Short answer: no Long answer: you might think that as the world moves to mobile, and specifically the mobile app, that email will become increasingly irrelevant as a communications channel. After all, don’t we have smarter, more sophisticated ways to talk to our users, such as push notifications or in-app campaigns?
And you would not be alone. You don’t have to look long and hard to find an internet seer telling you that email is dying, if not dead already. However, the truth is a little more complex than that.
What is probably true is that the old view of email - an individual opening up their hotmail account on the PC at home in order to check in with the world - is no longer a reality. But even a moment’s reflection on our own lives will tell us that we still use and rely on email all the time. We just use it differently.
Firstly and most obviously, we open our email on the phone. Not news to anybody I imagine, but the extent to which we do might be. Second, although email still retains a vital role as a ‘persistent’ form of communication (by which I mean it lasts a long time, not that it is particularly irritating - although now I come to think of it…) it is also very much ‘instant’. A lot of email is designed to elicit an immediate reaction.
So if you are still sending email that, even if it is responsive to mobile itself, is sending users to a non-responsive website: you probably will find that email is becoming ineffective for your business.
Take a look at this example from Match.com. The email looks fine, and let’s assume I’m interested in the offer and hope that my wife isn't reading this. But look what happens when I click through. I am thrown straight into a website (I’d almost certainly prefer the app) and worse again, this isn't really a great mobile internet experience. For most of the public without superman-like reading skills, the trail goes dead at this point.
What has gone wrong here is a failure to move with the changing email reality. We’re back assuming that email is consumed on the desktop, and the user experience suffers as a result. So what’s the alternative?
Take a look at this screen from social music app Hook’d. It’s not perfect, but following a link from email in phone leads me direct to the appropriate spot in the app, which as you’d expect is perfectly optimized for mobile or tablet and thus means a seamless experience: which in turn means users who click your emails - which is what you want - aren’t punished for doing so.
Although we’ve talked about email as an ‘instant response’ channel, it’s greatest benefit is of course the fact that, as noted above, it is a reliable and persistent form of communication. Push notifications can be highly effective, but without a workable inbox they can’t replace email. On that basis, its future is secure. Just make sure you are using it correctly!