It's also one of the only forms of direct outreach that people actually want.
Practically nobody likes junk mail, and nobody likes spam. But people love email marketing.
Whether you're sending offers, tips, secrets, or anything else, as long as it's helpful, your recipients will enjoy it.
But those are just general statements — what are the actual stats on email marketing's success?
Why you should use email marketing
John Caldwell on email marketing
John Caldwell's metaphor is a great description of email marketing in the limelight.
It always seems like some marketing blog is talking about "the death of email marketing" or "why email marketing isn't what it was."
But really, email marketing hasn't showed any signs of slowing down — and for good reason.
Basic stats on email marketing
First, email marketing is still around because of its fantastic ROI. For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you statistically earn $44.25 back.
That means you could drop $100 on an email blast and expect $4425 in returns. That's huge, and no other marketing strategy in the world can even come close to that level of profit.
With that kind of ROI, it'd take some kind of sweeping change throughout the world to change how well email marketing works. Email would most likely have to disappear, and that's probably not going to happen any time soon.
In other words, this stat alone means email marketing is alive and well. It'll continue to be a key part of Internet marketing for years to come.
But email marketing isn't just about ROI — it's also critical for lead generation.
So if you're not the kind of company that can earn money directly from emails — like a B2B agency — you can still grow your company with email marketing.
In fact, you can grow it much more quickly than other marketing strategies.
That's because you earn 50% more leads for 33% less investment when you compare email to other marketing strategies.
That means companies that require leads before earning customers can almost double the number of leads they get by only spending a third of their typical marketing costs.
With a deal like that, why would email marketing ever die out?
Samuel Hulick on email marketing
Samuel Hulick's quote is the perfect illustration of why email works so well.
We've all been on the road at some point. And unless you've only been in states where billboards are illegal (Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, and Vermont), a billboard has caught your attention.
You might've been driving at the time it happened, too, which means it was a distraction — maybe even dangerous!
Billboards might be decent advertising tools sometimes, but they're disruptive.
Road signs, however, are the best invention since actual roads. Without them, navigation would be much more difficult.
Email marketing works the same way.
All of your recipients gave you their email addresses, which means they want to hear from you just like they want to know what exit is coming up next on Rt. 66. You're directing them to how they can become a customer.
You're not distracting them from their goals, which is what a billboard would do. That kind of unwelcome distraction would be spam.
And when you work with email marketing, you should never spam.
The only people who hear from you are the people who told you that they want to hear more. In that way, you're not spamming your recipients — you're responding to their request to learn more.
Just like a road sign is a response to a driver's desire to know where they're going.
What does email marketing do?
Pretty much everything.
More specifically, email marketing is frequently used for four purposes:
Awareness is the first step in getting a new customer. You can use email marketing to build awareness by having signup forms on your top-of-funnel content.
People who sign up for this level of email marketing probably know very little about your company, and they may be completely new to your industry.
Acquisition is the process of turning a new signup into a lead. That means sending helpful information to your recipients that tells them more about who you are and what you do.
Conversion is the point where you turn a recipient into a paying customer. That usually means sending people opportunities to buy something or begin a contract.
Conversion is the ultimate goal of all email marketing. While it may not be 100% — and no process is — it's still incredibly effective.
Retention is the process of keeping your current customers engaged so they can become repeat customers or stay partnered with you. You can use a variety of different materials to retain customers and encourage repeat purchases, depending on your industry.
But how can you be sure that your email is actually reaching recipients?
First of all, 91% of all consumers admit to checking email on their phone at least once per day. That means at the very least, 91% of all your recipients will at least see the subject line of your email.
On top of that, 64% of all decision makers at businesses check their email on mobile devices, and that doesn't take into account how many of them are glued to their desktop email all day.
(This stat is also a great reason why you should make your emails mobile compatible.)
Next, 37.5% of all desktop users spend at least 15 seconds reading email. That may not sound like a lot, but that's plenty of time to at least skim over new emails in your inbox. It's even enough to read a few — like yours!
And when it comes to brands, make no mistake — Apple's iPhone is the king of email. 38% of all emails were opened on iPhones in 2014, which is more than all desktops combined.
So if you had to choose a certain format to make sure your emails display correctly, using Apple's guidelines will help you reach more people.
But how do these stats help if you're a B2B? After all, you're targeting people who work at businesses during the work day.
Even then, you're still in luck. Managers and decision-makers at businesses are notoriously attached to their inboxes, and 35% of them even check their work email from mobile devices.
That means for every three clients you earn, at least one of them is a workaholic who'll see your emails even if they're not in the office.
Finally, 34% of all mobile users spend at least 15 seconds reading email. Again, that may not sound like much, but 15 seconds is a long time for a mobile user.
And all it takes is one second to hook someone with a good email!
Perry Marshall on email marketing
Perry Marshall is a growth and marketing expert, and his quote applies to every branch of marketing — not just email.
Still, this quote is important to email because it describes exactly how email marketing works.
The content on your website does most of the heavy lifting when you're getting new customers. That's why it's so important that you encourage visitors to sign up for email marketing on every page.
The more someone learns about your business, the more you can be sure they're qualified traffic.
With that in mind, email marketing is the ice water of information in the desert of inexperience.
People who sign up for your email initiatives crave more information, just like they would with ice water. When you supply that information evenly over time, you convince them to become (or remain) customers.
In other words, you're supplying a service that people want.
What about the audience of email marketing?
A whopping 95% of email marketing recipients say they like the information that they get. That's a huge majority, and it's one of the biggest reasons why email marketing works.
On top of that, 70% of recipients say they open emails from their favorite companies. So if someone frequently looks at Amazon for new products, they're much more likely to open an automated email from Amazon.
The key here is to become someone's favorite company. Offer them general information, helpful updates, coupons, and promotions to earn their preference.
Then, whenever you send them emails, they're much more likely to open your messages since you've shown that you can help them.
In addition, 84% of email users between 18-34 use some form of an email preview function. That could be anything from the first line of a message to the whole message itself in a preview pane.
Regardless, it means you have two main ways to get people to open your emails:
- The subject line
- The first of body text
These are the make-or-break areas of your email, and they're usually the hardest parts to do well.
A good subject line (and opening line) can make the difference between a new customer and the trash bin.
Next, 58% of adults check their email first thing in the morning. So before they get out of bed, pick out their clothes, or eat breakfast, most adults look at their email.
That means if you send emails later in the day or early in the morning, you could catch someone right as they're waking up. Depending on your business model, that could be primetime.
It could also be your worst time.
Plan your emails accordingly. And keep in mind that someone might only check their email at the start of the day.
Unfortunately, you can't control when people look at their inbox. The best you can do is time your emails to when most of your recipients want them, based on your open and click-through data.
Last, it's essential that every email you create displays correctly for your recipients. 71.2% of recipients immediately delete emails that don't display properly.
So if you have un-optimized images, shoddy interactives, or videos that don't play, your latest email campaign won't do well.
In fact, only one out of every four recipients will even look at your message in the first place. Everyone else will simply delete it.
The lesson is clear — make sure your emails display correctly.
Mike Stelzner on email marketing
Mike Stelzner started Social Media Examiner, and he knows the power of social networks.
His quote about social sharing buttons can apply to virtually any part of Internet marketing. Unless you're explicitly trying to keep users on a certain page or document, you should pretty much always include social buttons on your content.
And that includes email.
Social buttons on email let recipients follow you with a single click or send out pre-written messages that you create.
They're also eye-catching, engaging, and tempting to click in general. And at the very least, they add an extra splash of color to your messages along with some recognizable logos.
So it's true that social buttons empower your readers. But they also empower your emails by associating your business with recognized brands.
With so much power coming from a handful of shapes and colors, social buttons are a no-brainer for email marketing.
Email marketing and social media synergy
When you compare email marketing to social media, you can't say that you should use one but not the other. They're both essential to strong Internet marketing plans, and they're both valuable to businesses throughout the world.
Still, email marketing converts customers 40x better than Facebook and Twitter. So if you tested the same exact audience with email marketing and social media marketing, you'd get 40x better results with email than social media.
Along with that, email marketing converts 3x as many customers as social media in general. That includes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even major marketing networks like Pinterest.
But, again, that doesn't mean you shouldn't use social media.
Social buttons increase clicks by 158% in email marketing messages. That's two and a half times more than what you'd typically get.
And when you think about combining your social media and email marketing strategies, you might start to think that you should just email your social media followers after they start following you.
But that's actually not a good idea.
80% of social network users have received unsolicited emails, and unsolicited marketing emails are essentially spam.
So if you're going to combine your social media and email strategies, feel free to include social buttons on your email messages. But don't send unsolicited emails to the people who follow you.
The most important reason for this is your bottom line.
If you're a company that operates off of leads, you can use email marketing to get customers that spend about 17% more than your typical customer.
And if you're a company that thrives on direct purchases, you can use email marketing to get them to spend 138% more than your typical customers.
Theoretically, if you could get every customer through email marketing, your business could double your revenue.
John Hayes on email marketing
John Hayes' quote can relate to just about every marketing strategy out there. But it works for email marketing because it's about marketing's main point.
You need a hook.
That hook could be a lot of different things, when it comes to email marketing. It could be a call to action, a link to a conversion page, or information about how you can help your recipients.
But you need to have something if you want to get results. Otherwise, you're just adding flakes to the fish tank.
Formatting your email marketing messages
Right now, one of the biggest trends in email marketing is marketing automation. It's basically a digital conveyor belt that sends pre-written emails to certain recipients based on their behavior.
But why go through all the trouble of setting something up like that?
Marketing automation works exceptionally well. In fact, it has the potential to increase conversions by as much as 50%.
So if you're an ecommerce company that uses email marketing, you could get 50% more conversions and 138% more revenue just by automating your process.
On top of that, personalized calls to action can increase conversions by another 42%. So if you take all of these stats together, you could potentially earn twice as many customers that spend twice as much money from automating your email marketing processes.
Beyond that, you can increase conversions another 28% with button-based calls to action.
And if you want to improve your overall ROI, just optimize your emails for image blocking. It'll give you about 9% more back on every email you send.
Last, you have to make sure people open your email in the first place.
The two biggest factors in open rates are who send the email and your email's subject line.
That means it's essential that you present your company as you are. It's equally important that you create and test multiple subject lines to make sure you get the best open rates possible.
So far, with all of the stats on this infographic, you can potentially double the number of customers you have and how much they spend just by using email.
Who wouldn't want that for their business?
But before we conclude, we have to talk about an important topic — the future of email marketing.
Jordie van Rijn on email marketing
Jordie van Rijn's quote is important because it highlights one of the best parts of email marketing.
As far as we can tell, it's here to stay.
The only real way email marketing will ever be replaced is if someone creates a better way of digital, non-urgent, non-invasive communication.
And right now, that probably won't be for years.
But every couple of months, it seems like someone new is talking about the death of email marketing or why email marketing won't work once something new happens in the marketing community.
So far, everyone's been wrong. Email marketing is still around today, and it's still earning tons of customers and revenue for companies around the world.
So what's the future of email marketing?
Email marketing. The game isn't changing any time soon.
But, with that said, the rules of the game might change. And there's one small trend on the horizon that could be a big deal over the next decade.
The future of email marketing
Based on trends and surveys of email marketing users, we can take a few guesses at the future of email marketing.
First, 89% of marketers say email marketing is their primary lead generation channel.
That's an incredible majority, and it speaks to the possibility that email marketing may become even more important to lead generation in the future.
On top of that, personalization yields 26% more opens than generic email. That tells us that personalization will probably be used more over the coming years — or, at least, it should be.
There's also list segmentation, or dividing your list of email marketing recipients by their demographics and interests. That yields an additional 39% more opens and 28% fewer unsubscribes.
Plus, we're probably going to see a lot more marketing automation in the future. 91% of marketing automation users say it's important to success, and it yields an average of 34% increase in overall revenue.
Triggered emails also have a 70.5% higher open rate than regular emails. And, on the whole, companies using marketing automation earn 53% more conversions in general than companies that don't.
So, overall, email marketing can directly help you grow your business. With automation, personalization, and segmentation, you can potentially double your earnings from email marketing with a little extra work behind the scenes.
And it'll definitely pay off.
But what about that one trend that's on the horizon?
That's SMS marketing (also called text message marketing). In general, email subscribers under the age of 25 appear to prefer text messages to emails.
That has a number of implications for companies that use email marketing.
First, this doesn't mean email marketing will stop working. It will probably continue to work, and it may even get better as email subscribers under 25 get older.
Second, this is an opportunity for your company to diversify your marketing strategy and contact your subscribers directly on their phones.
The messages have to be shorter, you can't use big images, and you'll probably only have space for one link. But SMS marketing could increase your revenue even more once you use it with email marketing.
Last, the rise of SMS marketing doesn't spell the death of email marketing. They're two separate forms of promotion that appeal to fundamentally different audiences.
Emails can be longer and include more information. They also have a bigger design element that could require templating to perfect. In other words, emails are more complex.
SMS marketing requires shorter messages that include almost exclusively text, unless you want to send an MMS. You also have emojis and texting shorthand on your side, and that could make a big difference in your marketing success, depending on your customer demographic. Basically, SMS marketing is much simpler and less formal.
So which one will work better for your business in the future? The best way to find out is to test them both.
Who knows — you might find another way to double your revenue!
Learn more about email marketing
If you're looking to start an email marketing campaign for your company, check out our guide to effective email marketing!