The future of email marketing

Email Marketing is Dead, Long Live Email Marketing

Tom Morkes

I heard recently that Apple (and soon to follow: Google, Microsoft, and all the tech oligarchs) will be phasing out your ability to track whether someone has opened your emails or not.

Some people are freaking out:

hospitalitynet - The future of email marketing

Companies like Apple claim it's for privacy.

Obviously, it's for money (""He who controls the spice data controls the universe" - Dune" - Tom).

As someone who relies on email marketing to make a living, this would normally concern me too.


#1. I tend not to get too worried about things (I missed that lesson at mouse school)

#2. I don't think it matters in the long run

Here's why:

If you're measuring your "success" by number of people who open your emails, you're already losing.

That's because "open rates" can be inaccurate for a number of reasons I won't get into here...

But more importantly, it's essentially a "vanity metric" -- aka, it doesn't pay the bills.

Things like "likes", "hearts", "opens", and "pats on the back" are all vanity metrics. You can't trade them for bread or even crypto.

What you should look for (and measure) is engagement.

Here are a few tips to help you measure engagement so you can get the most out of your email marketing.

I hope they help you like they've helped me in the last few years.

#1. Start measuring and tracking ACTIONS.

This is something that will be harder for the tech oligarchs to squash because there are a few ways to track actions.

For example, you can track clicks inside your EMS (email marketing system) for the time being (e.g. inside ConvertKit, I can apply a TAG to anyone who clicks a specific link in my emails):

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This helps me gauge how interested readers are about a given idea (e.g. tracking interest based on the tag you apply to a given blog post), "call to action" or offer.

If you want to add redundancy, you can create a REDIRECT link on your site using something like Pretty Link or RankMath. Then use THAT url inside your emails, and measure engagement that way.

It might look something like this:

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Another benefit to this "redirect" solution - while most likely not tracked inside your EMS, you can track this in Google Analytics (or equivalent analytics software), so you can still get useful / actionable information.

#2. Start sending emails with a purpose.

I believe we live in a time where people are drowning in information (not to mention: noise + distraction).

A way to make your email marketing the most effective it can be is to send emails with intention.

And that "intention" shouldn't be to 'inform.'

Instead, your "intention" should be concrete, e.g.:

  • Book a call
  • Get a discount on a relevant offer
  • Solicit feedback (survey, reply to email, etc.)

There's simply no reason to send emails that stricly "inform" these days.

And yes, this is the basic premise or ethos behind direct response marketing, and yes, I think it's as true today as it's ever been (and only going to be more useful in the weeks, months, and years to come).

#3. Start an email list TODAY.

If there's one thing that's clear, the tech oligarchs want more control:

They want control of your data (they can charge platforms and companies more to rent or use it that way), and of the means of communication and distribution (this is the real spice/gold).

While these are significant changes coming to email marketing...the only real danger is missing the email/newsletter marketing game altogether.

Bottom line:

If you don't have an email list, start one TODAY...and do what you can to build relationships with your first 100 subscribers.

My first 100 subscribers helped support my online business and early publishing endeavors.

I spent a LOT of time replying to their emails, sending personal follow-ups, and engaging with them.

If you break it down to sales/profit vs. time investment, I was basically working for free.

(In fact, I document my sweatshop wages here)

Measured strictly from a return-on-investment standpoint, probably not worth it.

However, it was CRITICAL to get me to where I wanted to go, because these first few subscribers supported my work financially in the early days, and they ended up being some of my biggest champions as I grew.

(and several of these first 100 subscribers are STILL subscribed to my newsletter 7+ years later...thanks ladies and gents, you're the best)

In summary...

  • It's still worth building an email list in 2022...
  • If you're already running a newsletter, make sure you're measuring engagement
  • Get to know the person behind the email address -- this is an especially powerful strategy early on when you have fewer subscribers and you can invest more time in personalization.
  • Email marketing should continue to be effective in spite of email platforms obfuscating tracking.

That's it for today.

Keep on, keep trucking.

Tom "Mas Emails" Morkes

Started, finished, and shipped from 7,000 feet elevation | Writing time: 1.5 hrs | Soundtrack: silence

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