Why Do We Prefer and Love Email?

The Gated Team
December 28, 2022

From Instagram stories, to text messages, to video calls, there are many ways to communicate in today’s always-connected world. And the way you choose to communicate can shape the message you send.

So which communication channel is best? It certainly depends on the message you’re sending.

Calling people, sending Slack messages, or doing face-to-face video might be your preferred option on certain occasions. However, from when it was created in the early 1970s to today, email has proven to be consistently effective – especially when it comes to getting work done.

Is email dead?

In short, no.The number of email users is still growing, and more than half the world is using email. According to PitchFunnel, there are over 300 billion emails sent every day. 

Additionally, the average email user has 1.75 email accounts. People are using multiple accounts: often one account for work, another for personal use, and a third for when an email is required, but you don’t want to give your primary address. 

Email has been around since the early days of the internet and according to Kristin Naragon, former Head of GTM Strategy at Adobe, “email is and will remain a cornerstone of the workplace culture.” But what makes it such a powerful and preferred communication tool?

Why email is the best communication? Email is asynchronous and editable

When you receive a message, do you feel pressured to answer right away or do you take time to plan your answer?

The asynchronous nature of email gives you time to develop a thoughtful answer, in contrast to quick-response modern channels like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or live chat. Taking time to craft a thoughtful email means not sending a message that could be misinterpreted, unintentionally offensive, or poorly worded.

Email is an easy platform to review and edit. You can go back to your message as often as needed to make it more concise, engaging, or effective. Plus, it integrates easily with grammar review tools (e.g., Grammarly, Gmail), so you can communicate efficiently and look smarter. 

Screenshot of Grammarly in action in Gmail.
Emails can present your best self (source: Grammarly).

Email is a core tool for all of us as asynchronous work increases. Prepare a thoughtful, comprehensive message at your own pace and showcase your best self.

Why is email so powerful?

Email is creative

As it has evolved, email has grown to include more than just words. Today, you can easily include screenshots, .gifs, videos, links to backup information, and photos.

Email design examples from HubSpot.
Emails today can be creative and engaging (source: HubSpot).

Email now even has the ability to allow a recipient to take action right in the message. Leading email designexperts know how to weave these creative elements together to create an engaging, personalized message that isn’t fully possible in other channels.

Have you really leaned in to explore the creative space within email?

Email is accessible

Do you remember when Google first made email searchable

Now, it’s a hugely valuable, key feature of email that we can access messages and attachments from any time whether it's yesterday or 10 years ago. We can search, find, and read emails when it is most convenient to us.

Search in Gmail was considered revolutionary when it first debuted.
The life-changing magic of search for email (source: Google).

Although ephemeral posts and stories are certainly entertaining, the ongoing accessibility of email is critical for both work and personal organization.

Additionally, threaded discussions and a historical record of progress are important functions in email that are critical to working in a team. It’s much easier and more productive to read a quick email update than to dig through presentations in document sharing apps like Google Docs, Trello, or Airtable.

Email platforms also work easily on any device, which means we carry our most valuable information (e.g., work documents, household bills, and shopping receipts) with us, no matter where we go.

Email today is your own portable, accessible, and personal library.

Email builds connections

Because email accounts are so personal, connecting over email feels more personal as well.

Anyone could stumble across your information when they are out browsing YouTube or TikTok. But, when someone reaches out to you via email, they’re specifically addressing you in your personal inbox space.

Your personal email is like the front door of your house: everyone should ask for permission before entering.
Your inbox is your personal space (source: Unsplash).

Email marketing, in its ideal state, is trying to achieve this personal connection between brands and customers. Using elements of creativity and personalization is critical for email marketing campaigns. In a 2018 poll conducted by Adobe, users expressed that they wanted marketing emails to be less promotional and more personalized to their interests.  

Where do marketers fail? They fail by not building authentic connections in email. 

Here are the main reasons people unsubscribe from marketing emails according to Adobe:

  • Receiving emails too often (45% of users).
  • Recommended products not matching their interests (33%).
  • Misspelled names (17%).

Innovation in email continues

Despite the arrival of many new communication channels, email has stuck around. We love how email allows us to be thoughtful, creative, available, and connected.  

And while email remains relevant because of these foundational qualities, it is also always evolving. Many companies are working on and advocating for the ongoing innovation of email (see: Gated's mission and Manifesto).

Gated is proud to lead the charge in how we rethink email in an increasingly user-first way. 

Join the conversation on LinkedIn about how we are transforming email for everyone.

And see how Gated's inbox management tool blocks unknown senders by challenging them to donate to your favorite charity in order to reach you!

Originally published: September 7, 2021

This article was written by Gated consultant, Maribel Munoz.