Recently, I was reminiscing with a former co-worker about our old jobs in magazine publishing. For years, we called freelance writers on the phone to give them assignments, then printed and mailed out contracts. Then one day, our employer installed a new invention: the fax machine. The whole office gathered around to learn how to use this amazing device.

Now, of course, the fax machine seems as dated as the Pony Express.

But is email marketing outdated?

With dozens of new marketing channels, from Snapchat and SMS text messaging to Instagram Stories and livestreaming, sending your customers emails might sound hopelessly out of date.

But is it? Consider these email marketing stats:

  • 70% of internet users prefer businesses to communicate with them by email, reports MarketingSherpa
  • 89% of people check their email daily, a study by Fluent found
  • 53% of consumers have bought something from a retailer after getting an email about the product
  • For every $1 businesses spend on email marketing, they enjoy an average return on investment of $38. That’s right—thirty-eight dollars.

Why Email Works

There are several key reasons behind email marketing’s continued prowess. For one thing, it’s the primary means of official communication in most workplaces. You might be chatting on Slack 80 percent of the day, but when you contact a vendor or customer, you use email. Fear of missing out on a vital email keeps most employees glued to their emails all day.

Mobile devices have made us even more email-addicted. Now that we don’t have to open the laptop to look at email, we’re constantly checking our phones to get rid of that little red email alert. Mobile email opens mean even more opportunity for your business to make an impression on prospects.

Why Entrepreneurs Need Email

Beyond its effectiveness, there’s another reason every entrepreneur should use email marketing: It’s a marketing method you can control.

Consider your social media feeds. How much time have you spent cultivating followers? You put in all that work, and the social media platforms control what your followers see (or even if they see your posts at all). You’re not in charge—and an update to an algorithm can wipe out all your efforts.

With email, however, you’re in control. You can email customers directly, with your success or failure in your hands.

Of course, you’d prefer success, right?

Follow these best practices to get results from your email marketing:

  • Make it mobile-friendly: More emails are now opened on smartphones than laptops.
  • Shorter is better: A few paragraphs of text and one or two images are all you need.
  • Inspire action: Make sure your call to action (CTA) appears near the top of the email. Don’t make readers scroll to find it.

Another advantage of email: You can test different subject lines, offers and more to find out what gets results. Use the analytics your email service provider offers to see what emails get opened and drive sales. You’ll be able to fine-tune your email marketing messages and get better outcomes each time.