2017 is the start of a new beginning for many, including business owners, bloggers, influencers, and people who have a desire to further their physical development. In the technological and business realm, the ways in which we acquire customers changes with the new year as new and innovative ideas moves markets into a different direction for the better. Almost 20 years into the new millennium there are still businesses and old school entrepreneurs who try acquiring customers the old fashioned way, and email subscriptions could very well be the next causality of the social media age that many who live in the past still use today.

First, let’s understand why email subscriptions were so effective in the 90’s and early 2000’s. When the Internet was relatively young, email was the Facebook of it’s time. You could contact friends and family and companies that had your email from past purchases could promote coupons and sale events that you’d be interested in. Since email was the most widely used way of communication on the Internet, email click rates were very high for small businesses and large corporations because that’s where their customers were.

For the early day bloggers and influencers who were constantly writing articles, an email subscription list was very beneficial. Not only could subscribers get the latest updates sent straight to their email accounts, but the administrator of the website that was sharing content could also promote webinars or selling some form of software that his or her subscribers would have interest in viewing or purchasing.

Fast forward to a decade and a half later and social media is now the most used form of communication, whether it be for personal or business use. Social media’s emergence was the death of email marketing and subscriptions for many reasons, with the most obvious one being that customers’ attentions were no longer on email and the click rates reflected that. Myspace and Facebook made communication with friends and family more convenient, Twitter changed how we get news, consume content, interact with businesses, sports teams, and other people who share our interests, and Instagram gave people the ability to communicate their lives through pictures.

The end of email’s dominance was inevitable, and now email subscriptions face the same fate. If you look at marketers who made a living off email subscription lists and compare them back then to where they are now, most if not all who stressed the importance of email marketing are irrelevant at best. They failed to transition to social media, and as a result they were left behind.

As a small business owner and someone who created accounts and websites for hobbies I really enjoy, email subscriptions wasn’t even an option. When my content, whether it be on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook reaches my current and future customers, there’s no point in emphasizing email marketing. Click through rates are high, and 99% of traffic on all the websites I manage, including my business, come through social media, there’s no reason to explore abandoned avenues that consumers left behind many years ago.

Having followers is the modern day replacement for an email subscription list, especially with the use of direct and private messaging. Many customers of mine contacted my business through direct message before purchasing, and it’s that depth of connecting on a personal level that makes social media much more effective than email.

We’re living through a technological and marketing revolution. There’s no telling exactly where we’ll be in terms of business and reaching customers 3–5 years down the road, but one thing is for sure, with each passing day another old and decaying form of marketing is dying. It’s up to all of us to keep up with the times and our customers, or we’ll all be left behind wondering what could have been had we paid attention to where our customers were spending the most time.