In this digital age of hundreds of messaging apps, voice apps, photo apps, and social media apps, some may argue that email is becoming an outdated relic. However, I believe that email is nowhere near dead and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Especially in the business world, it remains an integral part of our professional lives, continuing to provide an unmatched level of reliability, security, and versatility. We will explore the reasons why email has endured the test of time and why it still holds immense value in today's interconnected professional world.
Most Universal and Compatible
One of the primary reasons behind email's longevity is its universal accessibility and compatibility across various platforms and devices. In 2022, the number of email users worldwide was forecast to be 4.3 billion. This figure is set to grow to 4.6 billion by 2025, almost half of the expected world population! No other platform can match those kinds of numbers.
Unlike closed messaging systems, email is not bound to a specific operating system, device, or format. This makes it accessible to anyone with a basic internet connection. This widespread compatibility has enabled email to transcend borders, connecting people from all corners of the globe. Every new communication channel suffers from one major downfall: they must attract a base of users to it, and while some of these platforms like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and others have amassed large user bases, they are still far from ubiquitous.
It Affords A Wide Variety of Formats
The beauty of email is that it can adapt to a large variety of different formats within a single communication channel. For instance, you can send a single sentence such as "I'll be late into the office today", or you can send a lengthy report with headings, paragraphs, and bullet point lists, or you can send a professionally designed marketing email with graphics, links, animated gifs and more. The variety of formats is what gives the communication channel enduring power beyond many of the alternatives that have come and gone already.
It's Brandable and Ownable
Too many new platforms underestimate that users want to be able to "brand" or put their own mark on their communications. This applies to both individuals as well as organizations. Over 80% of businesses use email signatures! Of course, email starts with the fact that you can "brand" your email address with your name and domain name, but further than that you can customize your email using tools like our email signature generator where you can brand your emails with your logo, or a photo of yourself, or your social media icons and links.
Furthermore, email is owned by no one, and each company can manage their email servers in the way that they choose. They are not giving away all control and access to a single platform or vendor, they can change providers when needed so there is no lock in. They can choose which email programs to provide to employees, they can add additional security or spam prevention measures, and they can control email communication in a way that makes sense for their business.
It's Guardedly Open
Email was born near the beginning of the "utopian ideal" of the Internet, and the idea was that if you knew someone's email address, you could contact them. It's open in a way that can facilitate conversations even between total strangers. And while that has many downsides, email has still evolved to provide a secure and private means of communication while filtering out a lot of the cruft. With proper encryption and authentication measures in place, emails can be safeguarded, protecting users and allowing secure and professional conversations. This allows it to be used for personal conversations between friends, sales conversations with a stranger, and marketing blasts to thousands of users all at the same time.
It Has Amazing Engagement
Email continues to have incredible engagement even after all of this time. In 2022, the average open rate for emails was almost 20%. Email is the first check of the day for 58% of users and up to 5 hours a day are spent checking email (including work and personal). It's no secret that people are actively involved and checking their inboxes and reading the (relevant) material in their inbox. Reports have shown that adding videos to your email can increase click rates by 300%, which is why tools like our employee training tool called Groundwork1 offers such potential for sending training and other timely materials via email make a lot of sense.
It Has a Vibrant Ecosystem
I believe one of the biggest factors in emails success is the wide range of options available to users and organizations. There are apps, services, clients, and tools of all kinds for email available. If you don't like what you are currently using, you are more than welcome to hook something else up for your inbox and do it a different way. These tools range from free and cheap for individuals, to many hundreds of thousands of dollars for enterprise ready solutions. There is no "one" way to do email, each of us put our own unique spin on it and do it our own way.
Organization and Documentation
Email offers unparalleled organization, documentation, and archival capabilities. Its inherent features, such as folders, filters, archive, and search functions, allow users to manage and retrieve important messages. This makes email a valuable tool for storing and keeping track of critical information, facilitating easy access to past conversations and attachments. Whether it's referring to a contract negotiation or retrieving a receipt for an online purchase, email's organizational features make it essential for business record-keeping.
Despite the rise of instant messaging and other forms of digital communication, email has stood the test of time as a reliable and essential means of correspondence. Its universal accessibility, wide variety of formats, brandability, openness, engagement, ecosystem, and organizational features make it a versatile tool for doing work online. While new technologies continue to emerge, it is unlikely that email will become obsolete anytime soon. So, next time you're tempted to declare email dead, remember its enduring power and the countless ways it makes our work and professional lives better.