It provides up to 42:1 ROI - interested? Read on!

Email continues to be a part of many marketing strategies. It's a tried and tested medium, and one that never sits still. The 'fight for the inbox' and a growing appreciation for more society-orientated ideas like accessibility means that it stays relevant year on year..

But with the rise of newer, perhaps flashier marketing channels - like social media and influencer marketing - it might be tempting to move away from email to concentrate elsewhere. We say no - email is still king! There is no other marketing channel that can:

  • Give you a higher ROI
  • Enable you to build long-lasting relationships with your customers.
  • Consistently innovate at such speed- big new ideas and features come almost yearly.

In fact, we encourage a renewed focus on email as a keystone to marketing strategies. Getting it right can pay off handsomely. Here are a few reasons why.

Side note - we have referenced a few external statistics and posts in this article, you can find all sources at the end.

Email makes you more money than other channel

For every $1 spent you can return up to $42 (on average) in sales stemming from email marketing. #emailgeeks #emailmarketing

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It's as simple as that. And that's without taking into account other aspects - for example if you personalise your emails, even with the first name only, this boosts to 44:1. This is far higher than other channels such as influencer marketing and paid searches, which scrape around $5.50 and $2 respectively. It also comprehensively outstrips more traditional advertising channels such as print, TV and direct mail.

"Smart companies are investing more in email to further spur their ecommerce growth."
Chad S White, Oracle

Did you also know that, according to a 2019 survey by the DMA, 66% of people said they had made an online purchase as a result of an email they had received? Tie that to the fact that 350 billion daily emails will be sent by 2022, to and from 4.3 billion users, and you begin to see the economic potential of email.

Combine this with the key points put forward in the rest of this article, and you'll get a pretty decent picture of just why the ROI for email is calculated to be so high.

Email is a highly engaging channel

Did you know that average email engagement times are 1800% times higher than other areas of digital marketing? That's an amazing number, considering the rise and high usage of social media, and the might of big-screen advertising. But it's not without merit.

For one, email delivers vastly more content than other areas of digital marketing. A tweet is a set amount of characters, possibly with a link. A TV ad lasts 30 seconds and is non-interactive by its very nature. An email can contain product copy, imagery, links for further exploration, and much more. And it can all be personalised to the subscriber if you have enough trackable data, so that what they receive is special to them. This creates an opportunity to build a relationship, and an interactive one which is personalised with the reader, so any further content they receive - they are already more engaged than they might be on another medium. 

And email isn't confined to desktop devices. 61% of all email opens are on mobile devices, meaning that it's not only as accessible as other digital channels like social media, but that it's more common and convenient to view emails on the go - you no longer have to be stuck at a computer to do so. People are happy to engage with email wherever they please. Which is great because it creates an opportunity to engage when on the go, commuting, sitting on your sofa or else.

Email has incredible reach 

We mentioned the sheer number of emails, and people using it, earlier - so we know that there is a large and global audience. In fact, people with an email account grew by 100 million between 2018 and 2019 alone. These consumers, according to Adobe, spend 2 hours a day looking at their emails. This highlights that email is not only used by half the world's population, but still growing and is actively engaged with.

With the rise of more 'on-trend' channels as marketing tools, such as Tik Tok, Snapchat and influencers, it might be argued that email's reach is contained to the generations that grew up with it. However, 73% of millennials prefer business communications to come via email. Alongside being more aware of their digital privacy and preferences, younger people seem to be more selective of where they like to interact with brands and marketing. Nearly → of them have chosen email. 

Plus, marketing in channels like Snapchat and Tik Tok have a very limited lifespan. The content is only there for a few seconds and then it's gone, whereas an email stays in your inbox to go back to, read and use. Or you can delete it, but it's the subscribers choice rather than time-limited.

You can nurture leads, build relationships and gain loyal customers with email

This is perhaps one of email's greatest strengths, both in financial outlay and income. Customers rarely buy at the first email/interaction - in fact 73% of people don't, and initial conversion rates at this stage sit at 1.5% on average. Email nurture sequences give you the chance to interact with them more, and help them to a stage where they are ready.

Email is one of the only channels that can put customers into such an effective and trackable nurture funnel, and perhaps the most effective at it - generating 50% more sales than other lead nurture channels.

"Companies that excel at lead-nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost, and nurtured leaders make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads."
Invesp, via Pure360

But what about a more long-term strategy? Now more than ever it's important to nurture a relationship with your customers, as well as their interest in your products. Customers have values and ideals that brands must fit in order to make a purchase from them. For example:

  • 86% of consumers say that authenticity is a key factor when supporting brands
  • 81% say they need to be able to trust the brand they buy from
  • 77% of people buy from brands who share their values
  • 73% of customers cite customer experience as important to their purchasing decisions

We've written a great article on the art of emotional intelligence in email marketing if you'd like a more in-depth look at this topic. But to sum up - if you focus on building a relationship with your consumers through shared values and as a trustworthy, friendly brand that has their interests at heart, you are rewarded with their brand loyalty, which turns into repeat business from them. After all, 59% of marketers say email is best for customer retention - and repeat business is a cornerstone of business sustainability.

You can learn more about your customer behaviours and preferences

No other marketing channel gives you such a rich view of what customers like and dislike. You can gather lots of data by using the tracking features that come with email marketing. 

"Email marketing remains a staple channel for marketing leaders. This channel is prized for its effectiveness, measurability and the customer insights it yields"
Gartner 2020: Market Guide for Email Marketing

With this, you can tune your email marketing to give your subscribers a personalised and tailored experience. Features like personalisation and segmentation can be really effective to this end. If you know from previous emails and purchases what products a particular consumer likes to buy, or even browse, you can include these in your email marketing to them. A more targeted approach will increase interactions and also sales. Segmented campaigns, for example, can see as much as a 760% increase in revenue. And consumers are beginning to expect this too. A 2018 Adobe survey found that the top two wishes for email (by customers) were:

  • For emails to be more informational and less promotional (37%)
  • Emails to include some form of personalisation (27%)

In short - subscribers are now expecting brands to listen to their behaviours and preferences. You can study your own campaigns to get a feel for this too:

  • Look at link tracking to see what they click on the email, and where else they explore on your website
  • A/B test your emails to see what personalisation, segmentation and structures appeals most
  • Review the copy style and in the most successful campaigns against that from any that may have performed less successfully

Email is a trusted channel

GDPR has enabled email marketing to become an ethically conscious and trusted medium. It protects the integrity of email marketing by preventing mis-use of data and vastly reducing spam emails. Which in return builds trust in those that use email marketing ethically. 

Social media, on the other hand, is currently undergoing a cultural shift. The ever-increasing spotlight on the spread of unethical content and behaviour by some users is leading more and more people to call for tighter regulation, as social media platforms are being seen as not doing enough to combat this. And with the rise of more data-savvy users, social media companies are much less trusted with personal data than before - after a series of malpractices and arguably unethical behaviours involving data and digital privacy were made public. As a result, increasing numbers are turning away from platforms and subscriber levels are dropping. In marketing terms, this is one of the only channels which is seeing a declining audience number.

"Approximately 74% of Facebook users deleted the app between 2017 and 2018"
Pew Research Center and Statista, via Campaign Monitor

That isn't to say you should drop your social channels. Rather, use them in conjunction with, or to supplement, your other channels (such as email) to create multi-channel campaigns. Relying primarily on a channel that has declining numbers, decreasing user confidence, and operates in a space where some users anonymously spread negative values that your brand will not want to be associated with, may not be so effective as time goes on.

Invest time and resources to get it right

So email is looking pretty good right? But to unlock its vast potential, it's key to invest the time and effort into getting it right. 

Because of its technical nature, doing this can seem daunting. And it's easy to think that buying all the appropriate technologies and investing in hiring a dedicated team will be enough. The reality is much different. And it doesn't come with a massive cost - an Econsultancy survey in 2019 found that email attributed to 19% of company sales, despite using up only 13% of the marketing budget. 

Whilst your team and financial investment may be in place, creating effective and worthwhile email campaigns require a significant commitment to become efficient and aligned to your company's goals. They require planning, some strategy work, design help and a healthy distribution list - which can be intimidating but with the right tools can be done well.

These come with a steep learning curve, in which it's easy to settle into a working process that works but isn't necessarily the easiest and most efficient. Over time this is easily entrenched and then simply becomes 'the way we've always done it'. With email marketing being such a progressive and innovative industry, falling behind due to ingrained inefficiencies is something to be very aware of.

Sources for statistics in text:

Campaign Monitor - Knowledge Base
Campaign Monitor - New Rules of Email Marketing
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