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It’s been predicted that there would be an end of email one day, but so far, email is still going strong a decade after that famous prediction was made by Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook. Social media may have caught up to the spotlight when it comes to marketing, but is email marketing still critical to today’s marketer, and if so, how critical? Rather than me trying to convince you, I did some research on the most inspiring email marketing statistics so that we can use data to talk apples and apples.
While marketers tend to focus on shiny new objects, it’s those true and tested forms of marketing that often get left behind. Email marketing is usually one of the highest ROI-providing forms of marketing, yet, many companies don’t give it the priority it deserves. As part of your marketing strategies, are you including quality email marketing and marketing automation? If not, why not? Our list of email marketing statistics will help you to decide how much of your marketing mix should include email marketing, and how to structure your email campaigns.
Note that if you do a search for email marketing statistics, there is A LOT of outdated information out there. Seriously, a stat from 2011 about how much more popular email is compared to social media just doesn’t fly today. I have done my best to try to find the FRESHEST of stats that are still RELEVANT today, but if you find that one of them is outdated, please let me know and I will revise accordingly.
Email marketing has a huge return on investment.
Let’s start this list of email marketing statistics with the stat that rules them all: ROI (return on investment)
Email marketing continues to rule when it comes to a high return on investment compared to other marketing avenues. Email marketing – despite email feeling obsolete to most – is still the most effective marketing channel around. The emails that a company sends has all the potential of driving customer engagement and traffic, retention and loyalty.
From an ROI perspective, to be precise, it was reported sometime ago from Marketing Land that:
1.) Email marketers make $40 in sales for each $1 spent sending emails.
Our friends in the UK at the Data & Marketing Association found a similar value of
2.) Each $1 spent in sending emails generated £32.28 (around $40) in sales.
That’s a pretty significant return on investment, and almost double the return of the next best method. It’s even more remarkable when you consider the fact that marketing emails must often compete with the ubiquitous spam email messages.
However, if emails are structured carefully, they can be enjoyable to read. Customers can keep up with the latest sale, but also learn about new products and services that are available. Think of email marketing as a great way to send advertisements directly to your customers’ inbox, where they don’t have to go looking for them. At the same time, this is great customer service, because everything your customers need to know is right there.
Email influences purchasing decisions
You’re probably wondering why email marketing has such great ROI. Actually there are two things we can point to:
From an expense perspective, email marketing is extremely cost effective. Think about it: For most small businesses, you can invest in a robust email marketing software tool with marketing automation and the latest bells and whistles for a few hundred dollars a month, depending on the size of your list.
Think about it: What is the ROI of a comparable $5,000 in Google or Facebook Ad spend compared to the number of touches you can achieve with tens of thousands of email subscribers on a repeated basis over the course of a year? There is no comparison.
From a revenue perspective, while we know that social media influences purchasing decisions, so does email marketing. How much so?
3.) 59% of people who responded to a survey about marketing emails say that email influences their purchase decisions directly,
says this study.
Email marketing has a significant reach.
One of the great things about email is that it’s ubiquitous. So much so, that according to Radicati:
4.) There are currently 3.9 Billion active email accounts.
And it is predicted that:
5.) The number of email users is set to grow to 4.6 billion users in 2025.
Given that this is over half the global population, including those unable to read, it is easy to see how email marketing has huge potential. After all, everyone has to purchase things for their everyday lives. Food, clothing, and a place to live are universal needs for human civilization.
In more developed areas, which are more likely to have internet access, everyday purchases are much more significant. Toys for children, consumer electronics, and household supplies are all things that most people purchase on a regular basis. Best of all, email is inexpensive. By sending emails, businesses of any size can advertise their goods and services at an affordable price.
Wait! So should I choose email marketing over social media marketing?!?
If you look at the data, this is what you see:
6.) There are 400 million more email users than social media users
7.) Email marketing conversion rates are 3X that of social media marketing
8.) An average email clickthrough rate is 6X that of average organic social media engagement
For a better look at this visually, and for the source of the above data, check out this great image from OptinMonster:
As a social media marketer, I would NEVER tell you to give up on social media marketing. I WILL say that if you are doing social media marketing, you MUST be doing email marketing!
Campaign Monitor provides us some additional statistics which show that:
9.) Your message is 5x more likely to be seen through email than Facebook.
10.) You are 6x more likely to get a click-through from email than you are from Twitter.
In fact, there are ways in which email marketing can actually help your social media marketing, so it is not a competition between channels but how they might help complement each other. Specifically, Quick Sprout found that:
11.) Email subscribers are 3.9 times more likely to share your content in social media
Customers love their email
Part of what makes email marketing so successful is that more people prefer email communication than you might think. Customers are so committed to checking their email, that:
12.) 58% of us check it first thing in the morning.
That’s before we check our Facebook, run an Internet search, or even watch the news. What this means for marketers, is that email is the first chance at reaching new customers, or nurturing an already-existing business relationship. In that first email read, people find out what’s awaiting them for the day. They might find out that their long-lost cousin wants to come and visit, or that the kids have a snow day. Maybe their out-of-town partner needs something picked up at the store on the way home.
These moments are great for marketing opportunities. When planning their day, your customers might want to know that you are having a sale on those all-important snow boots to replace the ones with holes in them. Or, they might need to have a hole in the fence patched up, and your email might inform them of opportunities to save. For an animal hospital, an email sent to clients about the latest pet health issue might meet a need at the most unexpected time. Whatever your business, getting to customers early in the morning helps to generate sales.
Email has one really great feature for most customers: It can be opened, read, and then returned to later. This means that if you have a really great sale going on, and the customer sees the email just before clocking on for work, it’ll be there when they have time to shop. Sure, it’ll get pushed down by new emails, but search functions and scrolling will allow it to be found again. This can be better than digging a flyer out of the trash. Or worse, throwing out useless “junk mail” that’s adding to clutter.
ExactTarget did a study on consumer marketing preferences. This study concluded that
13.) 77% of customers prefer email for permission-based marketing messages (source).
This works out well for us as marketers. Email is an environmentally sustainable method of communication, and it’s relatively cheap. Plus, we aren’t causing anyone to throw out their backs while carting a pile of catalogs off to the curb for recycling. Catalogues are OK for some uses, but they aren’t as important as they once were.
Customers who get email offers tend to spend more money. In fact,
14.) Buying through email results in a tab that’s 138% more than orders placed by customers who don’t get marketing email (source).
Most likely, there’s more than one reason for this. First, buying things through email promotions can lead to impulse buying. If you’ve ever bought something because the company was offering a bonus gift, there’s a high chance you heard about it through email.
Another reason why this might be the case is the power of suggestive selling. People scroll through an email, see the great products on offer, and decide to buy even if they weren’t specifically looking to make a purchase that day. Offering a great deal is one of the best ways to get consumer dollars.
Now let’s move on to email marketing statistics that provide us some tactical advice.
Email Marketing Success Begins with Your Welcome Email
As most of us know, ordering products and services online often involves being asked to “opt in” for marketing emails. The “opt in” process is a legal requirement for many jurisdictions worldwide that helps punish spammers. There are similar opportunities to sign up for email all over the Web. Typically, an emailing party will send you a welcome email shortly after signing up. This is a good move, because it is highly effective:
15.) Sending out welcome emails is highly profitable, because they bring in the most revenue on a per-email basis than the ones which follow (source).
From this, we can see that people respond well when you thank them for subscribing. Whether that’s in terms of an automated reciprocity or the result of an offer code you sent with the welcome, people tend to appreciate it. Plus, any offer code lets them save some money on the things they want. In many cases, this is the reason they signed up for email.
16.) Another reason for the success of welcome emails is probably the fact that they have an average open rate of 82% (source).
It almost goes without saying that emails which aren’t opened typically won’t result in a sale. About only the exception to this is if the subject line tells a customer everything they need to hear. This, of course, is unusual. Additionally, welcome emails are often anticipated by the customer because they just signed up.
17.) Similarly, welcome emails are highly effective at bringing in revenue. In fact, each welcome email earns an average of 320% more revenue than other marketing emails (source).
That’s a lot of money, folks. The bottom line here is that if you aren’t sending welcome emails, then you’re missing out. It’s also important to ensure that you maximize the selling opportunities presented by welcome emails by incentivizing purchases or follow ups as appropriate.
Remember, email marketing is about building a relationship, and while the welcome email is critical, it shouldn’t stop there. Email marketing statistics show that:
18.) While it might be easier to send only one email, this is less effective than a series of three. In fact, using this approach will earn 90% more sales due to welcome emails, 75% more after reactivation emails, and a 63% improvement with abandoned cart emails (Omnisend).
In sales, there’s a saying: get “no” three times. This means that if someone tells you no, then you shouldn’t take it seriously until the third time. Until then, you might change their mind. What we see here is something similar: emailing a customer three different times gets the best results.
Want that email opened? Think automation.
Since spam was one of the first automated forms of email, It’s easy to think that emails should be sent manually. However, manual emails take a lot of staff time, making them unsustainable marketing tools for the long term. With that said, manual emails aren’t as effective for marketing as automated ones in the first place. Limit manual emails to non-commercial communications like notes about the latest staff meeting. The numbers bear this out.
According to GetResponse,
19.) Automated emails are opened about 44% of the time.
This means that
20.) Automated emails are opened twice as often as other types of marketing emails.
In fact, The Epsilon Email Institute found that
21.) automated emails get a 152% higher click-through rate and 70.5% higher open rates than manual emails (Source).
Automated emails, by definition, are those which are triggered by consumer behavior. For example, you might set the email program to send something if the customer browses your website, then leaves without buying anything. Customers are already interested in your product at this point, so you have a higher chance of making a sale. Also, you never know when offering a small discount will push the customer to “yes.” Many companies, large and small, use this technique to great effect.
It should be no surprise, then, that
22.) 58% of marketers in B2C companies use automated emails for marketing (source).
This includes the welcome emails and whatever follows, such as sale announcements.
What does this all mean? Email should be sent through automated systems if you want a higher rate of favorable responses. It would be interesting to know why this is, however. One reason could be that automated emails can be set to arrive at the appropriate time of day, regardless of team business hours. This means that a back office in India could set emails to go out just before work hours in the United States. With fine tuning, this could even be sensitive to time zones within the US.
Another reason is that automated emails can be personalized to a significant extent these days. It used to be that even plugging in a customer name on automated emails was difficult, meaning that they always had an impersonal feel. Now, customization is much easier and it can even be done automatically. Finally, automated emails are easy to time to customer behavior. Abandoned cart emails, for instance, can arrive within moments of the customer closing their browser.
Moral of the story: you don’t have to send emails manually in order to benefit. Therefore, unless you need to send a personal message, it’s best to write template emails and let your email client do the rest of the work. Otherwise, you’re using staff time that isn’t necessary.
Speaking of personalization, because it can be done through savvy email marketing software and it is extremely powerful from the recipient’s perspective, here are some email marketing statistics to help guide your strategy.
In customer service, it has long been a maxim that people hate being just a number. We’re numbers often enough, whether it’s waiting in line at the deli counter, getting our driver’s license renewed, or filing our taxes. However, most private businesses can’t treat their customers like a number. Poor service and impersonal treatment lead people to go elsewhere. This tendency even shows up in email marketing:
Customizing email copy, and providing personalized offers, is one of the most important predictors of email success. In fact, an Aberdeen study demonstrated that
23.) Personalization is rewarded through a 14% higher click through rate (source).
This stat brings up another important point about personalization in email: Customers don’t respond the same way to various offers. For instance, some customers might prefer a gift with purchase or free shipping, while others are partial to a percentage off their order. Depending on the brand or overall product category, these preferences can change. For some customers, the preference can be influenced by the mood they’re in. Either way, personalization of offers allows a brand to try and push the right buttons for each
It’s not surprise, then, that
24.) Over 60% of all marketers believe that personalized email messages are a more effective type of email?
Recent studies prove that the assumptions of these marketers is correct in that:
25.) Emails with a personalized subject line are 26% more likely to be opened than those with general subject lines.
Think about that for a minute. If someone sends you an email with your name, you’re more likely to open it because you know the company is paying attention. It takes minimal effort on the part of the company, but it still means something. Also, personalizing emails gives your company a chance to tailor the email to a particular customer’s tastes. Within a product line, certain things appeal to different customers. A woman is less likely to buy men’s clothes. She might buy some for a significant other, but not in the same quantity as she buys women’s clothes for herself. The same is true for men and women’s clothes.
Also, personalization in an email isn’t all that different from the customer experience in a small family business. Use the same mechanic for your car every time you change the oil, and the mechanic knows more about how your specific car works in the event of a larger repair. Go to a particular insurance agent over the years, and he or she will be better able to recommend the right insurance policy when your circumstances change. Walk into the same pharmacy for every prescription, and the pharmacist will often head for that customer envelope as soon as he sees you. Personalizing emails is the same basic thing, just for email marketers.
Segmentation further builds upon the power of personalization
Personalization is critical to your success in email marketing, and fortunately most modern email marketing software solutions, including the one that I use, offer varying degrees of marketing automation functionality. One of the critical functionalities is to be able to dynamically generate segments and then automate campaigns, in a personalized and relevant way, to communicate with those in the given segment.
Personalized campaigns are more effective, but segmented campaigns provide a much higher ROI. Specifically,
26.) Marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns
Needless to say, just like anything else n marketing, your message needs to be both personalized AND relevant.
Want that email link clicked? Think buttons.
27.) Using a call-to-action button instead of just a text link will reward you with a 28% increase in click-throughs according to one study
Beware the Spam Filter
When designing an email marketing campaign, everyone worries about being thought of as spam. That’s not surprising, given that:
For the purposes of this statistic, spam includes unwanted marketing emails. That means that if you aren’t getting permission from your customers before sending them an email, you’re spamming them. However, emails that pertain to existing business relationships, or voluntary subscription to your email list, do not qualify as spam.
In a related matter, email privacy laws are popping up all over the world. The European GDPR and a similar law in California have made not getting permission a potentially expensive matter. As a result, it is recommended that any business which might be affected by such regulations do an opt-in email campaign. This also gives you a chance to see who is still interested in your products and services. After all, why pay to keep sending emails to someone who’s not interested anymore?
Don’t fear emojis
Remember when using emojis in business communication was considered unprofessional? Not so much nowadays. In fact, email marketers are finding that:
29.) Using an emoji in the subject line increases the open rate by about 25%.
That isn’t an insignificant increase; in fact, that clever emoji could be just what you need to edge out your competition. Experts say there are several reasons for this. In particular, the “edge” emojis provide are in part a result of their ability to stop the eye as it moves down a page of emails. If your customer is like most people, promotional email subjects are skimmed to see which ones might be interesting or important. Just be careful that they don’t come off the wrong way, or look like the one everyone else is using.
There’s another reason why emojis might be so successful: they help an email seem more personal. Let’s face it, marketing (and business in general) can seem so impersonal. Everyone is trying to market their goods and services, and especially in marketing, it’s all about the numbers. The focus is on so many emails per click, that many clicks per sale, and whether a particular target is met. If you aren’t careful, that constant drive for numbers can make your campaign seem like just another attempt at getting the customer’s money. Instead, emojis and customization show the customers that they are valuable to your company, and not just a number or potential paycheck.
Don’t forget mobile
Did you know that:
30.) Almost 62% of email opens happen on mobile devices?
Most of us remember when mobile email was innovative. First, it was Blackberry in 1999, and when Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007. With these inventions, mobile email became an innovation, and then finally mainstream. With the current statistics, it’s safe to say that mobile email has come a long way. Now, it seems like everyone walks around town with a smartphone, and with it, their email accounts.
It was only a matter of time before this happened. After all while, according to Campaign Monitor,
31.) 74% of people use desktop computers to check their email,
32.) 81% of people use their smartphone to check their email.
Needless to say, if you are not thinking mobile-first in terms of your email communication, your success will suffer over the long run.
Speaking of early mobile email, remember how they originally would only display text? Most customers don’t have that limitation anymore, but there’s still a principle to remember. Smartphones are like computers with tiny screens, and often, really expensive internet access. As a result, sending a lot of flashy pictures in email, or including a video in it, might not be the best way to get a click-through. If a customer can’t read the email when they open it on their mobile device, there’s no guarantee they’ll try again with their computer or tablet. It’s OK to use these things, and in fact many marketers do but are conscious of how it will look on that tiny screen.
Selling to businesses? Use newsletters.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that:
33.) 83% of B2B companies send newsletter emails.
After all, newsletters are the ultimate opportunity to tell subscribers about what’s going on in your company. Maybe you’re launching a new product, or releasing an update to your tried-and-true software solution. Either way, chances are that your customers want to know about it. That update might be the thing that makes them finally want to upgrade their software or equipment. Or, the new product could make life easier at their company.
Of course, newsletters are good for more than just advertising new stuff. If anything, they’re awesome because you have time to do more than advertise. You never know when a change in management might be of interest to customers, or if that investment in clean energy resonates with the eco-conscious public. No matter what you put in newsletters, make sure it’s something that will help you stand out from the crowd. It’s a great opportunity to define your brand message.
Ecommerce company? Automated abandoned cart emails are your besties.
We’ve all received those automated emails letting us know that we still have items in our shopping cart that we “forgot” to purchase. Did you know how effective they can be for ecommerce marketers?
There are some amazing email marketing statistics that prove the incredible ROI of utilizing email marketing automation for the singular objective of reaching out to those who put products or services into the shopping cart on your website but never purchased for whatever reason. Moosend reports that:
34.) More than 40% of cart abandonment emails are opened.
35.) Out of the opened cart abandonment emails, 21% of them received click-throughs.
36.) 50% of the users who clicked on cart abandonment emails purchased.
The end result?
37.) Sending three emails to those who abandon their carts results in 69% more orders.
Email marketing yields quick results
Do I need to provide you with more email marketing statistics to prove my point about the ROI of email marketing? How about this one:
Want marketing results now? Use email. One reason is that:
38.) Just over half (50.39%) of emails will be opened within 6 hours.
Take a look at the marketing emails you’re getting from others, and you’ll see that a lot of them announce limited-time offers. Especially in those situations, it is essential that the email is opened soon after it’s sent. After all, it’s no use if the email is opened after the event is over. However, if your business is large enough, there might be time zone issues. For example, if you send emails overnight, then the chances are they won’t get opened until morning. Then again, get the customer as their feet hit the floor, and you just might beat the competition.
Another reason email yields quick results is that it helps keep the customer’s mind on your brand. The old saying, “out of sight, out of mind” comes into play here. Only it’s the opposite: keep your company, or your products, at the forefront of consumer awareness, and they’re more likely to buy your products instead of purchasing from the competition. For retail, of course, email marketing can also introduce a consumer to something they didn’t know they wanted…yet. You never know unless you try. Email is the fastest way to do that.
One of those most amazing aspects of email marketing is that, despite its high ROI, it does not necessarily require a costly investment in software. In fact there are many robust free email marketing services that exist that would be perfect if you are a startup or small business.
Now that we’ve discussed the value of email marketing, we hope you can use these statistics to guide your strategy for the year.
Which of these email marketing statistics was the biggest surprise to you?
My site has a bunch of email marketing resources for you to improve your strategy:
- The 15 Best Email Marketing Tools to Consider Investing in Today
- How to Use Welcome Emails and Drip Campaigns to Efficiently Market
- When is the Best Time to Send Marketing Emails? (with pre-send checklist)
- Increase Customer Retention with an Effective Email Loyalty Marketing Campaign
- How to Use Email Marketing to Get More Social Media Followers
- 7 Tested Ways How to Grow Your Email List with Instagram
- How to Add an Email Subscription Facebook Sign Up Form