mention another platform called SendFox. We don't use Sendfox at Training Tilt but it has been recommended to me by someone that I trust. SendFox has a $49 lifetime deal where subscribers get up to 5000 contacts for the price - a much better deal than the 500 contacts offered on other free versions - as mentioned above.

Integrating with Training Tilt

Training Tilt integrates with Intercom, Drip, ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign. Training Tilt coaches on the standard plan or higher can connect their accounts to one of these platforms and benefit from our integration.

These integrations allow you to run an email marketing campaign via one of the platforms and trigger actions based on your customers' or potential customers' activity in Training Tilt. For example, if an athlete signs up to one of your paid plans we can alert the email system to stop sending that athlete emails in the sales campaign and instead send them another automated series which might be a set of emails that you've set up to go to all new customers. This could be an email to a link to a "new member form" so you can find out more information about them. Or it could be a series of email tutorials on how to use your system or follow your training plans.


Email marketing is far from dead. I believe that every coaching business should include email marketing as part of their overall marketing campaign.  At the very least you should send out tips to customers and potential customers. Avoid using email to hard sell. Build a relationship of trust through email contact.  This is critical to a successful digital marketing campaign.  

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