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Any time I talk about using email to reach and retain customers, someone inevitably asks:

But Jeff, isn’t email marketing dead? Isn’t it all about social media now?

Given my line of work, you can probably guess my answer! For my money, I think email marketing is still a great bet.

That’s the short answer. You can view my full response here:

In this video, you’ll learn:

  • Why email is still the most important line of communication between you and your audience 
  • How big a role social media should play in your marketing
  • What happens when you focus on growing your social presence over your email list

I remember being in a mastermind with the guy who literally wrote the book on email marketing, and at one point during one of our gatherings, he was banging his fists on the table in an impassioned rant about the death of email. 

He was predicting the end and was emphatic that everything was going to shift to socials and we should all move on. 

That was in 2003. Yep… 20 years ago. 

How many billions upon billions of dollars have been made through email marketing since that prediction? 

Here’s the truth: everyone who has a serious presence online is using email. 

Yes, they’re probably using other channels. Sure, they’ve likely got a social media presence. 

But I can guarantee that they’re using all those channels to drive traffic to their website… so they can get them on their list… and nurture them with email marketing. 

With the way that social media algorithms are constantly shifting, it’s not uncommon to post to thousands or tens of thousands of followers and maybe get a handful of visits to your website. 

By contrast, the effect of sending an email to your list is way more powerful. 

So while social channels can be useful for a lot of things, your list is still your biggest asset. Every day that you’re not building and nurturing it — or you’re focusing on social at the expense of your list — you’re losing out. 

As always, I’d love to hear from you. If you have follow-up questions or want to share your own experience, leave a comment below and let me know what you think! 

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59 Replies to “Is Email Marketing Dead?”

  1. It’s more important than ever! What with all the distractions of social media (and YouTube can shut your channel down at a moments notice), your email list is your only real empire!

  2. Were still putting our site together so I have to still to learn if e-mail is dead, but a do have a
    whole series of action I intend to take just to see. As soon as I know Jeff, I’ll let you know.

  3. I must admit that I have not followed up with the few on my e-mail list like I should. I have it on Get Response. However, I do feel that it is important to keep in contact. I have been using social media but it is very expensive as you said.

  4. Thanks, Jeff, for your savvy comments. I am not satisfied with my list building progress which makes it tempting to explore other channel get traffic to my site.

  5. Thank you Jeff!

    It is indeed true. With this, you can not ignore, but not impossible to recognize.
    All of these social networks and other services, not more as a platform for additional traffic.
    Email marketing will give a kick to any traffic on any media conversion and sales. Good old “E-mail” uncle who gets up the wonders of 100%

    Thanks again Jeff, a magnificent backdrop for the video)))

  6. Hi Jeff,

    Another great post! Just wanted to let you know that I came here from your email as I ALWAYS OPEN YOUR EMAILS because I know that I am going to get QUALITY CONTENT from you! Email is a DIRECT CONTACT to the customer that YOU CONTROL while social is a great way to contact but with all of the changes that happen you NEVER KNOW if the end user is EVEN GOING TO SEE WHAT YOU SAID! Thanks again for the post…I always look forward to your emails!

    Take Care,
    Rob Anderson

  7. Thanks Jeff, another great video. It confirms I (we) are in the right path.

    List building can be too obsessive that some marketers care about the numbers going high day by day and fear of losing it and do not do any selling… They are afraid providing value and offering products can cost their members leave..

    I think building the list can be more of a science, building a relationship and selling to the list is an art 🙂

    Jay Venka

  8. Thanks for this video, Jeff!

    E-mail marketing is alive, but some subscribers become “dead”:-) I build my list with feedback.

    • @Alex: that’s absolutely right… some subscribers will unsub or stop opening your emails. That will happen with your list (and it will happen with ANY media, and even in-person relationships). And individual lists can go dead if you stop publishing to the list, or if you mis-treat the list.

  9. Well said. If more people spent their time building up their email list and less time chasing after all the quick riches stuff, they would be far better off. I can’t see email marketing ever dying.

  10. Building a list of like-minded people that you treat as friends, is one of the best things you can do. You can talk about the things that float-your-boat. And, if you find things that help your friends to float their boat, then we both get something out of it. Cool!

  11. Good video Jeff!

    BTW, I also came here from an email. I can only think of two things that I have purchased out of the hundreds that I have purchased online that were the result of seeing an ad or message on a social media site. Email is not even close to dead. I’m getting more spam than ever. That in and of itself speaks volumes.


  12. I agree that email marketing is the best for me although success has not been great, probably due to a common niche. Article marketing has helped somewhat online, but no flags flying yet. Many adwords and keywords are very common.
    I’ve had 4 successful brick and mortar businesses and would like to do business consulting, This has partially worked physically and by mail but not online.
    I think I should try sincere Video online like you have done here.
    I’ll send you a free copy of my ebook, “THINK, LISTEN and WIN” if you send me a place to send it. The reason I wrote it was because I listened to many customer ideas that helped me be successful.
    Thanks for listening. Your thoughts would greatly appreciated.

  13. Hi, Jeff–always good to hear from you–you are one of the few people whose emails I ALWAYS open. My website isn’t live yet, but it’s in coming soon mode. See you in the fall!

  14. Keith deBolt


    Hi, Jeff! Yes, email is NOT dead! The only way to build long term relationships with customers, prospects, affiliates, associates, partners, etc is still email! Sales pages, video marketing, banner ads, click here and buy stuff marketing undergoes lots of ups and downs, but GOOD email marketing is always going to be at the top of my list!

  15. Richard Ormesher


    Hi Jeff,
    I saw your video post as my direct response to an email I received. I couldn’t agree more that email is alive and well.

    After being on the lists of many others, it’s easy to see why some conclude that email is dead. I don’t respond to most of the emails I receive because it’s so obvious they see me as nothing more than their personal ATM, constantly trying to withdraw funds. They provide nothing and expect or even demand money for it!

    On the other hand, there are a few very trusted list owners who trigger an immediate “open now” response from me. They get it, they have earned my respect, they provide value, they reply to my questions and I listen to them. …and then I go out of my way to make sure I purchase from them when there’s a product/service I’m interested in that they recommend.

    Email is not dead – it just needs to be done right. Thanks for the video!



    Hi Jeff
    I am very new to this business ,i try so hard to build a list,because i now how important to have a list, i listen to you witch a very attention ,thank very mate for your videos they are very helpful for me… cheers!!! Pedro Vianna the Brazilian ..

  17. well said Jeff! And, once you have the list the other key element is that you actually have to work at making content for your list LOL

    love the blogs, great job!


  18. Hi Jeff:

    Thank you for this video. It has come at the perfect time for me — in the last month I redesigned my website to fine tune my brand and my message. While I have a sign up form on my website, I’ve been unsure if I should just remove it and just ask people to connect with me on FB or LinkedIn. I agree with you now that the ‘rumours of its death are exaggerated.” What email service would you recommend? In my part of the world in Asia, cost is an important factor because I know some like Infusionsoft are greatly recommended but they cost in our currency 3x what it costs in the US. Any advice?

  19. Bruce Arnold



    Well said! Email marketing is still king and a valuable business asset, if treated properly.

  20. Hi Jeff

    I enjoyed the video on email marketing. I am new in business and I am trying to build my list. I work with healthcare professionals and I am considering buying an email list from the CAOT here in Canada. My challenge is that the email laws are changing in Canada as of July 1st stating that we can not email anyone without their permission first. So is there any point buying the email list? Also, this makes building a list even more challenging, do you have any suggestions? I value your opinion. Tricia

    • @Tricia: you should always get permission first, no matter what the laws. That’s the way I’ve done it since 1996, wouldn’t do it any other way.

  21. Well said, Jeff. I still remember these idiots a few years ago telling everyone to “make their home on Facebook because fans are the most important thing.”

    It was so naive and I’m really surprised a couple guys in particular were invited to big IM seminars to speak about this. I really feel sorry for the newbies that listened to them, too.

    With Facebook’s almost non-existent free organic reach, these guys are kicking themselves now.

    Anyone who’s making 6-7 figures online is using email marketing as a foundation of the business.

  22. I believe this whole heartily and it was the email list that not only created a wonderful business and income, but allowed me to form a tribe of people I cared about. It was my sincere desire to help the people who subscribed to me, but what happened was they also inspired me to become a published author, speaker and in turn changed my entire life, and just by sending out emails every week for a couple years. So who was helping who? I never thought I would become and author, but through building the list I became one, and now am writing my second published book, opened and online store and teach classes all over the country and online. Build your list and share with others what has meant so much to you. It’s life changing and fun! Thank you Jeff you’re true spirit always comes across in your message. I appreciate you!

  23. I agree that e mail marketing is far from dead. I do think, that like many channels, different demographics have different results.

    Where I am having trouble is in finding a company where I can outsource the entire markerting program & effort. As a former real estate developer, I have alwasys outrsourced virutally everything or at leaset as much as I can.

    I have a mid size commercial real estate company handling owner and tenant leasing representaion, primarily in the office space sector.

    I believe that the state of digital/modern marketing in commercial real estate is pre cave man and I am trying to change that with my company (20 +agents).

    I do not want to assemble all of the “parts” of a marketing plan/engine – I want to find a car to buy and drive off of the lot

    I thought that you may know of a compny(s) that can handle the whole plan – design and execution of the e mail, social and web (sites and landing pages) ansd other elements of a plan.

    I have run into a firm called market leader which I believ to be such a full service site but they have ALL of the parts but the agents are to execute themselves, I think. and there primary (or sole) fiocus is on the residential sector.

    Any help and direction anyone could give me would be greatly apprecaited

    • @Howard: I don’t know of any firms that do what you you’re looking for… I think it’s really difficult to outsource your marketing.

  24. Of course it is NOT.
    that’s the very reason why we are happy to pay $$$ Aweber/GR 🙂
    but sometime DDoS made us crazy! 🙂


  25. But what about spam filters?… Are they becoming more of a challenge for your business, Jeff?

    The reason I ask is because most of the lists that I opt into, the emails get send to my junk box. Including yours. However, I have noticed that your emails go directly to my inbox if you have a link to your blog. But, if you send a link to an opt in page or an affiliate link, forget it, it’s in my spam folder.

    • @Lucas: Spam filters and deliverability are certainly part of the landscape, and something you have to work with. But not building a list or using email marketing because of spam filters is a bit like saying “I’m not going to use a car because of traffic accidents”. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

  26. Heh Jeff, This certainly is a great little video about the importance of list building. Bit like how do you eat an elephant heh! – one small piece at a time and eventually you’ll get there!.

    But your message is clear, precise and to the point.

    Great stuff Jeff,
    Cheers, Ian

  27. Fantastic video as always Jeff! Your video sparked a thought… As your email list grows over the years, would you go in there & clean it up and delete say the people who haven’t opened an email for over a 12 month, tightening up the list? Or would you just leave it grow? Not sure if there are benefits either way 😉

  28. Mario Picard


    Thank you Jeff. This help to understand the difference between the list and social media. Very helpful for me.

  29. Hi Jeff,

    Great video update. The new HQ is looking great, and love the Stones t-shirt!

    I agree, email is not dead, it is the best channel, and we should encourage email marketers not to make it an ‘either/or’ choice (email vs social). I wouldn’t want to rely only one channel, as they both have their place, one for finding new connections (social) and the other for building and nurturing a relationship (email).

    Thanks for the thoughts and perspectives.


  30. I’m not sure I agree. This is a kind of “one size fits all” conclusion about a strategy which simply does not apply to all business. I find that most of the people who make this claim come from IM which, for them, is certainly the case. But there are many situations in online marketing where the customer makes a purchase and that’s the end of it. They don’t necessarily want to hear any more from the seller unless of course there’s an issue. Perfect example: my company assists people file for divorce and custody when they cannot afford an attorney. When the case is over — it’s over. No need to communicate on a regular or even sporadic basis with any of them. This is just one of many examples I could cite. Get my point?

  31. Well said Jeff.

    Yes, the money is still in the list.
    Specifically, in the relationship with the list.

    I wonder why people coming up with these rumors can’t
    find a better way of telling the world about them other than ’email’.

  32. Well said Jeff. I love your thoughts that ‘millions of dollars are being made out of e-mail marketing to date.” I recently started building my list and its an awesome experience going by the fact that I am building a list of buyers only, all those who have opted-in are customers.I have a very little traffic to my site but am happy that almost all of them convert. It’s true that people are giving up on e-mail marketing because they had big expectation when they started.I think good relationship is built from having constant communication with your audience.

  33. Hey Jeff,
    Been a follower and user of Product Launch for 4 years. I agree email is not dead or even getting old or sickly. It is the driving force of the internet business model. Way to say it.

  34. Hi Jeff,
    Im from Brazil, and a newbie in PLF .
    But I must say : Im ver excited about it and about your videos.
    Awesome !
    How can I get the PLF 4.0 ?
    All the best !

  35. Hi Jeff,
    I remember you, talking about the same subject a while ago and I always kept in mind that ‘ Power is still in the list”. Most of successful people online seems to rely on big optimized lists. It takes time to build a high quality list that trusts you, surely, but it has no price. I believe that if you remain true to people and that you respect the people in your list and give them real value, then you strengthen the relationship with them and you make your list bulletproof. I don’t think there are a lot of people out there that do not automatically land into the spam folder, and Jeff, you are one of them, personally your emails are one of the few I’m happy to receive and read… just by spotting the subject in my inbox, it already means “valuable information”. This is again the proof …. online or offline … that “respect, real value and honesty” drive people and build strong network and healthy business. When you get into people’s inbox, you get into their private bubble, you already made one step in their house (virtually 🙂 ) and if you make them feel important and good, they won’t kick you out! Only email marketing can allow that. So no…. email marketing is not dead, it is definitely power.

  36. What I think Jeff is E-mail marketing or even personal is not dying at all, and the e-mail I’ve received today is the proof.

    What is dying it’s Spam marketing due to e-mails filters but let’s face it: this i’s a good thing for everybody!

  37. Hey Jeff,

    I started listening to you last year and I still don’t have a list. How do I build the list!!


  38. Well this is a good time to see what isn’t working that well anymore and new ways to make the list work
    I’d love it if you gave some of your thoughts on the new ways to bring peoople in
    make them open
    and than buy

  39. Can you say the same for direct-mail? I know that’s not your focus, but was wondering if you’ve had enough experience or in touch with those in direct mail to make the same comment about direct-mail… is direct-mail “as dead as email marketing”?

    thanks for your input in advance!


    • @Kevin: yes, direct mail is just as dead as email… which means that it’s completely alive and doing really well. 🙂

      I actually mentioned that in the first take of this video, but we had some tech issues so we re-shot the video… and I forgot to mention it.

  40. Thanks Jeff for this spot on reminder. Building an emailing list is vital for online businesses. I can’t see why some may think it is dead. I am working hard to build my list through blogging. Tony Lynch.

  41. Karen Anderson


    Thanks Jeff. I just signed up to your book launch. I noticed an opt-in for your Launching Your List 2.0 training. I did the usual thing and tried to find this course online without any luck. Well I’m glad that I trusted my gut and click on the link from Ed Dale’s email about your book launch. I decided to sign up to your Launching Your List 2.0 Training course that I purchased and I have to say I was blown away how fantastic and comprehensive this this training course is. The quality is awesome. The website for the training course is 1000% quality. After looking at all the modules that make up this course, I realised would never have figured out how to do email marketing the right way on my own. So am so glad I purchased this course to help me setup my email marketing on my website. I have 40,000 monthly visitors that I am leaving on the table as I have not added my email newsletter to my website. THANK YOU so much for providing such great training on email marketing and the step-by-step guide in how to set this up properly. all the best,

  42. We have been sending email broadcasts in the past on regular bases. It was just a waste of money. Each sending costs us 60-80 dollars and there is no return on investment.
    It might work for some people, depending on the product they are selling or industry they are in. For expensive products that people do not purchase often, it does not work

  43. Email marketing is not dead yet. Providing that you follow the expert’s advice and done it properly, you will have good return.

  44. I finally got around to watching this one, Jeff…I saved it since I love discussions like this…since for 30+ years I was hearing about “is direct mail dead” and everyone should know that the news of the death of direct mail was also greatly exaggerated…

    I couldn’t agree with you more that e-mail is the big kahuna when it comes to list building online…but I think “part 2” of this could bring in other media (like direct mail) which can complement e-mail in the area of “relationship building” once you have folks on your list loving you and buying from you. I’ve got too much history that shows nothing scales like direct mail…although I am not blind to the fact that it is generally too expensive for lead generation.

    E-mail marketing should do the heavy lifting there…I agree with you 100%

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